'I thought I was going to die': Beach stabbing victim says he's 'lucky' to be alive

Dylan Cann, 27, was attacked by a young man at the Beaches Jazz Festival Thursday. Now he says he feels "pretty lucky" to be alive.

'At one point when I was in the ambulance I thought I was going to die'

Dylan Cann, 27, was stabbed multiple times by a random attacker at the Beaches Jazz Festival shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday. (Jon Castell/CBC)

A man who was stabbed multiple times by a stranger at the Beaches Jazz Festival last week says he feels "pretty lucky" to have survived an attack that left him seriously injured. 

"At one point when I was in the ambulance I thought I was going to die. I had never felt pain like that before," said Dylan Cann, who was randomly assaulted by a young man at the festival on Thursday.

"They couldn't stop the bleeding," said Cann during an interview with CBC Toronto at his home in The Beach Monday.

Cann, 27, suffered four stab wounds. The higher ones hit his chest, while the lower ones hit his abdomen, causing internal bleeding. 

The wound closest to his heart missed it by just two millimetres. 

Dylan Cann pictured in hospital after he suffered four stab wounds to his chest and abdomen that caused internal bleeding. (Submitted/Dylan Cann)

After spending the past couple of days in hospital, the bleeding stopped. He was cleared for release Sunday. 

Now, just days after the assault, Cann is relieved he wasn't more seriously injured.

"I feel pretty lucky," he said. 

'Leave me alone'

It happened just before 11 p.m. near the corner of Queen Street East and Hammersmith Avenue east of Woodbine Avenue, shortly after the first evening of the annual event had wrapped up.

Cann says he was walking with his foster puppy when a young man approached him and started asking about his dog. 

When Cann told him the puppy was eight weeks old, he says the suspect got agitated, claiming the event was too loud for the dog.

Police spoke to several witnesses near the scene of the stabbing Thursday. (Jeremy Cohn/CBC)

"I said, 'Leave me alone,' and I turned to walk away and he started stabbing me in my stomach," Cann said. "The whole time I was getting stabbed I thought I was getting punched."  

When Cann backed up a few seconds later to grab his puppy, he says he felt his soaking-wet chest and realized what had happened. 

"He was standing 10 feet away with a big smile on his face," he said, describing the suspect. 

I'm definitely going to be looking over my shoulder until this guy is caught.- Dylan Cann

Cann managed to stumble away from his attacker and alert firefighters, who administered first aid. 

The suspect is described as a male in his late teens to early 20s and about five-feet, eight-inches tall. He was wearing a button-down black shirt tucked into blue jeans and black shoes at the time, police said. 

Officers who responded to the stabbing spoke to several witnesses and also canvassed the area for possible security footage.

Community launches GoFundMe campaign 

Cann owns a business, and will be off work for weeks. 

Luckily, residents in the Beach neighbourhood started a GoFundMe campaign to help him "get back on his feet," according to the campaign page. 

To date, almost $3,500 has been raised. 

"Dylan is always willing to lend a helping hand ... now it's our turn to return the favour," the page reads. 

Jeremy Campbell agrees. 

Until recently, he was Cann's neighbour, and says he's kind, funny, and a good member of the community. He's worried about how Cann is going to make a living while he's recovering.

"It's great to see people helping," Campbell said. "When life gets you down, you're on your own ... It's a big financial hit to somebody." 

One boy in the area was even selling lemonade over the weekend to help raise funds. 

Dylan Cann pictured with his foster puppy. Members of the community describe Cann as a social neighbour, who goes out of his way to help others. (Submitted/Dylan Cann )

Many messages posted to Facebook characterize Cann as a valued member of the community, known for helping neighbours with anything they need.

But now he says he's busy watching his back, and trying to get through sleepless nights. 

"I'm definitely going to be looking over my shoulder until this guy is caught." 


Julia Knope

Web writer

Julia Knope is a digital reporter for CBC News Toronto. Have a news tip? Contact her at

With files from Talia Ricci


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