Canada is marking a grim anniversary.
On this day in 1989, a man walked into a classroom at Polytechnique Montreal and shot nine women, killing six of them.
The gunman separated the men from the women, then opened fire while screaming, “You are all feminists.”
He killed another eight as he walked through the halls of the school before turning the gun on himself.
Due to pandemic restrictions, ceremonies are taking place virtually on Sunday, including a vigil by the Women and Children’s Shelter of Barrie at 10 a.m. through their Facebook page.
The National Day of Remembrance was established in 1991 by the federal government.
In a statement, the Women and Children’s Shelter of Barrie (WCS) said that in previous years, they have shared that every six days in Canada a woman was killed because she was a woman. Now that figure is closer to every 2.5 days.
“We have moved in the wrong direction,” read the statement. “Recent data from Statistics Canada reports that domestic violence calls to police agencies across Canada have increased by 12 per cent in 2020. We know that the 12 per cent increase in 2020 is a low estimate that is not reflective of the true increase that is really happening.”
The statement said the COVID-19 pandemic has made things particularly hard. It said women living in abuse were forced to remain indoors, isolated and at home with their abuser, and that calls to the WCS crisis line were filled with scared women that didn’t know where to turn or what they could do.