This is the Cole Howard Roadside Memorial on highway 69 just after Parry Sound on the way to Sudbury.
The Cole Howard Roadside Memorial is one of the most unique in North America and is a beautiful tribute to a young man who was taken far too soon.
When I started this Roadside Memorials project this was the one memorial that I knew I would one day have to travel to see, photograph and pay my respects.
Cole Howard died in January of 2012, two days after New Year’s and just a few months from his 20th birthday in a head-on crash that also claimed the life of his girlfriend, as well as two other teenage girls on an icy stretch of Hwy. 69 just north of Parry Sound.
Cole was the drummer of a local hardcore band called Sanctuaries, which had played gigs around Ontario. Fans and friends came from across the province to pay their respects at the funeral for Cole.
Once the funeral was over and the initial shock faded, Cole’s father wanted to make a special gesture. The Sr Howard commissioned retired welder and artist Laval Bouchard, whose metal sculptures are visible along nearby roads, to create a likeness of Cole behind his beloved drum kit.
Mr. Bouchard used scrap steel plate and empty propane tanks for the drums to craft an image of Cole with a backwards cap, a T-shirt and shorts. He now sits at the crash site, nearly life size.
There are crosses at the site as well, for the other teens who died that day.
Cole and his girlfriend Torry McIntyre-Courville, 18, of Sudbury were killed after an oncoming car slid across the centre line and struck the Honda Civic she was driving.
The occupants of the other car, a Chevrolet Camaro — Jessica Chamberland, 18, of Sudbury, and her cousin Alyssa McKeown, 17, of Barrie — also died at the scene.