"She was such a pretty girl": Friends remember Crystal Papineau, who died when he was caught in a donation casket


This was a tragic and unnecessary end to a lively and creative young life and loss that sent shock waves through a community that is too familiar with death.

Crystal Papineau, 35, recalls a social, open and generous person who loved drawing and was a talented poet. She was a frequent host of agencies serving marginalized men and women, and a friend to many of the people they visited.

Papineau died earlier this week after being trapped in a donation casket near Bloor St. W in Dovercourt Rd.

When Toronto was flashing because of its first cold weather call in 2019, hundreds of friends and proponents of poverty gathered on Thursday evening to find Papineau to remember "a wonderful man" and urged politicians to do more to help other homeless people .

The speakers warned that on the night Papineau died, women's Toronto shelters were full, while Rescue Resource Centers and two 24-hour departments for women and transsexuals had too much capacity.

While Mayor John Tory and others this week expressed concern about the design and location of donor containers, those who were on the alert focused on wider systemic issues that led to the tragedy.

"Toronto continues to experience a housing and homelessness crisis, and the crisis has contributed to the death of Crystal," said Kapri Rabin of Street Health, an agency supporting the homeless.

"Like many others in the city, Crystal could not access the right place," she said.

Rabin and others were urged to open 2,000 additional shelters immediately to prevent death.

Tory's promise, which she accepted last year to solve the constant problems, has brought some capacity this year.

However, a new 56-bed shelter, to be opened later this month, has little helped to reduce the pressure when more than 120 women sleep at landfills and relies more on survival centers, Rabin said.

As Papineau's friend Meg Inwood said several times: "Crystal death was tragic and unreasonable.

"The reasons for this were bloody.

"And that's why we are here tonight."

Papineau was found in the city block from Sistering, where the woman was from 24 to 7 days where she was a regular guest. Women can get medical care and support in a safe place where they also connect with friends.

Papineau, who has had periods of homelessness in her life, was the fourth known member of her sister who died since July.

"We have had so many fatalities lately, and this is really and truly striking everything that is different from others," said Executive Director Patricia O'Connell.

"I think it was because of who she was and how much was her heart.

"It was really a lovely human being."

Connell said that Papineau was particularly good at connecting with women in need, even when struggling with their own issues. "I often asked her if someone really had a difficult time," said O'Connell.

"He always wanted to help."

Sistering will be in memory of Papineau later this month. On Thursday, four women told the stars about the moments they shared with their friend.

Jessica Joynt, 52, Maria Ventura, 54, Jessica Peach, 25, and Chantal, 29, who asked the star's starter not to use his surname, they were all close to Papineau and described her as a fun, smart, creative person who would do much to help others.

Dragging clothes from metal crates was something she did more than once, they said that she could give things to her friends.

Joynt, Peach and Chantal knew Papineau when he arrived.

"She was the best in the world. She did not care if you pushed her away or not. She was very persistent, "said Chantal, who noticed Papineau's resistance to touch.

Peach remembered how she always saw a friend, how to draw. "Every time she receives money every week, she will return with new dyes and new markers," she said.

Joynt talked about Papineaou's poetry gift. "I read one and I scrambled. It was very moving and moving. "

Ventura met her during the summer day at Kensington Square about five years ago. Ventura was alone in the park on the square. Papineau was with friends. "She said, hey, come here. Do not be alone! It's a nice day. «

After that, women quickly became friends.

The market is also where Papineau met with Sandi Guignard, a worker to reduce the damage he has known for four years. Guignard said that her friend is not afraid to provide help and, no matter what happened in her life, she did not lose a keen sense of humor, bubbling personality and generous spirit.

"She had dreams and goals. Her priority was to get a permanent place, "she said.

Guignard said that Papineau had a very typical dress style and loved jeans and boots.

"I would not see the crystal in the suit," she laughed.

With laughter and tears, Guignard also shared his anger with the unwitting death of her friend.

"I can not grasp this city. I can not understand why this girl is no longer with us because she's trying to put on some clothes. "

Due to life experiences, Papineau's name will be added to the memory of homeless people outside the Church of the Holy Trinity in February. Names of lost people are added on Tuesday, each month.

Troy J. Young, a former neighbor and friend, expects to be in church when they add her name.

"She is someone I would never forget if I met her," said Young. "She was such a pretty girl."

In the past, young people experienced homelessness, and women had a quick and simple bond. The couple did not see very often because Papineau lost a flat a few years ago, said Young.

"This is the ninth person I gave to this memory," said Young.

"We still see our friends who rise on this wall and kill us."

Emily Mathieu is a Toronto journalist who deals with affordable and uncertain housing. Follow her on Twitter: @emathieustar

Laurie Monsebraaten is a journalist from Toronto dealing with social justice. Follow her on Twitter: @ lmonseb


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