When young he won the Hong Kong city boxing championship.
He attended York University from 1982 to 1984, studying pre-medicine.
In 1984 he was accepted as a medical student at the University of Toronto.
In 1985 the police arrested Yu and took him to the Clark Institute of Psychiatry, where he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
On February 20, 1997 Edmond Yu allegedly assaulted a woman at a bus stop, then boarded a bus. Police attempted to board the bus, then Yu, according to witnesses, raised a small (perhaps toy) hammer. Constable Lou Pasquino fired six shots, hitting Yu three times.
An official inquest in 1989-1999 cleared the police of wrongdoing and resulted in a number of recommendations.
A foundation to fund "a housing project for homeless men with mental health problems" has been set up in Edmond Yu's name. There have been a number of other memorials to Yu, such as The Edmond Yu House, which claims to be "a low-stress, high support, and non-medical organization for psychiatric survivors of the Mental Health System who also experience homelessness and would be considered 'hard to house' people," and The Edmond Yu Project.
David Hawkins made a documentary on Yu, The Life and Death of Edmond Yu.