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The Garden Planting at Sorauren Park July 10, 2004
(Soon to be Holly Jones Park)

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Some pictures from the tree planting and bench placing memorial ceremony for Holly at Sorauren Park at Wabash and Sorauren Avenues on Friday May 30, 2003

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St. Luigi Garden Planting Ceremony

Memories stir in Holly's garden
School dedicates area to `gentle, fun-loving child'

Boulder, flowers, stepping stones mark her short life


JIM WILKES
Toronto Staff Reporter

A wooden bench, a huge granite boulder, colourful flowers and 32 stepping stones.

There's a little bit of Holly Jones in all of them.

Memories of the slain west-end youngster hung heavy in the air yesterday as a sun-dappled garden outside her school was dedicated to her all-too-short life.

It's a shady spot that young friends say Holly would have loved and a place where they know they can always find her among the holly bushes, snapdragons and begonias.

They'll see her in the butterflies that will be drawn to the blooms, in much the same way they were drawn to craft butterflies from paper and pipe cleaners that they hung in an evergreen or taped to the brick wall of St. Luigi Catholic School.

Classmates of the 10-year-old Grade 5 student stood at a microphone in the schoolyard yesterday and spoke nervously of their slain friend. Others danced in her garden and twirled silky scarves in the afternoon breeze.

Holly had left a girlfriend's home on Perth Ave. not far from the school the evening of May 12 and, somewhere along the few blocks to her home, disappeared.

Her dismembered remains washed ashore on Ward's Island and the Lake Ontario waterfront the next morning.

Staff Inspector Brody Smollet spoke for Toronto police and vowed that her killer would be caught.

St. Luigi principal Vito Malfara recalled Holly as "a fine student and gentle, fun-loving child who enjoyed music and dance."

A classmate named Diana told of Holly's love of sports.

"She would sometimes say, `One day you and me will be professional basketball players just like my big sister Shauna.'

"We all know that Holly is smiling down at us and she's trying her hardest to make us smile," little Diana said.

"Holly was really an angel put here by God, but now her duty here on Earth is done and God needed his perfect angel back in heaven."

The words were too much for 18-year-old Shauna, who covered her face in her hands and sobbed on her mother's shoulder at one end of a row of chairs.


`We all know that Holly is smiling down at us and she's trying her hardest to make us smile.'

Holly's friend, Diana


Holly's mother, Maria Jones, fought her own emotions, placing a hand on the knee of her other daughter, 17-year-old Natasha. Down the short row of chairs, Holly's father, George Stonehouse, sat beside her brother, 16-year-old James.

Maria Jones walked stiffly to the microphone and offered a peek into her private hell.

"We as a family have been blessed with four beautiful children," she said, recalling their births as the "most joyous days of my life."

"Learning about the tragic and horrifying loss of our beautiful daughter is now, and will always be, the most horrific day of our lives.

"But it's because of all the people, all of you, that have gotten us through each day."

Jones even invited her daughter's young friends and classmates to visit her Sterling Rd. home and wander through the garden she created from flowers and plants, left by well-wishers who created a makeshift shrine on their front lawn in the days after Holly's death.

Then she wrapped her muscular arms around sobbing young students, their scarlet cheeks stained with tears, steeling herself against their shared pain before strolling over to the garden bench.

Stonehouse joined her briefly and they walked over to the huge granite boulder where classmates had piled bouquets, reaching down to place a hand on one of the butterflies carved into the stone.

And then they ambled back along the 32 stepping stones that bore the handprints and initials of each child in Holly's class.

School trustee Barbara Poplawski told scores of spectators from the neighbourhood that the hands of those students will touch much as they wind through life.

"But no matter how many things they can touch or how big they grow, they will never ever touch the millions and millions of hearts that Holly's short life here did."

Holly's teacher, Suzanne Da Cunha, was left to sum up a solemn afternoon of remembrance.

"We dedicate this bench, we dedicate this stone,

So we can remember and never be alone,

With handmade stepping stones we'll create Holly's path,

So that we may walk there, remembering Holly's laugh."

 

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