As December 6 approaches and Polytechnique Montréal prepares for the annual day of remembrance of the tragic events of 1989, the institution invites members of the public to make a meaningful, symbolic gesture by taking part in the Week of the White Rose.
Polytechnique created the Week of the White Rose in 2014 to encourage the “blooming” of scientific talent and awaken an interest in science, technology and engineering in young girls who otherwise might not be attracted to these disciplines. The campaign takes its name from the fact that the white rose has become the symbol of Polytechnique’s commemorative activities over the years.
The Week of the White Rose provides the opportunity to give the gift of virtual white roses to anyone, through the whiteroseweek.org site. Each purchase of roses is a donation to Folie Technique, Polytechnique’s science day camp. The funds raised provide girls from less affluent communities with the opportunity to take part in science awareness activities.
Give the gift of white roses and let the future bloom
Polytechnique invites members of its community and the general public, as well as corporations, to give loved ones or clients the gift of virtual white roses. It is a gesture that brings joy while sowing the seeds of a brighter future.
- One rose ($10) pays for transportation for a girl to attend a science activity.
- A bouquet of 14 roses ($50) funds a science activity in an elementary school classroom.
- A bouquet of 25 roses ($150) pays for a girl to attend a week-long Folie Technique science day camp in the summer.
Since its creation, the Week of the White Rose has raised approximately $50,000 and enabled some 5,000 young girls to be part of classroom science workshops and attend the Folie Technique camp. However, demand far outweighs this non-profit organization’s supply: there are long waiting lists for these popular “all-girl” groups.
Although they make up more than half the population, the number of Canadian women undertaking careers in engineering remains low. According to Engineers Canada, less than 12% of practising licensed engineers in the country are women. In 1989, at the time of the Polytechnique tragedy, women accounted for 17% of the student population at the school. As of 2017, nearly 28% of Polytechnique students are women, and there is gender parity in many specialized fields, such as biomedical, chemical, industrial and geological engineering.
While donations reach a peak during the week leading up to December 6, the Week of the White Rose transactional website is always live, making it possible to purchase a gift of white roses at any time of the year.
With the Week of the White Rose, Polytechnique reaffirms that it will never forget, but at the same time will always look to the future.
Other commemorative events
Order of the White Rose scholarship ceremony
On Friday, December 1, at 11 a.m., Polytechnique will hold the third annual Order of the White Rose scholarship presentation ceremony, during which a deserving Canadian woman engineering student wishing to pursue graduate studies will receive the $30,000 award. A media advisory will be issued shortly.
Placing of bouquets of roses at the commemorative plaque
On Wednesday, December 6, at 8:30 a.m., bouquets of white roses will be placed at the commemorative plaque by Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire, Principal and Chair of the Polytechnique Board of Directors; François Bertrand, interim CEO of Polytechnique; Yann Blanchard, President of the Polytechnique students association; and Nikolay Radoev, Vice-President, External Affairs, of the Polytechnique graduate students’ association. Staff, students and members of the public are invited to gather and reflect at the site throughout the day. The commemorative plaque is outside, on the southwest façade of the main building of Polytechnique.
Beacons of light on Mount Royal
To perpetuate the memory of the young women who lost their lives in 1989, the Comité Mémoire, jointly with the City of Montréal, invites members of the public to gather at the lookout on Mount Royal on Wednesday, December 6, at 5 p.m. For the fourth year in a row, the skies above Montreal will be lit by Moment Factory’s light installation between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. After a brief word of welcome and a minute’s silence, the 14 beacons of light will be lit one by one as the 14 victims’ names are read aloud.
Week of the White Rose: The future blossoms in our hands.
To learn more