Twenty-five Years Later- Remembering the Montreal Massacre on December 6th – by Lynda Laushway

December 2, 2014

Twenty-five years ago on December 6th, a 25-year-old man walked into École Polytechnique, an engineering school in Montreal Quebec, carrying a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife. He walked into a classroom on the second floor, and asked that the men and women separate to different sides of the room. He then asked the men to leave the room. Nine women were left behind. He said, in French, that they were all feminists, and then shot all of the women in the room- six died from their injuries.

He then went to other parts of the school, shooting as he went. A total of 14 women died that day, and fourteen others were injured (10 women and four men). He then turned the gun on himself.

DSC_0004The women murdered that day were all young students, at school studying to become engineers. They thought that they had their whole lives and careers ahead of them. This was the first shooting of its type in Canada, and a direct act of violence not only against women, but against the feminist movement.

Two days after the shooting, part of the shooter’s suicide note was released. On it was a list of 19 women’s names. Before listing them, he wrote, in French, “The lack of time (because I started too late) has allowed these radical feminists to survive.”  His list included a series of seemingly random women, some more known than others, from politicians to female police officers. It also included Francine Pelletier, a journalist who co-founded a feminist magazine called La Vie en Rose in the ‘80s and worked at La Presse newspaper at the time.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of this event, which has become known as the “Montreal Massacre.” Dec. 6th is also now the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, in order to pay homage those who died that day and to raise awareness to prevent violence against women.

In this the 25th anniversary year of this horrible act of violence, numerous women have brought forth allegations of violence by two high profile men- Jian Gomeshi and Bill Cosby. These well-publicized allegations have once again raised the profile of the extent and seriousness of violence against women and taken it out of the secrecy where it often hides. Our media is abuzz with coverage of these allegations but time will tell if the current profile of violence against women will create lasting positive change in our society.

The Ritual of Remembering has been held each year since the first anniversary of this tragic event and sadly, we must continue to acknowledge the ongoing acts of violence that are a daily reality for women in our province and country.

We hope you will stand in solidarity with us against gender-based violence.


 On Saturday, Dec. 6, at 6 pm, a candlelight vigil will be held in Centennial Park, Ganges to honour of the women who died on that day 25 years ago.


Cathy Ford will be present at the vigil to read from her new poem, Flowers We Will Never Know the Names Of.  The poem marks the 25th anniversary of the murders of fourteen women students at Montreal’s L’École Polytechnique, on December 6, 1989, a history-changing event.  It is an incantation, a chant, a protest, memento mori, an invocation, a prayer for peace organized in fourteen sections.

The choir Women of Note will sing.

Hot refreshments will be available.

All are welcome at the vigil.

Please join us.


Lynda Laushway – Executive Director, SWOVA



SWOVA – Empowering Youth for a Better Tomorrow

Best Books to Read for International Women’s Day

Best Books to Read for International Women’s Day

Leading up to International Women’s Day, we asked Sophia vom Bauer Jackson, service manager at the Salt Spring Island Public Library, to make a list of contemporary female-focused books. This is her Top 5 (fiction and non-fiction) plus some extra recommendations (all...

Healthy Risk Taking is about Growing and Developing

Healthy Risk Taking is about Growing and Developing

Teenagers crave and seek risks. It helps them to develop and grow. We often think of risk-taking as dangerous, but risk-taking is not always negative. Healthy risk-taking – like hiking up a mountain, riding a unicycle, or performing on stage – helps kids build...

Social-Emotional Learning during the Holidays

Social-Emotional Learning during the Holidays

School is almost out, and students will have a well-deserved break from class. However, learning doesn’t have to stop completely as soon as school is out for the year. The holidays are the perfect time to practice kindness and generosity. We've curated five tips to...

Never too Young to Remember December 6

Never too Young to Remember December 6

On December 6th, 1989, the day that fourteen young women at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal were killed by a gunman as a deliberate act of violence against women, Quinn Mulherin (21, she/they*) wasn’t born yet. She learned about the tragedy years later when she...

The Past and the Future of the Core (Inn)

The Past and the Future of the Core (Inn)

Salt Spring Island does not have a lot of facilities to accommodate young people, but we do have The Core (Inn) on McPhilipps Avenue. It is a safe place where island youth can come together to hang out, play music and games, and where snacks and healthy food are...

Please let us know what's on your mind. Have a question for us? Ask away.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.