Yes! We have now opened our 10,000 Ontarians Collaborative Memorial Art Gallery, but we still have a lot of work to do.
Since March 7 we have had close to 250 visitors from the community and have gained lots of encouragement. One of the volunteers kept calling a few weeks ago asking if she could stop by our opening when she came back from volunteering in the Philippines because she wanted to say hello. If I am writing down her words, this is what she said to me in English: “Yes, it is a really beautiful place. But it must help people out there. We need to help each other.”
Can a memorial help us heal and thank Ontarians for their unwavering support for survivors and families? Such a memorial doesn’t detract from our grief, but brings together one last, heartfelt note from Ontarians who loved and lost their loved ones.
The inquest was an important step in our healing process. It brought to a close the suffering of those who lost loved ones, and reawakened Ontarians who had been devastated. Many felt a sense of security knowing we would have closure and peace when it was all said and done.
We are doing well in fundraising to ensure everyone can participate in the memorial, from the guestbook to the casket. We hope to have over $500,000 donated and we will fundraise for a much larger number of people.
Some call it “ambulatory service” because it accommodates the wheelchair, but it is really the same memorial. It is the project of the society, and is approved by our society bylaws. People like it because it is something different and they feel a strong connection to each other. It helps make sure it always seems like home, a small reminder of the connections that have been made between our families.
Many feel that this will be a “huge blessing for the survivors and families of our fallen for the healing process”. Everyone’s time, again, to create meaning, resilience and healing. For the first time, survivors and families feel that their voices will be heard. A tribute to their bravery and resilience.
We are incredibly grateful to our community. May this memorial help Ontarians to heal and acknowledge the unspeakable suffering that our community has felt. May it help us to honour the sacrifice of our fallen and remember them forever. And may it help us to thank them.
-Anonymous, an Etobicoke resident, is a survivor of the 1989 Armistice Day Massacre (“Arms Dealer Massacre”).