Commemorating The Mississauga Miracle

Nov 10, 2004

November 10, 2004 marks the 25th anniversary of the Mississauga Train Derailment. This historical event, which resulted in the largest peacetime evacuation in Northern American history, has been dubbed by many as the "Mississauga Miracle."

The City of Mississauga commemorated the successful evacuation of the City and saluted the thousands of volunteers, emergency workers and residents that contributed with a special ceremony today in Council. Mississauga Fire Chief Garry Morden was in attendance as Council recognized the various people and agencies that helped make the "Mississauga Miracle".

"Still to this day I am very proud of how our citizens, our firefighters, police and countless volunteers and agencies managed through the potential danger of the situation," reminisced Mayor Hazel McCallion. "During the derailment, I saw first hand the dedication, competence and plain hard work of hundreds of people acting under tense and dangerous circumstances. Even now, public safety officials and students of emergencies continue to study our derailment as an example of how to deal with similar situations. Mississauga's experience has become a model of efficiency and courage for other municipalities in Canada and around the world."

On November 10, 1979, a Canadian Pacific (CP) train lost one of its wheels, resulting in the derailment of 24 cars carrying six dangerous ingredients - propane, caustic soda, styrene, toluene, fiberglass insulation and chlorine. The flammable liquids and vapours caused a massive explosion with flames reaching more than 1500 metres that could be seen 100 kms away.

Evacuations began two hours after the explosion and continued until more than 218,000 Mississauga residents were evacuated. Many residents were unable to return home for one week.

Although the fallout from derailment was substantial - displaced people, closed highways, massive traffic jams, abandoned animals - there were no lost lives or serious injuries. What could have been a disaster of enormous proportions became the "Mississauga Miracle."

According to Mississauga Fire Chief Garry Morden, "The derailment put Mississauga on the map because it instigated legislative change for the transportation of dangerous goods, providing the world with a shining example of efficient emergency planning."

If you would like more information about the Mississauga Train Derailment, please visit

The City of Mississauga is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2004. Mississauga is Canada's sixth largest city with a population of more than 680,000. With well-established infrastructure and state-of-the-art facilities, the City delivers quality municipal programs and services to its citizens. Mississauga is ranked as a top 100 employer and is recognized as Canada's safest city.


Related Links:
   Train Derailment - Information, Statistics & Timelines

Media Contact:
Pauline Stevenson
Public Affairs Consultant
Phone: 905-615-3200x5832

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