By Kyle Moore
June 12, 2022 - Many people came together in Glace Bay, N.S. Saturday - led by the Men of the Deeps - to mark Davis Day for the first time in two years.
“It's very important. This is our history, this is who we came from and these are our people. These are the people responsible for the lives we have,” said Cape Breton Miners Museum executive director Mary Pat Mombourquette.
In mining communities across the province, people stopped to remember William Davis, the 37-year-old father of nine who was shot and killed by coal company police during a 1925 miner's strike in New Waterford, N.S.
Nearly a century later, the day has come to honour all miners killed or injured on the job.
“Safety of the workers is as important today as it was in 1979, or in 1992 at the Westray explosion. We will continue our fight to ensure that when a worker leaves home for a shift, they need to return home at the end of the day,” said Danny Cavanagh with Nova Scotia Federation of Labour.
A special monument was also unveiled as part of the ceremony on Saturday.
A dozen coal miner lunch pails, each etched with a name and a rose to remember 12 men killed in Cape Breton's deadliest mining disaster.
“I think the families that are related to miners who lost their lives that day enjoy coming here. It's just a nice, quiet, peaceful place to reflect,” says Joanne Shepard.
Shepard's father Fabien was one of the men killed on February 24, 1979.
She says she thinks of him every day, but especially on Miners' Memorial Day.
“If the past two years has taught us anything, it is that our future is always uncertain. Even today is not a guaranteed fact until it is over and considered yesterday,” she says.
Jim Maclellan was the mine manager on that tragic day; it's one he says he will never forget.
“It was our worst fears of any manager, any miner - an explosion. There was nobody in that mine or the Cape Breton Development Corporation at that time that experienced an explosion.”