BANFF – Ethan Enns-Goneau is remembered as a positive and loved person.
The 26-year-old always had a smile on his face and could light up any room he entered. As a born and raised Banff resident, Enns-Goneau was well-known in the community as a participant in sports and his job as a bartender.
“Ethan lit a room up with his smile. He was always smiling. The only time you’d ever see him not smile was for three minutes if the [Winnipeg] Jets or [Toronto] Raptors lost and every other time, he was happy go lucky,” said Bunny Julius, the owner of Melissa’s Missteak where Enns-Goneau worked for 13 years.
“He loved the mountains, loved his job. He was always smiling at work. He worked for me for half his life. He was a pleasant person to be around at all times. … An electrifying person when entering a room. He brought every room up when he entered.”
Enns-Goneau was killed Aug. 5 at Dancing Sasquatch when he was stabbed in the bathroom after recently going to the bar with a friend.
Having only arrived at Dancing Sasquatch, Enns-Goneau went to use the bathroom while his friend went to the bar to order drinks for the two and say hello to the bartender.
Julius said the friend saw the doorman running toward the bathroom and the friend, also a doorman at Melissa’s, followed. Enns-Goneau’s friend saw CPR being performed on a person and ran to nearby Mount Royal Hotel to get the defibrillator and assist with CPR.
Police and paramedics responded at about 2:30 a.m. and rushed Enns-Goneau to Banff Mineral Springs Hospital where he passed away.
John-Christopher Arrizza, 22, was taken into custody Friday morning and later charged with second degree murder Aug. 6.
Arrizza appeared at Canmore provincial court Wednesday morning (Aug. 10) via CCTV after he had been charged by RCMP Saturday (Aug. 6) in stabbing Enns-Goneau.
The brief first appearance lasted less than five minutes, with Arrizza appearing via CCTV from Calgary where he’s been remanded in custody.
Arrizza, 22, appeared in a dark blue prison jumpsuit. He came across as both calm and relaxed and responded to a question confirming his name.
A plea wasn’t entered due to a Crown attorney not yet being assigned and disclosure still ongoing.
Arrizza was represented by Calgary-based lawyer Katherin Beyak. The hearing was adjourned to a later date in August.
Though described in initial reports as an altercation, Julius emphasized there wasn’t any fight.
“It was an attack. It wasn’t a fight or altercation. He wasn’t even there for three minutes. … He fought. He fought for his life,” Julius said.
He added Enns-Goneau had only been in the bar less than three minutes and had no interaction with Arrizza.
Arrizza had previously been barred from Melissa’s Missteak after alleged online comments he made towards females who were known to staff at the business, Julius said.
He added the business has scanners and when identification is scanned, it comes up if a person has been barred. Julius said the doormen would handle that and Enns-Goneau had “zero interaction” with Arrizza.
“If someone’s been a problem somewhere else, you don’t want it to be an issue inside the door,” Julius said.
James Fraser, the director of media and marketing for the Banff Hospitality Collective which owns Dancing Sasquatch, said the company is working with Bow Valley Victim Services and cooperating with the police investigation.
However, they wouldn’t be providing additional comments, he said.
A post on Dancing Sasquatch’s website said the bar would be closed until further notice.
A vigil was held with Enns-Goneau’s friends in Banff Saturday (Aug. 6).
The Town of Banff held a support session at Town hall’s council chambers Friday evening.
Bow Valley Victim Services is also providing mental health and counselling support to those in need.
The death of a young lifelong Banff resident has the mountain community mourning his sudden passing.
Residents have fondly remembered Enns-Goneau – often known as sweet baby Ethan – for his kindness, positivity and smile.
Melissa’s Missteak’s Facebook and Instagram had changed its profile photo to a heart-shaped symbol with the initials EEG. Several people in the community also followed suit.
The restaurant and bar was closed Friday and was partially open Saturday.
Born and raised in Banff, he was known for his calm and friendly demeanour. He grew up playing rugby and soccer as well as minor hockey as a kid.
On social media, one friend wrote his “contagious smile, tight hugs and infectious laugh made it impossible to have a bad day,” while one friend said “thanks for showing us what unconditional kindness is. There is no one in this world half as sweet as you.”
Another friend posted how important it is to “hug your friends, tell them you love them, make time for your people and try to be more and more like sweet baby [Ethan] each day.”
At an emotional introduction to Banff council Monday (Aug. 8), Mayor Corrie DiManno noted the pain felt in the tight-knit community.
“Our hearts are heavy with sadness and anger and our minds cannot comprehend the senseless violence that robbed Banff of a son, a brother, a partner, a teammate, a coworker and a friend,” she said. “Ethan Enns-Goneau had a smile for everyone. From being a dedicated teammate on the field and the ice to being a good gentile friend, he was a bright light in our community. Ethan made Banff a sweeter more caring place.”
A motion from Coun. Kaylee Ram had the Canadian flag outside Town hall lowered to half mast, which was only the second time council had supported such a motion in the past decade.
“The action of flying the flag at half mast is a sign of mourning and the community of Banff is mourning. Known as a light who brightened anyone’s life he came across, Ethan made people feel special with his smile and through his kindness,” Ram said. “Our town is slightly less bright without him. During this process of grieving, we want to show support and show solidarity and I hope the people of Banff see the flag at half mast and feel the solidarity and know they’re not alone in their grief.”
Enns-Goneau’s murder is the first in the Town since 1990 when 18-year-old Ryan Jason Love stabbed 23-year-old cab driver Lucie Turmel to take her nightly earnings of $130.
Love was sentenced to 20 years in prison and released in 2012.
Julius said a memorial is planned for Enns-Goneau at Melissa’s Missteak, but with so many people wanting to attend the concern is it won’t be big enough.
“I’m not sure if we’re big enough and we’re the biggest in town. We’re looking at 550 people and I don’t think we’ll be big enough. … We hope we can fit everyone in,” he said.
“He was a unique person. He was loved by all and you take a look at the donations, it’s really hit this town hard. We’re not used to this happening here. … You’ll only hear positive things said about Ethan.”
A GoFundMe was created with a goal of $4,000 and donations quickly surpassed the $4,000 goal. As of Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 10), the campaign had raised $65,000.
For more information, visit: www.gofundme.com/f/sweet-baby-e-memorial-fund.
For people in need of support, Banff Mineral Springs Hospital offers mental health services daily between 2 and 9 p.m. The emergency room is also available for support.
People can also contact Bow Valley Victim Services at 403-760-0197 and 2-1-1 can connect people to mental health or counselling support.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Banff RCMP at 403-762-2226.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 or online at https://crimestoppers.ab.ca.