The skate park beside the Inuvik Youth Centre is now called the Andy Robertson Skate Park after the late Inuvik youth.
Two blue benches – one shaped like a skateboard and one with an etching of Robertson – were also donated to the park in Robertson’s honor.
After his death in 2015, Robertson’s friends approached Inuvik’s town council about renaming the park after him, and also started a GoFundMe page.
Robertson died in a car accident in British Columbia when he was 25.
Approximately $2,500 was raised through the page, and Robertson’s friends left the decision of what to do with the money up to Robertson’s family.
His mother, Valerie Robertson, said they decided to make a donation to the skate park because it is where Andrew spent the most time.
“From the time my son was seven or eight, all he ever wanted to do was skateboard. If I needed to find him, I didn’t call anyone, I just went to the skate park and sure enough, he would usually be there,” said Robertson. “As he got older, I thought that passion would go away, because that’s what happens sometimes with kids, but in my son’s case … he kept skateboarding right up until he died.”
After Andrew’s death, the family moved to Medicine Hat, Alta.
“When we moved to Medicine Hat, we noticed this huge skateboard-shaped seat at the skate park here. Every time I passed it, I thought Andy would have thought it was the coolest thing, so we decided to use the money to get a similar bench made for Inuvik,” said Robertson.
The Robertson family matched the GoFundMe donation and had a second bench made with a laser cut image of Andrew skateboarding that they also donated to the park.
“He wasn’t boisterous, he didn’t like showing off, so we thought he would probably want something practical,” she said. “Everyone in the community knew he was very athletic … when he was a baby, he never crawled, he got up and ran!”
The benches were made at Purist Welding in Medicine Hat and transported to Inuvik for free by Northwind Industries. They were installed by the Town of Inuvik last month.
“The community has always reached out and put its arms around anyone in times of crisis and trouble,” said Robertson. “For us, even though we’re not there, our hearts are there. To know that any time someone goes to skate at the skate park, that my son will be there looking over them, it brings closure and I know that it would make him very happy because he loved being there.”