A woman who died after being hit by a falling tree branch in Trinity Bellwoods Park is being remembered as youthful, vibrant and curious.
Pari Nadimi suffered a “massive” brain injury as a result of the incident last week, causing her to go on life support, her friend of more than 10 years, Madeleine Donahue, told CBC News. She died in hospital last Thursday.
“She totally loved and supported her family. For her that was everything,” Donahue said.
Nadimi owned Pari Nadimi Gallery since 1998, just steps from Trinity Bellwoods, according to the art gallery’s website. Originally born in Iran before immigrating to Canada, Donahue says the 71-year-old was a big supporter of the arts both locally and abroad.
“Arts was her passion. She was still very engaged in her business as an art gallery owner and representing well-known contemporary artists nationally and internationally.”
Nadimi was in the west Toronto park last Tuesday when she was struck by a branch. Toronto police said officers were called to park shortly after 5:15 p.m.
She was rushed to a local trauma centre with serious injuries, according to police. The area in the park where the branch fell was later taped off as police investigated.
Ontario’s office of the chief coroner confirmed it is investigating the death.
Donahue says when she became aware of what had happened Tuesday, she raced to the hospital to meet Nadimi’s brother and sister, who live in Toronto.
“She was in very bad shape when the emergency services brought her to [hospital],” she said.
“It was very bad, the doctors basically had said she was gone, she was on life support system … it was a massive brain injury for which there was no recovery.”
‘Tragedy struck,’ witness says
Local resident Mohamed Al-Rahawi saw the incident unfold last week, and said he was sitting on a bench when he heard the sound of a branch falling.
“I looked and I got up right away and I knew a branch was coming down,” he said.
Al-Rawahi said he shouted at a woman who was walking in the area to get away. He said he saw her turn around and try to go the other way, but she wasn’t fast enough.
Al-Rawahi said police and paramedics were at the scene within minutes. People in the park cleared leaves off her and tried to help, he said.
“There were people helping her,” he said, adding that what happened was a “tragedy.”
City assessing trees in ‘high-use areas’ of park
Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow said on Twitter that she sends her deepest condolences to the friends and family of Nadimi.
City spokesperson Bradlee Bomberry says the tree involved has been removed and city staff are analyzing it.
Bomberry says city employees are also visually assessing trees in high-use areas in the park.
He says city staff perform visual inspections and maintenance of more than five million trees in the city throughout the year but incidents like what happened in Trinity Bellwoods Park can still happen, even with healthy trees.
The city said it removes trees that are severely damaged and pose an imminent safety hazard to people, nearby property and street infrastructure.
Members of the public are urged to report hazardous trees and branches by calling 311.
In June 2016, a man was killed while he was trying to protect his wife from a falling tree branch in the same park.
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