by Tera Colville

In June of 2021, we all gathered to celebrate Father’s Day and our father’s birthday for the weekend at our parents’ home in the Haliburton Highlands. When Jamie left for his work week that Sunday, we hugged him and told him we loved him, not knowing we would never see him alive again.

A man with a light complexion, brown hair and beard sits in a boat. He's wearing a tan blazer, striped shit and a maroon tie. The water is behind him and the dock, rocks and some cedar trees are visible on the shoreline.

Jamie had his whole life to look forward to.

Jamie was the middle child and only male, to carry on our family name. I am Jamie’s older sister, and our younger sister’s name is Kristi. We all enjoyed a close and loving relationship with Jamie and were dependent on him for his open mind for a different view, care, companionship, and guidance. Jamie was always eager to help and offer advice.

Jamie had many talents. He excelled in music. Primarily self-taught, he played both the acoustic and electric guitar, and the drums. He had a distinct ear for chords and remarkable memory for lyrics. His taste was unique, and he was also an extremely talented artist. His art was a way of expression. He was known well for his modern Anime and Marvel drawings.

Jamie was an outdoors man who loved getting off grid and backcountry camping. He was physically fit and had a great flair for vegan dishes; he loved to cook and share his favorite recipes. He passed his time shooting targets with his bow and arrow and enjoyed jogging the back country roads up north. We all loved the fires he would build and tend to while playing our favorite songs. He was an animal lover; he had a young Doberman Pinscher named Reece he adored and loved playing with the family pets. Animals were drawn to his kind and gentle soul. Jamie had an enormous bucket list that will never get completed. He enjoyed snowboarding and his time spent in the Canadian Rockies.

Jamie was just 34 and had his whole life to look forward to. He just met a new girl who shared his love for adventure. We will always wonder if Jamie would have had a family of his own. Our parents were viewing a house for him on Monday June 14, 2021, and were prepared to make an offer on it, so he could start a new chapter in his life. They just returned home when an O.P.P. Officer arrived to relay the shocking news of a catastrophic explosion in the workplace that morning. Jamie was struck and killed instantly at 9:30 a.m.

We were able to say goodbye to my baby brother in the flesh. I told his spirit to pass peacefully, not to be burdened by our sadness, and that his death would not be in vain. Sharing Jamie’s story from the perspective of a workplace tragedy survivor will help bring awareness to workplace safety. We will continue to experience a loss of enjoyment of life for the balance of our natural lives. We have suffered from tremendous traumatic, emotional, and nervous upset. Our lives and hearts are shattered, and our family will never be the same again.

He was passionate about his career as a millwright following in the footsteps of our father. Jamie was a 4th year Apprentice Millwright at the time of his death; he was excited about a new opportunity in Northern Ontario. It seemed promising and stable. He enjoyed the drive up to Bruce County where he was working in Tiverton, Ontario.

Jamie was planning to camp in The Bruce National Park that summer. Instead his ashes were scattered at the Grotto, a tree planted with a rest area for workers to reflect upon onsite in Tiverton, and an engraved black granite stone in Barrie for his colleagues to commemorate. A Go Fund Me campaign was set up as a living tribute.

A total of $75,000.00 was donated to to Kids in Camp for less fortunate children who share the same love for music, art, and the great outdoors.

We believe there were several measures that would have saved our brother’s life. We must continue to mourn our dead and fight for our living. We lost Jamie in the height of the pandemic, and I am forever grateful for Threads of Life; it was helpful to have people whom I could resonate with that were easy to approach for supports. I look forward to attending the Family Forum each year where we will continue to share the stories of our loved ones, keeping their memory alive and bringing awareness to safety in the workplace.

Jamie was a devoted son, brother and uncle to my daughter London who adored him. Jamie is deeply missed by his parents, his sisters, grandmother Theresa, niece London and nephew Jamie whom he never got to meet, many aunts and uncles, cousins, extended family, friends, colleagues, and his union brothers at Local 2309.