Canada is mourning the death of documentary filmmaker and retired CBC producer Michael Finlay after he was randomly attacked by a stranger while shopping in Toronto. 

Finlay’s death comes at a time when major cities struggle to contain acts of violence by strangers. 

Finlay died on Tuesday from medical complications while he was in the hospital because of the attack. 

According to the Toronto Police Service, on Jan. 24, an unidentified stranger assaulted Finlay as he was walking down Danforth Avenue – a popular shopping and dining destination. 

The suspect is being described as a man in his 20s, around six feet tall with a slim build. He was wearing a red paper mask with flames and a black sweater and black pants around the time of the attack. 

“Michael will be remembered as an exceptional story-teller, documentary-maker and editor,” said CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson. 

“He travelled the world producing radio documentaries for several programs but most notably for Sunday Morning. If you worked on a documentary with Michael, you were experiencing the pinnacle of the craft.”

A few days before the attack on Finlay an 89-year-old woman died after being shoved by a stranger in downtown Toronto. 

“The information we have is that she was pushed to the ground and she sustained serious injuries to her face and head area,” said Acting. Insp. Craig Young. 

37-year-old Ryan Cunneen was arrested and charged with manslaughter as a result of the incident. 

Police and transit workers in the city have called on all levels of government to immediately clamp down on the growing violence faced by workers and pedestrians. 

Last week the national president of the Amalgamated Transit Union demanded a national action plan to deal with the situation. 

“Today, we heard from the prime minister who made a commitment to have these discussions about how we can tackle violence on transit systems. I hope and anticipate that it’s not just talk and that our office gets a phone call,” said president John Di Nino.