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

  • Roadside bombing targets Taliban, kills Afghan civilians

    World News CTV News
    KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- A roadside bombing targeting a Taliban vehicle in eastern Afghanistan killed at least two civilians Saturday, including a child, Taliban and health officials said. Four others were wounded. Two bombs detonated as a Taliban vehicle was passing by, killing one child, district police chief Ismatullah Mubariz said, adding that no Taliban fighters were harmed. Source
  • White House further postpones disclosure of JFK assassination documents, citing COVID-19

    World News CTV News
    The White House announced late Friday that it would further postpone the release of more documents related to the 1963 assassination of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, pointing to the "significant impact" of the COVID-19 pandemic. Source
  • Frenchman tied to far-right abduction charged with terrorism

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- A former politician who called for the overthrow of the French government has been charged with terrorism in connection with what authorities have said was an extreme-right plot to attack vaccination centers, a masonic lodge and other targets. Source
  • Deal on Biden's US$2T plan edges closer; Harris is 'confident'

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A deal within reach, U.S. President Joe Biden and Congress' top Democrats edged close to sealing their giant domestic legislation, though the informal deadline appeared to slip as they worked to scale back the measure and determine how to pay for it. Source
  • North Korea slams U.S. for supporting Taiwan in nod to ally China

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA -- North Korea on Saturday accused the Biden administration of raising military tensions with China through its "reckless" backing of Taiwan, and said that the growing U.S. military presence in the region constitutes a potential threat to the North. Source
  • Ukraine sees new record high in virus deaths, infections

    World News CTV News
    KYIV, UKRAINE -- Ukraine's coronavirus infections and deaths reached all-time highs for a second straight day Friday, in a growing challenge for the country with one of Europe's lowest shares of vaccinated people. Ukrainian health authorities reported 23,785 new confirmed infections and 614 deaths in the past 24 hours. Source
  • Jury gets chance to hear Elizabeth Holmes' bold promises

    World News CTV News
    SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- A jury weighing the fate of fallen Silicon Valley star Elizabeth Holmes got its first chance Friday to listen to recordings of her boasting to investors about purported breakthroughs in a blood-testing technology. Source
  • Winnipeg makeup artist creates 31 days of spooky Halloween looks

    Canada News CBC News
    What do you get when you combine the grim smile of Pennywise — the evil sewer-dwelling clown from It — with the madness of Beetlejuice, the mischievous, green-haired ghost in a black-and-white striped suit? One terrifying makeup mash-up — and exactly the kind of spooky look Winnipeg makeup artist Maddy Harms has set out to create every day this month. Source
  • Saudi Arabia announces goal of net-zero emissions by 2060

    World News CBC News
    One of the world's largest oil producers, Saudi Arabia, announced Saturday it aims to reach "net zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, joining more than 100 countries in a global effort to try and curb man-made climate change. Source
  • Recess is serious business, and it's getting neglected in the pandemic, researcher says

    Canada News CBC News
    In our zeal to help children catch up academically after learning remotely during parts of the pandemic, and to minimize the spread of COVID-19 at schools, a leading researcher says we may be neglecting the most important subject of all — recess. Source