Vigils Being Held Today in Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax for Victims of the Ukrainian Plane Crash in IranWritten by Making Headlines
Vigils and memorial services are being held today in Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax to mourn the loss of Iranians and Canadians killed in the crash of an Ukrainian airplane in Iran earlier this week.
According to statements made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a press conference earlier this week, many of the people on the airplane were making connections to Canada so along with the 63 Canadian citizens who died, many of whom were of Iranian descent, where were also many more who had ties to Canada, particularly Iranian university students studying at Canadian universities, making it a total of 138 people who were making flight connections to Canada who died. This makes it the largest Canadian death toll in an airplane crash since the 1985 Air India bombing, in which 280 citizens or permanent residents died.
One of the cities with a large number of losses was Edmonton, which held a vigil earlier this Wednesday at the Alberta Legislature, despite freezing temperatures, to mourn the losses of several Edmonton community members, the names of at least 13 have been officially confirmed. According to James Keller writing in the Edmonton Journal about the victims, "Details about the victims painted portraits of talent and academic achievement. Canada has a reputation for welcoming Iranian immigrants and students without the hurdles and sanctions they might face in the United States. Those killed include a leading expert in wireless technology, and a researcher in artificial intelligence. Engineers and teachers. Dentists and doctors. A high-school student. A young family. Newlyweds."
In Vancouver, home to the largest concentration of Iranians in Canada, more than 100 gathered for an unplanned vigil at Amir Bakery both to mourn all those lost but also to express condolences to the owner of Amir Bakery, Amir Pasavand, who lost both his wife Ayeshe Pourghaderi, and his daughter, Fatemah Pasavand, in the plane crash.
Many of those who died were faculty, current students, or alumni of Canadian universities. Many universities put their flags at half mast to mourn their losses and some, such as the University of Manitoba, held special memorial services.
The President of the University of Alberta, David H. Turpin, in response to the tragedy, stated "This is a devastating loss for the University of Alberta. Ours is a closely interconnected community, and we grieve with everyone touched by this terrible loss— friends, classmates, roommates, professors, students, mentors, and colleagues. The University of Alberta’s flags will be lowered to half-mast in recognition of this tragedy."
In Toronto, the University of Toronto released the list of its students whose names were on the flight manifest for Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752. A statement issued by the University of Toronto stated, ""On behalf of the entire University of Toronto community, I want to say how deeply saddened we are, and how concerned we are for the families and friends of those who lost their lives. We are continuing to gather information, and taking care to respect the privacy and wishes of all involved....Flags at U of T’s three campuses will be flown at half-mast as the university unites in mourning the victims and offers sympathy and condolences to their families and friends."
Other Ontario universities such Western University, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, York University, University of Waterloo, and the University of Guelph have also issued statements mourning the loss of their students.
In Montreal, Concordia University and Ecole de Technologie Superieure both confirmed that students, alumni or faculty were among the dead.
In Halifax, Dalhousie University and Saint Mary's University have confirmed that they both have students among the dead.
To learn more about the lives of the Canadians and Iranians who died in Flight PS752, you can read from the list of articles collected below.
For information about the vigils taking place today, Thursday, January 9th and on other upcoming dates also see below:
Toronto (North York)
Coverage in Canadian Media:
At least 30 Edmontonians dead in Iran plane crash that killed 176 (Edmonton Journal)
U of T community mourns Iran plane crash victims (University of Toronto)
Prime Minister Trudeau speaks to media about the fatal plane crash in Iran (January 8, 2020)
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