A steady stream of mourners began paying their respects Monday in the Southern Ontario hometown of the soldier killed at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
The public visitation for Corporal Nathan Cirillo is being held at a funeral home in Hamilton so people can express their grief and pay tribute to the 24-year-old reservist ahead of his funeral Tuesday.
As mourners of all ages filed quietly into the funeral home, two police officers on horseback kept watch at the front doors, monitoring those who entered.
Photographs from Cirillo's childhood and youth were placed in the halls of the funeral home while wreaths, cards and bouquets of flowers lined the walls in the room where his casket was placed.
Cirillo lay in full regimental garb with two members of his regiment standing guard on either side of his casket.
The young reservist was standing guard at the monument on Wednesday when he was gunned down by a homeless man with a rifle.
His attacker, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was shot dead by Kevin Vickers, the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons, after he entered Centre Block through the front doors, with RCMP in hot pursuit.
Today, many mourners bowed their heads as they stood before the open casket. One woman began sobbing as she paid her respects while a number of others quietly shed tears.
Thousands of people – some holding supportive signs or waving the Maple Leaf – paid their respects to Cirillo as he made his final journey back to his hometown on Friday along the Highway of Heroes.
Relatives and dignitaries, including Ontario's lieutenant governor, said private goodbyes to Cirillo on Sunday night.
A retired major with Cirillo's regiment, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, said the fact that the reservist was killed on home ground only adds to the tragedy.
Don Kennedy said Cirillo, who joined the Argylls after the major's departure, loved serving his country.
Cirillo's family issued a statement Friday evening thanking Canadians for their support.
A regimental funeral for Cirillo is scheduled for Tuesday, and he is to be buried in a field of honour at a Hamilton cemetery.