Vancouver Stands With Paris Vigil

By Melissa Shaw

A girl is huddled under an umbrella in the pouring rain on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, holding a poster of a smiling man that reads, 'Guillaume was killed yesterday at the Bataclan'.

The Bataclan is a concert hall in Paris and one of the locations attacked by gunmen on November 13, along with several cafes. Suicide bombs were also detonated close to France's national stadium. Media reported 129 people have died, 352 were injured and 99 were critically injured with the Islamic State reported to have claimed responsibility for the attacks. 

Vigils were held in Vancouver, as well as other major cities across Canada and around the world.

About 1,000 people attended the Vancouver Stands With Paris vigil, which was planned by Pierre Touzel, a councilor at L’Assemblée des Français de l’étranger (AFE) and Helene Creusot. 

Consul General of France in Vancouver, Jean-Christophe Fleury, opened the evening with a speech in both French and English. He included mention of similar attacks that had occurred in Beirut and Kenya.

“Of course there is fear, but with this fear there is determination,” to continue fighting against terrorism.

Vinojan Iruthayam, an exchange student from Denmark attending the vigil, said his family and friends living in France are safe but it's “a terrible situation.”

“We live in a society where we normally feel we are safe and we actually don't feel that way.. it's like we have driven that thing away from us, that feeling of safety in a place where we normally feel safe," said Iruthayam.

Amy Contrell is originally from Ireland and said she came out to show respect.

"[The attacks in France are] not something that's acceptable and everyone's banding together to say it's not right," she said.

 “It's times like this that you realize how important family is and it makes being away all the harder,” she said. 

First Nations drumming and soft piano music including renditions of John Lennon's 'Imagine', Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' and the singing of 'Oh Canada' accompanied those waiting to place their candle at the memorial site. 

                  A memorial to those that lost their lives. Photo: Michael Lylyk

                  A memorial to those that lost their lives. Photo: Michael Lylyk

A girl holds a photo of one of the victims. 

A crowd gathers in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  

About 1,000 people attended. 

Piano Teachers Federation member Miri Yee playing John Lennon's 'Imagine'.  

Piano Teachers Federation member Miri Yee playing John Lennon's 'Imagine'.