Mr. Speaker, in March 1811, at Thompson's Tavern in Brougham, the first meeting of the township of Pickering was held and a new municipality born.
Two hundred years later, the now city of Pickering is kicking off its bicentennial year.
Born on Rougemount Drive, I have watched our small suburb grow into a booming community 100,000 strong. Now among the most diverse in Canada, it has one of the highest percentages of young families in the nation.
Pickering is rich not only in its diversity of people but also in its landscape. From large tracts of prime agricultural land to historic hamlets, like Brougham, Whitevale, Cherrywood, Greenwood and Claremont, Pickering has retained its small town character and heritage even as it expands.
In this bicentennial year, I call upon the government to finally respect and celebrate our history rather than tear it down, to recognize heritage structures on federal land, invest in them and stop their neglect and destruction. Two hundred years of history deserves no less.
I congratulate Mayor Ryan and members of council on an exciting year of celebrations ahead and wish then a happy bicentennial.