St. Columban-Irish Forum

Categories => News - Announcements - Events => Topic started by: Fergus Keyes on May 20, 2009, 06:04:52 PM

Title: Cemetery Project Work has Started !
Post by: Fergus Keyes on May 20, 2009, 06:04:52 PM
I am very, very pleased to report that after almost 4 years of planning and fundraising, that the work on our Cemetery Project has started.

On Tuesday, May 19th 2009, the Town of St. Columban dug the trench necessary for the foundation thanks to the efforts of Claude and the Mayor.

Ken Neil has done a tremendous amount of work in being on the site and directing this trench digging operation.

The next step is that hopefully tomorrow, May 21st, a foundation company will start the installation of a very strong foundation (again designed by Ken) that we hope will last for many, many years.

And then in a week or so, we will start the brick work to build the walls.

It is all very exciting that we have now started!

It would appear that we have enough funds to complete all three foundations and build one or three of the walls. However, we still hope to receive more donations to make a pathway, install some benches, make a proper garden and maybe help repair the fence that faces the main road. etc.

So, if any of you would like to make a donation to this cause, the information is on the front page of our main site that includes the address of The St. Patrick's Society of Montreal who accepts donations on behalf of our project.

I am sure that we will also set up a section on the site to show photos and maybe even videos of the work as it progresses.

Thank you to everyone that has worked so hard to make this happen !!

Title: Re: Cemetery Project Work has Started !
Post by: Jeff Legault on May 21, 2009, 06:59:59 AM
I set up a gallery of photos (thanks Ken) we will add to over time as the project progresses here:

We are still working on the movies.
Also visit the project update pages here to keep up with the latest developments and to find out how to make a donation:

Title: Re: Cemetery Project Work has Started !
Post by: Fergus Keyes on May 22, 2009, 08:54:02 AM
      Yesterday, May 21st 2009, phase one of the work began on building a very strong and long-lasting foundation for the wall that will honour our ancestors.
      Claude Bourguignon; Ken Neil and myself were all on hand to watch this start of construction. Certainly after almost 4 years of meetings; planning; and fundraising for us all, it was an historic step.
         It should also be noted that when the Town of St. Columban dug the trench on our behalf, that they were very careful not to disturb any bones that might be in the area. Luckily, it appears that there were never any burials in the immediate area of the cross near the front center of the cemetery – and none of our ancestors were disturbed.
        The effort to build this foundation appears to have gone very well. Our form contractors appeared exactly on time; and the cement truck and another special “cement pump” truck also appeared on the site just as the forms were ready. Ken Neil certainly seems to have chosen the right contractor for this delicate job.
The next step is to add a cement structure on to the base to bring the wall just above the level of the cemetery ground and then the Town of St. Columban has agreed to return and put the earth back in around this form.
         Next we will have to choose the bricks for the wall and start the wall construction likely in a week or two, after the form and foundation have completely “cured” and hardened.
We may have to repair some grass and stuff in the cemetery where the trucks and other machinery had to move to gain access to the site.
        Once again, we will likely have to raise additional funds, so if any of you would like to make a donation, please go to our front page at for details about making your donation to the St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal on behalf of this project.
        We will keep you up-to-date as we move along with the project.

Thanks for your support

Fergus Keyes
Title: Re: Cemetery Project Work has Started !
Post by: Jeff Legault on May 22, 2009, 02:58:34 PM
Thanks to Fergus for more photos added to the end of the gallery section of the footings being poured:
Title: Re: Cemetery Project Work has Started ! Donations Need
Post by: Fergus Keyes on May 22, 2009, 06:44:05 PM
Dear fellow descendants & friends of St. Columban;

      As you likely know from our recent posts and e-mails, work has started to build the monument in the cemetery at St. Columban to honour our ancestors that arrived there from Ireland around 1830.

      As we have also mentioned, our fundraising over the last four years allows us to build the actual foundation and either one, or three, of the walls (depending on the cost of the bricks and number needed).

      However, to make this monument really special, with a nice pathway, a flower garden, etc., we have determined that we will have to raise approximately $ 5,000. more, with the hope of completing all the work this summer - and having a proper unveiling of the monument sometime in the Fall.

      In actual fact, if everyone on our discussion board and/or e-mail list was able and willing to donate $ 50.or $ 100. to the cause, we could likely raise the needed funds rather quickly.

      As mentioned on our front page, donating is rather easy, you simply send a check to The St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal with a note that the donation is for the St. Columban fund. Their address is:

St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal
St. Patrick Square
6767 Cote St. Luc Road # 1
Montreal, Quebec H4V 2Z6

            Or, if you would prefer to donate by credit card, you could call the St. Patrick’s Society at; Phone: 514-481-1346 (Their Email: is They are open Monday, Wednesday or Friday and they can likely process your donation in this manner..

 (You can also find their address and other information on our site at: )

.      If you are able to make a donation, we would also appreciate it if you could send a quick e-mail to with the details and amount. We would like to have this information, since if it is feasible and affordable, we also intend to place a plaque on one of the walls that would list everyone that has donated to the cause.

      Of course, we realize that not everyone is in a position to be able to donate to this project - or might only be able to send less than $ 50.or $ 100.; and that’s OK – we will always continue to allow free access to the information on our site to anyone that is interested.

      Thanks for your consideration of helping to make this monument to our ancestors a reality….

Best regards

Fergus Keyes
Title: Re: Cemetery Project Work has Started - Donation Page!
Post by: Fergus Keyes on May 23, 2009, 09:08:00 AM
In reference to donations to our St. Columban project, I meant to include a note that we do have a section on our main page that lists individuals that have donated to our fund at:

(You can find it in the donations section at the bottom of the thermometer page under the heading of “Thanks & Acknowledgements for Donations To-Date”)

Unfortunately, we have not had an opportunity to update this area for some time, so if you have sent in a donation over the last years please check this area and make sure that your name appears in the list.  If you have sent a donation, and your name is not on the list - please do e-mail the details to (your name and amount etc.) since we will start to update this area as any new donations are received.

This is also the basic list that we will use for any plaque added to the monument that will list people (or companies etc.) that have contributed financially to the building of our monument and we do not want to miss anyone.

I apologize for driving you crazy with these posts and e-mails, but we are very close to completing our objective and would really like to get everything in order...

Thanks & Take Care


Title: Re: Cemetery Project Work has Started !
Post by: Jeff Legault on May 26, 2009, 09:08:11 PM
As promised, Ken Neil has provided us with some video clips of both the excavation and of the footings being constructed.

Watch the clips here:

More to come as the project moves along in a few days.
Title: Re: Cemetery Project Work Videos
Post by: Jeff Legault on June 16, 2009, 07:52:03 AM
Ken Neil has provided us with another video clip of the backfill work of the footings.

Watch all the clips here:

Title: Re: Cemetery Project Work Update!
Post by: Fergus Keyes on June 22, 2009, 08:38:38 AM
We have recently received a number of new donations to our restoration fund – Thank you to everyone that has contributed.

We have also been updating the list of donors on the site at:

We think that we will have enough in the fund to add a plaque to the monument to thank everyone. So, if you have sent in a contribution, please check this area of the page to be sure that a) your name has been included and b) that it is spelled properly and appears the way you would like it on the plaque.

We will likely order the plaque in about 4 – 6 weeks, so if you would like to send in a donation, it is sent to the St. Patrick’s Society.

Once the form of the plaque is decided, if possible we will post a draft for a few days to give everyone a last chance to check it out.


Title: Re: Cemetery Project Work has Started !
Post by: Fergus Keyes on July 12, 2009, 07:54:10 AM
On Saturday, July 11th, a few of us, including my nephew, Scott Leggo, and Ken Neil, our descendant project manager, were on site at the Cemetery. The objective was to measure the various broken stones and fragments in order to determine how much material, i.e. Bricks; mortar etc... was needed for the walls.

Scott, who is a professional bricklayer, has agreed to provide all his labor for free and in addition, his company, SCOMAR had some specific t-shirts made for their staff and some of the descendants for this particular project.

A few pictures are posted here.

It is likely that in the next few weekends that we will put out a call for all able-bodied descendants to help with this project. Many of the stones are very, very heavy and we probably will need some help to lift and hold them in place while the bricks are placed.

Be sure to follow the progress of our effort on our main site.


Title: Re: Cemetery Project Work has Started !
Post by: Jeff Legault on July 15, 2009, 07:26:50 AM
Just a safety reminder for anyone that might get ambitious and try to move a stone by themselves when nobody is around or attempt to work on an already standing gravemarker, read this story. Ironic as it sounds, you don't want this to happen to you.

Man dies in Quebec cemetery after tombstone falls on him

Title: Re: Cemetery Project Work has Started !
Post by: Jeff Legault on July 29, 2009, 07:13:17 AM
I was in St. Columban briefly yesterday and snapped a few photos of the wall progress, starting here:

It's looking very good.

I also added photos of the front fence/wall showing it's disrepair. A project for another day.
Be sure to also follow updates on the progress page as they become available: