Lac-Megantic is ready to inaugurate a long-planned memorial space to mark the seventh anniversary of a tragic rail disaster that killed 47 people. A runaway train derailed and exploded after hauling tanker cars loaded with volatile crude oil barrelled into the town of 6,000, on July 6, 2013. It destroyed a large part of the Quebec town’s downtown area.
The commemoration will take place at the site of the former Musi-Cafe in the heart of the city. This is the place where staff and patrons made up many of the victims. It has taken three years to construct the place. The city said in a statement that the project was developed with the aim of everyone in their own way to remember the community-changing event. It was designed by architects Pierre Thibault and Jerome Lapierre.
The inauguration will be broadcasted on Facebook because of the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing measures. It is only a few guests who will attend in person. The residents are requested to visit in the days and weeks to come. According to the tradition, in tribute to the victims, the bells of Ste-Agnes Church will ring at noon. The city indicated that no train would run on Lac-Megantic on July 6 since it has got written approval from Canadian Pacific Railway.
According to Mayor Juile Morin, little could only be done because of respect for people who still have to watch trains passing through the heart of the city daily. She further said that even after a railway bypass is built and the downtown rails are dismantled, the city needs a perpetual renewal of the authorization.