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Marker of Change: The Story of the Women's Monument


Moira Simpson


Pamela Millar Sher Morgan The May Street Group
  • Release Date 1998
  • Running Time 52 minutes
  • Closed Captions Yes
  • Availability Canada, USA

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Marker of Change: The Story of the Women's Monument Marker of Change: The Story of the Women's Monument

People think the women's movement is dead, passé, irrelevant. They should watch this film.
- Francine Pelletier, journalist

On December 6, 1989, 14 young women at Montréal's Ecole Polytechnique were systematically hunted down and shot to death in what became known as the Montréal Massacre. Within hours, everyone knew the name of the murderer but few would remember the names of the women. To counteract the media coverage's focus on the murderer, a band of Vancouver feminists set out to create Canada's first national monument to name and remember the 14 women, most of them students in engineering, who were murdered solely because they were female.

Marker of Change: The Story of the Women's Monument documents a seven-year struggle to create "something loving, something permanent" for all women murdered by men. Over 6,000 individual donors contributed to the monument before it was completed. From the moment of its inception, the Women's Monument project was dogged by controversies; but when the wording on its dedication became known to the media, all hell broke loose. The inscription "For all women murdered by men" sparked a backlash and a country-wide debate.

Among the monument's supporters who speak to what was lost December 6, 1989 and why it still silences and divides Canadians years later are: Suzanne LaPlante Edward, mother of murdered Polytechnique student Anne Marie Edward; former British Columbia MLA and activist Rosemary Brown; Québec feminist and Governor-General award-winning author Nicole Brossard; Vancouver City Councillor Nancy Chiavario; and artist Beth Alber who designed the monument.

Like the monument itself, this vital documentary is intended to provoke a shift in Canadian consciousness from denial to healing to societal change. With theatrical release of the Canadian drama Polytechnique (2009), the documentary Marker of Change provides the context for discussions on what was done, and what still needs to be done, by women and men to end violence against women in Canada.

Award(s): Bronze Apple Award, National Educational Media Competition, Oakland 1999; CanPro Award, Excellence in Television, Ottawa 1999

A discussion guide is available:

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