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Copyright © 1998-2008 Dawn E. Monroe. All rights reserved

ISBN: 0-9736246-0-4

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Famous Canadian Women's
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Famous Canadian Women's
Historical Timeline
Famous Canadian Women
on Canadian Postage Stamps
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Over 1,000 Names
Quotes from
Famous Canadian Women
 


 

 

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Use your mouse pointer to touch a date on the
calendar to the left and see which Famous
Canadian Woman has a birthday on that date.
February 1  
February 2 D. J. McCawley.  Born 1954. This lawyer and judge has the title of the Right Honourable Madame Justice. A mother of 7 children she was a nominee for Woman of Distinction Award in 1990. 
  Pauline Vaillancourt.  Born Arvida [Jonquière] Quebec 1945.  A singer with a beautiful soprano voice , Pauline is active in classical as well as contemporary music. She has performed in Europe as well as in her home province of Quebec. She founded and is artistic director of the lyric company “Chants Libres”.
February 3 Isobel Moira Dunbar. Born Edinburgh, Scotland 1918. Died November 22, 1999. An Oxford University graduate, she immigrated to Canada and worked in the far north. An ice research scientist, she was one of the first women to be taken for cruises on Canadian Government icebreakers. The author of many scientific studies, she received the Massey Medal in 1972.
  Winnifred "Winnie" Frances Roach-Leuszler. Born Port Credit, Ontario 1926. Died May 2004. A long distance swimmer of international acclaim she started swimming when she was 3 years old. At 9 years of age she won her first medal as a competitive swimmer and she never looked back. She would go on to win local, provincial, national, North American and international medals throughout her career. In 1944 she was labeled Canada's All Round Athlete of the year. That same year she joined the Women's Corp and was dominating Army, Navy and Air Forces sporting championships. In 1946 whil3 three months pregnant, she won the 5 mile World Swimming Championship and while four months pregnant in 1949 she was second in the same event. On August 16, 1951 she became the first Canadian woman to swim the English Channel. She came home to a ticker tape parade in Toronto! In 1954 she entered the swim across Lake Ontario with Marilyn Bell but was forced from the event with problems with her guide boat. In the 1950's she was lured to baseball and in 1957 she was Canada's first female baseball umpire. In 1996 she was inducted into the Canadian Forces Sports Hall of Fame. In 1999 she received the Order of Ontario and was inducted into the Ontario Swimming Hall of Fame.
  Marlene Nourbese Philip.   Born Moriah, Tobago 1947.  A poet and novelist she has written several books including a novel for young people, Harriet’s Daughter. Try it out at your nearest library.
February 4 Charlotte-Francoise Juchereau de Saint Denis, Comptesse de Saint-Laurent. Baptized 1660. Died December 28, 1702. In 1702 she purchased the Ile d'Orleans becoming the Comptesse. She was a strong business personality of New France. She was also the mother of 16 children. Check out her story in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. 
  Cairine Reay Wilson (née Mackay) Born February 4, 1885, Montreal, Quebec. Died March 3, 1962, Ottawa Ontario.  A child of an influential and wealthy family in Montreal, Cairine grew up bilingual with a keen interest in keeping informed with life. She often travelled with her father to Ottawa and admired a family friend, Sir Wilfrid Laurier. In 1909 she married Norman Wilson (   1956) and the young couple moved to Cumberland Township near Ottawa to have their family of 8 children. In 1918 they retained their Cumberland property but moved to downtown Ottawa. While her family was at home Cairine was active in her church and the local Red cross. Once her family was growing she become more interested in the life in Ottawa Politics and she became co-president of the Eastern Ontario Liberal Association. On February 15, 1930,  Prime Minister William Lion Mackenzie, appointed her as Canada’s 1st woman in the Senate. She would prefer to be remembered for her work to serve refugees and for being outspoken against anti-Semitism in Canada. She did not pull punches and spoke up for what she believed. At the beginning of the upheaval in Europe in World War ll William Lion Mackenzie King was reluctant to accept Jewish refugees as immigrants to Canada. Cairine worked to accept 100 orphans into Canada. A Television Historical Minute telecast shows viewed in the 1990’s shows Wilson arguing the case for refugees.  She served as chair of the Canadian National Committee on Refugees 1938-1948, and was Canada’s 1st woman delegate to the new United Nations in 1949. In 1950 she was presented with the Knight of the Legion of Honour, the highest civilian honour from France, for her work on behalf of  child refugees. In 1955 she became the 1st woman Deputy Speaker in the Canadian Senate. A secondary School in Orleans, located not far from the Wilson family farm in Cumberland Township, is named in her honour. She is buried in Dale Cemetery near her former farm and her tombstone simply reads “Appointed to the Senate 1930” Sources First Person, Valerie Knowles (Toronto, Dundurn Press, 1988 ; Heroines.ca online . ; personal knowledge
February 5 Gail Fox.  Born 1942.  She immigrated to Canada in 1963 and came to public attention with a group of poets at Queen’s University, Kingston.  She is also known as editor of the journal called Quarry.
February 6 Kate McGarrigle  Born St-Sauveur-des-Monts, Quebec 1946.  Along with her sister and partner, Anna, she began singing in coffee houses in Montreal in the 1960’s.  In 1976 they produced a record album together. After a brief solo experience in New York, Kate rejoined her sister and more albums followed including a French language collection in 1982. The McGarrigles were named to the Order of Canada in 1994.
February 7 Lela Brooks Born February 7, 1908, Toronto, Ontario. Died September 12, 1990, Owen Sound, Ontario. Her parents enjoyed winter sports and encouraged their daughter in her pursuit of speed skating. Without a coach or a planned training program. she would take her love the the sport to the highest competition allowed to women at the time. She was the 1st woman admitted to the Old Orchard Skating Club in Toronto. From 1923 to 1935 she would be called the "Queen of the blades." She won more that 65 championships fro the provincial level to world championships. In 1924 she earned 19 titles including 3 Canadian titles and three international titles. In 1924 alone she broke 6 world records and by 1927 the teen held 2 world championships titles.  She was the 1st Canadian woman world champion. She dominated events from the short 220 yard events to the one mile event (1600 m) She participated in the 1932 Olympics at lake Placid only to place 4th overall. Her time in the 1500 m heats was 2:54;o was more than 15 seconds under the official record but could not be recognized because she skated under the North American mass start rules!  While she qualified for the 1936 Olympics she decided to retire and not to participate. Later that year she married Russ Campbell and the couple settled in Owen Sound, Ontario. In 1972 she was inducted into the Canadian Speed Skating Hall of Fame and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.  Source: Canadian Sports Hall of Fame Accessed 2001.
February 8 Thelma Chalifoux. Born 1929. She did her post graduate studies at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and the Chicago School of Interior Design. She was the winner of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1995.. She is the mother of seven children and Grandmother to 30 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren! She was appointed to the Senate of Canada in November 1997. Her special interests are Aboriginal, environmental, women, Human Rights and seniors issues. 
February 9 Marie Angèle Gauthier. Born 1828. Died May 25, 1898. A hardworking farmer's daughter she joined the order of the Sisters of St Anne as Sister Marie Angèle. She traveled as one of the first group of religious orders of women to open schools on Vancouver Island. The adventures of her trip to Victoria, British Columbia, were published in 1859. Perhaps more of a legacy than her writings was her teaching. She taught native children many skills including knitting. This skill would be used in Duncan B.C. to make the famous Cowichan sweaters.
February 10 Adrienne Louise Clarkson. Born Hong Kong, 1939.  A television personality, journalist, novelist, public servant, and publisher are her main professions.  She even had her own television show “Adrienne Clarkson Presents”. She is an officer in the Order of Canada. She is the second woman, and first immigrant to have been appointed to the position of Governor General of Canada.
  Jean Coulthard. Born Vancouver, British Columbia 1908. Died March 9, 2000. A composer and educator she was the first of Canada’s West Coast composers to receive wide recognition.  She began to compose music as a child.  She has more then 350 compositions for a wide variety of vocal and instrumentals.  She is an officer in the Order of Canada.
February 11 Rebecca (Becky) Buhay. Born London, England 1896. Died December 16, 1953. She was a union organizer for the garment industry in Montreal. She became involved in politics and lectured and toured across the country. Political friends knew her as a great communicator of radical ideas and for her loyalty.
  Annette av Paul. Born Stockholm, Sweden 1944. She was born and began her ballet career in Sweden. In 1973 she danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and she joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in 1976. She brought beauty, vast experience and artistic maturity to the many roles that were created for her. She retired from the stage in 1984.
  Abigail Hoffman.  Born Toronto, Ontario 1947.   At 15 she won her first national championship in the 880-yard foot race.  She competed internationally for Canada at many events, including 4 Olympic games, 4 Pan-American Games and 2 Commonwealth Games. A champion for athlete’s rights and women in sport she is following a solid career as a sports administrator.
February 12 Marion Dewar. (née Bell)  Born Montreal, Quebec 1928. Educated as a nurse, she began her working career as a public health nurse. In the 1970's she turned to municipal politics in Ottawa. She was elected Mayor of Ottawa (1978-1985). She believed that local action could serve the global cause and she spearheaded Operation 4000 that welcomed Vietnamese boat people to settle in Ottawa. She was co-host for the Women's Constitutional Conference calling for gender equality provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights. In 1985 she was elected president of the federal New Democratic Party and in 1987 was elected in a federal by-election  to the House of Commons in Ottawa. In 1989 she was executive director of the Canadian Council on Children and Youth and in 1995 continued serving social causes when she headed up Oxfam Canada. 
February 13 Miriam Mandel.  (née Minovitch) Born Rockglen, Saskatchewan 1930. Died February 13, 1982. After university she began writing poetry in her late 30’s when her marriage broke down.  She suffered from manic depression and she was able to express her feeling with courage and honesty in her work.  She won the Governor General’s Award in 1978.
February 14 Lois Maxwell.  Born Kitchener, Ontario 1927. Died September 29, 2007. She ran away from home at the age of fifteen in order to join the Canadian Army  during World War ll. Enlisted initially as a soldier, she quickly became part of the Army Entertainment Corps, travelling Europe during the war, performing music and dance numbers to entertain the troops; During her acting career she also used the name Lois Hooker. While she is credited with some 68 roles in movies and TV she will perhaps be best remembered for her portrayal in 14 of the Ian Fleming James Bond films as Miss Moneypenny. While her appearances where short in each film she made the role memorable. 
  Meg Tilly.  Born Texada, British Columbia1960.  This actress has been in movies and television since 1980 when she appeared in “FAME”
February 15 Marketa Gotz-Stankiewicz. Born 1927. Born in the Czech Republic, she attended high school and university in Toronto and then at Columbia University in New York City. She would edit, write, and teach her love of Germanic studies. Among her many awards is a Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Teaching 1972 and the Hlavake Medal of the Czech Academy of Science 1992. 
  Marilyn Edythe Broughton.  Born 1940. After her university studies she taught mathematics but she still kept up her interest in music and composing. She is a mother of children who no doubt enjoy the songs their mother writes. Perhaps one of the most famous of her several works is Un Canadien Errant.
February 16 Milaine Clouthier.  Born 1972.  Her brother brought her to a badminton game when she was 9. She was told that girls couldn't beat guys.  That did it! She was hooked! She outplayed them all! By 1995 she had won a bronze medal in the Pan American Games, and in 1997 she won Pan Am gold in the doubles event.
February 17 Mona Parsons. Born 1901. Died 1976. She pursued life on stage until her mother became ill. After taking care of her ill  mother she turned to nursing as a profession. In 1938 she married Willem Leonhardt, a Dutch businessman. During WW ll their home in The Netherlands was used as a refuge by escaping allied airmen. In 1941 they were arrested and imprisoned in separate prisons. Reunited after the liberation, Mona nursed Willem returning to Canada only after his death in 1956. Mona was presented with citations from General Eisenhower and Air Chief Marshal Tedder of the Royal Air Force for helping allied airmen evade enemy capture. 
  Martha Henry.  Born Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. 1938.  One of Canada’s leading actresses she has long been associated with the Stratford Festival.  She has won Genie Awards for her work in films in 1980, 1984, 1994, and 1996. She has bee Gemini Awards for her work in TV. She has received the Order of Ontario in 1994 and is a companion in the Order of Canada since 1990.
  Loreena McKennitt.  Born Morden, Manitoba 1957. As a young girl, she was trained in classical singing. During her teens she experimented with folk music and performed in clubs in her home town of Winnipeg. In the 1970's she became familiar with Celtic music.  She worked as a singer, actress and writer at the famous Stratford Festival in Ontario. She learned to play the harp and even played as a busker on the streets of Toronto. She has written musical scores for works by the National Film Board of Canada as well as producing albums of her work. Her 1991 album won a Juno Award. The recording "The Bells of Christmas" was recorded for the Walt Disney film The Santa Claus in 1994.
February 18 Do you know of a Canadian woman of achievement born on this day? e-mail your nomination.
February 19 Hilda Marion Neatby.  Born Sutton, England 1904. Died May 14, 1975. An historian, author, educator, and critic of the Canadian education system she was a member of the Royal Commission on the National Development in the Arts and Letters and Sciences, known as the Massey Commission.  In 1967 she became a Companion of the Order of Canada.
© Canada Post Corporation
February 20 Buffy Sainte-Marie. Born Piapot Reserve, Craven, Saskatchewan 1941. (Sometimes recorded as 1942) This orphaned aboriginal child was to become a moving force in the international emergence of folk music. Her song “The Universal Soldier” was one of her most popular works. She also sings songs of concern for the native people’s experiences in North America.
  Theresa Anne Luke Born 1967. She has completed her studies at the University of Victoria where she holds a B.Sc. She is a full-time coach and athlete who is looking into a possible sports-related career. As a member of the Canadian Olympic Rowing Team she won a silver medal in the 1996 Atlantic City Olympic Games. 
February 21 Katherine Heinrich. née Roderick Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia February 21, 1954. She earned her B. Math and her PhD at the University of Newcastle. She started her teaching career at the University of Arizona and moved to British Columbia in 1980 to work at Simon Fraser University. She is active in promoting the importance of mathematics and the need of numerate citizens and encouraging and supporting women in mathematics and the sciences. She was Chair of the Education committee of the Canadian Mathematics Society and moved up to be Vice President in 1993 and President in 1996-1998. She is the author of various reports and numerous articles in her chosen field. in 1995 she received the Vancouver YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Health and Education.
February 22 Lady Baden Powell.  Not Canadian But I just could not leave her off a list that Girl Guides use! If you do not recognize her name be sure to look it up on the internet!!!
  Grace Annie Lockhart.  Born Saint John, New Brunswick 1855. Died May 18, 1916. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science and English Literature from Mount Allison College, Sackville, New Brunswick on May 25, 1875 becoming the first woman in the British Empire to receive a bachelor’s degree.
  Elaine Tanner.-Watt.   Born Vancouver, British Columbia February 22, 1951.  When she was 6 her family moved to California where she took naturally to swimming. Back in Vancouver she joined the Dolphin Swimming Club. Standing 4’9” She became known as  “Mighty Mouse” for her swimming prowess, versatility and speed. At 15 years of age she was Canada’s outstanding athlete of the year, the youngest person to ever receive the Lou Marsh Trophy.   She holds 4 gold medals from Commonwealth Games 1966, plus 3 silvers and broke 2 world records!  She was the 1st Canadian Woman to ever win 4 gold. In 1967 she won 2 gold and 3 silver medals in the Winnipeg  Pan-American Games and broke 2 more world records. At the Mexico Olympic games in 1968 she provided Canada with 2 individual silver medals and a relay bronze medal. She is the 1st person ever to win 3 medals in a single Olympic Games and the 1st Canadian female swimmer to win a medal. . However all Canada asked “Why did you not win gold?”. The weight of not winning gold for Canada was the beginning of a downslide in life. At just 18 she retired from competition.    In 1969 she received the Order of Canada and in 1971 she was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. In her personal life she would marry and have two children only to find herself divorced and distanced from her family. Suffering from anorexia and depression she felt that they would be better off without her.  She worked at bringing herself out of this dark period of her life in the late 1980’s earning a diploma in kinesiology from Simon Fraser University in 1986. However it was not until she met John Watt in 1988 that she was able to gain stable ground. The couple now have a classic car business. Elaine has also counseled youth to not make excessive expectations of themselves. She has also done some writing which she has published on her website. She wants her story to be a help and encouragement to others. She and John also work advocating water safety and drowning prevention in Ontario. In 2010 the Canadian Sport Advisory Council voted Elaine into the Top 50 greatest Canadian Athletes of all time. Read her story: questbeyondgold.ca  Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia. - online.  Information provided by Thomas Brandenberg.: aquestbeyondgold.ca The Elaine Tanner-Watt website (Accessed January 2013)
February 23 Sarah Eugéne (Nini) Fischer.  Born Paris, France 1896. Died May 3, 1975. Her family came to Canada when she was 12 and it was not until after World War I that she would train her soprano singing voice in London. She was made an honorary member of the Royal College of Music in London. In 1941 she opened a studio in Montreal helping many young Canadian artists to make their debuts.
February 24 Martha Louise Black. (née Munger) Born Chicago, Illinois 1866.  Died October 31, 1957. One of Canada's more colourful characters she joined the search for gold by hiking the famed Chilkoot Pass in the Yukon Gold Rush of 1898!  She gave birth to her first child alone in a log cabin. In order to survive she raised money to purchase a saw mill and bossed 16 men on a mining claim. She became the First Lady of the Yukon when her second husband, George Black, was Commissioner. She received the Order of the British Empire in 1946 for her cultural and social contributions to the Yukon.  At the age of 70 she won an election for a seat in the Canadian Parliament!
  Manon Rhéaume.  Born Lac Beauport, Quebec 1972.  The daughter of a hockey coach, she began to play at the age of 5 years. She loved hockey and played well. She was the first girl to play in the Annual Quebec Peewee Hockey Tournament.  She went on to become the first woman to play professionally. She was goalie with the Tampa Bay Lightening of the National Hockey League. If you want the whole story read Manon: alone in front of the net.  She is still active in her sport today teaching young girls how to play the sport she loves. Her web site is located at;  http://manonrheaume.com
February 25 Molly Reilly.  Born Lindsay, Ontario 1922.  In 1939. Molly tried to sign up with the Royal Canadian Air Force, but they were not accepting women until 1941 when the Women’s’ Division was founded.  She was one of the first recruits and she worked in the photographic area to get to fly.  She learned to fly after the war and in 1959 became a full time charter pilot where she was the first woman in Canada be a captain.  She became the first woman to be a corporate pilot in Canada when she was Chief Pilot for Canadian Utilities Company. She is a member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.
  Edith Berkeley. (née Dunington) Born South Africa, 1875. Died February 25, 1963. She had been a world traveler by the time she was 14 when she traveled on her own from Tasmania to England. She met her husband while studying the pure sciences of chemistry and zoology in England. The family would eventually settle in British Columbia. Under her lead they became world authorities on the classification of marine worms. Enthusiastic gardeners they also developed a new species flowers in the family of the Iris.
February 26 Monique Leyrac(real name Monique Tremblay)  Born Montreal, Quebec 1928. She was the first great international star from French Canada. Using her natural gifts of music and drama she started her acting career on radio in 1943. In 1965 she won the grand prizes at the international festival of Song in Sopot, Poland and at the Festival de la Chanson at Ostende, Belgium. In the 1980's she began to write and stage one-woman shows where she sang and acted. She was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1967 and received the 1979 Prix de musique Calixa-Lavallée. 
February 27 Adelaide Sophia Hoodless. (née Hunter)  Born St George, Canada West (Ontario) 1857. Died February 26, 1910. She was an educational reformer who was the founder of the international women’s organization known as the Women’s Institutes. When her infant son died in 1889 from drinking impure milk she devoted herself to the betterment of education for new mothers. With Lady Aberdeen, she helped found the National Council of Women, the Victorian Order of Nurses and the national YWCA (Young Woman’s Christian Association). The University of Guelph recognizes her contribution to education by hanging her portrait in what was once called MacDonald Institute. ** Note the date of her birth is sometimes reported as February 26.


© Canada Post Corporation

  Maureen Anne McTeer. Born Ottawa, Ontario 1952. She obtained her B.A. and married a young lawyer politician, Joe Clark. She would balance her continued education  to become a lawyer with the challenge of having a daughter.  She is an author and journalist. She has her an interest in politics and has served on numerous committees and even ran (unsuccessfully ) for a seat in Parliament. She is also known for her involvement in charity work. She is the National spokesperson for the Osteoporosis Society of Canada.
February 28 Meg Luxton. Born 1946. She is a professor in women's studies who co-founded the excellent Women's Studies Program at the University of Toronto. She has served on various committees including the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Her writings on the history of women include: More than a Labour of Love : Three Generations of Women's Work in the Home . Check out her books at your local library. 
  Rae Dawn Chong.  Born Edmonton, Alberta 1962.  She began her movie career with a movie in which there was no dialogue! Quest for Fire. (1981) Since then she has been busy with 34 movie or television roles.  
February 29 Yolande Racine. Born 1948. She studied art all the way through university and worked her way through the profession as an art history researcher, archivist, curator, and teacher, to become Curator and Head of the Multimedia Programming, at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montreal. She has contributed various writings and won the Award of Excellence 1988. 
  Sylvie Daigle Born Sherbrooke, Quebec 1962.  She began speed skating when she was 8 years old.. She would go on in her sport to win an Olympic gold medal at the Calgary games 1988 in the 1500m event and sliver medals in the 1000m and 3000m events. In the  Albertville Olympic Games it was gold again, this time as part of the short track relay event. The Lillehammer Olympics would be a silver medal again in the relay.  She is also a student in medicine at l'Université de Montréal.
   
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