Love Wins concert

Concert to support Toronto's LGBTQ community postponed after backlash

A confusing event that billed itself as part vigil, part celebration has been called off (at least for now) after members of Toronto's grieving LGBTQ community spoke out against it.

The free concert, called #LoveWins, was meant to take place at Nathan Phillips Square on March 29 and feature performances by Carole Pope, members of the Barenaked Ladies, the Forte Toronto Gay Men's Chorus, John Alcorn and Elijah Woods.

"As information continues to emerge about the series of killings that have shaken Torontos LGBTQ community, many of us have been left feeling vulnerable and uncertain," reads the event description. "The work of healing now begins."

Or not.

Following the concert's announcement last week, a Facebook event called "STOP '#lovewins' Concert" started getting traction.

The Facebook group's organizers argued that the entire concept was offensive and in poor taste, writing:

"This is a group for people who think a concert to 'celebrate our community' while an active investigation into a serial killer is on going and while the bodies of some gay men sit in forensic labs, while others remain missing and unnamed is completely disrespectful." 

Toronto city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, whose ward includes the Church-Wellesley Village, announced on Saturday that the concert would be "postponed."

"Our intention was to bring the city together in love and healing..." reads a post on her website. "Unfortunately, the event created an unintentional division at a historic time in the LGBTQ2S community."

Historic and painful for many.

Police are still actively investigating the case of suspected serial killer Bruce McArthur, who charged with killing at least six men who disappeared from the Church and Wellesley area dating back to 2010.

The remains of seven people have been recovered from planters where the 66-year-old landscaper worked so far, only three of whom have been identified, and police believe there could be more victims still.

News that police may have mishandled parts of the investigation has only intensified an already dark situation.

"I cannot see our community moving to a place of healing until there is a formal INDEPENDENT inquiry into police behaviour in regards to the 10 years of missing Brown men," wrote Sara Malabar on Facebook, "and why it took a missing white man to make an arrest."

Malabar is one of the organizers behind the "Stop #LoveWins" movement. Following the concert's cancellation, she announced that she would be speaking to Canadian philanthropist Salah Bachir and Wong-Tam about creating a more unifying event.

Lead photo by

John Tory


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