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Canada Nova Scotia marks 1st anniversary of mass killing with memorial race, special ceremony

17:42  18 april  2021
17:42  18 april  2021 Source:   cbc.ca

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a little boy wearing a hat: Jill Arany is running in the memorial marathon on Sunday as a way to honour the victims of last year's mass killing. © CBC Jill Arany is running in the memorial marathon on Sunday as a way to honour the victims of last year's mass killing.

Nova Scotia is honouring the victims of last year's mass killing with a memorial race, special ceremony and moment of silence on Sunday — exactly one year after the tragedy.

"It's going to be a hard one but there's a lot of us here who are doing it to remember the people," Jillian Arany, a marathon runner from Bible Hill, said from Portapique Sunday morning.

"It will be good and I think it's going to help a lot of people as well, just showing the community and the strength."

On April 18-19, 2020, a gunman disguised as a Mountie torched homes and killed neighbours, acquaintances and strangers in what would become one of the worst mass killings in Canadian history.

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Twenty-two people were killed over a period of 13 hours — including a 23-year veteran of the RCMP, a pregnant continuing-care assistant and a 17-year-old girl.

The rampage started in the rural community of Portapique, located about 95 kilometres north of Halifax, before the shooter was killed by police at a gas station in Enfield, south of Portapique and about 32 kilometres north of the capital.

The tragedy has weighed heavily on Nova Scotians, as questions have gone unanswered as to what happened during that fateful weekend.

But on the one-year anniversary, Nova Scotians are coming together — virtually and in-person — to remember the lives that were lost.

The Nova Scotia Remembers Legacy Society, a volunteer group formed in the aftermath of the killings, organized the memorial race which started in Portapique at 7 a.m. Sunday.

A look at the lives lost in the April 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting

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text: Arany is running the marathon wearing a Nova Scotia Strong sweater with the names of the victims on hearts attached to her back. © CBC Arany is running the marathon wearing a Nova Scotia Strong sweater with the names of the victims on hearts attached to her back.

About 30 runners participated in the marathon, including Arany, who wore a Nova Scotia Strong sweater decorated with the names of the victims.

Arany said she is running the marathon as a way to honour those who died, their families and loved ones.

"Each mile is dedicated to someone so the first one I'm dedicating to the families, the 13th mile I'm dedicating to the friends and loved ones and the last one is for Nova Scotia," she said.

Proceeds from Sunday's road races will go toward installing a permanent memorial for the victims.

The society has also organized a private gathering for the families of the victims and special guests on Sunday afternoon.

The private ceremony, featuring political leaders, spiritual teachers and musicians, will begin at 3 p.m. AT with a province-wide two minutes of silence.

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Although the ceremony is closed to the public, a livestream of the event will be available on the CBC Nova Scotia website, CBC Nova Scotia's Facebook page, on CBC Gem and on CBC Radio One and CBC Listen.

Coverage will continue with a CBC News special called Stronger Together, which will explore how the people and communities most affected are moving forward after the tragedy.

The special will be carried live starting at 6 p.m. AT on CBC TV throughout Atlantic Canada, the CBC Nova Scotia website, CBC Nova Scotia's Facebook page, on CBC Gem and on CBC Radio One and CBC Listen.

Tim Norman et al. posing for the camera: Twenty-two people died on April 18 and 19. Top row from left: Gina Goulet, Dawn Gulenchyn, Jolene Oliver, Frank Gulenchyn, Sean McLeod and Alanna Jenkins. Second row: John Zahl, Lisa McCully, Joey Webber, Heidi Stevenson, Heather O'Brien and Jamie Blair. Third row from top: Kristen Beaton, Lillian Campbell, Joanne Thomas, Peter Bond, Tom Bagley and Greg Blair. Bottom row: Emily Tuck, Joy Bond, Corrie Ellison and Aaron Tuck. © CBC Twenty-two people died on April 18 and 19. Top row from left: Gina Goulet, Dawn Gulenchyn, Jolene Oliver, Frank Gulenchyn, Sean McLeod and Alanna Jenkins. Second row: John Zahl, Lisa McCully, Joey Webber, Heidi Stevenson, Heather O'Brien and Jamie Blair. Third row from top: Kristen Beaton, Lillian Campbell, Joanne Thomas, Peter Bond, Tom Bagley and Greg Blair. Bottom row: Emily Tuck, Joy Bond, Corrie Ellison and Aaron Tuck.

The Nova Scotia RCMP announced Sunday that it would observe a moment of silence to honour the victims, including Const. Heidi Stevenson, who was killed trying to stop the gunman on the morning of April 19.

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The moment of silence will be held at 2 p.m. Monday.

In the aftermath of the rampage, the RCMP has faced scrutiny and questions about why it took police 13 hours to stop the gunman.

"We understand people have questions and want to know as much as possible about the incidents," Lee Bergerman, the Nova Scotia RCMP's assistant commissioner, said in a news release Sunday.

"Charges related to the investigation are currently before the courts and we are participating fully in the Mass Casualty Commission, which is underway. It is our hope that the Mass Casualty Commission will provide a full accounting of what happened for the families of the victims and the public."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered condolences to the families of the victims, and to all Nova Scotians Sunday.

"I hope all Canadians take a moment today to remember those whose lives were forever changed on April 18 and 19, 2020," Trudeau said in a news release.

"To all Nova Scotians: No person or community should ever have to experience such senseless violence and loss. In the last year, you have met unimaginable tragedy with unimaginable strength, and have kept going. You are truly Nova Scotia Strong."

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