It has become an unofficial day of mourning for many Ethiopian communities in Southern Ontario.  

An Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed early Sunday morning and left no survivors. Of the 157 people aboard, 18 were Canadian.

A message of sorrow was shared by hundreds at Toronto’s Ethiopian Evangelical Church.

“My heart is broken,” said Pastor Efrem Leakemariam. “My prayers and condolences are for the victims’ families, including the Canadian victims.”

Many gathered at the church say they’ve connected with family abroad. University of Waterloo student Christiane Amare Lemma did the same.

“My Mom actually came here two days ago,” she said. “So I felt grateful she wasn’t on a flight.”

Some of the Canadian victims are slowly being known, such as a professor from Ottawa and a mother and daughter from Edmonton.

“Everybody is our family,” said Leakemariam. “So we'll just pray for the comfort of the family.”

“When you know someone else is Ethiopian, it’s very easy to become close to them,” said Amare Lemma.

The Waterloo resident says she flies back to Ethiopia several times a year and that the airline’s record is a point of pride.