How Torontonians are reacting to the Paris attacks

How Torontonians are reacting to the Paris attacks

Paris vigil at Nathan Phillips Square (Images: Chris Bateman)
 

On Saturday, the day after a series of coordinated attacks in Paris claimed at least 129 lives, a crowd of hundreds of people—including mayor John Tory and Marc Trouyet, the French consul general—gathered in Nathan Phillips Square to observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims. During the less silent parts of the gathering, we asked people why they’d come, and what they think should be done in response to terrorism.

(Image: Chris Bateman) (Image: Chris Bateman)
 

Laure Saunier, 30, HR co-ordinator
“I am French. I just moved here two months ago. It’s important to show solidarity with France. Don’t let it happen again. We have to do something. A peaceful response.”

(Image: Chris Bateman) (Image: Chris Bateman)
 

Timo Posti, 42, ESL teacher
“I think a lot of Canadians are grieving. It’s unbelievable. I hope that the amount of lives that are lost in this war will be minimal, but I hope ISIS can be stopped somehow. I think we should beef up security.”

(Image: Chris Bateman) (Image: Chris Bateman)
 

Bruno Pineau-Valencienne, 47, financial services worker
“I wanted to express all my pain and pay tribute to the Parisians who have known and experienced a lot of suffering and loss. Hopefully now the French government will realize we need to send troops on the ground to eradicate these barbaric terrorists.”

(Image: Chris Bateman) (Image: Chris Bateman)
 

Julie Moureau, 39, police officer
“All my family is back home in Paris and in the south of France. I want this to bring people further together. Just keep living the way you’re living, and don’t let this impede on what you’re doing every day or bring fear into your daily life.”

(Image: Chris Bateman) (Image: Chris Bateman)
 

Anne Maizia, 52, painter
“I’m very sad about all this. I was living in New York on 9/11, so I have a feeling it’s the same thing again. I think we have to be united and make sure we’re not afraid of all this barbarism. Everybody should come together. I just hope there will be more acts to combat this terrorism. And I hope there won’t be any increase in racism because of all this. That’s all I hope.”

(Image: Chris Bateman) (Image: Chris Bateman)
 

Clement Le Bonniec, 22, student
I have family in Paris, so it’s really important to be here. I think we have to be stronger against ISIS and terrorists. We don’t have to wait for tragedies like this. We need to fight strongly against terrorists and terrorism.”

(Image: Chris Bateman) (Image: Chris Bateman)
 

Steven Lewaneowski, 46, financial services worker
“I was born in Paris. I left when I was 7. I still have friends there and family in France. We have to go out and live our lives. We can’t just sit and be scared. We have to just live and do what we do every day and move forward.”

(Image: Chris Bateman) (Image: Chris Bateman)
 

Claire Bannier, 25, looking for work
Marie Giang, 25, looking for work
Alice Agusta, 27, teaching co-ordinator

Marie: “I’m from France. We’re all from France. All my friends and family are in Paris. The best way to deal with this is not to make any judgements on people’s religion. You can’t show racism. We need to not be afraid to go out and live our lives.”

(Image: Chris Bateman) (Image: Chris Bateman)
 

Monica Chevallier, 30, nurse
Maxime Chevallier, 29, operations manager at a tour operator
Luc Chevallier, 10 months, baby

Maxime: “I think France has to stand and do something, but you cannot point to only one kind of person in society. I’m from France, she’s from Columbia, and we have a baby born in Canada. We have to be together and stand for our rights and our freedoms.”

(Image: Chris Bateman) (Image: Chris Bateman)
 

Antony Bright, 37, teacher
“I’m not liking a lot of the anti-Muslim, anti-religion reactions I’m hearing the day after, because I don’t think that’s the problem. The problem is extremism. I’m here to support the free world, but I also want to try to understand why these things happen. This event is a way of standing up without attacking.”