Our History

25 Years of Mississauga Fall Roundups

A History of the Mississauga Fall Roundup

by Eddy G. and Marrey P.

The first Mississauga Fall Roundup took place on Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday October 12th, 1996 at the Teamster Hall on Matheson Blvd. This one-day conference was started to carry the A.A. message of recovery to A.A. and Al-Anon members and their friends, in the Mississauga and surrounding area.

The first two roundups were held at the Teamster Hall and then, from 1998 until 2012, at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, on Cawthra Rd. just south of Burnhamthorpe. In 2013, the Roundup relocated to the Vic Johnson Community Center Banquet Hall on Church St. in Streetsville, where it has been held until 2019, when Covid-19 necessitated that the event go on-line. There was no MFR (Mississauga Fall Roundup) in 2003 due to a lack of volunteers – the previous MFR committee members “had run out of gas”, according to a committee past chairperson.

The MFR Committee consisted of between 12 and 15 members, who were recruited or volunteered. Committee Members were required to have a minimum of 1 year continuous sobriety with the exception of 2 years sobriety for the Chairperson, 3 years sobriety for the Program Coordinator and 5 years for the Treasurer.

Planning meetings began before the end of January in the calendar year of the event and were held monthly until the month of the event, usually October. Then the committee met more often according to group conscience. A small meeting room was used at St. Mary’s (when the roundup was held there) and the committee was never charged rental for these meetings (a donation from the committee was made to the church after the event). On the Friday before the event, the committee met on-site to finalize details and to set up the hall (at Vic Johnson, set up was very early on Saturday morning, before the Roundup).

The GTA Better Times (BT) has always been a major source for MFR publicity. The BT articles gave the theme, location and time of the event. Originally, contact names and phone numbers were given. In 2007, these were replaced by the www.mississauga.org Fall Roundup website. By going through the GTA Archives editions of the BT, it was discovered that the theme of the first Roundup in 1996 was ‘Come Meet the Miracle’, followed by ‘The Miracle Continues’ in 1997. The word “miracle” was consistently used as part of the theme until 2006 when the theme was ‘Alive and Well’.

All but 1 Roundup until 2004, were scheduled for the Thanksgiving weekend. All but 2 of the following Roundups were held on the weekend before Thanksgiving; the other 2 were held after Thanksgiving. From 1998 until 2012, a big draw to the Roundup held a St. Mary’s was the homemade lunch, provided by the Ukrainian ladies that catered church events. The food included a hot and cold buffet lunch, featuring homemade authentic perogies and fabulous cabbage rolls; dessert was contributed by the MFR Committee members. At Vic Johnson, the menu changed to a delicious main course of veggie or meat lasagna and salad.

At St. Mary’s, the tables were graced with white linen tablecloths and burgundy or gold top squares…a truly elegant sight to be seen! The linens were supplied by Ann C. of the Markland Woods Group, and their delivery was coordinated by Norma L. (Erin Mills Group), a long-time committee member. There were other notable contributors. For many years, Duart McL. donated 2 big pots of flowers that adorned the stage and also the corsages and boutonnieres for the speakers. Ted S. (Kingsway Group) provided the original sandwich board that sat out front, indicating the location of the Roundup to guests. Adele (Erin Mills Group) sold more tickets than anyone else for years, many to her group members who would occupy an entire table. Also from the Erin Mills Group, Jeannie B. volunteered at the ticket table and Robin P. arranged for B, and C. Sober Voices to record the Roundup. Jacky M. (Mississauga Group) was there every year to sell A.A. related merchandise. The Grapevine and Al-Anon also had display tables with literature for sale. And the beautiful banner that hangs above the stage and is updated yearly, was contributed by an individual who remains to us anonymous.

Records show that in 1999, a ticket would have cost you $15 in advance and $18 at the door. In 2000, the flat fee for a ticket was $15 and remained so until 2007, when the cost increased to $20, the cost until the last in-person Roundup held in 2019, when the Roundup went virtual due to Covid-19. Also in 2019, tickets were no longer available at the door due to previous sell-outs! Alateens were always charged $5 and tickets were given, for free, to treatment centers such as Hope Place, Halton Recovery House and Jean Tweed. Tickets were also anonymously donated and kept at the ticket table for anyone who couldn’t afford one.

Other tidbits of trivia include: that the MFR flyers were always emblazoned with at least 1 maple leaf as was the MFR program (the program also included a photograph of “The 12 steps at Dr. Bob’s house in Akron”; that in 2002, the Roundup was “a day full of long-timers”; that the Sobriety Countdown, a Family Panel and an Alateen speaker were all introduced in 2007 and became instantly very popular with attendees; and that in 2009, over 200 people attended.

The first out-of-province speaker (from B.C.) made a debut at St. Mary’s in 2012. Up until then, speakers were more local, some from the GTA and others from farther afield - from Barrie, Guelph and London to name a few places. From 2013 on, A.A. speakers from the U.S.A. predominantly became the norm. Al-Anon has always been involved on the planning committee and has provided members to speak on their behalf as part of the Family Panel and representing AlAteen.

The Mississauga Fall Roundup has remained alive and well for 25 years as a result of the people involved in its planning and execution. Thank you to all those - past, present and yet to come, who have volunteered their time and effort into making the Mississauga Fall Roundup such a great success in carrying the A.A. message of founders, Bill W. and Bob S.! Thank you to Linda J. (Erin Mills), Peter N. (Credit Valley) and Scott Mac. (Bloordale) who provided historical information based on their involvement with the MFR over many years. There are far too many volunteers and supporters to name but know that your contributions have been invaluable and have kept the Roundup going.

Happy 25th Anniversary, Mississauga Fall Roundup!!!

If anyone has any other historical material pertaining to the Mississauga Fall Roundup or anything A.A. related, please consider donating it to the GTA Archives. You can let Eddy G. or Marrey P. know in the chat.