In 1934, Harold Heaven disappeared from his cabin on Horseshoe Lake Road, never to be seen again. His body was never found. Now, 85 years later, Harold’s great-grea-tnephew Mike (Heaven) Mildon and his best friend Jackson Rowe are hoping to solve the case.
The two documentarians came to Minden Hills council Dec. 12 seeking permission to film in the town, including on township-owned property, as early as Jan. 5, 2020.
Rowe and Mildon are the hosts of ‘For Heaven’s Sake’ which will air on the CBC. They said they’ll explore family legends, campfire tales, newspaper articles about Harold’s disappearance, and look at theories in the official police reports.
“Harold’s case has been left unsolved for more than 80 years, and the Heaven family, especially Mike, want to solve the mystery,” Rowe said.
However, before they start showing up with cameras on the streets, they wanted to introduce themselves to the public and let locals know about their crew coming to town.
At the council meeting, they outlined the story of Harold’s disappearance in hopes of jogging the memories of anyone who might know something interesting. They also wanted council members to share any ideas or theories they have that might help with their investigation.
“They conducted an initial search, they dragged Horseshoe Lake. They spoke with people of interest, neighbours, acquaintances, but despite their best efforts they couldn’t do anything to move the investigation forward,” Rowe said.
They said that during filming, they expect to uncover a lot about the history of the town and its people in the 1930s, which is why they think many residents would be interested in speaking with them. In addition to members of the Heaven family, they hope to interview neighbours, historians, and other Mindenites. They said Harold Heaven’s family still has a strong presence in Minden. Several relatives have cottages, or live full-time, on Horseshoe Lake. Mildon added that Minden has been a huge part of his life. He spent years working at Foodland, Boatwerks, and many more local shops. He’s been a big part of the local kayaking community.
The crew hopes to film in the township in January and February, since it was in the winter when Harold went missing. They may also return in the spring.
“Minden is an integral part of the story, and because this is a documentary, the story will change the more people we talk to,” the two said.
They anticipate filming main street, the Gull River, Riverwalk trail, the Cultural Centre, Horseshoe Lake Road as well as surrounding lakes, and other areas as needed. With permission, they also hope to film private establishments such as the Dominion Hotel, the Legion, and other historic properties.
“We’d like to take our small film crew to places like Tuesday night bingo, the genealogy club, Open Mic Night at the Dominion Hotel, watching as the story unfolds,” they said.
They said it might seem strange to relaunch the investigation now, more than 80 years after the fact, but with “new technologies and means of communication, we think that there is more information to be had.” They added, “if you lost a family member, would you stop looking? Exhausting every last effort, leaving no stone unturned to try to find closure for this family tragedy and lifelong mystery. It’s exactly what we plan to do.”
Rowe said, “Since it’s such an old case it may seem strange to say but time is very much of the essence … we want to act now before the last remaining first-hand accounts of what happened will fade away and Harold’s truth is lost forever.”
Mildon added, “Every family has a skeleton in their closet. Mine has been there for almost 100 years. This project has been a chance to solve a mystery – the camp fire story brought to life.”