$3.5M disbursed to Toronto van attack victims, city says

The 26 victims and families of the April 23 van attack have received $3.5 million from the #TorontoStrong Fund, the administrators announced Thursday.

#TorontoStrong Fund was established following April incident which killed 10 people, wounded 16 others

Piles of flowers, signs and cards continue to grow at a memorial for the victims of the April 23 van attack, which killed 10 and injured 14. The #TorontoStrong Fund was set up after the attack by the city and the Toronto Foundation. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)

The 26 victims and families of the deadly van attack in north Toronto have received $3.5 million from the #TorontoStrong Fund, city officials announced Thursday.

Ten people died and 16 others were injured after a rental van mounted a sidewalk along bustling Yonge Street and plowed into pedestrians in its path on April 23. 

The #TorontoStrong Fund was created by the city, in partnership with the Toronto Foundation and Victim Services Toronto, to consolidate support efforts for the victims following the attack. 

"Allocating these funds has involved many difficult discussions and decisions," Barbara Hall, the fund administrator, said Thursday in a news release.  

"There is no perfect way to understand all the long-term impacts these families and survivors will face." 

Hall, who is also a former Toronto mayor, met with bereaved families, survivors, medical and social service personnel to review best practices from around the world. She also received guidance from the #TorontoStrong Steering Committee to establish a framework for distributing the funds raised. 

These are the 10 people killed in the April van attack. Top row, from left to right: Anne Marie D'Amico, 30, Dorothy Sewell, 80, Renuka Amarasingha, 45, Munir Najjar, 85, Chul Min (Eddie) Kang, 45, Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Forsyth, 94, Sohe Chung, 22, Andrea Bradden, 33, Geraldine Brady, 83, Ji Hun Kim, 22. (CBC)

Administrators noted the goal was to ensure that donated funds would be designated to those affected in a meaningful, accountable and transparent way.

"Meeting with them and other key stakeholders helped us develop a framework to disburse all the funds to survivors and families in a way that we believe will support their recovery and healing," Hall said in the release.

The administrators explained the recipients of the fund were offered an option to re-direct funding to those families and survivors with more traumatic injuries or who were more severely impacted by the tragedy. Almost one quarter of recipients generously chose that option, they said.  

Fund also supports Danforth shooting victims

The #TorontoStrong Fund also opened a separate funding arm for the victims of a deadly shooting rampage on Danforth Avenue in late July.

An 18-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl were killed and 13 others were injured when a gunman walked down an often-bustling stretch of Danforth Avenue on July 22, indiscriminately firing into restaurants and bars in the heart of Toronto's Greektown neighbourhood.  

The shooting rocked the community and over the last three months, residents and local businesses was come together to support the victims and their families. 

A number of fundraising initiatives have helped raise more than $550,000 for the victims of the shooting, according to a statement released Thursday. 

"In the wake of this tragic event, the community has come together in solidarity to help provide support to those most directly affected," said Sharon Avery, president and CEO of the Toronto Foundation. 

"No amount of financial support can replace what was lost or the significant injuries sustained, but acts of giving provide a sense of community, a sense of action and a sense of comfort, while providing some financial relief."

The #TorontoStrong Danforth Fund will continue to accept donations for the victims and families until Oct. 18. 

The administrators explained all financial contributions received will be allocated to the 15 victims and families through a process and disbursement framework similar to the one established following the April 23 van attack.