Rev. Al Tysick stands in Centennial Square

Good Friday service remembers victims of Victoria’s streets

Rev. Al Tysick to lead memorial service, gather city’s homeless community

Rev. Al Tysick is on a first-name basis with most of the hundreds of people who make their beds on Victoria sidewalks, in shelters and in temporary housing every night.

He knows the Easter long weekend is markedly quieter downtown, as many public service and office employees retreat to celebrate with family or take a much-needed vacation.

“People on the street don’t get a long weekend, they’re in constant survival mode,” Tysick said, between his daily hospital and shelter visits.

It’s his familiarity with the streets that makes his remembrance of the 30 people who died on Victoria’s streets last year so much more meaningful.

“These people suffered unnecessarily,” he said.

This morning (March 29), Tysick and volunteers with the Dandelion Society will read out those 30 names during a Good Friday service and breakfast in Centennial Square starting at 9:30 a.m.

Last year, more than 100 people turned up for food and fellowship.

“If there’s anything about religious holidays the homeless community can relate to, it’s the suffering of Jesus Christ, which is traditionally remembered on Good Friday,” he said.

Chris Geater, a community relations officer at Victoria Cool Aid Society, called the deaths a tragedy, but said units such as the Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team have been successful in connecting the street population with valuable help.

“VICOT is really helping those people stop or avoid becoming part of the ceremonies like the one on Friday,” he said.

More supportive housing is needed to help transition people from shelters to self-sufficiency, Geater added.

“Every night, we have people we have to turn away because of a lack of space.”

Tysick will ask people in attendance at the Good Friday service to write down their own burdens and nail them to a wooden cross, a symbolic gesture that recognizes the pain, struggle and hope on the streets.

Dandelion Society volunteers walk the streets of Victoria at 5:30 a.m. every weekday morning with blankets, muffins and coffee for those who need them.

To learn more, visit hopeliveshere.ca.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Virtual reality arcade in Langford opens doors to new worlds

‘You can be on the Titanic, petting giraffes in Africa… killing zombies or be chased by dinosaurs’

High of 21 C for Wednesday

Plus your weekend forecast

Cyclists and drivers take to the streets Wednesday morning in first official Bike to Work Week celebration

The 25th annual Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week kicks off the followingMonday, May 27

Art and fashion collide for a cause at the Union Club of Victoria

May 26 event benefits Art Gallery of Greater Victoria exhibitions and educational programs

Saanich lifeguards earn Vital Link awards for cardiac arrest response

Awards from BC Emergency Health Services recognize quick and skillful life-saving

VIDEO: Fun without sun: Hundreds enjoy Family Fest on Victoria Day

Families enjoy activities in Veterans Memorial Park

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

‘Conservation financing’ could stop old-growth logging

Reader says with this type of financing province recognizes the benefit of forests

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Most Read