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John Tory vows to honour Toronto van attack victims every year to keep memories alive

Click to play video: 'Mayor John Tory says he feels “overwhelmed with anger and sadness” on 3rd anniversary of Toronto van attack' Mayor John Tory says he feels “overwhelmed with anger and sadness” on 3rd anniversary of Toronto van attack
WATCH ABOVE Toronto Mayor John Tory says he feels overwhelming anger and sadness on 3rd anniversary of Yonge St. van attack – Apr 23, 2021

TORONTO _ The victims of a van attack that devastated Toronto will never be forgotten, the city’s mayor said Friday as he marked three years since the tragedy took place.

John Tory said the city will honour those killed and injured in the 2018 rampage every year in an effort to keep their memories alive.

“We cannot and we will not forget the memory of those who were taken from us by this cowardly and deliberate attack,” he said.

Read more: Betty Forsyth, who died during Toronto van attack, remembered fondly 3 years after tragedy

Ten people died and 16 others were hurt, many catastrophically, on April 23, 2018 after a man drove a rental van down a sidewalk in the city’s north end in an effort to kill as many people as possible.

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Tory said the tragedy still hits hard.

“To this day I’m still overwhelmed with anger and with sadness that 10 innocent lives were senselessly lost and 16 more were needlessly altered forever,” he said at a commemoration event held virtually due to the pandemic.

Read more: Looking back at the Toronto van attack: How 7 minutes changed the city

The city lit 10 candles, one for each person who died in the attack. They will be placed in the window in the mayor’s office at city hall.

A bouquet of 16 pink, violet and yellow roses were set up for those who were hurt that day.

The large Toronto sign outside city hall will be dimmed Friday night to honour the victims, Tory said.

A proposal for a long-awaited permanent memorial to the victims will make its way to council by the end of the year, Tory said.

Read more: Alek Minassian found guilty of 10 counts of 1st-degree murder after 2018 Toronto van attack

“While I understand that this process has taken time and will take more time, we want to make sure that we do this right,” he said.

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We Love Willowdale, a local community group, is set to hold a virtual vigil Friday afternoon, followed by a virtual dinner with candle lighting and poetry.

The attack took place around 1:30 p.m. on an unusually warm, bright day three years ago when the young man hopped the curb with his rental van on Yonge Street. Police arrested him about five minutes later.

A judge found Alek Minassian guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder last month.

Click to play video: 'Toronto van attacker found guilty on all 26 charges' Toronto van attacker found guilty on all 26 charges
Toronto van attacker found guilty on all 26 charges – Mar 3, 2021

Minassian had argued he should be held not criminally responsible for his actions due to his autism spectrum disorder, but the judge disagreed.

Betty Forsyth, Ji Hun Kim, So He Chung, Geraldine Brady, Chul Min Kang, Anne Marie Victoria D’Amico, Munir Najjar, Dorothy Marie Sewell, Andrea Bradden and Beutis Renuka Amrasingha died in the attack.

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