Vigils were held in Ottawa to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

On December 6, 1989, 14 women were killed by a gunman at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique. Fourteen other people were injured in the shooting. It is the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history. It sparked the creation of a national day of commemoration.

Nicole McElwain was one of hundreds of people who came to the Women’s Monument in Minto Park on Elgin Street Wednesday.

“It is our way to commemorate all the women who have lost their lives but also to show our support for women who are still experience gender-based violence,” She says.  

One by one, the names of women who have died because of gender-based violence were read out loud.  

This was the fifth year Ross Bellinger has come to the vigil. He says it is important to show presence. “I’ve come to understand the challenges that women face nowadays, so I just come out to be present show that I want to hear and I want to understand what is going on.”

Organizers say this year is even more poignant as it comes on the same day Basil Borutski was sentenced to 70 years in prison for killing three Ottawa Valley women in 2015.

Advocate Julie Lalonde was the event’s emcee.“The fact that we have this high profile triple femicide in our community - there have just been so many examples this past fall to really drive home the fact that this is still a conversation that needs to be had in Canada in 2017”

Other memorials were held Wednesday in Ottawa. The Women’s Event Network of Ottawa held a "gathering to remember – A Call to Action" at First United Church All Saints Westboro on Richmond Road. Another vigil was also held in Kanata. 

Flags at all city sites will be lowered to half-mast from sunrise to sunset