On Saturday, June 5, Cornwall residents gathered at St. Columban’s Catholic Church in memory of the 215 children who never returned home from the residential school near Kamloops, BC. 215 Steps for Kamloops 215 was hosted by husband and wife Roger Van Lazore and Georgina Lazore, as well as Tara Francis. At 2 p.m., the couple spoke briefly about their own experiences in relation to the residential schools.
“I thank my family, I thank my mom, I thank my dad for never ever letting me go to that place,” said Georgina Lazore. “…I cried when I saw my family…all being taken away at the end of the summer, all being piled into buses to be taken away, to be given a number.” Lazore expressed her gratitude to all those who took the time to participate in the walk. “The whole community of Cornwall has been nothing but tremendously supportive,” she said. “It really means a lot to see all of you today, I will never be able to express the thanks that I feel today.”
The walk commenced at approximately 2:15 p.m., where individuals left St. Columban’s, heading down Pitt Street, and turning left onto Water Street. When reaching Lamoureux Park, individuals who brought flowers were encouraged to drop them into the St. Lawrence to honor the 215 lives lost. Additionally, the bells of St. Columban’s rang exactly 215 times during the walk. Those who were in attendance wore orange, with several individuals donning ribbon skirts and dresses. The event coordinators emphasized the importance of maintaining social distancing guidelines, also reminding those in attendance that the walk would be a peaceful demonstration.
For more information on the event or to view a live stream of the walk, please visit Cornwall’s 215 Steps for Kamloops 215 Facebook group.