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Longtime Toronto teacher killed in violent robbery in Costa Rica

Last Updated Mar 8, 2017 at 9:01 pm EST

A Toronto teacher has been killed in what is believed to have been a violent robbery in Costa Rica.

Bruce McCallum, 58, who taught at Albert Campbell Collegiate in Scarborough, was found dead around 4:30 a.m. last Sunday in the southern Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo, Limón. He had suffered multiple stab wounds.

McCallum had reportedly woken up early to take pictures of the sunrise when he was attacked. Local police say his camera was missing from his backpack when they found him.

Shari Schwartz-Maltz of the Toronto District School Board tells 680 News the loss is being felt by both co-workers and students.

“He was a very, very beloved teacher,” said Schwartz-Maltz. “I was blown away by some of the things that they said about what an incredible, out of the box teacher this was. They are all devastated.”

McCallum had been teaching for 20 years, 18 of them with the TDSB.

According to Albert Campbell principal Carol Richards-Sauer, McCallum had been on a scheduled leave of absence.

“In his 20 years as an educator, Mr. McCallum touched the lives of students and staff who had the pleasure of working with him,” she said in a letter sent to parents and students at the school. “He was a caring and dedicated member of our teaching team for 18 years. He was a positive role model in the Campbell community who had a passion for photography and travel. His energy and work ethic were an inspiration to us all. Bruce will be sorely missed.”

Richard-Sauer added a memorial service is being planned and will be announced once the arrangements are finalized.

“I really have no words, I’m speechless,” wrote former student Michelle Zhao in a Facebook post.

“Mr. McCallum was hands down one of my favourite teachers I’ve EVER had, he had an amazing personality and taught well. I’ll never forget the memories he gave me and the lessons he taught. He only wanted to do the one thing he loved over there but it was taken away from him, it’s so unfair. RIP Mr. McCallum you will be missed.”