One of the largest mass evacuations in world history, one that happened 40 years ago, will be commemorated in Mississauga with a two exhibits in the weeks ahead.

It was November 10, 1979 when a train carrying chemicals and explosives derailed on Mavis. Rd. just north of Dundas St. in Mississauga. The resulting crash caused the chemicals to ignite and explode, rupturing a tank filled with chlorine. Fearing that a deadly cloud of the toxic chlorine could spread throughout the city, officials began the task of evacuating nearby residents from their homes. As concerns grew, the number of people evacuated grew to 240,000.

The exhibits explore the derailment and its immediate aftermath with the benefit of hindsight through the recollections of those who were closely involved in dealing with the disaster.

Items that will be featured include artefacts from the scene, images from different media and private sources, and a video compiling 50 oral histories provided by those who were at the scene and by people who were affected.

The first exhibit begins September 21 and runs through November 21 at Bradley House Museum, 1620 Orr Rd.  The second exhibit will run from October 29 to November 17 at The Grange, 1921 Dundas St. W.


( A Mississauga firefighter watches as a crane removes a tanker from the wrcckage of the train derailment. Photo from the Mississauga Library System)

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