‘Ghost shoes’ installation remembers woman who was killed near Mount Royal
MONTREAL – White shoes hang from a lamppost, representing the footsteps that Conception Cortacans once took.
She was hit by a car that had failed to stop at a red light on Parc Avenue on Jan. 7.
She later died of her injuries.
A group of about 30 friends, family and activists gathered at Parc and Duluth avenues, where she was struck.
It was an event almost too difficult for her widower to attend.
“I didn’t want to be part of this because we buried her yesterday and I’m very emotional,” said André Benyamen.
“I didn’t know how I could cope with it. Seeing so many citizens of Montreal who are with me here, sympathize in this loss of life so tragically and so sudden, so brutally.”
The ceremony was organized by the same group that installs ghost bikes for fallen cyclists.
Instead of putting a bicycle to mark where Cortacans was killed, shoes hang from a nearby lamppost.
A group of Montrealers created Piétons Québec to promote pedestrian’s rights.
They took dramatic steps to raise awareness by forming a human chain across the four lanes on Parc Ave.
“Those are not accidents. Those are caused by the configuration of Parc, which is a highway in a city,” said Piétons Québec’s Felix Gravel.
About half of all deadly crashes in Montreal involve a pedestrian.
According to organizers, Parc Ave. needs to be reconfigured to accommodate the large number of families that use nearby green spaces, including Mount Royal.
They said urban boulevards are accidents waiting to happen.
“The speed limit is written right there – it’s 50km/h,” said organizer Laurent Deslauriers.
“I’m pretty sure many people are passing faster than 50 here.”
WATCH: Ghost bike vigil in Montreal
Cortacans’ husband said he will always remember his wife as an avid walker, despite how she was killed.
Her favourite spot was at the park, right next to where she was fatally struck.
“Walking was part of her life. Our passion was the mountain, it was our second house,” Benyamen told Global News.
“She couldn’t go anywhere in the city by bus or taxi. For her, walking was her way to communicate and reach everywhere.”
© 2016 Shaw Media