Did you know Mississauga is the 6th largest municipality in Canada? Neither did I. But it goes to show this city just won't stop growing.
Anybody who lived here knows that there are actually a few things to do - if you have a car. If not, you better have a good playlist on your smart phone because you'll be waiting at the bus stop for a long time.
Regardless if you moved out of 'Sauga after high school, these landmarks and stereotypes are relevant as ever to everybody who was raised here.
So lets begin, shall we?
1. Square One is the centre of the universe
The beating heart of the city resides at this shopping centre. If you took the transit to school and work, you'd most likely have to take a stop at the central bus station attached to the mall. Sometimes a long stop, because you know, food and shopping.
2. Someone always has to drive
It's ridiculous how spread out Mississauga is. It's equally frustrating how ill-equipped the public transportation is. If you don't have a car by the time your 17, you're going to have a bad time.
3. All your friends' parents speak another language
Most of your friends have a different cultural makeup, and most of their parents, probably including yours, talk both English and something else.
You wind up knowing a few new phrases here and there, like a mash up of Vietnamese and Russian, or Lebanese and Ukrainian.
4. You've hung out in a Chapters
Whether you're off the Go-bus from York University and stalling to go home or waiting to catch a movie, sipping on a coffee and going through the aisles of books with your friends is typical. You've probably been that person huddled in a corner chilling out with your group pouring over tomes and magazines.
5. You shot up your friends at Laser Quest
You did not have a complete childhood if you didn't at least go to one birthday party at LQ. And for those who haven't been in a while, blasting your buddies with lasers hasn't lost it's charm. There are special events like the all night games between 10 pm to 2 a.m, and Iron Man missions for adults that are worth checking out. Seriously.
6. Taking the bus to Islington sucks
It's an arduous journey to party in Toronto. We've all been there, waiting for the long bus ride to the subway terminal so we ca ride the rocket downtown. The inevitably expensive taxi ride back to suburbia follows... at least the alcohol numbs the pain of forking up that much cash.
7. Using the shuttle to Wonderland doesn't suck
For once, some convenience! It's not that bad getting to Wonderland and back thanks to the shuttle buses leaving from Square One.
8. You ran into an old acquaintance at Failte Irish Pub
Probably the busiest bar in "downtown" Mississauga with live music and karaoke; everyone has had a drink there and made a mistake at least once. You probably ran into your ex in there too.
9. You've walked home... a lot
Taxis are expensive. We've all been there deep into the night with no real option other than sucking it up and walking home. Even if it takes a while. It's not like a bus is actually going to do it's job and be on time.
10. You can spend the whole day at the AMC
The developers were smart to build an entertainment complex around their movie theatres. It doesn't get more typical than hanging out at Demetres after the movie then going for a round of glow in the dark mini golf. Unless the alluring glow of the Dirty Martini attracts you like a moth to a flame. Watch out for the cougars.
11. Anywhere but UTM
Not to put down UofT Mississauga Campus, but you won't be having the party of a lifetime there. It has an amazing location beside one of the nicest parks (Erindale Park), but that about sums it up. Plus, it's a little too close to home.
12. You got your license early
There's nothing more liberating than driving. It makes everything so much easier! Just make sure you don't turn into the unofficial chauffeur for everyone else. It's a slippery slope.
13. The Go Train is the best ride ever
Albeit expensive, riding the go is comfortable. It's your best source of transportation to Exhibition to see a show and to Union to hit up King and Queen street. Too bad the last train home is around 1 am. Most of us never make it back that way on a Friday night (see point 6).
14. Your knowledge of Toronto ends at Bloor Street
For most 905'ers, there's no real reason to go north. Which is a shame because there's so much more to see than the downtown core. Unfortunately, our understanding of the city is limited as we're always on the clock to get home...somehow (see point 6).
15. You eat Krispy Kreme
Dangerously delicious, it is near impossible to eat just one doughnut. The most popular Krispy Kreme at Heartland is always a target for an emergency, artery plugging snack. It just so often happens you get that urge in the middle of something important...like a lecture, or work.
16. You're never too old to go to Playdium
After dark, Playdium is still bustling with people shooting dinosaurs, racing each other, and playing midway lane games. This time of year the go-kart tracks are roaring and the batting cages are pumping out baseballs. There's nothing to be embarrassed about, video games will always be cool.
17. You've partied at the Heartland Town Centre
After a few hours of outlet shopping, you and your buds hunker down at a Wild Wings or East Side Mario's for a wild Mississauga-style Friday night... Eating and drinking in a booth until closing time.
18. You're actually kind of proud of Celebration Square
They did a good job. Adding the stage, jumbo-tron, and pedestrian walkway was a classy move. It's awesome to have a picnic and watch soccer games, or to go skating in the winter. Yeah, face it, it is sorta all right.
19. You go to the festivals
City hall likes to party. Throughout the year there are various free festivals. We've all been to the Bread and Honey Festival in Streetsville, listened to jazz in Port Credit, or chowed down on some mean ribs during Ribfest. The weird thing is we tend to think it's lame, but end up going back again the next time.
20. You've been to the Drive-In
One of the best hidden gems is the 5 Drive-In. Not only is it an awesome throwback to the 50's, but there is little light pollution in the vicinity. No tall skyscrapers acting as an awkward backdrop to the silver screen. It's you and your date, the car, the movie, and the night sky.
21. Hurricane Hazel is the boss
After retiring recently at the youthful age of 93, ex-mayor Hazel McCallion has been a household name for a long time. Even if you don't agree with her politics, you have to admit it is impressive she's been running the show in Mississauga since the 70's. She makes Don Cherry look wimpy.
22. You disco danced at Scooter's Roller Place
Proud or not, you went there once and realized how dangerous a waxed floor is. Scooter's is a throwback to the 1970's where you get to roller blade in circles to disco music for several hours. Feel the fever!
It's a staple in Clarkson, right beside Mickey's Pizza where you can get the meanest deep dish pizza in town.
23. We're distinguished by villages
It's almost like Mississauga is divided by tribes. If asked where you're from, you probably don't simply reply, "I live in Mississauga".
You'd be from Erindale. That chick's from Lorne Park. Oh, watch out everyone, he's from Meadowvale.
24. You rode in a limo to the club
When you were in your teens and ready to hit up The Guvernment (RIP), you took a limo with all your friends. It was an exciting ride downtown. The latest top 10 blasted in the car as you sneakily pre-drank out of your hidden flask. Good thing you were all legal-aged drinkers.
25. You still throw house parties
The easiest way to get the group together is to stick them all in your basement. It's easy, it's cheap, and most of the time everyone stays over night.
26. Cabbing it home is an adventure
We've all been cramped in the backseat of a taxi with more people than the legal limit, splitting the cost to get home when someone gets hungry. So what do you do? Obviously ask the driver to stop at the McDonald's drive through for some early morning gluttony. Always remember to buy the guy some fries too.
27. You still live with your parents
Everyone who lives in Mississauga dreams of the day to move out somewhere else. That means there's no way you're putting money down on an apartment a 15 minute drive away from your old house. You're sitting on your savings until it's go-time. Frankly, it's a good idea. Kudos.
28. Mississauga is almost a hole, but you love it
The 905 is always on the cusp of being a boring old hole. Almost. There's just enough activities, restaurants, and events going on to keep the city alive. It's like you're about to complain about something, think it over, and go, "Eh, it's not that bad." That's why deep down, we love it here. It's a good place to grow up, and it always feels like home when you're visiting.