Fundraising Concert Planned to Benefit Tragic Toronto Fire Victims

By Etan Vlessing 3/6/19 |

Photo from Fire Recovery Fund GoFundMe page
A charity concert will be held Friday (March 8) in Toronto to benefit the victims of a tragic downtown fire that left a 22 year-old man dead, another severely injured and others homeless.

The grief that struck the city in the wake of the deadly March 4 fire touched three local indie bands, Lambsbreath, Numb Tongues and Benjamin M. Doerksen, who have banded together to perform at fundraising concert. 

Proceeds from the pay-what-you-can concert hosted by Indie Week at The Painted Lady on Ossington Street will go towards supporting local residents impacted by the deadly fire. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert is scheduled to run through to 9 p.m.

The fundraising concert date was set after Toronto firefighters early on March 4 were called to two lowrise buildings at 160 and 162 Bathurst Street to battle a five-alarm fire.

Two people were pulled from the downtown fire and Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg on Monday evening via his Twitter account confirmed that "one of the occupants who was removed from the fire on Bathurst has died in hospital."

The young man who died in the blaze was later identified as 22 year-old William Secord Mattson, and his step-father, Adam Picard, was left injured and in hospital after attempting to rescue his stepson.

Mattson lived in a basement apartment beside Corrado’s Barbershop, a local landmark at 162 Bathurst Street where his stepfather, Picard, operated a hair salon. Picard and his wife, Tanya, who is also Mattson's mother, also lived at 160 Bathurst Street, adjoining the barbershop that is owned by Corrado Accaputo.

Accaputo, who emigrated to Toronto from Italy, first opened Corrado's Barbershop in 1957 and worked there until eventually handing the business over to Picard in 2012 as he retired, while retaining ownership of the 160 and 162 Bathurst Street buildings. Robert Mattson, William Mattson's father, told the Toronto Star newspaper that his son graduated from Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute in 2014, before recently working as a Toronto bartender. "He was just working and trying to make a life for himself,” the father recounted.

Picard, who kept a host of the period memorabilia in Corrado's Barbershop as he cut hair for local clients, built up a loyal following. Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto psychology professor and a controversial bestselling author, is among Picard's clients and offered his support via his Facebook page. "Adam Picard, who's a great guy, in my estimation. Lost his home, business and son to fire, and was in addition badly hurt trying to rescue him: his family could use some support," Peterson posted, with a link to one of the multiple online fundraising pages that have sprung up in the wake of the fire.

One of the campaigns was launched by a Corrado’s client, Charles Bierk, who asked his friends via Facebook to make a donation.

"Many people in the neighbourhood, myself included, know Adam who owns and operates Corrado’s barbershop. The fire destroyed both Adam's home and his place of work next door," Bierk wrote on his GoFundMe page, which by Wednesday afternoon had raised $9,643 from 216 donors, on its way to a $15,000 goal.

Another Fire Recovery Fund, launched by local resident Charlotte Langley, also via GoFundMe, by Wednesday had raised another $10,927, with a $50,000 goal set.

"This morning a huge fire broke out and has displaced a huge part of the community....This is a very sad and serious moment and we have seen a huge family come together to support these people," the page reads.

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