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article imageOntario Premier, hundreds pay tribute to province's firefighters Special

By Andrew Moran     Oct 3, 2010 in Politics
Toronto - At the annual fire services memorial at Queen's Park in downtown Toronto, hundreds of people, including Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, paid tribute to those who risk their lives everyday and those who have lost their lives.
More than 500 people, mostly families, friends and colleagues, gathered at Queen’s Park on Sunday to pay tribute and honour the firefighters across the province of Ontario who have lost their lives over the years.
The names of 31 firefighters, who have died over the past year, either in the line of duty or from a disease contracted from the job, were added to the columns of the memorial. There are already 500 named engraved. As “firefighters continue to protect and keep 13 million Ontarians safe,” there will certainly be more names added next year.
Retired firefighters standing near the famous statue near Queen s Park.
Retired firefighters standing near the famous statue near Queen's Park.
Firefighters from Ottawa, Toronto, London, Oshawa, Kitchener and Mississauga attended the event.
This year’s memorial theme was Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With. The premise discusses the need for smoke alarms and a fire escape plan.
During the remembrance ceremony, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty delivered a speech that thanked those who risk their lives every day and those who have educated the general public, including elementary school students and the Premier’s daughter, about smoke alarms and fire escape plans.
Hundreds honouring firefighters with a big Canadian flag hanging in the background.
Hundreds honouring firefighters with a big Canadian flag hanging in the background.
“The number of lives you have saved through prevention can't be calculated, but it should never be underestimated,” said McGuinty in front of a crowd mostly dressed in uniform. “If a fire does break out we know that you will come when you are called. We know that if duty calls on you to make a sacrifice, you will answer that call no matter what. The families of the 31 firefighters being honoured today can attest to that.”
The Premier concluded that the province is now safer due to the hard work and dedication of Ontario’s firefighters.
“When I look over these 531 names I am grateful for the countless lives that they have touched and helped during their careers,” said President of the Ontario Professional Firefighters Association, Fred LeBlanc, in a statement issued on the province’s website. “It fills me with pride to share this profession with these brave members. They were great firefighters doing their job."
Firefighters honouring those who perished.
Firefighters honouring those who perished.
“Firefighters hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Ontario, and no community is left untouched when one is taken from us in the line of duty,” said Minister of Community Safety & Correctional Services, Jim Bradley. “Each name engraved on this memorial represents a life dedicated to service, heroism and sacrifice.”
Sunday was also the beginning of Fire Prevention Week in Ontario.
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