Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Elijah Marsh, 3, is shown in a building lobby. The Toronto boy walked out of an apartment building into bitterly cold temperatures wearing only a shirt and a pull-up diaper was found without vital signs Thursday morning, police said.

TORONTO POLICE/The Canadian Press

The death of young Elijah Marsh remained on people's minds Friday as Toronto's mayor asked the community housing agency to review its security policies and hundreds of citizens donated money for the child's family.

Elijah, 3, died Thursday morning after leaving his grandmother's apartment in the city's north end alone before dawn, dressed only in a T-shirt, diaper and boots. He was outside for nearly six hours before his body was discovered a few hundred metres from the community housing building on Neptune Drive where his grandmother lives. The massive search for the missing boy captured the city's attention and led to an outpouring of grief when his death was announced.

The volunteer searcher who found Elijah also spoke publicly Friday. David Elines, a steelworker who left a picket line to join the search, told CP24 that he never expected to find the boy and that he has struggled with it emotionally ever since. He described looking behind a staircase at the side of a house on Baycrest Drive, where Elijah was lying in the snow.

Story continues below advertisement

"He looked just peaceful in the snow," Mr. Elines said. "That's all I can say I guess."

Mayor John Tory has now asked the Toronto Community Housing Corporation to review its policies to see if more can be done to childproof its buildings.

"I've already raised it with Toronto Community Housing Corporation and I think all landlords of all buildings and all people who live in single-family homes should be … just taking that one extra look at these kinds of things to make sure we've done everything we can to make sure to keep kids safe," Mr. Tory said.

Still, the mayor acknowledged there are challenges for the social-housing provider.

"No matter how many locks you install, no matter how many safety precautions you take, there are going to be tragic accidents that happen … it's a constant challenge to keep those doors in a state of good repair. To be candid, in some buildings, there are people who make it their business to make sure the doors are not kept in a state of proper repair, and that makes it more challenging."

Toronto Community Housing responded by saying that it "has not identified any residential building practices or policies that could have prevented this horrible tragedy."

Sara Goldvine, spokeswoman for TCHC, said the agency is reviewing its policies and is working with the community to improve security and support Elijah's family.

Story continues below advertisement

A crowdfunded initiative to cover the funeral costs for Elijah had attracted about 3,600 people and raised more than $150,000 by Saturday evening.

More than a thousand messages of sympathy have also poured in.

The creator of the campaign, Justin Kozuch, initially aimed to find $20,000.

Mr. Kozuch said the tragedy touched him because he is a father of two whose younger child is the same age as Elijah.

"When I heard about it, it was terrible," he said. "It could have been my child, it could have been a friend's child. And unfortunately, it was someone's child."

The campaign ends Sunday at 5 p.m.

Story continues below advertisement

The money will be given to the family with no strings attached, he said.

The website that is playing host to the campaign,, normally charges a 3-per-cent processing fee for credit cards. However, Mr. Kozuch said tilt has waived those fees for contributors to his campaign.

Elijah was spending the night at his grandmother's house, located on the second floor of a low-rise apartment building near the intersection of Bathurst Street and Highway 401.

Security images show he left the building by himself at 4:20 a.m. His absence wasn't noticed until family members woke up at 7:30 a.m. that day. He was found without vital signs, lying in a space between two houses about 300 metres away.

Toronto police do not believe there was foul play. The police investigation is ongoing and could take several more days before concluding if there is any criminal responsibility.

An investigating coroner has also been assigned to look at Elijah's death. It would be up to the coroner's office to decide whether an inquest is warranted.

Story continues below advertisement

With a report from Ann Hui. 

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 authors 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
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

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