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

Nanaimo byelection candidates get their first chance to debate

NDP, B.C. Liberals, Greens participated in Forum for Millennial Leadership debate Monday

Sinking sailboat kept afloat near Nanaimo

Ferry and marine search and rescue vessels assist near Five Finger Island

Nanaimo RCMP seek suspect after armed robbery of gas station

Alleged incident occurred Sunday night at Uplands Drive and Turner Road

Nanaimo man dies in rollover crash in Brechin Hill area

Medical emergency suspected in incident Saturday on Poplar Street

Tonight’s Nanaimo byelection debate intended to inform ‘young professionals’

B.C. Liberals, NDP and Green candidates to participate in Forum for Millennial Leadership debate

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Most Read