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

  • Mexicans homeless after quake rely on kindness of strangers to survive

    World News CBC News
    For 12 years, Adriana Lemos has walked up to apartment 903 of the Osa Mayor, a 14-storey apartment building in downtown Mexico City. Now, as she picks her way carefully up the stairs past piles of rubble, she fears this may be the last time she will see her home. Source
  • 'Russo-phobic hysteria' sours U.S. relationship: Russian foreign minister

    World News CTV News
    Russia's foreign minister said Friday the downturn in relations with the United States began with the Obama administration's "small-hearted" and "revengeful" actions and has plummeted further because of "Russo-phobic hysteria." Sergey Lavrov told a news conference there has been a lengthy campaign claiming Russia interfered in the U.S. Source
  • Prof lobbies to change 'The Clan' team name at Simon Fraser University

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- For more than 50 years, Simon Fraser University's sports teams have played under the name The Clan, to honour the Scottish heritage of the school's namesake. But now, amid violent neo-Nazi marches in the United States, some professors and students are sounding the alarm that the name evokes a very different clan -- the Ku Klux Klan. Source
  • Canada imposes sanctions on key Venezuelan officials

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada will impose targeted sanctions against 40 Venezuelan senior officials, including President Nicolas Maduro, to punish them for "anti-democratic behaviour," Canada's foreign affairs department says. Canada's move, which followed a similar decision by the United States, came after months of protests against Maduro's government in which at least 125 people have been killed. Source
  • Ex Tim Hortons CEO denies leaking confidential info

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    VANCOUVER — The former CEO of Tim Hortons denies he provided confidential information to one of Canada’s national newspapers after the coffee-and-donut chain’s parent company commenced legal action against a rogue group of franchisees it alleges were Don Schroeder’s informants. Source
  • Quebec cop guilty of manslaughter in 2014 shooting death of teen

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — A Quebec court judge convicted a provincial police officer Friday of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a teenager in 2014. The ruling triggered a strongly worded condemnation from the union representing provincial police officers, who called the decision “incomprehensible and unacceptable. Source
  • Uncle, nephew drink beer, shoot cars and set house on fire: Cops

    World News Toronto Sun
    A family that sets a blaze together, stays together. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, a North Carolina man and his uncle had a hell of a good time this past Tuesday evening when they allegedly enjoyed some brewskies while watching a lawnmower and vehicle burn in their front yard, shot at passing vehicles and later setting their house ablaze. Source
  • Montreal's famous bagel shops under fire for wood-burning ovens

    Canada News CTV News
    Montreal residents are going before city council on Monday to demand a ban on wood-burning ovens at several famous bagel shops because they say not enough has been done to address air pollution. Francois Grenier, who lives on the same block where Fairmount Bagels has stood since 1949, says he has been asking the city to deal with the wood-burning ovens for more than 20 years. Source
  • Edmonton woman pleads guilty in animal cruelty case; dog had to be put down

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON - A 73-year-old Edmonton woman has been fined more than $1,200 and banned from owning pets for five years after pleading guilty in an animal cruelty case. Margaret Dechambre was charged in July with causing or permitting an animal to be in distress after a 20-year-old dog had to be put down due to extreme neglect. Source
  • Bob Dole hospitalized for low blood pressure: Spokeswoman

    World News Toronto Sun
    TOPEKA, Kan. — A spokeswoman says former Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is hospitalized for low blood pressure. Dole spokeswoman Marion Watkins said in an email Friday that the 94-year-old former Kansas senator has been hospitalized since Sept. Source