Billy Talent headlining Danforth benefit concert for victims tonight

TORONTO — A benefit concert will be held tonight at the Danforth Music Hall to support victims of last month’s mass shooting in Toronto’s Greektown.

Canadian rock band Billy Talent is headlining the concert along with musicians City and Colour, Pup, and some other unannounced artists.

The fundraiser is being held in the same neighbourhood where 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis were killed and 13 others were injured on July 22, when a gunman fired into crowded restaurants and patios.

Tickets were around $50 and the venue that seats 1,500 is sold out. Proceeds from the show will be donated to the #TorontoStrong fund.

The annual Taste of the Danforth Festival is also on this weekend, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend the event celebrating the popular neighbourhood’s many restaurants and diverse food and drink offerings.

Justin Trudeau was in Toronto last night to help open the festival. The prime minister began his address by honouring the victims of Friday’s shooting in Fredericton. He then offered thanks to the first responders and others who aided the victims of the Toronto shooting.

Jeewan Gill said he bought tickets for the Toronto concert as soon as they became available.

“I’m a big fan of (Billy Talent), they always put together benefit concerts,” said Gill, 26. “It’s good to support people that need help because of the shooting.”

Gill moved to Toronto from Vancouver a year ago, and said he’s been spending a lot of time on Danforth Avenue checking out its restaurants and music venues.

He noted that tonight’s show will be his fifth Billy Talent concert, but he said that given the venue, and the cause, this one will be a singular event.

“There will be a moment… where they talk about the shooting and what the cause is, there will be a moment of sombreness, but they’ve always been really positive when it comes to that sort of thing,” said Gill, adding that it will be a “stick together” vibe at the venue.

Voula Papadopoulos will also be at the show. She said she and her family and friends are regulars on the Danforth and that the shooting has shaken the community.

“What happened is just unimaginable to happen anywhere….everybody in the community is so friendly, so it hit so hard. It could have happened to any of us.”

Papadopoulos said she’s also a huge Billy Talent fan, so attending the concert was an easy decision.

“The fact that the guys are putting this on is just amazing on it’s own. It’s exactly what we need to show, we’re not scared, and we will support this, we’re not going to back down,” she said.

Billy Talent said in a statement when the fundraiser was announced that the shooting “hit home” as it happened just a few blocks from their studio.

“We want to throw a concert to show the world and more importantly our community that Toronto is a place of love, of community, of kindness and compassion. The violence that has happened here this summer does not represent the majority.”

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