Events in Montreal today to mark anniversary of 1989 shootings
A woman places a rose on a memorial of one of the 14 women murdered a Ecole Polytechnique on December 6, 1989, during a ceremony to mark the 26th anniversay of the massacre, in Montreal, on Dec. 6, 2015. (Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 6, 2017 5:45AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 6, 2017 10:25AM EST
MONTREAL -- Canadians are commemorating the 28th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre when a gunman shot 14 women to death and injured 14 other people in the worst mass shooting in the country's history.
Dignitaries, citizens and families of victims are taking part in two official events to mark the Ecole polytechnique tragedy on Dec. 6, 1989.
Representatives from the school laid bouquets of red, white and pink roses in front of a commemorative plaque outside the school in a brief outdoor ceremony on Wednesday morning.
The head of the school's board of directors said the white rose has become a symbol of the victims in the years following the tragedy.
A ceremony for the 14 victims will be held at 5 p.m. at the lookout atop Mount Royal Park. Deputy premier Dominique Anglade, Mayor Valerie Plante and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are scheduled to attend.
Fourteen light beams will be installed at the lookout representing the 14 women and will shine light into the night sky between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Heidi Rathjen, a former Ecole polytechnique student and witness to the massacre, said it is still important to remember what happened 28 years ago.
"It's pertinent to talk about it with regard to gun control," said Rathjen, who helped start a group that lobbies for tighter firearm regulations.
The anniversary of the shooting is a good time to discuss guns laws in Canada "in order to diminish the chances that this kind of tragedy happens again," she said.
During a trip to China, Trudeau took part in a candle-lighting ceremony at the Canadian Consulate to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
In a statement, the prime minister said the "senseless and hateful act of violence" was a "devastating reminder of what can happen when hatred and misogyny prevail."
Trudeau said more must be done to speak out against gender-based violence against women and girls both in Canada and abroad.
"That means valuing the voices of women and girls, fighting the injustices and inequalities that put the most vulnerable women at the greatest risk of violence, and breaking down a culture that dismisses women's worth -- from Hollywood studios to the halls of Parliament," he said.