It was a scene filled with cheerful music and carefree smiles. As the sounds of steel drums rang out at the corner of Danforth and Logan, people were drawn to the park that has become a community gathering place.
It has been two months since the Danforth shooting and people in the tight knit community are continuing to find ways to heal.
Today’s free concert was a tribute to those killed and injured on July 22 when a 29-year-old gunman opened fire.
The shooting started around 10 p.m. on July 22. At least two people died and 13 others were hurt.
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The band playing this afternoon has strong roots in the community. They hold their practices just a few blocks away.
“Community involvement is what we are about,” said Andre Rouse, the band’s musical director. “All of them congregate around this circle to share stories, share conversations. Hopefully we will be able to add to that by providing music.”
The issue of gun violence has been front and centre in Toronto. Numbers show gun crime in 2018 is on the rise.
This afternoon local MPs gathered a panel of experts to share their insights on what has been happening across the city at a town hall.
Some argue a complete ban on hand guns could be one part of a broad solution.
“I think it would work,” said Scot Wortley, a criminology professor from the University of Toronto.
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“I think it wouldn’t be the silver bullet that would solve all the problems, but I think that it would reduce the supply of guns on our streets. It would (likely) reduce the amount of ammunition and the resale of guns and ammunition that is possible when there is a legal market.”
Others say stricter regulations infringe on the rights of law abiding citizens.
“It’s tainting every way and everybody,” said Don Lindsay with the Canadian Firearms Network. “Those of us who have been using guns all our whole life, we haven’t hurt anybody, haven’t done nothing.”
MP Bill Blair sat on the panel today. Blair says he knows Canadians are concerned about gun violence coast to coast.
“I have been clearly mandated to conduct a full examination of all the measures that we might take including a hand gun ban, but to do it in a way which is respectful of responsible lawful gun owners,” Blair said.
For Kelly Whetter, a solution can’t some soon enough. Her son died in April 2016 when he was shot at Yonge and Bloor six times in the back by a complete stranger.
“Nobody is born wanting to kill people, and this is just happening too much,” Whetter said. “It’s very sad… it’s distressing.”