Bill Davis Day honours legacy of former Premier known as ‘Brampton Billy’

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Published July 10, 2024 at 2:43 pm

The city will pay tribute to community builder and former Premier William G. Davis, affectionately known as “Brampton Billy,” on what would have been his 95th birthday.

Mayor Patrick Brown made a proclamation on Wednesday naming July 30 as Bill Davis Day in honour of the late Ontario premier who  called Brampton home for more than 90 years.

Davis died in August 2021 and the city has commissioned a William G. Davis memorial as a tribute to the premier at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives, which is expected to be completed in the spring.

“Premier Bill Davis was not only a remarkable leader but also a mentor and a long-time friend to me,” said Brown in a statement. “His vision and leadership have profoundly shaped Brampton, Peel and Ontario.”

Davis’s career in politics began when he was first elected as an MPP for the Region of Peel in 1959 when he was 29 years old. He gained the nickname “Brampton Billy” and would often brag and boast about his hometown in speeches.

He was appointed to Premier John Robarts’ cabinet as Minister of Education in 1962 and established Ontario’s community college system and new public universities including Trent University and Brock University.

He became Ontario’s 18th Premier in 1971 and held the office until 1985.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown (left) sits with Premier WIlliam G. Davis (right)

Renderings of the new William G. Davis memorial. Credit: City of Brampton

Renderings of the new William G. Davis memorial. (Photo: City of Brampton)

Neil Davis, one of the late premier’s children, was at Brampton City Hall on Wednesday to hear the proclamation and said his father loved the City of Brampton.

“On behalf of all of the family, I want to say what an honour it is to be here to receive this proclamation as an acknowledgment of what he meant to this city, his province and his country. But also, what his country, his province and his beloved hometown meant to him,” Neil said of his late father.

The first-annual Bill Davis Day will be held in Brampton on July 30, and the city is encouraging residents who may not know about Bill’s legacy “to celebrate and reflect on the profound impact of Mr. Davis, whose vision and leadership continue to inspire.”

The former premier was awarded a Key to the City in 2019. To learn more about the former premier and his legacy in Brampton and Ontario visit www.Brampton.ca.

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