On Saturday evening, my brother and I were enjoying barbecued pork souvlaki skewers and Greek salad and talking about how the meal reminded us of growing up in Toronto’s East End and heading to Greektown for dinner on the weekends. His favourite restaurant was Asteria Souvlaki Place, one of the least expensive restaurants with amazing food. I remembered going to Pappas Grill with friends when I was in high school. In the early 1990s, my sister and I would take him out on his birthday for Greek food and drinks on the Danforth. The atmosphere in the neighbourhood was relaxed, casual and friendly; just everyday people getting together for a fun night-out.
This morning, I woke up to the news that 15 people were shot on Danforth Avenue in Greektown last night. Two of those people have died, an 18-year-old woman and a 10-year old girl. The victims were innocent people in the wrong place at the wrong time. Most were just enjoying an evening out with family and friends. Reports say the gunman walked down the Danforth, firing bullets into restaurants and at people walking down the street.
I haven’t lived in Toronto for years but I still visit regularly for TIFF and to hang out with friends. I will continue to do so. But the horrific van attack in North York this past Spring and the mass shooting leaves me with a heavy heart today, thinking about these tragedies that have befallen my hometown.