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A Belleville, Ont., angler’s legacy will help others in the sports fishing community

Click to play video: 'An anglers legacy will help others in the sports fishing community' An anglers legacy will help others in the sports fishing community
WATCH: An experienced angler in the Belleville area died after falling through the ice on Lake Ontario almost a week ago. Well known in the fishing community, both locally and around the world - his parents and siblings will now raise money to buy safety suits and fishing gear to help young anglers in his name – Jan 15, 2021

An experienced angler in the Belleville, Ont., area died after falling through the ice on Lake Ontario almost a week ago.

There is a growing memorial on shore, just off Lake Ontario, for 23-year-old Tyler Ballance — a young angler and hunter known to hundreds locally and around the world in the sports fishing community.

Read more: OPP issue warning about thin ice after man dies in Bay of Quinte

Well-known in the fishing community, his parents and siblings will now raise money to buy safety suits and fishing gear to help young anglers in his name.

A memorial for Tyler Bllance at the foot of Point Anne Rd., Belleville. Global News

“Every day we come, there’s new pictures and etchings on things that people have brought”, says Carl Ballance, Tyler’s father, of the memorial erected to his son.

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Tyler’s parents and siblings gathered Friday to honour the ‘baby’ of the family, a young man described as a teacher to all he met whose only passion was the outdoors.

R to L: Carson Ballance, Carl Ballance, Rhonda Ballance & Lindsay Ballance. Global News

“We (Tyler and I) caught a large fish when he was young and it just got him hooked”, says Carl. “You’d think he won the Stanley Cup.

“He jumped around, running around … screaming and hollering. He looked like an NHL player out on the ice.”

Tyler fished all summer and throughout the winter.

Tyler Ballance. Rhonda Ballance/Global News

On Saturday Jan. 9, just after 5 p.m., Tyler stepped out on the ice on the Bay of Quinte at the foot of Point Anne Rd. — an area he knew well.

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According to his father, Tyler did not have the floater suit he normally wore, saying it was soaked from duck hunting the day before.

The OPP recovered his body the following day.

Read more: Man dies after pickup truck crashes through lake ice north of Haliburton: OPP

“A sunny day and the chance of getting a fish drew him in and he wasn’t prepared,” says Carl.

“We (told) him all the time, always be safe. Be smart,” says Rhonda Ballance, Tyler’s mother. “And on that day, things just didn’t go that way.”

Tyler Ballance. Rhonda Ballance/Global News

Tyler Ballance was employed as a personal support worker (PSW) at Belleville General Hospital and the family has received hundreds of messages of condolence, locally and from around the world — some from as far away as Australia.

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“He was the best little brother,” says Lindsay Ballance, Tyler’s older sister.

“His favorite thing to was to jump up and scare you,” she says, smiling at the memory. “He was the loud one and got us all going.”

His brother, Carson Ballance, said, “Any moment he was at the house, he’d spend it with me.

“It was always a good time for us for sure.”

Tyler posted his fishing triumphs on his popular Instagram page, and was described as a mentor to all he met.

“(Tyler had a) passion and true love of people,” says Rhonda, “And it goes back to the teaching thing … he was just so caring.”

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up by a family friend. Money raised will be used to construct a memorial bench in Tyler’s name, and will also go towards buying floater suits and fishing gear for young aspiring anglers.

Go Fund Me page set up in Tyler Ballance’s name. Global News

“He’d be proud of all the things that are going on, and proud of the people that are supporting us,” Carl says.

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A fishing derby will now be held annually in Tyler’s name, organized this year by Bay of Quinte Bate and Tackle on Feb. 13.

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