A Toronto neighbourhood still grieving last month’s mass street shooting that claimed the lives of two people and injured 13 others has taken another step towards healing with the start of the annual Taste of the Danforth food festival on Friday.
The event, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary and goes all weekend long, comes less than three weeks after a man walked down Danforth Avenue and fired shots at people on the street and into window fronts.
During the official opening ceremony Friday evening, dignitaries and visitors honoured 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, who were both killed in the shooting rampage on July 22, with a moment of silence. First responders and ordinary citizens who rushed to help the victims were also recognized.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the opening ceremony and delivered remarks. He spoke about how the shooting impacted so many.
“Tonight we also remember two extraordinary young women — Reese and Julianna,” he said.
“It was a terrible tragedy that affected us all deeply. We all hugged our loved ones a little closer that night and for the following days, But it was also a moment to celebrate them, to remember them.”
At the ceremony, Mayor John Tory recalled attending the scene of the shooting hours after it happened. He praised members of the community uniting together.
“I was heartbroken and I was angry, and many other people were probably angry too. But then I came back the next evening and hundreds and thousands of people were here to show their support for the victims and for the families … we came together and showed that solidarity,” he said.
“We’re not going to let things like this define who were are and the kind of place this is.”
Memorials relocated for festival
Organizers said they have relocated three spontaneous memorials along the Danforth to one location near St. Barnabas Church at 361 Danforth Ave. for the entirety of the festival.
The relocation will allow visitors to pay their respects to the victims at one central place throughout the event, organizers said.
When the festival is over, the temporary memorial will be moved to the Logan Avenue Parkette, slightly north of the Alexander the Great Parkette on Logan.
Plans are being made to create a permanent memorial in the near future.
Taste of the Danforth Road Closures
Danforth Avenue will be closed between Jones Avenue and Broadview Avenue from 10 a.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday.