Grief and healing as La Loche comes together for winter festival

Nearly one month after a deadly shooting upended their small town, the residents of La Loche, Sask. are working to heal.

See Full Article

The community gathered to celebrate the winter season and find comfort at their annual winter festival this week.

Inside the local ice rink, young hockey players strapped on their skates, and outside, children ran back and forth over the snow, racing to pile wood, hammer nails into logs and carry sacks of flour as part of the festival games .

"A lot of kids are getting together, talking, laughing, crying together," Farris Lemaigre, an employee at the La Loche Friendship Centre, told CTV Regina. "Everybody's growing."

Beyond the festival games, however, signs of grief remain scattered around the community.

Flowers and other tributes poke through a layer of snow outside the La Loche Community School Dene Building, where a gunman shot and killed a teacher and young teaching assistant on Jan. 22. The shooter also killed two teens at a nearby home earlier that day.

A suspect, who cannot be named because he was 17-years-old at the time of the incident, now faces four counts of first-degree murder.

On Wednesday, the school's vice president said students and staff plan to march through town to the site of the shooting, where they will symbolically reclaim the space.

"We have to move on," community elder Pauline Fontaine said. "And the kids, they have to (move on) too."

Student activity has already restarted in the school. The boys' volleyball team is back to practising in the gym and students are invited to sign up for counselling.

There are also plans to increase security at the school.

Ken Ladouceur, the director of education at the Northern Lights School District, said the district aims to provide security from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., while classes are in session, as well as in the evening when there are other activities in the building.

The RCMP is also providing a school resource officer, Ladouceur said.

More efforts are also planned to help the community honour the shooting victims and cope with their grief.

As the winter festival comes to a close this weekend, artist Douglas Lingelbach is scheduled to carve an ice sculpture in memory of the four victims who died in the attack. And the festival will wrap up with a comedy show entitled "Healing with Laughter."

With files from CTV Regina



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Alberta legislature session to begin under new Premier Jason Kenney

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- The Alberta legislature is to start a new session today with a lot of new faces and a new government in charge. Premier Jason Kenney and the 63 members of his United Conservative caucus are to be sworn in as legislature members and a Speaker is to be chosen. Source
  • Thousands of Saudi students remain in Canada, despite Riyadh's pledge to axe scholarships

    Canada News CBC News
    Thousands of university students from Saudi Arabia remain in Canada despite being ordered out of the country by their government last August, but planning is underway to mitigate the impact on Canadian universities when those students graduate and are not replaced. Source
  • 'Like Christmas every day': A billionaire's pledge to erase this class's college debts could echo for decades

    World News CBC News
    Morehouse College, the private, all-male, historically black college in Atlanta that counts Martin Luther King among its alumni, expects its attendees to aspire to greatness. Soon, many in the graduating class of 2019 can start doing so, no matter the cost. Source
  • Mississippi 6-week abortion ban heads to federal court

    World News CTV News
    JACKSON, Miss. -- A federal judge who struck down Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban last year is hearing arguments about a new law that puts the ban even earlier. The law would prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, at about six weeks, when many women may not know they're pregnant. Source
  • Accused New Zealand mosque shooter charged with terrorism

    World News CTV News
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand police on Tuesday filed a terrorism charge against the man accused of killing 51 people at two Christchurch mosques. Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, was already facing murder and attempted murder charges from the March 15 shootings. Source
  • New Zealand police file terrorism charge against man accused of massacre in mosques

    World News CBC News
    New Zealand police have charged the man accused of murder in shootings at two Christchurch mosques in March with engaging in a terrorist act, they said on Tuesday. In an attack broadcast live on Facebook, a lone gunman armed with semi-automatic weapons targeted Muslims attending Friday prayers, killing 51 worshippers and wounding dozens of people. Source
  • Yemen rebels say drone hits arms depot at Saudi airport

    World News CTV News
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Yemen's Houthi rebels said Tuesday they launched a bomb-laden drone targeting an airport in Saudi Arabia that also has a military base inside of it, an attack acknowledged by the kingdom as Mideast tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S. Source
  • Yemen rebels say their drone hit arms depot at Saudi airport

    World News CTV News
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Yemen's Houthi rebels said Tuesday they launched a bomb-laden drone into Saudi Arabia, targeting an airport with a military base -- an attack acknowledged by the kingdom as Mideast tensions remain high between Iran and the United States. Source
  • Ex-White House lawyer to skip hearing as Democrats debate next steps

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- House Democrats are facing yet another brazen attempt by President Donald Trump to stonewall their investigations, this time with former White House counsel Donald McGahn defying a subpoena for his testimony on orders from the White House. Source
  • New Zealand crews reenter coal mine 8 years after 29 killed

    World News CTV News
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Crews in New Zealand on Tuesday reentered an underground coal mine where a methane explosion killed 29 workers more than eight years ago, raising hopes among family members that they might find bodies and new evidence that leads to criminal charges. Source