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Ghost bike memorial pays tribute to cyclist killed in southwest Scarborough late last month

An emotional memorial was held on Sunday afternoon in honour of a 47-year-old cyclist who died after being struck by two drivers just under a week ago in southwest Scarborough.

The collision happened on Feb. 26 shortly after 5:30 p.m. on St. Clair Avenue East, just west of Birchmount Road. The victim was rushed to the hospital, but died there a short time later. 

Described as a “moving and impactful” memorial by organizers, Sunday’s gathering brought together dozens of cyclists, supporters, and advocates as well as a few family members of the victim, who has been identified as Bill (Vasilios) Petropoulos.

The gathering also included the installation of what is known as a ghost bike, a bicycle that is painted white and decorated with flowers in remembrance of vulnerable road users killed on Toronto’s streets.

Petropoulos was killed while delivering food to shelters for vulnerable people, Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists wrote in a post on Facebook.

“He was a humanitarian with a large family here in Toronto, in New York City, and Greece,” the group wrote.

Petropoulos leaves behind his parents, Demetre and Christina, siblings Antonia and Paul (Anastasia), and his niece and best friend Christina as well as many family members and friends.

“He has touched many lives along his journeys and will never be forgotten. Bill was and truly is an Angel with a pure heart. We love you forever, Rest in Peace Bill,” an online obituary read.

Several people have also posted tributes to Petropoulos calling him a kind and helpful person with a “pure heart” and a “gentle character.” Mourners said that he was a “gift from God,” a “phenomenal storyteller,” and a “truly one of a kind” individual who “made everyone better.”

“Bill had the ability to light up a room with smiles and made coming to work fun,” wrote one friend who had worked with Petropoulos at U of T.

More than a thousand people attended Petropoulos’ funeral on Saturday. He has been laid to rest at Scarborough’s Pine Hills cemetery.