Hamiltonians can pay tribute to loved ones lost to COVID-19 in city-run memorial wall

Hamiltonians will soon be able to pay tribute to a loved one who died after contracting COVID-19 as part of a city-run virtual memorial wall.

Virtual posts can include a name, a photo and a short message

The City of Hamilton virtual memorial wall will remember people who lost their lives to COVID-19. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Hamiltonians will soon be able to pay tribute to a loved one who died after contracting COVID-19 as part of a city-run virtual memorial wall.

The City of Hamilton says it expects to open submissions for the wall, which will be hosted on its website, on Thursday. Posts can include a name and photo of the deceased, as well as a 50-word message. 

"I think it's absolutely worth memorializing those who that have lost their lives, if they're willing to participate," said Mayor Fred Eisenberger in a general issues committee on Wednesday.

Ward 9 (upper Stoney Creek) Councillor Brad Clark made the suggestion for a virtual memorial back in February.

He noted that people haven't been able to grieve as normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, and hoped the wall would serve as a way to remember and educate others. 

He said then that each death was being treated as a statistic, "but each one of them is a life and a family behind it."

The idea returned to committee in April, but was delayed over privacy concerns. It passed unanimously on Wednesday.

When people make submissions, they'll need to consent to publishing the information about whoever they wish to commemorate. 

"It's a simple branch out to family as we all have to deal with these challenging times," said Ward 10 (lower Stoney Creek) Councillor Maria Pearson. 

As of Wednesday, there have been 376 people who have died in Hamilton after contracting COVID-19. Ontario has seen 8,525 people lose their lives overall. 

Eisenberger said he imagines that at some point after the pandemic, the city might want to think of having a physical memorial.

"These are major milestones in our community and certainly it needs to be reflected on historically," he said. 

The city will run a campaign during the rest of May and June to make sure residents are aware of the memorial. It says the site will also feature a "This is COVID-19" video series to educate people on the impacts of the pandemic. 


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