A memorial and vigil was held in downtown Toronto on Tuesday for one of Bruce McArthur’s alleged victims.
Dean Lisowick was honoured at the Church of the Holy Trinity, where his name was added to the Toronto Homeless Memorial.
LGBT and homeless advocate Nikki Ward said Lisowick was a well liked fixture in the community.
“Mr. Lisowick was loved, is loved by a great many people,” she said.
Unlike McArthur’s other alleged victims, Lisowick, who was homeless, was never reported missing. Ward says that points to larger logistical issues with how missing persons are reported.
“Actually getting them recorded as a missing person has been extremely difficult,” she says. “There’s no central missing persons bureau for example. So we have people who go missing in one part of town but actually are from another part of town, and that information is not shared adequately.”
“Just because he wasn’t recorded missing, doesn’t mean he wasn’t missed.” she said.
Community members echoed those sentiments, adding that Lisowick was generous and good natured.
“One of the things I really want to get across is that he was a kind soul,” says Colin Johnson who knew Lisowick for over a decade, adding that it’s concerning his absence from the community went unquestioned.
“We see these people on the street, we get to know them … and the fact that we all collectively didn’t ask … doesn’t bear good on us in the long run.”
A vigil will also be held in the city’s gay village on Tuesday evening, outside the 519 community centre in Barbara Hall park.
Dozens of groups connected to the city’s LGBTQ community are organizing the event and 519 executive director Maura Lawless says it’s a chance to come together and provide a safe space to grieve in the wake of recent tragedies.
“We thought it was important to come together to share our grief, to stand together in solidarity and to provide support for each other and really to look to the future as well. We understand and know that this is going to be a long standing issue that’s going to impact our community for a number of years to come.” she said.
The vigil will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of five men, and police have said they believe there are more victims.
Those known so far are Selim Esen, 44, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Majeed Kayhan, 58, Soroush Mahmudi, 50 as well as Lisowick, who was either 43 or 44 when he died.
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