Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation donates $25,000 to Fallen Workers Memorial

Photo submitted – Ron Hartle and Sue Burch of the Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation present a cheque for $25,000 to Mayor Walter Sendzik and Greg Wight, fundraising chair for the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force.

The Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation continues its tradition of community development with a donation of $25,000 to the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force in honour of 137 men who died building the fourth Welland Canal.

Task Force chair Mayor Walter Sendzik, campaign chair Greg Wight, and members of the Task Force thanked the Foundation at a recent meeting.

“Thank you to the Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation. This donation helps us remember what the memorial is really about, that in honouring the fallen workers who built the canal, we are also recognizing their efforts and sacrifices for an even bigger project – the development of Niagara as a community and an economy,” said Mayor Sendzik.

The Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation has a long history of supporting Niagara’s economic and social development. Since 1958 the Foundation has supported local charitable organizations in health and wellness, education, social services and environmental causes. Members are active and retired employees of the Thorold mill now known as Resolute Forest Products Ltd. which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013.

“Our foundation believes strongly in supporting the community. Every year the Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation donates thousands of dollars to healthcare, education, social causes and community projects and we believe that this project is long overdue,” said Ron Hartle, chair of the donations committee.

When the fourth Welland Ship Canal was constructed between 1914 and 1932, 137 men died in what is believed to be the largest loss of life on a federal government infrastructure project in Canadian history. Despite the huge loss of life on the project, the canal attracted industry and commerce to the Niagara area. Mills were built along the canal locks to take advantage of water power and shipping. Communities grew up around the mills, plants and businesses. Thousands of employees continue to work in manufacturing and shipping industries along the Welland Canal.

Campaign chair, Greg Wight thanked the members for the donation and remembering the fallen workers.

“Thank you for this generous donation to help us remember that without the Welland Canal and the men who built it, our community and our economy would not be what it is today,” said Wight.

The fundraising goal for the memorial and parkette is approximately $1 million. Through funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage, marine industry businesses and organizations, as well as the labour community, the Task Force has raised almost $700,000 to date. The Task Force is continuing to seek donations to build and unveil the memorial later this year. For more information or to make a donation please visit www.stcatharines.ca/CanalWorkersMemorial.

Source: Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force press release