5 top stories that made the headlines in Mississauga in 2023
Published December 31, 2023 at 12:40 pm
The past 12 months offered up a number of huge headlines in Mississauga.
From politics and crime — including one particular robbery story that reads like a Hollywood movie script and a political drama that played out between Mississauga and Brampton (and the provincial government) — to the tragic death of a Mississauga woman and the notable passing of a Mississauga icon, 2023 had its share of stories that caught the attention of the public in Mississauga.
Here are five of the top stories that unfolded in Mississauga in 2023:
After decades of fighting for political independence and the breakup of the Region of Peel, Mississauga finally got its wish back in May when the provincial government got the ball rolling on the dissolution of Peel.
In June, the move was made official with the passing at Queen’s Park of the Hazel McCallion Act, which stated Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon would go their separate ways as of Jan. 1, 2025.
The legislation was named for, of course, Mississauga’s former mayor Hazel McCallion, a political icon in Canada’s seventh-largest city and across the country. McCallion launched the effort for an independent Mississauga decades ago and fought for it right up until her death in January 2023.
But wait a minute. The story took a surprising turn when, just two weeks ago, Premier Doug Ford — who had made a deathbed promise to his friend, Hazel — and his government quickly backtracked on Peel dissolution and decided instead to keep all the municipal pieces together, seemingly caving to pressure brought about in large part by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown.
When Peel Regional Police first released details of a multi-vehicle crash on a June morning in the Malton area of Mississauga, it seemed not unlike any of the numerous other collisions that take place on the city’s roads every week.
Soon after, though, word came that a MiWay transit bus was not only involved in the crash, but that it had reportedly set the chain-reaction collision in motion and that eight vehicles in total were involved.
It certainly was not like the dozens of other multi-vehicle collisions that happen each week in Canada’s seventh-largest city.
Then came the tragic news that one person had died in the wreck. Not long after that, a name and a face — and the story of a beloved 50-year-old woman, mother and friend — emerged as people learned about the person who was killed while sitting in traffic on her way to work. The car driven by Sharron Williams, of Mississauga, was rear-ended by a MiWay bus that appeared to not even slow down before slamming into the much smaller car.
Williams was rushed to hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
In late October, police revealed that they had charged the MiWay driver with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death.
In a city that through more than four decades has grown accustomed to continuity at the top, in the mayor’s office, 2023 brought about major change.
Mayor Bonnie Crombie, who succeeded the iconic Hazel McCallion as top political figure in Mississauga in 2014, and who was supported by Hurricane Hazel in her quest for the post, decided less than one year into her third term to leave the city and take a shot at provincial politics.
Her bid for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party was successful, and Crombie, 63, bid an emotional farewell to city councillors, staff and Mississauga residents a few weeks ago.
In a story that grabbed international headlines and reads much like a Hollywood heist movie, thieves pulled off a brazen robbery of more than $20 million in gold — in addition to US$2 million in cash — from inside an Air Canada cargo warehouse at Pearson Airport in Mississauga back in April.
The precious cargo had arrived earlier that afternoon on an Air Canada flight from Switzerland.
By all appearances, the crooks’ trail has run cold as Peel Regional Police have yet to make any arrests. Police have remained tight-lipped about the investigation for the past eight months.
A number of security experts have theorized that the significant heist, perhaps the largest in Canadian history, was most likely an inside job.
Aside from the police investigation, Air Canada is facing a lawsuit from U.S.-based security services company Brink’s, which was responsible for the valuables and cash.
How can this not be the top story in Mississauga in 2023?
Love her or dislike her, or anything in between, there’s no denying the impact former mayor Hazel McCallion had on Mississauga and places far beyond in her decades of political life.
Known nationally and internationally as Hurricane Hazel, she was as active and pugnacious as ever in serving as mayor well into her 90s and could often be heard — both during her political service and in the years after — uttering her trademark phrase, “Do your homework.”
And after passing the mayoral torch to Bonnie Crombie in 2014, Hazel didn’t simply disappear from the scene. She remained active pretty much until her death in January 2023 as a member of a number of advisory boards in Mississauga and the GTA.
Fittingly, McCallion’s state funeral took place on Feb. 14, which would’ve been her 102nd birthdayinsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising