Toronto will overcome: It’s what we do
Tragedy struck and struck deep, but we will move on & grow together
I’m writing this column two days after the tragic, violent attack on Yonge Street that left 10 people dead and many more injured. It’s overwhelming to think about, and impossible to ignore. It will shape us for years to come.
What makes it particularly challenging for me to write about this is that the magazine in which this editorial will run won’t be out for another week. So it’s an interesting exercise to imagine how far we will have come by then. Here is my hope for where we will be.
We will begin the process of healing and reflection and hug the heck out of our loved ones. There was a vigil scheduled for the night of Sunday, April 29, and I expect there was a massive outpouring of support and solidarity.
We may have already begun the important task of memorializing those we lost.
And I hope we will take the time to recognize the amazing amidst the awful. Within moments of the tragic events, along with overwhelming grief, anger and sadness, stories of hope emerged.
We learned of the incredibly brave police officer Ken Lam facing down the suspect as well as the dozens and dozens of first responders on the scene and the people of all shapes, sizes and colours helping other people. Neighbours pulled neighbours out of harm’s way, letting them into their homes to relax and collect themselves, passing out bottled water in the heat and so much more.
It’s what we do.
Along with honouring those we lost, we should take the time to salute the heroes we found.
I hope we will all decide to turn toward each other instead of turning away.
By now, many will have seen a very short news clip of a man who, when asked if his day-to-day life was going to change, responded with warmth and honesty that he “feels the need to be kind to people, to go out of my way not to miss opportunities to do good.”
By the time you read this, maybe you’ll have experienced this rise of Toronto the Good in your own lives and in turn paid that forward. I know I will. It’s what we do. I hope the anger does not get the better of us and we don’t lose the opportunity to talk about what we can improve upon. This is an opportunity to talk about the mental health crisis in our city and about how important it is to not leave people behind, to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks. And to talk more seriously about keeping people safe in our public space.
If any city can bounce back from something like this, it’s Toronto and area because we are all in this together. We learned a long time ago that we are stronger when we are united.
It’s what we do.
A makeshift memorial at the Yonge and Finch site