Family still grappling with tragedy

Perhaps she had been running late for work, or maybe the bus she needed had pulled up at just the right time.
Published : January 28, 2010

Perhaps she had been running late for work, or maybe the bus she needed had pulled up at just the right time.

On Jan. 20, around 7 a.m., Leovina Tolentino stepped out of the house she shared with a cousin near Dufferin Street and Eglinton Avenue West, and crossed a four-lane street to get to the bus shelter.

She had almost reached the other side when in the darkness of the early morning Tolentino was struck down by a vehicle travelling southbound on Dufferin Street.

Tolentino became the GTA’s 10th pedestrian fatality of the year.

A week later, family members and friends are still trying to piece together why Tolentino had decided to take a different route that day.

“I still don’t understand what happened that day. She never crossed the street like that,” said Lerma Refran, a cousin she lived with. “She never used that bus stop, she always went to the crosswalk and the other bus stop on this side of street.”

The sudden death of a quiet and hard-working woman stunned the few friends and relatives she had kept in touch with since she came to Toronto from the Philippines in 2002. It also put an abrupt end to the only source of livelihood for Tolentino’s family back home.

She arrived in Canada in 2002, on a visitor visa for World Youth Day, and shortly after went underground. After a devastating fire burned down her home in the Philippines and the family’s business suffered, she believed Canada would be the best place to earn enough money to repay her debts.

Now Tolentino’s family and friends are appealing to their community to help raise money to send her body home — at the request of her grieving family.

The cost for repatriation of the body is approximately $10,000.

 
 
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