A young woman struggles, rather unsuccessfully, to hold back her tears. her eyes stuck on the pile of flowers, thousands of bouquets and growing, laid in remembrance of the ones who have perished. Had she looked around, she would have seen that thousands of people gathered around the flowers, sharing the same emotions. Quietly she looks at the girl standing next to her and passes the flower she was holding so dearly, until now. “Please pass this along” she almost whispers. The girl standing next to her takes the flower, holds it for a few seconds and passes it to the next person. With the flower, the spirit of solidarity and strength travels from one hand to another, reinforcing the belief in our community, our city, our unity.
Thousands of people, including political and religious leaders, members of emergency services, students, cultural and social activists, people from every corner of the city and beyond gathered at Mel Lastman square to pay respect to the 10 lives lost in the van rampage last Monday. Large placards saying “Love for all, hatred for none” were at display. The outpour of emotions, thousands of people with their most sincere of tears; the vigil brought out the true spirit of Toronto, a city that is known as one of the safest cities in the world to live in, a city that is called home by hundreds of thousands of people representing almost every language, culture, race and religion of the world.
Earlier in the afternoon, a large public march took place along Yonge street showing solidarity. People, mostly residents of the nearby neighborhoods, walked the length of Yonge street that experienced the horrific attack on innocent lives. Thousands of people holding banners saying “We love Willowdale”, “Love for all, hatred for none” took to the street and walked shoulder to shoulder. Many of the attendees were present in the vicinity when the horrendous act took place last Monday. “It could have been me” one of them said. “I was here, a few yards away from a person who was hit by the van” said another. They all came today to find closure. They all came to find peace in one another as friends, neighbors, fellow citizens; and the outpour of solidarity and positivity, the overwhelming sense of unity as a city, will surely help them to finally put the shocking memories of last Monday to rest.