'It will be generations before we forget': Vigil marks bus crash anniversary

Holding electric candles under the shelter at Westboro station, about 20 people silently marked the exact moment one year ago that a double-decker OC Transpo bus crashed into the shelter's overhang — killing three people and injuring at least 23 others.

They stood next to a makeshift memorial, comprised of flowers and notes with messages like "You are missed and will be forever loved," and "Remembering my bus buddy, Bruce. I will never forget you."

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"We're here to remember Bruce Thomlinson, Judy Booth, and Anja Van Beek, who were killed," Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper told the group.

"I know that we are joined in thoughts and prayers from people right across the city, because something like this absolutely affects an entire city. And it will be generations before we forget the events of one year ago."

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'Meaningful and moving'

Patrick Ridgen stood with his friends, holding his own electronic candle.

"I think it is meaningful and moving," said Ridgen, who works around the corner from the station and uses it every day to commute.

He said while the crash left him feeling uneasy, the vigil offered some solace.

"It helps to process it and to see that other people care too about what happened."

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Before the moment of silence, several people who were there to add flowers and cards became emotional, shedding a few tears as they read the notes.  

Gary Ludington, the president of the Westboro Community Association, said the community organized the vigil to show solidarity with those most affected.

"Most of the people were from Kanata and that area. [So this is] just to let them know that we're still thinking of them. And we'd just like to express our sympathy," said Ludington.

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Hard to understand

Leiper told the group the incident will remain difficult to get beyond without more understanding of what happened.

"We're all frustrated by how long its going to take to learn what happened," said Leiper in his speech.

"But as we struggle to deal with that and continue to grieve, I'm glad that we can do it together."

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There are several investigations underway, including a coroner's inquest and a a criminal proceeding against the driver, Aissatou Diallo.

Diallo's trial on multiple charges of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm won't begin before the spring of 2021.

"There's no finding [yet] that says this is what happened," said Leiper.

"And until that finding — until someone can tell us what exactly happened — I don't think we will be able to fully process it. I don't think we'll be able to get that closure that's so important to get."

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