50th Anniversary Air Canada Flight 621 Crash

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Sun​day, July 05, 2020
11:00 AM
Online​​​
Join the City of Brampton for an online ceremony to commemorate the tragic event, remember the lives lost and honour its legacy.

 
Memories and Condolences​​ Photo Wall​​
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​Timeline of events

On July 5, 1970, a devastating event occurred changing the lives of many. Air Canada Flight 621 left Montreal, Quebec at 7:17 am with 100 passengers and nine crew members on board. The flight was on route to Los Angeles, California with a stopover at what is now known as Toronto Pearson International Airport. As the airplane approached the airport, the right wing struck the ground during its descent. The pilot was able to pull up to 3,000 feet (900 m.) and fly north, away from the airport. At approximately 8:00 am, the engines on the wing exploded, the right wing fell away, and the airplane crashed to the ground in this former farm field in the village of Castlemore 6.2 miles (10 km) north of the airport. All 109 lives were lost.

In 2009, the land at 72 Degrey Drive was officially registered as an Air Canada Crash Site Cemetery to protect and honour the land where this tragedy occurred.

On July 4, 2013, Purple Lilac Park, named for the flowers that grew at this site before the crash occurred, was officially dedicated on the 43rd anniversary of the crash. The memorial section of the park includes a plaque listing the victim’s names and reads, in English and French: “In memory of passengers and crew of Flight 621 who lost their lives in this field on July 5, 1970”.

Lilac trees bloom at the memorial site and 109 pink polished granite markers are arranged in a mosaic on the path to symbolize each victim. They are placed in clusters to represent the family members on the plane together.​​​​​​​​

Today​

In honour of the 50th anniversary, the park where the crash occurred is officially being renamed to Purple Lilac Memorial Park. 

City of Brampton is in the process of designating the site as a cultural heritage resource under the Ontario Heritage Act.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Purple Lilac Memorial Park

In memory of the passengers and crew of Flight 621 who lost their lives in this field on July 5, 1970.

Passengers

Céline Fradette ​Adam
Pierre J. Adam
Gaétan Beaudin
Helene Bélanger
Jacques Bélanger
Jean Bélanger
Roland Bélanger
Rosanne Bélanger
Helen Benson
Leonard Benson
Mary Benson
Richard Benson
Lynn Ann Boosamra
Guy Boulanger
Dollie Bradshaw
Jeannine Chapdelaine
Joanne Chapdelaine
Mario Chapdelaine
Jean Maurice Charest
Devona Olivia Clarke
Francine Côté
Brigitte Rodrigue Des Marais
Gabriel Des Marais
Alice Dicaire
Gilles Dicaire
Linda Dicaire
Luc Dicaire
Marc Dicaire
Jacqueline Doré
Lewella Frances Earle
Linda Margaret Earle
Francesco Filippone
Linda Filippone
Marie Filippone
King Bun (Bernard) Gee
Madeleine Grenier

Diana Cicely Growse
Jane Isobel Growse
Roger Henry Growse
Karen E. Hamilton
R​onald Alvin Herrmann
Claude K. Holiday
Irene Marguerite Houston
Wesley Graham Houston
Vagn Aage Jakobsen
Gilles Labonté
Marie-Rose Desjardins Leclaire
Oscar Leclaire
Henri W. Leduc
Claudette Lepage
Claire Gagnon-Mailhiot
Gerald Bernard Mailhiot
Gustav A. Maitz
Karolina Fiedler Maitz
Winnie G. McKettrick
J. W. (Jack) McTague
Carla Medizza
Dolly Mohammed
Antonio C Molino
Michel Molino
Frederick Thompson Moore
Andrée Partridge
Carnis Ann Partridge
Cyril Wayne Partridge
Kenneth William Phillips
Rita Gagné-Poirier
Gilles Raymond
Martial Raymond
Aline Legault Robert
Georges Étienne Robert
Lionel Robidoux
Marci Silverberg
Merle Silverberg
Steven Phillip Silverberg

Istvan Simon
Mark Woodrow Simon

Dwight L. Smith
Glenn Thomas Steppings
Blanche St-Laurent
Celia Sultan
Jerald Mark Sultan
Robert Lowell Sultan
Borys Szpakowicz​
Serge A. Szpakowicz
Carmen M. M. Tielens
Frederik A. J. Tielens
Athanasia Tournovits
George Tournovits
Carla Weinberg
Rita Weinberg
​Wendy Weinberg
Jennie Cavell Whittingham
John Reginald Whittingham
Reginald Whittingham
Mary Baker Whybro
Edgar Bradley Witmer
Man Sing Wong
Ngar Quon Wong
Suzie Wong
Dallas James Woodard

Air Canada Crew

Robert J. Cédilot
Peter Cameron Hamilton
H Gordon Hill
Donald Rowland
M. T. Ginette Bertrand
Yolande M. C. Daoust
Suzanne M. Dion
Denise Goulet
Gundi Wieczorek

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Share your memories and condolences

We invite you to share your memories of loved ones and times gone by and to also express your condolences to the families.​​​​​​​​

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Privacy Statement

The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Municipal Act S.O. 2001, c.25. The information will be used to administer the Air Canada Flight 621 Crash Online Book of Memories and Condolences. Questions about the collection and use of personal information should be directed to the Protocol Office at protocol@brampton.ca

Online Book of Memories and Condolences

Having migrated to Canada much later, I only found out about Flight 621 after I moved to the Castlemore area and discovered the memorial site. That must have been a tragic day. May the souls of all the departed continue to rest in peace. - Emeka Okoli
My heartfelt condolences to the families whonlost their loved ones. - Charlz Paul 
I was 10 years old in 1970. My family lived on a sheep farm in Castlemore at what was called 7th line, 10th sideroad at the time. It was my job that Sunday morning, 50 years ago, to let the sheep out of the barn to graze in the fields of my father's 100 acre farm. After letting the sheep into the fields, I remember coming back around the barn and hearing a rumble in the skies above. I saw a plane above that looked like it was shooting off fireworks. My 10 year old brain figured that it was a plane from the United States celebrating the 4th of July but a day later since we were in Canada. That is why the date of July 5th always sticks in my brain. The plane seemed to hover for a few minutes & then quickly descend over to what was called 8th line at the time. Then I saw a huge explosion as the plane crashed. After that moment, all I saw were lots and lots of cars driving towards the crash site. Again my 10 year brain could not register the enormity of what had just happened. Today at 60 I can only imagine the feelings of loss the families of the crash victims had. And because it was 1970, the farming community of Castlemore just picked themselves up and just kept going. I am pleased that there is a memorial garden site honouring the victims of Air Canada Flight 621. This was a long time coming. I have visited the site a few times. It is great to finally see acknowledgment of this tragic event 50 years ago. - Carol Genova, nearby farm redsident 
I was hired by Air Canada as a groundhostess in 1966 and was working at Pearson Airport at the time of the crash.We were all in deep shock upon hearing of this devastating accident. My fiance was inbound from Vancouver on flight 802 as 1st officer. I tell you he received the biggest hug ever when they landed. I will never forget this tragic event and all the lives that were lost. Life can be taken away in an instant,let us treasure the times we have with our loved ones. My condolences with all those who are still mourning. - Gerdina Snoek Olson 
We are sad within our memories. Lonely are our hearts today; We are sad within our memories. Lonely are our hearts today; For the ones we loved so dearly, have forever been called away. We think of those in silence. No eye may see us weep; But many silent tears are shed. When others are asleep. For the ones we loved so dearly, have forever been called away. We think of those in silence. No eye may see us weep; But many silent tears are shed. When others are asleep. - Kim, Edmonton , AB
It's a tragic day that I'll never forget. Still very vivid in my mind. It was my first day of a summer job at Toronto International Airport. I was driving a tractor across the ramp hauling a baggage cart when this horrific accident happened. God bless all those who perished and my deepest condolences to all the families they left behind. - David Honigsberg 
Thank you for the online ceremony to commemorate the tragic event related to the Flight 621. I went, physically, more than once to that park, to pay my respect and to pray for the victims. Everything is very touching and well done. Thank you. - Camille Sundue
I was 6 years old. We were at the airport to send my older sister off to visit friends in Chicago. Her flight took off shortly after the plane went down and she flew over the wreckage. The rest of us watched from the outside deck of the airport. The image of that plane going down will be with me forever. I remember some of the chaos afterwards in the airport but then the next thing I remember is standing at the foot of my driveway later that morning on that beautiful day and telling the other neighbourhood kids what I had just seen. I’ll never forget. - Jennifer Rodman 
I was 21 and living near Pearson Airport when this tragedy occurred. I still remember waking up on that beautiful sunny July morning only to hear about the loss of the passengers and crew of Flight 621, many on their way to a holiday in LA. I refused to forget those victims and their families even though it seemed to me that the airline and local government officials for many years hoped that the public would forget. I am now a resident of Brampton. I wholeheartedly support the role the City took on in creating and maintaining the memorial. I visited the site with my daughter so as to pass the memories of those lives on to her. My condolences and sympathies to all of those who lost loved ones that day. Their memories live on. - James Pratt 
As an Auxiliary Constable with the OPP from 1979 to 1990 out of Port Credit Detachment, I wish to remember those that lost their lives and to the First Responders that were at that large crash site. Members of our OPP Auxiliary Unit helped out regular OPP members at this crash scene. FYI, my former dentist in Mississauga, Ontario was involved in examining dead bodies from their dental charts at the Woodbridge Ice Rink. My dentist at the time gave an in-service lecture on how such processes work to our OPP Auxiliary Unit and was well received by all those in attendance that evening back in the 1980's. - Respectfully submitted by Bob Russell, Orillia, Ontario, Member of the OPPVA # 5 District 
To all who lost their lives that day which I remember like yesterday and especially Mr and Mrs Maitz, may they rest in peace. - Carol Ann Renaud Gauthier
For those who were lost on Flight 621 R.I.P. for those who lost loved ones on flight GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU.  - ​Scott Munro
I heard about the crash when I was in Yorkshire England with my girlfriend. Because it was a Sunday, both of us talked to our parents back here in Toronto and learned what had happened. It made such an impression on me being so far from home that I have never forgotten. Condolences to all who lost family members and friends that day 50 years ago. - Judy Robertson
My sincere thanks to Diarmuid and the City of Brampton for creating such a beautiful memorial. Everyone involved in designing and looking after "Purple Lilac" is to be commended. Pete was the love of my life and it is comforting to know that such an appropriate recognition of his life and the 108 others will be looked after in perpetuity by the City. Thank you from my heart. And thank you Malcolm for your kind words. - Carman (Hamilton) Curtis 
I was hired as a Stewardess in 1966. In July 1970 my route was from Montreal to Los Angeles. A friend called my husband that morning to see if I had flown to Los Angeles. I was struck with extreme sadness. I had flown with both Yolande Daoust and Suzanne Dion, both lovely ladies! The flight from Montreal to Toronto was not an easy one. They would have had to serve a hot breakfast, coffee/tea , by hand to 100 passengers, in under 60 minutes, with everything safely put away for landing. They died doing what they loved, being “of service” to so many. May they Rest In Peace. - Suzan Clendening 
Mon papa Martial Raymond était à bord. Je l'ai appris par mon amie qui m'a téléphoné car on étaient supposé aller se baigner. Air-Canada ne nous avait pas téléphoné car il y a eut une méprise sur son nom, un autre passager du nom de Gilles Raymond est monté à bord à la dernière minute et n'avait pas inscrit le nom de ce jeune homme sur la liste. Quand sa famille a mis Air-Canada au courant, ils ont rayé le nom de mon père, croyant que c'était la même personne. Imaginez, lors de nos premiers appels chez Air-Canada, ils nous on dit que papa n'était pas à bord. Nous l'avons su seulement en fin d'après-midi. De plus, il voulait partir le 4 juillet mais il n'y avait plus de place. C'était l'été de mes 16 ans...  ***My dad Martial Raymond was on board. I learned about it from my friend who called me because we were supposed to go swimming. Air-Canada did not call us because there was a mistake on his name, another passenger by the name of Gilles Raymond got on board at the last minute and had not put the name of this young man on the list . When his family informed Air-Canada, they crossed out my father's name, believing that it was the same person. Imagine, when we first called Air-Canada, they told us that Dad was not on board. We only knew about it in the late afternoon. In addition, he wanted to leave on July 4 but there was no room. It was the summer of my 16th year ...***​ - Lucie Raymond 
On behalf of Network of Nigerians in Canada, I express our profound condolence to the families of the deceased and indeed to all Canadians for this tragic loss. - Uche Okugo 
Always remembering my Dear Aunt Rita and Cousins Carla and Wendy ..... as well as my Uncle Saul whose spirit perished on that terrible day. - Mark Weinberg
Myself and my partner, were with Ontario Provincial Police, working dayshift on that fateful morning and were some of the first Officers on the scene. We were dispatched to a report of  a“small plane” gone down! Driving north of the Gore Road on that beautiful fresh morning, we had no idea about the total devastation we would soon be met with. This was no small plane! I remember clearly, that the only sounds we were met with, was the crying of the children in the farmhouse, only a mere few meters away from the crash site and the hiss of the fire, otherwise total silence. We worked the site on shifts each day for the next week. It was a scene and a task none of us who worked the site will ever forget. My deepest condolences to all those that lost family and friends in this crash. May all those that perished Rest In Peace. - Don Droy 
My condolences. We were stationed with the military in Downsview at this time. My husband was Military Police Forces and I remember well how they went directly to the site, to help.  They spent hous and it took quite a toll on them, as they returned home exhausted with frustration that nobody had been saved.  God be with everyone. - D. Huxtable
RIP - Mark
H. Gordon Hill was my father, and 2nd officer of that fateful flight. I was less than 2 months old at the time. I join you all in peace, love and tears as we are commemorating our collective loss. - Stephen M. Hill ​
My prayers and sympathies are with you. Thankful you can gather here, together, and feel a sense of connection to your loved one. - Kevin Kenny 
I do remember vividly. I lost friends. The memorial mass at the cathedral in Montreal was heartbreaking. Lots of love for those who remember and still fell the lost. - Jocelyne Goudreau Godin f/a 1967​
To all who were lost in that tragic accident, may you Rest In Peace. I’m aware of how hard Captain Hamilton tried the bring the plane back to a safe landing. My condolences to Carmen. - Malcolm Maclennan ​
I was eight years old at the time living in Toronto and although I was oblivious to what had happened, It was only years later that I learned later about this tragic event and those precious lives lost. The day before (which was Saturday July 4, 1970), my dad told me we were going to fly from Toronto to Nova Scotia the following week to visit my grandparents. Needless to say, I was very excited. My parents heard about the crash the next day and they were in disbelief. However, they didn't mention anything to me about the accident but now I understood why my mother was especially upset...our flight was with Air Canada on a DC-8 departing exactly a week later on Sunday July 12 with a gate departure of 8 a.m....and they had recycled the flight number for that route calling it AC 621 (which it still is to this day). - Alan Vincent ​
I remember this as though it was yesterday. I still have the newspaper articles on this tragedy. To those victims and their families, you are not nor ever will be forgotten. - Robert Sweeney 
So sorry to hear about this. They will never be forgotten. - Jas Rai
I remember a beautiful summer morning my husband and I and our two Children were heading to Albion Hills for the day when the bulletin came on the radio. God rest their souls😢 - Nellie MacIsaac ​
God bless the departed souls. Let the souls live in peace in heaven. - Shilpa Vashisht
I was supposed to be working that sunny Vancouver morning. Dad was supposed to be flying from Montreal to London, UK that day. But I had changed my shift and headed to Jericho Beach to join friends for Sunday sailing. And Dad had agreed to instead fly a plane to Toronto and then carry on to London. On that Beach a kind stranger approached me- a CALPA rep- told me of the accident, that dad was flying it and there were no survivors. It seemed impossible. As a pilot's daughter I knew accidents could happen but it didn't occur to me that they would happen to us. Dad, a senior pilot who loved his job. Funny, kind Dad. The years passed in silence about what had happened. Lost to time. And then came the call from Diarmuid with the memorial concept. At both events I met so many lovely families who told their stories. The silence was over. With great gratitude I continue to thank Diarmuid and the developers, the City and citizens of Brampton who care enough to honour our families. Lastly, Purple Lilacs is a most meaningful name. We had hedges of them around our home which dad tended. How very appropriate. - Janis Hamilton 
My condolences to all the victims' families, I golf in the area at Mayfield and often think of that tragic day!​ - Chris Brady
God rest their souls . They will never be forgotten. - Tony
Je me souviens encore de ce dimanche matin où nous déjeunions tranquillement en famille lorsque le téléphone a sonné. C'était quelqu un qui annonçait à ma mère ce qui venait d arriver concernant mon oncle Gilles Labonté. Elle m'a dit: "Occupe toi de ton frère et de ta soeur" et mes parents sont partis rejoindre ma tante, Pauline Labonté et mes cousins, cousine. Je sentais qu'il y avait quelque chose de grave. J'ai perdu mon oncle, ce jour là. Un homme bien,que l'on aimait tous, dans cette grande famille tissée serré. Repose toujours en paix. Sincères amitiés à Yves, Michel, Pierre et Caroline ainsi qu à leurs familles. ​ *** I still remember that Sunday morning when we had quiet family lunch when the phone rang. It was someone who announced to my mother what had just happened concerning my uncle Gilles Labonté. She said to me: "Take care of your brother and your sister" and my parents left to join my aunt, Pauline Labonté and my cousins, cousin. I felt there was something serious. I lost my uncle that day. A good man, whom we all loved, in this big tightly knit family. Always rest in peace. Sincere friendships to Yves, Michel, Pierre and Caroline and their families.*** - Manon Auclair
As a former crew member, my thoughts and heart go out to all. May they RIP 🌹 - Carole Davies
Que toutes ces Ames reposes en paix.  ***May all these Souls rest in peace*** - Luce Paradis.
I joined Air Canada as a stewardess in February 1965; yes I remember it was a very sad day.  My condolences to all the families of those who perished that day. Shirley Boyer.​
Condolences to the family and friends of the passengers and crew of Air Canada Flight 621 and the first responders who went to the crash site. Condolences too to the family whose farm where the plane crashed. I was a youngster of 12 when the tragedy happened and remember the shock that affected many. - Lorna McCluskey 
God bless the departed souls. Let the souls live in peace in heaven.​​​ - Borendra Sanyal ​
I am so grateful to everyone who has done something to ensure that all the victims of this tragic plane crash are remembered. Loss doesn’t happen and then unhappen. This horrific loss has had an impact for 50 years, and it will go on to have an impact for many years to come. Speaking for myself, but confident that others would agree, this tragedy left many people feeling shattered, traumatized, alone and confused. Family members, friends, communities, first responders . . . It totally destroyed my father, devastated our entire family, and left me with a lifetime of grief. Somehow I was able to make some really good choices and I am grateful to say that I’ve had a wonderful life, considering the challenges I was faced with after losing pretty much everything at age 13.  Thank you for remembering my mother Rita, my sisters Carla and Wendy, and the other 106 victims of this horrific tragedy. For more about my story, please click on the link www.lovewhatmatters.com/my-mom-was-rita-my-sisters-were-carla-and-wendy-i-wasnt-on-the-plane-my-father-got-the-phone-call-woman-and-and-husband-overcome-grief-together-we-chose-to-live/​ - Lynda Weinberg Fishman
My deepest condolences to all the innocent people who lost their lives, also to their families, RIP. - Robert Gaggero
RIP to all and condolences to their families. Especially MT Ginette Bertrand. l was on my way to a horse show, l was only 15 years old and this happened only about 5 miles from where we were driving. It was life changing. A special call out to JP my dear friend as Ginette is his sister. My thoughts are always with you. - ​Wendy Green 
I have lived in Castlemore for over 30 years and have heard of this tragic event. We actually live about 5 minutes away from where this field holds the 109 souls. May you rest in peace. My condolences to all the family and friends of the passengers of Flight 621.  I am proud Brampton has honoured your lives with a beautiful memorial garden. - Mary Veneziano
 I was just 25 years old when my wife Celia and my two young children died in the crash. Celia grew up in Montreal. We first met during the summer of 1965 at a resort in the Catskills in upstate New York. We were married in Montreal in 1967. Celia moved to my home in Los Angeles after our honeymoon. In June 1970, when our second child was 5 months old, she flew to Montreal with the children to spend 10 days visiting her family. Their flight home to Los Angeles ended tragically when the plane crashed in a field outside Toronto. Fortunately for me, I met a wonderful, compassionate woman Sonya the following year and we were married in August 1971. We will celebrate our 50th anniversary next year. Together we have raised our wonderful children, Naomi 45, Seth 43 and Jeremy 34. I am now 75 years old, but the pain of losing my first family is always in my heart and soul. Sonya and I attended the 40th anniversary memorial in 2010 which was a very emotional experience for me. I am very pleased to see the beautiful memorial park and I am glad there will be a 50th anniversary commemoration this July 5th. My heart goes out to the other families who lost their loved ones that fateful day. -  ​Bruce Sultan
My condolences to all the families involved. I was 15 and living in Toronto when we heard about this tragedy. My heart and prayers go out to everyone. - Joe Giannotti
So sorry to hear about this. My condolences to their families; may they rest in peace. - Joe Ferreira
My deepest condolences to all the family and friends on flight 621 who lost their lives. I was a child of 10 and didn't understand how my friend Wendy Weinberg could be gone. The day before we were playing with our dolls in her backyard. It was a shock and a tragedy that I still feel to this day. I can't begin to imagine the suffering of the loved ones who were not on the plane. How do you go on, when your family and friends have been ripped from your world. I will always remember that terrible day on July 5 1970. I think my childhoood ended that day. I will always remember Rita (Mrs Weinberg), and Carla and Wendy with love and a great feeling of loss. I do think of them often, I will never forget them, and I cherish their memory. - ​Mona Gold Steinberg 
I was a young nurse then and just leaving my shift at the Hospital in Richmond Hill.  When the floors were called the nurses who had just finished their night shift were all told to report to the emergency dept. We all did, we learned after a long wait their would be no need for us. I remember going out to our vehicles to go home, we were stunned silent and some of us were crying. - Diane Hampton
Working at the snack bar at Highway 50 and 7 that day I was devastated by the people stocking up on snacks as they drove up to see the site. That ghoulish behavior has stayed with me all these years. My condolences to all those that suffered an inconsolable loss that day.​ - James Lee​​
My condolences to the victims and their families... I came to Canada in 1971 as a landed immigrant, with my wife and two children. I had visited Canada before, in 1966/67.  - Love, John ISH Ishmael
I was a class mate friend of Richard Benson “Ricky” at Greendale School in Pierrefonds Quebec. We were 9 years old at the time. I remember hearing of the crash and couldn’t understand how he could just be gone in an instant. I remember him telling me that his family was heading to Disney Land and how excited he was. I’ve never forgotten you Ricky and never will my old buddy. - Todd Morin
 
Such sadness :( RIP to all. - Daisy Marskell​
 
Tragic beyond words. - Joginder Singh ​
 
I was 9 years old at the time and remember quite vividly when this occurred. We were at our local swimming pool waiting for our swimming lesson to begin when a mother told us about her husband who was supposed to be on the plane but missed the flight. And she informed us of the plane crash. Such a tragic loss and my sincere condolences to the family and friends.​ - Bret Sheppard​
 
The parish community of St. Patrick's, Wildfield renews our prayers for the repose of the souls of the 109 passengers and crew who died in this tragedy. We also extend prayers of condolences, consolation, and healing to their families and friends. They are all remembered in our prayers every year on the anniversary, and will once again do so on this 50th anniversary; special prayers will be said at all our Sunday liturgies. We also pray for all first responders, emergency workers, and frontline workers - those who responded to the crash 50 years ago, and those who offer service for society today.​ - Rev. Vito Marziliano (Pastor, St. Patrick's Wildfield)
 
RIP To all who were lost on that horrific day. - Rosanna Broderick ​
 
My condolence to all the families left behind from the tragic loss of life. I am glad to see recognition of a permanent nature. I was a young Constable with only 16 months service when I was sent to work at this scene and was not prepared to witness what lay before me. RIP to all the victims. - Frank Bondi Provincial Constable (Retired)​
 
I stood at the second tee box of the golf course then known as Woodlands Golf Course and watched in horror as the plane tipped sideways, lost an engine and part of the wing. It tilted, nose almost straight down and headed into the crash site just north of the course. I can still visualize that sight. - ​Stuart Scheffer