By Darlene Casten
Filipinos Marlene and Lorenzo Hong say the park is a way for them and the families of the four other slain university students to be remembered in a happy space and they are looking forward to it opening, but another $450,000 is required to bring the project to completion.
The Hong’s son, Lawrence, was one of Matthew de Grood’s victims. de Grood, who was having a psychotic break, stabbed five people at a get together celebrating the end of the university school year. Lawrence had just completed his last exam in at the University of Calgary, where he was taking urban studies.
Lawrence’s brother, Miles, says the idea for a memorial park has been in the works for three years.
“The trial had just finished a few weeks earlier so it was something to help us move forward and give back to the community that had helped us so much,” Miles says. “It was about moving forward, doing something positive, not dwelling in the negative.”
The park, called Quinterra Legacy Garden, will be located near the spray park and playground in South Glenmore Park. It will include an area for performances, and outdoor musical instruments to honour the victims, some of who were musicians and dancers.
Miles says Lawrence would love the park concept, in part because he loved biking.
“Just having a place to gather together – that what my brother is about – having more engagement,” Miles says. “Anything that would have been done, he would have been happy. There will be lots of people being active, lots of people riding their bikes.”
The families have been working with the City of Calgary and a landscape architect to design the park. The total cost of the project is $800,000 and the group has fundraised $350,000 to date. Miles says they can begin construction, but will need to fundraise the rest as the city requires a 20-year budget for maintenance of the park.
The group is applying for grants and approaching business donors.
The Calgary Parks Foundation is holding Parks Day Sept. 21 at Haultain Park, where people can vote for their favourite community project. The project with the most votes will get a $50,000 grant. Marlene’s mother says she hopes people will come out and enjoy Parks Day and vote for Quinterra Park.
“We still need the public awareness that we still welcome donations,” says Marlene “There is still a lot of money the city needs us to have.”
People who need a tax receipt can make a donation to Quinterra Park on the Calgary Parks Foundation website. There is also a Quinterra Legacy garden go-fund me page to make donations.