ABOVE: Hundreds gather to remember Const. John Zivcic. Mark Carcasole reports
TORONTO – Const. John Zivcic was eulogized as a respectful and honest man with a “God-given gift of sensitivity” by his older brother Tom during a crowded memorial at the Toronto Convention Centre Monday.
“They say that a man’s greatest honour is to speak about a man that is even greater,” he said. “They say to be chosen to speak and celebrate at a man’s life is the greatest tribute a man can ever give.”
Tom shared memories of his brother ranging from wrestling in their backyard, getting D’s on his elementary school report card and graduating from the top of his police college.
“Even as a child he was pure, respectful, honest, intense and he had a God-given gift of sensitivity,” he said.
As a boy, John wanted to be a garbage collector, his brother said, telling a story about John rushing outside when the garbage was picked up and helping the collector pick up his family’s garbage. He’d then push the button to crush the garbage. After that, he’d hop on his bike and help the garbage collector throughout the neighbourhood.
“Unfortunately with his life being cut short, he was not able to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a garbage man,” Tom Zivcic joked.
WATCH: Tom Zivcic gives a tearful and heartfelt speech remembering his brother, Toronto Police Const. John Zivcic
Police officers, dignitaries and members of the public gathered Monday to remember the life of Const. Zivcic who died in the line of duty last week.
One of the first to speak at the memorial service was Ontario Lt.-Gov. David Onley who referenced Cst. Zivcic’s profoundly deep connection to his family.
“John was a devoted son, brother and brother-in-law. He loved being with his family and he will live on in your hearts for all time,” said Onley. “And in some measurable way he will live on in the minds of us all as a member of the Toronto Police Service.”
Zivcic was responding to an emergency call about an impaired driver on Nov. 30 when his police cruiser collided with another vehicle at Bloor Street West and Neilson Drive near Highway 427 in Etobicoke.
VIDEO: Thousands of police pay tribute at funeral of Toronto Police Const. John Zivcic. Sean Mallen reports
The 34-year-old was rushed to hospital in critical condition but died of his injuries last Monday.
He is survived by his mother, brother, sister, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law, all of whom were in attendance at the service.
“There’s truly no greatly calling that serving your fellow man and woman and I know John did so proudly and selflessly,” said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
“Like his fellow front line responders, John felt compelled to help others to stand his ground on the line between right and wrong and to serve and protect.”
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair took to the microphone and recalled a visit he made to the Zivcic family last week where he was made aware of the fallen constable’s dedication to serving his fellow man.
“John was on vacation, out of the country in the Caribbean where he witnessed an accident and perhaps only John could, not only came to the aid of those who were injured but he went above and beyond,” said Blair.
“He actually reached into his own pocket to pay for medical bills. In these actions, he demonstrated something special, a remarkable depth of character and a kind heart.”
“As I sat around the kitchen table with the Zivcic family, I can see where he got it. I could see where the values of this young man came from.”
Prior to the memorial service, thousands of police officers from across Ontario and Canada held a procession through the streets of Toronto.
A number of them were from Guelph, Hamilton and York Region.
— York Regional Police (@YRP) December 9, 2013
— Hamilton Police (@HamiltonPolice) December 9, 2013
— Bryan M. Larkin (@Chief_BLarkin) December 9, 2013
— Kingston Police (@kingstonpolice) December 9, 2013
A public visitation was held on Sunday for Zivcic, who was with the force for more than six years.
The female driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash was treated in hospital for minor injuries.
The cause of the collision is still under investigation.
Follow a LIVEBLOG from our Global News team covering the memorial service at 11 a.m.
© Shaw Media, 2013