Danielle was born in Toronto, Ontario, on July 6, 1971. She was the only child of Cristina and André Duchesneau, a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. Her trusted companion and protector from the age of three was Doré, a female golden lab that she picked out of a litter when the pup was eight weeks old. The two were inseparable best friends.
Danielle was an undemanding, loving child. She made friends easily and adjusted well to the frequent family relocations to various areas of the country. An overachiever, she excelled academically and athletically, receiving awards and winning medals. Danielle cherished her time with her close-knit family and loved to laugh. Dancing, playing her clarinet, sing-alongs with her parents, reading, writing stories and poetry, playing card games, chess, and any games with her dad were her favourite pastimes. Ice cream was her guilty pleasure.
Danielle participated in various sports and activities from a very young age. Her lifetime passion for figure skating began at three years old when her Dad taught her to skate. At six years old, after competing in her first figure skating competition, she began to train seriously and work towards achieving her dream – to skate for Canada at the Olympics. At sixteen, the many years of intensive training and physical stress took its toll and Danielle suffered an acute stress fracture of the ankle. After more than six months of rest and physical therapy proved unsuccessful, Danielle, heartbroken, resigned herself to the reality that her Olympic dream had come to an end.
No longer training competitively, Danielle began working for the Bank of Montreal during summer vacations and school breaks. She was offered full-time employment after completing her studies at CÉGEP in Montreal.
Early in her first year, Danielle attended a banking conference that changed the trajectory of her career. A charismatic and dynamic CEO of the Bank of Montreal was the keynote speaker. Danielle was instantly inspired and excited about the possibilities of a career in banking and refocused her energy on a new set of goals. She remained with the Bank of Montreal taking all the courses and training available and at 23 years old, Danielle was promoted to Assistant Bank Manager, Outremont Branch. Eighteen months later, she suddenly resigned from her position and moved to the west coast with her boyfriend. Approximately six months later, with the encouragement of her parents, she secretly made her escape from the toxic and abusive relationship. Danielle joined her parents in Kingston and returned to work for the Bank of Montreal. Tragically, on July 12, 1997, six days after Danielle celebrated her 26th birthday, she was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.
The many letters of condolences and testimonials that her parents received from family, friends, coworkers, and bank clients recounted heart-warming stories of how this beautiful, young, vibrant woman made a difference and impacted their lives. Danielle’s legacy is not how her life ended but rather the life she lived. A life of generosity of spirit, endless compassion and kindness, the unconditional love for her family, friends, and her beloved Doré.