Butterflies are a universal symbol of change and transformation. They are considered to be acknowledgement of a life fully lived.
Maxine Lemire, along with her family, released butterflies in memory of her grandmother, Diane Audette.
"It's been 10 years to the day, since she passed, and we were looking for a way to commemorate it, and this seemed perfect," said Julie Lemire, Maxine's mother.
"We're surprised by the huge turnout. It really is a beautiful way to remember loved ones."
Maxine and her family were among the large crowd gathered today at Garson Community Centre. The event, hosted by Maison Vale Hospice, is in its third year and is a unique opportunity to honour loved ones who have passed away, through sponsoring a butterfly in their name. The release signifies freedom and offers support and healing for those left behind.
Abbas Homayed, chair of board for Maison Vale Hospice welcomed the crowd with a few words, before the names of loved ones were read out.
"The release of these butterflies signifies freedom and encourages those left behind, to take another step in the healing process," said Homayed.
Families gathered on blankets and lawn chairs and spent the afternoon surrounded by butterflies, and exchanging memories. For many in attendance, this colourful and significant gesture has been a reassuring part of their grieving process.
Individuals purchased a butterfly in dedication for $30. This year 350 butterflies were released in memorial and in turn, raised $13,000 in funds, and $43,000 over the last three years, to support the hospice.