Bridge memorials growing
Candlelight vigil this weekend to focus on mental health
The tributes have been growing by the hour.
Messages of support for people in crisis. Pleas to strangers not to end their own lives. Statements of mourning and loss. Cards. Flowers. Phone numbers for crisis lines. Photos of the dead.
The slate grey railing on the west side of the Burgoyne Bridge has been transformed into an ad-hoc memorial wall by those touched by the deaths of 19-yearold Tanner Unger and a 43-yearold who died by suicide at the bridge in the last week.
The notes written in marker on the railing overlooking Highway 406 started to appear over the weekend after Tanner died on
On Thursday, his family and friends placed their own tokens of remembrance on the bridge — more notes, cards, flowers and a wreath in the shape of a crucifix — following a funeral service.
Family members declined to speak about Tanner’s death Thursday, but said they would do so soon.
He died the morning after a fire at the Lake Street house he shared with his brother and mother destroyed all their belongings.
The Special Investigation Unit — the provincial police watchdog — is investigating the circumstances of Tanner’s death. The SIU investigates all instances of serious injury and death that involved the police.
An SIU press release says a Niagara Regional Police officer was called to the Burgoyne Bridge for a person in distress.
Alongside the tributes to Tanner, handwritten notes have now appeared in memory of a second man who died at the bridge about 5:30 a.m. Thursday.
“... my friend, I’m sure I’ll never understand why. Someone else said it perfectly: If only you knew how much you’ll be missed!” says one card taped to the railing.
Tributes were also posted to Facebook Wednesday and Thursday.
A candlelight memorial for the two men is planned for Sunday at the Burgoyne Bridge.
Niagara residents Megan Schmoyer and Alyssa Delsnyder have created a Facebook event, Stand Up For Mental Health in Ontario, and are inviting people to come together at 7 p.m. to show support for the families and to demand “free resources and a new mental health plan” for the province.
Family and friends of Tanner Unger gather on the Burgoyne Bridge Thursday afternoon.