Dec. 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, is a day to remember not only the horrors that occurred at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989, but the violence and inequities that continue today.

On that day, Canadians pause to reflect on the murder of 14 women, the majority being engineering students. It is a day to remember the victims and think about the effects that gender-based violence has had — and continues to have — on our society.

Each year, the Queen’s community, led by the Engineering Society and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, commemorates this day by hosting a memorial ceremony and other events that highlight the importance of opening doors, and keeping them open, for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and beyond.

“We need to remember the terrible events of December 6. It is especially important for the engineering community to reflect on that loss, and to strengthen our resolve to welcome more women into the profession and encourage and support them throughout their careers,” says Kevin Deluzio, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “As a society we still have much work to do in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion, so this is a meaningful day for everyone at Queen’s. I encourage people from across the university to join us in reflecting on this day’s significance.”

During the memorial ceremony, being held Monday, Dec. 6, 1-2 p.m. at the Integrated Learning Centre in Beamish-Munro Hall, 14 current Queen’s Engineering students hold a rose and light a candle while they introduce each of the 14 women and express their views on why it is important to remember them. It is a powerful, solemn time of remembrance.

This year’s event will also be  livestreamed.

In 2020, a permanent memorial installation was unveiled after Dean Deluzio and the Engineering Society sent out a call for designs a year earlier to mark the 30 th anniversary of the killings.

The design chosen was created by Haley Adams, a civil engineering student. The centrepiece of the memorial is a white rose, which is surrounded by fourteen petals, symbolizing each of the women who lost their lives that day.

“The petals drift along the wall, representing the idea that although we move forward, their memories are with us,” Adams explained as the memorial was unveiled. “It is my hope that this memorial can act as a gentle reminder to this generation of engineers that diversity in the profession is our strength. Only when the engineering community reflects the society we serve can we best design for the needs of our communities.”


December 6 memorial installation