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Scarborough boy’s death sparks community safety discussion

Duncan Xu is being remembered for his laugh and warm smile.

Scarborough-Mirror  March 1, 2018 Andrew Palamarchuk 

The 11-year-old Scarborough boy was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing Canongate Trail near Ockwell Manor Drive Feb. 27 after leaving nearby Kennedy Public School where he was a Grade 6 student.

“He was a very well-liked boy who loved to read. He was always smiling,” principal Frank Liu said. “His teacher recounted that as he left school (Feb. 27) he was laughing, and I think that for so many of the students and staff who will miss him very dearly that’s how we saw Duncan and how we will remember Duncan.”

Duncan came to Canada in the summer and started attending Kennedy Public School in September.

“We visited the family of Duncan and as you can imagine they’re in shock,” Liu said.

There have been recent traffic safety initiatives put in place at the school, located at 20 Elmfield Cres. near Kennedy Road and Steeles Avenue.

In December, Elmfield was turned into a one-way street during the school rush hours, 8 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. And on Feb. 21, a kiss-and-ride program was started at the school to reduce parking on Elmfield.

“As parents arrive, they can simply drive up and a teacher is on duty with student safety patrollers trained by the Toronto Police (Service) to escort kindergarten-age kids to the supervised fenced yard as well as to get the kids to the backyard where again they’re supervised by teachers so that parents don’t have to park,” Liu said. “It was a nice partnership of everyone trying to make the school area safer.”

A crossing guard is also stationed at Elmfield and Canongate.

“We do announcements to encourage students to cross (with) the crossing guard or at controlled intersections,” Liu said.

Scarborough-Agincourt Coun. Jim Karygiannis said Duncan likely took a pathway that connects the south end of the school to Canongate. “The boy (then) crossed Canongate going to Oakwell Manor,” the councillor said. “He was going home … The child unfortunately chose to go across the street at Oakwell Manor. There’s no crossing guard there, and that’s where the child got hit.”

Karygiannis said his “only option now” is to close the pathway.

“That’s an option that I explored before. I put the proposal in front of the school, I put the proposal in front of the ratepayers’ association, and they said no. They wanted it open,” Karygiannis said.

Liu said he didn’t know anything about the proposal.

“But at the same time, if there’s anything that can improve safety we would certainly support that.”

No charges have been laid in the collision. The investigation is ongoing.

“The direction of travel for the child crossing the street has not been confirmed,” Stibbe said. “Currently we are seeking witnesses.”