'We're not going to back down': Billy Talent lends star power to Danforth benefit concert

​A benefit concert was held Saturday night at the Danforth Music Hall to support victims of last month's mass shooting in Toronto's Greektown.

City and Colour also playing; proceeds will be donated to #TorontoStrong fund

Canadian rockers Billy Talent host a benefit concert in Toronto to support the victims of the deadly shooting on Danforth Avenue. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

​A benefit concert was held Saturday night at the Danforth Music Hall to support victims of last month's mass shooting in Toronto's Greektown.

Canadian rock band Billy Talent headlined the concert along with musicians City and Colour, Maestro, Pup and some other unannounced artists. Toronto Mayor John Tory is also expected to attend.

The fundraiser was held in the same neighbourhood where 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis were killed and 13 others were injured on July 22, when a gunman fired into crowded restaurants and patios.

Finger Eleven started off the show following a rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," a song also performed a day earlier at the opening of the area's Taste of the Danforth Festival.

Tickets were around $50 and the venue that seats 1,500 is sold out. Proceeds from the show will be donated to the #TorontoStrong fund.

The annual Taste of the Danforth Festival is also happening this weekend, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend the event celebrating the popular neighbourhood's many restaurants and diverse food and drink offerings.

Justin Trudeau was in Toronto Friday night to help open the festival. The prime minister began his address by honouring the victims of Friday's shooting in Fredericton He then offered thanks to the first responders and others who aided the victims of the Toronto shooting.

'It's good to support people'

Jeewan Gill said he bought tickets for the Toronto concert as soon as they became available.

"I'm a big fan of (Billy Talent). They always put together benefit concerts," said Gill, 26. "It's good to support people that need help because of the shooting."

Gill moved to Toronto from Vancouver a year ago, and said he's been spending a lot of time on Danforth Avenue checking out its restaurants and music venues.

He noted that Saturday's show would be his fifth Billy Talent concert, but he said that given the venue, and the cause, this one would be a singular event. 

Billy Talent to host benefit concert for Danforth shooting victims

CBC News Toronto

3 years ago
Proceeds from the concert will be donated to the TorontoStrong fund. 2:12

"There will be a moment … where they talk about the shooting and what the cause is. There will be a moment of sombreness, but they've always been really positive when it comes to that sort of thing," said Gill, adding that it would be a "stick together" vibe at the venue.

Voula Papadopoulos was also at the show. She said she and her family and friends are regulars on the Danforth and that the shooting has shaken the community.

"What happened is just unimaginable to happen anywhere.… Everybody in the community is so friendly, so it hit so hard. It could have happened to any of us."

'A responsible use of fame'

Papadopoulos said she's also a huge Billy Talent fan, so attending the concert was an easy decision.

Danforth's annual festival has different meaning in 2018

The National

3 years ago
Danforth Avenue's annual festival has a different meaning this year, following the shooting that killed two people. There will be enhanced security at Taste of the Danforth, but for many people, the event is a chance to show that a single act of violence will not define the Toronto neighbourhood. 2:21

"The fact that the guys are putting this on is just amazing on its own. It's exactly what we need to show, we're not scared, and we will support this. We're not going to back down," she said.

Mark Verlib agreed, saying he was happy to spend the $50 to help victims and their families.

"The fact that they went out of their way to do something completely unexpected and donate all the proceeds, that's a responsible use of their fame."
Mark Verlib said he was happy to spend the $50 to help victims and their families, and applauded the musicians for helping. (CBC)

Billy Talent said in a statement when the fundraiser was announced that the shooting "hit home" as it happened just a few blocks from their studio.

"We want to throw a concert to show the world and more importantly our community that Toronto is a place of love, of community, of kindness and compassion. The violence that has happened here this summer does not represent the majority."