I live in the greatest multi-cultural city in this world.
I say it with a lot of pride and joy. Toronto allowed me and many others to be the blended individuals we are -- Canadians with an ethnic heritage.
We flaunt it shamelessly, particularly in the longest road of North America, Yonge Street. Therefore, it hurt deeply when a white van, emulating the actions of other terrorist attacks all over the world, ploughed through pedestrians on Yonge.
It happened in the north of Yonge, a region we call North York. It happened in an area that is the epitome of multi-culturalism, with food stores ranging from Canadian to Korean.
It is my neighbourhood, an area I visit at least twice a week; I had plans there on Thursday and Saturday; I have friends who live there.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, as is common these days, social media erupted with anti-immigrant sentiment.
I don’t know if they were from Canadians, but it drove me to tears.
We never thought that Toronto was immune to such heinous acts, but now it has actually happened.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, as is common these days, social media erupted with anti-immigrant sentiment
However, the facts had not been confirmed, the federal government had repeatedly stated that they were only monitoring, and no nation-wide warning has been issued.
Then why the rhetoric? Why the hatred? Why the speculation?
Are we not the face of multi-cultural values? Isn’t muti-culturalism so ingrained in our blood that we are astonished when we meet a person from Canada who has never had sushi?
We are, and I refuse to believe otherwise.
This, then, is the time to demonstrate those values.
It is the time to show the world that we, as a city, are not swayed by speculation and headlines.
We understand that the hatred of one can impact the lives of many, and hence we will not spread further hatred.
Instead, we will honour the deceased by sticking to facts, wait for the investigation, and not spread any rumours.
We are proud Torontonians, and the love of our multi-cultural city binds us ALL together.
This is not our Toronto.
Purna Hassan is a registered practical nurse. She writes from Toronto.