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Northernstars Remembers the Montreal Massacre

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Northernstars Remembers the Montreal Massacre, image,
Scene from the 2009 film, Polytechnique.

Northernstars Remembers the Montreal Massacre
by Staff Editors

(December 6, 2021) For 45 minutes on December 6, 1989, 25-year-old Marc Lepine, armed with a legally obtained semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife, roamed the corridors of Montreal’s École Polytechnique. He purposely separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students screamed, “I hate feminists.” He shot twenty-eight people, killing fourteen and injuring another fourteen before killing himself. Almost immediately, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment in which mourning turned into outrage about all violence against women. Yet 32 years later violence against women persists everywhere, and in the United States school shootings have become a regular event. There have been 29 such shootings in the United States so far this year.

These are the women who died in Montréal on this day in 1989:

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

Twenty years later a movie titled Polytechnique and directed by Denis Villeneuve opened. It was in Black and White and was released in two versions, one in French, one in English. Karine Vanasse had wanted to make a film about the massacre for years. She helped produce the film, and helped secure Villeneuve for the production.

École Polytechnique de Montréal gave the filmmakers access to the campus as a location, but Villeneuve, out of respect for the tragedy, opted to film at the Cégep de Maisonneuve and Collège Ahuntsic. Other locations used included the Montreal neighbourhoods of Griffintown and Westmount.

Also see: Don Carmody talks about the making of Polytechnique.