||Mercy Anne Coles.
(Note Anne is sometimes reported as Ann)
Born February 1, 1838, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Died February
11, 1921, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Not much is known about
mercy. She was one of 12 children of George Coles (1810-1875) and Mercy (née
Haines) Coles of P.E. I. Mercy would accompany her parents in 1864 to the
events leading up to Canadian Confederation. They travelled to Quebec City,
Montreal, and on to Niagara Falls. It is known from comments in documents
from Sir John A. Macdonald Canada’s 1st Prime Minister and a
political power figure in the years building up to Confederation that the
Coles’ daughters were attractive, well educated, and well informed. On his
part, at this time he was a widower who was considered quite eligible to
unattached women. At 26 years of age in 1864 when the Quebec Conference to
consider Canadian Confederation took place, Mercy would have been one of the
older unattached women. She was an ardent diarist and her legacy is that she
has left behind the scene details which serve to enliven the rather dry
political happenings of the day. There were numerous soirees, balls and
other social events that were used to court the visiting politicians to join
Canada but were also used by the unattached ladies, such as Mercy, to entice
courting from the eligible single politicians. Details such as those of the
ball of October 14, 1864, hosted by Governor General Lord Monck in the
Parliament Buildings were recorded by Mercy with particular attention paid
to these unattached gentlemen. Alas Marcy did not gain a suitor for the
described events but remained single living out her life in Charlottetown.
Sources: Anne McDonald, Mercy Coles of PEI in Canada’s History
August-September 2014 ; Ancestry Canada Accessed June 2015)
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.
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”.
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.
"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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
February 11, 1947, Toronto, Ontario. As a 11 year old hockey player
she shocked everyone by playing peewee hockey on a team for boys
having registered as AB in order to play! She was the best player on
the team but when required to produce a birth certificate was
disqualified from playing! At 15 she won her 1st national
championship in the 880-yard foot race. She competed
internationally for Canada at many events, including 4 Olympic
Games, 4 Pan-Am Games and 2 Commonwealth Games.3 World Student
Games. She held Canadian and world records in the 800 meter from
1962 to 1975. In 1975 she earned the Ontario Award of Merit. In
1976 she was presented the City of Toronto Civic Award of Merit. A
champion for athlete’s rights and women in sport she is following a
solid career as a sports administrator. She earned her B.A. and M.A.
from the University of Toronto. In 1981
she became Director General of Sport Canada. That same year
she became the 1st woman appointed to
the executive committee of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
In 1982 she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
In 1995 she was the 1st woman on the Executive
Council of the International Amateur Athletic Federation.
Leaving Sport Canada in 1993 she became the 1st Director General of
Health Canada's new Women's Health Bureau. In 2004 she was inducted
into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. In 2007 she entered the Jewish
Canadian Athletes Hall of Fame.
Source: Bob Ferguson, Who's Who in Canadian Sport (Toronto,
Prentice Hall, 1977); Canada's Sport Hall of Fame Online Accessed
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.
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.
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.
Born Texada, British Columbia1960. This
actress has been in movies and television since 1980 when she appeared
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
18, 1955, Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1969 she was diagnosed with a
joint disorder in her left leg. Forced to train wearing a fiberglass cast
she worked with crutches. But she did not let this keep her down as she made
the trials and won 3 medals at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh,
Scotland. In 1971 Pan Am Games in Cali, Columbia she won a gold in the 4 X
100 medley relay, a gold in the 200 meter backstroke and a 3rd
gold in the 100 meter backstroke. Prior to the 1972 Olympic Games, Munich,
Germany she experienced spinal problems and tendonitis in both shoulders and
yet she won a bronze medal in the 200 meter backstroke. She is a member of
the Order of Canada. She is also a member of the Circle of excellence at
Swimming Canada having been inducted on April 5, 2013. Source
Bob Ferguson, Who’s Who in Canadian Sport (Toronto: Prentice Hall
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
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.
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.
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.
Baden Powell. Not
Canadian But I just could not leave her off a list that Girl Guides
It was also Lord B-P's Birthday! If you do not recognize her name be sure to look it up on
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.
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
The Canadian Encyclopedia. - online. Information provided
by Thomas Brandenberg.: aquestbeyondgold.ca The Elaine Tanner-Watt
website (Accessed January 2013)
Eugéne (Nini) Fischer.
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.
Martha Louise Black.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
(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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.