A couple embrace during a ceremony to mark the end of a makeshift memorial for victims of the Toronto van attack, at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. in Toronto on Sunday, June 3, 2018. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

Ceremonies, vigils planned in Toronto to honour victims of deadly van attack

Many of those who helped that day — first responders and Good Samaritans alike — still affected

Toronto’s mayor says a deadly van attack that left the city grappling with grief a year ago also set off a wave of solidarity and support among its residents.

Hours before a ceremony to honour those hurt or killed in the April 23, 2018, attack, John Tory said he hopes the city will show the same strength and heart in the future, and not just in the face of tragedy.

“This unfathomable loss of life left our city in mourning … this was a tragedy the likes of which we’d never seen before,” Tory said Tuesday morning.

“We saw people from all walks of life running to the rescue of those in need and offering to help in the aftermath. We saw people of all faiths gather to mourn and to provide comfort to those who needed it so very badly … We saw our city united against evil and dedicated to healing and to love.”

Many of those who helped that day — first responders and Good Samaritans alike — are still affected by what they saw, Tory said.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders also commended those who rushed to the aid of strangers at a difficult time.

“Even in our darkest moments, we always remain strong and united,” Ford said in a statement. “We come together, as many will today at vigils across the city. We mourn those we have lost and comfort the families and friends left behind.”

Saunders said the compassion shown in the wake of the attack is “an extraordinary example of who we are as Torontonians.”

READ MORE: Witnesses still struggling one year after deadly Yonge Street van attack in Toronto

Ten people were killed and 16 were injured when a white rental van plowed into pedestrians along busy Yonge Street in the city’s north.

Alek Minassian, 26, is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. He is set to face trial next February.

Several events were planned Tuesday to remember the incident and pay tribute to the victims and their families.

The City of Toronto is holding an event at the Mel Lastman Square Amphitheatre at 1:30 p.m. to coincide with the time of the incident.

The city is also expected to install temporary signs in the area to commemorate what it has dubbed the “Yonge Street Tragedy” until permanent memorials are created. The city says consultations on the memorials will begin this spring.

Events are also planned elsewhere in the neighbourhood where the attack took place.

The Willowdale community is hosting a moment of silence, an evening vigil and a free dinner, among other events. It is also bringing in trauma counsellors and therapy dogs for those who need support.

Liam Casey and Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Castlegar march ensures missing, murdered aboriginal women not forgotten

About 60 people took part in the Valentine’s day memorial

PLACE NAMES: West Kootenay(s)

To some locals, “West Kootenays” (as opposed to West Kootenay) is like nails on a chalkboard

Midway mill shutdown expected to last 8 to 10 weeks

Vaagen Fibre Canada cites low inventory, road restrictions as reason for shut down

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read