On Sunday, March 21, Mayor John Tory marked one year since the first death resulting from COVID-19 in Toronto with a virtual commemorative ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square. The sunset ceremony provided Torontonians with an opportunity to collectively remember the more than 2,750 lives lost in Toronto over the past 12 months.
At the ceremony, Mayor Tory delivered remarks to reflect on the sense of loss experienced this past year and to support those who are mourning a loved one. The ceremony featured 2,753 candles to represent each life lost, 12 bell tolls for the number of months that have passed and included a live performance by Toronto-based blues vocalist and actress, Shakura S’Aida.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremony was virtual and broadcast live on local news channels. Footage from the commemorative ceremony will be available on the City’s YouTube channel shortly.
Earlier today, Mayor Tory declared March 21 as a Day of Remembrance for Lives Lost to COVID-19 in Toronto. Faith communities in Toronto were invited to commemorate the lives lost during their services, and this evening, the Toronto sign on Nathan Phillips Square, the CN Tower and Exhibition Place’s Princes’ Gates will be lit white in remembrance of the Torontonians lost to COVID-19. Throughout the day, flags at Toronto City Hall and other City buildings were flown at half-mast.
This evening, Torontonians are encouraged to turn on a porch and/or balcony light or place a light in the window in remembrance of those whose lives have been lost as a result of the pandemic. Those participating are encouraged to share their light on social media platforms using #TOreflects.
“Together, we are recognizing a tragic day in Toronto – the first death as a result of COVID-19 one year ago. The loss experienced in our city over the past 12 months will forever be ingrained in our city’s history. More than 2,750 people have died, representing our mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, neighbours and colleagues. 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.”
– Toronto Mayor John Tory
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