Alexandra Bridge

Alexandra Bridge connects Ottawa to Gatineau and was completed in 1901. But while a beautiful landmark in the city, it also has a tragic history. 

As mentioned in our Major's Hill Park entry, this was the site of the senseless murder of Alain Brosseau, a 33-year-old waiter at the Château Laurier. 

Just around midnight of the night of August 21-22, 1989, Brosseau was walking home through Major's Hill Park after his shift when he was chased by four young men—Jeffrey Lalonde (18), the leader of the group; Thomas MacDougall (18); Duane Martin (17) and a 16-year-old known as Reid. 

Fueled on pot and alcohol, they caught up with Brosseau on the bridge. Martin struck Brosseau over the back of the head with a stick and the others lunged at him, punching and stealing his money and jewellery. Badly beaten and dazed, he was lifted up and danged over the edge by Lalonde, who dropped him into the river to his death. In the trials later, it was revealed that Lalonde said 'Nice shoes, faggot' as he let go of Brosseau's legs, who flailed helplessly as he fell. 

But the gang wasn't done yet. They met up with friends Mauricio Carpio (23) and another reported as Cody Armstrong and also as Henry Hynes (20), and at 3:45am that night the six youth entered the home of Wilfred Gauthier and Alain Fortin, savagely attacking them. Martin and MacDougall knew where to find them because they robbed one of the victims earlier that month and had his keys and address from ID in his wallet. Luckily, both men survived the attack. [see Major's Hill Park entry for more information on this crime.]

The body of Brosseau was washed up on the shore in Jacques Cartier Park and found at 7:30am.  He was described in papers as being a white male with blue eyes, short brown hair, wearing a white v-neck t-shirt, dark blue pants, a brown belt, blue shoes and brown socks. It seems that he was not actually gay at all, having a long-time girlfriend, but as David Pepper explains, hate crime is not about the victim, but about the perpetrator. 

All the men were arrested and convicted of crimes with various sentences. Lalonde killed himself in May 2008 in prison serving a life-time sentence. 

The death of Brosseau was shocking and a personal tragedy, but David Pepper stresses his death was not in vain. Positive change and a gradual improvement of relations with police have likely saved other lives and brought awareness and empathy to victims of hate-motivated violence and crime who were otherwise ignored.

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