Toronto remembers lives lost to COVID-19 in virtual ceremony

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Toronto remembers lives lost to COVID-19 in virtual ceremony


TORONTO – The city held a sunset ceremony on Sunday in remembrance of the more than 2,700 people in Toronto who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the past year.
“This night is dedicated to mourning as a city,” Mayor John Tory said at the ceremony held at Nathan Phillips Square. He proclaimed March 21, 2021 as Toronto’s Day of Remembrance for Lives Lost to COVID-19.

“We pay tribute to the grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, children, neighbors, colleagues and classmates who passed away this year. ”

The vigil marks a year since the city’s first death from COVID-19. That day, a year ago, a man in his 60s died in hospital after contracting the disease. A year later, the city recorded 2,753 deaths.

“Our remembrance tonight is to recognize the loss so many families have endured during the year. Honor those we have lost and comfort and support those they have left behind. While this virus has hurt everyone in our city in so many different ways, tonight it’s all about remembering all those innocent souls who have taken us this year, ”Tory said.

To honor the dead, 2,753 candles were lit during the ceremony, each representing a life lost.

“We think of the families and friends who continue to cry for their loved ones and the thousands of tears they have shed,” said the mayor.

“I think of the empty chair, where they always sat or their favorite shirt that they always wore or their favorite place in our city – their relatives and friends cannot pass by now, without thinking of them. All those things that they leave behind that always awaken their memory to those who knew them best.

Tory said the ceremony was a way for the city to mourn together and show support for those who have lost it. He noted that many died alone to prevent the spread of COVID-19, depriving families of the opportunity to say goodbye properly.

“I hope this will inspire us all in the memory of those who lost to the soldiers and will go through these last months of this pandemic,” said the mayor.

“We owe it to all who mourn tonight to go through these difficult times and make our city come out stronger than ever, a tribute to their memories, a legacy to their memories. ”

Tory also lit 12 more candles, which represents the last 12 months of the pandemic. As each candle was lit, the old town hall bell rang.

Toronto blues singer and actress Shakura S’Aida read a poem and performed “Amazing Grace” at the vigil.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there were no spectators at the ceremony, but it was broadcast live on CP24. Instead, residents were invited to participate in the home by turning on a light from a porch or balcony or placing a light in the window.

The Conservatives called on those at home to take a break and take a moment to remember the dead.

“As the day passes into twilight, we will continue to burn these candles here at Town Hall into the night in remembrance of each of these individuals who are no longer with us and as a symbol of our solidarity with their families. and their friends, ”he said.

The Toronto sign was lit in white Sunday night, along with the CN Tower and the Princes’ Gates.

Tory said he would soon begin public consultations on how the city can permanently honor the lives lost and sacrifices made during the pandemic.

Toronto vigil

The mayor reminded residents to continue to monitor public health measures until everyone is vaccinated.

“We have been working with the help of everyone in our city to do the right thing and stop the spread of the virus. And it saved thousands of lives and averted the worst case scenarios that were predicted to me by public health about a year ago. , ” he said.

” We are almost there. And we know how good it can be once again, when we get there. Let us honor those we have lost by staying the course and staying together in spirit and purpose so that we can emerge as individuals and as a city stronger than ever, with no one left behind. ”

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