Nova Scotia

Permanent memorial set up for Nova Scotia mass killing victims

An impromptu memorial to the 22 victims of last month's mass killing in Nova Scotia was taken down on Friday. Local officials moved dozens of items to a spot at a former nearby church to bring some normalcy back to the community of Portapique.

Moving memorial will help give Portapique residents 'a little more peace and quiet'

The new memorial has been set up at a former church along Highway 2 in Portapique, N.S. (Eric Woollistcroft/CBC)

A permanent memorial to the 22 victims of last month's mass killings in Nova Scotia has been set up at a former church on Highway 2 in Portapique, N.S.

On Friday, members of the community were out dismantling items from the makeshift memorial that emerged at the end of Portapique Beach Road.

The rampage unfolded over about 13 hours, beginning in the small community of Portapique the night of April 18 and ending the next morning at a gas station in Enfield, nearly 100 kilometres away, after the gunman was fatally shot by police. He killed 22 people.

People who live along Portapique Beach Road and Orchard Beach Drive are hoping the new memorial will help life return to normal in the area.

Gary Brown, a Portapique resident of nearly 20 years, said traffic on the dead-end roads have been bumper-to-bumper with people stopping to see the old memorial.

The RCMP blocks the path to the gunman's property in Portapique during the criminal investigation into the shootings. (Jonathan Villeneuve/Radio-Canada)

"It just felt like you were in a zoo," Brown said. "So we thought that maybe if we move it here, people can stop and look and respect the losses that we've had and give the people that live on the road a little more peace and quiet."

Brown helped with the new memorial on Friday. He knew some of the people who were killed last month and was home the night the rampage began.

With the memorial gone, he said there's nothing to see anymore.

Tom Taggart, a West Colchester, N.S., councillor who represents an area that includes Portapique, said residents want to continue to honour the 22 victims. But he said people who live nearby also need a break from the painful reminder.

"You'll see people standing there crying. This is not a tourist attraction, this is a genuine place," Taggart said.

Taggart said the new memorial, located on private property, will be nicer and could possibly include a rock garden. He said he hopes visitors to the memorial will stick around and take in some of the natural beauty of the area.

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

With files from Kayla Hounsell