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Mississauga's hidden river walk (for the curious mind)

WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU? Quite the combo! A 7.3 kms WALK including Mississauga's architecture, nature, coffee and shopping!

I'm often asked how I decide on a walking circuit, and how I find all the urban gems. My recent experience, leading to this new stroll, illustrates the process.

While visiting a supplier in Mississauga (for my other job), I realized I was right next door to Square One Shopping Centre, which I hadn't visited in years. Opportunity.

First thing I saw as I approached the mall? A sign sure to warm the heart of any Quebec City girl: that of the Simons store (near Parking 8). It pays to pay attention to our surroundings. Awareness.

Pulling into Parking 8 not far from the Simons entrance, I saw that the spectacular Absolute World Absolute World condo towers, which I'd often noticed from the highway, overlooked the parking lot. My chance to get a closer look! Curiosity.

I immediately started looking for other nearby attractions on Google Map. Bingo! A trail along a promising creek was a mere 300m from the condos. All I had to do was finding out if Cooksville Creek was worth the detour. Research.

It turned into a cool 7.3 kms walk (easy to cut shorter) offering architecture, nature, shopping and... a good cup of coffee, of course!

Where to park?

There are many ways to approach this walk, depending on your mood. Parking is free at Square One and on most of the streets around the trail.

Want to start with a coffee or a bite to eat? Park at Square One's Parking 6 to access its Food District (launched in 2019), where you'll find the excellent Hale Coffee (which I first discovered in The Junction) and some 20 gourmet merchants.

Want to end your day bamboozling at Simons? Park in parking lot 8 near the Simons entrance. Established in Old Quebec in 1870, Maison Simons is a true Quebec City institution which waited until 1999 before opening new branches out of town, including Square One in 2016. Note that the shopping mall also boasts 350 stores.

Would rather get your nature fix first? There are three access points to the Cooksville Creek Trail on quiet streets where you can park for free. Two of them are on Rhonda Valley Street, but I prefer the access from Richard Jones Park (181 Wychchurch News), easy to find north of Dundas Street East from the street.

Absolute World

Since I wanted to do a little shopping in the «québécoise» shop on the way back from my walk, I drove to Parking 8 and walked straight to the foot of Absolute World, weaving my way through the vast parking lots nearby in 10 minutes. The futuristic buildings are at the corner of Hurontario St and Burnhamthorpe Rd E.

The two towers, 50 and 56 storeys respectively, were completed in 2012. The work of Chinese architect Ma Yansong of the MAD firm is a must-see, and very interesting to photograph up close.

Each floor is offset from the others. For the tallest tower, there's a single-degree offset from the 1st to the 10th and from the 52nd to the 56th, then a 3-degree offset from the 11th to the 25th and from the 40th to the 51st. The 26th to 39th floors are all shifted by 8 degrees. This gives the tower the evocative curves which have earned it the nickname "Marilyn Monroe".

In front of Absolute World are three giant horse sculptures created by Chilean Francisco Gazitua (also responsible for the beautiful downtown pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks near Front St W and Bathurst St.

Cooksville Creek Trail

Continuing on Burnhamthorpe, cross the lights at Absolute Ave. The entrance to the trail, 50 metres up Burnhamthorpe, is discreet but inviting. It immediately descends into a contrasting world bordered by a forest on our right and a small river on our left.

The Cooksville Creek Trail is paved and accessible, easy to walk all the way to Dundas St W, 2.5 kms further south. I usually like to create loop walks, but in this case, you'll have to retrace your steps on the way back, admiring nature from a different angle.

The trail is well mapped out on Google Map. You can't get lost. Keep to the left at the first fork in the road, and continue along the creek. You'll pass under the first bridge, where there's a good chance of seeing ducks.

Don't cross the first metal pedestrian crossing, which lies some 400m beyond the bridge. Continue on to reach the "headquarters" of the beautiful Mallard ducks.

Then cross the second pedestrian bridge you’ll find. Here, the waterway is restricted by a long canal, which the ducks seem to consider their own highway.

Further on, you’ll walk under an old viaduct offering one of the most picturesque scenes of urban nature I've seen in my explorations of the Greater Toronto Area.

Pass Richard Jones Park to reach Kirwin Ave. The second residence on the left of the path is worth the detour! Old jeep, helicopter cabin, horse-drawn carriage and lots of other odds and ends around the garage. The owner is obviously an original who loves his big toys!

The trail continues on the other side of Kirwin, reaching Dundas some 300 metres further on. Mental note to self: come back to try the Mango Mirchi Restaurant at 99 Dundas E, which serves authentic cuisine from Mangalore (a port city in India) and Goa.

Time to retrace your steps back to your starting point. If you walk west on Burnhamthorpe, you'll easily find Square One.

About Square One's Food District

The Food District is located on the Parking 6 side of Square One. It looks like a small village of local merchants. Among its 24 tenants are Torontonian favorites: Japanese cheesecakes from Uncle Tetsu, excellent coffee from Hale Coffee, decadent cones from Sweet Jesus, tacos from La Carnita…

There are also counters for tea, olive oil, éclairs au chocolat, Japanese pastries, pasta, sushi and soups. There's a central seating area to enjoy our take-outs, but some merchants also offer a few places to sit, such as Pier 87 Fish Mrkt & Grill. When I was visiting, they were offering a dozen Rockefeller oysters for under $11! Their $4 seasoned fries were remarkable for the price and made to order. Just saying.

This post is a complement to local author Nathalie Prézeau's walking guide: Toronto BEST Urban Strolls. You already own this book? Check Nathalie's WEEKLY WALKS calendar available on her site It's free, easily printable by season, and it includes page references which should help you enjoy urban walks year-round.

Toronto Best Urban Strolls is currently SOLD OUT (I'm considering an e-Book version for the coming year) but you can still get Toronto Street Art Strolls in Toronto’s major bookstores, on and or We also deliver or contact the author directly at to arrange for a pick up with a discount at 299 Booth Avenue, in Leslieville.


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