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Family of missing Bridgeport man still looking for answers a year later


Nicholas Mercer

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Andrew Canning loved the springtime.

Canning was an avid walker and the receding snow brought on by warm weather made it easier for him to move around his hometown of Bridgeport and the rest of New World Island.

With the arrival of nicer weather, the man his family call Andy liked to sit in his favourite lawn chair on the porch of his modest home and take everything in. When the mood struck, he would move that chair to his front lawn and do the same.

As the lobster season started, he made his way to the wharf near his home to speak to the fishermen about their catches.

On May 28, 2019, 70-year-old Andy approached one of those fishermen and put his order in for a feed of the red crustaceans.

That was almost a year ago, and he hasn’t been seen since.

“It is still very unsettling,” said Maxine Boyde, one of Andy’s siblings. “There is no indication of what happened and we may never know.

“It is so strange that my brother went missing.”

There will be times when Boyde and her mother, Ethel Mae Canning, will be chatting and Ethel Mae will ask about Andy.

During those conversations, his mother always asks about his whereabouts and expresses her desire to visit him in Bridgeport.

“It is on her mind. (Mom) wants to go home with Andy,” said Boyde. “She is worried that he is all alone.”

The file into Andy's disappearance is still open with the RCMP.

"The matter remains under investigation and the RCMP continues to seek information from anyone who may have any information on the whereabouts of Mr. Canning," wrote an RCMP spokesperson.

Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Andy would walk and sometimes hitchhike for hours on end. It wasn’t strange for him to leave his home in the morning and not return until the evening.

He found the practice would quiet his mind.

Andy was last seen walking on the stretch of road that runs out of Valley Pond on the evening of May 28, 2019. He was wearing a Montreal Canadiens hat and a dark jacket.

Tony Canning isn’t giving up the search for his missing brother just yet. The Twillingate resident intends to arrange searches of a couple of areas on New World Island that he feels need a more thorough inspection.

He isn’t sure when those are going to happen, or if they will happen. The regulations around the COVID-19 pandemic are sure to be in place for the next couple of months, and nobody is sure how searches such as these would be conducted in the post-COVID-19 world.

Tony keeps a ledger at his home. He makes notes about Andy’s case and everywhere that they have previously looked.

"This is not getting any easier,” Tony said of missing his brother. “There are days that I have a job to cope.”

The family has had talks of holding another vigil in Bridgeport for their brother. No one knows when that will be, either, due to the travel restrictions.

There is one thing for certain, though — the family does not intend to halt the search for their brother.

“We have not given up on this,” said Tony.

Nicholas Mercer is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Central Newfoundland for Saltwire Network

nicholas.mercer@thecentralvoice.ca

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