‘Taste of the Danforth’ won’t be defined by mass shooting, organizer says

News source from CTV News

CTVNews.ca Staff

Published Friday, August 10, 2018 8:21AM EDT

Last Updated Friday, August 10, 2018 8:59AM EDT

Thousands are expected to converge on Toronto’s Greektown this weekend for the annual “Taste of the Danforth” festival, nearly three weeks after a 10-year-old girl and 18-year-old woman were fatally shot there.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony, which organizer Howard Lichtman said will be a “special memorial service and a tribute to the lives lost.” Aspiring nurse Reese Fallon, 18, and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis were killed when 29-year-old Faisal Hussain fired a handgun into restaurants, cafes and along the popular strip on July 22.

“None of us can allow a singular act of violence to define a festival, to define a neighbourhood, to define a city or a country,” said Lichtman. “I think that’s what Canadians are all about.”

Visitors to the festival, which Lichtman said will feature enhanced security, can still pay their respects at a memorial site at St. Barnabas on the Danforth Anglican Church near Chester Avenue. All other unofficial memorials on the street have been moved to accommodate crowds.

Some survivors of the shooting are expected to attend the festival, including Ali Demircan who told CTV Toronto that he has been paranoid ever since it happened.

“When I hear someone yelling, I feel scared,” said Demircan, who was grazed by a bullet during the shooting. But friends and family have encouraged him to “return to normal life.”

For many in Greektown, the “Taste of the Danforth” is part of that normalcy. At Legends Sports Lounge, owner Nick Papalambropoulos hosted a wrestling match Thursday, to raise money for families of the shooting victims.

“It’s good to have people coming out, showing support to the neighbourhood,” he said, “and showing that Toronto is a safe place, especially the Danforth.”

On Saturday, a “Toronto Together” benefit concert will be held, featuring Canadian bands Billy Talent, City and Colour, and Pup. Proceeds from the event will go to the #TorontoStrong Fund for victims of the shooting.

With a report from CTV Toronto’s Miranda Anthistle

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