The Memorial Tapestry, a project mounted by Comox resident Judith Conway after her son Matthew died of an fentanyl overdose in 2017, hangs in a hallway at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, where it will stay until July 8. (Don Descoteau/Black Press)

Victoria church displays memorial tapestry for those lost to opioid crisis

Christ Church Cathedral hosts talks on opioid crisis on June 26 and July 3

After her son Matthew died of a fentanyl overdose in 2017, Judith Conway wanted to create a visual representation of the human impact of the opioid crisis. She recruited some friends to help sew together colourful flags with names of Comox residents who have died from overdoses. The display now includes thousands of pieces of yarn, each one representing a Canadian who has died. Conway began by hanging it along her back fence in 2018 then travelled to the Vatican in March 2019 to have the pieces blessed by Pope Francis.

The tapestry was on display at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria for an April memorial for those lost through overdoses. It returns this week for the cathedral-hosted Reality and Hope: Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention.

READ MORE: Opioid crisis and Greater Victoria’s opioid crisis

New national statistics show there were more than 11,000 opioid-related deaths in Canada between 2016 and 2018. The cathedral hosts a discussion with Leslie McBain, co-founder of Moms Stop the Harm, facilitated by Dr. David Mensink on Wednesday, June 26 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Wednesday, July 3 from 1 to 3 p.m. there is a forum with Island Health chief medical health officer Dr. Richard Stanwick and the cathedral’s deacon to the city, Nancy Ford.

The art exhibit of memorial banners is on display at Christ Church Cathedral to July 8. The 30-metre tapestry is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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Judith Conway of Comox stands with her memorial tapestry, honouring by name those lost to drug overdoses in her town, with a coloured thread those who have died in Canada, and a white cloth those expected to die this year. (Susan Down photo)

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