Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau crosses himself as he visits a memorial wall with Governor-General Julie Payette, left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory before attending a vigil for the victims of Monday's van attack, in Toronto, on April 29, 2018.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Thousands of people gathered for a vigil near the scene of the deadliest mass killing in Toronto’s modern history Sunday night, a grieving city united in its desire to find a way forward after the tragedy.

They converged on Mel Lastman Square in north Toronto to honour the 10 people killed and 16 injured when a 25-year-old man allegedly rammed a white rental van into pedestrians who were enjoying one of the first warm days of spring last Monday.

The crowd at the interfaith vigil was sprinkled with politicians and dignitaries, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Governor-General Julie Payette, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory, none of whom addressed the gathering.

Story continues below advertisement

Instead, they left the stage to musicians, the city’s poet laureate and half a dozen religious leaders from backgrounds as diverse as the crowd itself.

Related: Tales from the Toronto van attack: The minutes that forever link the victims and bystanders

Read more: ‘This is what large cities do with tragedy’: Walking the route of the attack to understand Toronto’s pain and healing

Toronto van attack: How you can help and what we know so far

The vigil began with the placing of 10 lit candles on the stage, one for each of the men and women who died.

“You and I know that no one mourns more keenly than the families of those women and men killed on Monday,” said Rev. Alexa Gilmour, a United Church minister in her opening remarks, “and when the vigil ends and when the media cameras turn away, they will continue to be pilgrims on grief’s lonely road. But you and I have come here tonight to tell them that they do not have to walk it alone.”

Thousands attended an inter-faith vigil at Mel Lastman Square in Toronto Sunday night, nearly one week after the fatal van attack on Yonge Street that killed 10 and injured 16 people. Religious leaders of a number of faiths spoke, choirs performed, and 10 candles were lit for the victims. The Globe and Mail

The victims, many of them newcomers to the city, included a devoted single mother originally from Sri Lanka, a 22-year-old South Korean student studying in Toronto, a Jordanian man here to visit family, two women in their 80s and one in her 90s.

They have been identified as: Renuka Amarasingha, 45; Andrea Bradden, 33; Geraldine Brady, 83; So He Chung, 22; Anne Marie D’Amico, 30; Betty Forsyth, 94; Chul Min (Eddie) Kang, 45; Ji Hun Kim, 22; Munir Abed Najjar, 85; and Dorothy Sewell, 80.

Although the victims were at the heart of the event, the vigil was about more than remembering the lost.

It was also about the people of a bereaved city leaning on each other, trying their best to recover.

Story continues below advertisement

The vigil had three co-hosts, two of whom are television personalities familiar to most Torontonians − CBC News Toronto anchor Dwight Drummond and CP24 Breakfast host Pooja Handa.

The third, Lily Cheng, would be most familiar to her neighbours in Willowdale, the diverse north Toronto neighbourhood whose commercial heart is the stretch of Yonge Street where the van wreaked its havoc.

The mother of two co-founded a group called We Love Willowdale in the wake of the attack and helped to organize a march down Yonge Street that took place before the vigil.

Family members of Geraldine Brady, one of the ten victims of Monday's attack, attend a service at Mel Lastman Square in Toronto on April 29, 2018.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

“This neighbourhood is my home. I have picnics here in the summer with my kids. I love Willowdale and I love the people here. We are like a family,” Ms. Cheng told the crowd.

Before the vigil began, thousands of people walked from two parks near opposite ends of the 2.2-kilometre crime scene, reclaiming the part of Yonge Street where the suspect, Alek Minassian, is alleged to have deliberately plowed across the sidewalk and into human traffic.

He has since been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Story continues below advertisement

When Erin Chapman joined the group in the park, she came to honour those who died and to give thanks that she was not among them.

Ms. Chapman, 34, and her two-year-old daughter Audrey, biked down Toronto’s Yonge Street about four hours before Monday’s rampage. The mother of three and her husband live not far from the area, and they brought all three children out Sunday to support their community.

“I think it’s important to pull together as a community and see that we love each other, we support each other,” Ms. Chapman said Sunday evening. “And we’re not scared to be out, even after something like that.”

Annette Stewart-Smith did not know anyone hurt or killed in Monday’s attack, but she felt compelled to bring a group of young girls from her Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Markham, north of Toronto, to the march and vigil.

“The sadness, that’s what brought us down here,” she said. “We’re a church that likes to be involved in the community. When one of us hurts, all of us hurt, even though we’re from different backgrounds and religions. People are people.”

Ms. Stewart-Smith was among a few hundred mourners who gathered in a parkette south of Mel Lastman Square before the vigil.

Story continues below advertisement

Many were volunteer organizers sporting bright orange T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Free Hugs & Prayers” across the front.

Some handed out “We love Willowdale” buttons and others carried fresh bouquets to lay at the memorial that has sprung up on the edge of Mel Lastman Square.

After more than an hour of prayers and music, the vigil drew to a close with the choirs from two nearby high schools singing the national anthem.

One of the schools, Earl Haig Secondary, is where one of the victims, Ms. Amarasingha, spent the last morning of her life working in the cafeteria before she was struck and killed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among thousands of people who marched along a Toronto street on Sunday prior to a vigil for the victims of last Monday’s fatal van attack. The Canadian Press

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies