(Canadian Press photo)

Teenage shooting victim attends sold-out Danforth benefit concert

Samantha Price was eating ice cream with 18-year-old Reese Fallon when a gunman opened fire

A young victim of the mass shooting in Toronto’s Greektown neighbourhood was among the crowd at a benefit concert held Saturday night to raise money for those impacted by last month’s violence.

Samantha Price, a recent high school grad, said she was on Danforth Avenue eating ice cream with 18-year-old Reese Fallon and some other friends on the night of July 22 when a gunman opened fire into crowded restaurants and patios.

A bullet pieced Price’s upper thigh, she said, and her friend Fallon was killed. Ten-year-old Julianna Kozis was also killed and 12 others were injured before the gunman ended his own life.

Price, still on crutches, and accompanied by her father, Ken Price, returned to the Danforth Saturday night to attend the concert organized by Canadian rockers Billy Talent, who have a studio just steps from where the shooting happened.

The mood at the concert was one of celebration and kinship, but it was also punctuated by solemn moments as the various musicians paused on stage to remind the enthusiastic audience, and themselves, why they were there.

Tickets cost about $50 and the venue’s 1,500 seats were sold out, with proceeds from the show to be donated to the #TorontoStrong fund.

Billy Talent headlined the concert along with musicians City and Colour, Pup, Finger Eleven and Maestro Fresh-Wes.

Ken Price appeared on stage after City and Colour performed, to thank the audience for supporting the shooting victims. As Samantha looked on from the balcony level, he also thanked the first responders who tended his daughter’s wounds.

“Sam is lucky, she will get to recover and attend university, but all of us will carry this forward,” he said.

READ MORE: Family of Danforth shooting victim Reese Fallon says she won’t be forgotten

READ MORE: Mourners bid goodbye to the two young victims of Toronto shooting

READ MORE: Psychiatric body warns against stigmatizing mentally ill after Toronto shooting

After leaving the show Samantha, who will begin studies at Western University in the fall, indicated that her recovery has been a “roller-coaster” process.

“There are ups and downs every day, but I’m recovering pretty well,” she said, adding that returning to the Danforth area was an emotional experience.

“I’m overwhelmed but I’m amazed at the amount of love the community has shown,” she said.

Finger Eleven kicked off the show following a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” a song also performed a day earlier at the opening of the area’s Taste of the Danforth Festival.

Maestro Fresh-Wes hyped up the crowd performing some old hits including “Let Your Backbone Slide,” while Toronto band Pup had concert-goers crowd surfing to their music. Pup lead singer Stefan Babcock even plunged into the crowd himself, delighting those near the front of the stage.

But it was when Billy Talent appeared to begin their set with “Devil In A Midnight Mass,” that the crowd really made it clear who they’d been waiting for.

The band also performed “White Sparrows,” which lead singer Ben Kowalewicz noted they don’t usually do. The song’s lyrics, which discuss the tragic death of a woman, served a poignant reminder to the audience about the shooting victims.

At one point during the set Kowalewicz climbed on top of a speaker to talk to the crowd, that included Toronto Mayor John Tory.

“We love this city,” he said, adding that the band new it had to do something in the wake of last month’s terrible tragedy.

“We need to stand up and make sure the rest of the world, and let the community, and let the Danforth, and let the city of Toronto know that we are a people of love, compassion and kindness,” he said. ”Take this feeling from tonight, and when you leave these doors, remember the feeling of tonight and pay that forward.”

In closing the show, all of the musicians gathered on stage to perform a rendition of The Tragically Hip’s “Bobcaygeon.”

Later, outside the venue, Yasmin Afshar, 23, said that hearing Ken Price talk about his daughter really struck a chord.

“I think it really touched everyone,” she said, adding that music has a way of bringing people together.

“Any event you go to in Toronto, you realize how many people are here, with you, supporting you.”

Olivia Bowden, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Woman found dead in Okanagan Lake identified as Surrey resident

Police ‘do not believe criminality was involved’ in the death of 29-year-old Caitlin Bradley

‘I feel ready for it’: On a BMX, Surrey man is ‘Cycling for Sobriety’ across Canada

Mat Fee will depart Halifax on May 1 to raise money and awareness for John Volken Academy

Students run blood, stem cell donor drive at Surrey’s Vaisakhi Parade

Volunteer youth group One Blood for Life aims to create a more ethnically diverse stem cell registry

Surrey prayer vigil planned to honour hundreds killed in Sri Lanka bombings

The event is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday night at Holland Park

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Anti-SOGI activist slams ban on B.C. dad speaking out about transgender son’s case

A judge has told the father to stop publicly objecting to his son’s gender

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Victims injured in Lower Mainland deck collapse ranged from 15 to 83 years old

Victim Services staff have reached out to those hurt and their families

‘Ghost restaurants’ cooked up by Joseph Richard Group to meet demand of delivered food

The new Meal Ticket Brands venture aims to ‘disrupt’ the local restaurant industry

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Torched SUV linked to Vancouver’s fourth homicide

Manoj Kumar, 30, was found dead from gunshot wounds in the Kitsilano neighbourhood

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Most Read