A look back at the life of “Brampton Billy”, Ontario’s former premier

Published August 8, 2021 at 4:16 pm


Brampton has produced more than its fair share of celebrities, with some having worked in music, film, or even in provincial politics.

The next time you travel on the 410, think about how, without a man affectionately nicknamed “Brampton Billy”, it wouldn’t exist.

Who is “Brampton Billy” you ask?  

He is The Honourable William G. Davis, P.C., C.C., Q.C., MPP who represented Brampton, Peel, and North Peel at Queen’s Park for 26 years. He passed away at the age of 92 in his Brampton home on Sunday, August 8, 2021.

And of course, he was Premier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985.

  • The Honourable William Grenville “Bill” Davis – also lovingly known as “Brampton Billy” — was born in 1929. He grew up in Brampton and lived there up until his death.

  • Bill Davis’ father, A. Grenville Davis Q.C., was an eminent lawyer and Crown Attorney for Peel County. In 1916, he founded a local law firm, which is now called “Davis, Webb”.  Bill Davis’ son is a partner in the firm, the third generation of the family to work there.  

  • Bill Davis was appointed Minister of Education in 1962, and he helped to create Trent and Brock Universities as well as 22 community colleges. He also gets credit for the founding of the TVOntario (TVO) educational network in 1970!

  • In the early 1980s, as Premier of Ontario, Bill Davis played a pivotal role in the negotiations that “patriated” the Canadian Constitution including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

  • He has worked hard in support of the environment.  In the mid-1980s Mr. Davis served as Canada’s Special Envoy on Acid Rain.

  • Since 1986, Bill Davis has been a Companion of the Order of Canada. He was invested with the Order of Ontario in 1987.  In 2001 he was inducted as a Knight in l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur of France.

  • In 2000, the A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse opened on Hurontario Street, in Brampton.  It is named in honour of both Bill Davis and his father.

  • Even in the last few years of his life, Mr. Davis remained active in the community and educational issues.  He sat on the committee examining where to put a new university in Brampton a few years ago.


Photos and content courtesy of PAMA

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