Marking a grim anniversary, a large crowd gathered outside the University of Victoria engineering building on Tuesday to honour the victims of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre.
It was one of many vigils held across Canada to remember the lives lost on Dec. 6, 1989, when a gunman motivated by a hatred for women killed 14 female students at the engineering school in Montreal.
Flags flew at half mast at the school, where another ceremony took place at dusk, the time the shots were fired. Fourteen beams of light also lit up the sky, one for every woman murdered.
UVic’s Dean of Engineering and Computer Science, Dr. Mina Hoorfar, said it’s important to remember.
“We cannot tolerate violence. Any form against women, or any other, you know, people. That is the country we want to build by remembering them and always keeping their memories alive,” Dr. Hoorfar told CHEK News.
Thirty-three years later, women are still dying of violence.
On Sunday, hundreds gathered in Winnipeg to honour four Indigenous women believed to have been murdered by an alleged serial killer.
Police believe the remains of three of the victims are in a landfill, but investigators won’t conduct a search, saying it’s not feasible.
Earlier, the daughter of one of the victims, Cambria Harris, spoke on Parliament Hill.
“I should not have to stand here today,” she said. “And I should not have to come here and be so mad and beg, and beg so you will find and bring our loved ones home.”
Violence against women and girls is on the rise in Canada, according to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability.
It reports that in 2019, 118 women and girls were killed. In 2020, 160 were killed and in 2021, that number climbed to 173. One in five women killed were First Nation, Métis or Inuit.
In 1991, Dec. 6 was declared the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.