On July 22, 2018, a man named Faisal Hussain went on a shooting rampage in Toronto’s Greektown neighbourhood. The mass shooting killed two people and left 13 others injured, shaking the Danforth community.
Exactly one year later, the neighbourhood is still recovering, but is stronger than ever thanks to its vibrant community that continues to support and uplift each other.
“Disaster is what brings us together and brings the best out of us,” Rev. Jeanette Lewis, of Danforth’s St. Barnabas Church, told CityNews while reflecting on the tragedy. “It’s like when there’s a terrible snow storm and you’re standing at a bus shelter. You’ll talk to somebody whereas you won’t on a nice day.”
The community came together the moment the shooting occurred. Instead of running away from the sounds of gunshots, a number of people took to the streets to help the injured.
“The community, they [were] the true first responders,” Peter Rotolo, chief commander with Toronto Paramedic Services, told CBC. “No one ran away. They were all dealing with people. They were helping people every step of the way.”
Plenty of residents also took to social media to share their heartache over the tragedy and their love for the neighbourhood.
— Carina van Heyst (@CarinavanHeyst) July 23, 2018
I honestly feel like I’m being dramatic about all this. Worried for people. But this neighbourhood changed my life. The people I lived with, the community, the friendliness. I felt so safe there and it was part of the appeal to live there. Just really sad. #danforth #Toronto
— Reflective Joy (@ReflectiveJoy) July 23, 2018
And despite the violence that occurred, many were adamant that the city is safe.
If #Toronto had a genuinely serious gun violence problem, shootings like on #Danforth last night wouldn’t even make us bat an eye. We’re safe because we can still be shocked. Don’t jump to conclusions
— Adam Riggio (@adamriggio) July 23, 2018
I lived in Toronto for 18 years. Took a bus at Pape and Danforth station for a number of those years. Very familiar with Logan Ave as well. Horrible to hear what happened there. Still believe Toronto is a safe city.
— thuktun flishithy (@psiico24) July 23, 2018
We have friends that live 2 blocks from the incident. We visited last fall and stayed with them a week. I quite liked the area and thought that I could live in that neighbourhood if I ever moved to Toronto. My opinion about the Danforth has not changed. Take care kids.
— Rick Carter (@RichardDCarter) July 23, 2018
The Danforth truly is one of Toronto’s most beloved neighbourhoods. In fact, in 2018 — the same year as the mass shooting — the neighbourhood was named the most popular spot for potential homebuyers.
According to real estate website REW.ca, The Danforth ranked No. 1 thanks to its accessibility and proximity to the downtown core.
Although the mass shooting has certainly impacted the neighbourhood, residents won’t let the incident define their beloved Greektown.
“I get reminded of [the shooting] many times, but walking up and down the street, it’s a lovely neighbourhood — that’s what I think. I don’t think, ‘Oh, that’s where it happened,'” resident Marium Carvell-Page told CBC. “It’s more established than that moment.”
The Danforth continues to find strength in its community. To mark the one-year anniversary today, a sunset vigil will be held to remember the victims of the shooting. It will take place at Alexander the Great Parkette on Danforth Ave. at 8:51 pm.
“It is important that we mark this day together,” Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said in a statement. “This incident is a reminder of our community’s resilience. A year ago, we responded with solidarity and strength, and it is solidarity and strength that we continue with today.”