Nova Scotia

'We will get through this': Tributes pouring in from across N.S., country after rampage

Nova Scotians are coming together — without physically coming together during the coronavirus pandemic — to mourn the loss of at least 20 lives after one of the deadliest mass killings in Canadian history.

'We will help those families get through this,' says Halifax anti-violence activist

A Nova Scotian tartan bow is tied to the fence at the Halifax Public Gardens on Monday. (Taryn Grant/CBC)

Nova Scotians are coming together — without physically coming together during the coronavirus pandemic — to mourn the loss of at least 20 lives after one of the deadliest mass killings in Canadian history.

Tributes have poured in from across the province, the country, and internationally, honouring the victims through music, memorials, kind words and flags flying at half-mast.

Queen Elizabeth even sent a statement relaying her sympathies to the the people of Nova Scotia and all Canadians. 

"Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Nova Scotia, and we send our condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those who have lost their lives," she said. 

The Queen also paid tribute to the RCMP members and other emergency service workers who "selflessly responded to these devastating attacks." 

WATCH | Online candlelight vigil hosted by Halifax anti-violence activist:

A lone gunman went on a rampage that began late Saturday in the small community of Portapique, N.S., and ended 12 hours later in Enfield, N.S., nearly 100 kilometres south.

Among the victims are an RCMP officer, an elementary school teacher, two health-care workers and a family of three.

Halifax anti-violence activist Quentrel Provo hosted an online candlelight vigil on his Facebook page on Monday evening.

'We will be there'

He said a prayer and repeated the name of the victims. He asked people to step out onto their front porches or lawns at 8:30 p.m. Monday to light a candle in their memory and to observe a two-minute moment of silence.

"Us Nova Scotians will rally, and we will get through this. We're strong and one thing about our province is, we know how to come together and support others and help others, so we will help those families get through this," Provo said during the vigil. "We will be there to lend a helping hand. We will be there to encourage them. We will be there to comfort them and hold them."

WATCH | Cartoonist pays tribute to fallen Nova Scotia RCMP officer:

Political cartoonist Michael de Adder has paid tribute to RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson and the other victims of the Nova Scotia shootings in illustrations in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. 8:20

Nova Scotians were shown some love Sunday evening when a plane flew over Portapique and its flight path traced the shape of a heart.

Private pilot Dimitri Neonakis said it wasn't his intention for people to see the heart on the radar when he flew over the area, but now he's glad they did.

Private pilot Dimitri Neonakis flew in a heart-shaped path over Portapique, N.S., on Sunday evening following news of the killing rampage that started in the small community. (FlightAware)

'A little bit of hope'

"I wanted to reach out to the community. I wanted to be there with them. I wanted to tell them that I love them," Neonakis said. "I wanted to tell them that I think of them, but there was no way I could do it. I wanted to be there. You can't do it, so my only avenue was through the air."

When Neonakis left the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, he didn't expect anyone to notice his heart-shaped flight path.

But when he returned, the air traffic controller told him his flight path was beautiful. He then realized he wasn't alone on that flight.

"People came with me to pay their respects, express their [grief].… I felt everybody in that little cockpit," he said. "People saw this as a little bit of hope, as a ray of light in the dark and then as comfort, and it was comforting to me, too."

The flag at the Nova Scotia legislature flew at half-mast on Monday. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

Premier reminds people to grieve without gathering

In a news briefing Monday, Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, reminded Nova Scotians that public health protocols are still in place during the pandemic, even as people are grieving.

"The best way that we can honour the victims of this tragedy is to continue to act in a way that protects our fellow Nova Scotians," McNeil said.

He said he has seen people honouring their loved ones by posting photos online and by wearing or displaying Nova Scotia's tartan or a blue ribbon that can be placed in windows or on balconies.

"It may not seem like enough, but for now it's a way for all of us to come together without coming together," McNeil said.

If you are seeking mental health support during this time, here are resources available to Nova Scotians.

WATCH | Tributes to the heroes and victims killed in Nova Scotia rampage:

People across the country are expressing their sorrow over one of the deadliest mass killings in Canadian history and honouring some of those who acted bravely to protect others. 3:56

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