Edmonton

Edmonton vigils will mark 30th anniversary of Montreal Massacre

Since 1991, Dec. 6 has been commemorated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, known informally as White Ribbon Day. 

Since 1991, Dec. 6 has been commemorated as a national day of remembrance

White candles glow around a vase of white roses at the Manitoba Legislature in 2018 during a ceremony honouring 14 women killed in Montreal in 1989. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Several vigils will be held in Edmonton on Friday to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre, where a gunman killed 14 women on campus.

Since 1991, Dec. 6 has been commemorated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, known informally as White Ribbon Day. 

Along with various vigils, Canadian flags will fly at half-mast on federal buildings — including the Peace Tower in Ottawa — and Canadians are being urged to observe a minute of silence and wear a white or purple ribbon.

The events honour the 14 victims killed in Montreal in 1989, as well as the other women who have died or been victims of violence. 

In Edmonton, there are several vigils planned which are open to the public.

  • Noon, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology at The Crossing, located on the first floor of the Centre for Applied Technology, 11763 106th St. This event will be attended by MLA Laila Goodridge.
  • Noon, University of Alberta at the Students' Union Building, 8900 114th St. This event is put on by various student and staff associations. 

Also at the university, students and staff from the Faculty of Engineering will participate in the national ceremony in Montreal with a livestream. The faculty joins 13 other universities in illuminating a blue beacon of light, which will join 14 beams shining at Mount Royal in Montreal.

The vigils are among various events held during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an international awareness campaign that starts every year on Nov. 25. 

In 1989, 25-year-old Marc Lépine walked into a classroom at École Polytechnique and separated the men from the women. 

He shouted, "You're all feminists and I hate feminists!" Then he started shooting.

In less than 20 minutes, he killed 14 women, most of them engineering students, before turning the gun on himself. The suicide note found on his body spoke of his disdain for women and blamed feminists for ruining his life.