The road to healing for the citizens of Portapique, 3 years after the massacre | Portapique massacre: Nova Scotia in mourning
The Residents of Portapique Erin MacKinnon, Andrew MacDonald and Alana Hirtle in front of the community hall construction site.
Nearly three years after a killing that began in Portapique, the small Nova Scotia community is finding ways to heal.
The shooting, which took place on the 18th and 19th April 2020, killed 22 people, including a pregnant woman, in addition to injuring several people and destroying houses. The Mass Casualty Commission which examined the causes and consequences of this tragedy will release its final report on Thursday in Truro.
Andrew MacDonald is among those injured.
He and his wife were driving through Portapique when the shooter pulled up beside them in a replica police car and opened fire.
He doesn't want not dwell on the past, what he wants to share is that for him the community has not changed
This event had no impact on the earth and the places we live here is the same place as before, he says.
Of course something bad happens ;is produced here, but that was a short part of our history.
Young people using the new Portapique playground, in October 2021.
Erin MacKinnon agrees. She raised five children in the community and three still live there. They never considered leaving.
it was important for us to stay and let people know it's okay to stay, says Erin MacKinnon.
She also believes in adding Portique to help healing.
The first thing we all wanted was a playground, a place where our children could feel safe, because their healing was more important than our own healing as adults, says the mother.
Building materials at the site of the new community hall in Portapique, Nova Scotia.
< p class="e-p">Residents have now turned their attention to a new community hall.
The Rotary Club of Truro is one of the groups at one of the groups. origin of the construction of the hall.
This project, we called it the Portapique Community Building Project, and it was about creating an opportunity for residents of the community to be able to come together and to literally and figuratively rebuild their community, says Alana Hirtle of the Rotary Club of Truro.
The foundation was poured last fall. There had been a hall before that on the site for about 200 years, but the old structure was too dilapidated to be renovated. On the other hand, some of the old beams will be incorporated into the new structure.
Andrew MacDonald, like others, is not interested in the conclusions of the Mass Loss Commission. In his opinion, worrying about this tragedy is a bit like worrying about lightning striking the same place twice.
It's a strange, very rare thing to happen here in Portapique, and I think if those lessons learned were needed again here, it's really bad luck, he said.
I really hope it's not something we need to worry about.
His priority is to focus on completing the hall to ensure it will serve the community for many years to come.
The other concern is to come to an agreement among residents on how to commemorate the tragedy.
In the days following the killings, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented people from gathering, and an impromptu memorial appeared by the side of the road.
The Portapique memorial continues to expand a week after the tragedy.
The roadside memorial was well-meaning, but difficult for residents to see every day, says Alana Hirtle.
It was a constant reminder!
She says the items left on the side of the road have been saved and some may be on display in the lobby of the community hall.
However, for Erin MacKinnon, the best way to remember the victims of the shooting would be to have programming that resembles them at the community hall.
< p class="e-p">Programs that honor Emily Tuck's love for music, Lisa McCully's love for teaching, Jamie Blair's love for the sport and legacy of others killed in the April 2020 shooting.
With information from Blair Rhodes < /em>and Angela MacIvor of CBC