Police officers pay respects at Toronto ceremony to those killed in line of duty

·3 min read
Cut roses were placed near the names of the officers recently added to the Ontario Police Memorial. (CBC - image credit)
Cut roses were placed near the names of the officers recently added to the Ontario Police Memorial. (CBC - image credit)

More than a thousand police officers gathered at Queen's Park in Toronto on Sunday for a ceremony to honour those killed in the line of the duty.

The ceremony of remembrance, now in its 23rd year, was held in person for the first time since 2019. Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell and family members of fallen officers were there.

The ceremony, organized by the Ontario Police Memorial Foundation, included a march, pipe bands, prayers, speeches, a gun salute and Indigenous singing and drumming.

"Today is a day of mourning, a day of reflection, a day of encouragement and support, but most of all, today is a day of gratitude," Jason Tomlinson, president of the foundation, told the crowd in uniform.

"We are so very grateful to the 272 officers named on our wall of honour behind me. We are grateful to them for answering the call to serve and that the call outweighed any threat of danger, threat of violence or risk of death."

Tomlinson said it is important to remember that the fallen officers were far more than names engraved on a granite wall. He thanked their family members for sharing their loved ones.

"They are our sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. They are our friends," he said. "Thank you for your sacrifice."

Stella Dupuy/Radio Canada
Stella Dupuy/Radio Canada

Ford said it is a privilege to stand with the families to honour those killed in the line of the duty.

"It is with the heaviest of hearts that we must call out six more names this day, six more heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of keeping the people of this province safe from harm," Ford said.

"These officers never wavered in their sworn duty to protect the people of this province regardless of the personal risk. That, my friends, is the definition of selflessness, the definition of true bravery."

Dowdeswell said all of Ontario pays tribute to the fallen officers and residents are grateful for police officers in their communities. Residents also support the family members of the fallen officers, she said.

"By serving and protecting us, no matter the context, in times of both harmony and great challenge, police officers play a crucial role in ensuring our individual and collective safety, security and resilience," she said.

"As her majesty's representative, I offer police officers and those supporting them today and every day a most sincere thank you on behalf of a grateful province."

Ford and Dowdeswell, among others, laid wreaths on stands in front of the memorial wall.

CBC
CBC

The following names of police officers have been added to the Ontario Police Memorial:

  • Const. Jeffrey Northrup, a member of the Toronto Police Service, who died in 2021.

  • Provincial Const. Marc Hovingh, a member of the Manitoulin Detachment OPP, who died in 2020.

  • Const. Joan Theresa VanBreda, a member of the Niagara Regional Police, who died in 2020.

Historical additions have been made to the memorial after the names were identified through research by the Ontario Police Memorial historian:

  • Const. John Teevens, a member of Guelph Police, who died in 1945.

  • Const. John Hickey, a member of Brantford Police Service, who died in 1897.

  • Const. Alexander Wright, a member of Brockville Police Service, who died in 1895.

Northrup was killed after he was struck by a vehicle in the parking garage at city hall on July 2, 2021. Northrup, a 31-year veteran who was working at 52 Division, and his partner were responding to a 911 call for a robbery in progress at the time.

The memorial is located in a small park next to the Ontario legislature at the corner of Grosvenor Street and Queen's Park Crescent.

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