van attack toronto

Toronto to build permanent memorial for van attack victims

It was exactly six weeks ago today that Toronto was rocked by a tragic van attack that left 10 people dead and 16 more injured along the sidewalks of Yonge Street in North York.

Enormous collections of flowers, candles, handmade signs and photographs have since accumulated at both Olive Square and Mel Lastman Square — the approximate sites where the attack is believed to have started and finished.

The pain of what happened on April 23 is still fresh in the hearts of many locals, but time and weather are taking a toll on their beautiful makeshift tributes.

In an effort to preserve the memories of those whose lives were lost and the touching mementos set out to honour them, Mayor John Tory has announced that a permanent memorial will be established near the site of the attack.

Tory said this weekend that the city would be working with survivors, victims' families and different community groups in the coming months to determine what this permanent memorial will look like.

In the meantime, the city has taken any written tributes and cards left at the site of the attack to be catalogued by the City of Toronto Archives. These items, according to Tory, will be placed in storage until the city can figure out how best to display them.

"They should form part of the historical record of Toronto because this was such a tragic event," he said to the Canadian Press on Saturday. "And the reaction to it was an important part of the history of Toronto."

A ceremony on Sunday saw the makeshift memorials at both Olive Square and Mel Lastman Square dismantled and replaced with temporary plaques.

"The pain this attack caused will be slow to heal, but the response of love in the midst of tragedy will always be remembered," reads a portion of what's written on the temporary plaques.

"Our cries of sorrow are slowly being transformed into a song of healing."

Lead photo by

 Victoria Frantsev


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