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At Toronto Vigil After Van Attack: Sadness, Civic Pride and Unease

April 29, 2018

Indeed, while the attack has cast a pall of sadness over the city, it also has given rise to a new saying: Toronto the Good, a sentiment perhaps best encapsulated by the actions of Constable Ken Lam, the police officer who earned praise around the world for maintaining his composure while arresting the man accused of driving the van, Alek Minassian.

Before his arrest, Mr. Minassian held an object in his hand and repeatedly pointed it at the officer, as if it were a gun. He also shouted he had a gun in his pocket and demanded the officer “shoot me in the head.”

But Constable Lam made the arrest without incident.

At Toronto Vigil After Van Attack: Sadness, Civic Pride and UneaseAt Toronto Vigil After Van Attack: Sadness, Civic Pride and Unease

“I’m proud of my city,” said Colleen Rooney, 60, a life coach. “How this has brought people together, more than separated us.”

In addition to the response of the city’s emergency services, the Canadian news media has highlighted the actions of ordinary citizens in the aftermath of the attack: people who held the hands of dying victims, who tore off their belts to fashion tourniquets, who performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.

“It says something that we came together like this,” said Annie Lee, 28, who lives in a condominium building close to where the attack ended. “No one jumped to conclusions. Politicians did not blame each other like in the United States. It’s a testament to our unity,” said Ms. Lee, 28, who works in marketing.

The city began a #TorontoStrong fund-raising effort, which had raised 1.8 million Canadian dollars, or about $1.3 million, by Sunday. Much of the money will go to the families of the victims, to help cover funeral costs and trauma counseling.

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