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)

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

Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

Sipili Molia, regional kettle manager, shows off the Salvation Army’s new contactless donation system for the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria raises record-breaking $350,000 for Salvation Army

The charity says it’s seen an increase in need since COVID-19 hit

Staff at Artemis Place Secondary were shocked to find that one of the student-built greenhouses on the campus was stolen overnight on Jan. 11. (Artemis Place Society/Facebook)
Saanich school hopes to catch greenhouse thief red-handed

Student-built greenhouses stolen from Artemis Place Secondary on Jan. 11

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said a lack of experienced crew members and the inability to detect navigational errors is what led to a Sooke search and rescue boat running aground in February 2019. (Twitter / @VicJRCC_CCCOS)
TSB: Sooke search and rescue boat crash caused by ‘misinterpretation of navigational information’

Crew members were lacking experience and unable to detect navigational errors

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

50 km/hr speed limit sign.
POLL: What do you think the speed limit should be on residential streets without a centre line?

Traffic on side streets around Greater Victoria could soon be travelling at… Continue reading

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
B.C. Coast Salish artist designs new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open to Jan. 15

Most Read