Celebrating the life and photography of Nicole Turcotte

Published On April 6, 2018 | By HN Staff | News

Kasie DaSilva

Heather Turcotte studied the photograph of a chickadee, her mouth formed a tiny smile, but it couldn’t stop her eyes from tearing.

She was looking at the last picture her daughter Nicole took before he life was tragically cut short earlier this year.

The 22-year-old Humber creative photography student died in hospital after a horrific collision on the westbound QEW near Cawthra Road on Jan. 27.

Heather Turcotte stands beside her late daughter Nicole Turcotte’s last photograph of a chickadee. (Kasie DaSilva)

“She was always into photography,” her mom Heather said. “She would always take my camera and click pictures. And when I would have to take it in to get the pictures developed in the old days, I would say, ‘where did this picture come from? Oh yes, Nicole.’”

It was her love for photography that spurred David Scott, Turcotte’s [tk title] to hold the one-day photographic memorial for Turcotte.

Held at Humber College’s Learning Commons, the event puts Turcotte’s passion for life and her love for photography on display.

“We took things from Nicole’s life that she cared about and we’re celebrating them,” Scott said.

The memorial, which was filled with examples of her photography, showed her love for nature and documenting the surroundings around her.

Nicole’s cousin, Brandy Sommer Wood, was one of many friends and family members who celebrated her life at the memorial.

She admired her aunt for being so strong during this time.

“Nicole’s mother is a very strong woman, but grief comes in waves,” she said tearfully. “But every time I talk to her she believes she will be with her again one day.”

The event was not only important for their family, but also for her classmates.

“I think it is as important for the students, and that is part of the reason that David wanted to do this.

“This class here has suffered more than one loss throughout their two-year course,” Sommer Wood said.

“Honouring Nicole in this way is a way to process their grief and for them to move forward.”

Sommer Wood said members of Nicole’s family will attend convocation this spring in her honour.

Scott met up with Sommer Wood to select the photos displayed at the memorial.

Brandy Wood Sommer (left) and Heather Turcotte stands beside one of the late Nicole Turcotte’s photos at the memorial event in her honour. (Kasie DaSilva)

“Being here is just incredible, it’s like seeing through her lenses,” she said.

The creative photography program students and faculty were in disbelief when hearing that they lost one of their classmates.

“It’s shocking to hear that someone who is 22 could suddenly just not be there. The shock was followed by sadness and tragedy,” Scott said. “You really don’t know what to do or think after something like this.”

Scott said that he will always remember Turcotte for her thoughtfulness towards her work.

“She had a very good sense of design, she always thought of composition and perspective, (she) always had a good eye for composing an image,” he said. “she always had a camera with her and would always like to go out and be looking for an image.”

Turcotte was most well-known for her realistic photography style.

“You could say minimalist, documenting places, objects and always capturing the essence of things,” Scott said.


‘Pointless and sad’

Turcotte’s death was the result of a five-vehicle crash that also left six others injured, one critically.

Yasir Baig, 32, of Mississauga, has been charged with dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, failing to remain at the scene of a fatality and fail to remain at the scene of a collision causing bodily harm.

Baig was placed on $52,000 bail after surrendering to OPP traffic investigators in February.

Scott is still in disbelief over the crash, and how it could have been easily prevented.

“Just the needless (aspect) of it, that it was caused by some guy on the road causing an accident,” he said. “It just made it so much more pointless and sad.”


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