Eli Ridder | Special Report

Wednesday was a rainy day in Toronto, reflecting the mood that appears to encompass the city.

A few posters pasted to a concrete sign across the road from where a van started slamming into pedestrians on Monday blossomed into a memorial over the past three days as members of the community placed hundreds of flower bouquets and signed notes in front of a small park.

The memorial led to a small vigil on the night of the attack with a larger held on Tuesday night and those passing by, police officers and community members have continued to quietly gather in respect, heads bowed or silently staring with watery eyes.

A young man who asked that his name not be revealed, so that the story did not become about him, started putting up postings wrapped in plastic, styled like city street signs, reading “Strength of Toronto Park”.

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Image of the recently put up sign by Eli Ridder/The Avro Post.

Formally known as Olive Square Park, the small green space became ground zero for the  those living in by Yonge St. and Finch Ave. to gather, a neighbourhood far north of the downtown core of Toronto, Canada’s largest city.

Although he is open to any name or a different site, the individual who made the signs said that it was an impromptu action in an attempt to get people thinking of establishing “something permanent to honour the victims and the citizens of Toronto.”

“To me, though, the little parkette that I walk past every day now represents, from here on in, the collective strength of the citizens of this city, an adobe of consolation,” he told The Avro Post.

The sign-placer has some graphic design experience and has lived in North York for nearly eight years and in Toronto for 16, and is hoping to get in contact with the local city councillor, Ward 23’s John Filion.

“The name could ultimately be anything appropriate, and I’m open to that. Maybe Park of Hope? Square of Hope? Hope of Toronto Park? Ultimately that’s for other people yo decide. I put this name forward,” he said.

The Yonge and Finch memorial was started by Kondtantin Goulich the night of the van attack that killed 10 and injured 16 on April 23, telling The Avro Post then that he felt moved to help the community heal.

A day after, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne visited the site, which had grown from a few posters and markers to flowers and picture frames of some of the victims.

Early on Monday afternoon, Alek Minassian intentionally slammed into pedestrians on his way down the west side of the busy Yonge St., some 16 k.m. from downtown Toronto, and was charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 charges of attempted murder.


‘Incels’

The term “incels” has been brought to the forefront after police said the suspect is alleged to have published “a cryptic post on Facebook minutes before he began driving the rented van.”

“Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys. All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” reads the post.

Facebook confirmed the authenticity of the public post, created under a profile on the social media site belonging to an Alek Minassian that has since been deleted by the service.

“It’s something that we’ll take into account in this investigation,” Toronto Police Detective-Sergeant Graham Gibson said of the post, before declining to speculate on a motive.

Police have previously said the victims in Monday’s attack were “predominantly women.”

In the incel community, “Chad” is a name used as a stand-in for conventionally attractive men who always seem to succeed with women while “Stacys” are unattainable women who always turn them down.

A number of incel-related posts have idolized Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old California man who killed six people and injured a dozen more during a deadly rampage in California’s Isla Vista in 2014.

In the wake of that attack, police found a trail of YouTube videos and a 140-page manifesto in which Rodger ranted against women and lamented the fact he remained a virgin in college, reported the CBC.

The “incel community” is active online and are associated with alt-right, a term used to define the far-rightist movement associated with misogynistic, homophobic and sometimes racist views, according to multiple reports.

A number of incel-related posts have idolized Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old California man who killed six people and injured a dozen more during a deadly rampage in California’s Isla Vista in 2014.

In the wake of that attack, police found a trail of YouTube videos and a 140-page manifesto in which Rodger ranted against women and lamented the fact he remained a virgin in college, reported the CBC


Police ‘hero’

Constable Lam has been hailed as a hero by the public and some Canadian media after videos surfaced him taking Minassian into custody just minutes after the van attack.

 


More details to follow. Image of the scene on April 25, 2018 from Eli Ridder/The Avro Post. 

Written by Eli Ridder

Eli Ridder is a journalism student at the University of Guelph-Humber and a senior correspondent for multiple independent publications including, but not limited to, The Anon Journal, Berning Media Network and the Ribbon. Find out more at eliridder.ca

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