Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds fly in the team’s signature nine-jet formation, with trailing white smoke, over Fredericton, on May 3, 2020.

Stephen MacGillivray/The Canadian Press

The Snowbirds military aerobatics team flew over Nova Scotia communities Sunday in remembrance of the victims of a mass shooting and six deaths in last week’s navy helicopter crash.

On a warm, clear day over the East Coast province, the red, white and blue Tutor jets performed above the 12 Wing Shearwater airbase in Halifax, home to the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter that crashed off Greece.

Six members of the Canadian Forces died Wednesday in the incident, which is now under investigation by the military.

Story continues below advertisement

The loss of life came in the wake of a mass shooting by a gunman, who took 22 lives on April 18 and 19, beginning in the coastal community of Portapique, where 13 people died.

The nine-plane formation began at the Canadian Forces Base Greenwood, travelled over the communities affected by the mass shooting, flew over Shearwater and downtown Halifax and then returned to the base during the afternoon.

Earlier the Snowbirds had performed over Saint John, N.B., Fredericton and Kentville, N.S.

Captain Joel Wilson, a 27-year-old pilot participating in the flights, said in a telephone interview from Greenwood, N.S., that the team hoped to provide relief and inspiration for Nova Scotians at a difficult time.

“The first word that comes to my mind is that I’m honoured,” said the captain, who is in his first year in the unit.

“It’s been tragedy after tragedy for Nova Scotia.”

“It’s one little thing we can do during what’s been a terrible month for the province as a whole.”

Story continues below advertisement

The aerobatics team planned to fly in its usual diamond shape over most areas.

However, Capt. Wilson said the team planned to fly a special pattern over Shearwater in honour of the aircrew and the Royal Canadian Navy personnel lost in the Cyclone crash.

He described it as the “missing man” manoeuvre, in which one of the jets flies off the formation to symbolize personnel who have died in the course of duty.

The native of Brantford, Ont., said there are members of his unit who have connections to the Canadian Forces members who died, giving the flyover added meaning to the pilots and the technicians.

The performance is also part of a cross-country tour which the military says aims to boost morale as the country continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Capt. Wilson said the unit encouraged the public to maintain social distancing while observing the planes, even as municipal parks in Halifax were reopened to the public after weeks of lockdown.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re at about 1,000 feet, which can be viewable from a further distance than usual,” he said.

Exact details on when and where the Snowbirds will next perform will be posted online, but it’s expected they’ll focus on flyovers over hospitals and neighbourhoods.

Some Canadians took to social media last week to ask whether the flyovers are necessary, given many people are continuing to struggle and die from COVID-19.

Caryma Sa’d, a Toronto lawyer, wrote: “Is it too late to call off the whole Snowbirds thing? With many people cooped up and sheltering in place, the sound of military jets overhead will be anything but comforting.”

That was similar to criticisms of the U.S. military’s decision to deploy its Blue Angels and Thunderbirds teams.

“We would be flying regardless,” the Snowbirds wrote on their official Twitter account last week in response to the various concerns.

Story continues below advertisement

“Now we’re just spreading the love (from a distance of course) instead of saying hello to the same farmers around Moose Jaw.”

The Snowbirds initially paused their training in March because of COVID-19 and delayed the start of their flying season, which was to begin in June.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies