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EDITORIAL: We are all Toronto

People deliver flowers and write their condolences on a memorial to the victims after a van hit a number of pedestrians on Yonge Street and Finch in Toronto on Monday, April 23, 2018. Ten people died and 15 others were injured when a van mounted a sidewalk and struck multiple pedestrians along a stretch of one of Toronto's busiest streets.  ©Aaron Vincent Elkaim
People deliver flowers and write their condolences on a memorial to the victims after a van hit a number of pedestrians on Yonge Street and Finch in Toronto on Monday, April 23, 2018. Ten people died and 15 others were injured when a van mounted a sidewalk and struck multiple pedestrians along a stretch of one of Toronto's busiest streets. The Canadian Press

If you’re like the majority of Islanders, you likely feel a connection to Toronto.

Maybe you lived there at one time or your friends or family live in city now. Perhaps you work next to someone who’s from there. Maybe you’ve only taken a trip there once.

Whatever the case, there’s no doubt Monday’s horrific and tragic attack cut much too close to the quick here in our small province.

It will be some time before we know exactly what led a person to drive a van down a busy stretch of sidewalk on Yonge Street in Toronto’s north end, killing 10 pedestrians and injuring another 15.

But even if we did know why, would the end result make any more sense to us?

Monday’s attack was not unique in terms of how it was carried out –in recent years there has been a series of deadly attacks around the world in which vehicles were used as weapons against pedestrians or bystanders. 

What is unique is that this time the attack happened in Canada, and we don’t yet know the full extent of how its impact will ripple across the rest of the country.

Take today’s issue of The Guardian for example.

P.E.I. native Aaron Hastelow currently lives in Toronto and has close friends who were near the scene of the attack when it happened. Thankfully, through pure fate, no one Hastelow knew was among the victims.

Related: Friends of P.E.I. actor witness van-strike massacre in Toronto

As of this writing, nine of the 10 victims still haven’t been identified publicly. Selfishly, we all hope an Islander or someone close to us is not among those nine.

Butt that takes nothing away from how close we feel to this tragedy, even though we’re far away.

What we can do is stand in solidarity with the residents of our country’s most populous city, and support Toronto through its nightmare in whatever way we can.

While we grieve with them, let’s be comforted by the resilience of the city’s people and its first responders who demonstrated such calm and grace amid the chaos.

Even the largest of cities can feel small when tragedy strikes — because of the knowledge that evil acts can happen to anyone at any time, yes, but also because of how the people of this country can comfort them like a blanket in times of adversity.

One man offered us a glimpse of humanity’s ills.

In the days and weeks ahead, Toronto can show the world its strength, and they’ll do it with our help.

Related: Candles, flowers, messages of support at scene of Toronto van attack

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