Dozens gather in New Waterford to remember slain miner William Davis
Published Sunday, June 11, 2017 6:31PM ADT
Last Updated Sunday, June 11, 2017 6:40PM ADT
Sunday was both an emotional and celebratory day in New Waterford, N.S., as dozens gathered to mark Davis Day, honouring slain miner William Davis on the 92nd anniversary of his death.
William Davis was shot dead by coal company police during a protest near New Waterford on June 11, 1925.
Officially known today as William Davis Miner's Memorial Day, it is a day when miners and their families stop and remember.
"There's a lot of times you get choked up,” says Davis’s great-grandson Sheldon MacDonald. “You hear about the struggles. I think of William Davis. My grandmother was just a child at the time, and I think he really is the face of the miners."
Sunday’s ceremony took place against the backdrop of the Cape Breton Miner's Museum during its 50th anniversary.
"Ever since I came to the miner's museum, I've wanted to commemorate Davis Day here,” says Mary Pat Mombourquette, executive director of the museum. “Today we finally did it, and it was a really wonderful event."
The event was once again emceed by Bob Burchell of the United Mine Workers of America. Despite his recent retirement, Burchell says he will continue to lead the annual event.
“It's something very close to my heart,” says Burchell. “I love the mine workers, and I love the people that I've represented here, and I don't want to see Davis Day fade out."
Miners say the crowd continues to grow every year.
"It warms my heart to know it's not being forgotten," says retired miner Jack Beaton.
This year’s Davis Day was the first since the return of coal mining in Cape Breton at the Donkin Mine, which recently began operations. Representatives from the mine’s parent company Kameron Coal were also on hand for Sunday’s event.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.