Gull Lake residents mourn drowning victim
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | September 13, 2018
A big white teddy bear sits at the gate of the University of Toronto’s Survey Camp on Deep Bay Road in Minden - site of the drowning death of an 18-year-old Mississauga teen Sept. 4.
Resident Richard Bradley said he put it there because he cares. It’s his thing. He put a large bear at the Toronto van attack memorial and two smaller bears at the lights near the Minden ValuMart where Terrence Bradley was killed last Christmas eve. This time around, he said, “I put it there to show the family of Anand Baiju, those classmates and first response workers that tried to save him, the camp staff, the University of Toronto Engineering Faculty, which my father graduated from, the entire U of T community, and our Minden Hills community that I care about them, share their pain, grieve with them and offer up the bear for anyone that needs that big teddy bear hug,” Bradley told The Highlander this week.
“Even though Anand may have only been here for an hour or two, for that time he was a part of the Minden community. He died here and he will be remembered and mourned here,” Bradley said.
Minden Hills Coun. Pam Sayne, who represents the area, told The Highlander, the university site is a “generous neighbour hosting many Gull Lake resident events. We can only provide condolences of this very saddening occurrence.”
Haliburton Highlands OPP detachment commander Liane Spong-Hooyenga said officers responded to a call for help at 4:45 p.m. last Tuesday.
“An 18-year-old male from the Mississauga area had been pulled from the water … EMS was also on scene and efforts were made to resuscitate the victim. The male party was transported to the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Hospital in Minden where he was later pronounced deceased. “The male party had been with a group from the University of Toronto who were staying at the camp. He had become separated from a group in and around the water,” she said. The U of T website issued a statement saying the university community is mourning the loss.
The site said the student was part of a group taking part in an engineering course. The week’s programming at the camp was subsequently cancelled, Cristina Amon, dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering said in the statement.
“Our attention must be with those affected by this terrible tragedy,” she said in a message to engineering students, faculty and staff. “The thoughts of our entire community are with the family and friends of the student who died.”
The U of T bought the 175-acre property on Gull Lake in 1919 as a site for engineering students to learn surveying and project management. Today, it’s used to teach and surveying, integrated water system and geology. Baiju’s family and friends launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for his funeral.
“He was a great son, brother, friend, and moreover, a wonderful personality. “To his parents, he was the only hope for them and dedicated their whole life for his studies. Please help and support Mr. and Mrs. Baiju at this tough time,” the site reads. It raised $27,423, surpassing its $20,000 goal.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.