By Vanda Urbanellis
Strangers and friends gathered around the Church of The Holy Trinity on Jan. 15 to pay tribute to Richard Ian Kenyon and all of the other homeless people who have passed away in the streets of Toronto.
Kenyon, 51, died on Dec.23 as a result of the extreme weather conditions that swept through Toronto over the winter holidays. His body was found on Christmas Eve at Carlton and Church streets, near the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
“He lived tragically and he died tragically,” wrote Susan Kenyon, Richard Kenyon’s sister, who couldn’t attend the service.
Every Tuesday of each month, the Church of The Holy Trinity holds a homeless memorial for those who are found dead. Their names are added to a board outside the building in order to recognize and pay respect to them.
Over 30 names are added to the board each year.
“A lot of government housing and necessities have been cut, as a result we see more and more people die,” said Greg Cook, Toronto memorial coordinator. “It’s just really tragic. I think that both individually and as a society that we can do better.”
Community organizations and programs like the Church of the Holy Trinity struggle to find proper support and funding.
Cathy Crowe, a street nurse who works with Ryerson, organizes walks and presentations with students, faculty members and the public to raise awareness about social justice and human rights issues.
Her most recent walk, which started on Ryerson’s campus, lead a group to the Church of The Holy Trinity to be a part of the vigil honoring Kenyon and others. The service was followed by speeches, poems, a candle lighting ceremony and a lunch. Later, the group walked to the scene where Kenyon’s body was found.
“In a way, what I do (the walks) is like a live link. We’re used to clicking on links to receive more information and this is one where it’s real,” said Crowe. “It’s like the whole experience is a live link to things happening just outside of the Ryerson boundaries and in our community.”