Georgia Walsh: Vigil held for Toronto girl struck by van
Outpouring of support for family is 'who we are,' Leaside mother says
A vigil was held Thursday for Georgia Walsh, the seven-year-old child who died a day earlier after she was hit by a minivan in Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood.
Georgia was the daughter of Conservative Party president John Walsh.
Dozens of mourners left flowers and notes of condolence at the intersection of McRae Drive and Millwood Road on Thursday afternoon, near where the girl was struck.
“That’s just who we are and what we do here,” said Leaside resident Robyn Israel of the outpouring of support for the family.
She told CBC News that, when her young daughter asked why everybody was gathering at the intersection, Israel said “‘It’s because we love each other.’ ”
Fiona Whitby, a friend of the Walsh family, left flowers at the memorial. She said she saw Georgia at a nearby park minutes before the child was involved in the fatal collision.
“She just lives around the corner and wanted to go home. And I turned to play with my son, and the next thing you know, I heard the sirens.”
The seven-year-old was hit by the minivan around 4 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.
Police say a 50-year-old man was driving the minivan southbound and was making a right turn at the intersection when the girl was hit.
No one has been charged in the crash, and police are still investigating what led up to the incident.
The Walsh family said in a statement that John, Jillian and their kids Duncan, Liam and Finn are asking for privacy as they "come to terms with this incredible loss."
Fellow Conservatives expressed condolences to the family.
Toronto mayoral candidate John Tory made a statement at a press conference Thursday: "I hope we can respect their request for privacy in the days ahead as they mourn the loss of their daughter, and I hope for all of us after that period of mourning, we can focus – as we should be doing every day – on assuring the safety of pedestrians in every neighbourhood, every day, in every part of the city."
Toronto mayor Rob Ford said "my heart bleeds for this family" at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
"Toronto’s thoughts and prayers are with the family through this very difficult time," he said. "I don't know how I would carry on if I lost my daughter."
John Parker, the councillor for the ward and former Progressive Conservative MPP, said he would keep the family in his prayers.
"In the aftermath of yesterday's tragic loss of a child in our community my thoughts are with the Walsh family and the pain that they must be enduring," he said.
"The matter of the terrible road accident that took the life of young Georgia Walsh is under investigation by the appropriate authorities. We all understand the importance of allowing that investigation to be carried out in an orderly manner and for the facts to be made known at the appropriate time."
A church in Godfrey, which Georgia’s grandparents are connected to, posted on Twitter. “This afternoon, former FMCiC Bishop Gary & Ellen Walsh’s granddaughter Georgia, daughter of John and Jillian Walsh, was killed in an accident in Toronto. Please keep the family in your prayers during this difficult time.”
With Files From The Canadian Press