The park opened in the early 90s as a quiet place for contemplation right in the heart of the downtown core. It's an interesting juxtaposition to view the peaceful swirls of a rake in the Zen garden, with 40-story condo buildings looming in the background.
Once you learn to ignore the intrusive skyscrapers, the park is undeniably lovely. There's a pagoda-inspired pavilion, the aforementioned zen sand garden, two ponds with a wooden bridge spanning the larger one, all different types of trees and curious wildlife crossing paths with pedestrians (mostly geese, ducks, turtles and squirrels).
It's a welcome escape from the panoramic view I have of the mall every time I walk the dog. I've grown weary of the 50 mph traffic whizzing by our building, of the Tim Hortons and the movie theater right across the street. This park makes me feel like I'm not in a city - not even in Canada - but somewhere on the other side of the world.
Bobby and I first visited the park in the spring once all the snow had melted and it was warm enough to wear a sweater without a coat. Most of the trees were still stripped of their leaves but cherry blossoms were just beginning to bloom. It felt magical and has turned into one of my fondest memories of Mississauga.
I went back last week to see how the foliage had changed with the seasons. Now that summer has settled in, the park is bursting with green. I'm eager to go back once the leaves start turning to capture some of autumn's beauty, and also in the winter to see how much different the park looks.
Kariya is a combination of two Japanese words: kari, meaning wild goose, and ya, the number 8 (a lucky number in Japanese culture, representing prosperity and growth). The City of Mississauga designed a symbol combining these two ideas. The result is a figure eight that turns into a goose in flight. All around the park - on the posts of the pavilion and all along the bridge - this symbol can be seen, paying homage to Mississauga's sister city.