Toronto will over­come: It’s what we do

Tragedy struck and struck deep, but we will move on & grow to­gether

North Toronto Post - - News - By Ron John­son

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

RON JOHN­SON

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