Media Release: 1,000 butterflies to take flight at seniors’ care home ceremonies to honour COVID-19 victims

Burnaby, BC (July 30, 2021) — Up to 1,000 butterflies will take flight on Friday at seniors living and care homes located in several B.C. communities to honour the memory of those we lost due to COVID-19, while also acknowledging those who survived. A butterfly release symbolizes rebirth and transition. The events are being hosted at member sites of BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) and EngAge BC beginning at 1pm.

The hashtag #BCbutterfly2021 will be used on social media to share these experiences more widely.

“We know that loss of life and social isolation profoundly impacted care home & independent living staff, residents and their loved ones during the first waves of the pandemic,” says Terry Lake, CEO of BCCPA and EngAge BC. “While this public health ordeal is not yet fully behind us, thanks to high vaccination rates and loosened visitation restrictions we can safely gather to pay our respects to all who were impacted by the pandemic at these sites.”

Twenty-four long-term care and independent living operators are participating in Friday’s Butterfly Release event. The sites are located in Abbottsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Port Coquitlam, Qualicum Beach, Richmond, Sidney, Surrey, Vancouver and West Vancouver. Other operators that planned events in Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Osoyoos have cancelled due to wildfire smoke. While many of the events are being held for staff, residents and families only, a group of sites will welcome media representatives.

“We know that many of our operators who wished to host their own release events could not due to the limited supply of the butterflies,” says Lake. “We are grateful to everyone who offered to participate in today’s memorable and meaningful acknowledgement of lives interrupted by the COVID crisis. We also thank the team at Menno Place in Abbotsford for their inspiration for our province-wide butterfly release.”


Butterfly Facts

The butterflies are Vanessa cardui, also known as the Painted Lady, native across North America. They were bred for this occasion by an Edmonton-based provider. Each butterfly is packaged in an individual glossy white box for release. These are placed in an insulated shipping box along with ice packs to keep the butterflies cool and dormant during transport. On the day of the release, butterflies require full sunlight and temperatures exceeding 18-19 degrees (and do best at 24+).



Michelle Ho
Digital Media & Communications Specialist

About BC Care Providers Association & EngAge BC

Established in 1977, BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is the leading voice for B.C.’s continuing care sector. Our growing membership base includes over 425 long-term care, assisted living, and commercial members from across British Columbia. Through its operating arm EngAge BC the organization represents independent living and home health service providers.

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