Category Archives: mississauga parks

Mississauga Moves Towards Making Housing More Affordable

Source: Insauga.com – by Ashley Newport on October 17, 2017

It’s no secret that housing in Mississauga (and the overall 905 area) has become increasingly more expensive over time. With detached houses costing buyers $900,000 to $1 million and compact condos selling for over $400,000, residents are turning to the rental market and being equally as disappointed to see that prices are no more kind there (in some cases, two-bedroom suites can cost close to $2,000 a month).

The housing crisis is one that Mississauga has been, to its credit, taking seriously.

The City of Mississauga’s Planning and Development Committee recently adopted the city’s first housing strategy: Making Room for the Middle: A Housing Strategy for Mississauga.

According to the strategy, there’s a pressing and dire need to create affordable housing for middle income earners who are in danger of being priced out of the city.

Some of the draft’s findings are alarming, even though they’re not at all surprising.

Some key facts:

  • A home is considered affordable when its inhabitants spend 30 per cent or less of their earnings on housing costs
  • 1 in 3 households are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing and research suggests this number will rise
  • Middle income households typically net between $50,000 and $100,000 a year
  • Middle income earners include nurses, teachers and social workers
  • People who want to purchase homes can typically afford to pay between $270,000 and $400,000, meaning their only options are condos and a limited selection of townhouses
  • Housing prices are adversely affected by supply and demand imbalances (there’s much more demand than there is supply)
  • The average rental unit costs $1,200 a month
  • Rental inventory is 1.6 per cent (which is troublingly low)

The city is focusing on middle income earners because they typically make too much to qualify for government assistance, but still cannot afford to rent or purchase homes in the city. When people are priced out of their communities, the social and economic fabric of the area is compromised. If the middle class is forced to move further away, the city will only be suitable for very high and low-income earners–something leaders are hoping to prevent.

The city says the Strategy is Mississauga’s plan for fostering a supportive environment for the development of a range of housing that is affordable for all. While it targets middle-income households, it will also benefit lower-income households.

To be clear, the Region of Peel is responsible for subsidized housing (meaning housing associated with low-income earners who require special assistance to afford adequate shelter in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon). While attention must still be paid to lower-income residents (Peel has a notoriously long subsidized housing waitlist and too few shelters for those in need), middle-income households have not been widely supported in terms of housing supply.

Generally speaking, middle-income earners—think social workers, journalists and clerical workers—do not qualify for financial assistance and cannot afford housing at current market prices.

Ideally, the strategy will help provide opportunities for lower-income households by freeing up supply.

The strategy offers 40 actions supported by the Mississauga Housing Advisory Panel, a group of over 20 housing professionals from the public, private and non-profit sectors that shared their knowledge, advice and solutions. It also includes a five-year action plan centred on municipal powers and funding partnerships to achieve its goals.

“Housing is an issue that touches every Mississauga resident and business,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “Council has already endorsed in-principle, actions to protect existing rental housing and create a housing-first policy for surplus lands. Making Room for the Middle: A Housing Strategy for Mississauga is the City’s plan to provide, together with our partners, a supportive development environment for a range of affordable housing.”

So, what has the city proposed?

  • Petition senior levels of government for taxation policies and credits that incent affordable housing
  • Pilot tools such as pre-zoning and a Development Permit System to develop affordable housing in appropriate locations (close to transit systems, for example)
  • Encourage the Region of Peel to develop an inclusionary zoning incentive program for private and nonprofit developers
  • Continue to engage with housing development stakeholders
  • Encourage the Region of Peel to investigate the cost of deferring development charges on the portion of affordable units provided in newly constructed multiple dwellings

The city has also been working to legalize accessory units (better known as basement apartments). At this juncture, basement suites remain a very viable option for people looking for affordable units, as the suites tend to cost $1,000 or less. Right now, most units remain unregistered and the city is responsible for levying fines against landlords operating unregulated units.

“Making Room for the Middle: A Housing Strategy for Mississauga defines how the City of Mississauga will address the affordable housing crisis in our City,” said Crombie in a statement. “We’re ready to do our part to ensure that those who want to live in Mississauga can afford to do so. The strategy provides bold, innovative solutions to increasing affordability. Safe, affordable housing is a pillar of a complete city and we will achieve our goals if we work together with our partners to create a supportive development environment for a range of affordable housing for all.”

According to the staff report, the strategy has received wide support since its release on March 29 from residents, agency partners and the building and development industry.

Speaking of the development industry, it appears that one affordable housing project is already in the works.

A few weeks ago, we learned that a brand new building development has been planned for the City Centre area.

The Daniels Corporation, the development firm who has built multiple properties in the City Centre and Erin Mills Town Centre areas in the city, is slated to construct an affordable housing project at 360 City Centre Drive.

Since this building will help the city fulfill its mandate, council will a provide a sizeable $2.7 million to the Region of Peel to offset development charges for the project.

The Region approved funding of the much-needed project to the tune of $65 million ($65,966,522, to be exact) on June 22. After approving funding, the Region asked Mississauga to “consider granting relief from City Development Charges (the aforementioned $2.7 million) by waiving or providing a grand to offset such DCs.”

As for how the development will work, 40 per cent of the units (70 in total) will be Rent Geared to Income suites. These units will take residents off affordable housing waitlist. The city also says that 60 per cent (or 104 units) will be set aside for renters and owned by the Region. They will be available to middle-class residents.

A second tower on the same podium will boast market-value units, creating a mixed-income property on City Centre grounds.

The movement of the affordable housing strategy is encouraging, especially since the city has been working to build consensus for sometime now.

The Mississauga Housing Forum held last spring enabled stakeholders to hear from renowned housing experts, “road test’ the strategy and provide their input. City staff say they have since have fine-tuned the strategy based on the feedback received.

“We heard from our residents and stakeholders and are taking action,” said Ed Sajecki, commissioner of planning and building. “Our strategy reflects the input we received. We can now create, together with our partners, a housing affordability solution that could be a model for other Canadian cities.”

The city says the next steps include actions to help preserve purpose-built rental housing, support for the Region of Peel in implementing its programs, and ongoing work with senior levels of government to make their surplus land available for affordable housing and provide standardized local housing data to measure housing affordability.

The final strategy will go to Council for approval on October 25.

 
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GTA’s hottest market outside of downtown Toronto

Source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth –  Neil Sharma

Mississauga has become the GTA’s largest condo hub after Toronto, and its torrid pace of residential, infrastructure and amenity development are conspiring to make it ripe for investment.

In tandem with the Places to Grow Act, Mayor Bonnie Crombie has recalibrated the city’s growth plan to quickly turn it into an urban hub. Mississauga’s city centre already has a dazzling skyline, and it’s expecting 23 new mixed-use condominium towers.

Major builders like Daniels, Amacon, Camrost and Solmar all have major projects going up there that promise to bring life to what’s been a sleepy downtown. However, without a crucial piece of infrastructure, some of these developments might never have been conceived.

“The timing is largely a result of the LRT breaking ground next year,” Crombie told CREW. “It is 20-kilometres long with 22 stops, beginning in Port Credit, and then looping around downtown where there will be four stops. It will pull into the transit terminal – the second-biggest in the GTA – then go into Brampton.”

The city centre in Canada’s six-largest city has long been built around Square One Shopping Centre, which just received a major facelift and extension, but there are newer arrivals. Sheridan College has two campuses in or near the city centre, with a third in planning stages, and University of Toronto Mississauga isn’t very far away, either. Apartment buildings in the area are being outnumbered by condos, and students will naturally rent them.
Over the next two decades, Peel Region is expecting 300,000 new residents and 150,000 jobs, of which 60% are projected to be in Mississauga.

Zia Abbas, owner and president of Realty Point, a brokerage that’s grown to 26 franchises in only two years, says the cost per square foot in Mississauga’s condos make investing there a no-brainer.

“The average of any new launch in downtown Toronto is around $1,000 (per square foot),” he said, “with the cheapest I’ve seen in Liberty Village starting around $850 to $900 per square foot before parking. In Mississauga it’s between $640 and $670, parking included.”

Abbas says the LRT will add substantial value to the city centre’s condo cluster, and added that Mississauga has other hot spots too, like Erin Mills and the Hurontario and Eglinton neighbourhood.

“Compared to downtown Toronto where eight out of 10 people rely on transit infrastructure, in Mississauga it’s five out of 10, I’d say.”

But as Crombie’s vision for an urban Mississauga materializes, that number could start rivalling Toronto’s.

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Did You Know? Mississauga Has the Same Population As…

 

Once a suburb, always a suburb.

Or is it?

Although one could probably concede that Mississauga can still be defined as something of a suburban satellite city, it’s impossible (and inaccurate) to classify it as quaint or quiet or small. With a population of 713,445 people and several grand-scale urbanization projects moving forward (M City, Inspiration Lakeview, etc.), it’s safe to say that Mississauga is, in fact, a big city — albeit one that’s still developing its identity.

If you look at Mississauga’s population, you’ll see what we house almost the same number of people as world famous cities.

In fact, here’s a list of cities with similar populations to ours (often lower!), based on 2015 estimates:

Canada:

1)    Edmonton (812,201)

2)    Winnipeg (663,617)

United States:

1)    Seattle, Washington (684,451)

2)    Denver, Colorado (682,545)

3)    El Paso, Texas (681,124)

4)    Detroit, Michigan (677,116)

5)    Washington, D.C. (672,228)

6)    Boston (667,137)

7)    Memphis (655,770)

8)    Nashville (654,610)

9)    Portland (632,309)

10) Oklahoma City (631,346)

11) Las Vegas (623,747)

12) Baltimore (621,849)

 Europe:

1)    Zagreb, Croatia (790,017)

2)    Valencia, Spain (786,189)

3)    Leeds, U.K. (774,060)

4)    Krakow, Poland (761,069)

5)    Frankfurt, Germany (732,688)

So, there you have it! We may not be as much of a household name as Leeds or Frankfurt or Boston, but we have almost as many (and sometimes more) people.

It really puts things into perspective.

We’re bigger than we think.

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Toyota Takes Over Target Location at Square One

Toyota is launching a pilot project on the second level of the former Target location at Square One and it officially opens on March 5 and runs until May 31.

The pilot is called Towards Tomorrow by Toyota and it’s an interactive gallery that will feature Toyota’s newest selection of vehicles, including the RAV4 Hybrid, Scion iM, Prius and Prius c.

The pilot will include digital art, painting stations and virtual reality simulators – a different and more interactive consumer experience geared towards millennials.

This non-traditional dealership is an unconventional method to generate brand awareness and engage with consumers in a different format.

“Clearly, our customers today are well-educated, using the web and have a greater idea of what they want. They certainly still want to see the vehicle, drive the vehicle and touch the vehicle to make sure it fits. But they want to do that in a pressure-free, non-traditional retail environment,” says Cyril Dimitris, VPof Sales, in a recent Canadian Auto World article.

While this isn’t the first time an auto OEM has branched out from traditional dealership models, it is a first for Toyota’s Towards Tomorrow pilot at Square One. Tesla Motors successfully launched its first Canadian dealership at Yorkdale mall about three years ago.

The pilot is currently slated as a temporary project at Square One but perhaps there’s a possibility of it becoming permanent since Dimitris notes the factory has already heard from dealers that have interest in running something similar in other markets.

Source; Insauga.com – March 3, 2016

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5 surreal wonders to explore near Toronto

Bruce Peninsula Grotto

Ontario is a province packed with natural wonders and surreal places to explore. Alas, for many of us, the drive way north to Thunder Bay and beyond is too daunting for a mere weekend trip. Fortunately, there are some out-of-this-world places within a reasonable drive of Toronto. From waterfalls to grottos, there’s plenty to astound within a short trip of the city.

Here are five surreal wonders to explore near Toronto.

The Grotto at Bruce Peninsula Park
It takes a bit of work to access the Grotto at Bruce Peninsula Park, but is it ever worth it. Carved out over Millenia by the waves of Georgian Bay, the cave is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Sunlight illuminates the interior water, which takes on an impossibly cerulean tone. Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

natural wonders torontoCheltenham Badlands
Access to the Badlands themselves was restricted last spring as a plan is hatched to protect this natural wonder while also allowing the public to enjoy it as much as possible. Even though you can’t walk on them for the foreseeable future, the drive around the Badlands remains breathtaking. At less than an hour from Toronto, it still very much worth the trip.

Tews Falls

Tews Falls
The Hamilton area is blessed with numerous dramatic waterfalls, but my top choice is always Tews Falls. Not only is it just 10 metres shy of the height of Niagara Falls, the dome-like setting makes for a surreal setting that feels more Amazonian than it does Hamiltonian. You can also check out the nearby Webster Falls while in the area.

Bon Echo Park

Bon Echo Provincal Park
The Mazinaw Pictographs are located on a soaring 100 metre cliff at Bon Echo Provinicial park that’s stunning enough in its own right. Close exploration reveals over 260 pictographs spread across the rock face, which make it one of the largest collections of its kind in Ontario. There’s also a dedication to Walt Whitman carved into the rock almost a century ago.

Bonnechere cavesBonnechere Caves
Ontario isn’t exactly short on caves, but few match Bonnechere for pure aesthetics. This is a photographer’s playground, with layered rock walls shaped by millions of years of erosion. The cave system is quite extensive, which allows you to explore the fossilized passageways for hours.

Source: BlogTo.com Derek Flack / FEBRUARY 26, 2016

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Mississauga Set to Welcome Another Iconic High-Rise

The urbanization of Mississauga is continuing with the emergence of another stylish, modern high-rise condominium.

While City Centre has been the focus of most condo developers, some companies are looking beyond Square One to fast growing neighbourhoods in need of sleeker and more urbane skylines. With the Erin Mills area growing fairly rapidly, Daniels has cornered the market and erected three buildings in Erin Mills Parkway and Eglinton region. The brand built the West Tower Residential Condominiums and the Skyrise Rental Residence in the neighbourhood and is about to put its third Erin Mills property — Arc Condominiums — on sale.

“We have very deep roots in this [neighbourhood],” says Daniels spokesperson Dominic Tompa. “We’ve been building there since the 80s.”

When we say Daniels has the market cornered, we don’t mean it simply boasts more buildings than other developers. It has a literal community in the area, known as Daniels Erin Mills. The company calls the area a “mixed use” community designed for residents who want to “live, work, play, grow and shop” in and around their home.

Targeting the growing Erin Mills area is wise. For years, the sleepy neighbourhood was content to be home to Erin Mills Town Centre, Credit Valley Hospital and pockets of family homes. There was ample living space, but not a lot of options for play (unless you count the long-dead EMTC mini-golf course and Montana’s). With EMTC being reinvigorated by a dramatic facelift and more shops and restos popping up in the community, the time to further urbanize the evolving space was ‘nigh.

While some people shake their fists at any new skyscraper, it’s hard to deny that Arc is going to look pretty cool.

“The design is very unique,” says Tompa. “It has a luxury cruise ship feel, so it’ll be unique for the skyline. It has a lot of character. We’ve got 15,000 sq. ft. of retail space and two floors (or 50,000 sq. ft.) of office space [going into the building]. People will be able to work and shop there.”

When Arc is built, the three buildings (Arc, West Tower and Skyrise) will share an exclusive space that will boast an outdoor courtyard, gardening plots, a running track and more.

“It’ll anchor the community,” Tompa says. “We’re bringing in the farmer’s market as well. Backyard Farmer’s Market will be in the plaza area in the base of the Arc.”

In terms of amenities, Arc’s offerings are not dissimilar from other Mississauga high-rises. Residents can expect a full-court gymnasium, fitness centre, outdoor terrace with barbecues, a bookable lounge and meeting space, a smaller lounge with comfy seats and a bookable party room.

As far as prices go, people shopping for affordable condos will be pleased to know that some units start in the low 200,000s. In terms of design, features and finishes are selected by interior design company HOKand the uniquely-shaped suites (which will be influenced by the curvaceous design of the building) will boast nine foot ceilings, laminate flooring, quartz countertops, custom-designed cabinetry with soft-close drawers and stainless steel appliances.

In terms of demand, Tompa says Daniels is seeing a lot of interest.

“We’re just starting to be out there with the building itself and a lot of people are waiting for it to come out.”

Since Daniels has been present in the area for three decades, Tompa has noticed an interesting trend in terms of demographics. Rather than primarily attracting first-time homebuyers or singles, the condos are appealing to long-time residents who are ready to downsize within their long-term neighbourhood.

“It’s really interesting, we had a lot of local buyers who wanted to downsize to West Tower,” he says, agreeing that Daniels has, in this case, sort of been able to follow and adhere to the lifestyle requirements of residents moving through the lifecycle. “You can walk to the hospital, which is good for people who have retired. It’s across the street from the mall and restaurants. It’s a really nice location and even though it’s Mississauga, you could live here and not need a car.”

For those interested in purchasing a unit, registrants can join the Arc Condominiums Inner Circle by visiting the website. Inner Circle members will receive an invitation to attend the first advance sale before the public gets a kick at the can. They’ll also get a more comprehensive selection of suites, floors and views. If you’re interested in joining, expect to pay a one-time fee of $300. That $300 will be applied towards your purchase or, in the event you decide not to buy an Arc suite, refunded in full.

As for the retail space, Tompa says Daniels does its best to curate the occupying businesses to suit resident’s needs.

“We try to curate a community. You need a place to shop and be entertained and play. It’s a place to spend your time. The east side of Arc will have the retail space and it’s a little too early to know who will occupy it. There [will be] a restaurant at the base and a pharmacy. We try to get the right fit for the community.”

As for when units will go on sale, Tompa expects people will be able to start purchasing in late May or early June. The building will offer everything from studio suites to three-bedroom units.

“There’s a growing demand for three-bedroom units. Some people are coming from 200,000 sq. ft. houses and still want the extra space and other [residents] are families with children. We’re recognizing and accommodating that demand.”

Click on link to get more info on this new condo development. 

Source: Insauga.com by Ashley Newport on February 24, 2016

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5 Great Summer Parks in Mississauga

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining…can you feel it? Summer might actually be on its way (though, with the bitter cold Mother Nature teased us with last week, maybe I won’t hold my breath)! Regardless, you should get out. With winter finally over, Mississauga is in full bloom and if you take a closer look at some of the city’s parks, you’ll see why.

Mississauga is home to some of the most beautiful parks and if this at all shocks you, please put the TV remote down, grab your running shoes and take a walk down at least one of my top five.
5.) Take me out to the ball game!
The Mississauga Valleys is also a great way to get out there and have some fun. Not only are there a couple of nice trails to walk, but there also always seems to be a ball game going on and who doesn’t love watching some good ol’ fashioned baseball (after all, The Valley’s is home to the Mississauga Majorsbaseball team). Better yet- bring your own hot dogs and make a picnic with the barbecues the city has placed throughout the park. If things get to hot, there is also a small splash pad available to run through and cool off!


4.) Rattray Marsh
This hidden gem is in the heart of Clarkson with entrances to the trails in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. It’s so hidden that I felt like I was searching for freaking Narnia and everyone I asked for directions steered me wrong. However, when I finally did find the Rattray Marsh, it was so worth it. Never have I felt so much like I was back at my old home in Victoria, B.C., blanketed by this veil of nature. The plush, greenery of this forest trail made me feel like I was in another world, outside of Mississauga. Surrounded by nothing but trees, you really start to forget you’re still in the city!

Take a hike through this wooded wonderland; you won’t be disappointed.

3.) Lakefront Promenade Park 
Okay…so I’m not a kid anymore, but I’m still young at heart and this next place is a blast for the youngsters. Lake Promenade Park is a great place to bring the kids to cool off on a hot day. There’s a full splash pad waterpark that is sure to entertain your little monkeys on those hot summer days.

*Attention all Mom’s out there* -I know you work your asses off and trust me when you need a break, Lake Promenade (Waterworks) is a great place for your kids to burn some energy while you relax in the shade- you can thank me later.

Beside the splash pad is also a full park/play structure/sandbox…ahh splash pad then sandbox-every kids dream…

Take a little walk along the boardwalk and you will almost always find someone fishing, feeding the ducks, or sailing their miniature sailboats.

Listen for the sounds of the ice cream truck putting around the park as 9 times outta 10 there’s one lurking in the parking lot by the time you leave…smart little buggers.

2.)   Feed the Swans at J.C. Saddington Park
My next favourite spot in outdoorsy Mississauga is also along the Lakeshore (it must be the water). With fountains, ponds, wildlife, and an amazing view of Toronto across the lake, J.C. Saddington Park is a great place to go for a walk on a nice, sunny day. Find a nice zen zone on the big rocks by the water away from the crowds and you can literally feel yourself de-stress. Bring bread and you will become BFF’s with ducks here…just watch the geese, they get a little greedy. There is a paved trail for bikers, runners, rollerbladers, etc. Summer is almost here so strap on those rollerblades and get your workout on, because this is a great spot to do it! The water is right at your side, so there is also a nice breeze coming off the water at all times. This place is a little slice of heaven…

1.)   Lakeshore Harbor Front (Port Credit)
Walking the harbor front in old Port Credit always gives me this great nostalgic feeling. Maybe it’s because it has just been there forever but there is a feeling of comfort in seeing the old lighthouse; a staple in Port Credit.

Grab a latte from the corner Starbucks and take a little walk along the lake. Take a seat at one of the benches aside the water and just listen. I promise you that the sounds of the seagulls, the water, and the bustle of people will soothe you. It’s very calming. Our days are too fast paced so I love to come here to unwind and slow down.