Crosses for Change

A few weekends ago I visited Crosses for Change. A large roadside memorial that has been making headlines in the local news. 

It started with one white wooden cross, representing a life taken by opioid addiction. More and more white crosses are added almost every day. 

This sea of white crosses can be found in the downtown core, on the corner of a busy intersection. It stands as a memorial to those lost to the current opioid crisis.

This haunting memorial has definitely made an impression on people, in some very different ways. For some it stands as a call to action against the opioid crisis. For others, it is a place of mourning – a place to grieve for lost loved ones. For our cities homeless population, it is a grim and constant reminder of their current struggles. 

I am reminded of a quote I heard a long time ago, although I don’t remember where I heard it from; “Cemeteries are not for the dead, they are for the living”. I think about this almost every time I visit a cemetery. This roadside memorial to me, is a good example of this. These crosses represent the memory of a person, but there are no bodies here. They are buried in cemetery plots, within cemetery gates. But this little field of white crosses for all intents and purposes is a cemetery – in downtown Sudbury. 

For further reading on Crosses for Change and the opioid crisis in Sudbury:

Northern Ontario has had the highest opioid death rate in the province during COVID-19 | Sudbury.com

The white crosses memorial downtown is having unintended side effects, outreach workers say | Sudbury.com

Rows of white crosses in downtown Sudbury, Ont., honour those lost to opioid crisis | CBC

The field of crosses that won’t stop growing | Globe and Mail