When we moved to Toronto from Vancouver in 1998, I hated Mississauga from first site. I was jobless the first few years, spent a year working downtown Toronto, another couple of years in Brampton and then back downtown for a few years. I fell in love with downtown, with Queen Street especially and I, in some ways, begrudgingly trudged back to Mississauga at the end of each day.
I’ve since fallen in love with being a mother, with spending time with my daughter, and when I made the decision to return to work, Toronto didn’t stand a chance. An extra three hours a day away from my daughter so I could do that ridiculous, exhausting commute (that I did without complaint a little over two years ago)? Absolutely not.
I started to appreciate Mississauga a bit more when I was home with Clara those 2+ years. The parks, and Lake Aquitaine especially. Those little pockets – villages – where time seems to have stood still. Then, in the past few weeks since I’ve started back to work, I’ve gone out on numerous site visits to various schools through out Mississauga and I’m suddenly seeing things through different eyes. Through the eyes of a parent, or a “writer” or simply a retired urbanite, I don’t know. But the cityscape is different to me all of a sudden. It’s more home.
This morning I took Clara out to do a bit of shopping. She happily cooperated while I shopped for shoes for her – summer sandals for the playground and a tall pair of black leather boots that are trendy in their resemblance of riding boots (yes, she’s only two, but I try my best to only dress Clara in styles I myself would wear and these I would. In fact, I commented to Clara that I was at least 20 before I had boots as nice as the ones she got today) for the fall. On clearance from last years season. Then she picked out a toy (a wooden alphabet puzzle) and then we had lunch and grabbed a few things at Costco. A nice morning with my favorite girl, and done within 15 minutes of the house.
This evening, Taylor and I returned to the same area, still only 15 minutes away and as we drive home along the quiet, dark country road, I gazed at the lights from a brightly lit baseball diamond that we passed and couldn’t help but think how, despite the sprawling flat geography and the staggering, overwhelming population growth, small Mississauga seems to me. Maybe because of how used to Toronto I got, or maybe, because for this small east coast town girl, it’s (finally) starting to feel like home.
Full disclosure: Not my photo.