The Town of Victoria is taking a tragic story from the community’s past and using it to breathe new life into a particular location.
Nearing the intersection of King’s Road and Salmon Cove Road, a newly-erected plaque commemorates the lives of two young boys who called Victoria home.
After the town discovered a large amount of trash being dumped in the area, council decided the site needed to be cleaned up, and could be the site of a small park overlooking the pond.
Deputy Mayor Gord Ash told The Compass as they were reviewing ideas for the site, they realized it had something of a darker past.
In January, 1950, two young boys — Eldred Dean, aged 11, and Warrick Cole, seven — fell through the ice and drowned in the pond.
“It was basically a no brainer after we heard of these two boys,” Ash said of council’s decision to repurpose the previously vacant piece of land. “It was a site that needed to be cleaned up, for sure, but after hearing this story, the project gained a bit of a new purpose in a way.”
This past summer town employees cleared the area and installed a walking trail. A gazebo has also been placed at the park, giving walkers a chance to rest and look out over the pond.
Linda Clarke is a resident of Victoria, and also the younger sister of Eldred. At the time of his death, Clarke was only turning five-years-old, but told The Compass seeing her brother’s name forever ingrained into the community provided her with a strong sense of joy.
“I think the place they have down there is just wonderful,” she said of the park. “I was there to unveil the plaque that day. It was windy, and cold, but a very nice sentiment from the town. I’m very pleased with it.”
Clarke also noted that she lives near the park, and that the site is a place she tends to visit on her walks through the community. Now that there’s an even more personal connection, she looks forward to making use of the park and looking out over the pond.
“I don’t remember much of (Eldred), as I was very young at the time, but the dedication means a lot to me,” she said. “A lot to us, as a family.”
With the project complete, Ash is also pleased to report that garbage is no longer dumped there, and residents wasted no time making use of the park.
“It’s a beautiful spot to watch the sun set, now,” Ash said.