Toronto mayor vows to honour van attack victims every year to keep memories alive
By Liam Casey
TORONTO — The victims of a van attack that devastated Toronto will never be forgotten, the city’s mayor said Friday as he marked three years since the tragedy took place.
John Tory said the city will honour those killed and injured in the 2018 rampage every year in an effort to keep their memories alive.
“We cannot and we will not forget the memory of those who were taken from us by this cowardly and deliberate attack,” he said.
Ten people died and 16 others were hurt, many catastrophically, on April 23, 2018 after a man drove a rental van down a sidewalk in the city’s north end in an effort to kill as many people as possible.
Tory said the tragedy still hits hard.
“To this day I’m still overwhelmed with anger and with sadness that 10 innocent lives were senselessly lost and 16 more were needlessly altered forever,” he said at a commemoration event held virtually due to the pandemic.
The city lit 10 candles, one for each person who died in the attack. They will be placed in the window in the mayor’s office at city hall.
A bouquet of 16 pink, violet and yellow roses were set up for those who were hurt that day.
The large Toronto sign outside city hall will be dimmed Friday night to honour the victims, Tory said.
A proposal for a long-awaited permanent memorial to the victims will make its way to council by the end of the year, Tory said.
“While I understand that this process has taken time and will take more time, we want to make sure that we do this right,” he said.
We Love Willowdale, a local community group, is set to hold a virtual vigil Friday afternoon, followed by a virtual dinner with candle lighting and poetry.
The attack took place around 1:30 p.m. on an unusually warm, bright day three years ago when the young man hopped the curb with his rental van on Yonge Street. Police arrested him about five minutes later.
A judge found Alek Minassian guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder last month.
Minassian had argued he should be held not criminally responsible for his actions due to his autism spectrum disorder, but the judge disagreed.
Betty Forsyth, Ji Hun Kim, So He Chung, Geraldine Brady, Chul Min Kang, Anne Marie Victoria D’Amico, Munir Najjar, Dorothy Marie Sewell, Andrea Bradden and Beutis Renuka Amrasingha died in the attack.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2021.
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2021.