Local Toronto residents gathered virtually on Saturday to mark the fourth anniversary of the deadly Yonge Street van attack.
In 2018, Alek Minassian, angered by women refusing to sleep with him and radicalized on the internet, drove a van down a busy Toronto sidewalk, killing 10 people that day.
One woman never left hospital and died more than three years after the attack, becoming the 11th victim. Fifteen other people were left with life-altering injuries.
Minassian was found guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 13.
“It is important for us to remember…the effort of the first responders who served on this day four years ago,” said Omar Hassan, a member of the Yonge Street Tragedy Commemorative Group, who helped organize the annual vigil.
The event was originally planned to take place in-person but the sixth wave of the pandemic forced it online. The group said it hopes to host a memorial in-person next year, when mourners mark half a decade since the terror attack.
“Remarkably, truly remarkably, we came together as a community on that day, and in the days that followed, to make sure that it did not break our city’s spirit,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a video, describing the “senseless violence” that was “fuelled by toxic misogyny.”
The lights in front of Toronto City Hall have been dimmed in recognition of the tragic anniversary.
Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario NDP, said people should remember the names of those who lost their lives in the “horrific and violent terrorist attack.” Liberal leader Steven Del Duca posted a tweet saying the victims and their families were in his thoughts.
Progressive Conservative MPP Stan Cho joined the limited in-person commemoration that was live streamed.
Jesse James, the co-founder of We Love Willowdale, mourned the loss of “loved ones, neighbors, friend and colleagues whose precious lives were tragically and horrifically ended four years ago today.”
— With files from The Canadian Press