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Pieces of the Champlain Bridge will find new purpose under the feet of local Scouts

“I was very surprised. It was very humbling,” says Cecile Antink, about learning that the new footbridge being planned for Dunn Memorial Scout Camp (DMC) will be named in her honour.

Antink grew up in the Eastern Townships, and the Champlain Bridge made a big impression on her when her family crossed it going to Montreal. “To me, it was quite the structure; I looked for the bridge.” So, when she heard about the Champlain Bridge Material Reuse Competition, she wondered if fellow Scouters would be interested in helping to preserve a piece of history by requesting some steel components for the 100-acre camp located in Elgin.

“I suggested it, and had printed out the information, but I gave it all to Cory. Cory and Fraser did all the work to submit the project,” she explains. Camp chairperson Cory Ovans and his friend, Fraser Templeton, a former Scout, reviewed documentation from the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI) to learn about the steel available, then selected pieces to incorporate into a 3D drawing to include with the application. Howick Cubs also contributed their bridge pictures. Antink continues, “I never saw what Cory submitted.” After friends reached out to tell her about a Global News report on the winning projects, she made time for a proper look – and discovered the tribute.

Sunshine Bridge

The camp’s new installation will be called the “Sunshine Bridge” in recognition of Antink’s commitment to Scouting. “Sunshine” was the leader name the kids chose for her during her second meeting with the Howick Beavers 26 years ago. Since then, in addition to giving her time to local, provincial, and international Scouting activities, Antink has long been a vital advocate for DMC. To honour her contributions, Ovans had included the accolade in the application sent to JCCBI.

 

Malyssa Houle stands at the site of the old footbridge at Dunn Memorial Scout Camp The bridge which connected two campsites before collapsing will soon be replaced by a new structure featuring material from the Champlain Bridge PHOTO Cory Ovans Dunn Memorial Scout Camp

 

After months of designing and completing paperwork, Ovans submitted the application at the end of 2021. This spring, Ovans was notified that the camp’s entry was one of the eleven projects accepted. “They [JCCBI] are doing a fantastic job. They sent photos and details about the sizes of pieces. The total amount of material is 11,000 kilograms. There are more than twenty pieces. The largest single piece is 1100 kg and 29 feet long.” he explains.

Plans to collect the portions of the historic structure are ready to be set in motion. A Saint-Stanislas-de- Kostka business, Transport Sylvester & Forget, will donate a truck, trailer, and driver to collect the load. Pickup will happen this summer; the team is awaiting more details from JCCBI. Ovans jokes, “For sure it will be right in the middle of when I’m in Florida,” referring to the Ormstown Scouts troop’s upcoming trip to the International Jamborette. Nonetheless, the leader has faith in the team that will help with the monumental undertaking.

 

Children representing Valley Scouting and Guiding gathered at the Dunn Memorial Scout Camp in Elgin on May 27 for the Chavallaree camp The group is pictured here standing on a fallen log stretching across a creek where a special new footbridge will soon stand The Sunshine Bridge will include steel components from Montreals old Champlain Bridge as one of 11 projects selected in the Champlain Bridge Material Reuse Competition The 60 foot structure will be built by community volunteers and will be dedicated to Cecile Antink a volunteer who has worked with the Scouts for several years PHOTO Cory Ovans Dunn Memorial Scout Camp

 

More former Scouts will assist with the project. Mark Wallace will unload the material upon its arrival at the entrance to the camp. Pieces will later be moved closer towards their new home on the grounds. Philippe Dandurand will contribute his welding services to help assemble the footbridge which will be installed over a creek to help connect the Howick and Ormstown campsites.

In the past, wooden bridges have connected the two sites. The first footbridge was built by Leo Chartrand, Rolland Anderson, and the Scouts attending the first Cuboree held at Dunn Memorial in 1962; eventually it deteriorated. Under the leadership of George McKell, a new bridge was built, and in September of 2004 it was dedicated to Leo Chartrand during the camp’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations. With time, that bridge rotted as well.

The new bridge will be 60 feet long and eight feet wide: a steel frame with wooden walkway. Ovans anticipates that much of the work will be done by 2024 when the camp will celebrate its seventieth anniversary.

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