For many years, homecoming weekend at Queen’s University meant thousands of alumni migrating back to Kingston, Ont., for a weekend full of campus festivities.
Princess Street is usually littered with letterman jackets with patches with their graduation year sewn on the sleeve. But this year, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the streets were left bare and events cancelled — forcing many alumni to stay home.
On Sunday, Global News spotted a group of people dressed head to toe in tri-clours walking the empty campus.
When the group was asked why, they shared an emotional story of their friend who would have been celebrating her 40th graduation anniversary this homecoming weekend.
“We’re walking around, remembering the memories of our dear friend, Ros,” said Cathy Seguin. “The memory of her and her incredibly vivacious, energetic spirit is just the epitome of Queen’s.”
Rosalind Plummer, or Ros, as her friends called her, graduated in 1980 and passed away in 2017.
The group of friends have been attending homecoming weekends every five years, but after the loss of Plummer, they were unable to celebrate the milestone of 40 years together.
In the months leading up to homecoming, the group was unsure how they would celebrate safely, but they came up with an idea.
“A tree was planted in her honour in 2019, so we thought we would put red, gold and blue ribbons on the tree as a remembrance,” said Seguin.
The group huddled around the tree, sharing stories of how they met and the memories they made on campus and the years after. Seguin says they have 12 children that have grown up together and are still close to this day between the three families.
“It’s a unique friendship that we nurtured and honoured throughout all of our lives,” said Seguin. “That nurturing came from Ros. She was a central figure in the family. She would often be the person to say, ‘we’re getting together here. We’re doing this’ so her loss is our loss.”
The group says they plan on coming back to Ros’s tree to decorate it for Christmas, but in the meantime, they hope the tri-colours blowing in the wind will be a reminder for all students who walk by that the bonds made at Queen’s last a life time.