Air India Flight 182 – Thirty Years Later

On the shores of Lac St. Louis in Lachine on The Fur Trade at Lachine National Historic Site is a monument erected to the memory of those who perished in the Air India Flight 182 disaster, which happened June 23, 1985.

On Tuesday evening a number of the leaders of the Irish community in Montreal attended a ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary of the day Air India Flight 182 exploded off the shores of Ireland, killing all on board. The Irish welcomed the families and friends of the victims into their homes as bodies and wreckage were recovered.

IMG_0157And so it was fitting that members of the Irish community joined the families of the victims on this 30th anniversary. Also on hand was Government Leader in the House Hon. Peter Van Loan and Honorary Consul General of Ireland Dr. Michael Kenneally and his wife Dr. Rhona Richman Kenneally. I was particularly struck by the story of Mahesh Sharma, who told me that he was first going to Australia on business before joining his family in India. One of his daughters was set to travel to Australia with him however when his other daughter also expressed an interest in going to Australia, the decision had to be made that neither could go to Australia. They both boarded Flight 182 with their mother and maternal grandmother and perished in the explosion. How does one go on with life after losing one’s wife and children?

Also on that flight was a teacher from Loyola High School. Although I never had the privilege of having Mr. Mukerji as a teacher, I have never forgotten him. We at Loyola all knew his story. After years of attending night classes after full days teaching high school physics, Mr. Mukerji finally completed the work required to attain his Phd days before leaving on a two month vacation in India.

Thirty years on, those who lost their lives have not been forgotten. Let us hope that tragedies such as this one are a thing of the past.

Annual Walk to the Stone

ImageTo preserve from desecration

the remains of 6000 immigrants

who died of ship fever

A.D.1847-8

this stone is erected by the workmen

of

Messrs. Peto, Brassey and Betts

employed in the construction

of the Victoria Bridge

A.D.1859.

Community Support

Community Support

These are the words enscribed on the huge black rock sitting on a grassy island in the middle of Bridge Street near the beginning of the Victoria Bridge. Workers with Messrs. Peto, Brassey and Betts uncovered, or should I say discovered, the remains of some 6000 immigrants who died in the fever sheds erected in the area during the times Community Supportof the Great Famine.

Francis Baddeley (2009)

Francis Baddeley (2009)

Commemorations have taken place on the last Sunday in May since prior to Confederation. This year is no different. Organized by the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Canada, the annual Walk to the Stone takes place on Sunday May 25th beginning at St. Gabriel’s Church in Point St. Charles. Mass takes place at 10:30AM followed by the walk at 12PM, rain or shine, from the church to the Stone. Bring your umbrella and/or your sun screen. Montreal’s Irish community has been supportive of the Walk since its beginnings.

Victor Boyle (2012)

Victor Boyle (2012)

AOH President Victor Boyle and his team have been hard at work on a new project related to the Stone, details of which will be announced. Scheduled to attend is His Excellency Dr. Ray Bassett, Ambassador of Ireland to Canada.

After the commemoration refreshments are served in the church basement. Come on out to support the Walk and to show Montreal that community has not forgotten those who died trying to find better lives for themselves and their families, and to reconnect with old friends and to meet new ones.