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.
In honour of the 50th anniversary, the park where the crash occurred has officially been renamed to Purple Lilac Memorial Park.
The City of Brampton is in the process of designating the site as a cultural heritage resource under the Ontario Heritage Act.