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Filmmaker Ethan Eng shares the under-the-radar spots that inspire him in his hometown.

A young explorer’s cinematic guide to Mississauga’s hidden gems

Filmmaker Ethan Eng shares the under-the-radar spots that inspire him in his hometown.

Eng grew up going to Gotham Central Comics and Collectibles, and it remains a favourite haunt.


The way Ethan Eng describes his hometown of Mississauga is poetic, cinematic even – which makes sense. The 22-year-old is a filmmaker, whose film Therapy Dogs showed at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2022, making him the youngest filmmaker the festival had ever hosted.

Therapy Dogs is about high school, restlessness and exploration, and Eng prides himself on being an explorer.

“I think there’s life everywhere. If you walk slowly, and you look around, you will find life breathing between the cracks,” he says. “Walking around Mississauga and actually exploring has made me aware of that.”

One of his favourite local spots is Gotham Central Comics and Collectibles. “This is a comic book shop that I grew up going to. I’d wait in line hours before it opened on Free Comic Book Day,” he says.

"It's like if Comic Con was a store," says Eng of his favourite comic book store in Mississauga.


The shop carries an incredible offering of new and retro comic books – everything from DC and Marvel comics to anime and manga and editions with covers exclusive to Gotham Central. Fans will also find figures and other collectible items, such as T-shirts. “It’s like if Comic Con was a store.”

Eng especially loves the store because of its atmosphere. “You’re not just a customer. It feels like a community,” he says.

He also loves exploring Dixie Park Centre. “I don’t think it gets enough recognition,” he says. The two-floor plaza is an Asian mall, with lots of small independent shops, selling everything from DVDs and phone accessories to toys and T-shirts.

But it’s the food court that really draws in the locals. There are dozens of spots to choose from, offering authentic Chinese, Filipino and Japanese dishes. Eng’s favourite is Lemongrass Kitchen, where his regular order is the beef rice noodles.

Some of Eng's favourite food in the city can be found in the food court of Dixie Park Centre.


“Once you walk in, you see that this mall hasn’t changed in years. It really feels like time has stayed still here. And it’s beautiful. There are potted plants everywhere, and on sunny days waves of light shine through,” he says. “It feels like you’re walking through a memory, and it reminds me of an Edward Yang movie from the nineties.”

Another local place he recommends for a meal is Pho Dau Bo, which serves “the definition of comfort food,” he says. The restaurant isn’t fancy, but you’re guaranteed a good meal, he adds.

Eng has been going to this restaurant with his family for as long as he can remember, “even before my family took me to a Swiss Chalet.” His go to order is number 318, pho with rare beef and rice noodles.

If you’re looking to spend time outdoors when the weather is warm, he recommends Fleetwood Park, next to Etobicoke Creek. Along with baseball diamonds and soccer fields, Eng loves the nearby walking trails.

“It’s not a linear path,” he says. “There are lots of trails to take, and what’s nice is that you’re always along the creek, and get that effect of a peaceful stream of water beside you.”

And when you’re looking for a little more excitement, Eng knows just the spot: Delta Bingo.

Here, bingo isn’t just a numbers game, it’s a competitive sport. “It’s so tense. That’s the thing you don’t expect – how serious it gets in that room,” he says.

On Saturday nights, you might find Eng getting competitive at popular gaming spot Delta Bingo.


Saturday night is the best time to visit, he says, but be prepared for a crowd. Players are seated at rows and rows of tables, and regulars play more than one game card at a time, so you’ll want to get a row of games and have your dabber ready.

“It’s the ultimate form of drama as you’re watching these numbers reveal themselves,” he says. Prepare to spend at least a couple hours there. He hasn’t yet got bingo himself, but he hasn’t let that stop him from trying.

Many of these spots Eng has found simply by walking around the city. “I’m just one of those people who like walking around and looking into windows,” he says. “If I see something interesting, I’ll look at what’s inside.”


Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Tourism Mississauga. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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