Polytechnique shooting: CBC journalist Loreen Pindera remembers

CBC Montreal's Loreen Pindera remembers the confusion, panic and heartbreak that surrounded that cold night on Dec. 6, 1989 at Montreal's École Polytechnique.

'He separated the men from the women,' a male engineering student told CBC reporter

Remembering Polytechnique: A reporter's story

6 years agoVideo
CBC journalist Loreen Pindra recalls the night she was dispatched to Ecole Polytechnique for what the newsroom initially thought was a fire. 3:41


Montreal police Lt. Pierre Leclair talks to reporters outside of Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989. Leclair's daughter Maryse was later found dead inside the school. (CBC Archives)

I had moved to Montreal just three months earlier. I had never before been on the University of Montreal campus. I thought I was being sent to cover a fire.  

A young male engineering student standing outside the building told me, in French, that a man had burst into his classroom.

"He separated the men from the women," the young man told me. I shook my head, asked again. I thought I wasn't understanding his French.

It took a few minutes to grasp what he'd actually said.  

It's taken a lifetime to digest what actually happened. 

On mobile? Listen to Loreen's World Report piece from Dec. 7, 1989

Loreen Pindera and Victor Steinberg reporting on the Polytechnique massacre. 3:50

About the Author

Loreen Pindera


Loreen Pindera is a journalist with 35 years' experience in CBC newsrooms in Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Iqaluit and Montreal. Her book People of the Pines: The Warriors and the Legacy of Oka, co-authored with Geoffrey York, is a primer on the 1990 Mohawk land dispute.