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December 6

Memory and Remembrance



December 6, 1989, an armed man killed 14 women, and injured 13 other individuals at Polytechnique Montréal.

Still incomprehensible to this day, this anti-woman attack stunned the entire country, and sent shockwaves throughout the entire world.

Some 30 years later, Polytechnique’s desire to honour the victims of this massacre remains strong.

By commemorating this painful event, we also highlight the courage, solidarity, and dedication to equity that the Polytechnique community continues to express.

The triumphs and successes of our community are the most sincere way to honour the 14 women whose lives and dreams were dramatically and unjustly cut short.




14 women


Polytechnique remembers the 14 young women whose lives tragically ended on December 6, 1989.


Geneviève Bergeron (21 years old)
Mechanical Engineering student

Maryse Laganière, (25 years old)
Employee, Finance Department

Hélène Colgan (23 years old)
Mechanical Engineering student

Maryse Leclair, (23 years old)
Metallurgical Engineering student

Nathalie Croteau, (23 years old)
Mechanical Engineering student

Anne-Marie Lemay, (22 years old)
Mechanical Engineering student

Barbara Daigneault, 22 years old)
Mechanical Engineering student

Sonia Pelletier, (28 years old)
Mechanical Engineering student

Anne-Marie Edward, (21 years old)
Chemical Engineering student

Michèle Richard, (21 years old)
Metallurgical Engineering student

Maud Haviernick, (29 years old)
Metallurgical Engineering student

Annie St-Arneault, (23 years old)
Mechanical Engineering student

Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, (31 years old)
Nursing student (Université de Montréal)

Annie Turcotte, (20 years old)
Metallurgical Engineering student





Each December 6 since the tragedy in 1989, Polytechnique solemnly remembers the 14 women who were murdered on that date, as well as the additional victims, and their families.

This event also serves as an occasion to reaffirm our enduring hope for and belief in the future. While time cannot fully heal so great a wound, life is sacred and it is important that we honour it, even with our pain.

Each year, Polytechnique and the Comité Mémoire honour the December 6 1989 victims.

Wearing a White Ribbon

In the spirit of solidarity, and to raise awareness of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (also December 6 each year), many individuals choose to wear a white ribbon on their clothing. The ribbon, when viewed upside down, becomes a letter V, an eloquent and powerful symbol that condemns all violence against women and girls.

If you would like to participate in this initiative, from November 29 to December 8, white ribbons will be made available by the Association étudiante de Polytechnique at the entrance of the Main building and the Lassonde building. White ribbons will be available on December 6 at the General Secretariat office located in B-210, as well as in the Association étudiante de Polytechnique office in C-215.

Week of the White Rose

The first week of December, a national fundraising campaign is launched wherein Polytechnique’s professors, staff members, students, graduates, alumni, and the general public, are encouraged to make a donation and in exchange, receive a virtual white rose.

All funds raised are then given to Folie Technique, Polytechnique’s scientific outreach kids camp program. They in turn use these funds for all-girl science camps that offers young girls and women from disadvantaged communities the chance to get acquainted and develop a love of the fascinating universe that is engineering and the sciences.

The White Rose Week online donation site is accessible all year long.

Learn more.


Photo Exhibit

The Association Étudiante de Polytechnique and PolyPhoto, in collaboration with PolyCopie, is presenting a photo exhibition that renders homage to the 14 women whose lives were cut short on December 6, 1989. Exactly 30 years later, 14 female members of the Polytechnique Community, alongside employees and students, have sat for pictures to highlight the shadow cast from the loss of these women. The exhibition was created to enable the public to better get to know the 14 women who were killed.

Photos were taken with a Mamiya RB67 analog camera, equipped with a 90 mm lens, on Ilford Delta 100 film, because that would have been the equipment PolyPhoto would have used 30 years ago for photos of the 14 women. The exhibition will be displayed in the tunnel that joins the Main Building and the Lassonde building, from December 2 to 7, 2019. 

Duty to Remember

In collaboration with RéQEF (Réseau Québécois en études Féministes), feminist studies professors and students recently held a story and/or podcast contest, and winners will be announced December 5th at the Pavillon located at 3200 Jean-Brillant, in front of the Grand Cuisine de Valère cafeteria.

Also, a round table (in French only) is planned for November 29 in Room B-3255, and will discuss « De Polytechnique à aujourd’hui : comment penser les antiféminismes ? » (from Polytechnique til now: how is anti-feminism viewed?)

For more information

Order of the White Rose

Location: Main Building’s Galerie Rolland (B-600.16)

This year marks the fifth time that Polytechnique Montréal will award the prestigious Order of the White Rose.

This $30,000 bursary honours and encourages a Canadian female engineering student who intends to pursue graduate studies anywhere across the globe.

Laying of Rose Wreaths on Polytechnique’s Commemorative Plaque

Location: Polytechnique Montréal, outside on the Main Building’s south-west wall

Rose wreaths are laid on the commemorative plaque, placed by Polytechnique students and staff. All members of the Polytechnique community (students, staff, alumni) and the general public are invited to pass by the memorial for a moment of contemplation, at any point during the day.

The commemorative plaque is located on the south-west wall of the Main Building, outside.

Book Launch «Ce jour-là – Parce qu’elles étaient des femmes»

Location: Main Building’s Galerie Rolland (B-600.16)

Written by former Devoir journalist Josée Boileau, and published by Éditions La Presse, this timely book is available in both French and English (English-language publication launching early 2020). A work of both memory and analysis, the book contains archival photos, a factual description of the events that unfolded, a look at the lives of the 14 victims, eye-witness accounts of those who experienced the trauma themselves, an analysis of the 1980s as an historical period, and an examination of society at the time.

An initiative by the Comité Mémoire (made up of volunteers), and supported by Polytechnique Montréal.

Light Beam Ceremony on Mount Royal

Location: Mount Royal chalet, Belvedere Kondiaronk

At 5:10 pm, the exact time that the first shots were fired, 14 light beams will shine over the Montréal skyline (designed by Moment Factory). As the names of each of the 14 women who were killed is said aloud, a beam of light is lit in their honour.

After a minute of silence, a 150-person choir will sing two musical pieces to conclude the ceremony.

For the 30th anniversary, 14 engineering universities across Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax, will each shine a light beam in homage.

Dalhousie University

University of Alberta

McMaster University

University of British Columbia

Royal Military College of Canada

University of Manitoba

Université de Moncton

University of Ottawa

Université de Sherbrooke

University of Toronto

Université Laval

University of Waterloo

Université du Québec à Rimouski, UQAR

Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, UQAT


Order of the White Rose

Over the years, the white rose has become the symbol of Polytechnique Montréal’s December 6th commemorative activities. In 2014, Polytechnique Montréal created the Order of the White Rose bursary as a tribute to the 14 victims as well as the wounded, their families, faculty members, employees, and students who were forever affected by the tragedy.

This $30,000 scholarship is awarded annually by the Polytechnique administration, to a Canadian female engineering student who intends to pursue graduate studies (Master’s or Doctoral), in the institution of her choice, regardless of its geographic location in the world.

Thursday December 5, 2019 at 11:00 am, Polytechnique will hold the fifth annual Order of the White Rose award ceremony.

Learn more.



2019 : Édith Ducharme

2018 : Viviane Aubin

2017 : Ella Thomson

2016 : Liane Bernstein

2015 : Tara Gholami


Following the Montreal massacre, a group of Polytechnique students, graduates and victims’ families launched a six-year struggle to finally obtain, in December 1995, a comprehensive set of gun control measures. In 2009, as a response to new political threats seeking to dismantle these precious gains, the Polytechnique community regrouped once again under the name PolySeSouvient (“PolyRemembers”), to fight to protect these laws. Their mission is to push governments to maintain or implement measures that are necessary to minimize gun-related deaths and injuries, and the group asserts that all firearms are dangerous - thus their sale, possession, and use should be strictly controlled, including the prohibition of certain weapons and accessories whose risks outweigh any potential benefit to society.

Learn more.


This park has been dedicated to the memory of 14 woman killed during the mysogynistic December 6, 1989 Polytechnique Massacre. It is a space where one can pause to revisit the fundamental necessity of respect, and condemn all violence against women.

Located at the intersection of Rue Decelles and Chemin Queen-Mary, the Place-du-6-décembre is a setting that remembers and honours the victims of the 1989 tragedy.

A piece of public artwork entitled “Nef pour quatorze reines" was designed specifically for the Place-du-6-décembre, in honour of the 14 women whose lives were cut short.