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rampton ( or ) is a city in the Canadian province of Ontario. Situated in Southern Ontario, it is a suburban city in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and part of Peel Region. The city has a population of 593,638 as of the Canada 2016 Census. Brampton is Canada's ninth-most populous municipality, the seventy-seventh largest city in North America and the third most populous city in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region, behind Toronto and Mississauga.
Brampton was incorporated as a village in 1853, with a population of 50 residents, taking its name from the market town of Brampton, in Cumbria, England. In 1873, with 2,000 residents, Brampton was incorporated as a town. The city was once known as "The Flower Town of Canada", a title referring to its large greenhouse industry. Today, Brampton's major economic sectors include advanced manufacturing, retail administration, logistics, information, and communication technologies, food and beverage, life sciences, and business services. Mass immigration, notably from the Indian subcontinent, has greatly increased Brampton's population – from 10,000 in the 1950s to over 600,000 today.
Prior to the 1830s, most business in Chinguacousy Township took place at Martin Salisbury's tavern. One mile from the corner of Hurontario Street and the 5th Sideroad (now Main and Queen Streets in the centre of Brampton), William Buffy's tavern was the only significant building. At the time, the intersection was referred to as "Buffy's Corners". By 1834, John Elliott laid out the area in lots for sale, calling it "Brampton", which was soon adopted by others.
In 1853, a small agricultural fair was set up by the newly initiated County Agricultural Society of the County of Peel, and was held at the corner of Main and Queen streets. Grains, produce, roots, and dairy products were up for sale. Horses and cattle, along with other lesser livestock, were also sold at market. This agricultural fair eventually became the modern Brampton Fall Fair.
In that same year Brampton was incorporated as a village. In 1866, the town became the county seat and the location of the Peel County Courthouse which was built in 1865-66; a three-storey County jail was added at the rear in 1867.
Edward Dale, an immigrant from Dorking, England, established a flower nursery in Brampton shortly after his arrival in 1863. Dale's Nursery became the town's largest and most prominent employer, developed a flower grading system, and established a global export market for its products. The company chimney was a town landmark, until Brampton Town Council allowed it to be torn down in 1977. At its height, the company had 140 greenhouses, and was the largest cut flower business in North America, producing 20 million blooms and introducing numerous rose and orchid varietals and species to the market. It also spurred the development of other nurseries in the town. Forty-eight hothouse flower nurseries once did business in the town.
In January 1867, Peel County separated from the County of York, a union which had existed since 1851. By 1869, Brampton had a population of 1,800.
A federal grant had enabled the village to found its first public library in 1887, which included 360 volumes from the Mechanic's Institute (est 1858). In 1907, the library received a grant from the Carnegie Foundation, set up by United States steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, to build a new, expanded library; it serves several purposes, featuring the Brampton Library. The Carnegie libraries were built on the basis of communities coming up with matching funds and guaranteeing maintenance.
In 1902, Sir William J. Gage (owner of Gage Publishing, a publishing house specializing in school text books) purchased a 3.25 acres (1.3 hectares) part of the gardens and lawns of the Alder Lea estate (now called Alderlea) that had been built on Main Street by Kenneth Chisolm in 1867 to 1870. (Chisholm, a merchant and founding father of Brampton, had been the Town reeve, then warden of Peel County, then MPP for Brampton and eventually, Registrar of Peel County.) Sir William donated 1.7 acres (0.7 hectares) of the property to the town, with a specific condition that it be made into a park. Citizens donated $1,054 and the town used the funds to purchase extra land to ensure a larger park.
A group of regional farmers in Brampton had trouble getting insurance from city-based companies. After several meetings in Clairville Hall, they decided to found the County of Peel Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company. In 1955, when the company moved to its third and current location, 103 Queen Street West, it took the new name of Peel Mutual Insurance Company. It reigns as the longest-running company in modern Brampton. Harmsworth Decorating Centre was established in 1890, as Harmsworth and Son, operated out of the family's house on Queen Street West. The current location was purchased on September 1, 1904, after a fire destroyed their original store. Purchased for $1,400, the 24 Main Street South location is the longest-operating retail business in what is now Brampton.
In 1974, the two townships of Chinguacousy and Toronto Gore were incorporated into Brampton. The small pine added to the centre of the shield on the Brampton city flag represents Chinguacousy, honouring the Chippewa chief Shinguacose, "The Small Pine." After this merger, outlying communities such as Bramalea, Heart Lake and Professor's Lake, Snelgrove, Tullamore, and Mayfield, were developed.
In 1963, the town established The Flower Festival of Brampton, based on the Rose Festival of Portland, Oregon in the United States. It began to market itself as the Flower Town of Canada.
In a revival of this theme, on 24 June 2002, the City Council established the "Flower City Strategy", to promote a connection to its flower-growing heritage. The intention was to inspire design projects and community landscaping to beautify the city, adopt a sustainable environmental approach, and to protect its natural and cultural heritage. The Rose Theatre was named in keeping with this vision and is to serve as a cultural institution in the city. In addition, the city participates in the national Communities in Bloom competition as part of that strategy.
The Old Shoe Factory, located on 57 Mill Street North, once housed the Hewetson Shoe Company. It was listed as a historical property under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2008. Today it is occupied by various small businesses. The lobby and hallways retain details from 1907. Walls are decorated with pictures and artifacts of local Brampton history and old shoe making equipment.
A self-guided historical walking tour of downtown Brampton called "A Walk Through Time" is available at Brampton City Hall and online at no cost.
Planned as an innovative "new town", Bramalea was developed immediately east of the Town of Brampton in Chinguacousy Township. It was Canada's first satellite community developed by one of the country's largest real estate developers, Bramalea Limited. The name "Bramalea" was created by the farmer William Sheard, who combined "BRAM" from Brampton, "MAL" from Malton (then a neighbouring town which is now part of the city of Mississauga), and "LEA", an Old English word meaning meadow or grassland. He sold the land to Brampton Leasing (the former name of the developer) and built one of Bramalea's first houses on Dixie Road.
The community was developed according to its detailed master plan, which included provisions for a parkland trail system and a "downtown" to include essential services and a shopping centre. The downtown's centrepiece was the Civic Centre, built in 1972 to include the city hall and library. Directly across Team Canada Drive, a shopping centre named Bramalea City Centre was built. These developments were connected by a long tunnel, planned to provide protection from winter weather. But, the tunnel has long since been closed due to safety issues. Urbanists have also found that pedestrians at street level make for much livelier and safer streets. Other features included a police station, fire hall, bus terminal, and a collection of seniors' retirement homes.
Each phase of the new city was marked with progressing first letters of street names. Development started with the "A" section, with street names such as Argyle, Avondale, and Aloma. Developers then created a "B" section, "C" section, and so forth. Children on the boundaries of these divisions would regularly compete in street hockey games, pitting, for example, the "D" section versus the "E" section.
The community was initially developed with a large number of recreational facilities, including tennis courts, playgrounds, hockey/lacrosse rinks and swimming pools. An extensive parkland trail and sidewalk system connects the entire community.
In 1974, the Ontario provincial government decided to update Peel County's structure. It amalgamated several towns and villages into the new City of Mississauga. In addition, it created the present City of Brampton from the town and the greater portion of the Townships of Chinguacousy and Toronto Gore, and the northern extremity of Mississauga south of Steeles Avenue, including Bramalea and the other communities such as Churchville, Claireville, Ebenezer, Victoria, Springbrook, Coleraine, and Huttonville. While only Huttonville and Churchville still exist as identifiable communities, other names like Claireville are re-emerging as names of new developments.
The province converted Peel County into the Regional Municipality of Peel. Brampton retained its role as the administrative centre of Peel Region, which it already had as county seat. The regional council chamber, the Peel Regional Police force, the public health department, and the region's only major museum, the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives, are all located in Brampton.
This change had its critics among those with a strong sense of local identities. Bramptonians feared urban sprawl would dissolve their town's personality. Bramalea residents took pride in the built-from-scratch and organised structure that had come with their new city and did not want to give it up. Others in Bramalea accept they are part of Brampton, and they make up the tri-city area: Brampton, Heart Lake, Bramalea.
In 1972, Bramalea had built its civic centre. Two years later, when Brampton and Bramalea merged, the new city's council chambers and other facilities were installed in the Bramalea building. They were moved from Brampton's modest downtown locale. The library systems of Brampton and Bramalea were joined, resulting in a system of four locations.
Some have questioned the future of Peel Region as encompassing all of Brampton, Mississauga, and Caledon. The Mississauga council, led by Mayor Hazel McCallion, voted to become a single-tier municipality and asked the provincial government to be separated from Peel Region. They argued the city has outgrown the need for a regional layer of government, and that Mississauga is being held back by supporting Brampton and Caledon with its municipal taxes.
The early 1980s brought new residential development, as Brampton released large tracts of land to developers. In 1991, development of the large new suburban community of Springdale began. This area had its largest boom in 1999, when development started to appear as far north as the city's border with Caledon along Mayfield Road. The region designated this border as the line of demarcation for urban development until 2021, although development already began spilling north of Mayfield in the late 2010s. Part of the boundary between Brampton and Vaughan is also nearly completely urbanized.
In the early 1980s, Cineplex Odeon closed the Capitol Theatre in Brampton. The City bought the facility in 1981 under the leadership of councillor Diane Sutter. It adapted the former vaudeville venue and movie house as a performing arts theatre, to be used also as a live music venue. It was renamed the Heritage Theatre. Renovations and maintenance were expensive. In 1983, Toronto consultants Woods Gordon reported to the City that, rather than continue "pouring money" into the Heritage, they should construct a new 750-seat facility with up-to-date features. This recommendation was adopted, and the city designated the 2005/06 as the Heritage Theatre's "grand finale" season. The city funded construction of the new Rose Theatre, which opened in September 2006.
Carabram was founded in 1982, the result of volunteers from different ethnic communities wanting to organise a festival celebrating diversity and cross-cultural friendship. The name was loosely related to Toronto's Caravan Festival of Cultures. Carabram's first event featured Italian, Scots, Ukrainian, and West Indian pavilions. By 2003, the fair had 18 pavilions attracting 45,000 visitors. The national government of Canada had an anchor pavilion in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and for Carabram's 25th Anniversary in 2009.
Brampton has grown to become one of the most diverse cities in Canada. In 1996, the city was 13% South Asian and 8.2% Black. By 2016, the South Asian community grew exponentially to represent 44.3% of the city's population, while the Black population grew to 14%. Responding to a growing multi-cultural population, the Peel Board of Education introduced evening English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at high schools. Originally taught by volunteers, the classes eventually were scheduled as daytime courses taught by paid instructors. In the 1980s, the public and Catholic board expanded its languages programs, offering night classes in 23 languages. These were introduced due to requests by parents, who wanted their children to learn their ancestral languages and heritage.
In the early 1990s, Mayor Ken Whillans gained approval and funding for construction of a new city hall in Brampton's downtown. The facility was designed by local architects and constructed by Inzola Construction and built on the site of a former bus terminal. Whillians did not get to see the opening of the new hall because of his death in August of that same year. With the return of city government to downtown Brampton, politicians and businesses allied to revitalize the core.
Changes continue to reflect the growth of the city. In 1992 the City purchased the Brampton Fairgrounds, to be used for other development. The Agricultural Society relocated in 1997 outside the boundaries of the city to Heart Lake and Old School roads. In 1997 the Health Services Restructuring Commission (HSRC) decided to amalgamate Georgetown and District Memorial Hospital, Etobicoke General Hospital, and Peel Memorial Hospital as the William Osler Health Centre. It became what is now the province's 6th-largest hospital corporation.
Brampton's 2003 Sesquicentennial celebrations boosted community spirit, reviving the tradition of a summer parade (with 100 floats), and creating other initiatives. To commemorate the town's history, the city under Mayor Fennell reintroduced floral projects to the community. These have included more plantings around town, the revival in 2005 of the city Parade, and participation in the Canada Communities in Bloom project.
Brampton has a total land area of 265 square kilometres (102 sq mi). The City of Brampton is bordered by Highway 50 (Vaughan) to the East, Winston Churchill Boulevard (Halton Hills) to the West, Mayfield Road (Caledon) to the north (except for a small neighbourhood, Snelgrove, which is part of Brampton despite extending somewhat north of Mayfield Road) and the hydro corridor (Mississauga) to the south except at Finch Avenue (at this point, Finch Avenue serves as the border between the two cities).
Brampton features a continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) which is typical to much of Peel Region and the rest of the Greater Toronto Area.
Companies with headquarters in Brampton include Loblaw Companies Ltd. and Rogers Communications Inc., Chrysler Canada Brampton Assembly Plant, Maple Lodge Farms, Canadian Tire Corp, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Ltd., Gamma-Dynacare Medical Laboratories, and Olymel L.P, and formerly Zellers (offices and distribution).
The international companies of Brita, and Clorox have their Canadian national headquarters in the city. It is also the location of the Canadian Forces Army Reserve unit The Lorne Scots (Peel, Dufferin and Halton Regiment).
Other major companies operating in Brampton include CN Rail Brampton Intermodal Terminal, Best Buy, Amazon, Ford Nestlé, Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), Frito Lay Canada, MDA Space Missions, Goemans Appliances, and Parkinson Coach Line.
An automobile manufacturing facility was opened by American Motors (AMC) in 1960 as the Brampton Assembly Plant. In 1986, AMC developed a new, state-of-the-art operation at Bramalea. After AMC was acquired by Chrysler in 1987, AMC's Canadian division and its plants were absorbed; the older facility in Brampton closed in 1992. The newest factory was renamed Brampton Assembly; it is one of the city's largest employers, with almost 4,000 workers when running at capacity. Alstom has an assembly plant in Brampton to fulfill their contract with Metrolinx to build Alstom Citadis Spirit LRV cars for Finch West, , Hurontario and Eglinton LRT lines.
The Algoma University @ Brampton School of Business & Economics offers courses at Market Square Business Centre, 24 Queen Street East.  The closest universities to Brampton (offering a wider range of programs) include York University in north Toronto and University of Toronto Mississauga.
Along with that, Sheridan College, Davis campus is another major public higher education institution serving Brampton which also has campuses in Oakville and Mississauga. In 2017, Davis added the Skilled Trades Centre, for training in skilled trades and apprenticeship programs, previously offered in Oakville.
A plan by Ryerson University, in partnership with Sheridan College was to establish a new campus in Brampton with a goal of opening in 2022 with $90 million in funding offered by the provincial government in April 2018. On 23 October 2018 however, the new Provincial government (elected in June) withdrew the funding for plans such as this, effectively cancelling the project.
Two main school boards operate in Brampton: the Peel District School Board, which operates secular anglophone public schools, and Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, which operates Catholic anglophone public schools. Under the Peel District School Board, the secondary schools are Bramalea, Brampton Centennial, Central Peel, Chinguacousy, Fletcher's Meadow, Harold M. Brathwaite, Heart Lake, Louise Arbour, Mayfield, North Park, Judith Nyman, Sandalwood Heights, Turner Fenton, David Suzuki, Castlebrooke Secondary School, and Jean Augustine, one of the newest. A total of 85 elementary and middle schools feed these high schools in the city.
Under the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, the secondary schools are Cardinal Leger, Holy Name of Mary, Notre Dame, St. Augustine, St. Edmund Campion, St. Roch, St. Marguerite d'Youville, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Cardinal Ambrozic. A total of 44 Catholic elementary and middle schools feed these high schools in the city.
The Conseil scolaire Viamonde operates secular Francophone schools serving the area. The Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir operates Catholic Francophone schools serving the area.
Several cultural entities in the city operate under the umbrella of the Brampton Arts Council. Located in the city is the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA, formerly the Peel Heritage Complex), which is run by the Region of Peel.
The Rose Theatre (originally the Brampton Performing Arts Centre), opened in September 2006. The City had expected the facility to generate $2.7 million in economic activity the first year, growing to $19.8 million by the fifth year. The Rose Theatre far surpassed projections, attracting more than 137,000 patrons in its inaugural year, which exceeded its five-year goal. The arrival of so many new patrons downtown has stimulated the development of numerous new businesses nearby. A new Fountain Stage was unveiled in June 2008 at the nearby Garden Square.
Brampton has six library locations to serve its half-million residents. With a ratio of one library per more than 80,000 residents, it has the lowest library ratio among major Canadian cities.
The Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) in Brampton includes a museum, art gallery, and archives. Since opening in 1968, the art gallery section (previously known as the Art Gallery of Peel) has exhibited local, national, and international artists, both contemporary and historical from their permanent collection.
The City of Brampton's long-standing heritage conservation program was recognised with the 2011 Lieutenant Governor's Ontario Heritage Award for Community Leadership. In 2010 the City received an 'honourable mention' under the same provincial awards program.
Major shopping areas include Bramalea City Centre, Shoppers World, and "big box centre" Trinity Commons. The downtown area has some retail; the Centennial Mall and the Brampton Mall are also of note.
Brampton was one of the first areas where Rogers Cable offered its service. The city started a community access channel in the 1970s, which still operates. While some programs on the channel are produced in its Brampton studios, most are based in its Mississauga location. Christian specialty channel Vertical TV is based in Brampton.
The Brampton Guardian is the community's only newspaper. The city's first newspaper, The Daily Times, stopped circulation in the early 1980s. For a little over a year, The Brampton Bulletin attempted to challenge the Guardian, but it was dismantled after a series of editor changes.
Brampton is the official city of license for two radio stations, CIAO and CFNY. Both stations address their programming toward the entire Greater Toronto Area rather than exclusively to Brampton.