Flowers, notes and candles are piled high at a vigil on Yonge Street in Toronto, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Galit Rodan

Hundreds mourn 45-year-old victim of Toronto van attack

A visitation was held north of Toronto for Renuka Amarasingha, one of 10 people killed in last month’s deadly van attack in Toronto

Hundreds of mourners came together at a chapel north of Toronto on Sunday, where they sang songs and said prayers in remembrance of one of 10 people who died in last month’s deadly van attack in north Toronto.

Renuka Amarasingha, 45, was an active member of Toronto’s Sri Lankan community and a single mother who leaves behind a seven-year-old son.

Related: 8 women and 2 men killed in Toronto van attack: coroner

A eulogy delivered at the visitation in Markham, Ont., described her as an incredibly generous person who lived for her son.

“She was a strong, hard-working woman whose goal was to ensure her son would be a respectable man in society,” said Dilmi De Silva, a member of the Buddhist temple Amarasingha visited weekly.

“For over 15 years, she was a supportive figure in the community,” said De Silva. “She left us all with memories of her kindness.”

De Silva described how Amarasingha would volunteer at the Scarborough General Hospital, where she would donate toys to sick children, and said she always brought food and snacks for the children at the temple.

Amarasingha was a nutritional services worker for the Toronto District School Board, and had just started her first day of work at a school near the attack site on the day of the incident.

Gayam Samadeera, who along with his wife was friends with Amarasingha, said she didn’t have much family in Toronto, but had made many friends in the community.

Samadeera said the visitation service featured both Christian and Buddhist ceremonies, because Amarasingha was an active member of both faiths.

His son was also friends with Amarasingha’s son, and the two went to the same temple for Sunday school.

“The hardest part is thinking about her son,” said Samadeera. “At least we know he’s not alone, he’ll have people around him.”

Samadeera’s son, Sonal, said Amarasingha’s son, Diyon, was always fun to spend time with at their Sunday school, where they would often play together.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Diyon, and has already received more than $350,000 — more than double its initial goal of $150,000.

Amarasingha’s visitation is one of many that have already taken place for the victims of last month’s attack, where a van mounted a sidewalk and plowed through 26 people.

Twenty-five-year-old Alek Minassian of Richmond Hill, Ont., has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder, with another three attempted murder charges expected.

Another visitation will be held for Amarasingha Monday morning, followed by a funeral service in the evening.

Related: Grief over deadly Toronto van attack sinks in

Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

NorthIsle starts drilling in Pemberton Hills area after negotiating deal with Freeport

Mining industry one step closer to a revitalization after farm-out agreement

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Port Hardy Fire Rescue’s open house a blazing hit

PHFR Lt. Harding explained that the organization is always looking for more recruits.

Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nation drafts first phase of passive housing project

The housing project will have 96 residential units for low-income families.

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation requests land from Port Hardy Council

“The foundation members will be coming to council with more information at a future date.”

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Tri-Port Midget Wild kick off season with gold medal performance at Nanaimo tournament

Chalk up another gold medal performance for the Tri-Port Midget Wild.

North Island Peewee Eagles shutout Comox Valley Chiefs at home

The North Island Peewee Eagles took no prisoners at the Chilton Regional… Continue reading

Nanaimo Clippers ‘clip’ North Island Atom Eagles’ wings on the road

The Nanaimo Clippers defeated the North Island Atom Eagles 6-4 on Saturday in Port McNeill.

Port McNeill municipal election candidate Derek Koel’s profile

“For over 18 years I have followed Port McNeill municipal politics and affairs closely,” Koel said.

Port Hardy municipal election candidate Don Kattler’s profile

“I believe it is time for new energy and change in our municipal government,” Kattler said.

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Most Read