Roughly 50 people stood quietly in chilly temperatures Thursday night at a vigil in Marianne's Park to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
"Tonight we come together to remember, reflect and respond," said organizer Jessica St. Peter, a public educator with Guelph-Wellington Women In Crisis.
Dec. 6 is the anniversary of the 1989 murder of 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montreal. Their photos were displayed with candles on a table along with the names of other women killed in Ontario killed this year. Their names were read out loud.
"They were murdered because they were women," St. Peter said. "Nearly 30 years later the effects of this tragedy continue to be felt and women remain targets because of their gender.
"Women continue to be killed as a result of gender-based violence. Killed because they are women. The term 'femicide' is used to draw attention to the death of women by men because of violence. Not of passion, but of acts of power and control. Acts from a loss of power and control."
St. Pierre said the day was not just about remembering those lost, but it was also about action.
"We each have the opportunity and the responsibility to stand up against misogyny, sexism and hate and it starts with creating a culture of respect..
"As we commemorate these 14 young women who died in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, Dec. 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect that women in Canada and around the world continue to face disproportionate levels of violence each day and every day."
A vigil was held earlier in the day in the engineering school at the University of Guelph.
"It's a day for communities to consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls," St. Pierre said.
A moment of silence was held, hand-held candles lit then those gathered filed past the names and photos of those killed that lay on a table.
"It was 1989, and now it is 2018 but we continue to come together because of the unfortunate reality of the women whose images lay on this table in front of us and that number continues to grow."