Trail ded­i­cated to bus crash vic­tims

Shel­ley Riel, Shirley Cun­ning­ham died when train hit bus

The Peterborough Examiner - - Front Page - JA­SON BAIN Ex­am­iner Staff Writer

Fifty years ago may be a dis­tant mem­ory for many, but not Sharon Riel, whose 18-year-old sis­ter Shel­ley was one of two young women killed in a tragic school bus crash in Sel­wyn Town­ship that left a com­mu­nity in mourn­ing on Nov. 21, 1968.

“For me, it feels just like yes­ter­day,” the Peter­bor­ough res­i­dent said af­ter more than 50 peo­ple bun­dled up Tues­day af­ter­noon for the grand open­ing and ded­i­ca­tion of the An­drew Trail on East­man Road just north of Lily Lake Road.

The walk­ing route, which con­nects two sub­di­vi­sions and will even­tu­ally con­nect with The Great Trail (formerly known as the Trans Canada Trail) through the Lily Lake sub­di­vi­sion, was ded­i­cated to Shel­ley Riel and Shirley Cun­ning­ham, 13.

The event marked the 50th an­niver­sary of their deaths. A school bus car­ry­ing 48 chil­dren from East­wood, Lily Lake and Stock­dale roads, among other lo­ca­tions, was struck by a train on Stock­dale Road, just west of An­drew Trail.

Many orig­i­nal East­wood res­i­dents had chil­dren on the bus, some who suf­fered per­ma­nent dis­abil­i­ties, but no fam­i­lies were more im­pacted than the Cun­ning­ham and Riel fam­i­lies, Sel­wyn Mayor Mary Smith said be­fore a mo­ment of si­lence.

The short un­opened road al­lowance has been an in­for­mal walk­ing route be­tween East­wood and Pa­tri­cia Cres­cent for many

years, she pointed out.

It could be a muddy mess at times and neigh­bours even­tu­ally asked the town­ship to work on it, Smith said, ex­plain­ing how the route fits into Sel­wyn’s trails mas­ter plan.

The town­ship’s trails ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee has worked in re­cent years to fin­ish the pro­ject and be­came aware of the tragedy, she ex­plained.

Smith thanked those who made the ded­i­ca­tion pos­si­ble, in­clud­ing the Hamil­ton fam­ily for pro­vid­ing his­tor­i­cal in­for­ma­tion about the Vet­er­ans Land As­sem­bly and the bus crash. “We are look­ing for­ward to peo­ple walk­ing this trail and en­joy­ing it for years to come.”

The brief ded­i­ca­tion cul­mi­nated with com­mit­tee chair­per­son Yvonne Sprad­brow read­ing out the words on the plaque, which de­scribes how the tragedy had a “pro­found im­pact on the com­mu­nity,” and un­veil­ing the fix­ture.

Long­time Sel­wyn Coun. Donna Bal­lan­tyne, who re­called the first re­quest to level the trail and in­stall bar­ri­ers to pre­vent ATVs from tear­ing up the path nearly a decade ago, said the girls won’t be for­got­ten thanks to the in­stal­la­tion.

Sharon agreed it is a nice ges­ture to hon­our the girls’ mem­o­ries. “I think it is a nice re­mem­brance. The fam­ily will never for­get.”

Tem­po­rary blocks in­stalled to block ATVs will be re­placed with per­ma­nent ones in the spring, Sel­wyn man­ager of re­cre­ation ser­vices Mike Richard­son said.

NOTES: An­drew Trail is lo­cated be­tween 249 and 257 East­man Rd.… A plaque will also be in­stalled on Pa­tri­cia Cres­cent later.

JA­SON BAIN EX­AM­INER

Sel­wyn Town­ship trail ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee chair­woman Yvonne Sprad­brow un­veils a plaque dur­ing a grand open­ing and ded­i­ca­tion of An­drew Trail on East­man Road just north of the city on Tues­day af­ter­noon. The route con­nects two sub­di­vi­sions and will even­tu­ally con­nect to The Great Trail, formerly known as the Trans Canada Trail.

JA­SON BAIN EX­AM­INER

A plaque ded­i­cated to two young women who died in a nearby school bus ac­ci­dent on Nov. 21, 1968 was un­veiled dur­ing a grand-open­ing An­drew Trail on East­man Road just north of the city on Tues­day

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