Flowers lay in the rain below half mast flags at the RCMP headquarters in Whitehorse on April 23, in honour of the officer killed on April 19 in Nova Scotia. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Police federation encouraging all to wear red today in honour of Nova Scotia victims

Online vigil, titled ‘Nova Scotia Remembers,’ will include messages of support from local and national faces

A tribute to the 22 Nova Scotians who died in one of Canada’s deadliest mass killings will stream on Facebook this evening.

The vigil, titled “Nova Scotia Remembers,” will include messages of support from local and national faces as an alternative to a physical ceremony while the COVID-19 pandemic forces limitations on crowds.

It will be livestreamed from the Colchester-Supporting Our Communities Facebook page at 7 p.m. local time, with CBC, CTV and several radio stations carrying the broadcast.

A group of local residents, all with personal connections to the victims, have spent the week gathering recorded tributes from politicians, spiritual leaders, musicians and other familiar Nova Scotian faces.

Tiff Ward, one of the event organizers, says the aim is not to dwell on the horrors of the weekend.

It’s to show grieving families that their community is with them in spirit while unable to drop off meals, hug each other or honour the dead by holding memorials.

“They matter to all of us and they matter to the world, and we want to show them the love that we have,” Ward said in a telephone interview.

Ward, like most residents of the tightly knit area, anxiously followed updates about the situation as it unfolded on Saturday and Sunday. She later learned several people she knew personally had been killed.

As horrific details emerged Sunday about the massacre that claimed lives across five communities, the new Facebook group became a space for people to grieve and process the loss together.

The idea for a vigil quickly grew out of the digital gathering. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged his plan to attend the next day, while noting the challenges posed by COVID-19.

“I know that everyone will be looking for ways to demonstrate their solidarity without putting further at risk communities, first responders, our health professionals and our seniors,” Trudeau said Monday.

“They are such a connected group that I know that the vast majority of Nova Scotians will have a direct link with one or more of the many victims, and the entire province — and the entire country — is grieving right now as we come to grips with something that is absolutely unimaginable.”

Ward said the community can’t be defined by the terrible acts of a man who set fire to homes and shot people dead during a 14-hour rampage.

“This is just the most peaceful, smallest, gentlest, kindest place in the world. And a monster has shattered that,” Ward said. “We have to bring a lot of light to shine out this awful darkness.”

The National Police Federation is encouraging people to wear red Friday as part of a day of mourning for the victims, including RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson, who was killed during the chase.

The RCMP is also encouraging members to observe a moment of silence at 2 p.m.

The past week has seen other shows of physically distant memorializing. Photos shared on the Facebook group from Nova Scotia and beyond show candles lit in windowsills and the provincial flag hanging in windows.

Municipalities and police forces across the country have flown flags at half-mast this week to honour the victims.

Richard Mills, acting U.S. ambassador to Canada, said Thursday that he had ordered flags to be lowered to half-mast in honour of Stevenson and the other victims, noting the close relationship between the U.S. government and the RCMP.

“RCMP officers provide an essential security service to our embassy and consulates across Canada. We appreciate their service,” he said.

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Nova Scotia

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SIMPSON: For real leadership amid crisis, look west of Scott Road

Delta council, under direction of Mayor George Harvie, defines leadership during pandemic

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at Peace Arch Park ‘oasis’

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Cloverdale businessman funds wells in Cambodia

Revive Washing in Clayton Heights donates three per cent of profits to charity

Cloverdale youth pastor’s sexual-assault sentencing delayed

Samuel Emerson due to return to Surrey Provincial Court in August

More than 200 Surrey playgrounds re-opening

City announces eight skate parks to re-open as well

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

Aldergrove drive-in theatre to reopen at 50-vehicle capacity, gets green light on concession

100 cars of people will now watch films, hoping to adhere to new provincial health 50-car capacity

Fraser Health takes charge of COVID response at Langley Lodge

Fraser Health is also sending in a germ-killing machine to fight the virus

Harrison Hot Springs Resort eases in to reopening

Reservations available Friday, May 29

Police stop Lower Mainland men with parachutes from jumping off Okanagan bridge

The men had parachutes in their backpacks, and indicated they were going to jump off a bridge

Most Read