Friday marks one year since alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur was arrested in connection with the deaths of missing men with ties to Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village, the historic home of the city’s LGBTQ communities.
A tribute was held at a Leaside property on Mallory Crescent where the accused did landscaping work and remains of eight alleged victims were discovered by police.
“We’re just here to remember, to remember the good men lost and honour them,” Rev. Deana Dudley said.
“It’s been a year and it’s still fresh on people’s mind. For some folks, this is still very raw. I expect we’ll still be feeling a little raw on the 10th anniversary.”
A bagpiper played a lament in the front and back of the residence to honour the victims.
Karen Fraser and Ron Smith, the owners of the home, had to vacate their residence for months during the investigation.
“It’s a shame. Two of the nicest people you can ever expect to have this happen and they’re not even the ones that died,” Dave Shaban, a neighbour who the owners stayed with during the ordeal, said.
“I think the community gets over it faster than they will. I don’t think they’ll ever be 100 per cent over it because they’ll constantly be referring back to that time, whereas the community will move on faster than they will.”
The 67-year-old self-employed landscaper is set to stand trial in January 2020 after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing late last year.
The Crown says it expects the trial to last three to four months.
Toronto police arrested McArthur on Jan. 18, 2018, and eventually charged him with eight counts of first-degree murder.
The charges are related to men who went missing from the Church-Wellesley Village between 2010 and 2017.
The victims have been identified as Majeed Kayhan, Selim Esen, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Andrew Kinsman, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Abdulbasir Faizi and Kirushna Kanagaratnam.
The remains of seven of the victims were found in large planters at a Toronto property on Mallory Crescent where McArthur worked as a landscaper. The remains of the eighth victim were found in a ravine behind the same property.
“I feel for the families. You’ve lost members and you didn’t know for the longest time what happened,” Hilke Shaban said.
McArthur made a brief appearance in court Wednesday, where his next hearing was set for Jan. 29.
VIDEO: Toronto police identify remains of 8th victim of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur
—With files from the Canadian Press