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Crime

Toronto Pride to conclude in a sea of black to pay tribute to Bruce McArthur’s alleged victims

Jasmine Andersson May 3, 2018

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 3: A parade participant carries a rainbow shawl, which displays the names of the Orlando shooting victims, at the annual Pride Festival parade, July 3, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make history as the first Canadian PM to march in the parade. (Photo by Ian Willms/Getty Images)

Although Toronto Pride is normally filled with a plume of rainbow flags, this year the parade will conclude with an all-black tribute to the victims of the alleged Toronto serial killer.

Rather than concluding with celebratory fanfare, organisers have opted to end the ceremony with a sea of black after Bruce McArthur was charged with the murder of eight gay men.

The murders, which allegedly took place between 2010 to 2017, were carried out by McArthur using the likes of gay dating websites such as Silver Daddies to find and target vulnerable gay men, in particular immigrants or men of colour, in Toronto’s gay village.

 

Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been charged in the murder of two men, both of whom disappeared last year (Getty)

“It’s one of the ways we want to commemorate the death of eight men in our community,” executive director of Pride Toronto Olivia Nuamah told CBC.

“The one thing that feels celebratory [about Pride] is the colour and the one thing that we’re really trying to take away this year is the colour.

“Even though we understand that we’re celebrating, we also need to deal with some hard truths about the LGBTQ community and the issues of safety that we still suffer.”

Volunteers at Pride will also wear black in tribute to the community’s loss.

This will be the second year in a row that the police force have not been allowed to join marchers.

 

Toronto police at Pride (Photo by Ian Willms/Getty)

Pride Toronto asked police to withdraw their application to join, saying that the “insufficient” effort to find the missing men has failed the community.

“The individual stories and lived experiences of each of these people were unique,” Pride Toronto said in a statement.

“But what they did share was that the investigations into their disappearances were insufficient, community knowledge and expertise was not accessed and despite the fact that many of us felt and voiced our concerns, we were dismissed.”

The police have agreed to an independent investigation into why the alleged killer remained at large for so long.

McArthur has been charged with the murders of Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Selim Esen, 44, and Abdulbasir Faizi, 44, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Majeed Kayhan, 58.

Police are also investigating whether landscape gardener McArthur is also responsible for some historic unsolved murder cases.

Between 1975 and 1978 there were a total of 14 murders of gay men in Toronto, many of whom were killed in violent attacks similar to McArthur’s alleged victims.

The investigation into the garden where several of the men’s remains were found continues.

More: Americas, Bruce McArthur, Canada, Canada, Crime, Toronto, Toronto serial killer

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