Toronto police say they still have many unanswered questions more than 24 hours after a van attack killed 10 people and injured 14 more in a bustling area north of the downtown core.
As officers comb through the massive crime scene for evidence, some areas in the North York neighbourhood where 25-year-old Alek Minassian allegedly carried out the rampage remain off limits. A more detailed picture is beginning to emerge, however, of where the chaos began, how it unfolded over the course of about 25 minutes, and how it ended.
Here’s what eyewitness accounts, police briefings and photographs tell us so far about what happened.
The deadly drive began at Finch Avenue and Yonge Street. Witnesses recounted that a white rental vehicle suddenly mounted the sidewalk at the southwest corner of the intersection, near a Korean barbecue restaurant, and slammed into pedestrians. The first call to police came in at 1:27 p.m.
From there, the van’s path south along Yonge Street took it through several more busy intersections, past condominium towers, banks, restaurants, coffee shops, local businesses, and the bustling lawns and sidewalks around Mel Lastman Square.
Bodies covered by tarps were later pictured outside the Korean restaurant and near the Bank of Montreal at Tolman Street, one block south of where the carnage began. More victims seemingly fell at Kempford Boulevard and Empress Avenue, and then several more were hit on the wide sidewalk at the foot of Mel Lastman Square.
There were additional reported strikes just before Sheppard Avenue.
Police say the driver of the van may have swerved into the oncoming, northbound traffic lanes during the 2.2-kilometre trip. The driver may also have turned off of Yonge Street for a short stretch near the end, ending up just south of Sheppard Avenue on Bogert Avenue, where an eyewitness reported that he narrowly escaped being struck.
The van finally stopped, its crumpled bumper facing west, on Poyntz Avenue next to a sign for a currency exchange business. That’s where several videos of the arrest were filmed by bystanders.
WATCH: Video captures arrest of suspected van driver
The entire incident unfolded within the boundaries of the city’s North York district, and more specifically in the middle of the federal riding of Willowdale.
It’s a bustling area, where the average household income hovers around $83,000 and about 42 per cent of residents are new Canadians since 1991. The riding is represented by Liberal MP Ali Ehsassi.
Minassian is believed to have lived on a quiet street in Richmond Hill, just 11 kilometres north.
Willowdale’s permanent population totals around 108,000 people, but almost as many pass through a single point at its heart every day: the Toronto Transit Commission’s Finch Station. The station is located right at the intersection where Monday’s attack began.
The transit hub is the northernmost point of the TTC’s Yonge-University subway line, and it is the busiest bus terminal in the system. It serves as a transit point for people heading toward Toronto’s downtown core to the south, but also as an end-point for workers commuting from downtown (or other areas of the city) to jobs in North York.
The multi-building complex at 5700 Yonge, just steps away from where the first victim was killed on Monday, is home to Ontario’s ministry of health and long-term care, Equifax, and a number of other businesses. A major Canadian Forces recruitment centre sits at 4900 Yonge Street.
WATCH: Police chief shocked by scenes of casualties
The attack began after the lunch rush had finished, but witnesses said sidewalks were busier than normal given that it was one of Toronto’s first warm days this spring.
“I worked in that area, in fact (Minassian) was stopped out in front of the building I worked at for five years, at Yonge and Sheppard,” said Conservative MP Erin O’Toole on his way into the House of Commons on Tuesday.
“You know, the north part of Toronto is very pedestrian friendly, it’s wider and wider sidewalks, on a day like that I used to go to those places and eat outside. It’s just horrific.”