Downtown Ottawa returned to a semblance of normalcy Thursday morning in the wake of a fatal shooting that targeted the country’s Parliament and War Memorial and left a young father dead and a city in lockdown.
Police confirmed they believe there was only one gunman, assuaging fears of those told to avoid the entire downtown area Wednesday afternoon.
And the business of Parliament is expected to continue more or less as usual.
“While I am deeply saddened by today’s tragic events, I wish to confirm that the House of Commons will be sitting at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning, as planned,” reads a statement sent Wednesday evening from the office of speaker Andrew Scheer.
“This sends a clear message of Canada’s resolve to maintain its free and democratic way of life.”
Security around Parliament Hill remains tight: Police were checking IDs of anyone heading to work on the Hill Thursday morning.
And police, guns drawn, arrested a man for “disturbing a crime scene” as Prime Minister Stephen Harper laid a wreath at the War Memorial Thursday morning.
As daylight broke and the morning rush hour heated up, commuters took a detour around the War Memorial and Parliament buildings in stride, pedestrians picking their way along bike paths (“Watch for traffic,” one officer cautioned a woman as he gave her detour directions). Cyclists picked up pannier-laden bikes and carried them up steps to the Mackenzie King Bridge.
The Speaker’s statement, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s declaration Wednesday that Canada “will not be intimidated,” appears to speak for many Ottawans, as well.
Celina Levesque, who works for Fluidware near the Byward Market, told Global News Wednesday she’s shaken by the shootings, but she has no plans to change her behaviour because of it.
“You’ve gotta continue your everyday. You’ve gotta go to work,” she said.
“This is what they want: They want to scare the population, they want to scare the average person,” said Wayne, who works in te same York Street building.
“We can’t be scared. We have to keep moving forward.”
PHOTOS: Ottawa wakes up the morning after the shooting