Mississauga’s newest park — a site of environmental protection and a place to ponder important values

The fenced-off site at 244 Matheson Blvd. West in Mississauga’s Britannia neighbourhood, is now a bit of a blight on the landscape.  But, soon, it will be both an important infrastructure protecting nearby residents from flooding and a park, named in honour of Mississauga’s Vietnamese community.

The site is now known as Matheson Pond and has been in development to become the city’s most important storm water infrastructure project to date. The infrastructure is expected to reduce the risk of flooding for properties adjacent to Cooksville Creek, which saw significant damage during the 2009 and 2013 rainstorms.

The pond will function like a reservoir, slowing down the flow of water and reducing the amount of sediment that ends up in the creek. Around the pond, the City had been planning to build Mississauga’s newest park— Park 317.

In the June 27 General Committee meeting and July 4 Mississauga council meeting, councillors approved the designated park site to be named Saigon Park.

The name was proposed by Mississauga’s Vietnamese community to honour the city of Saigon and ensure that current and future generations of Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese Mississauga residents learn about, understand and appreciate the significance of the name “Saigon.”

The city of Saigon (named Ho Chi Minh City under the country’s current communist government) —fell to communist forces during the horrific Vietnam war in 1975, and thousands of Vietnamese refugees who fled the city and settled in Mississauga see it as a symbol of freedom and democracy.

The Saigon Park is expected to be completed in early 2019 and will feature a one-kilometre fitness circuit, outdoor exercise equipment, a pier with lookout points, shade structures, picnic tables, seating, and a public art installation by local artist Ferruccio Sardella.

Visitors to Mississauga’s Saigon Park will not only appreciate the park’s natural beauty and awesome facilities, but more importantly, will be inspired to ponder the values represented by its name.