Mayor John Tory announced the event yesterday (March 8), detailing a March 29 concert at Nathan Phillips Square set to feature Carol Pope, members of the Barenaked Ladies, the Forte Toronto Gay Men's Chorus, Thelma Houston, Billy Newton Davis of the Nylons, Canadian Idol winner Theo Tams and winners from reality competition show The Launch.
Love Wins – a concert where Toronto will come together in healing and in strength – takes place on March 29th in Nathan Phillips Square. In the wake of the tragic murders of men from the LGBTQ community, we must unite to support each other during these difficult times. #LoveWins pic.twitter.com/NTip4EVayu— John Tory (@JohnTory) March 8, 2018
Since then, many have taken to social media to criticize the city for hosting an event while police investigations are still ongoing and many questions remain unanswered, while others objected to the lack of input the community was given in the event's planning.
Toronto LGBTQ+ community: *is literally murdered by a serial killer*— Why-It (ʃƪ ˘ ³ ˘)♥🥔 (@kazewan) March 8, 2018
Some idiot: You know what the best idea would be? Let's throw a music concert to celebrate and call it #lovewins
Dear powers that be: a musical concert in solidarity of mourning the loss of lives from a SERIAL KILLER is just ridiculous. Stuck on stupid ridiculous. Completely inappropriate. And the slogan: #LoveWins ?!? Tell me this thing has been cancelled. #AccountabilityNow #Toronto— Michelle Jones (@maej43) March 9, 2018
I don't know who planned this #lovewins serial killer concert but you are completely tone deaf.— Mark Bernard Muise (@marsh_mellow12) March 8, 2018
"It just feels like a giant corporate, political cachet on a grieving community," Toronto resident Jordan Pedde told the Canadian Press. "There's definitely room for there to be something uplifting for the community, and some sort of gathering, but people are still in the grieving stages."
City Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam defended the decision to host the event, noting that investigative procedures could take years to complete.
"I can hear that people might say that it's too soon, but for some members of the community it's not soon enough," she said. "They're sitting by themselves and wondering where do they place their grief and who's going to bring them together?... In many ways, this concert is an effort to try and respond to community members who were saying they're feeling very much alone."
To date, McArthur has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder, all involving men with ties to Toronto's gay village.