He’s described as an adventurous soul, a hard worker, and a man who would give his heart and generous spirit to anyone.
Jesse de Champlain may be gone, but he’s certainly not forgotten by his family, friends, and members of Calgary’s skate community.
The 36-year-old Calgary man died after he was swept away in an avalanche near Egypt Lake in Banff National Park on March 16.
On Sunday, about 100 people gathered at The Compound YYC Skatepark to celebrate what would have been Champlain’s 37th birthday.
To mark the occasion, friends honoured him in the best way they knew how.
“We’re skating on and spreading love and positivity,” said local skater Marcell Tollin.
The 16-year-old skated alongside many of his friends dedicated their skate to Champlain’s memory.
One of those friends was Jori Duguid, who had never met Champlain, but knew just how special he was.
“I know a lot of people that were inspired by him and even though I didn’t get to meet him, he was really passionate about the sport.”
Several of Champlain’s family members, including his partner Adau Dut were on hand for the occasion.
“Every day he would tell me he loves me and he would just go out of his way to be so sweet and so kind,” Dut said.
“He’d probably be laughing to see so many people here today just for him, but he really impacted so many people, it’s just incredible.”
The Compound YYC Skate Park dedicated its indoor park to Champlain.
A special “RIP Jesse D” emblem is now painted on one of the halfpipes where many people signed messages of loves and support.
Champlain’s mother, Sussane, wrote the first message, an important lesson her son taught her.
“He taught me that connections with people are maybe more important than other things and it’s through your connections with people that you make a legacy for yourself,” she said.
Indeed, Champlain’s legacy will now live on for generations to come
Sunday’s event initiated the Jesse D Legacy Fund which will cover the costs of sending children in need to summer skateboard camp at the Compound YYC.
As of Sunday afternoon, more than $6,500 was already donated to the GoFundMe page.