A Weekend of Family Adventure in Mississauga
Living in the GTA, I’ve always considered Mississauga to be “That city next door.” It’s a city that’s been thrown around as an afterthought, but not a place that we’ve ever thought to explore.
You see, my family travels a lot. Since my wife and I began our explorations around the world, I’ve visited over 45 countries. And in the 10 years since becoming parents, we’ve taken our kids on adventures in over 20. We’ve been chronicling these adventures and helping other parents experience their own on our blog, “Wandering Wagars,” for over 6-years.
But we’ve found that adventures close to home are just as incredible as those around the world. Nothing has helped us gain a better appreciation of experiences close to home than a year-and-a-half of not being able to leave the country.
In that style, a good friend and I started the website, “Ultimate Ontario,” which chronicles all of the incredible experiences found throughout the province. Starting this publication lit a fire under us to see as much of Ontario as possible. And in that light, we set our sights on Mississauga, intending to have the most incredible family weekend imaginable right next door.
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t prepared for how many incredible things there were to do in the city. And after a weekend of memorable adventures, I’ll be visiting Mississauga much more.
An Awesome Family Weekend In Mississauga
We arrived in Mississauga, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. After a week of heavy rain, the skies were a brilliant blue, and the clouds were like cotton candy in the sky.
We’re an outdoor-loving family, so our first stop was at Riverwood Conservancy. This sprawling 150-acre outdoor wonderland lies between Burnhamthorpe and HWY 403. This land is part of a charity designed to help educate visitors on environmental protection. It features stunning gardens, marshes, creeks, and trees standing for more than 350 years.
We could have easily spent the entire day hiking the trails and taking in the historical buildings of Riverwood Conservancy. They even have art programs and astronomy nights. But there was a lot of Mississauga to see, and we were just getting started.
Lunch At La Carnita
The hiking and exploring worked up our appetite. And there are few better places to find delicious food than at the exciting new Food District at Square One. Packed within this foodie-paradise is everything from pop-up coffee shops to stores filled with home cooking. But for us, the thrill of some of Mississauga’s best tacos was too much to pass up; So, we chowed down on some delicious eats from La Carnita.
The street-art-inspired interior offers the perfect complement to a menu packed with tacos, churros, and craft beer. And the colourful atmosphere makes it a super fun spot to eat for the whole family.
Since we were in Square One, we found a fun and exciting pop-up experience called “Sugar Rush” happening right there in the parking lot. We spent a few hours hopping through one exciting sugar-themed display after another. At the same time, brightly-dressed hosts threw candy at us from every direction.
Mississauga is home to a host of these pop-up experiences every year. So while Sugar Rush might not be happening during your visit, you can check out the Visit Mississauga website for all of the attractions happening when you do.
Reach To The Skies
When we visited Mississauga, we had no idea it was home to Canada’s largest rock climbing gym. But as soon as we knew, we had to go check out Hub Climbing Gym for ourselves.
As I mentioned earlier, we love the outdoors and staying active. So having the chance to do some bouldering, virtual reality climbing walls, and climb a 48-foot tall dragon was just too much to pass up.
The staff at Hub Climbing was phenomenal. They introduced us to their very cool “auto-belay” system that allows single climbers to join in the fun. They had bouldering and rock climbing for all ages and all skill levels. We had so much fun that we returned the following weekend to celebrate our youngest son’s eighth birthday!
After building up an appetite while rock climbing, we made our way back to Square One, where we had witnessed an incredible selection of food trucks serving all sorts of goodies.
It turns out that we timed our visit perfect for taking in Night Market T.O., a pop-up food truck experience complete with live entertainment and more food options than you can count.
It was divide and conquer time for our family as we split up to hit as many food trucks as possible. We feasted on everything from butter chicken poutine to short ribs and much more.
It was a great spot to enjoy the cool night air with a great view of the Marilyn Monroe buildings, which my kids have dubbed the “Ketchup and Mustard buildings” since they resemble their favourite condiment bottles.
After a long day exploring Mississauga, we made our way to one of the city’s top hotels. The Hilton Mississauga Meadowvale is a family-friendly hotel with one of the best waterslides in town.
We had time for a fantastic sleep, a great breakfast, and some fun in the pool before it was time to continue our Mississauga adventures.
Paddling the Credit
The following morning, we woke up excited to take in more of what Mississauga offers for adventurous families. Our first stop was at Port Credit Adventure Rentals, a relatively new small business in Port Credit offering water-focused rentals for adventures on Lake Ontario and the Credit River. You’ll find everything here, from canoes and kayaks to jet skis and stand-up paddleboards.
We picked up our paddleboards bright and early so we would have lots of time to explore the waters of the Credit River. It’s easy to access the marina in downtown Port Credit at the mouth of the river. There’s even free parking on-site to handle all the water lovers who come to the city.
The river has an easy current heading towards the lake, so paddling upstream is a great way to see the beautiful sights and plethora of birds and save the easy paddling for the way back down.
In Port Credit, there is, perhaps, no better patio than at Snug Harbour Restaurant, which sits on the pier at the mouth of the Credit River. It made for the perfect spot to fuel up after exploring the waterfront and paddling the Credit.
Snug Harbour Restaurant serves up some of the freshest fish and chips and the city. They also have mouthwatering salmon served with fresh veggies along with fantastic views of the marina to watch the boats coming and going.
We wanted to end our weekend in Mississauga like we had begun, exploring the unique outdoor experiences found throughout the city. And there was no better place to do this than at Rattray Marsh Conservation Area.
Access to the area is via the waterfront trail from Jack Darling Memorial Park. The Conservation Area features a fantastic collection of trails and boardwalks. Make sure to follow the side trails off the boardwalk to find one of the best-hidden beaches in all of Mississauga.
We’ll Be Back In Mississauga
We were stunned by how much the “city next door” had to offer. Not only is Mississauga packed with incredible food and attractions, but it is an outdoor-lovers dream filled with parks, rivers, and adventurous experiences for even the most discerning family.
We can’t wait to get back to Mississauga and see what other gems we can uncover.
It’s nice to know your neighbour!