Five days after her son Gabriel was killed, Andrea Magalhaes walked up to Keele Station on Thursday evening and sat on the same bench where her 16-year-old boy was stabbed last weekend.
After taking a seat, an emotional Magalhaes momentarily bowed her head and closed her eyes. She was surrounded by her son's former classmates and hundreds of others who attended a candlelight vigil in the west end to honour Gabriel.
Carrying candles and flowers, Magalhaes and her husband Antonio led the walk from High Park Bloor Gates to Keele subway station.
The vigil was organized by Gabriel's former classmates at Keele Street Public School.
"It's kind of shocking. We weren't really expecting that many people to show up. We thought it was just going to be like the community from middle school because those are the people that organized it," Khadra Okmen, a former classmate, told CTV News Toronto.
At the station, the candles and flowers were added to the makeshift memorial outside.
"It's not supposed to be like this. Like he's a 16-year-old kid," said Melissa Blow, who works with Magalhaes at a Toronto hospital. They are nurses at the neonatal intensive care unit.
"I can't imagine what she's going through, and I don't want to, but we see it at work. In our work, we see parents losing children every day, and she's usually on their other side supporting them. So now she needs all of us to rally around her," Blow said.
In an interview with CTV News earlier this week, Andrea described her son as a "good kid" who she misses so much.
She said her son was a double-black-diamond snowboarder who dreamed of climbing Mount Everest and wanted to study astrophysics.
Police have charged 22-year-old Jordan O'Brien-Tobin with first-degree murder in Gabriel's death.
Court documents obtained by CTV News reveal that O'Brien-Tobin had been charged in Toronto several times over the past two years. He was also wanted in Newfoundland after breaking a probation order in connection with a number of charges laid in 2020.
- with files from CTV Toronto's Sean Leathong and Hannah Alberga