For as long as it’s been standing, Square One Shopping Centre has been a second home to thousands of GTA residents who cannot get enough of its stores, restaurants and recreational spaces. Now, the beloved shopping centre is becoming a gathering space for foodies.
The Food District, newly opened, is part of an ambitious $580 million renovation that saw the shopping centre welcome Uniqlo, Indigo and the Rec Room. It offers more than just trendy and delicious restaurants. The almost 40,000 sq. ft. space provides an elevated experience for foodies by offering fresh food, flowers, wine and cooking classes–right in the heart of one of Canada’s busiest shopping centres.
In fact, The Food District boasts more than 25 vendors.
“You can’t pass up Square One. It’s an amazing shopping centre and the restaurants they’re bringing to The Food District, it’s literally going to be unstoppable,” says Jenn Burko, owner of Bake Three-Fifty, a dessert hotspot in The Food District that’s been serving cookies, cupcakes and milkshakes since opening in April 2019.
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But while everyone knows Square One is a great place to shop, not everyone knows how special The Food District really is.
So without further adieu, here are four facts you didn’t know about the shopping centre’s new foodie mecca:
4) It Offers Fresh Foods
The Food District is full of quick-service and sit-down restaurants (think La Carnita, Blackjack BBQ, Sweet Jesus and Hale Coffee), but it also boasts exceptional vendors who specialize in fresh products that you can purchase and cook at your leisure. Shoppers who want to visit Mississauga’s very own version of the St. Lawrence Market can visit Brod for freshly-baked bread, Pier 87 for fresh fish, Secret Lands Farm for sheep’s milk dairy products and Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta for delicious to-go meals.
The Food District is also home to Sabana, which uses fresh Ontario cow’s milk to make Latin American cheeses such as queso fresco, queso Blanco, and queso cotija.
3) It Has a Perfect Wine Shop
You don’t have to drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake to sample incredible local wine. Whether you’re planning a dinner party or looking for the perfect bottle to share with your partner (or a small group of friends), the Wine Shop and Tasting Room has everything you need.
The shop serves wines from the Niagara Peninsula, so you can pick a bottle of red, white or rose from such award-winning wineries as Peller Estates, Trius Winery, Wayne Gretzky Estates, and Thirty Bench. You can enjoy some tastings before selecting the perfect vino–something you can’t do anywhere else in Square One.
2) It Has Fresh Flowers
If you’re picking up on the “fresh” theme here, you’re onto something! The Food District doesn’t only offer fresh pasta, fish and bread–it offers fresh flowers all year round (so you’ll always know where to go for Mother’s or Valentine’s Day).
Blossom Moments, which appears as soon as you enter The Food District from inside the shopping centre, is perfect for everything from a last-minute hostess gift to a little arrangement that will look gorgeous on your kitchen or coffee table. Blossom Moments prides itself on pairing fresh flowers with elegant wrapping and offers such beautiful flowers as peonies, ranunculuses, anemones, and garden roses. Some arrangements also come in vintage teacups, so Blossom Moments should be on your shopping list if you’re hosting a quaint afternoon tea or just like some European touches in your home.
1) It Offers Incredible Cooking Classes
Imagine sitting down to a heaping bowl of fettuccine ragu alla bolognese that’s hot, flavourful and cooked to perfection. Now, imagine that you were the one who made that incredible dish in the company of a fantastic chef and other fun-loving amateur home cooks. The Food District is home to the incredible District Kitchen, a spacious but cozy room that invites guests to gather around a hot stove and create everything from delectable pasta dishes to exquisite brunch staples.
During cooking classes, participants are given an apron and some perfectly-paired wine (if those participants are 19 or older, of course) and taught how to craft an incredible dish together. After the food is prepared, everyone can sit down and enjoy their culinary concoction together.
What cooking and crafting classes are coming up this summer? In August, The Food District will host a soldout Kids Create-a-Cake workshop by Sweet Jesus, a Grilling Fish 101 Class and Dinner with executive chef Jason Maw, a Wine & Design flower crown making class and more. Shoppers can also sign up for exclusive District Kitchen events to learn more about guest appearances, exclusive recipes and more.
For more info on classes, click here.
So, whether you need to pick up some steaks, grab some vino or learn how to use hot spices in your own cooking, The Food District has something for you.
Come visit sometime.
Once you do, you’ll most certainly be back.