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Large turnout for Toronto memorial honouring victims killed in downing of Ukraine Airlines flight

Ford honours victims of Iran plane crash: ‘My heart is broken’
WATCH: Ontario Premier Doug Ford spoke at a memorial for the Canadians killed when Iran shot down a Ukrainian jetliner near Tehran on Wednesday, Jan. 8, asking those impacted to reach out to his office if they "need support."

Hundreds turned out for the memorial service honouring all 176 passengers who died when Iran shot down the Ukrainian jetliner on Wednesday.

The three-hour ceremony attended by Deputy Minister Chrystia Freeland, Premier Doug Ford and Mayor John Tory was held at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall on Sunday morning.

Led by the Tirgan Organization, the presenters spoke through tears as they read out the names and bios of each victim.

‘This is Canada’s loss’: Freeland remembers victims of Iran plane crash
‘This is Canada’s loss’: Freeland remembers victims of Iran plane crash

“We have lost such incredible people,” said Freeland. “This is this university’s loss, this is Toronto loss, this is Ontario’s loss, this is Canada’s loss. Nothing will ever replace these brilliant lives that have been cut short. We will always have these scars. We will always bear these scars.”

READ MORE: Deadly toll of Iran plane crash on Canada to put ‘strain’ on relations with Trump: Frum

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Musical performances and videos played between impassioned speeches delivered by politicians and community members who mourned the victims and asked for justice and answers.

“I know the Iranian community is in pain right now, but I want you to know you are not alone,” said Ford. “The people of this province stand behind you, the nation and the world mourns with you. I know standing shoulder to shoulder with our federal government, we will bring these people to justice. The world will bring these people to justice.”

Ali Ehsassi delivers emotional tribute to victims of Iran plane crash
Ali Ehsassi delivers emotional tribute to victims of Iran plane crash

The 57 Canadians on board the flight resided across the nation. Federal MP Ali Ehsassi spoke to the unification seen across Canada as the enormity of the devastation develop.

“We can never comprehend the pain those families bare, but their mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, partners and children should most definitely feel secure in the knowledge that their loved ones impacted all of us. Our heart aches and we are all pained to the core,” said Ehsassi.

READ MORE: Toronto-area family of 3, several students among 57 Canadians killed in Iran plane crash

Ontario MPP Michael Parsa knew several people on board the flight. He took the podium expressing his inability to understand the tragedy and the “deeply disturbing” volume of innocent lives taken.

“I’m grieving for the loss of my friends and I’m upset over the circumstances under which their lives were taken,” said Parsa.

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“As you seek justice, answers and closure during this incredibly difficult time know that I stand with you as you grieve. Know that your fellow Canadians share you pain and sorrow. We will get through this together and we will emerge stronger,” he said.

On Saturday, the Iranian government blamed human error as the cause of the missile strike. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has demanded a full investigation and compensation from Iran for the victims families.