A memorial walk through Victoria Park in the heart of Truro, Nova Scotia, opened on Sunday to honour the 22 innocent people who were killed during last April’s mass shooting tragedy that began in the small, rural town of Portapique.
April 18 will mark the one-year anniversary of the killing rampage, where a gunman dressed as an RCMP officer terrorized the province during a 13-hour rampage across rural Nova Scotia.
Members of the Nova Scotia Remembers Legacy Society, a group that is raising funds to build a permanent memorial to honour the victims, have organized several events to pay respects to the victims and their families.
On Sunday, the Nova Scotia Remembers commemorative walk opened at Victoria Park, in Truro, and organizers are inviting the public to come to experience the peacefulness of the surrounding nature and trails and to view the tributes set up for the victims.
There are 15 sites marked by the names of those lost, written inside a heart with a tartan ribbon wrapped around a memorial post, along with commemorative stones, which are more like works of art, placed beside the hearts.
“We wanted things to be meaningful and simple and representative of those lives,” said Margaret Davidson, NS remembers commemorative walk co-chair.
Davidson and co-chair Denise Burgess organized the commemorative walk and recognize the pain is still raw for families and loved one still grieving, but said they wanted to offer something for people to be part of, to come together while doing it safely amid the pandemic.
“This has been really hard for our entire community,” said Burgess. “You almost don’t know what to do when something like this happens and so this gave us a purpose, something meaningful to do that can maybe help others heal. It feels like you are doing something for those who are gone.”
The NS Remembers commemorative walk will remain in place until April 19 — organizers say the commemorative stones will then be given to family members.
They are asking the public to come and observe the 15 memorial sites and take pictures, but to not leave any other tribute item at this time.
On April 18, organizers have planned a 5K/10K/half/full marathon that will begin in Portapique and work its way to Victoria Park, where families affected by the tragedy will gather for a private walk through the park.
Proceeds from the race will go towards the society’s Memorial Building Fund, which will establish a permanent memorial, donations can be made to the Nova Scotia Remembers Legacy Society.