Vic­to­ria ded­i­cates park to boys who drowned in pond

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - LOCAL - BY CHRIS LEWIS

The Town of Vic­to­ria in Con­cep­tion Bay North is tak­ing a tragic story from the com­mu­nity’s past and us­ing it to breathe life into a new park.

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 said that as they re­viewed ideas for the site, they real­ized it had some­thing of a darker past.

In Jan­uary 1950, two boys — El­dred Dean, 11, and War­rick Cole, 7 — 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 the younger sis­ter of El­dred. At the time of his death, Clarke was only turn­ing five years old, but she says 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 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.

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

A park in Vic­to­ria was ded­i­cated to 11-yearold El­dred Dean and seven-year-old War­rick Cole, both of whom drowned in the pond in Jan­uary 1950.

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