Toronto remembers victims 4 years after Yonge Street van attack


Cathy Riddell is still trying to make sense of what happened to her on April 23, 2018.

It has been four years since she and dozens of others saw their lives changed forever by the deadliest vehicle attack in Canadian history.

“It’s still absolutely amazing what happened. I just can’t imagine anyone waking up in the morning and deciding to do what they did,” Riddell told CBC. Subway morning.

“It really happened, I know it. But I can’t imagine my mind going there.”

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On April 23, 2018, a man drove a van down a busy Yonge Street sidewalk, destroying the lives of many innocent people. Almost four years later, after a few weeks where we saw several high-profile cases of random violence, Jill Dempsey spoke to Cathy Riddell, a survivor of the van attack. They discussed how she is moving forward with her life and why she doesn’t want her town to live in fear. 7:24

To commemorate the victims, Toronto is holding its fourth annual vigil Saturday online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Com. John Filion, who represents Ward 18, Willowdale, says while it is unfortunate that people cannot gather in person, he hopes the community can still come together in solidarity.

“It was such a public tragedy that the memory must also be public,” he said.

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Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the deadly Toronto van attack that left 10 dead and several injured. Here’s how friends and family remember the victims. 3:58

Riddell suffered a fractured pelvis, ribs, hip, sacrum and spine and was hospitalized for two months. She was one of 15 people injured when a man drove a rental van down Yonge Street in Toronto and deliberately targeted pedestrians.

Eleven people died. Anne Marie D’Amico, 30, Dorothy Sewell, 80, Renuka Amarasingha, 45, Munir Najjar, 85, Chul Min (Eddie) Kang, 45, Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Forsyth, 94, Sohe Chung, 22 years old, Andrea Bradden, 33 years old. , Geraldine Brady, 83, and Ji Hun Kim, 22, were the 10 victims who were killed that day.

Amaresh Tesfamariam, 65, was paralyzed from the neck down and remained in hospital until her death in 2021.

Aleksandra Kozhevnikova, 92, suffered multiple broken bones and head injuries that day and died two years later.

In early March 2021, the man driving the van was convicted of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder, and is expected to be sentenced on June 13.

I think it’s important to come together to say that we remember all of these people, we remember the pain and the loss that went through,– Former Mayor of Toronto, Barbara Hall

Former Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall donated the $3.5 million in funds raised for the victims and survivors of the van attack.

She says that having seen the victims and families come to terms with the tragedy and the trial in their own way, she carries the memory of everyone with her.

“I think it’s important to come together to say that we remember all of these people, we remember the pain and the loss that went through.”

Riddell says she is doing her best to put this day behind her.

“I just want to get on with my life,” she said.

“And that’s what everyone should do their best too.”

Knowing the city is dealing with an increase in seemingly random attacks, she hopes Torontonians keep the rarity of these occurrences in perspective.

“The only thing that gives me comfort is that it’s still very hit and miss,” Riddell said.

“It’s part of living in the city. You have to be careful where you are and what’s around you, but you don’t have to live in fear.”

The vigil will be broadcast on the WeLoveWillowdale Facebook page at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, according to the Yonge Street Tragedy Commemoration Committee.

The committee says there will be reserved spots at the dedicated memorial plaques in Olive Square Park and Mel Lastman Square for those who wish to pay their respects and place items to honor those lost and affected by the van attack. .

These temporary memorials will be available for one week on both plates starting April 22.