5 tributes paid to the victims of the Iran air disaster

Since Ukrainian Airlines Flight PS752 was shot down one week ago, killing all 176 people on board, including 57 Canadians, Torontonians have been paying their respects at Mel Lastman Square in North York.

It’s become a place where the city gathers to mourn and show support for people devastated by tragedy.

From dozens of candles and photos, handwritten notes and poetry to Persian desserts and a tiny pair of Minnie Mouse shoes, the ever growing memorial is equal parts raw, emotional, touching, and devastating.

These are some of the messages to victims who lived in the Toronto area.

‘I’m sorry we couldn’t hold your hand’

Arad Zarei, 18, was supposed to start his last semester at Richmond Green Secondary School. His father said ‘he was the apple of my eye.’ (Ed Middleton/ CBC)

On a candle long burned out, a message is written to Arad Zarei, 18, who was a student at Richmond Green Secondary School in Richmond Hill.

“I’m sorry we couldn’t hold your hand, I’m sorry you were scared. You are so missed at home, in all of your homes … I hope you are somewhere better. We love you! Fly high!”

-Your RGSS parents

‘The entire sky is grieving’

Faezeh Falsafi was travelling with her children Dorsa Ghandchi, 17, and Daniel Ghandchi, 8, at the time of the crash. Faezeh held a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, her husband said. (Ed Middleton/ CBC)

In a message written in Farsi to GTA mother Faezeh ‘Fran’ Falsafi and her two children Dorsa, 17, and Daniel, 8, the author writes “the entire sky is grieving.”

‘She was my best friend’

Sheida Shadkhoo had been in Iran visiting her mother and was headed back to Toronto when the plane was shot down. (Ed Middleton/ CBC)

“She was my best friend,” said Raheleh Fazilat, her voice breaking. She brought a photo of Sheida Shadkhoo the day after the crash, and visits the memorial every other day, smoothing out its edges now soaked through from the rain.

The two met 12 years ago in Toronto at an ESL class, both new to Canada from Iran. Fazilat says they talked every day, including an hour before Flight PS752.

Raheleh Fazilat lost her best friend, Sheida Shadkhoo, in the plane crash. She says the memorial at Mel Lastman Square brings her some comfort. (Ed Middleton/ CBC)

“‘I told her, ‘I’m waiting for you,'” said Fazilat.

Shadkhoo’s funeral in Iran is scheduled for Wednesday, she says.

‘I can never forget your beautiful soul’

Darya Toghian was a student at George Brown College. (Ed Middleton/ CBC)

In black ink, a brief message is written on a red paper heart, reading, “Dear Darya, I can never forget you or your beautiful soul. Rest in peace.”


Love and condolences

Sharzhad Hashemi, 45 and her daughter Maya Zibaie, 15, were returning home to Toronto from Iran after visiting family. (Ed Middleton/ CBC)

Many messages are simple.

This one, translated from Farsi, sends condolences to the family of Toronto’s Shahrzad Hashemi, who had recently celebrated her 45th birthday, and her daughter Maya Zibaie, 15, a Grade 10 student at Northern Secondary School.

Hashemi’s husband and Zibaie’s father Mahmoud Zibaie described his daughter as “very lovely, well educated” and the pillar of his family.

A tiny pair of children’s Minnie Mouse shoes rests at the memorial at Mel Lastman Square. They’re signed ‘With Love, Charmaine.’ (Ed Middleton/ CBC)

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