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

North Thompson Fall Fair Ambassadors crowned

Congratulations to the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association’s newly crowned… Continue reading

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

New Barriere Fire Chief appointed

Ashley Wohlgemuth first woman to serve as Fire Chief in Barriere

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Third overall in Canada for McLure, B.C. cowboy

McLure junior bull rider, Jake Bradley, finished third overall at the recent… Continue reading

Trudeau says he won’t apologize to heckler, pledges to call out ‘hate speech’

Prime Minister had accused woman of racism as she shouted about illegal immigration at Quebec rally

Documentary filmed in B.C. nominated in ‘Wildlife Oscars’’

Toad People is the only Canadian film to be nominated in this year’s Panda Wilderness Awards

B.C. man builds 10-foot sign thanking fire responders

Ken Rawson built his “thank u” sign on Saturday as helicopters responded to fires around the province.

PHOTOS: Olympian Patrick Chan helps B.C.’s ‘SuperChefs’ celebrate 10th anniversary

Former figure skater among those at event Friday in Surrey

Smaller B.C. bus service prepares to replace Greyhound

Kootenay-to-Okanagan run would require online reservations

Mother charged with homicide of Langley seven-year-old

Aaliyah Rosa’s 36-year-old mother charged with second degree murder: IHIT

Smoke from B.C. wildfires prompts air quality advisories across Western Canada

A massive cloud of smoke hangs over B.C. and Alberta due to wildfires

Pope on sex abuse: “We showed no care for the little ones”

In response to the Pennsylvania report, Francis labeled the misconduct “crimes”

Most Read