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'We all suffer': Vigils held across Canada for the Flight PS752 crash victims
TORONTO -- From Vancouver to Halifax, mourners and families organized vigils across Canada to honour the 176 victims of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 crash, including 57 Canadians.
The collective pain was felt coast-to-coast, as families and friends of the victims banded together to pause and mourn the devastating loss of life.
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Strangers and well-wishers were also in attendance at the dozen or so makeshift candlelight vigils, memorials and outdoor ceremonies in Canada. The country is home to a vibrant Iranian community, with 300,000 Iranian-Canadians.
In North Vancouver, crowds gathered to remember a mother and daughter who ran a bakery. One attendee told CTV News that “even in a bad time, you have a friend around you. You have community support,” while another called the tragedy a “terrible loss.”
One of the memorials was in Toronto, where Mayor John Tory told mourners that “when one person suffers in Toronto, we all suffer.”
The academic community in Canada also suffered a massive blow, as many of the victims on the flight that crashed shortly after takeoff near Tehran were current and former students -- many of whom were returning from visiting family in Iran.
Several university campuses held their own vigils, including University of Ottawa, McMaster University, Western University, the University of Guelph and the University of Waterloo. All of them lost students or staff in the crash.
In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined hundreds of other mourners in frigid temperatures to lay flowers at a memorial on Parliament Hill.
There was also a hastily-organized event in Halifax, where organizers recognized the need to share their grief.
Jossin Mousavi from the Nova Scotia Iranian Association told CTV News the community was "very heartbroken and very sad for what happened in this situation."
The husband of prominent Halifax dentist Sharieh Faghihi, who died in the crash, struggled to express his anguish. But through heavy breaths, he had a simple message to memorial attendees: “Thank you so much, much for coming here.”
There are also more vigils and memorials scheduled for this weekend, including one at Dalhousie University.
Adding to the families’ grief is the revelation that the airliner was likely downed by a missile. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that evidence indicates a missile strike, “which may well have been unintentional.”