Where to Live in Canada: Mississauga

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A Whole Messa Mississauga – Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Pakistanis and Polish all Call Mississauga Home

One of the cities that’s often overlooked by those looking to immigrate to Canada is Mississauga—and it’s understandable why.  After all, even though Mississauga is a Top 10 city in Canada in terms of population and development, it’s still located in the burgeoning province of Ontario which (in case you haven’t heard) has no shortage of world-renowned cities, with both Toronto and Ottawa located there.  Nevertheless, Mississauga is an excellent option for those looking to enjoy the amenities of one of Canada’s most populace provinces while immigrating to a decent-sized but not overwhelmingly-huge city.  While it may have gotten its start as a suburban offshoot of Toronto, it is now the sixth-most populous city-sized area in the nation.

What’s more, it has come to be home to some very distinct ethnic minorities, some of whom have some of their largest communities right here in Mississauga.   Here are four examples of such communities, which have immigrated, survived, and thrived in a city which truly is one of Ontario’s’ hidden gems.


India and Pakistan

Country of Birth Number Percentage of Immigrants
in Mississauga
India 54,140 14.45%
Pakistan 31,065 8.29%
Sri Lanka 10,140 2.71%
Bangladesh 1,985 0.53%

Now, as anyone with anyone with the most basic knowledge of the region will tell you, lumping these two nations together can be problematic, to say the least.  However, at least at the outskirt, we’re going to skip all the lovely little political complications which have plagued the Indian subcontinent for decades or even centuries and instead focus on the inspiring, largely peaceful mix which the two have found in parts of Canada such as the Pacific Coast, the greater Toronto Area and, yes, Mississauga.

Combined, Hindus and Muslims make up just more than 20% of the population in Mississauga, and while those faiths are very different, and the divide between the two may be seen in part in the rift between Indian and Pakistani-Canadians, the mere fact that tone in five Mississaugans belong to one of those faiths serves to illustrate the degree to which these minorities are represented within the municipality.

Mississauga also hosts specific festivals for Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs, including Muslim Fest and a Kahlsa Day celebration.  As such, if you yourself are one of the many millions of Muslims, Sikhs, or Hindus living in India and Pakistan and are looking for a change of venue while still being able to celebrate and embrace elements of your own culture, Mississauga could prove to be a good option, especially if for some reason Toronto seems too large or off-putting.



Sam Woo Restaurant in Mississauga By Whpq (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sam Woo BBQ, Mississauga by Whpq / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

As seen above, Mississauga is a city which is not just diverse, but extremely receptive to non-Western immigrants and values.  Its rising population of Chinese-Canadians is yet another testament to that fact.  With somewhere between 21,000 and 50,000 Chinese-Canadian immigrants living in the area, it’s one of the largest communities for that ethnic group in Canada.  More than 28,000 of those residents speak either Cantonese or one of the many different variants of China-born languages.  China is an extremely-diverse region linguistically, and that diversity is preserved in Mississauga’s vibrant Chinese-Canadian community.

Country of Birth Number Percentage of Immigrants
in Mississauga
China 21,460 5.73%
Vietnam 10,530 2.981%
Hong Kong 8,075 2.16%
South Korea 4,600 1.23%
Taiwan 2,065 0.55%

Generally speaking, when most people think of the greater Asian-Canadian community, they think of the Pacific Coast, and cities such as Vancouver in particular.  That being said, while Vancouver is one of the true jewels of the Pacific Northwest, and has been aided by a booming tech center, like its American counterparts Seattle and San Francisco, this has come with a noticeable spike in certain sectors which make up the overall cost of living.  As such, if you’re looking for a less-expensive area to attend college or get acquainted with the Canadian lifestyle, Mississauga could be just the place for you.



Country of Birth Number Percentage of Immigrants
in Mississauga
Philippines 30,810 8.23%

With more than 30,000 Filipinos calling Mississauga home, it’s one of the most active Filipino communities in Canada.  Nearly 20,000 of those Filipino-Canadians speak Tagalog, Pilipino, or Filipino, meaning that if you are looking to move to Canada, Mississauga provides you the opportunity to make a fresh start and still retain your old customs and, just as important, your language.  We sometimes take advantage of that little detail.  English is the dominant language of North America, Great Britain and Australia, among other places.  As such, we can sometimes take for granted the role that language plays in our cultural identity.

Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, Hemingway—they’re all part of a shared cultural fabric which we as English-speakers get to enjoy without giving it a second thought.  By contrast, speakers of a less widespread language, such as Filipino or Tagalog, will understand and perhaps better appreciate the preciousness of being able to immigrate somewhere and still have access to the same cultural codes which a shared language provides.

If you’re Filipino, Mississauga can afford you such an opportunity, all while allowing you to take part in the economic expansion of the Great White North.



Country of Birth Number Percentage of Immigrants
in Mississauga
Poland 23,875 6.37%
Croatia 3,845 1.03%
Ukraine 3,725 0.99%
Bosnia Herzegovina 2,870 0.77%
Russia 1,965 0.52%
Serbia 1,815 0.48%

It’s no coincidence that the regions making this list are those which experienced some kind of turmoil in the 20th century, and Poland is certainly no exception.  Between the local political and religious rivalries which have plagued the region for some time, Hitler’s invasion on September 1st, 1939, which is the most commonly-accepted date for the start of WWII, Stalin’s joining in the rape of the region, the establishment of Auschwitz and the horrific plight of Jews in the midst of the Holocaust, and Polish life under the control of the Soviet Union, it’s understandable why Polish immigrants left the home country in droves during the last century, with many of them settling in such cities as New York, Chicago, the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba and, yes, the city of Mississauga as well.  Ukrainians are perhaps the most visible Eastern European immigrant population in Canada, with an active and growing community in cities such as Winnipeg, but Poland is up there as well.  The Mississaugan Polish community is a strong one, and definitely one worth considering if you’re looking to escape what might well be some difficult times for Eastern Europe, what with the rising tension in Ukraine and other former Soviet states.

Move to Mississauga

The immigrant experience can be a challenging one.  That being said, the overall difficulty and alienating power of that challenge can be considerably lessened by picking somewhere that allows you to not just flourish economically, but do so while still retaining the cultural roots that made you and your family who you all are today.  Mississauga is a proud and diverse city, and whether you hail from Warsaw or West China, it’s well worth a look.

Country of Birth Number Percentage of Immigrants
in Mississauga
United Kingdom 13,065 3.49%
Portugal 12,855 3.43%
Jamaica 11,595 3.10%
Italy 9,445 2.52%
Guyana 7,725 2.06%
Egypt 7,045 1.88%
Trinidad and Tobago 6,685 1.78%
United States 5,370 1.43%
Iraq 5,320 1.42%
Colombia 3,440 0.92%
Romania 3,060 0.82
Germany 2,975 0.79%
Lebanon 2,905 0.78%
Iran 2,645 0.71%
Afganistan 2,405 0.55%
Nigeria 2,020 0.54%
Kenya 2,020 0.54%
Greece 1,435 0.38%
Peru 1,410 0.38%
South Africa 1,150 0.31%
Hungary 1,120 0.30%
Mexico 1,090 0.29%

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