Memories of our loved ones locked in snowflakes…

By David F. Rooney

They came from all over town on Sunday — men and women seeking a moment of fellowship as they participated in that most poignant of ceremonies, the Hospice Society’s 11th Annual Snowflake Ceremony at Queen Elizabeth Park.

“It may be a husband, a wife, a child, a mother or father,” said Andree Rioux, the society’s executive director at the start of the simple ceremony. “It does not matter how long or short that person has left us. We want to honour them.”

And so they did. With prayers and tears participants wrote the names of those they wished to commemorate on large white snowflakes that were hung in the society’s tree at the park.

“This truly is a special place,” said Gary Sulz, adding that he is “forever grateful to the volunteers and members of the Hospice Society” for holding this annual ceremony.

Here are a few images of the ceremony, which was held beneath the cold, blue vault of heaven:

Young Pearl Pratico (left) watches while her grandmother, Marie, writes the names of dead family members and friends on one of the snowflakes that are such an important part of the Hospice Society's 11th Annual Snowflake Ceremony. David F. Rooney photo
Joel Bourke (left) and Brad Faucett secure snowflakes to the bare branches of the Hospice Society tree at Queen Elizabeth Park and Vivian Mitchell (center, foreground) watches. David F. Rooney photo
Almost 40 people attended the ceremony, which annually brings people together to remember their friends and loved ones who have passed from this world to the next. David F. Rooney photo
Young Pear Pratico patiently waits for Brenda Kessler to turn and take her snowflake. David F. Rooney photo
Brenda Kessler left and Graham Harper (right) were among those who assisted Joel Bourke and Brad Faucett with the cool job of stringing up snowflakes. David F. Rooney