Wednesday marked the 28th anniversary of the massacre at Ecole Polytechnique, when a gunman opened fire, killing 14 women.
Ceremonies took place throughout the day to remember those slain.
The first occasion was at 8:30 a.m. at Dec. 6th Place, a park near the school, where roses were placed on the plaque with the names of the dead.
The first female civil engineer to graduate from Polytechnique, Michele Thibodeau-Deguire, is chair of the board of directors of Polytechnique.
She said that nearly three decades after the mass murder it's still difficult to cope with the aftermath of the shooting.
"All that talent that would have been. Those girls would probably be 48 to 50 year old now, and they'd be at the top of their skills, maybe at the head of organizations," said Thiboudeau-Deguire.
"When I think back to that it's just horrible that such a thing would have happened."
Mayor Valerie Plante and other dignitaries, including Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wife of the prime minister, and Deputy Premier Dominique Anglade were at the lookout on Mount Royal for a ceremony at 5 p.m.
“It is important to keep the memory of these women alive because they were women. They were coldly killed by a man because they were women,” said Plante, who was 15 when the massacre happened. “They were coldly killed by a man because they were women. We need to keep that in mind. We need to remember that. We need to keep them in our memory and it’s also a good way to tell the families we won't forget them.”
Fourteen lights, one for each of the slain, were illuminated at that time and shined throughout the evening.
Nathalie Pronovost, who survived the attack, admitted she is weary of fighting some of the same issues.
“On gun control, we didn't progress. We're weaker than we were on Dec. 6, 1989, so it's pretty frustrating,” she said, adding that the winds have started to shift.
“With the #metoo movement from a feminist point of view, there's something new happening.”
Earlier in the day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took part in a candle lighting ceremony at the Canadian Consulate in China.
"That day was a senseless act of violence which shocked the country and the world," said Trudeau.
He said more has to be done to combat gender-based violence at home and abroad through fighting injustice and inequality.
Vigils were also held across the country to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women