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Kariya Park – A little bit of Japan in the suburbs of Toronto

by Mary Chong
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kariya parkCalculated Traveller Kim recently wrote about finding adventure in your own neighbourhood when you can’t go travelling. Today I thought I’d share this little find in my neighbourhood of Mississauga — about a 30-minute drive from Toronto —- Kariya Park in Mississauga Ontario Canada.

I’ve never been to Japan. I came close once and spent 1.5 hours in Tokyo airport on a layover but all that I saw were the gift shops in the terminal. It’s always been my dream to go to Japan and perhaps see a geisha, some kabuki and eat some REAL Japanese food.

Updated: Finally made it to Japan in 2017 and it’s the most wonderful places in Asia.

Whenever I feel like “visiting” Japan on the cheap I head over to this little park in my city called Kariya Park.

Kariya Park named for Kariya City, Japan

Kariya park is named in honour of Mississauga’s sister city relationship with the City of Kariya in Japan and was officially opened in 1992 – it’s like a little peace and quiet amongst the condo towers and hustle of the city centre a short walk from Square One.

There are lots of nearby parks in Mississauga
– Jack Darling Memorial Park
– Rattray Marsh Conservation
– Lake Aquitaine Park

But Kariya Park gets my vote as being the most peaceful.

Truthfully, I never knew this little oasis of peace existed until a couple of years ago when I heard a friend talking about it. (shame on me I know)

Hubby and I often go for a nice stroll through the Japanese gardens and watch the ducks, koi fish and turtles in the pond. There is this nice pavilion area with a bronze bell as well as a seating area and zen sand garden. My favourite time of year to visit Kariya Park is in May when the cherry blossoms on the trees are in bloom and the mama ducks are out with their new-born chicks. But be warned this is probably the busiest time of year to visit with people everywhere you look in search of the perfect Instagram moment!

To complete our little journey to Japan, later after our stroll we go out for sushi and pretend we are the little boy and girl depicted in the statue. (wink)
There is a Korean/Japanese restaurant across from Kariya Drive.

Here are a few of the photos from our last visit to Kariya Park in Mississauga Ontario.

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It just goes to show you that with a little imagination you can travel somewhere in mind and spirit and use very little cash.

Get out there and explore your neighbourhood!

Tips for visiting Kariya Park

  • Kariya Park address is 3620 Kariya Drive, South of Burnhamthorpe Road.
  • There is no official “Kariya Park Parking Lot”. There is only street parking so, parking is a bit of a nightmare when it is really busy. Best to park at Square One and walk over.
  • Hours of operation are 7 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week.
  • Winter access may be limited as there is no snow/ice removal.
  • There is no entry fee.

Have you found any hidden gems in your backyard. Join the discussion and share your little oasis in your city with others…

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