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Introduction

 


 My goal was to have at least one name for each day of the year! Believe it or not, it took 20 years. But hey, I made it!

Want to know who was born the same year as you?  Check out the Famous Canadian Women's Historical Timeline!

Want to find out about other Canadian women of achievement?
"On-The-Job". Has over 3100 mini profiles of Canadian Women

Use your mouse pointer to touch a date on the calendar below
to see which Famous Canadian Woman has a birthday on that date.

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Copyright © 1998-2024 Dawn E. Monroe. All rights reserved

ISBN: 0-9736246-0-4

March 1

Anne Kahane - Langstadt.  
Born March 1, 1926, Vienna, Austria. Died September 29, 2023, Montreal, Quebec. Anne immigrated to Montreal with her parents when she was five years old. It was at the Montreal Ecole des beaux arts that she took her early formal art lessons. This sculptor emigrated from Austria with her parents in 1925. During the mid 1940's Anne studied at Cooper Union School, New York City, U.S.A. In 1953 she was the only Canadian winning international prizes for her three-dimensional figures carved in wood, works. Her woodcarvings are the decorative panels for the Winnipeg airport, Winnipeg General Hospital, and Montreal’s Place des Arts. She married artist Robert Langstadt. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, representing Canada at the Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the Canadian Pavilion at the Worlds Fair, Brussels, and at Expo 67 in Montreal Abandoning wood in the late 1970's she began to work with sheets of aluminum with her first showing of this new medium at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario in 1980-1982. (2023)

 

Monique Bégin. 
Born March 1,1936, Rome, Italy. Died September 8, 2023, Ottawa, Ontario Monique was born in Europe while her French-Canadian father was working overseas. The family escaped to Portugal and back to Canada at the breakout of World War ll. Monique earned a teacher's certificate and then went on to study sociology at the Université de Montreal before living in Paris, France for two years. She began working as executive secretary to the Royal Commission on the Status of Women once back in Canada. She was 1st woman from Québec to be elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa in 1972. She distinguished herself as the executive secretary-general of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. During her political Career she would serve as Minister of National Revenue, then as Minister of National Health and Welfare. She was responsible for increases in old-age supplements for needy senior citizens and the child tax credit and a new health law which strengthened the health insurance system. Leaving politics in 1984 Monique taught at the University of Ottawa. In 2004 she participated in a play celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Women's Press Club.   In 2017 she earned the Maclean's Magazine lifetime award at the Parliamentarian of the Year Awards. (2020)

March 2

Evelyn 'Lynne' Beatrice Blyth Marvin Tyrrell.
née Marvin. Born March 2, 1920, London, England. Died May 25, 2013, Toronto, Ontario. Lynne Began her working career as a
Stenographer during World War ll (1939-1945. Around 1944 she married Ron Tyrrell and the couple settled in Brighton, England,
running a guest house and a clothing consignment shop. In 1947 the family moved to Jamaica to run an hotel. By 1950 they were in
Toronto where their fourth child was born. Lynn apprenticed with a Toronto couturier, Rodolphe Liska. Opening her own shop called
Baroness, she sketched her own designs. The shop was eventually located on Scollard St. in the hippie Yorkville area of Toronto. The
Baroness dressed brides, wedding parties and Miss Canada contestants. Trans Canada Airlines asked her to design their uniforms.
The shop closed in the 1980's. (2022)

 

Ghitta Caiserman-Roth. 
Born March 2, 1923, Montreal, Quebec. Died November 25, 2005, Montreal, Quebec. Ghitta attended the Parsons School of Design, New York, U.S.A. from 
Image result for Ghitta Caiserman-Roth. images1939-1943. Returning to Montreal in 1947 she opened  the Montreal Artists School. She served as school principal  with the school accommodating many returned war veterans until it was sold in 1952. At the beginning of the 1960's she studied at the Ecole des beaux arts, Montreal. Here she mixed her appreciation of art she had seen during trips to Mexico where she studied murals.  A very talented artist she is considered an outstanding example of creativity of women artists that have characterized a century of art in Montreal.  She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy. She was part of the Jewish Painters of Montreal which have left a legacy depicting expressionistic images of social realism of the 1930's and 1940's. She received the Canadian Centennial Medal in 1967 and in 1975 she earned the Purchase Prize and Best Graphic Image Award from the Ontario Society of Artists. In 2000 she became the 1st artist to win the Governor General's Award.

March 3

Marie-Madelaine Jarret de Verchères. 
Born March 3, 1678, Verchères. Quebec. Died August 8, 1747, Sainte-Anne –de-La Pérade, New France. She and her family lived in a “fort” which had been built as protection against marauding bands of Iroquois. Her mother had “held the fort” successfully fending off attacks in 1690. On October 22, 1692, while her parents were away in Montreal, she was in charge of her home. She was 14 years old when she, with only a handful of helpers, would successfully defend the family fort against attack. She was outside the walls of the fort when the attackers approached causing her to scramble and ran for the fortifications and safety. There was only one soldier at home at the time and Madelaine donned a soldiers hat and made motions of being in charge of a larger group of defenders. She had the cannon fired as a warning not only to the attackers but to other “forts” along the river that there was danger. By the time help arrived from Montreal the attackers had fled. There are various written reports about the successful defence that day. No doubt recalled in the aftermath of the events and in later years the reports may have exaggerated or did they? Her exploits have been written up in several books, plays, and even movies, extolling the young Madelaine as one of Canada's first youth heroines. Even though it was not unusual for girls to be married in their early teens, Madeleine married only on September 1706 to Pierre Thomas Tarieu de La Pérade (1677-1757). The couple would have Five children. It seems that she summoned her courage again in 1722 saving her husband from attack of two Indians. In turn her son, Charles-Francois, who was ten at the time, fended off four native women who came to help out the male attackers. It seems that both Madeleine and her husband were not held in high esteem as landlords. They were involved in numerous law suit concerning land ownership and Madeleine even sailed to France in attempts to have courts solve the disputes. In 1923 the Canadian Government designated Madeleine as a Person of National Historic Significance. Source: André Vachon, “JARRET DE VERCHÈRES, MARIE-MADELEINE,” in D C B  vol. 3( accessed July 27, 2014),

 

Menaka Thakkar. 
Born March 3, 1942, Bombay, India. Died February 5, 2022, Toronto, Ontario. Menaka studied dance as a child in Bombay and performed with her older sister. She learned classical styles of Indian danced and Japanese dance. In 1963 she earned her BA in visual arts. She came to Canada in 1972 to visit her brother and to perform classical dance of India.  Her acceptance was so warm that she  made Canada her home. In 1974 she founded the Menaka Thakkar  dance company and was director of Nrtyakala: the Canadian Academy of Indian Dance. She been a major influence in the development and appreciation for Indian classical dance in Canada. In the 1980's students at York University, Toronto could earn credits for taking her dance classes. She soon became an adjunct professor of dance. She has taught dance across Canada. Her dance company has traveled to Asia, Europe and Australia.  She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work both in Canada and in India including the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in Performing Arts from the Canada Council of the Arts in 2012. The following year she received the Governor General's Award in Performing Arts.  (2022)

March 4

Nellie J. Cournoyea. 
Born March 4, 1940, Aklavik, Northwest Territories. Nellie grew up traveling and hunting in the traditional manner of her people. She married a Canadian Forces officer and the couple were posted in Halifax and Ottawa prior to heading back to the Northwest Territories with their 2 children. Shortly after the couple divorced.  In the 1960’s she worked as an announcer for the CBC radio. In 1969 she co-founded with Agnes Semmler a political association to help the people of Inuvialuit which gave her an active role in the 1984 land claim. In 1979 she was elected to the Legislature of the Northwest Territories and served on various cabinet positions prior to becoming the 1st native woman to lead a provincial territorial government in CanadaShe served as Premier of the Northwest Territories from November 14, 1991 to November 2, 1995. Nellie was awarded the Woman of the Year for NWT in 1982 and in 1986 she received the Wallace Goose Award. She was recognized with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1994. In 2004 she received the Energy Person of the Year from the Energy Council of Canada. In 2008 the Governor General of Canada awarded Nellie Cournoyea the Northern Medal in recognition for her significant contributions to the evolution and reaffirmation of the Canadian North as part of our national identity. She volunteers as Director of the Ingamo Hall Friendship Center in Inuvik and is a founding member of the Northern Games Society. She is also a volunteer in Inuvialuit historical and cultural activities. In 2008 she was inducted into the Order of Canada and the Aboriginal Businee Hall of Fame. In 2016 she received the Order of the Northwest Territories. Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online (accessed 2006); Nellie J. Cournoyea, Collections Canada. National Library of Canada, (accessed 2006).

 

Carroll Ann Baker.  
Born March 4, 1949, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. Carroll was performing at the age of 4. At 16, Carroll and her family relocated to Toronto. Carroll had her 1st single song hit in 1970.  She dominated the country music scene in the 1970's winning several Juno Awards as Country Female vocalist in 1977, 1978 and 1979. 
In 1976, she won a Big Country Award for best album of the year, and in 1978 and 1977 she was named top female country singer at the same awards. She produced over 20 albums of her music. In the summer of 1983 she hosted her own television show and was always a welcome guest on the long running Tommy Hunter show. She decided to take partial retirement in the early 1990's. She was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. In 1997 she received a lifetime achievement award from the Nova Scotia Country Music Association. In 2010 she became a Member of the Order of Canada for her singing and songwriting.

 

Catherine Anne O’Hara.  
Born March 4,1954, Toronto, Ontario. She was a waitress at the Firehall Theatre in Toronto when she convinced Canadian actor John Candy to listen to her comedy routine. She joined the Second City TV troupe in 1973.  She began her film career in 1980 and has appeared in such films as Beetlejuice, Dick TraceyHome Alone, and such TV series as Tales From the Crypt. In 1981 she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series. In 1988 she had the staring role in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice. In 1992 she married production designer Bo Welch and the couple have two sons. She has also stared in additional Tim Burton productions including the Nightmare Before Christmas and Frankenweenie. In 2000 she won a Genie Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in the film the Life Before This. She played the mother in the two Home Alone movies. After 2000 she has done mainly voice over work for animated stories. In 2001 she won the Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture from the American Comedy Awards. In 2006 she won the National Film Board Review for Best Supporting Actress in For Your Consideration.  In 2016 she was playing in the series Schitt's Creek.  and won the Canadian Screen Award for Bst Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role for this series. Her role also garnered her an ACTRA Toronto Award for Outstanding Performance.  
She has won two Canadian Screen Awards for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, at the 4th Canadian Screen Awards in 2016 and the 5th Canadian Screen Awards in 2017.

March 5

Phyllis Dewar-Lowrey.  
Born March 5, 1916, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Died April 8, 1961, Toronto, Ontario. As a young swimmer she earned the nickname 'Moose Jaw Mermaid'. In 1934 & 1935 she held every single Canadian freestyle swimming record from 100 yards to one mile! She set records and won a 4 gold medals at the 1934 British Empire Games in London, England. That same year she won the Velma Springstead Trophy as Canadian female athlete of the year,. She returned to the British Empire Games in Australia 1938 for another gold medal in the 4 X 110 yard freestyle relay.  She married Murray Lowery and the couple have 4 children.  In 1967 she was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and in 1971 she was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame followed in 1972 with a membership in the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.  Sources: Who’s who in Canadian Sport by Bob Ferguson, (Scarborough: Prentice Hall, 1977; Phyllis Dewar (1916-1961), The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan, Online, (accessed March 2016)

 

Pauline Donalda. 
née Lightstone. Born March 5, 1882, Montreal, Quebec. Died October 22, 1970. Pauline was educate at Royal Victoria College, McGill University, Montreal. In 1902 she went to study at the Conservatoire de Paris, France on a grant from Donald Smith (1820-1914), Lord Strathcona. It was here that she adopted the stage name Donalda in honour of her patron. In 1904 she made her singing debut in Nice, France. In November 1906, Returning to Montreal with her husband Paul Seveilhac, to make her North American debut. In December 1906 she began a season with Oscar Hammerstein's Manhattan Opera House in New York City, U.S.A. By 1907 she was once again singing in Europe. She remained in North America during World War l returning to Paris in 1917 to marry her second husband, Mischa Leon in 1918. 1n 1922 she opened a teaching studio in Paris, France returning to Montreal only in 1937 to open her studio there. She founded the Montreal Opera Guild in 1942 where she served as president and artistic director until 1969. In 1967 she became an Officer in the Order of Canada. Photograph public domain

March 6

Mary Tkachuk.
née Janishewski. Born March 6, 1912, Mundare, Alberta. Died April 23, 2003, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. After graduating high school in Edmonton, Alberta Mary attended Normal School (teachers' college). In 1935, she and her husband Paul Tkachuk (1903-1976), settled in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where they established a well known music store. Mary soon became active in the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada and was a founding member of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada. In 1964 she helped found the Saskatoon Fold Arts Council and later became Saskatchewan's director for the National Fold Arts Council. She also served as the first president of the National Ukrainian Self-Reliance League from 1990 through 1996.  As you may realize Mary had an interest encouraging music in her community. She was conductor of adult and children's choirs over six decades.  She received the Saskatoon Century Award, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Centennial Medal, the American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit. Source: Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan online (accessed 2022); Find a grave Canada (accessed 2022)

 

Olive Patricia Dickason.
Born March 6, 1920, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died March 12, 2011, Ottawa, Ontario. A child of an English father and Métis mother, Olive was raised in the remote Northern Manitoba woods. Completing  her high school via correspondence, she continued and received her B.A. at Notre Dame College, Wilcox, Saskatchewan. She became a journalist and a reporter, working her way to women’s editor for the Montreal Gazette and the Toronto Globe and Mail. At 50 years of age, with her three daughters grown, she returned to academic studies earning a Master's of Arts and then in 1977 her Doctorate Degree (PhD) in history. She then became a professor and scholar, and is considered one of Canada’s foremost historians contributing greatly to understanding of Aboriginal and Métis peoples. The prestigious work Canada’s First Nations: a history of founding peoples was in its 4th edition in 2009. In 1996 she became a member of the Order of Canada and in 1997 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation in 1977.
In 2021 Darren Prefontaine published Changing Canadian History: The Life and Works of Olive Patricia Dickason.  Source: Personal knowledge also Obituary, The Ottawa Citizen March 2011. (2021).

March 7

Ada Maud Boyer McAnn Flemming.
née McAnn. Born March 7, 1896. Died January 25, 1994. Aida changed the spelling of her name after the Verdi opera Aida. Her mother died just a few months old. The family lived in British Columbia until the death of her father when she was just eleven. Aida returned to New Brunswick to live with her uncle. Aida earned her Bachelor of Arts from Mount Allison, University, and then earned her Certificate in Education at the University of Toronto. She would later earn her Master' of Arts from Columbia University, New York City, New York, U.S.A. She taught at Mount Allison University and then at a private secondary school in New York City. She then worked as a freelance writer of advertising copy in New York before she returned home to New Brunswick to work as a writer for the Department of Tourism. In 1938 she published The New Brunswick Cookbook. She also directed a cooking program on local radio. By 1944 she was working as a reporter for the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. On August 20 1946 she married Hugh John Flemming (1899-1982), a business man and future premier of New Brunswick and future Member of Canadian Parliament. After her marriage Aida became active volunteering for the local Red Cross and helped establish the local school library. In Fredericton from 1952-1960 as the wife of the Premier, she continued to support libraries serving as the patron of Young Canada Book Week in 1953 and helping to establish the Fredericton Public Library. She served on the Library Board from 1955-1958. She was appointed to the Board of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and was also on the board of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (S P C A) and the Children's Aid. In 1959 she founded the Kindness Club to teach children to love and be kind to animals. The Kindness club would grow with chapters throughout North America and England. In 1962  and again in 1976 the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce named her as their Atlantic Woman of the Year. In 1964 she the Humane Society of the United States named her Humanitarian of the Year. By 1978 she had been made a member of the Order of Canada. In her will she left property near Woodstock, New Brunswick to create a wildlife sanctuary. (2020) 

 

Diane Jones Konihowski. 
Born March 7, 1951, Vancouver, British Columbia.  As an athlete, she competed in pentathlon and track and field internationally in 1967. She would go on to win gold medals in the 1975 and 1979 Pan-American Games, as well as gold in t he 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games. After leaving competition she continued her career as an amateur sports administrator. Her work included working with the Alberta Sports Council until 1994.  She is a Member of the Order of Canada. 

March 8

Charlotte Elizabeth Hazeltyne Whitton. 
Born March 8, 1896, Renfrew, Ontario. Died January 25, 1975, Ottawa, Ontario. Charlotte attended Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, where she enjoyed playing hockey and was editor of the Queen's Journal  in 1917 as the 1st female editor of this newspaper while she earned a Master’s of Art degree. This social worker, politician, and feminist was a colourful, energetic, outspoken, and flamboyant individual. In the 1920’s she was a relentless crusader for professional standards of juvenile immigrants and neglected children. She was the spark that ignited the Canadian Council on Child Welfare. She was in demand across North America as a lecturer on social programs. In 1934 she was named a Commander of the British Empire. In 1943 she published two books, The Dawn of Ampler Life and A Hundred Years A-fellin;1842-1942, a History of Logging. When she became mayor of Ottawa in 1951 she was the 1st woman in Canada to be a mayor of a major metropolitan area. In November 1950, Whitton entered Ottawa City politics when she won a seat on what was then called the board of control. When the elected mayor died in office  the next year she succeeded him as mayor. She was elected mayor in 1952, 1954, and 1960 serving until 1964. In 1964 she was named by the Toronto B'nai Brith as Woman of the Year. Later she served as an alderman until 1972. As mayor she pioneered communications with the electorate by hosting her own TV show and her own newspaper column. In 1967 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. Charlotte never married but lived for 32 years with her companion, Margaret Grier (1892-1947), a friend from her university days. She did not have a life without controversy and there are accusations of anti-Semitism and that she was a racist preferring only British immigration to Canada. In 2011 her name was kept off the new Archives building in Ottawa due to her life controversies. Numerous biographies about Charlotte have been published over the years. (2022)

 

Janet Wight.
Born March 8, 1945, Farnborough, England. Died November 14, 2016, Vancouver, British Columbia. The Wright family immigrated to Canada and settled in Saskatchewan when Janet was just a child. She married Brian Richmond and the couple had two children. In 1974 she and her sister Susan (died 1991), co-founded the Persephone Theatre Company in Saskatoon. Janet appeared in such popular TV shows as The Beachcombers and the King of Kensington. In Vancouver she worked at the Vancouver Arts Club where she appeared in and directed over 40 productions. She also had roles in other live theatre productions across Canada including the Stratford Theatre in Ontario. In 1992 she earned the Best Actress Genie Award for her role in the film Boardertown Café. In 1995 she became the first woman to take the role of King Lear in the Shakespearian play in Toronto. In 2003 she took Best Supporting Actress in a dramatic program or miniseries in Betrayed. In January 2004 her daughter Rachel Davis (1981-2004) her was fatally shot while intervening for a stranger being beaten in Vancouver. Janet and her husband Bruce Davis, founded the Rachel Davis Foundation to recognize bravery in young people. From 2004 to 2009 she played on the comedy TV show Corner Gas as Emma Leroy for which she won the 2006 Canadian Comedy Award for Pretty Funny TV Female. Source: Obituary (accessed 2022)

March 9

Flavia Elliott Redelmeier. née Elliott. Born March 9, 1926. Flavia received her BA in 1948 from the University of Toronto, on the same day as her mother received her degree.  On December 29, 1950 she married Ernest Redelmeier and the couple had two sons. Her wedding dress was the adapted gown from her grandmother's wedding in 1897. By 1951 she had graduated with a Masters degree. This volunteer has donated her life time to such organizations as the Girl Guides of Canada where she was an executive member and camping commissioner for Canada. She has served on hospital and museum boards including as a board member at the Canadian Museum of Nature.  May 8, 2013 Flavia was honoured by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) with the  Distinguished Service Award tor the incredible impact and support for the ROM.

 

Marlene Streit. 
née Stewart. Born March 9, 1934, Cereal, Alberta. A powerful golfer she would win the Canadian ladies champion title 11 times between 1951 and 1973. She was the Canadian Female Athlete of the Year in 1951 and 1956. In 1967 she was inducted as an officer in the Order of Canada. In 1971 she was inducted into Canada's Sport Hall of Fame followed by the Ontario Sport Hall of Fame in 1995. During her golfing career she would win 24 Canadian Ladies Golf Association Championships and by 2003 she had a career total of 30 national or international championships with at least one championship each decade . She claimed her third U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur in 2003, the oldest person to ever triumph in that event. She is the only person to have won the Australian, British, Canadian and United States womens’ amateur championships!  In 2004 she became the first Canadian member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. In 2006 she became a Member of the Order of Ontario.

 

Marilyn C. Bodogh. 
Born March 9, 1955, Toronto, Ontario. A business woman who managers her own lumber yard and has owned several businesses including a funeral home and flower business. She is a well known motivational speaker. In her spare time she found time to be a member of the 1986 and 1996 Canadian and World Championship Curling teams. She has also co-authored a book on the sport of curling. in the late 1990's she became a colour commentator on Rogers Sportsnet and Roger's TV in Ontario. She is a member of the St Catherines Ontario Hall of Fame. In 2006 she tried her hand a politics with an unsuccessful bid to be mayor of St Catherines, Ontario. (2017)

March 10

Julia Catherine Hart. 
née Beckwith. Born March 10, 1796, Fredericton, New Brunswick. Died November 28, 1867, New Brunswick.  
She wrote the 1st work of fiction by a native born Canadian to be published in Canada.  Her novel was called:: St Ursula’s Convent or The Nun of Canada, Containing Scenes from Real Life”  published in 1824. It took her 10 years to find this publisher and only 165 copies were made. Almost all original copies have been lost. She wrote this book when she was only 17 years old! In 1820 shortly after her father's death she relocated to Kingston, Upper Canada (Now Ontario) to live with family. Here she met and married George Henry Hart and established a boarding school for girls. She would continue publishing with two additional novels  while she raised a family of six children! It was not until the turn of the century in 1900 that she was recognized. (2017)

 

Emily Pauline Johnson.  
Born March 10, 1861, Six Nations Indian Reserve, Canada West (now Ontario). Died March 7, 1913, Vancouver, British Columbia. Her Mohawk name was Tekahionwake, meaning double life. Her mother was from England and her father a Mohawk hereditary clan chief. She was raised learning both English and Mohawk languages and was home schooled until she was 14 when she attended Brantford Central Collegiate graduating in 1877. In 1884 s
he published her 1st full length poem, My little Jean in Gems of Poetry magazine out of New York, U.S.A. It was during this decade that she began to  be published regularly in the Toronto Globe, Saturday Night magazine and the Week.  She became Canada’s 1st renowned native poet she was also the 1st native born cultural ambassador. She  worked towards unity for all peoples and the land when most settlers were only thinking of human unity.  She took her poetry all over Europe where she performed her readings in her native dress. In 1912  a collection of her poems was published, Flint and Feather which as been one of the best-selling titles of Canadian poetry republished many times. She retired from the stage in 1909 and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia where she wrote of the Squamish people of North Vancouver.  In 1922 a cairn was erected at the burial site in Vancouver's Stanley Park , with an inscription reading in part, "in memory of one whose life and writings were an uplift and a blessing to our nation"In 1945 Pauline Johnson was designated a Person of National Historic Significance. On the Centennial of her birth in 1961 Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp with her image making her the 1st woman, other than the Queen, the 1st author, and the 1st aboriginal Canadian to appear on a Canadian stamp. There are 4 schools named in her honour and her birth home, Chiefwood is listed as a National Historic site.  Her biography by Charlotte Gray was published in 2002 and may be available at your public library. That same year Tekahionwake: Collective Poems and Selected Prose was published containing all of Pauline's poems found to that date. (2021)
Photograph  © Canada Post Corporation used with permission                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

Avril 'Kim'  Phaedra Campbell. 
Born March 10, 1947, Port Alberni, British Columbia. Known as “Kim” since a teen, she attended the University of British Columbia and went on to earn a PhD at the London School of Economics, London England. Entering politics as a member of the Vancouver School Board from 1980-4. She moved to the British Columbia Provincial Legislature, 1986-88 and was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1988. In 1989 she was appointed Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.  The 1st woman to serve as Minister of Justice, February 1990, by January 1993, she also became the 1st woman Minister of Defense of a NATO country.   In June 1993 she became the 1st woman elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and the 1st woman Prime Minister of Canada. She resigned after election defeat in, November 1993. Appointed Consul General to Los Angeles, California from 1996-2000, she was also chair, 1999 – 2003, for the Council of Women World Leaders. Working with a group of national leaders to strengthen democracy in the world, she was founder and acting President of the Club de Madrid, and was appointed Secretary General in 2004.  A lecturer of public policy at Harvard, she currently describes herself as a teacher and recovering politician. Sources: Canadian Encyclopedia Online (accessed 2004); Canadian Who's Who. Photograph © Famous Canadian Women

 

Debbie Brill.  
Born March 10, 1953, Mission British Columbia. She began competitive track and Field in 1966 when she was just 13 years old and appeared in her 1st international event at 15. At 16 she became the 1st North American woman to cleat 6’ in the high jump. She used a style of jump that became known as the “Brill Bend”. It was a style that revolutionized this event. Debbie has held the Canadian high jump record since 1969. That year she won a gold medal at the 1st Pacific Conference Games. She took gold again at the 1977 games. In 1970 she earned gold at the Commonwealth games and in 1971 gold at the Pan Am Games. She was disillusioned in the 1972 Olympic Games and retired from competition. In 1975, confidence returned and she returned to place 4th at the 1977 Pan Am Games and a bronze medal at the World Cup. In 1978 she earned a silver at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta. In 1979 she took a gold at the World Cup in Montreal and was ranked #1 in the world. Canada boycotted the 1980 Olympics so Debbie continued to compete and in 1982 jumped 1.99 meters at the World Indoor High Jump Record just 5 months after giving birth to her son and went on to earn gold in the Commonwealth Games that year. In 1983 she was presented with the Order of Canada.  She set her final outdoor record 1.98 meters (6’6”) in September 1984. In 1989 she was inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame. During her days of competition she would attend 65 National and International competitions.  In 1999 she broke the World Masters (athletes over 45 years) record and in 2004 she broke the over 50 Masters record in Australia. Source: British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame Online (accessed March 2014)

March 11

Eva Von Gencsy.
Born March 11,1924, Hungary. Died April 11, 2013, Montreal, Quebec.  She studied ballet at the Trognoff Russian Ballet Academy as a young girl. She won a scholarship to study at the University Mozartium Saltzberg in 1924. The next year she made her solo debut. In 1948 as she entered Canada a customs officer, seeing she was a dancer, suggested she move to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Working as a domestic servant to fulfill the requirement of working for a year in order to stay in Canada she studied with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. In 1954 when the RWB was destroyed by fire she moved to Montreal to continue dancing. She worked in Banff and taught jazz dance for 13 years. Often summers vacations were spent in New York City taking ballet and jazz classes. She specifically loved jazz-ballet as a celebration of the soul. In Montreal she formed a jazz ballet group Les Jazz-Ballet Contemporaines but left in 1978 after a disruptive collision of ideas with others in the group. She spent the next 35 years as a freelance teacher. In 2003 Mireille Dansereau completed a documentary feature EVA about the talented dancer. She had married at one time but did not relish the role of homemaker and definitely loved dance more than married life which also carried the treat of motherhood. She had a love of learning often taking courses at local institutions. At 80 years of age she discovered and embraced life with a computerSource: Her legacy is all that bale-jazz by Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail, April 30, 2013.  

 

Leslie G. Cliff. 
Born March 11, 1955, Vancouver, British Columbia. Leslie was a strong competitor in the 1970 Commonwealth Games and showed future promise. She studied at the University of British Columbia. In the 1971 Pan-Am Games she won 3 gold 2 silver. 1971 to 1973 British Columbia’s Swimmer of the Year and in 1971 she was British Columbia’s Junior Athlete of the year. In the 1972 Olympic Games, Munich, Germany she won a silver medal in the 400 meter individual medley.  In 1971-2 she was inducted as an Officer in the Order of Canada and in 1972 she was presented with the Beatrice Pines Trophy as Canada’s Outstanding Female Swimmer. In 1974 she won 2 gold medals, one in the 200 meter individual medley and one in the 400 meter individual medley at Commonwealth Games. During her competitive swimming career she received a total of 33 medals! After retiring from competitive sport she co-founded the Zajac annual swim camps organized by the alumni of Canada’s Swim Team. In 1976 she was inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame. In 1984 she became a member of the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. In 1989 she founded a financial management firms, Genus Capital Management.  In 1997 she entered the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. Source: Canada Sports Hall of Fame. Online. Accessed February 2016.

March 12

Mary Dyma.
née Sawchak, Born March 12, 1899, Ukraine. Died October 12, 1998, Winnipeg, Manitoba. By the end of World War l (1914-1918) Mary was an orphan and in 1920 she immigrated to Canada to live with her aunt, Joanna Westlake, in Winnipeg. To learn English she attended St. Mary's Academy. By 1923 she had graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba (U of M). After graduating from U of M she taught  school and in 1924 she became principal at Ethelbert School. In 1925 she married Dr.  Bronislaw Dyma (1897-1966) and the couple had two sons. In 1928 she organized the Ukrainian Handicraft Guild.  In 1932 through 1935 she was a trustee with the Winnipeg School Division. She served as president of the League of Women Voters and in 1936 she ran as a Liberal-Progressive in the Provincial election but was defeated. In 1945 she was a founding member and first national president of the Ukrainian Canadian Women's Committee. In 1950 the Ukrainian Canadian chapter of the Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire (I O D E) was established in her honor. In 1953 after attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth ll in England she visited Ukrainian families in displaced persons camps.  In 1967 she was awarded a Canada Centennial Medal. In 2001 Mary Dyma was listed as a Manitoba Woman Trailblazer by the Nellie McClung Foundation. Source: Memorable Manitobans online (accessed 2022); Find a Grave Canada (2022)

 

Susan Musgrave. 
Born March 12, 1951, Santa Cruz, California, U.S.A.  Susan published her 1st book of poems, Songs of the Sea-Witch, at 17. She would find her personal life embroiled in a love affair that would end in a marriage in prison. Susan
 married  Stephen Reid, a writer, convicted bank robber and former member of the infamous band of thieves known as the Stopwatch Gang. Their relationship was chronicled in 1999 in the CBC TV series Life and Times She continues her prolific writing  which includes poetry, fiction, children's literature and song lyrics from her family tree house in Victoria, British Columbia. She teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia. (2017)

March 13

Helen Callahan.
Born March 13, 1923, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died December 8, 1992, Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.  Coming from an avid and supportive sports loving family she left home to join the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Within a few months her concerned father sent her older sister Margaret to join the league and look after the younger Helen. The girls played successfully in the league for several years from 1944. The left handed out fielder did not play in 1947 due to illness but returned after a marriage and the birth of a child to play in 1948 retiring in 1949. The original “boys of summer” had left the playing fields to join the fighting in World War ll were now coming home and reclaiming the baseball fans back to the all male games. The sisters never spoke of their life on the road with the league with family. However when son Kelly found his aunt’s old scrapbook he used it to produce a Public Broadcasting Service documentary on the girls. Hollywood director Penny Marshall was taken with the documentary and the well-known movie A League of Their Own was released in 1992. In 1998 all 64 Canadian Women who had played in the AALGBL were inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Helen’s Grandson Casey Candaele has played for the Montreal Expos, the Houston Astros, and the Cleveland Indians.

 

Judie Barbara Alimonti.
Born March 13, 1960, Kelowna, British Columbia. Died December 26, 2017, Ottawa, Ontario. Judie became interest in Jazz music and was a keen jazz musician all her life. Judie began her working career as an massage therapist in Kelowna, British Columbia with her husband Alan Giesbrecht. They met at massage therapy school in Ontario. She was soon a full-time mature student at university earning a Bachelor of Science-Microbiology at the University of British Columbia in 1991. She went on to earn a PHD in immunology at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan. Her doctoral thesis was the basis for an article published in Nature Biotechnology in 2000. In 2005 Judie began working on contract at the Public Health Agency of Canada where she took on the role of project lead for the Ebola vaccine from 2010 to 2015. She was instrumental in the development of the vaccine and involved in every decision. The World Health Organization (W H O) used the vaccine, called VSV-EBOV, for historic clinical trials near the end of the 2013-2016 West Africa outbreak. The vaccine was used in 2017 during another outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2015 she moved to work at the National Research Council in Ottawa where she worked on a vaccine against the Zika Virus. Judie just wanted to do her job, she never sought or needed grand acknowledgement for her work. It was enough for her to know that she had helped people. Source: Obituary: Judi Alimonti was one of Canada's Unsung Heroes. Ottawa Citizen, July 14, 2018. online (accessed 2022);  Obituary Castanet, online (accessed 2022)

March 14

Abigail Becker Rohrer. 
née Jackson. Born March 14, 1830. Died 1905. At eight she married a widower who was a trapper by profession and lived at Long Point Island, Lake Erie. In November 1854 she became a heroine when she was instrumental in saving the lives of the master and the six crew members of the schooner, Conductor, which was wrecked off of Long Point Island.  The story of her heroism was reported in the Atlantic Monthly in 1869 and in 1899 a book entitled The story of Abigail Becker was published. Since the turn of the 20th century her story seems to have been forgotten by most. (2017)

 

Emily Gowan Murphy. 
née  Ferguson. 
Born March 14, 1868, Cookstown, Ontario. Died October 27, 1933.  Emily attended Bishop Strachan School in Toronto. In 1887 she married Arthur Murphy and the couple had four daughters. In 1903 the family relocated to Swan River, Manitoba and in 1907 settled in Edmonton, Alberta. Once her family was grown she became active in organizing women groups and spoke openly about the disadvantaged and poor living conditions in her area. She successful pressured the Alberta government to pass the Dower Act allowing a woman legal rights to one third of her husbands property. She became the 1st woman in the British Empire to become a judge when she was appointed a police magistrate for Edmonton, Alberta in 1916. In her first case in Alberta on July 1, 1916, she found the prisoner guilty. The prisoner's lawyer called into question her right to pass sentence, since she was not legally a person. The Provincial Supreme Court denied the appeal. In 1919 Emily presided over the inaugural conference of the Federated Women's Institute of Canada which called for a women to be appointed to the Canadian Senate. Emily was actually the preferred senate Candidate. She also had the support of the National Council of women and the Montreal Women's Club. She was a member of the Famous Five (also called the Valiant Five) a group of Canadian women's rights activists who would be part of the famous Persons Case in 1929 that went to court in England that declared women were indeed persons. .This case would have women declared "persons" in the eye of the law and led the way to the appointment of the 1st woman to the Canadian Senate in 1931, Cairine Wilson. Emily also did not like non-white immigrants, blaming the Chinese in Canada for much of the drug problems of her day. She was also a strong supporter of eugenics supporting selective breeding and compulsory sterilization of supposed mentally deficient individuals. She lived and wrote in a time  when racism was typical. In 1958 she was recognized as a Person of National Historic Significance and in 1997 the Persons case was recognized as a National Historic Event.  Historical Moments which appear on Canadian TV tell her story. In 2004 the Famous Five, including Emily, were featured on the back of the Canadian 50 dollar bill. In October 2009, the Senate voted all the Famous Five, Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung (1873-1951), Henrietta Muir (1849-1931), Irene Parlby (1868-1925), Henrietta Muir Edwards (1849-1931)  as Canada's 1st honorary senators. Her Edmonton home is on the Canadian Register of Historic People and Places.

 

Megan Elizabeth Laura Diana Follows. 
Born March 14, 1968, Toronto, Ontario. Megan began her career when she was nine years old and earned a spot in a Bell Canada commercial. She went on with TV roles and in 1883 she starred in a short film, Boys and Girls which won an Academy Award for Best short Subject. In December 1985 Megan became a household name in Canada as six million viewers tuned in to the CBC to watch her Gemini Award winning performance as Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables and two of its sequels. Since then she has appeared in numerous TV and screen movies, as well as live theatre and documentaries .In 1990 she earned a Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.  In 2000 she returned to the role of Anne in a controversial adaptation of the life of the adult Anne in a CBC mini series. That same year she took on live stage rolls with the Toronto Soulpepper Theatre Company. She married Christopher Porter in 1991 and is the mother of a son and a daughter. She has been in a long term relations ship with Stuart Hughes which broke up in 2010. She has been active as a spokesperson for World Vision Canada and in 2007 she was in Cambodia to film Small Voices: Stories of Cambodia's Children documenting children living on the street and in garbage dumps.  From 2013-2017 she stared in the TV series Reign.  In 2015, 2016 and 2017 she was awarded from the Canadian Screen Awards, Best performance by and Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series  and Best Performance by and Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role. 

March 15

Rita Joe.
née Bernard. Born March 15, 1932, Whycocamagh, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Died March 20, 2007, Sydney, Nova Scotia.  Her mother died when she was only five years old and she began to live in various foster homes. When she was ten her father died and she left Cape Breton to attend Shubenacadie Residential School. Here she was told that she was no good. Years later she would publish a book on her life at the school. After school she returned to live on the Eskasoni First Nations Reserve. In 1954 she married Frank Joe and the couple would raise 8 children and two adopted sons. In 1978 her 1st book of poetry was published. She would continue to produce books of poetry and stories and her works were included in anthologies. Her writings earned her the unofficial title of Poet Laureate of the Mi’kmaq people. In 1989 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. In 1992 she was called to the Queen’s Privy Council, one of the few non-politicians to be appointed. In 1993 she was the subject of a National Film Board Documentary “Song of Eskasoni”. In 1996 she wrote her autobiography. In 1997 she was presented with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award. Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online (accessed January 2014) (2020)

 

Mary Pratt.
née West. Born March 15, 1935, Fredericton, New Brunswick. Died August 14, 2018, St John's Newfoundland. Mary studied Fine Arts at Mount Allison University  It was while at university she met Christopher Pratt. The couple married September 12, 1957 and relocated to Scotland were their first two children were born. Upon returning to Newfoundland Mary completed her Fine Arts Degree and two more children rounded out the family. This artist is perhaps best described as a photo realist. Her paintings of common household items look so real, you might think that there were a photograph! Many of the subjects of her works are thins found in the kitchen of her home, like the work entitled ”Christmas Turkey” (1980). Her works have been exhibited since 1967 in major Canadian galleries and form part of the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Rooms, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the New Brunswick Museum, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario and Canada House, London England. Her works have often toured including  the 2013-2015 solo exhibition simply entitled Mary Pratt. Mary has served her community by holding positions on the Government Task Force on Education in 1973 Newfoundland, the Federal cultural Policy Review Committee. She chaired the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Corner Brook, Newfoundland Committee to advise the creation of the School of Fine Arts. She has also held position on the Canada Council 1987-1993 and being a member of the Board of Regents of Mount Allison University 1983-1991. In 1996 Mary was inducted a Companion of the Order of Canada. Sadly she and her husband Christopher separated in 2004. In 2007 Canada Post honored Mary with a series of postage stamps. In 2013 she became a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. (2022)

March 16

Patricia Irene Rideout-Rosenberg. 
March 16, 1931, Saint John, New Brunswick. Died September 8, 2006, Cambridge, Ontario. Patricia studied piano in the early 1940's and then voice from 1946 through 1948. She also enjoyed performing in theatricals in Saint John. In 1949 she earned a scholarship to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and went on to the Royal Conservatory Opera School at the University of Toronto from in 52 to 1955. In 1950 she performed as a singer and dancer at the Red Barn Theatre at Jackson's Point, Ontario. In 1954 she taught at University Settlement, Toronto and appeared as soloist in opera at the Banff School of Fine Arts, Alberta. first important operatic role was Madame Flora in a 1955 Royal Conservatory Opera School production of Menotti's The Medium at Hart House, University of Toronto. That same year she has a role in an Opera Festival Association (now Canadian Opera Company, C O C). As well as her career stage work which took her throughout North America and Europe she was popular with opera fans on CBC-TV throughout the decades. In the 1980's she taught voice at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario and the late 1980's at the University of Toronto. (2019)

 

Kate Patricia Colleen Nelligan.
Born March 16, 1950, London, Ontario. Kate began studies at York University but switched to the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England. She was born in London, Ontario, and studied at York University and in London, England. She began her stage career in Bristol, England. and appeared in the British TV series The Onedin Line. In 1974 she joined the Comedy Theatre and later the National Theatre Company.  As an actress, she has appeared in films for over 30 years. She is at home in both cinema and TV. In the movie Up Close and Personal she worked along side of leading actor Robert Redford. A count shows 29 movies and TV productions since 1990 alone! In 1991 she earned a British Academy of Film and Television Arts  (B A F T A) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. In 1993 she won a Gemini Award. She has also received Toni nominations for her work on Broadway. She has also worked on several TV specials including the mini series A Wrinkle in Time in 2002.

March 17

Clara Morrison. 
née La Montagne. Born March 17, 1848, (sometimes recorded as 1846) Toronto, Ontario. Died November 20, 1925, New Canaan Connecticut, U.S.A.  As a youth Clara studied ballet moving to Cincinnati, Ohio and finally settling in New York, U.S.A. in 1870 to play in the Fifth-avenue Theatre. It was hear that her stage career took off. Her stage name was Clara Morris also known as the “Queen of the Melodrama”. She is said to have had the ability to bring a whole audience to tears with her acting. From 1885 through 1910 she devoted her talents to writing, publishing some 12 books. She wrote actively after retiring from the stage contributing articles on acting to various magazines and wrote a daily newspaper column for ten years. She became blind in 1910 and after her home was sold she moved to Long Island, New York, U.S.A. She would later write her life story in three volumes of memoirs.

 

Lillian H. Smith. 
Born March 17, 1887, London, Ontario. Died 1983. Graduating with her BA from the University of Toronto in 1910 Lillian trained as a children's librarian at he Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. In 1911 she worked at the Children's Department of the New York Public Library and within three weeks of being hired she was in charge of the children's room at the Washington Heights Branch Library in New York City, U.S.A. The following year in 1912 she was hired to organize the children's department for the city of Toronto. She would devote the next  40 years of her working life to the development of the children's collection within the Toronto Public Library. Lillian was the 1st trained children's librarian in Canada. Lillian also led the idea of the importance of libraries in schools. In 1928, when the University of Toronto established its post graduate Library School, Lillian was on staff to teach Children's literature until she retired in 1952.In the early 30's she served on the Executive Board of the American Library Association and chaired it's Children's Services Division thorough the 1940's.  In 1930 she developed a special classification system fitted to children's books. This system was in use for some 30 years before it was accepted that the Dewey Classification would be used in the Toronto Board of Education. Up until 1999 some public libraries still used the Smith classification for picture books. Retiring in 1952 her legacy was in print with her book The Unreluctant Years. The book was also translated into Italian and Japanese. In 1962 she was the 1st Canadian to earn the Clarence Day Award. It is in her honor that the Toronto main children's library is named; The Lillian H. Smith Library. It houses an electronic resource center, the Osborne Collection of Early Children's books, the Lillian H. Smith Collection, the science fiction fantasy and horror collection (known as the Merrit Collection), the Bagshaw collection of puppetry and children's drama, videos, CD's and lots and lots of children's books to be read and loved. Sources: Personnel Toronto Public Library 2002

 

Pat Messner. 
Born March 17, 1954,  Hamilton, Ontario. This former Girl Guide was the first Canadian woman to win a world championship in waterskiing in 1979. She is also the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic medal in her sport. Pat won a bronze Olympic medal in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. She holds 19 Canadian titles and 20 national records. She is also the first Canadian woman to have won the United States Master’s waterskiing title. She is the founder of the Water Ski and Wakeboard Canadian Hall of Fame. In her spare time she has a career as a high school teacher, musician and paramedic. She was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1980, the youngest Canadian woman to ever receive this honour. Photograph © Famous Canadian Women

March 18

Maude Elizabeth Seymour Abbott. 
née Babin. Born March 18, 1869, St. André Est, Quebec. Died September 2, 1940, Montreal, Quebec. Her father abandoned Maude after the death of her mother and the child was legally adopted and raised by her maternal grandmother, Mrs. William Abbott. Maude was one of the 1st women to receive a BA from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec in 1890.Four years later she earned Medical Degree with honours from Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec as the only woman in her class. She opened her own medical practice in Montreal where she also worked with the Royal Victoria Hospital and was elected as the 1st woman to be a member of the Montreal Medico-Chirugical Society. She went on to post graduate medical studies in Vienna, Austria. In 1906 she co-founded the International Association of Medical Museums with fellow Canadian, Dr. William Osler. In 1907 she served as the secretary and spent years editing the institution's articles.  This doctor wrote a successful medical paper on heart murmurs, but a male friend had to present her paper since women were not admitted to the hall where the paper was presented! In 1910 she became a lecturer in pathology at McGill University even though the university did not accept female students. Leaving McGill she worked at the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. in 1923. In 1924 she founded the Federation of Medical Women of Canada. By 1925 she was once again at McGill working as an Assistant professor.  Later she would specialize on heart disease and eventually published the “Atlas of Congenital Cardiac Disease" in 1936  for which she gained a good deal of respect. She also wrote a history of nursing, a basic text for Canadian nursing schools. She was even made an honorary member of the all-male Osler Society. In 1958 the International Academy of Pathology created the Maude Abbott Lecture. In 1993 she was declared a f National Historic Person of Canada and the following year she was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. 
In 2000, a bronze plaque was erected in her honour on the McIntyre Medical Building at McGill University. In the same year, Canada Post issued a forty-six cent postage stamp entitled The Heart of the Matter in her honour.

 

Mary Evelyn Gannon.
Born February 11, 1900, Fredericton, New Brunswick. Died January 3, 1975, Fredericton, New Brunswick. Mary was a delightful child with a  marvelous wit. She loved the stories her grandparents told and enjoyed even more sharing her own stories with her students where she taught school. In 1935 Mary began to tell her stories on C F N B, Fredericton Radio. Her Just Mary and Maggie Muggins stories soon were available on books for children to enjoy over and over again. The CBC soon came to call and offer Mary a Toronto position as head of the CBC Children’s broadcasting. In 1954 her characters made their TV debut with national exposure. By the time she had retired and moved back to her beloved Maritimes in 1962 she had written over 30 books and over 4,000 scripts for children’s programs. In 1947 the CBC presented Mary Gannan with the Beaver Award and in 1951 she was made an honorary member of the Mark Twain Society. Source: Marilyn Brinell, Memories of Mary Online (Accessed November 2012) ; Andrea Bell, “Mary Gannon”, New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia Online (accessed November 2012)

March 19

Marie Morin. 
Born March 19, 1649, Quebec City, New France. . Buried April 8,1730, Montreal, New France (Now Quebec). At the age of 13 she became an novitiate of a convent in Montreal. She took her vows as a nun with the Religious Hospitallers of Ville, Marie, Montreal. on 
October 27, 1671. She was the 1st Canadian born woman to become a religious sister. She would become bursar and superior of the Hospitalièrs of Montreal. In 1693 through 1698  she was the 1st Canadian born superior of the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal. Sister Morin oversaw the rebuilding of the Hotel Dieu beginning in 1689 and again when the new structure burned on February 24 1695. She served a second time as superior of her order from 1708 to 1711. She was also one of the 1st women writers in New France. She wrote the annals of the Hotel Dieu (1697-1725) and her own memoirs. She was a heroic woman, a true product of the early days of New France. (2017)

 

Betty Roodish Goodwin. 
Born March 19, 1928, Montreal, Quebec. Died December 1, 2008, Montreal, Quebec. After graduating High school she studied design at Valentine's Commercial School of art, Montreal. By the 1940's she had a career as a painter and printmaker. In the 1960's she studied printmaking at Sir George William University, Montreal. She went on to represent Canada at leading international events. Even after participating in numerous exhibitions and solo shows of her art she became dissatisfied with her own work she destroyed much of her pieces and began in 1968 to limit herself to drawings. Betty received several awards, including the Prix Paul-Émile Borduas in 1986, the Gershon Iskowitz Prize of the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation and the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1995, the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award of the Canada Council for the Arts in 1981, the Harold Town Prize in 1998, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1988. She married a civil engineer Martin Goodwin and the couple had one son.  An artist who trained in Canada and Europe, her works are represented in the collections of the National Gallery in Ottawa. In 1996 Goodwin donated 150 of her works to the Art Gallery of Ontario, which has the largest collection of her work. That same year she earned the Harold Town Prize. In 2003, she was honoured with the Governor General's Award and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. (2021)

March 20

Caroline Brunet. 
Born March 20,1969, Quebec City, Quebec. In March 1998, Caroline became the recipient of the Velma Springstead Award to become Canada's Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year. Her recognition began in 1995 when she won a gold and 2 silver medals at the World Championships. In Atlanta's Olympic Games in 1997 she claimed the silver medal. She swept the World Sprint Canoe Championships in 1997 when she won three gold medals which represented "a best ever" Canadian Kayak team performance.  She gold medal also represented a first for a Canadian woman in a singles event. She also won a Bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece before taking her retirement. In 2009 she was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. 

March 21

Jehane Benoit. 
née Patenaude. Born March 21,1904. Died November 24, 1987. She is best remembered as Madame Benoit. This food consultant turned to TV as a medium to explain Canadian cuisine to her home and native land.  She also published some 30 books to generate interest in her field. She studied at the Cordon Bleu and held a degree as a food chemist from the Sorbonne in France. She opened  her own cooking school in Montreal, Fumet de la Vieille France.  She also opened one of the 1st Canadian vegetarian restaurants, the Salad Bar in 1935. She became a proponent of microware cooking and was hired as salesperson for Panasonic microwaves.  In 1973 she became an Officer of the Order of Canada.

March 22

Jane Mackenzie. 
née Sym. Born March 22,1825. Died March 30, 1893.  On June 17, 1853 Jane would become the second wife of Alexander Mackenzie (1822-1892), second Prime Minister of Canada married June 17, 1853. She had no children but was stepmother to her husband's daughter from his prior marriage. The Toronto Globe newspaper described her as "the best-known woman of Canada... and one of the most admired and respected." It was a role she did not really enjoy but she supported her husband and entertained all of Ottawa's politicians. (2019)

 

Gabrielle Roy. 
Born March 22, 1909, Saint Boniface, Manitoba. Died July 13, 1983. After high school she attended Winnipeg Norma School (teacher's College) and taught in rural schools before 
Image result for Gabrielle Roy  imagesshe was appointed to Provencher School in Saint Boniface. Just prior to world war ll she traveled in Europe before the war forced her to return home. Settling in Quebec she earned her living as a sketch artist finding time to write while working. Her first novel Bonheur d'occasion appeared in 1945 and won for her the Prix Femina in 1947. The book was translated and published in English as the Tin Flute winning the 1st of three Governor General's Award in Literature. The book also won the Lorne Pierce Medal from the Royal Society of Canada. Wish to avoid the publicity of her successful book Gabrielle returned to Manitoba. In August 1947 she married a Saint Boniface doctor, Marcel Carbotte.  A three time winner of the Governor General’s Award in Literature as well as international award holder, she is one of the most important Canadian writers of the Post World War II Era in Canada. Some of her works have been translated into 15 different languages. In 1967 she became a Companion of the Order of Canada.  Her autobiography, La Détresse et l'enchantement was published posthumously and translated in 1984. The movie Tramp at the Door is dedicated to her and supposedly depicts her childhood. On September 29, 2004, the Bank of Canada issued a $20 bank note in the Canadian Journey Series which included a quotation from her 1961 book The Hidden Mountain (La Montagne secrète), and its English translation by Harry Binsse: "Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

March 23

Amanda Michael Plummer. 
Born March 23, 1957, New York, New York, U.S.A. Amanda is the daughter of Canadian actor Christopher Plummer. Amanda attended Middlebury College and as a young adult she studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. Following her fathers love for acting she won a Tony in 1982 in Agnes of God.  She has starred in such films as The Fisher KingThe World According to Garp, Pulp Fiction, Dallmake, The Last Angel, and Triggerman. In 1996 she won a Cable Ace Award for The Right to Remain Silent and an Emmy Award for her guest appearance on The Outer Limits TV showWith movies and TV she has had some 9 appearances in 2002 alone! In 2005 she was awarded a second Emmy for her appearance on in Miss Rose White, a Hallmark made for television filmShe has also had success on Broadway and off Broadway stage performances.

 

Marta Neilson.
Born March 23, 1961, Ottawa, Ontario. Died April 29, 2014, Toronto, Ontario. Evan as a child Marta wanted to be a filmmaker, rather than a formal institutional education Marta choose to become apprentice with Bruce Nyznik and Peter Tilley. In 1991 her 1st film, The Train of Thought, appeared just after Via Rail cancelled the last regularly scheduled transcontinental passenger train in Canada. In 2006 she brought out Shattered Dreams, a documentary about disadvantaged youth in Toronto. This was followed by Saviour of Ceylon showing the heroism of RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) officer Leonard Birchall. There was also a seven part TV series, Being 80 with Jean Vanier. In all she edited or directed 30 films with Jean Vanier the founder of the international Organization, L’Arch that assists developmentally handicapped. Diagnosed with cancer she faced her disease with courage and face on. Marta had one son with Peter Hastings. Source: Richard Nielson, Lives Lived, Martha Nielson, the Globe and Mail, July 8, 2014.

March 24

Agnes Campbell Macphail.  
Born March 24, 1890, Preston Township, Grey County, Ontario. Died February 13, 1954, Toronto, Ontario. Like many young women of her era she attended Normal School (Teacher’s College) after high school. She taught in numerous schools Related imagein Ontario and Alberta. She was the 1st and only woman elected to the Canadian parliament in 1921 when women finally had the right to vote. A pacifist she was a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and in 1929 she became the 1st woman nominated to the Canadian delegation to the League of Nations (forerunner to the United Nations). As the 1st woman to inspect Kingston Penitentiary, it left her a lifelong advocate for better conditions of women in prison. In 1935 the Royal Commission to Investigate the Penal System in Canada and the 1939 Penitentiary Bill with 88 recommendations for change were no doubt influenced by her efforts. She became a founding member of the C.C.F., Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (forerunner of the National Democratic Party). Losing her federal seat in the 1940 election, she toured giving lectures and wrote for the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper before turning her attention to provincial politics. In 1943 she was 1 of 2 women elected to the Ontario Legislative Assemble where she continued to support farmers, industrial workers, prison inmates and women’s rights.  In 1951 she saw the passage of the 1st equal pay legislation in the province. She was also the founder of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Canada which even today works to give help to women in need. She died just prior to have been offered a seat in the Canadian senateSources: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online Accessed 2001); Agnes Macphail website Online (accessed 2003)

 

Joy Roberts White.
Born March 24, 1910, England. Died  January 3, 2013, Edmonton, Alberta. Privately educated she decided against any of the accepted career choices and took off to be a reporter. She worked during her career for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Reuters  and the Canadian Television (CTV) She worked with Reuters from 1935 through 1944 interviewing such notables as Emperor Haile Selasie. During the war she was a member of the U.S. Air Force. From 1948-1954 she owned a PR organization serving such notables as the actress Deborah Kerr. She immigrated to Edmonton Alberta when she was 44 where she owned and operated an accessories and hat shop while she continued to serve as a reporter, playwright and a theatre reviewer and taught Radio and TV Arts at the University of Alberta! In the 1960’s she hitch hiked to the Distance Early Warning Line (DEW LINE) that was set up as defence for the north during the cold war, to interview Canadian troops. She was a proud member of the Canadian Woman’s Press Club. Source: Joy Roberts-White 1910-2013, The Ottawa Citizen January 26, 2013.

March 25

Ethel Dorothy Blondwin-Andrews. 
Born March 25, 1951, Tulita, Northwest Territories. Ethel attended various schools including residential school and Grandin College Leadership Program at Fort Smith. She followed this with a teacher certificate from Arctic College prior to earning her Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta in 1974. She was one of the 1st accredited Aboriginal teachers in the North, teaching in Tuktoyaktuk, Délįnę, Fort Providence, and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. From 1984-1986, she served as a Senior Public Servant with the Public Service Commission in Ottawa and before returning to the north to join the Government of the Northwest Territories as Assistant Deputy Minister for Culture from 1986 to 1988 where she served on the Arctic Institute of North America for two terms as well as the Assembly of First Nations Language Committee and worked on the Special Committee on Education for the Government of the Northwest Territories. In 1988, Ethel was elected as a Liberal from the District of the Western Arctic to the Canadian Parliament, the 1st aboriginal woman elected to the House of Commons. She went on to win the next four federal elections in 1993, 1997, 2000, and 2004. Under Prime Ministers Jean Chrètien and Paul Martin she would be appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State, then Minister of State for Children and Youth. She returned to the North to work as Chairperson for Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated the organization created by the Sahtu region’s seven land corporations to ensure the Sahtu land claim (signed in 1994) is properly implemented. Sources: Ethel Blondwin-Andrews. Canadian House of Commons. Online (Accessed 2004) ; Ethel Blondwin-Andrews, Biography. Sahtu Secretariat INC. Online (accessed July 2015)

 

Elizabeth Legge.
Born March 25, 1952. After university studies in Toronto and England she became a curator of Fine Arts and worked at in Winnipeg before returning to the University of Toronto (U of T) to teach post 1945 art and be curator at the U of T Art College. She is also and author and editor in her field. Her personal recreation is to create soft sculpture  caricatures.  (2017)

March 26

Marie Catherine Pélissier Sales Laterière. 
née Delezenne. Born March 26, 1755, Quebec. Died 1831. As a young woman she was forced to marry a man more than twice her age, Christophe Pélissier, in 1775. During her arranged marriage she continued her affair with the man she really loved, Sale de Laterière.  The lovers eventually signed a marriage contract for which she was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. In 1779 Laterière was imprisoned for treason. Marie visited him in prison until his release in 1782. They became legally married in 1799 with the death of Pélissier. She is perhaps a true symbol of one who fought for the rights of individuals. 

 

Phyllis Marion Boyd. 
Born March 26, 1946, Toronto, Ontario. Died October 11, 2022, Inverhuron, Ontario.  Marion graduated Glendon College, University Of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in English and History in 1968. in 1975/6 she helped with the York University's union contract. She went on to work as an executive director of the London Battered Women's Advocacy Clinic and served two terms with the London Status of Women Action Group. After several failed attempts to run for the Ontario Legislature she was elected to the Ontario Legislative Assembly in 1990 and served to 1999. She held several cabinet posts including Minister Responsible for Women's Issues and in February 3, 1993 Attorney-General for the Province of Ontario where she was responsible for Bill 167, that would have granted benefits to same-sex couples. The bill failed to pass until five years later.   She is the 1st woman and the 1st non lawyer to have been Ontario's Attorney General.  She has been honoured many times for her work on behalf of battered women, an area in which  she still serves with great zeal. In 2000 she was appointed chair to the Task Force on the Health Effects on Women Abuse. In the summer of 2004 she was asked by the Premier to investigate the issue the might allow for Muslim Sharia law to be applied to settling family disputes under the Arbitration Act. Her report concluded that no changes to the act were needed. (2023)

March 27

Elizabeth Muriel Elsie Gregory  MacGill.  
Born March 27, 1905, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died November 4, 1980, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.  She became Canada’s 1st
woman graduate to hold a degree in electrical engineering.  She also held a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. During WW II her primary responsibility was the production of the Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft. Her staff of 4,500 people produced more than 2000 aircraft.  In 1937 she was the 1st woman to be admitted corporate membership in the Engineering Institute of Canada. In the 1940 an American comic book featured Elsie by her nickname Queen of the Hurricanes referring to her role in the production of the Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft. In 1943 she married an aviation project works manager E. J. 'Bill' Souls and the couple opened an aeronautical consulting business. In 1946 she became the 1st woman serving as a Technical Advisor for the International Civil Aviation Organization. The following year she became the 1st woman to chair a United Nations Committee becoming chairman of the UN Stress Analysis Committee.  In 1953 she was one of only 50 people, and the only woman, to have her picture in the Gervaert Gallery of Canadian executives honour her contributions and influence. That same year she published the biography of her mother: My Mother the Judge:  A Biography of Judge Helen Gregory MacGill. She became an honourary member of the American Society of Women Engineers and was named Woman Engineer of the Year becoming the 1st woman out of the United States to earn this award.  In 1967 she received the Canadian Centennial Medal and in 1971 she received the Order of Canada. for her accomplishments as an engineer and for being a member of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and the Ontario Status of Women Committee. . She is a member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame and in 1992 she was among the 1st to be listed in  the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame.

 

Jann Arden.  
Born  March 27, 1962, Calgary, Alberta. Her full name is Jann Arden Richards. As a youth she wanted to be a teacher but preferred life as a musician. She would fight off alcoholism at age 26 and use her talents to release her first album in 1993. She has been recognized with 19 Juno Award nomination and received 8 including Songwriter of the Year in 1995 and 2002, and Female Artist of the Year in 1995 and 2001.  In 2006 she received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. November that year she  received the National Achievement Award from the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) for having six singles reach the 100,000 airplay mark on Canadian radio. In November 2007, Arden was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and was the winner of the International Achievement Award at the 2007 Western Canadian Music Awards. December 29, 2017 she became a Member of the Order of Canada not only for her music but also in recognition of her extensive charitable works. She has published her memoirs several times in 2002, t2004, 2011 and 2017.

March 28

Frances Ramsey Simpson. 
née Simpson. Born  March 28, 1812, London, England. Died March 21, 1853. (Lady Simpson) She married her cousin, George Simpson, February 24 1830. His career a Governor with the Hudson Bay Company would bring her to Canada. She and her companion, Catherine Turner, wife of another HBC employee, were the first white women to travel to remote Hudson Bay Company areas. After a visit to Rainey Lake ( in modern Ontario) the settlement was named Fort Frances in her honour.  Living in Red River she became homesick and lonely and remained semi invalided after the birth and death of her first child. Eventually the family settled permanently in Lachine Quebec in 1845 and raised their five Canadian born children.
photograph Public domain

 

Karen Kain. 
Born March 28 1951, Hamilton, Ontario. Karen trained at the National Ballet School, Toronto, Ontario. She joined the Corps de Ballet of the National Ballet of Canada in 1969. A prima ballerina, Karen has won international recognition for her dancing. At 19 years of age she was the principal dancer of the National Ballet of Canada. In 1973 she earned the silver medal in the Women's category at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow, Russia. In 1983 Karen married Ross Petty, a stage and film actor.  In 1991 she was elevate to the level of Companion of the Order of Canada. In 1997 after her fair well tour she became Artist-in-residence at the National Ballet. She has been named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France. In 1997 she received a Governor General's National Arts Centre Award and received a Governor General's Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award in 2002. 
From 2004 to 2008, she was Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2007, she was presented with the Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award for demonstrating excellence and professionalism in the performing arts. In 2008, the Karen Kain School for the Arts officially opened,She is the founding president and president for life of the Dancer Transition Centre which is dedicated to helping retrain retiring professional dancers. In 2005 she was named Artistic Director of the National Ballet. In 2011 she received the Distinguished Artist Award from the International Society for the Performing Arts. Her Biography Movement Never Lies may be found at your library.

 

Carol Ann Cole. 
Born March 28. She has written 5 of books including Comfort Hearts; a personal memoir. She is the founder of Comfort Heart Initiative which raised over a million dollars for Cancer Research. Maclean's Magazine recognized her as one of 12 outstanding Canadians in 1998. Among the many awards she hold are the Terry Fox Citation of Honour, the YWCA Women's Recognition Award and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. In 2001 she became a Member of the Order of Canada.  In 2005 she was listed as one of 1,000 Great Women of the 21st Century from the American Biographical Institute. (2018) Photograph used with permission

March 29

Amelia Yeomans. 
née Le Sueur. Born March 29,1842. Died April 11, 1913. In 1878, after the death of her medical doctor husband, Amelia and her daughter Lillian decided to study medicine. Since there were no schools in Canada accepting women as students the two women studied in the U.S. Both specialized in midwifery (birth of children) and diseases affecting women and children in the Canadian Midwest. Soon they were joined by another daughter Charlotte who was a nurse. The medical trio became champions of woman's suffrage ( votes for women), temperance (stopping excess drinking of alcohol) and crusaded against prostitution and the diseases of prostitution. Amelia had a great speaking presence and lectured successfully for social equality and improvement of life. Modern Canadian women owe a lot to these social pioneering women.

 

Geraldine Kenney-Wallace.
Born March 29, 1943, London, England. She studies and did research at Oxford and London, England. In 1970 she earned her PhD at the University of British Columbia. In 1974 she organized the first ultrafast laser laboratory at the University of Toronto. In 1979 she earned a Killam Senior Research Fellowship. In 1983 she earned a Guggenheim Fellowship and in 1984 the E. W. R. Steacie Fellowship. She has taught at Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France, Yale University, U.S.A. and Stratford University, U.S.A., the University of Toronto and done research in Japan. She has served as the chair of the Science Counsel of Canada, and is a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada. From 1990 to 1995 she was appointed president of McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.

March 30

Laurie Graham. 
Born March 30,1960. Ski racing since the age of nine, Laurie Graham made the national Ski team in 1978. The 1985-86 season was her most successful. She recorded two World Cup Downhill victories along with 2 second and 3 third place finishes. The winner of a total of 6 World Cup races, Laurie also represented Canada at the Olympics in 1980, 1984 and 1988. Graham retired after an eleven-year career. In 1991 she was inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and in 1993 the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. In 1998 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2015 she was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. (2017)

 

Céline Dion.  
Born March 30, 1968, Charlemagne, Quebec. Céline is an internationally known recording artist and superstar. She began performing
with her family when she was only five years old!  Her first song composed when she was 12 caught the eye of manager René Angelil who financed the recording. Her career advanced with the Gold Medal at the Yamaha World Song Festival in 1982.  There was no looking back. She became the first Canadian to receive a Gold Record in France. She recorded the sound track for Disney's Beauty and the Beast which would win and Academy Award and a Grammy. Other movie hit songs have been in Sleepless in Seattle and Titanic. She married her manager and has chosen to slow her career to have private time devoted to her family. She returned to the stage to do her own show in Las Vegas. She is a member of the Order of Canada.  photograph © Famous Canadian women

March 31

Ethel Blanche Ridley.
Born March 31, 1874, Belleville, Ontario. Died July 18, 1949, Belleville, Ontario. Ethel graduated from St. Hilda's College, University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in 1895. She followed this in 1899 by graduating from the New York Training School for Nurses in the U.S.A. She served in the Philippines during the Spanish American War with the United States Army. Later she served as a Medical Missionary in China.  Returning to the United States she worked at the Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled in New York. September 16, 1914 she enlisted as a Nursing Sister with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC). She served as Matron for the No. 2 Canadian General Hospital, and was posted to Le Touquet, France. Returning to England she served in Granville, Ramsgate and Buxton. In 1918 she was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire C B E. After the war she worked as Directress of Nursing at the Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia but soon left the position due to ill health. Relocating to the United States she worked at the New York Orthopaedic Hospital as Director of Nurses until she retired in 1942 when she settled in Belleville, Ontario. Source: Nurses of World War 1 by Donald Brearley, 2018 online (accessed 2021)

 

Beverley Rosen Simons. 
née Rosen. Born March 31, 1938, Flin Flon, Manitoba. Beverley studied at the Banff School of Fine Arts, Alberta, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec and the University of British Columbia. A playwright of dramatic works she drew from her own background for some of her play settings.  She also wrote of women elders, studies of life in retirement homes and of the contemporary human condition.  She is considered a Canadian playwright of significance. 
(2017)

   

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