Our community is facing a tragic loss at this time. This is every family’s worst nightmare. At this point it is still a mystery, and this adds to the fear some of us, including myself, may have. I have young children too, and this will unfortunately haunt me for a long time every time my kids are out of my sight. However, I must also reiterate that this is a good neighborhood and community to raise our families. We all enjoy Central Park  and Maywood and the amenities they have, and we must continue to do so.


I do not know Marissa or her family, but I do know many people like them. My hope is that Marissa’s passing will strengthen our connectedness as a community. The death of an innocent child affects a community in ways many other deaths do not. Kids are not just statistics; these events remind us how important life is and how much we love our children

It is a sad fact that these tragedies, violence against girls and boys, happen in communities too often across Canada and around the world. They affect everyone in the community. To this day I recall hearing about the disappearance and death of a young girl in Kelowna in 1994. This event affected the entire city. The outpouring of support for the girl’s family was unprecedented. It reminded us that our families share more similarities than differences. It reminded us that our neighbours need us in difficult times,even when we may be separated linguistically, culturally or economically.  23 years later, Mindy’s name continues to remind us to be vigilant with our children and with  other people’s children as we share these public spaces.

My hope is that Marissa will similarly strengthen our community in Metrotown, bring us closer to one another, make us aware when situations don’t seem quite right, and encourage us to offer assistance when we see someone in distress.

This neighbourhood is a good place to raise children. It is a safe neighbourhood. It is a friendly neighbourhood. Only we can make it better, safer and friendlier. It begins with taking time to get to know our neighbours and having genuine concern and interest for the wellbeing of all those we come in contact with.

My heart goes out to the Shen family, I pray this mystery is solved quickly, so we do not have to live in fear for our children’s safety. I know we will all do whatever we can as a community to support Marissa’s family and friends. Let’s ensure Marissa is remembered and her passing helps prevent another tragedy like this from happening.

Rick McGowan