Toronto hospital collecting shoes for young victims of violence against women

Published Dec. 6, 2019 6:33 p.m. ET
Updated Dec. 6, 2019 7:08 p.m. ET

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TORONTO -- Thirty years after the Ecole Polytechnique shootings, in which 14 young women were murdered, a Toronto hospital is marking the sombre anniversary with a donation to young female victims of violence.

Humber River Hospital CEO Barb Collins remembers that day in 1989 very well.

“I actually remember being at work as a nurse and hearing the story and it was very shocking when it came out.”

Last year, the hospital created a display to remind staff and visitors that violence against women is still around us and people were encouraged to bring in women’s shoes for donation to those in shelters.

“Last year it was walking a mile in a woman’s shoes, this year it’s walking a mile in children’s shoes, understanding that children are actually some of the biggest victims of domestic violence,” Humber River’s Equity and Inclusion Specialist Umwali Sauter said.

As of Friday afternoon, staff and the public have brought in more than 150 new pairs of children’s shoes, some sparkly and bedazzled, others with sporty stripes. They are displayed on a huge staircase in the centre of the hospital’s main entrance.

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Over the lunch hour, members of staff were invited to listen to several speakers from organizations such as the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the Happy Family Support Network.

Tracy Campbell spoke about work done by Toronto Community Housing to help women who are new to the country or who are fleeing domestic abuse.

“We’re giving the shoes to Firgrove Learning Centre in one of our Toronto Housing buildings in the Jane and Finch corridor,” Campbell said.

And she expressed special appreciation for the donation of winter boots.

“They’re well-received and well deserved and we thank you.”

Other children’s shoes will be given to families forced out of their homes by a the five-alarm fire that ripped through an apartment building at 235 Gosford Boulevard on Nov. 15.

Humber River Hospital will continue collecting new children’s shoes over the weekend and they’ll be brought to Firgrove Learning and Innovation Centre on Monday for distribution.

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