At a time when all eyes are on the rampant gun violence south of the border, if you think guns aren’t a growing concern in Toronto, think again. No, gun violence isn’t just a U.S. problem.
Friends and family of Tyler McLean know this all too well. On October 1, 2017, McLean, a beloved Toronto promoter, was shot and killed outside of Rebel nightclub, shaking his massive network of friends and leaving the city to once again ask why and how such a thing could happen. Nearly six months after the tragedy, members of this network will unite tonight (Friday, March 23) at Love Child Social House for The Tyler Effect – an art, dance, and music-filled fundraiser to celebrate McLean’s spirit and generate dollars to support victims.
Lifelong friend Tori Piccin – a best friend of McLean’s since grade one – knew there needed to be a way to honour McLean’s vibrant legacy. “After learning of his death, it was incredibly difficult to accept that after making 20 years of memories with someone, there wouldn’t be any more. I knew I wasn’t alone in feeing this. Tyler touched so many people in Toronto, and I wanted to keep his memory alive in some way. This is how The Tyler Effect was born,” says Piccin. “I wanted to create a community that provided a way for people to channel all the sadness into something positive, while also celebrating the things that Tyler loved most: The city, and the music, dance and art scenes that it cultivated.” The name, she says, came naturally to her. “The community of people who are coming together are all linked in some way through knowing Tyler. The actual charity event this Friday, and future events we have in the works, will carry Tyler’s spirit and continue to support the creative communities and the things Tyler truly loved – music, dance and art,” says Piccin.
Guests can expect an open bar reception from 9pm – 11pm, 4 DJ sets (two of which were very close with McLean), live musician (another close friend of McLean’s), a curated art show of donated works from 25 local artists for sale via silent auction, a pizza party (McLean’s favourite), live paint performance, caricatures, curated cocktails, and more. You know, all the things that a memorable evening is made of, complete with a crowd of Toronto move-makers.
It’s the type of party McLean would have loved, according to his friends. Instead, his life was cut short after the senseless act of violence. And such violence is a growing concern in the city that had McLean’s heart. In 2017 alone, police statistics show there have been 375 shooting occurrences in Toronto, resulting in 565 victims – essentially double what the city experienced just three years ago. By January 22, 2018, there had already been 28 shootings in Toronto compared to 18 at the same point last year, amounting to a 55 per cent increase. Perhaps most shocking of all, after the U.S., and compared to the rest of the world, Canada has the fourth-highest gun homicide rate, behind France, Germany, and Italy.
Behind the statistics, of course, are the victims of gun violence and their loved ones. All proceeds from The Tyler Effect will be donated to Ontario Victim Services via The Victims’ Justice Fund.
“I suppose planning this event helped me channel all the sad and heartbreaking feelings into something positive,” says Piccin. “There isn’t a second that goes by where I don’t think of him, but I’ve been able to push forward knowing The Tyler Effect will allow for Tyler to live on in some way.”
Tickets are still available for The Tyler Effect.