‘Compassionate, soft, joyful’: community mourns girl, 13, killed in Muskoka boat crash

The community at a Toronto parish and school are mourning the death of a teenage girl killed in a Muskoka boating crash.

Blessed Sacrament Parish leaders tell CTV News Toronto 13-year old Quinn Cammaert died in the collision.

They said dozens of people attended a vigil Thursday night at her school, Blessed Sacrament Catholic School to remember the recent Grade 8 graduate and valedictorian.

“The silence was overwhelming. It was very difficult to go over there as a pastor knowing these students, but the good news was we prayed together as a community,” Father Larry Marcille, the pastor at the parish, said.

Youth director Joanna Manturowicz has known Cammaert for three years through ministry programs.

“She was a compassionate, soft, joyful girl,” she said. “She was a little bit on the quieter side, she was very gentle.”

The cause of the crash remains unknown. It happened around 7:40 p.m. Wednesday near the Windermere Marina on Lake Rousseau between two boats.

Ontario Provincial Police said there were three people in each vessel and witnesses reported several people in the water.

A 51-year-old, identified by police as Donna Wiley of Oakville, also died. Her body was recovered Thursday afternoon.

Marcille, Manturowicz and seminary intern Tomek Tylka all attended the vigil for Cammaert. They said they were especially touched by the words from Cammaert’s valedictorian speech read aloud by the school principal.

“When he read, I know he was very much choked up,” Marcille said. “Her speech took a lot of people to crying and grieving.”

“The passion in his words, of her quoting Dr. Seuss, how this is going to be the best summer … looking forward to the future, looking forward to high school, her excitement, her joy really spoke through her speech,” Manturowicz said.

“This news has been devastating for all of us, and our hearts go out to the student’s family as they deal with this tremendous loss,” the Toronto Catholic District School Board [TCDSB] said in a statement.

“We are grateful for the support of the local parish, staff, and the team of social workers and grief counsellors who have been available to support the school community during this difficult time.”

TCDSB said a mass is being planned for the student in September.

The community is also praying for Cammaert’s mother. The church said she was critically injured and is now at Sunnybrook Hospital.

“This is a tragedy. We’re not sure why this happened,” Father Marcille said.

“We are never prepared for the death of a child. This is only the second time. Never before did I have to bury a child.”

Marcille said the community is praying for the affected families and truly believes ‘young Quinn’ is in heaven.

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