Toronto Mayor John Tory led a virtual ceremony in remembrance of the city’s residents who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the past year at Nathan Phillips Square Sunday evening.
The ceremony, which was broadcast live on local channels, began with the ringing of the Mourning Bell from Old City Hall and featured 2,753 candles being lit in the square, one for each life lost in the city due to the pandemic.
“Tonight is especially about all of those innocent souls that the virus took from us in this past year. More than 2,750 Torontonians lost unexpectedly in one year,” Tory said at the event.
“We must take time to reflect and mourn each and every person who is no longer with us and use light to help guide our city through these tragic times,” he added.
Toronto-based blues vocalist and actress Shakura S’Aida paid musical tribute to the lives lost with a rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
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The Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square, in addition to the CN Tower and Princes’ Gates at Exhibition Place, were lit white in remembrance.
Earlier, Mayor Tory announced that March 21 would be observed as “Toronto Day of Remembrance for Lives Lost to COVID-19,” as that day marks one year since the first COVID-19 related death in the city.
Flags at City Hall and all other municipal buildings were flown at half-mast throughout the day.
Toronto residents took part in the observances even if they couldn’t take part in the ceremony at City Hall, posting on Twitter pictures of their lit porches, balconies and windows.
Akrit Michael is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Reach him via email: [email protected]
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