On September 22, 2015, Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam were murdered. In November 2017 local man Basil Borutski was found guilty of murdering them in a shocking one-day killing rampage in Renfrew County that has been called one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Canadian history. On the anniversary of their deaths in every September since the tragedy, community members gather to remember them.
In Wilno, Linda Leonard, who used to ride with Anastasia Kuzyk, led the annual Memorial Trail Ride from Wilno to Killaloe. Last year people walked and cycled beside the riders. This year, in light of COVID restrictions, it was different but the riders still set off from Wilno Heritage Park. (above, photo Sharon Gardiner)
The Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County (WSAC) hosted a commemorative event that was livestreamed on Facebook from Centennial Park, Eganville. There, a small group (fewer than 25 people in keeping with existing COVID restrictions) unveiled the Fifth Anniversary Garden beside the Stone Pebble Monument. Roberta Della Pica opened the ceremony with a traditional acknowledgment and welcome song. Later, during the brief event, she offered tissues to those present so she could perform a (COVID-safe) tear ceremony afterwards. The audience lit memorial candles (inset), heard the speakers and listened to a song.
Tristan Whiston of Red Dress Productions (inset), who was co-artistic director for the creation of the Stone Pebble Monument, reminded the audience of the theme of the Countdown Public Art Project which resulted in the creation of four such monuments across Ontario. He invited people to “Join the countdown to a world without gender-based violence.”
Whiston said the Fifth Anniversary Garden reminded him of a saying, “You tried to bury us but you forgot that we were seeds.”
JoAnne Brooks, Director WSAC, thanked attendees and offered bulbs for them to either plant on site or take home as a memorial. She ended her address about the campaign to end sexual violence by echoing the words of the late US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, “Be Ruthless.”