30 Years Later

On December 6, 1989, 14 women were murdered and 14 other people injured at École Polytechnique in Montreal, QC, in the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history. Twelve of the fourteen women killed were engineering students. 

Around 5:10 p.m. on December 6, 1989, the shooter entered a mechanical engineering class at École Polytechnique where he directed the women and men to opposite sides of the classroom, ordered the men to leave, and then shot all nine women in the classroom, claiming that feminists had ruined his life.

He then moved through hallways, into the cafeteria, and into another classroom, targeting and shooting women. Twenty minutes after he had started the attack, he shot and killed himself in a third-floor classroom. He had killed 14 women in total and injured 14 others—ten women and four men.

As recounted by Geneviève Cauden, a survivor of the shooting, "We were in the class and three [students] were at the front talking. And we hear shots and we hear people scream, but we thought it was a joke. After, a guy came into the class. He just said to us that it was real, it was not a joke and then all the people go on the floor.

We all go on the floor and we go under the desks. After, he shot people. He shot girls. I just closed my ears and closed my eyes. I didn't want to know what's going on."

Ms. Cauden had been shot in the head, and several of her friends killed.

The tragic events of December 6, 1989, led to Parliament designating December 6 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. Each year on this day, we remember the 14 young women whose lives were violently cut short by this act of gender-based violence:

  • Geneviève Bergeron
  • Hélène Colgan
  • Nathalie Croteau
  • Barbara Daigneault
  • Anne-Marie Edward
  • Maud Haviernick
  • Maryse Laganière
  • Maryse Leclair
  • Anne-Marie Lemay
  • Sonia Pelletier
  • Michèle Richard
  • Annie St-Arneault
  • Annie Turcotte
  • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz

Read more about the Montreal Massacre and its aftermath in the CBC archives, and listen to the interview with Geneviève Cauden.