Royal Aviation Museum pays tribute to children and pilot who died in plane crash 50 years ago

The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada strives to honor the children and the pilot who died 50 years ago in the Linwood Street tragedy.

On June 24, 1972, a plane carrying eight residential school students to the Cree Nation of Bunibonibee crashed into a vacant lot on Linwood Street.

All eight students and the pilot died in the crash.

They were Margaret Robinson, Mary Rita Canada, Ethel Grieves, Rosalie Balfour, Wilkie Muskego, Iona Weenusk, Roy and Deborah Sinclair, and pilot Scott Coughlin.

“An important mission of the new Royal Aviation Museum is to bring to light little-known stories of aviation history in western and northern Canada, guided by a commitment to reconciliation and partnership with indigenous peoples,” said Terry Slobodian, president and CEO of the museum, in a press release. “Telling this story is an important step in fulfilling this mission. While the arrival of aviation brought many benefits to northern communities, it also had heartbreaking consequences.

The memorial is expected to be installed near the crash site at Linwood Street and Silver Avenue.

“The new memorial site will allow future generations to know their names and the devastating effects of residential schools. I am honored to be able to work with the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada and city staff on this small step towards reconciliation,” said Coun. Scott Gillingham, in a press release.

The memorial will feature a granite pedestal that will bear the names of each victim and the area will have new trees and rest areas.

The plan is to hold a ceremony when the memorial is installed in the spring of 2023.

The museum is also working on the construction of another monument for the Bunibonibee Cree Nation in memory of the victims.

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