Toronto-Gore Township, now Castlemore inclusive.
But back then, in 1970, this was known as Toronto-Gore.
AND THIS is where Air Canada Flight 621 crashed.
195 holes, just like this one, throughout the crash arena in 2006 yielded 90 human bone fragments.
So on one hand, we have developers that want to build right here. On the other hand we have a field that has crash victim's bones STILL in it.
What is Solomon, or anyone, to do?
Enter, into the fray, the illustrious City of Brampton.
"Guys if you want to build there…you gotta clean up the field, put a cemetery at the crash point and build a monument."
And that is exactly what they are going to do—
So what the Office of the Coroner could not do, what Air Canada could not do…the City of Brampton will make happen. The right thing will now be done!
Everyone connected with the this amazing reversal, those staff and those elected members from the City of Brampton…we, the Friends of Flight 621, salute your noble efforts to finally, finally, bring closure to this tragedy, and more recently the on-going travesty of the unburied flight victim's human remains.
Although 109 people died here on July 5, 1970…in an area that is home to almost 8 million Canadians…indeed, one quarter the population of our entire country, that beloved Canada…yet, so few actually know about the horrific crash and the location of the nearby, but mysterious, former crash site.
How is that?
Fast forward to 2010…everyone will know where it is, and all will be able to visit.
But why is the 621 crash site off our present radar, folks?
Air Canada…and…their corporate damage control team.
Remember, the Flight 621 relatives were promised a memorial on site by Air Canada. Back in 1970.
Air Canada later gave them one instead at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in midtown Toronto. Sure, a lot of famous Canadians have been laid to rest there. A prime minister or two. Notable musicians. War heroes. Why even the victims of the SS Noronic were buried there. But that's Toronto's other disaster. And yet this setting just wasn't right for the 621 families.
Too far from the actual site of the air disaster.
Much, too far.
However, there was something about the closeness of the crash site to Air Canada's Toronto hub that bothered the uppers (upper management of Air Canada). Remember the "uppers" made incredible decisions back then. Like in Cincinnati when that Air Canada DC-9 burned to the ground, right there on the runway. And additional Air Canada passengers died way back in the mid-80s.
The all-consuming fire had only just been contained by the Cincinnati Fire Department, on what was left of the DC-9, when the Fire Department regulars were suddenly bewildered by events that began unfolding right before their eyes. An unidentified vehicle, that obviously received airport clearance (the power of those AC uppers extends far) drove right up, alongside the just extinguished DC-9 tail. Now, before the firefighting team could voice disapproval, out poured mystery folk who immediately and with much fervor started painting white over the famous Air Canada logo, so prominent on the tail, in the airline's livery back then.
Damage control. Protect the brand. Mobilize the peons. Send the order down!
"Get that logo off the tail! At all costs." Sound of a phone slamming.
There may even be a "protect the brand" chant, that only the "uppers" know.
So the placement of the Flight 621 memorial in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, where 55 passengers and crew were laid to rest, while generous back in 1970, was…remiss.
Except to those AC uppers.
And through the years…the "621" families were ALWAYS ANGRY about that betrayal.
That failed Air Canada promise. The 621 families I met, inevitably, referred to it.
But in 2010…that will all change.
By the executive order of the City of Brampton.
Uppers vs. One-Uppers.
And those families will be able to go the 621 crash site themselves. And Air Canada can't stop the process, or the new memorial this time. Or the Flight 621 cemetery containing the remaining bone fragments that will also be ushered into existence.
The City of Brampton has decided.
So in 2010, at the 40th anniversary of the crash…there will be a new memorial right alongside a new cemetery. Since thousands of small bone fragments of their loved ones are still there and will be entombed in the new cemetery.
Then family members will be able to visit.
And so too, others moved by the disaster, now so long ago.
Family members then, won't need me to show them where the worst event in their lives happened. Although I was always ready to do that when asked.
And they will go there, next year. Some even for the first time.
In droves the families will go. Officially.
For closure. For solidarity.
To join prayerfully, and mystically with their departed ones. To say by their visit, by their presence, by the anguish in their souls…that we had to come here…because here…is where you left us ~
And we never got over it. Know this.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Toronto-Gore Township, now Castlemore inclusive.