'I think he would have been thrilled': Family grateful Jay Keddy's name lives on in trail
'I’m sure he would love ... that this is a place where kids and their parents can ride'
As Katharina Della Pia hiked up Hamilton's newly-opened Keddy Access Trail, it wasn't hard for her to imagine her father Jay using it every day when the weather was right.
"I think he would have been thrilled. I know he would have absolutely loved having that kind of accessibility to commute to work," said the 29-year-old.
Five years ago, Jay Keddy, a 53-year-old kindergarten teacher, avid cyclist and father of three, was struck from behind and killed while biking up Claremont Access.
The Keddy Access Trail is named in his honour.
"We would have wished something like that would have existed on the Claremont five years ago," said Della Pia.
"I think about different scenarios all the time of what would have changed that day, but you can't go back."
Della Pia lives north of Toronto now, but she walked the trail for the first time during a recent, physically-distanced visit with her mother, marking the five-year anniversary of her father's death.
"I miss him so much and although it does not bring him back I am so glad this trail is now here for everyone's safe transportation," she tweeted, along with a photo of it, complete with rails and signs for a pedestrian crossing.
The trail stretches from Hunter Street to West 5th Street with an entry point at Hunter Street and the Claremont Access. It also features four side connections with three-metre wide asphalt trails.
"To have a trail that is accessible for people to use, to safely bike, commute to work, do their physical activity is something that for us, we're grateful that it can honour his legacy and really help the entire community in Hamilton," said Della Pia.
In a media release announcing the trail's opening on Dec. 4, Mayor Fred Eisenberger praised the project as a way to "provide much-needed connectivity between the lower city and mountain," calling it a "wonderful tribute" to Keddy.
Ward 14 Coun. Terry Whitehead described the trail as a way of sharing Keddy's spirit.
"We lost a great citizen, friend and family member and it is unfortunate Jay is no longer with us. As an avid cyclist, it is fitting to have one of the City's major bike lane accesses named after Mr. Keddy."
Losing a parent isn't something people get over easily, she said, but the Keddy family is trying hard to focus on remembering Jay, rather than the tragic events that took him from them.
"I think my mom will still always feel that hole, being a widow now," Della Pia said, adding his children are trying to live their lives in a way that would make him proud.
While nothing can bring Jay Keddy back, his daughter said she's glad his name can be part of something that will help keep others safe.
"As a kindergarten teacher I'm sure he would love the fact that this is a place where kids and their parents can ride their bike or get some exercise or be together."