June 21, 2013 - 2:10 PM
ARMSTRONG — The site of a gruesome murder is being transformed into a place of beauty, serenity and remembrance this Sunday.
Taylor Van Diest, 18, was killed Halloween night 2011 while taking a shortcut along a set of train tracks in Armstrong. She was on her way to meet friends, but was instead found harshly beaten and in critical condition by the tracks. Taylor eventually succumbed to her injuries in hospital.
The Taylor Jade Van Diest Memorial Trail will officially open Sunday, with Taylor's twin sister Kirstie cutting the ribbon.
"It was her idea all along," Taylor's mom, Marie, says.
The trail weaves behind Armstrong Elementary School and runs parallel to the tracks. Visitors can access the trail from Pleasant Valley Road or Rosedale Avenue.
"It's not just for Taylor, it's for everyone that will walk that trail," Marie says.
The trail has come together in less than a year, with the generosity of the community paving the way. What was a rough, uncared for trail has been transformed into a paved path lined with shrubbery and flowers. A memorial board, bench and signage are expected to be installed by Sunday. Solar lighting is in the works.
"We wanted to turn a site of horror into something positive and safe. We wanted to walk through there without any concerns," Marie says.
Marie says she couldn't just give up and hide. She had to stand up for Taylor, and channel her strength.
"You deal with nothing but horror on a regular basis," Marie says. "This is another chapter in our nightmare; but it will be a lovely waking moment to enjoy."
The public is invited to attend the ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. Sunday. M&M Meat Shops will be offering a barbeque by donation.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at email@example.com or call (250)309-5230. Follow on Twitter @charhelston
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013