Friends paid tribute to the fallen cyclist last night at Hart House’s Great Hall with a charity yoga class to benefit her son.
It has been one month and 14 days since Jenna Morrison was struck and killed by a truck on the corner of Dundas West and Sterling Road, but her death is still reverberating in the various communities she impacted as a friend, mother, yoga instructor and cyclist.
Last night, a charity yoga class to create a trust fund for her son drew members of those communities to Hart House’s Great Hall. To the accompaniment of a drum, crystal bowls and a crackling fire, Morrison’s friend Nicky Poole led the group through a Vinyasa Flow routine in the arching, wood-paneled room.
“Some people who knew her really well are here, but also people who have never met her. Everyone: cyclists, yoga people—it’s a very special group,” she said.
Immediately after the accident, Poole was shocked by the notion of how easily it could have been her that day—both she and Morrison had young sons, worked closely on the board of their sons’ play school, were yoga teachers and biked across that Dundas intersection every day with their child in tow. But with help from Natalie Westlake, Poole’s former employer at Lululemon’s Cumberland location, she eventually decided to channel her grief into something more active.
“This is not the most sombre event,” Poole said. “It’s mostly to let people know what has been done so far, because a lot has happened in the last month.”
While those taking part in last night’s class were calm and elegant in their movements, other actions in support of Morrison have been far more aggressive. Last week, the Urban Repair Squad installed their rogue bike lanes at the scene of the accident. And Olivia Chow’s private member’s bill to make side guards mandatory on heavy trucks continues to gain support in Question Period and even in the trucking community, according to Matthew Remski, a friend of Morrison’s and spokesperson for the Safe Trucks movement on behalf of her family.
“In modern culture, the yoga community hasn’t had a lot of political cohesion in putting forward our collective values with a single voice,” Remski said. “This event created a necessity to do so. A lot of people have reactivated their social responsibility.”
Others, though, have found their own way of showing support—whether it’s through signing a petition, a sun salutation, cooking a meal for the family, or a cheque for $1,000 that Poole received from an anonymous donor.
“People do what they can—and it’s showing that her death was not for nothing,” she said.