Hundreds of people gathered outside at the base of the steps of the Manitoba legislative building on Monday night to mourn the dozens of people killed in a shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub Sunday.
Jonathan Niemczek, the president of Pride Winnipeg, said the event was designed to give members of the local LGBT community and its allies a safe space to mourn.
"With all the hate and negativity that's coming off this [shooting], we really don't want that to carry on and we do want folks to try and take a silver lining out of this and produce something positive out of the tragedy," Niemczek said.
"At the end of the day, that's how we win at these types of situations: we can't let these actions dictate our lives and make us live in fear, because then they win."
About 300 people have come to support the LGBT community and stand in solidarity with the Orlando shooting victims pic.twitter.com/aeSuIhhuBY— @cbarghout
Gunman Omar Mateen stormed into Pulse nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning and opened fire on a crowd of club-goers, killing 49 and leaving more than 50 wounded. He was shot by police who raided the club a short time later.
On Monday morning, U.S. President Barack Obama said the massacre appears to be an example of "homegrown extremism."
Chava Rosenblit said though she herself is heterosexual, the majority of her friends are part of the LGBT community and she wanted to show her support.
"The news was shocking and we had to get together and put our lives aside and be here for the [LGBT] community," she said.
Something 'to be proud of'
Mauricio Escobar is a Latino gay man and said coming together at the sombre vigil, just a week after the Winnipeg Pride Parade, was about more than mourning the dead.
"I want to show that being a gay man is something you have to be proud of," he said. "After hearing the shocking news I really feel sad and if you read the names, most of them are Latin people as well, so it really hits close to me to my heart."
'Love is louder than fear'
Minister for the Status of Women Rochelle Squires attended the event and spoke to the crowd of roughly 300 people.
"When I look at all the names on the steps of the legislature, I cannot think about all of the families ... that are mourning tonight," she said. "Love is louder than fear."
Patrick Gratton echoed Squires words of hope.
"I hope we can move past this. I feel we are at a time where we can all say that love is love," Gratton said.
"This isn't about any hate or anything. We are just people in love with people trying to make the world better than the darkness that surrounds us."
Flags at municipal buildings across the province were lowered to half-mast Monday.
The Rainbow Resource Centre also held a vigil Sunday night in Winnipeg.