Niagara on the Lake couple and daughter confirmed as victims in Maine plane crash

A wealthy couple from the Niagara region who were prominent philanthropists who donated their time to support the arts, universities and charities in the Niagara Region have been identified as the victims of a plane crash on Monday in Maine. 

Former St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan says he's been informed that 58 year olds Joseph and Anita Robertson and their 24 year old daughter Laura, died when their twin engine propeller Aerostar aircraft crashed into a field in Greenville, Maine. 

The Niagara-on-the-Lake family made major finanical contributions to the performing arts centre, were active in the United Way and Joe Robertson served on the board of directors for Brock University. 

Their daughter, Laura Robertson, was a volunteer firefighter with the Town of Niagara on the Lake. 

McMullan says the couple and their daughter were on their way to a family vacation in Charlottetown when the plane crashed. 

Robertson, the pilot, had departed Pembroke with his family members at about 9 a.m. and was bound for Charlottetown when the crash occurred about an hour and 45 minutes later.

The National Transportation Safety Agency is looking into the matter and will investigate the probable cause of the accident.

Flags will be lowered on Wednesday, August 1st at NOTL City Hall.

The City of St. Catharines has released a statement in regards to the deaths of the Robertson's family.  Below is the full text of the statement. 

The City of St. Catharines joins Niagara in mourning the loss of Joe and Anita Robertson, long-time supporters of the arts and community in St. Catharines and beyond, and their daughter Laura Robertson.

Joe and Anita Robertson were well known for supporting their community through funding and service to local boards, organizations and causes close to their hearts. The Niagara-on-the-Lake family had strong connections to the arts and St. Catharines: Robertson Theatre was named in recognition of their $500,000 donation to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in 2014. The Robertsons were also seat owners and patrons of performances at the City performing arts centre.

Mayor Walter Sendzik said the Robertsons made an incredible impact on St. Catharines that will live on through the causes they’ve supported in the community.

“On behalf of the City of St. Catharines, I want to offer our deepest condolences to the entire family at this very tragic time,” said Mayor Sendzik. “This is a horrible tragedy for the family and a deep loss for our community. The community shares in your grief and sadness during this difficult time.

“Joe and Anita were very kind and generous people who cared deeply about making our community more caring and inclusive. They instilled these values into their children and their spirit will carry on through the many charities, foundations and causes they’ve so thoughtfully supported: the arts, music, healthcare, education and many others through the United Way. Many lives have been touched by the Robertson family.”

Steve Solski, executive director for the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, said the passion the Robertsons brought to supporting the arts and community will be missed.

“The staff at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre are shocked and deeply saddened by this news,” said Solski. “Joe and Anita Robertson were generous supporters of the arts, passionate arts lovers and all around wonderful people. Our hearts go out to their family and friends during this difficult time.”