A long procession of motorcycles, followed by a collection of jeeps, classic cars and big rigs, made its way through the village of Chester, N.S., bound for Peggy’s Cove, to honour the 22 lives lost in the tragic April shooting rampage.
“This is about the victims and the victims’ families,” said organizer Harry Bond, who led the memorial ride on his motorcycle. “I’m hoping just to get a sliver of closure and comfort out of this and if we can get that, then it makes this all worth it.”
Ever since his parents Joy and Peter were killed by the gunman that April night in the small rural town of Portapique, N.S., Bond says he’s been looking for the opportunity to pay tribute to both his parents and the other victims.
Due to COVID-19, the Bond family has yet to hold a funeral service, making this memorial ride even more special.
“That (the funeral) will come,” said Bond. “But maybe that’s why this is a little more important to me. It needs to be done.”
The memorial ride brought strangers together because this tragedy affected every Nova Scotian, said motorcyclist Jane O’Connell.
“There are six degrees of separation, for sure, and even if we didn’t know them (the victims) physically, we just feel like we do,” said O’Connell. “We’re a tight-knit community, Nova Scotians and Maritimers in general are, they are just tight-knit.”
Nadine Sarty is a graphic designer and made Nova Scotia Strong decals for all the riders and one special decal that lists and pays tribute to everyone that was lost in the tragedy. Sarty didn’t know any of the victims but felt she had to do something to be part of the memorial and part the healing, she said.
“It’s kind of sad why we’re here but it also shows the solidarity of the people within our province and how we can come together and help each other heal,” said Sarty.
The riders wound their way along the scenic 70-kilometre oceanview drive, which ended at the iconic Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse.
Bond said he chose the lighthouse route because his mother Joy loved the site. It was an emotional but heartwarming ride for Bond, who said he was taken back by the showing of support.
“It’s more than what I envisioned,” said Bond, holding back tears as he stood in front of the iconic lighthouse with his wife Patty. “There’s a lot more Bluenosers here than I expected. It’s just awesome. I just can’t thank everybody enough that shared and joined this drive.”