Over $1.7 million raised for victims of Toronto van attack

Tributes are seen on a memorial at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. in Toronto on Thursday, April 26, 2018 for the victims of Monday's deadly van attack. Cole Burston / The Canadian Press

It’s been five days since a rental van barrelled down the sidewalks of Yonge Street, killing 10 people and injuring 16 others, and the City of Toronto has come together, raising more than $1.7 million for those affected by the tragedy.

The Toronto Foundation, a registered charity, has partnered with the City of Toronto to create #TorontoStrong Fund, which will collect donations to help provide support to those who have been impacted by Monday’s incident.

Julia Howell, vice president of Toronto Foundation, told Global News the idea started early Tuesday morning.

READ MORE: These are the victims of the Toronto van attack

“At about 4 a.m., my CEO started texting everybody, saying we have got to do something,” Howell said.

Toronto Foundation connected with Mayor John Tory and the city of Toronto to begin the process of starting the fund, Howell said.

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“We determined there is a real need for a central place to receive donations and also to design a central strategy to respond to the attack. We’ve worked for many years with the city; it was a logical partnership to take place,” she said.

Tory spoke about the fund on Tuesday and it has since raised more than $1.7 million.

“There has been an amazing outpouring of generosity. We are astounded. Every day new individuals contribute; corporations, groups of individuals. It’s really quite remarkable,” she said.

“If there is anything good that can come out of a devastating tragedy, what is coming out is an incredible sense of solidarity and love.”

READ MORE: Officials identify 10 victims who died in Toronto van attack, update number of injured to 16

The money will be used for crisis supports for family members of victims, survivors and witnesses through Victims Services, and Howell added it will also be used for financial supports for those who have been directly impacted by the tragedy.

Those financial supports, she said, will “cover costs like funeral costs and things like travel and hotel for people visiting from abroad to come to funerals. Things like childcare expenses and a whole range of things.”

“From there, we are going to be working with direct service charities that were impacted more heavily with this crisis and also looking at the long term and broader impacts of this crisis on the city.”

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A vigil will also be held on Sunday at Mel Lastman Square at 7 p.m. to remember those who were injured and killed on Monday.

READ MORE: Toronto van attack suspect charged with 10 counts of 1st-degree murder, 13 of attempted murder

“When people come together, they feel better about things that happen in the city,” Tory told reporters on Sunday.

“It gives them a sense of hope and looking forward and at the same time they are [able] to grieve about what happened to our city and to individuals who were killed this last week. I think the vigil is a very important healing event.”

People can donate to the #TorontoStrong fund by visiting the Toronto Foundation’s website.

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