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Vigil held for girl struck, killed by minivan in Leaside

Rally held at McRae Drive and Millwood Road, July 17, 2014, for Georgia Walsh, who was run over and killed. RICHARD BLOOM/CITYNEWS

A vigil was held on Thursday for a seven-year-old girl who died after being hit by a minivan in Leaside.

Hundreds filled up all corners of McRae Drive and Millwood Road. Children, classmates and neighbours sat cross-legged in front of flowers.

Neighbours say with a park, a community centre and a church, the area is swarming with children but the increased traffic has made the area dangerous.

“This community has become a traffic nightmare because of all the commercial development that’s going on and it’s only going to get worse,” area resident Patrick Rocca told CityNews.

Police were called to the scene at the intersection of McRae Drive and Millwood Road, east of Bayview Avenue, just after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

According to police, it appears that the minivan was attempting to make a right-hand turn onto Millwood when Georgia Walsh was struck.

Paramedics say she suffered severe head trauma and was rushed to SickKids hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Police say the 50-year-old driver remained on scene and is cooperating with the investigation. There has been no word on charges.

Resident Roger Cattell said the increased traffic in the area had him so worried he wrote an email to Ward 25 councillor John Park in April saying there was the potential for injury to students walking to and from school.

“In that email I identified two intersections that were high risk,” said Cattell. “One at Millwood and McRae and one at Millwood and Hannah. And here we stand today with a young person, the same age as my daughter who’s been killed. I wish I’d done more.”

The little girl, Georgia, was the daughter of Conservative Party of Canada president John Walsh.

The Walsh family released a statement shortly after Georgia died calling for privacy.

“The Walsh family; John, Jillian, Duncan, Liam and Finn are saddened to inform you that their beautiful daughter and wonderful sister Georgia has passed,” the statement read.

“Taken from them suddenly in an accident today, the family asks that they be given their space and privacy to come to terms with this incredible loss. Your prayers are appreciated.”

John and Jillian Walsh and their children, Duncan, Liam, Georgia, and Finn. Georgia, 7, was killed by a minivan July 16, 2014. HANDOUT/Walsh Family
John and Jillian Walsh and their children, Duncan, Liam, Georgia, and Finn. Georgia, 7, was killed by a minivan July 16, 2014. HANDOUT/Walsh Family

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford gave his condolences to the Walsh family on Thursday at an unrelated press conference.

“I don’t know how I would carry on if I lost my daughter,” he said.

He then went on to say that he is against the lane reductions on Eglinton Avenue that are part of the construction of an LRT. He said the lane reductions send drivers onto side streets and the increased traffic contributed to the girl’s death.

With files from Christine Chubb and Tracy Tong