It was a solemn release in Kelowna on Sunday afternoon as hundreds of monarchs were released into the sky at the fourth annual Central Okanagan Hospice Association (COHA) butterfly release.
For resident Amber Davis, the event was about remembering her father. She said he passed away from cancer about two years ago.
“It was pretty hard for me, my dad and I were pretty close,” she said.
Davis said after her dad died, her family started to notice butterflies appearing in their backyard.
“They have sort of symbolized my dad for our familly.”
On Sunday, she and hundreds of others commemorated their loved ones using monarch butterflies.
“They go from caterpillar to butterfly, so like human to angel I guess,” Davis said.
Five hundred monarchs were let free into the sky high above the Vibrant Vine Winery.
The butterflies are imported from the U.S.
“We are releasing monarchs that were produced in California at a special facility, and if anything slightly enhancing the population,” said Jeremy Sutton of Flutterbuy’s, a company that provides butterfly releases for various events.
Each one costs $35, with the proceeds going to COHA.
“We are basically building a community where no one has to die or grieve alone,” Nica Graziotto with COHA said.
She said the goal of the event is to give people an opportunity to celebrate the lives of their lost loved ones.
There was also live entertainment, activities for kids and local artisans at the event.
But for Davis, the monarchs are the true symbol of both remembrance and healing.
“It is fairly emotional but at the same time it’s nice because I can kind of see something let go.”