A playground at a popular Brampton park has been named in honour of a mother and her three young daughters who were killed by an impaired driver more than three years ago.
On Tuesday afternoon, a small group that included some of the victims’ family members gathered at Sesquicentennial Park at 11333 Bramalea Rd. to unveil the new Karolina, Klara, Lilianna and Mila Ciasullo Memorial Playground.
The four members of the Caledon, Ont. family – 37-year-old Karolina along with Klara, 6, Lilianna, 3, and Mila, 1 – were killed in a multi-vehicle collision in northeast Brampton on June 18, 2020.
Karolina Ciasullo, 37, is pictured with her daughters – Klara, 6, Lilianna, 4, and Mila, 1. The four died on June 18, 2020 after the vehicle they were travelling in was struck by another vehicle in Brampton. (Source / Facebook)
Police said at that time the Volkswagen SUV that Ciasullo was driving was struck by a driver of a blue G35 Infinity travelling at a high rate of speed. The driver had run a red light near Countryside Drive and Torbram Road.
The impact of that crash caused Ciasullo’s vehicle to slam into a light pole. The driver of the Infiniti then hit another vehicle that was stopped at a red light.
Ciasullo, who worked as a Grade 4 teacher at Brampton’s Isaac Jogues Catholic Elementary School, and her daughters were pronounced dead a short time later.
The driver of the Infiniti, identified by police as 20-year-old Caledon resident Brady Robertson, was rushed to hospital with serious injuries. He was taken into custody less than a week later and charged with four counts of dangerous driving causing death.
Robertson has also been charged with one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle in connection with a separate crash two days prior to the collision that killed Ciasullo and her daughters.
In May 2022, Robertson was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role in the deadly crash.
On Tuesday, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said words don’t do justice when speaking about the “momentous loss” of four members of the Ciasullo family.
“But no matter what we say today, we realize those words seem hollow when you look at the magnitude of that, that loss,” he said during the unveiling ceremony for the new playground.
“I remember when we all saw news reports. It just it made you shiver with a sense of unimaginable grief that so many in our community felt, particularly the family and the friends of this wonderful family and the more you’re learning about them and their lives. It just made me people didn’t even know this family want to break into tears because it was just so devastating.”
Brown said the city wanted to do something to honour “this beautiful family, to make sure that their beautiful lives lived on in our city” and “to ensure that the Ciasullo memory lives on in our community.” He also said that the new space is a “symbol of (Brampton’s) support and remembrance” for Karolina, Klara, Lilianna, and Mila and those who loved them.
“We want to acknowledge the family members that are here in attendance today for your strength and community and to know that the entire city of Brampton stands with you,” he said.
A new playground in Brampton honours four members of a Caledon’s Ciasullo family, who were killed in a June 18, 2020 impaired driving crash in that city.
Last year, Brampton installed a dedicated park bench and planted four trees at Professor’s Lake in the Ciasullos’ memory.
Just two weeks ago, the city also unveiled a MADD Canada Memorial at Chinguacousy Park as part of its efforts to raise awareness about the “devastating consequences and dangers of impaired driving,” Brown said.
Anna Martin, Ciasullo’s sister, said that her loved ones were the “lights that lit up any room they entered and their impact on those around them was immeasurable.”
She remembered Karolina, who she called her best friend, as someone who she was proud to introduce to others who “fell in love with her instantly.”
“(Karolina) was compassionate, funny, so witty and smart was a contagious smile. As a great teacher, she changed many lives of her students and left an impact on so many,” said Martin, who also shared a few words about each of the girls.
She remembered Klara as “very gifted happy, a little clumsy at times, and always took care of her sisters.”
Martin said Lili was “fearless and so funny she loved playing with makeup and playing house,” while Mila was a “happy bright baby just starting her life, learning to walk and talk.”
She went on to thank the City of Brampton for the playground, which she called a “fitting tribute to the love and joy (that her sister and three nieces) brought to this community.”
“I hope this space brings lots of joy and laughter to its visitors,” Martin said.
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