“I want all Bramptonians to know that your municipal government is committed to preserving the Air Canada Flight 621 crash site as a memorial to those that lost their lives in this most horrific tragedy. I’m pleased to report that the landowners, the City of Brampton and the families of the victims of this tragedy all agree that this hallowed ground is meant for a cemetery, not a housing development.
What happened in this East Brampton farmer’s field on July 5, 1970 will always be remembered as a sad part of our city’s history. However, it is my hope that by preserving this land and creating a beautiful memorial garden dedicated to the victims, we will succeed in tastefully and respectfully honouring them and their families.”
Mayor Susan Fennell
On the morning of July 5, 1970, an Air Canada DC-8 on its way to Los Angeles from Montreal tragically crashed in a field north of Toronto International Airport (what is now east Brampton) after an abortive attempt to land for a brief stopover in Toronto. The crash site is east of McVean Drive and south of Castlemore Road in the City of Brampton. The crash killed all 109 people aboard.
After a two-week recovery process and identification process, personal property was removed from the site. All recovered remains were either given private burials or were interred in a memorial plot at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in the City of Toronto.
Following the crash investigation, the fields were put back into agricultural production and they have continued to be cultivated since that time.
In January 20007, the City of Brampton received a development application (a Block Plan) from a landowner for a proposed housing development to be built in the area of Castlemore Road and McVean Drive. The development application included the 1970 crash site of Air Canada Flight 621.
As part of the development, the landowner, working with the Provincial Registrar of Cemeteries under the Cemeteries Act, outlined plans to establish a cemetery on a portion of the crash site as a memorial to the victims of this tragic event. City approval is not required to establish this cemetery.
The landowners’ group held an information meeting on September 30, 2008 to consult with the original farm community to explain their approach and obtain feedback on the plan for the proposed cemetery and memorial garden. The proposal was well received by those in attendance, which included one direct descendant of a victim. Overall the attendees were pleased that something was being done with the site that will also commemorate the event.
After thoroughly reviewing the development application and conducting the statutory public meetings, City staff presented a Report to Council on June 9, 2010 recommending that the City of Brampton approve the application; Council voted in favour of this recommendation.
At the request of the victims' relatives, on July 4, 2010, the landowners held a memorial ceremony at the site to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the crash, which was attended by relatives and others that were directly impacted by this tragic incident. Mayor Fennell delivered welcoming remarks on behalf of the City of Brampton.
With municipal approvals now in place, the crash site will be formally designated as a cemetery by the Government of Ontario. The landowners have indicated to the City of Brampton that they anticipate the Memorial Garden to be complete in 2012.