Members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Victoria Regional Womens’ Committee have been working on a plan to erect a memorial to the victims of the École Polytechnique Massacre.
The Montreal Massacre, as it is also known, resulted in the deaths of 14 women on Dec. 6,1989. The anniversary of this tragic event is commemorated every year in Canada as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
The PSAC, along with community groups such as the Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre and Victoria Women’s Transition House have been organizing Dec. 6 candlelight vigils in Victoria since 2009.
Virginia Vaillancourt, one of the lead organizers and chair of the PSAC Victoria Regional Women’s Committee, says a permanentmemorial is the next step.
“Since we started in 2009 – the 20th anniversary of the massacre – response from the community has been really, really great. More and more people come to the vigil every year.” she explains “We feel it is important to commemorate these women’s lives. We must also continue to work against violence against women to ensure their deaths were not in vain.
The Committee has discussing and planning over the last six months, and are currently fundraising and working on design plans for a memorial in Centennial Square.
Vaillancourt plans to submit a full proposal to Victoria City Council in October and is hopeful Council will give their approval in time for the memorial to be unveiled on Dec. 6, 2014 – the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.
“A permanent memorial here in Victoria will honour the memory of these 14 sisters whose lives were taken away, raise awareness around violence against women, and hopefully ensure that something like the Montreal Massacre never happens again.”
Originally published in the Victoria Times Colonist Labour Day Supplement, September 1 2013