Gerda Dorsainvil stopped crying for a few hours yesterday morning.

The Haitian refugee has spent most of the last week frantically trying to reach her two adult sons and dozens of other family members living in shattered Port-au-Prince.

Her sons are alive, she said, though one has a broken leg for which he hasn’t received treatment. Other family members are still missing.

But there she was yesterday, raising her hands joyfully above her head as she belted out French and Creole hymns at a small church in Scarborough, popular among Toronto’s Haitian faith community.

“Since (Tuesday’s earthquake), I can barely stand up,” the mother of nine said after the service. “This gave me energy.”

Haitians from across the GTA gathered yesterday in churches and restaurants to raise each other’s spirits, trade information about loved ones and collect money for ongoing relief efforts.

At Queen’s Park, people from all backgrounds held a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with and support for the people of Haiti.


Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced Saturday that priority will be given to sponsorship applications to reunite Haitian-Canadians with family members still in Haiti. Applicants must, however, show that the people they are sponsoring have been directly affected by the earthquake.