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New Montreal snow park honours memory of Dillon Ojo

Click to play video: 'Snow park unveiled at Montreal’s Olympic park in honour of fallen snowboarder Dillon Ojo' Snow park unveiled at Montreal’s Olympic park in honour of fallen snowboarder Dillon Ojo
WATCH: Montreal snowboarders and skiers now have access to an impressive new snow park right in the middle of the city. The goal is to make snow sports more accessible to urban youth. It's all thanks to a young professional snowboarder who died far too soon. Dan Spector reports – Jan 20, 2022

Montreal snowboarders and skiers now have access to an impressive new snow park right in the middle of the city, all thanks to a young pro snowboarder who died far too soon.

“It’s really amazing, and it’s pretty unheard of,” said Giovanni Vacca, a snowboarder who works for Vans.

It’s called the Dillon Ojo Snowpark, and it is located at the Olympic Park near Stade Saputo and the Olympic Stadium tower. It’s a one-of-a-kind practice ground for skiers and snowboarders, carrying the name of a one-of-a-kind individual.

“He was a wonderful young man, full of joy, full of hopes and dreams, and was always happy,” said Elaine Charles, mother of the late Dillon Ojo.

Read more: ‘Very Montreal’: Snowboarders captured riding down Olympic Stadium

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Growing up on the south shore, Ojo started snowboarding at age 13 and quickly made a name for himself. He was best known for “street snowboarding,” using railings and staircases in the city to perform daring tricks.

He got sponsored by Vans and snowboarded all over the world.

“He was making his living. He was very surprised that he was able to do that, enjoy what he did and also make a living. It was a dream,” said Charles.

Vacca was a close friend of Ojo’s and they would often snowboard together with a group of friends at Mont-St-Bruno.

“He was not only a sponsored professional snowboarder, but an important person in our community and friend group. He DJ’d events, he did art, he was the kind of guy who did it all,” Vacca told Global News.

At just 22 years old, the rising star died in a tragic accident, falling three stories from a ladder back in 2018.

“It was definitely very emotional for everyone,” said Alex Auchu, Vans Canada’s head of marketing, who also knew Ojo.

Only weeks after his passing, Ojo’s family decided to honour him by harnessing his kind and generous spirit.

“It was only natural to continue with the idea of giving, and that’s what he loved to do. He loved to be with friends and give and have everyone smiling and happy, so we just kind of continue that in his name,” said Charles.

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The Dillon Ojo Foundation was born, with the goal of making sports more accessible to underprivileged youth.

Read more: 2 Okanagan snowboarders to compete in 2022 Winter Olympics

“Our goal is to keep kids in sports,” Charles explained. “Kids who are perhaps less fortunate or don’t always have the means don’t have a way to ski hills. They don’t have equipment. It’s not only in snowboarding, but we branched out into all different sports wherever we kind of see the need.”

The foundation teamed up with Vans and the Olympic Park, and the Dillon Ojo Park quickly materialized.

“He’d be completely mind blown by this right here,” said Vacca,

“I think it would be a dream come true for Dylan. I don’t think he would have ever imagined that he would be associated with this,” said Charles.

It’s accessible by bus, or at the Viau or Pie-IX metro stations. It’s totally free to use all winter.

“Having this in the middle of the city, I think that that’s what makes us super, super proud and happy about this project,” said Auchu,

All those involved are happy to carry on Ojo’s legacy by giving the sport he loved to others.

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