Paying Tribute to a Young Life Lost
It’s been just seven months since the tragic death of 16-year-old Tristan Morrissette-Perkins devastated the community of Dorval, just outside Montreal. Tristan and two other boys were taking photos on a rail bridge near Lancaster, Ontario in early July when a passenger train en route from Montreal to Toronto came along the track.
The two other boys survived. Tristan did not.
Since the accident, the community has come together to honour Tristan in different ways. The local hockey league he played with officially retired his jersey in November. In late December, the league also held a benefit hockey tournament bearing his name and favourite sweater number: the Tristan Morrissette-Perkins 06 Tournament.
Now, Tristan is being remembered once again by a member of the local hockey community—this time through art.
Digital photo artist Cindy Charles, a mother of one of Tristan’s former hockey teammates, has created a piece inspired by the teen. She belongs to an international photo artistry group called Shift Art, which holds a monthly contest that challenges members to create a unique piece of photo art using 30 to 40 images. Charles says when she saw the selection of images for January’s challenge she immediately knew what she should do with them.
“It was just one of those very weird occurrences where in the set of images there was an image of a boy, an image of a bridge, and an image of train tracks. I felt that it was a sign that I had to create something to honour Tristan,” explains Charles. “I think it is a very beautiful image and for me, it portrayed a boy that was tragically lost.”
Charles says that Tristan’s death hit those in Dorval’s minor hockey community hard—particularly his former teammates. Some of the boys have had tattoos done to remember Tristan.
“It’s a small circle and everybody knows each other. It was quite devastating for everybody when they found out.”
Charles says Tristan’s death has also been an unfortunate “eye opener” when it comes to rail safety.
“Getting close to train tracks is something I think everybody thinks about now,” says Charles. “I can’t even look at a train the same way anymore. I’m sure everybody who knew Tristan probably feels the same way.”