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Coronavirus: 2-year anniversary of Toronto van attack to be commemorated virtually

John Tory: Toronto was ‘forever changed’ by deadly van attack
WATCH ABOVE: John Tory says Toronto was 'forever changed' by deadly van attack (April 23, 2019)

The City of Toronto says it will be commemorating the second anniversary of the Toronto van attack on Thursday, virtually, due the coronavirus pandemic.

“This year’s commemoration will take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consideration for public health and safety,” the city said in a statement.

On the afternoon of April 23, 2018, Alek Minassian rented a van and drove down Yonge Street, starting at Finch Avenue, killing 10 pedestrians and injuring 16 others.

READ MORE: Looking back at the Toronto van attack: How 7 minutes changed the city

The city said to mark the time of the incident, flags at Nathan Phillips Square and Mel Lastman Square will be lowered to half-mast at 1:30 p.m. Thursday for the remainder of the day.

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“To help keep our community safe during the COVID-19 crisis, residents are respectfully requested to adhere to public health orders and refrain from gathering to lay flowers or other memorabilia at the incident sites,” the city said.

Mayor John Tory will make a statement at 9 a.m. in remembrance of the people who lost their lives, survivors and all those impacted by the tragedy,

“As Toronto now faces another crisis with COVID-19, I know how difficult this day may be for those still experiencing trauma,” Tory said.

“And while we must continue to stay apart to stay united in our fight against this virus, I urge everyone to reach out to loved ones, family and friends to check in on one another and let them know they are not alone during these difficult times.”

How Toronto lost its innocence after the van attack
How Toronto lost its innocence after the van attack

The Toronto sign will also be dimmed just before sunset.

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There will also be a virtual vigil led by two community groups, We Love Willowdale and Willowdale Interfaith Coalition, at 6 p.m. on the We Love Willowdale Facebook page.

“This vigil will bring together the community, provide support for those impacted and offer a space for people to interact and leave messages,” the city said.