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On Thursday, July 13, a small group of Montrealers gathered on the shores of Pointe aux Carriers Beach in Lake of Two Mountains in Ile Bizard to commemorate a tragedy that happened 63 years ago when 12 children between the ages of 6 and 11, members of the Negro Community Centre Day Camp, drowned in a boating accident.
Among the eight girls and four boys who perished were: Denzil Alleyne, 9; Margo Fonseca, 7; Marilyn Fonseca, 8; Brenda Kelly, 8; Carol Leek, 6; Alan Leek, 7; Donna Lewis, 10; Paula Millington, 6; Leon Nealy, 8; Diane Springer, 10; Edith Springer, 7; Estelle Walton, 11, and Doreen Walton, 8.
The pilgrimage was initiated by Pascale Annoual of Mount Royal United and included a few surviving members of some of the children’s families, together with members of the congregation of Union United Church.
It was a beautiful day that turned overcast and rainy then spectacularly beautiful again, as those gathered marked the occasion with songs, prayers, words of comfort and ended with them placing 12 plates of flowers into the choppy waters of the lake.
The 12 children that drowned were among 17 kids packed on a 12-foot motorboat
that belonged to Montreal businessman Jack Seligman, who offered to take them on what was
supposed to be a joyride. The boat stalled in the choppy waters and capsized.