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Memorial for 70th Anniversary of Tragic Drowning at Cap St-Jacques – Community memorial

July 13 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

On July 13, 1954, twelve children from the Negro Community Center tragically drowned in a boating accident near Île Bizard. This year marks the 70th anniversary of this heartbreaking event, and plans are underway to honour the memory of these young lives lost.

The children took part in a summer outing organized by the Negro Community Centre in Little Burgundy and were involved in one of the deadliest boating accidents in Canadian history. This tragedy not only devastated families but also brought to light significant issues regarding water safety and systemic challenges faced by many from marginalized communities.

Historical Context and Impact

The tragedy in 1954 profoundly impacted Montreal’s Black community and highlighted the urgent need for improved water safety and equitable access to safety resources. Although immediate changes in boating safety regulations were limited, the incident played a crucial role in the gradual development of more stringent safety standards in Canada.

Commemorative Events and Memorial Installation

To ensure that this event is remembered and that the lessons learned continue to resonate, a series of activities are being organized to commemorate the 70th anniversary.

A memorial service will be held at the site of the tragedy on July 13, 2024. This event will provide a space for community reflection and remembrance. Grief counselors will be available to offer support to the community. They will be at the memorial and are available as needed moving forward.

As is tradition, a memorial service will be held on July 14, 2024, at Union United Church. The service will honour the memory of the children and provide a space for the community to come together in prayer and support. We will also celebrate the youth of today by recognizing the winners of the 2024 Rev. Dr. Charles H. Este Scholarship Awards during the service.

All members of the Montreal community are invited to participate in these commemorative events. Friends and relatives of the families affected are especially invited to join these activities. Your presence is welcome, and support is available as needed.

Remembering the Victims

This memorial is not just about remembering a tragic event but also about acknowledging the resilience of a community and the ongoing fight for safety and equality. Let us come together to support one another and ensure that the legacies of Denzil Alleyne, Margo and Marilyn Fonseca, Brenda Kelly, Carol and Alan Leek, Paula Millington, Leon Nealey, Edwin and Diane Springer, Doreen Walton, and Estelle Walton are never forgotten.

July 13 and 14 Event Details

The community memorial will take place on July 13, 2024, at 2 p.m. at Bois-de-L’Île-Bizard Nature Park, located at 2115 Chem. du Bord-du-Lac, L’Île-Bizard-Sainte-Geneviève, QC H9C 1P3.

The following day, July 14, the special Sunday service will be held at 10 a.m. at Union United Church, 3007 Rue Delisle, Montreal, Quebec H4C 1M8.


July 13
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
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Union United Church (Montreal)
View Organizer Website


Bois-de-L’Île-Bizard Nature Park
2115 Chem. du Bord-du-Lac
L'Île-Bizard-Sainte-Geneviève, QC H9C 1P3 Canada
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