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

BC local elections: CVRD Area G voters ask questions about water, community centre

Saltair voters gathered under the roof of the community centre, a building… Continue reading

Ladysmith Public Art strategy holding back alleys and forgotten corners walk

Thanks to those who attended our Public Arts 101 Talk at the… Continue reading

BC local elections: Ladysmith town council candidate Amanda Jacobson

Current occupation: I am a mortgage broker; I have been helping people… Continue reading

BC local elections: Ladysmith town council candidate Malcolm Sacht

Current occupation - Professional Mariner at Seaspan Marine. Background- I grew up… Continue reading

BC local elections: Ladysmith town council candidate Marsh Stevens

Current occupation: President of Ladysmith Resources Centre Association, Stay-at-Home Parent/Homeschool Teacher to… Continue reading

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Driving with dope: Police talk rules on cannabis in the car

Even though pot is legal, you can’t smoke in the car

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

B.C. teens fined for possession of pot on legalization day

The pair received $230 fines for smoking pot in public

Trio of Saint Bernard find their ‘forever home’ after story goes viral

Edmonton Humane Society had put out the call to adopt Gasket, Gunther and Goliath

Nurses deliver 24,000 anti-violence postcards to B.C. Health Minister

Nurses delivered thousands of postcards to the front steps of the B.C. legislature, each carrying a message for violence prevention

Openly gay, female priest of B.C. church defying norms

Andrea Brennan serves Fernie at pivotal time in church’s history

Nova Scotia works to stop underage online cannabis sales

The government cannabis retailer moves to prevent workaround of online-age verification

Foster care is ‘superhighway to homelessness,’ B.C. youth advocate says

Katherine McParland grew up in foster care and lived on the streets

Most Read