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Significance of Malton
The number of achievements that Malton has made on its own accounts for a very large portion of what Canada's identity itself is made of. Malton is the home of the Lester B. Pearson Airport, the Avro Arrow, the Lancaster Bomber, and the Grand Trunk Railway! By these, Malton has proved Canada's ability to create the most powerful machine in the world, its helping hand to other countries when they are in trouble, and its independence when developing. Though it is a part of Mississauga, it stands out so much that it brings one to the fact that the people of Malton say they are from Malton instead of Mississauga! This is because it has all the conveniences and necessities as any other large city-so why not differentiate it? It's historic sites and housing gives Malton a unique appearance from the rest of Mississauga as well. Malton consists of many important events, historical facts, different cultures and backgrounds, and many sites which one can gain a lot of knowledge from. It is predicted that Malton will soon become a smaller version of downtown because of its great importance to Canada.
Background for Malton
The land that the village of Malton lies on was bought for 8,500 pounds in 1818 from the Mississauga Indians. This "Second Mississauga Purchase" consisted of the newly produced townships of Albion, Caledon, Chinguacousy, Toronto, Gore, and the northern portion of Toronto Township.
It was in 1819 when the first settlers came from England and began to settle in Malton as farmers. They had cleared the land, built homes, and began their efforts to create farms. This small village was named in the late 1820's by Richard Halliday who was one of the first settlers, and a prestigious blacksmith and inkeeper, after his birthplace in Yorkshire, England. The region was dominated by the farmers' local lives, and the town remained a little agricultural service center until the celeritous urbanization of the 1940's and 1950's. The land of Malton was fertile and many farmers flourished by growing grain. Farm labour was difficult for these early pioneers and, although machines were introduced in the late 1800's, the farmers and employees continued to work manually until threshers and combine harvesters were introduced in the 1920's. Employees that worked on the farms were paid less than $200 once a year, with room and board supplied (Scully, 1981:11). In the meantime, the employees would trap muskrat in the creeks around Malton and sell the skins in Toronto to earn money for tobacco.
The building of the Grand Trunk Railway through Malton in 1854 ended the pioneer era. It changed Malton from a farm service village to the leading storage and marketing center for Peel County. The businesses that Malton consisted of in the 1850's were a general store, a cobbler, a small hotel, and a blacksmith. It had lost its chance to become the Peel County seat to Brampton in 1859. Malton was first chosen, but a second vote was taken due to protests from somewhere else in the county. Later on, Brampton constructed a court, jail, and poorhouse which attracted businesses to its county seat, and therefore Malton had lost its chances for further growth in the nineteenth century. By then, Malton's population had decreased to less than half of the level it reached at the peak of its growth.
The people of Malton had contributed greatly to the First World War. The village had nineteen men and the surrounding farm communities serve in the Canadian Expeditionary Force-unfortunately eight of the men were killed (Scully, 1981:38). The shortage of men available for seasonal work made the local farmers very busy. Women were even beginning to join semi-skilled labour forces, such as the Victory Aircraft Company in Malton. However, though these women knew they were good workers and felt independent, they were aware that their jobs would disappear once the men returned from war. From the social aspect, a special parade (Calithumpian Parade) that was held in the month of August disappeared after 1914 and was never revived. Despite the economic and hard times, Malton did not seem to have been hit hard by the Great Depression that struck Canada and the world in 1929.
Originally, the Toronto Officials and the Federal Department of Transport had decided that the city's airport would be built on Hanlan's Point on Toronto Island, and that the flat in Malton was just going to be a back-up emergency landing field. However, there was a quick need for an increasing number of airplanes due to the coming of WWII in Europe in 1937. Seeing that the Island Airport was too small, Malton had become the site for the new Trans-Canada Airlines (the forerunner of Air Canada). Due to the outbreak of war, it also became the base for the Commonwealth Air Training Plan where bombing practice by planes were held. It was seen that the logical location for the National Steel Car Company aircraft manufacturing plant would also be the airport. In 1942, it became a center for allied air production when the government took over it and renamed it Victory Aircraft Company. This company had a workforce of 10,000, all of whom the government had created a subdivision for called Victory Village (Dieterman, 2002:140). They assembled four-engine Lancaster bombers in 1945, which were considered the best heavy bombers in WWII because of their immense bay doors on the belly and their ability to be abused by the enemy and still come back to base. "Thus, Malton was transformed from a small farming community of 150 residents in the 1930's into a busy transportation, industrial, and military center with a population of 400 by 1950" (Dieterman, 2002:140).
In 1958, the Avro Arrow was built at Avro Canada at the Avro plant in Malton. It was first flown by Jan Zurakowski. The jetliner was the largest aircraft plant in the British Commonwealth and the world's first regional jet passenger plane. "A commercial jet aircraft, built in Canada, has smashed all American speed records for aircraft of that type by flying from Chicago to New York in 1 hr and 42 minutes. Besides hurtling at 459 miles per hour, the airliner set a new altitude record for transports. This should give our nation a good healthful kick in its placidity. The fact that our massive but underpopulated good neighbour to the north has a mechanical product that licks anything of ours is just what the doctor ordered for our overdeveloped ego" - Article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronical Jan 12th. 1951 (Floyd, 1997:1). In 1954, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker demanded the cancellation of the Avro Arrow. This resulted to workers being fired and moving away to the States to work on the American space programme, while others stayed and suffered financial problems until they found other jobs. The A.V. Roe Co. never recovered, and therefore it was sold to McDonnell-Douglas, of the United States. Today they are tearing down that very building in America.
Numerous events brought great changes to Malton which resulted it to be the well-advanced village of today. Some of the events were the introduction of the railroad in 1854, Malton's bid to become Peel County seat, the wars, and the auto age. It became a part of the City of Mississauga and as Ward five in 1974. Today it lies as an urban area with all the facilities and services as any other town. People today could never imagine it once being a pioneer village. Malton is a well-rounded village that consists of many cultures, backgrounds, and religions. This is mainly due to the nearby airport that allows immigrants to be accommodated right away. It is a small convenient village, where most of the places are walking distance. It has many historic sites from as early as the 1800's. Malton makes up an important part of Canada's identity which many people have yet to discover.
Bibliography for Malton
- Beaucham, Glen. "Avro Lancaster MX FM104." Toronto Aerospace Museum, Toronto, 2003. <http://www.lancasterfm104.com/history.html>.
- Dieterman, Frank A. Mississauga The First 10,000 Years. Toronto, ON: Mississauga Library System, 2002.
- Floyd, D. James C. "Introduction to the Jetliner." Arrow Recovery Inc. Canada, 2002. <http://www.avroarrow.org/JetlinderIntro.asp>.
- Scully, Angus, et al. The History of Malton. Mississauga, ON: Montrose Printing Co. Ltd. 1981.
- Skeoch, Alan. Mississauga Where the River Speaks. Mississauga, ON: Mississauga Library System, 2001.