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'Sad day for Orillia': Family, community mourn six-year-old girl

Candlelight vigil planned for Monday; fundraiser started for family following young girl's death in downtown Orillia crash
Avalon Jamieson was struck by a car and killed in downtown Orillia Saturday afternoon. A candlelight vigil will be held in support of the family on Monday at 5 p.m. with the location to be determined. Today would have been Avalon's sixth birthday. Facebook Photo

A local family is heartbroken and a community is mourning following the death of a young girl in a horrific crash that happened in downtown Orillia late Saturday afternoon.

Rather than trying to navigate a nightmare, today should have been a happy day for the family. They had planned to be together to celebrate Avalon’s sixth birthday with a custom-made rainbow cake and a special birthday dress selected just for the occasion.

Sadly, Avalon was killed Saturday afternoon.

“I’ve planned for the last three days her party and now I’m making plans for a funeral,” her mom, Sasha Bisio, posted on Facebook this morning.

Avalon Jamieson and her younger sister and her father were walking downtown at around 5 p.m. Saturday.

The pedestrians were struck in what police described as a “serious” two-vehicle collision at the corner of Colborne and West streets. Avalon’s sister suffered a broken wrist and their father was not injured.

While police are not releasing many details about the crash that occurred at the entrance to the City Centre condominiums, Orillia OPP Const. Brett Boniface said the two kids and their father were standing at the southwest corner of Colborne Street, waiting to cross the road when the crash happened.

"One of the vehicles careened onto the street and hit the pedestrians," said Boniface, who could provide no other details about the two vehicles involved in the crash. Both drivers, he noted, remained on the scene following the crash.

The death of the youngster has cast a pall over the community.

"This hits close to home. It's difficult for everybody involved," said Boniface.

“It’s a sad day for Orillia,” Mayor Don McIsaac said.

The mayor, along with Amber McGarvey of Ripple of Kindness Orillia, and Nosey Neighbours have joined forces to create a GoFundMe campaign to help support the family in their time of need.

“We’ve set a goal of raising $34,000 — one dollar for every Orillian,” said the mayor. 

For those more comfortable making an e-transfer that will be given directly to the parents, you can send those to [email protected]. Donors are asked to put Avalon's name in the message section.

McIsaac, like so many who woke up this morning to the devastating news, said his heart is heavy.

“I was in tears when I heard,” said McIsaac, who has faith the community will rally to help the family.

“We’ve had hundreds of people reach out. Orillians always pull together in tough times and I know they will again,” he said.

A candlelight vigil is being planned to remember Avalon, said MccIsaac. It is expected to happen on Monday at 5 p.m., with the location to be determined.

On social media, many expressed heart-felt condolences to the family.

“This is so heartbreaking. She was the sweetest little girl ever,” said BJ Stewart.

“Avalon is the biggest sweetheart and biggest ray of light,” wrote Ashleigh Pearce. “She was always smiling and my kids adored her.”

Marjorie Sattler echoed those sentiments, saying she is “heartbroken.”

“She was the sweetest girl and left an imprint on me since the day I met her. I always thought about her,” said Sattler.

The tragedy moved those who didn’t even know the family.

“Although I don’t know this family, my heart hurts for the loss of their beautiful little Avalon, and the horrific pain her loved ones are feeling,” said Brenda Gunn.

Melissa Kinzig was at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital last night.

“I was at the hospital last night and heard all of this going on. I've been crying all night and morning for this family,” she said.