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How London will mark National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Known informally as White Ribbon Day, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is marked annually on the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre.
Known informally as White Ribbon Day, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is marked annually on the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre. Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

It’s a sombre day as Canada marks the 30th anniversary of the worst mass shooting in the nation’s history.

On Dec. 6, 1989, a gunman opened fire in the engineering school at École Polytechnique in Montreal. He told the men to leave and then he killed 14 women before killing himself.

A final letter from the perpetrator read: “I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker.”

READ MORE: Feminism met gunfire at École Polytechnique. It’s taken 30 years to call it what it was

Since the violent hate crime took place, the anniversary has come to be known as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

The three decades since have also seen attitudes change toward the massacre, with Montreal declaring only one day prior to the 30th anniversary that it was an anti-feminist attack.

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Click to play video: 'Why it’s important to call the Montreal Massacre an attack on feminism' Why it’s important to call the Montreal Massacre an attack on feminism
Why it’s important to call the Montreal Massacre an attack on feminism – Dec 6, 2019

London will join Canada in marking the day with a handful of events throughout the city.

My Sister’s Place on Dundas Street will host a ceremony at noon, with the Women’s Events Committee (WEC) holding a candlelight vigil in Victoria Park at 5:30 p.m.

WEC co-chair and Anova assistant executive director Shelley Yeo says the anniversary serves as a reminder that violence against women remains an issue.

“We are continuing to lose at least one woman every two to two and a half days in Canada to murder by somebody that they know,” Yeo said.

READ MORE: Remembering the women killed in the École Polytechnique massacre

Yeo added that Montreal’s recent decision to declare the massacre an anti-feminist attack is a delayed response.

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“I remember 30 years ago. I remember where I was and I remember those conversations and debates about whether this was about a man who hated women and that it was a direct attack against feminists,” Yeo said.

“There was proof that it was, and yet politicians, the media [and] lots of people did not want to believe.”

READ MORE: London, Ont. Anova women’s shelter is going pet-friendly to fight domestic violence

Anova will be holding a number of private ceremonies at its sites and shelters to honour the day.

Londoners and all Canadians are invited to show solidarity by observing a moment of silence at 11 a.m. Friday.

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