Trudeau honours Fredericton shooting victims as he opens Toronto street festival

Trudeau honours Fredericton shooting victims as he opens Toronto street festival

Opening of the street festival included a minute of silence and acknowledged first responders

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau honoured the victims of the Fredericton shooting during a visit to Toronto’s Greektown — the scene of another rampage last month — to help open a popular street festival.

Trudeau told the crowd to send love and support to those reeling in New Brunswick’s capital after two police officers — Const. Robb Costello and Const. Sara Burns — and two civilians were killed earlier Friday.

“There is a great town a few hours east of here, our friends in Fredericton who are going through a very, very difficult night,” said Trudeau. “If we could all send them our best love and our best support for our fallen officers, who are there protecting us, and the people who died in a terrible tragedy.”

Trudeau then thanked first responders who aided victims of the mass shooting in Toronto.

The annual “Taste of the Danforth” celebrates the popular neighbourhood’s many restaurants and diverse food and drink offerings.

It was on Danforth Avenue that a man opened fire on July 22, killing 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, and wounding several others before turning his gun on himself.

It remains unclear what motivated the shooting, but the suspect’s parents have said their son suffered from severe mental illness.

The opening of the street festival included a minute of silence and acknowledged the efforts of first responders, as well as the many others who rushed to help the victims.

“Tonight we also remember two extraordinary young women, Reese and Julianna who were out for ice cream…and got taken from us,” said Trudeau.” It was a terrible tragedy that effected us all deeply, we all hugged our loved ones a little closer that night and for the following days.”

READ MORE: ‘I am just shaking:’ What people saw and heard during Fredericton shooting

The prime minister said the opening was a moment to celebrate and remember the victims and to also remember what makes the Danforth great.

“We pull together as a community,” he said, with his eldest son Xavier standing at his side. To Trudeau’s left was a patio area with a sign that read “Reese Fallon died in this square July 22/18. Others shot here, lest we forget! Please think of them in this beer garden.”

“The resilience that comes from different perspectives, different backgrounds, different cultures and coming together to celebrate the same things, a beautiful summer evening, great flavours, great friends….that is the essence of our country, it’s the essence of our values,” said Trudeau.

First responders and other politicians shared the stage with Trudeau, including Toronto Mayor John Tory and federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

Tattoo shop owner Tanya Wilson was also honoured on stage, as she treated some of the injured in her store after the shooting. Wilson wiped away tears while waving to the crowd.

Singh told the gathering they were there to celebrate, but also to remember a “terrible tragedy.”

“When acts of violence and tragedy strike us, they seek to divide us. They seek to scare us and to move us away,” he said. “In response, and in a very Toronto way, we’ve come back in big numbers.”

Tory also spoke to the size of the crowd, saying that he was “heartbroken” the night of the tragedy but was happy to see thousands of people show up in the days after to show support.

“You’ve been there ever since and you’ve been here this weekend, and you will continue to be here because we are not going to let these things push us off the fact…that this is the greatest city in the greatest country in the world in which to live,” Tory said.

Tina Pandovoulos and her son Peter Pandovoulos both watched the opening ceremony. They’ve lived in the Danforth area for decades and were wearing #DanforthStrong buttons as they stood at the intersection of Logan and Danforth Avenue.

Tina said she had been to Danforth Avenue almost every night since the shooting, and hadn’t missed Taste of the Danforth since it began.

“I’m never scared, I love it, and I’m going to keep coming,” she said, adding that seeing politicians from different stripes on stage together to remember the victims gave her a good feeling.

“That makes me cry when I see everybody there on stage…I’m feeling very proud,” she said.

Organizers say the weekend “Taste of the Danforth” is expected to draw more than a million visitors despite the shooting — a far cry from the 5,000 who attended the first festival 25 years ago.

Since the festival began in 1993 it has expanded beyond just food to include music, dancing and various other forms of entertainment — and this year’s will feature a benefit concert for the shooting victims.

Three memorials that include flowers, cards and other items that sprang up in the aftermath of the shooting have been relocated to a nearby site.

Olivia Bowden , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Masks are mandatory for passengers on board BC Transit buses and for those waiting at covered bus stops. (BC Transit/Facebook)
Masks now mandatory on BC Transit buses, at covered bus stops

Face shields no longer meet face-covering requirements per updated policy

Rose Ellis, 93, and her Shih Tzu, Zoey, have been clients of ElderDog Victoria since last summer. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria ElderDog program seeking more seniors, pups to support

Service helps elderly people to care for their canine companions

Mona Strelaeff, a Metchosin resident, is the first non-terminally ill person in Canada to be allowed to use psilocybin assisted therapy. (Provided by Spencer Hawkswell)
Metchosin woman’s trauma treatment could be trendsetting

Experts say this could signal the broadening of who can access psilocybin therapy

Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop is changing owners with longtime owner Odean Long transferring ownership Dec. 1 to William Matthews. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Longtime owner of Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop closes chapter with sale

Odean Long and her late husband moved the business to Sidney in 1996

Goldstream Food Bank volunteers at work. Light Up the City will be offering various options for the public to drop off non-perishable food items to support this food bank and others in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can show their charity through Light Up the City

Drive-thru food bank and toy donation dropoff sites open up this Saturday around region

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Most Read