Nova Scotia

Vigil held for girl who died in Christmas parade tragedy

Those attending MaCali Cormier's vigil at Frost Park in Yarmouth, N.S. Monday night were encouraged to wear purple, the four-year-old's favourite colour.

'The community stands behind them,' says organizer, who lost her own son in January

About 300 people took part in the vigil for MaCali Cormier Monday night in Yartmouth, N.S. (Olivier Lefebvre/Radio-Canada)

Hundreds of people came to Yarmouth's Frost Park Monday night for a candlelight vigil in honour of four-year-old MacCali Cormier, the little girl who died at the community's annual Parade of Light this weekend.

"I just wanted the family to know that the community stands behind them and supports remembering MaCali," said Chellesey Lusk, one of the organizers of the vigil.

Participants were encouraged to wear purple, which was MaCali's favourite colour.

Ahead of the vigil, Lusk told CBC News MaCali's family would likely be there. She said she wanted them to feel like they're not alone.

Lusk understands their grief more than most. In January, her infant son Mason died unexpectedly. She said the people of  Yarmouth supported her family. 

"People have been really generous with their support, but I mean it's sad and it's tragic — especially here in our little town. It affects the whole community," Lusk said.

About 300 people, including many families with young children, attended the vigil.

Participants were encouraged to wear purple, which was Cormier's favourite colour. (Dana Osmond)

The song Hallelujah, by the late Canadian singer Leonard Cohen, was played, followed by a moment of silence.

The vigil ended with a rendition of Amazing Grace.

Support for family

Jody Cosman brought her young son Landyn to the vigil. Both were at the parade over the weekend.

"It's really sad to see the family without a loved one — especially this time of year," Cosman said.

Four-year-old MaCali Cormier is being remembered by her family for her love of horse riding, dancing and swimming. (Facebook)

Becca Newell grew up with MaCali's father. She said she'll save the candles from the vigil for her own children and tell them how the community came together in a time of tragedy.

"To show my kids that love, as a community, can be strong. And you can be weak and then be strong and deal with the hurt," said Newell.

"So when they get older they can remember the love that comes together as a community."

The song Hallelujah, by the late Canadian singer Leonard Cohen, was played, followed by a moment of silence. (Dana Osmond)

Melissa Bishop came to the vigil because she said she is a mother and the tragedy hit close to home. She said people should come together when a family is suffering. 

"The pain these people are going through is unbelievable and I could never even begin to express that, so I felt it was important to come and be here," Bishop said.

Visitation for MaCali Cormier will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday with prayers at 8 p.m. at the Yarmouth Wesleyan Church on Haley Road, according to her obituary.

A service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Yarmouth Wesleyan Church.

With files from Shaina Luck and Olivier Lefebvre