Friends, family and fellow police officers are part of a procession Wednesday morning heading to the funeral service for Const. Andrew Hong, the Toronto police officer killed in a shooting rampage west of the city on Sept. 12.
The procession left the Kane-Jerrett Funeral Home in Thornhill just after 9:30 a.m. for the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke at noon. Police are restricting traffic on much of the route, which is laid out at the bottom of this story.
Toronto police spokeswoman Stephanie Sayer says while the Toronto Congress Centre has a seating capacity of 6,000 people, they’re expecting an “overflow” of mourners.
The service will feature eulogies from Hong’s wife Jenny and daughter Mia, as well as tributes from Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Toronto Police Chief James Ramer, and Toronto Police Association president Jon Reid.
Hong, 48, died in what police described as an unprovoked and deadly “ambush” during his lunch break at a Mississauga Tim Hortons last week.
He was one of two victims who died shortly after the shootings, with a third dying in hospital days later.
While the funeral is private, members of the public have been invited to sign a book of condolences for Hong’s family, and can watch the procession make its way to the funeral service.
CBC Toronto will livestream parts of the procession in this story.
‘Larger than life’
A 22-year veteran, Hong spent the past 19 years with Toronto police traffic services working with a specialized motorcycle unit that provides security escorts for dignitaries like prime ministers and presidents.
He’s survived by his wife, two teenage children, a boy and a girl, and his parents.
In the public statement the day after his death, the family described Hong as “a man of steel on the outside with a warm teddy bear personality on the inside.”
“His personality was larger than life,” said the Hong family, who also asked for privacy during this time.
“He was a practical joker and got along with everyone. His absence has left a gaping hole in the heart of our family, the police family, and everyone who knew and loved Andrew.”
A statement from The Hong Family<a href=”https://twitter.com/TorontoPolice?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@TorontoPolice</a> <a href=”https://t.co/wZlcrnZyIW”>pic.twitter.com/wZlcrnZyIW</a>
The procession will travel:
- Northbound on Yonge Street.
- Westbound on Highway 407 ETR.
- Southbound on Highway 27.
- Eastbound on Steeles Avenue.
- Southbound on Martin Grove Road.
Police say the public can view the procession from Highway 407 overpasses on Bathurst Street, Dufferin Street, Keele Street, Jane Street, Weston Road, Pine Valley Drive and Islington Avenue.
Road closures in place
Toronto police will be closing and placing traffic control measures on these roads Wednesday morning:
- Martin Grove Road, from Dixon Road to Belfield Road, starting 6:30 a.m.
- Martin Grove Road, from Dixon Road to Bethridge Boulevard, starting 7:30 a.m.
- Belfield Road starting at 7:30 a.m.
- Limited or screened access from Highway 27 to Martin Grove Road, and Kipling Avenue to Martin Grove Road. Police say no one can cross Martin Grove Road from 7:30 a.m. until the end of the ceremony.
- East and West ramps on the Hwy 409 to Martin Grove Road, starting 6:30 a.m.
- Westbound ramp on Hwy 401 to Martin Grove Road, starting 6:30 a.m.
Police say roads will reopen at approximately 1 p.m.
Until then, police have mapped two alternate routes for motorists.