Home News Mississauga mayoral candidates look ahead after… – Mississauga

Mississauga News

MISSISSAUGA — There was never a doubt in Mississauga mayoral candidate Steve Mahoney’s mind that the Ontario Liberals would win a majority government in the 41st provincial general election.

“Never in the least — I even predicted 59 seats,” he said of the June 12 results.

With the Progressive Conservatives at 27 seats and the NDP with 21 seats, Mahoney is satisfied that Premier-elect Kathleen Wynne will do as said in her victory speech and put through Mississauga South MPP Charles Sousa’s budget within the next 20 days.

Sousa, who won his third term last night, isn’t the only Liberal to be smiling in Mississauga and Brampton.

MPPs Bob Delaney (Mississauga Streetsville), Dipika Damerla (Mississauga East- Cooksville), Amrit Mangat (Mississauga-Brampton South), Harinder Takhar (Mississauga Erindale) and Vic Dhillon (Brampton West) all cleaned up for the Liberals.

In fact, the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh of Bramalea-Gore-Malton was the only candidate standing between the Liberals and a sweep of the two cities.

Given Wynne’s majority government, coupled with the overwhelming support in Mississauga, Mahoney said it should serve as an advantage to residents over the next four years.

“The fact that we have representatives from Mississauga inside the caucus, inside the cabinet, gives us a real strong possibility for having a great voice and Mississauga, I feel, will be listened to,” said Mahoney, who proudly wore red as an MP and MPP during his 35-year career of public service.

“I’m very optimistic going forward,” he said.

Noting that a number of voters were scared off by Tory Leader Tim Hudak’s proposed 100,000 cuts to the public sector, an endorsement from Mayor Hazel McCallion didn’t hurt Wynne’s cause either, he added.

Mississauga Mayoral candidate Bonnie Crombie issued a statement congratulating Wynne on forming a government and asked for the province to invest in the city’s infrastructure and transit.

“I urge the government of Ontario to make all-day, two-way frequent GO Train service a reality on the Milton line as soon as possible, as well as assist us in funding the Hurontario LRT, a project endorsed unanimously by City Council,” she wrote.

Given that revenue from developers is drying up, the city only generates money through property taxes and users fees, explained Mahoney. So, with user fees covering the costs to run various facilities, he said property tax is the only real revenue stream a city has to play with.

Aside from exploring private sector opportunities, cities are left to partner with the province to fund projects like new transit lines.

“We’ve got strong fiscal challenges in the city and we need a strong partner in Queen’s Park,” he said.

“I ask the Premier to maintain her commitment to investing in municipal infrastructure,” wrote Crombie, whose statement went on to ask the province to continue to offset the cost of social services and to address the social services funding gap that “puts Peel Region and Mississauga at a $365 million disadvantage each year in comparison to other municipalities.”

With voter turnout for this election inching up to 52 per cent across Ontario — as opposed to 49 per cent in 2011 — the spike hopefully serves as a bright spot for the upcoming municipal election on Oct. 27.

“I’m hoping that a better sign is that the first time in 36 years we actually have a race for mayor,” he said. “That might make a difference to the voter turnout.”



Mississauga-Brampton South had worst voter turnout in Ontario – Mississauga

Low voter turnout

Photo courtesy Elections Ontario

Voter turnout in Brampton was better than it was the last time there was a provincial election, still though, residents in one local riding managed the poorest participation rate in the province.

Brampton Guardian

BRAMPTON— Voter turnout in Brampton was better than it was for the last provincial election — except in one local riding, which managed the poorest participation rate in the province.

According to Elections Ontario numbers, Mississauga-Brampton South had the lowest voter turnout in province. At just 42.4 per cent, it was well below the provincial voting rate of 52.1 per cent.

Turnout in Brampton’s four ridings averaged 44.5 per cent.

The highest local participation rate in the June 12 election was Brampton-Springdale at 46.5 per cent, followed by Bramalea-Gore-Malton at 45.9 per cent and Brampton West at 43.3 per cent.

During the 2011 election, about 40 per cent of Brampton’s registered voters bothered to actually cast a ballot compared to about 49.2 per cent province-wide.

Despite drawing plenty of attention from the campaigning parties, which see Brampton as prime real estate in the 905-region, voter turnout has been weak in the last three elections.

In 2007 only about 43 per cent of the electorate voted, which was also below the province-wide turnout of 52.7 per cent.




New Liberal elected to Brampton-Springdale – Brampton Guardian

Brampton Guardian

BRAMPTON— Brampton-Springdale Liberal candidate Harinder Malhi is a new face on the provincial political scene, but she has spent the last three-and-a-half years sowing the seeds for this Ontario election night victory in Flowertown.

With a Liberal majority government projected, about an hour after the polls closed Thursday night Malhi was in front of cheering supporters at Satkar Palace Banquet Hall declaring victory for voters and Liberals.

“Thank you all. You are my backbone,” she said.

“We have a lot of work ahead. I’ve heard your concerns,” she said, adding the Liberal budget that couldn’t find political support at Queen’s Park a month ago would be passed in the next 20 days.

Malhi, who is the daughter of former long-time Brampton Liberal MP Gurbax Malhi, called out for her father before thanking family, friends and volunteers for their support.

The elder Malhi expressed his pride as a father and also confessed his daughter’s victory fulfills his “dream” to have a family member follow in his political footsteps.

The younger Malhi brought some community recognition to the table despite being new to the provincial stage. She has been a Peel District School Board trustee since 2010.

But the sudden move to provincial politics was still a big step up for the 33-year-old real estate agent.

Malhi was confident heading into election night, believing she had the support needed to keep the Brampton-Springdale seat in Liberal hands.

“The Liberal Party is the only party with a plan,” she insisted.

Kathleen’s Wynne’s vision for Ontario was easy to sell as she knocked on doors, according to Malhi, Progressive Conservative Party Leader Tim Hudak’s plan for the province was troubling to voters.

“People are sacred of what is going to happen with the economy,” she continued. “They’re scared of losing their job.”

After some prodding though, she admitted there was concern the New Democrats and their support from labour unions could end up splitting the Liberal vote and allow Hudak and the Tories to win.

Malhi reclaimed a seat that has belonged to the Liberal Party for the last 11 years. But it was regarded as up for grabs by all three major parties heading into the Thursday’s election after incumbent Liberal MPP and cabinet minister Linda Jeffrey vacated the seat to run in the Brampton mayoral race.

Progressive Conservative candidate Pam Hundal came into this race with more battle experience than her political foes.

She ran for the PC’s in Bramalea-Gore-Malton in 2007 and finished second— by more than 7,000 votes— to former Liberal MPP Kuldip Kular.

In 2011, she campaigned for the party again in Brampton-Springdale and finished second to Jeffrey by 2,909 votes.

The second defeat was stinging, but she had made obvious headway with voters. Also, Jeffrey’s margin of victory over Hundal was much slimmer than the lopsided win of more than 7,000 votes over former Liberal MPP turned Tory candidate Carman McClelland during the 2007 races.

The local lawyer remained publicly visible between campaigns— involving herself in hot-button community issues like the Peel Memorial Hospital redevelopment and Heart Lake highrise condo proposal.

Still, she ended up a distant third in the final tally Thursday night.

As the clock approached midnight, Hundal sat around a table at Chandni Banquet Hall with family. Most of her disappointed supporters had long since departed.

“I think the voters just did not connect with the (Conservative) platform that was offered,” Hundal said during a quiet moment. “There was a huge communication gap for sure.”

That communication breakdown only fuelled the fears of voters, she said, and ultimately turned them away from the Tory platform.

New Democratic Party candidate Gurpreet Dhillon was a political neophyte running for Ontario’s third party in a community that has elected just one New Democrat to Queen’s Park— and that milestone was in last the provincial election.

However, he finished second in the Brampton-Springdale race— receiving 3,247 more votes than Hundal.

Elections Ontario results showed Malhi winning with 16,848 votes, followed by Dhillon with 13,481 votes, then Hundal with 10,234, Green Party candidate Laila Zarrabi was fourth with 1,322 votes and Communist Party candidate Elizabeth Hill had 398 votes.

The voter turnout in the riding was 46.5 per cent— the highest in the city.

During the 2011 election, Jeffrey won the Brampton-Springdale seat with 15,663 votes. Hundal ended up second with 12,754 votes and New Democrat Mani Singh was the third place finisher with 5,378 ballots.


Liberal candidate Harinder Malhi wins Brampton-Springdale – Toronto Star

Brampton-Springdale will remain Liberal red, as Harinder Malhi held onto her party’s seat Thursday night.

“The Liberal brand is strong in Brampton-Springdale,” Malhi said, seemingly overwhelmed after walking into a raucous banquet hall surrounded by a crush of supporters moments after she was declared the victor.

“Where’s my dad?,” she asked, taking the stage minutes later. Gurbax Malhi, a former Liberal MP who held a nearby seat for 18 years, wasn’t far away, beaming at his daughter, soon to be a rookie MPP.

Asked what’s first on her agenda, Malhi said, “To get to Queen’s Park and pass that budget.” She said local priorities such as high car insurance rates, more healthcare services and education issues will also be at the top of her things to do list.

Brampton-Springdale became a wide open race when in March Linda Jeffrey resigned as the riding’s longtime MPP.

Three issues dominated the campaign in Brampton-Springdale as the country’s ninth largest city continues to experience growing pains due to explosive development: Sky-high auto-insurance rates in Brampton, partly driven by a high incidence of insurance fraud in the city; the desire for a stand-alone university campus to make post-secondary costs more manageable; jobs, after the recession’s big hit to Brampton’s huge manufacturing base that has seen a rise in unstable temporary work; and more health-care facilities in the rapidly growing area.

All three of Brampton-Springdale’s major candidates are Sikh. But unlike previous decades when the Liberal party had that community’s support largely because of the federal party’s friendly immigration policies, this huge demographic group (about 40 per cent of the riding’s residents in 2011 were south asian and about half of those were Sikhs) does not vote as a Liberal bloc any more (As Thursday’s election results suggest).

The PCs spoke to the fiscal conservatism that many Brampton-Springdale voters relate to, with promises of balanced budgets and tax cuts.

Gurpreet Dhillon and his NDP campaigned largely on the promise of jobs, not the type of precarious part-time work becoming more common in Brampton, but stable jobs in both the white and blue-collar sectors.

Harinder Malhi caught some flack for apparently riding on her father’s coattails, as Gurbax Malhi, the Liberal MP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton from 1993 until 2011, was busy campaigning for his daughter and appearing at events.

But her experience as a Peel District School Board Trustee for the last three years helped her carve out her own space in the heated race.


NDP and Liberal candidates hold seats in Bramalea-Gore-Malton and Brampton … – Toronto Star

  • Liberal MPP Vic Dhillon won a handy victory over his opponents in Brampton West.zoom

Key MPPs for both the NDP and the Liberals retained their seats in Bramalea-Gore-Malton and Brampton West on Thursday.

The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, despite a hard-fought battle with the Liberal’s Kuldip Kular, will once again sit in the legislature for Bramalea-Gore-Malton. Meanwhile Brampton West’s Vic Dhillon handily rode to victory.

The two ridings to the northwest of the GTA had some of the lowest voter turnout in the province last election, with less than 40 per cent of registered voters making it to the polls. Low turnout tends to benefit the incumbent.

Bramalea-Gore-Malton’s Singh, as the NDP justice critic, is seen as a bit of a rising star in the party. His election in 2011 came as a bit of a surprise, as no NDP candidate had served for the riding since it was created in 1999. Singh has made fairer insurance rates and protection against temporary employment agencies key parts of his platform.

Kular was looking to get his post back Thursday, but was unable to capitalize on the Liberal’s majority win. He served as Bramalea-Gore-Malton’s MPP from 2003 until 2011, when he was defeated by Singh by more than 2,000 votes. Kular largely took aim at the strict austerity measures proposed by PC leader Tim Hudak, including cutting thousands of public sector employees such as teachers.

Singh also faced Green candidate Pauline Thornham and PC candidate Harjit Jaswal.

Brampton West’s Dhillon has been a fixture for the Liberals since 2003 when he defeated Tony Clement — now the president of the federal treasury board — in the former riding of Brampton South. In the 2011 election, Dhillon took nearly 44 per cent of the vote.

Key issues in the heavily populated and diverse riding include job creation, the minimum wage and auto insurance rates.

Dhillon was challenged by Randeep Sandhu for the PC’s, Gugni Gill Panaich for the NDP and the Green Party’s Sayyeda Ebrahim.


Ontario’s tight race plays out in Brampton-Springdale – The Globe and Mail

Vandana Pawar smiled politely outside her home as the Progressive Conservative candidate in her Brampton-Springdale riding pitched her party platform to secure the family’s votes just two days before the provincial election.

After her husband promised their support for Pam Hundal, Ms. Pawar waited for the candidate to leave before expressing her disagreement with party leader Tim Hudak’s platform, saying: “I’m not going to vote PC.”

Globe and Mail Update Jun. 09 2014, 12:21 PM EDT

Their household isn’t the only place in Ontario where the Liberals and PCs are in a dead heat.

Brampton-Springdale, Liberal since 2003, is a microcosm of the race playing out across the province: In this riding, support for the Liberals is in jeopardy, with the Progressive Conservatives missing their chance to take the seat by 3,000 votes in 2011. The New Democrats received only about 15 per cent of the votes that year.

Candidates from each of the three major parties are working nearly 12-hour days, targeting homes and businesses to gather as much support as possible.

“We’re going to knock on every door on election day that we’ve IDed as our supporter and we’re going to make sure they get out and vote,” Ms. Hundal said.

NDP candidate Gurpreet Dhillon feels this time will be different for his party.

“We feel like we have a lot of momentum going on,” he said. “People are sick of corruption and the failures of the Liberals.”

The tall business analyst and father of two, sporting a pink turban and running shoes, jogged from house to house in a quiet neighbourhood as volunteers knocked on doors, checking who’s home to speak to the candidate.

Mrs. Pawar said it’s worth giving the NDP a chance at improving auto insurance rates and dropping emergency-room waiting times in Brampton.

“I was not really happy with the Liberals, with what they did with the gas plants,” she said. “NDP, I have heard good and bad things, but they haven’t [won] in our area so we don’t know how good it will do. I’m willing to try it out.”

But the union representing Canadian health-care workers is urging members to vote for the Liberals. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare opposes Mr. Hudak’s platform to downsize government, fearing job cuts and decreased wages affecting its members.

The union has endorsed candidates in each riding who are most likely to beat PC candidates, based on polls of its own members.

In Brampton-Springdale, where SEIU says it has a lot of members, about half a dozen joined Liberal candidate Harinder Malhi as she went door to door collecting support.

“Gurpreet is a great ally as well,” union president Sharleen Stewart said, “but it’s about stopping a big attack and a big threat.”

Ms. Stewart said she’s concerned NDP supporters will pull votes away from the Liberals, handing the riding to the PCs, something Ms. Malhi refused to address.

“We have been focused on our own campaign the whole time,” she said. “We’re going to continue to rally our supporters. We have the support in this riding.”

About 19 per cent of Brampton-Sprindale’s population is made up of Indian immigrants, and candidates for each of the three major parties are of South Asian descent, switching effortlessly from English to Punjabi to sell themselves to voters at the door.

But the riding had one of the lowest voter turnouts in the province in 2011, 41 per cent, making it a challenge to translate support at the door into action come election day.

Ms. Hundal, for her part, chatted for a long time in Punjabi with Amarjit Bola, trying to persuade the Brampton resident to cast her vote.

Ms. Bola said she wasn’t keeping up with the election but seriously considered voting for Ms. Hundal simply because the candidate had shown up at her door, and she would feel comfortable approaching her again for help once she was in office.

Follow us on Twitter: @GlobePolitics


Brampton blaze raises building code questions – CTV News

As investigators attempt to determine why a deadly fire spread so quickly through a Brampton townhouse development, they are looking into the possibility it was not constructed according to building code standards.

The fire broke out early Saturday morning, then quickly spread in the complex of homes on Ardglen Drive, near Kennedy Road South and Clarence Avenue. By the time it was doused, the fire had claimed the life of one child and left up to 100 people without homes.

Acting Division Chief Gary Jarrett told reporters that the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office has taken over the investigation.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” Jarrett said on Monday. “I can tell you that the roof is under examination. Why did the fire spread the way it did through this facility and… displace the entire building?”

The row of townhomes was originally built with a flat roof, before a peaked roof was installed on top later. That left an attic space, the original roof, and then a second roof. According to fire officials, the hollow area between the flat and peaked roofs made it difficult for firefighters to control the blaze from above.

Current building code dictates that firewalls must be built in to roofs to slow the spread of fires, but officials are unsure whether there were any firewalls in the hollow area between the roofs.

“The townhomes today, under building code, are required to have fire separations every so many units to stop this very thing from happening,” Jerrett said.

However, he was not sure how old the homes were. If they were built before the building code was updated, they would fall under previous legislation and would not be expected to uphold today’s structural standards.

The owners of the townhouse complex told reporters that the building was up to code when it was build, but weren’t sure if it met current standards.

Money raised for victims of the fire

Officials believe the fire broke out in the kitchen of a unit where 10-year-old Nicolas Gabriel was sleeping over with a friend and the friend’s dad.

When the fire started at about 3:15 a.m., a neighbour kicked down the unit’s door and found a man asleep on the couch. The neighbour was able to rescue the man and his son, but didn’t know Gabriel was asleep. The boy’s body was found five hours later.

Since the fire, more than $10,000 has been raised through a trust fund to pay for the boy’s funeral. The funeral is estimated to cost between $10,000 and $15,000, and any additional money raised will go towards helping residents of the damaged townhouses rebuild their lives.

Two other trust funds have been set up to support the residents affected by the fire. Donations can be made to Giving to Ardglen or Nicolas Gabriel/Ardglen Trust Fund.

Officials say of the 18 families who were displaced as a result of the fire, seven are still staying at city shelters. Members of Peel Regional Police will be helping them find more permanent lodgings.

Community in mourning

Gabriel’s mother, Kelly Gabriel, visited a makeshift memorial for her son on Tuesday. Flowers and stuffed animals have been left by members of the community on the front lawn of the townhouse where the young boy died. Kelly was joined by her surviving son and daughter, her husband, and the children’s grandmother.

Down the street, at Sir Winston Churchill Public School, where Gabriel was a Grade 4 student, another memorial has been created to remember the young boy. The school’s Canadian flag also flew at half-mast on Tuesday.

With a report from CTV Toronto’s Austin Delaney


Ontario Fire Marshal takes over investigation into fatal Brampton blaze – CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News

Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Monday, June 9, 2014 7:44AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 9, 2014 8:04PM EDT

The cause of a fire that claimed the life of a 10-year-old boy in Brampton Sunday has not yet been determined. 

Acting Division Chief Gary Jarrett told reporters Monday afternoon that the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office has now taken over the investigation into the massive blaze, which occurred at a townhouse complex near Kennedy Road South and Queen Street East early Sunday morning.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” Jarrett said.

“I can tell you that the roof is under examination. Why did the fire spread the way it did through this facility and … displace the entire building?”

Officials believe the fire broke out in the unit where the 10-year-old was staying for a sleepover, just down the street from his own home.

The blaze quickly spread to other units in the complex and the boy was reported missing after everyone else had escaped. 

 His body was found as they extinguished hotspots and did a sweep through the gutted complex.

Jarrett said the housing complex is at least several decades old but he was not sure of the exact age of the building.

“The townhomes today under the building code are required to have fire separations every so many units to stop this kind of thing from happening,” he said. 

“This building fell under previous legislation that dates back several decades.”

Brampton Fire conducted inspections of the building last year and Jarrett said every single unit had working smoke alarms.

“We need to be thorough. Was this a criminal event? Is this a fire code issue? That is what is being examined,” he said.

“We need to answer questions to the deceased family.”

Group raises money for funeral

More than $15,000 has been raised through a trust fund to help pay for a funeral for the victim, who has been identified as 10-year-old Nicolas Gabriel.

“100 per cent of what we raise will first of all go to help Nicolas’ family with their funeral expenses,” said Ted Brown, executive director of Regeneration Outreach Community. 

Brown estimates the funeral will cost between $10,000 to $15,000 and any additional money raised will go to help residents rebuild, he said.

Boy’s father mourns loss with emotional Facebook post:

“Why did you leave us? I miss you so much,” Shane Gabriel said in a post on the social media site Sunday.

“We had plans! We were supposed to go see Godzilla for your birthday! I was supposed to help you with your project!”

Gabriel went on to say he was proud of his son and reminisced about the boy’s love of playing on his PS3.

“I just want to wake up from this nightmare; all I can see your smiling face in my head,” he wrote.

“God how I miss you.”

Nearly 100 displaced

Officials estimate that nearly 100 people lost their home in the fire Sunday and several community groups and organizations, including the Canadian Red Cross and the Salvation Army, have stepped in to offer assistance.

Many of the residents, Brown said, did not have insurance.

“Many people here simply cannot afford that content insurance,” he said.

Residents of the 18 homes affected by the fire have not been permitted to return due to concerns about the structural integrity of the building.

“Nobody is going to be allowed to go back in there until it is 100 per cent guaranteed it is safe to do so,” Const. Lily Fitzpatrick said Monday.

“The people who have lost their homes; Peel Human Services, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross are making sure that everything they need is being provided for them.”


Child dead, hundreds left homeless after weekend Brampton townhouse fire – Globalnews.ca

TORONTO- A 10-year-old child is dead and close to a hundred are homeless after a townhouse complex in the Greater Toronto Area went up in flames early Sunday morning.

“It was a very intense fire,” said Peel Region Police Const. Lillian Fitzpatrick.

“These people had to leave in the very early morning hours with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”

The child was at the home for a sleepover, Fitzpatrick said, but his family lives in the area.

READ MORE: Community pulls together to help victims of Brampton townhouse fire

“Obviously they are completely devastated at this point,” she said of the boy’s family.

“It’s a very, very fresh wound for them. They need some time to collect themselves and deal with this horrible blow.”

Hundreds of residents had been forced to evacuate the area after a two-alarm fire broke out at a townhouse complex on Ardglen Drive in the city of in Brampton at around 3:15 a.m. Sunday morning.

WATCH: Residents react to Brampton townhouse fire

Authorities say the fire started in a single town house before quickly spreading through the roof and engulfing the entire building.

Area residents were loaded onto buses and taken to a nearby Tim Hortons. Roughly 100 have lost their homes, and as many as 300 cannot return home at this point.

Eighteen units were “profoundly damaged” in the blaze, while fire officials still have to assess the structural integrity of a number of other homes, said Fitzpatrick.

By mid morning, the fire had been knocked down, but police said it was “still active” in certain spots with smoke continuing to linger. Fire crews remained on scene.

WATCH: Fire crews have blaze under control

Those forced out of their homes were being helped by Peel Region social services and the Salvation Army. Temporary accommodation was being arranged for those who needed it.

Officials said it could still be a day or two before residents are allowed to return to homes that survived the blaze.

“It’s very difficult to say when they’ll be able to go back because for them to go back to their homes it has to be safe for them to do so,” said Fitzpatrick.

“There are going to be immediate needs and social services are going to see that they are taken care of.”

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office, Peel police and the coroner’s office are all investigating the incident.

A trust fund has been set up for the victim’s family as well as for residents affected by the fire.

Also, a Facebook page seeking donations can be found at facebook.com/bramptonfirevictims.

With files from Jeremy Cohn/Global News in Brampton and the Canadian Press


David Weisz

Web Coordinator

David Weisz is a digital journalist based in Toronto, Ontario. He has a strong interest in data-assisted reporting, especially when it pertains to municipal and social issues.


Boy, 10, dies in fire 2:29 – CBC.ca

A devastating fire tore through a Brampton townhouse complex in the early hours of Sunday morning, claiming the life of a 10-year-old boy and leaving scores of residents without homes to return to.

An alarm activation brought firefighters to the scene at 3:19 a.m., according to Deputy Fire Chief Michael Clarke.

The situation was upgraded after the fire department received phone calls confirming the fire.

“The crew attempted to make an aggressive rapid attack but they weren’t able to make entry,” Clarke said.

At one point there were 19 trucks and about 50 firefighters on the scene, Clarke added.

Firefighters remained at the scene late into Sunday evening, dealing with remaining hot spots.

Officials say the fire started at a unit in the centre of a block of units but, because of the structure of the complex, the fire spread rapidly in both directions.

After the fire was out, Peel Regional Police Const. Lillian Fitzpatrick said it was the responding firefighters who confirmed the tragic news that a boy had died.

“When firefighters went through, they located the body of the child inside a unit,” Fitzpatrick told reporters on Sunday morning, just a few hours after the fire had started.

The boy, whom friends of the boy’s mother have identified as Nicolas Gabriel, was sleeping over at a friend’s house.

Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell had spoken to the family after they received the news of his death on Sunday.

Brampton townhouse fire

A displaced resident sits near the townhouse complex. The huge fire has destroyed or damanged 18 units and left between 80 to 100 people homeless, according to Peel Regional Police. (Michael Cole/CBC)

“Right now, they’re in shock,” she said. “I mean it’s so profound — your son is on a sleepover and somebody comes and knocks on your door and says your son is missing and then they confirm that your son has passed away in the fire. They’re in shock, they’re in disbelief.”

Fennell said the community is still healing from a prior tragedy, a shooting that left another young boy dead just over a year ago.

“To have a second tragedy of a loss of a young life is a nightmare,” she said.

‘Nothing but the clothes on their backs’

The blaze on Ardglen Drive left 18 units severely damaged or destroyed, according to police. They say between 80 and 100 people have been left homeless.

“These people had to leave in the very early morning hours with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” Fitzpatrick said.

That meant that a number of people fled for safety wearing just pyjamas or robes.

Fitzpatrick said between 200 and 300 people were evacuated from the area, though that figure included those who lived in adjacent units, along with those living in the units that burned.

Tressa Daley

Tressa Daley and her husband fled their home as fast as they could, after waking up to discover the fire that had broken out in the middle of the night. (CBC)

Tressa Daley was among the residents whose homes were destroyed. She told CBC News that she and her husband lost everything in the fire.

Daley said her husband jumped out of bed in the middle of the night. He looked out the window and told her they had to get out.

“He turned the lights on and he could see the glare from the flames coming off of the back of the building,” Daley told CBC News in an interview on Sunday.

Daley said the couple quickly threw on clothes and got moving.

‘Orange flames and lots of black smoke’

“When we went to go through the front door, the smoke was already starting to come through the front door. And we went out the back and came outside to see orange flames and lots of black smoke,” she said.

The smoke was thick and black. It was making it hard to breathe, Daley said.

Fitzpatrick said the fire has had a profound effect due to the sheer number of people involved.

“Their homes are gone and they were forced to evacuate those homes without taking anything with them,” she said. “So [for] the people that are involved and for their families, this has been a devastating, devastating fire.”

Fitzpatrick said that residents have been supporting one another since they first learned of the fire. Some knocked door to door to get their neighbours out.

Peel Regional Police Const. Lillian Fitzpatrick

Peel Regional Police Const. Lillian Fitzpatrick said that the people living in the Ardglen Drive townhouse complex were forced to flee their homes, in the middle of the night, with ‘nothing but the clothes on their backs.’ (CBC)

“They have that common bond that … they know exactly where they stand at this point and it’s bringing them together,” she said.

The fire is being investigated by the coroner, by police and by the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office.

Food and clothing donations have been pouring in to help out those left without a home on Sunday night.

Alain Normand, the emergency manager for the City of Brampton, said it was great to see that the community could pull together in a time of need.

But the city said the most critical need is for cash donations.

Most of the people who have been displaced are believed to be staying with family on Sunday evening. But some will close out the weekend sleeping in a shelter.

Authorities will be working with each family to relocate them for the short and long-term.

“Some have insurance, some don’t. Some lost everything, some didn’t. So we have to do a systematic valuation, family by family … so we can provide them with the help that is really required,” Normand said.