Candles could be seen flickering at the corner of Spadina and Baldwin avenues Friday night in memory of an artist, a friend, a father, a son and a brother.
The crowds that amassed were honouring — as well as grieving — a life cut short. Andre Alexander, 34, was tragically killed in a hit-and-run collision while riding his motorized longboard in Toronto’s north end on Monday.
Yvonne Alexander Inman, Andre’s mother, told Global News she was grateful for the outpouring of love at the vigil in Kensington Market.
“I cannot tell you how overwhelmed I am with joy because — just to see the love for Dre, it’s incredible.”
“This was God’s plan. I don’t understand it. I wished he had asked me and I could’ve asked him for a little more time,” she said. “But it’s God’s plan and I just have to accept it. And I’m just so honoured that God used me in the creation of this amazing being.”
Local artists united to create a visual homage to Andre at the same corner where the vigil was held. It began to take shape almost immediately after word spread of Andre’s death.
Family and friends said he had a deep desire to help children in the community, fostering their creativity to encourage them to be their best selves.
“He was — he was my best friend and he was a good friend to a lot of people,” said Andre’s brother, Lee Guy.
Steep Daniels, a local artist who worked on the mural painted in Andre’s honour, said he was always smiling.
“He was a local hustler, he was a community artist. He was always smiling, he always had something wise to say. Faith is an action word,” he said.
Another friend of Andre’s, Melissa Gorlicky, echoed Daniels.
“Andre had this sparkle in his eyes,” she said.
“He was very passionate, very enthusiastic, very supportive, he wasn’t competitive, he didn’t have a big ego. He was just a great guy.”
Andre was also a father to a little girl whom his mother said Andre adored.
“She was the light of his eyes. He would get up early to spend as much time with her as he could and just always be there and do for her so, he loved her,” she said. “There was just no comparison.”
WATCH: Police release video shown of suspect involved in fatal Scarborough hit-and-run
Emergency crews responded to a call at 1:15 a.m. Monday, at the intersection of Bonnington Place and Sheppard Avenue East close to Yonge street. Investigators said they are searching for an older model silver or grey Toyota Yaris and that they believe the driver briefly exited her vehicle before driving away.
Inman said she prays for the driver who struck her son.
“One day, maybe this will be solved. I pray that it will be,” she said.
“And I pray for peace for them because I’m sure if I was in their shoes, I would not be able to sleep.”
— With files from David Shum
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