Located in the heart of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Kariya Park is one of the most tranquil spots in the city. This beautiful Japanese garden pays homage to Kariya City in Japan, Mississauga’s twin city. Located close to Square One, the biggest mall in the area, the Kariya Garden is located centrally in the city.
If you were to step foot in this quiet and peaceful park, you would not believe you were in the middle of such a noisy and busy place. From the outside, this beautiful Japanese garden seems to quickly disappear.
It is marked by the official opening of Kariya Park in July 1992, marking Mississauga and Kariya’s 11th year of continuing their relationship as twin cities. Canadian and Japanese planners collaborated on its design. It was important to the Mississauga city planners that the park would look and feel authentically Japanese. Rhythm, balance, and aesthetics are the hallmarks of the Japanese garden.
A plaque marking the friendship between these two cities can be seen upon entering the park. Close up, the collage depicts a portrait of Mississauga and Kariya citizens; however, from far away, it is a representation of the Kariya festival, Mando Matsuri.
A “Mando” is a huge, colourful paper lantern. Every year, people throughout the city pray to the God of Akiba Shrine for rain during the Mando. Mando’s bright, massive, and beautiful forms appear in the summer sky with stunning majesty. It is a majestic Japanese enigma that delights the senses and challenges the soul, a great Japanese garden.” Mississauga describes Kariya Park as “sensitive to aesthetics, rhythm, and balance.”
The Japanese-style Pavilion is one of the park’s highlights. It is split into two sections representing Mississauga and Kariya, and in the middle is a Friendship Bell.
Kariya City donated the Friendship Bell in 2001 in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the twin-city relationship. It was cast in Japan and donated to the city by the Japanese community. The bronze bell represents a friendship that will always exist between these two cities. Kariya City’s symbol appears on the bell as well as iris flowers. There is a wild goose (Kari) about to take flight as well as a figure eight (Ya), both symbolizing future development in the city. It’s no surprise that the city’s name is Kariya when you combine the two words (Kari and Ya).
Alternatively, Mississauga Park located in central Kariya pays tribute to several icons of Canadian culture, including a massive maple leaf art installation, eight rocks containing Native artifacts, and a bronze sculpture of a bear rowing a canoe.
There are more than a dozen species of plants in this park, including rhododendrons, pines, ginkgo trees, and sweetgums, but most notably there are cherry trees projected to bloom soon.