Rosalie Silberman Abella.
Born in a displaced persons camp, Germany.1946 Rosalie
and her family came to Canada in 1950 as refugees. She completed her education as a lawyer and became
Justice, Ontario Court of Appeal. A Human Rights activist, she was
also the Commissioner of the Royal Commission on Equity in Employment.
August 30, 2004 she was appointed a Justice of the Supreme
Court of Canada.
Born Montreal, Quebec 1942. She trained at the Quebec
Conservatory of Dramatic Art and
began her acting career in French Canadian theater. During a trip to
Europe she was "noticed' by French director Alain Resnais who placed
her in several of his films. She has received
recognition for her dramatic talents with a Golden Globe award and
Oscar nomination for the role in “Anne of a Thousand Days”.
If you like historical movies give this production of one of King
Henry VI's wives a try and enjoy the talent of this Canadian actress.
Ladysmith, British Columbia 1967. She has also been known as Pamela Lee and has been involved
with movies and been a popular doing “guest appearances “ on popular TV programs.
Born Vancouver, British Columbia 1971. This author published her first work while still a teenager!
In 1989 she recorded her experiences as a street kid in Vancouver in a best selling
work, Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid. The book was made into a movie for
the CBC. In 1992 she became the youngest poet to be nominated for a Governor
Born 1927. An author, poet and a painter she is best remembered for her
memoirs that broke the silence of the life of women in the belle province of Quebec.
She would sign the 1948 Refus Global (Total Refusal), the manifesto that denounced
the conservative and church-dominated values that held Quebec in a straight jacket.
The manifesto was signed by a small group of artistes was a passionate statement
affirming the link between artistic creation and social transformation.
Claude. Born Montreal, Quebec 1939. A well known French-Canadian
singer her real name is Renée Bélanger. She has performed in the US, France, Belgium,
Poland, USSR, Japan to name some countries. In 1990 she also began acting.
Boys. Born 1951. For 10
years (1966-77) this diver won 34 Canadian championships in springboard
and platform competition. She
holds gold medals from Commonwealth Games and was a member of three
Canadian Olympic teams. She
is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
Riva Bellan. Born 1952.
An import and retail executive she showed promise of achievement early in life
with achievements in music at the Winnipeg Music Festival 1968. She would work
early in the field of small business and enterprise and use her knowledge and
experience to write a book, Small Business and the Big Banks. (1995) Combining
an interest in world crafts where is the owner/manager of Frida Craft Stores.
She is also a mother of a family of three.
Born Chelsey, Ontario 1908. Died September
6, 1986. She became the 1st woman appointed professor
in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto in
1964. She was president of the Royal Canadian Institute in 1980. She
has received honours for her scientific achievements and has promoted
the role of women within her field.
Halifax, Nova Scotia July 6, 1914. Died February 7, 1965. New York,
U.S.A. Viola was a successful Halifax beautician and businesswoman
working with her husband Jack Desmond, who was a barber. She would
become embroiled in one of the most publicized incidents of racial
discrimination in Canadian history. On November 8, 1946, while
visiting New Glasgow, Nova Scotia she attended a movie at the
Roseland Theatre. She chose to sit downstairs in the racially
segregated theatre instead of upstairs in the balcony where Blacks
were forced to sit. She was arrested and thrown into jail overnight.
She had refused to pay the once cent amusement tax difference
charged to clients sitting downstairs instead of the balcony. She
refused to pay more than white customers at the show. At trial,
where she had no counsel, she was sentenced to a fine of $20.00.
Later she, and newspaper editor Carrie Best would encourage a lobby
group to force the Nova Scotia government to finally repeal the law
of segregation in 1954. After her trial she closed her shop and
moved to Montreal where she enrolled in a business college. In 2000,
Desmond and other Canadian civil rights activists were the subject
Board of Canada documentary Journey to Justice.
On April 14, 2010, the
Governor of Nova Scotia,
Prerogative and granted Desmond a
the 1st such to be granted in Canada. The government of Nova Scotia
also apologized to her family.
Cape Breton University has a Viola Desmond Chair for Social
Source: Black History Canada, Viola Desmond Online : The
Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Accessed January 2000)
Montreal, Quebec 1945. This actress has appeared in
numerous movies since she began her career in 1965. More recently she has been
busy with day time drama in TV series such as “Days
of Our Lives” and “General Hospital”.
Born Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. 1970. Her
father wanted to raise his children away from the hustle and bustle of
American society and he moved his young family to rural Saskatchewan where
Cree would live for eight years. This actress is
more known for her voice than her face.
She has been doing voices for animated movies since 1985. She began with
the “Care Bears Movie” and can also
be heard in the cartoon shows of “Inspector
Gadget”, “Rugrats”, and “Tiny
Toons” among others.
Allin. Born 1905. Died 1993.
Elizabeth graduated from university with a degree in physics. She would
go on to become the first woman to be appointed to the Physics Department at the
University of Toronto. She was also a founding member of the Canadian Association
of Professional Physicists. A loyal University of Toronto employee, she wrote the history
of the university Physics Department. You can read about her place and struggle
for recognition of her ability to work in a dominant male occupation
in the book Great Dames.
Gillis. Born Montreal, Quebec 1953. She
is a solo artist who has presented modern ballet around the world. She has
hip-length chestnut hair and wears remarkable costumes. She introduced modern
dance to contemporary China. She was named Canadian Cultural Ambassador
in 1981 and in 1986 Quebec Cultural Ambassador. In 1988 she was appointed to the
Order of Canada.
(née Forget). Born Montreal, Quebec 1896. Died November 2, 1981. She
is remembered for her campaign for women’s right to vote (suffrage)
in the province of Québec before WW II. (Quebec, the last province
to grant women the vote, passing legislation only in 1940.)
She continued a career in politics becoming the first Canadian woman
to lead a provincial political party. She was the leader of the Quebec
CCF Party from 1951-1957. In 1970 she was appointed to the Senate
of Canada. She is considered a leading woman of 20th century
Born Wingham, Ontario 1931. Her short stories
appear in magazines such as the New Yorker
and The Atlantic.
She has collected her stories and published numerous books of stories.
A novel, Lives of girls and women, grew
from her short stories. She has received 3 Governor General’s awards for her works.
She also has won the Canada-Australia Literary Prize and the Marion Engel
Award and the W. H. Smith Award from Great Britain.
In 2013 she was
awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Griffith Wylie Watson.
(née McArthur) Born Stettler, Alberta 1911. Died December 15, 1974.
After nursing the Peace River Country of Alberta, she joined
the Red Cross Society and later became president of the organization.
She would also serve as president of the Canadian Nurses Association.
In 1954 she earned the Florence Nightingale Award for her
work in Korea. She was and officer of the Order of Canada.
Born July 11, 1949, London, England. On the ocean voyage’ when her
family immigrated to Canada’ she entertained in a children’s talent
show. At 13 she received a guitar as a Christmas gift. The following
year she saw English guitarist, Julian Beam, perform and she was
smitten with the power of the music. In 1972 she graduated from the
University of Toronto, won the Canadian National Music Competition
and toured with British guitarist John Mills. Studying in Europe
1972 -1974 she also busked in Italy and performed recitals in
Belgium, Holland and France. 1975, back in North America, she had
her 1st Carnegie Hall performance and in Canada she
graced the cover of the Canadian Magazine. The story tag line
was “The first lady of guitar”. In 1978 she would use this stage
line as a title for one of her many recordings. She performs for
world leaders and royalty bringing classical guitar to new
recognition by performing with such notables as Tracy Chapman,
George Zamphir, Roger Whitaker, Eric Clapton, Gordon Lightfoot, and
Chet Atkins. She is also known for her solo performances with
symphony orchestras and her performances for numerous charitable
performances. In 1988 she published In My Own Key: My Life in
Love and Music (Stoddard Publishing). In 1992 she married John
B. Simon and settled in California. Divorced in 2004, she
eventually returned to Toronto. She had a separation from the stage
when she was diagnosed with Muscian Focal Dystopia which can produce
muscle spasms. By 2009 she had reinvented her playing, added singing
and songwriting to her repertoire and is back on stage and
recording. Her work has garnered her 5 Canadian Juno awards. She
has been inducted into the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.
Sources: In My Own Key by Liona Boyd (Stoddard, 1988) ; Liona Boyd
web site (accessed March 2014)
Astman. Born Rochester, New York
U.S.A. 1950. As a photographer
and multimedia artist, she is fascinated by current technological developments,
which she mixes with a variety of traditional art forms. She is in the forefront
of post-modern art activity.
Born 1923. After university
she married would become mother of five children. Like many of here generation
she turned first to teaching and then became a successful civil servant. Through
all of this her desire to write remained strong. She has published works in
both English and French . She has earned the Prix Champlain, Prix du Nouvel-Ont. and
Prix due Droit. In 1983 she wrote the the TV script Les Ontariens. ( 1997).
Greenough. Born Edmonton,
Alberta 1960. She
took up equestrian sports at age 11. She joined the Canadian Equestrian
Team in 1983 and in 1986 became the first Canadian and first woman to win
the world show jumping championships. She is a member of the Order of Canada.
Born Toronto, Ontario 1918. Died December 18, 1993. She was the 1st
woman to hold the top position in a Canadian Union. In 1975 she was
elected to the national president of the Canadian Union of Public
Employees (CUPE). She was elected as Vice President as early as 1963
when this union was firs formed from the merger of two previous unions.
Sault Ste Marie, Ontario 1926. An operatic soprano, she started performing
on CBC radio in the late 1940’s and in 1954 she moved to England to become principal
soprano soloist in the BBC’s light Music Department for 15 years. She made 12
albums of light classical music and musical comedy before returning to Toronto
Born 1930. She has blazed a trail for women in the field of political
activism, earning a national and international recognition and respect for her
skills. She made an indelible mark in the field of political organization at the
federal and provincial levels. Her talent and her reputation have seen her invited
to work or train others in every province in Canada. In 1994 she was invited to
Benin, Africa, as an International Trainer of the National Democratic Institute
for International Affairs. She is a member of the Senate of Canada.
Born 1955. She is an artist who uses large
photographic pieces as her medium of expression. She is also a sculptor.
Her work has been chosen to represent Canada at 3 international expositions.
She also had solo exhibitions in Europe. She has been a guest professor
in Paris and Grenoble, France. (1997).
Laurence. (née Jean Margaret
Wemyss) Born Neepawa, Manitoba 1926. Died January 5, 1987. From age seven she wrote stories.
Her gift of writing leaves a permanent mark on contemporary Canadian
Literature. Her first writing job was as a reporter and book reviewer
for the Winnipeg Citizen. She has been able to write with experience
of having lived in England, Somalilanc, Ghana, Greece, Crete, Palestine,
India, Egypt and Spain but Canada was always home.
She is much beloved and remembered for her works, her personal
warmth, strength and humor which she shared so generously.
Wilson. Born Glasgow, Scotland 1910. Died September 3, 1933. In 1931 she was the North American indoor
speed skating champion. At
the 1932 Olympics when women’s speed skating was a demonstration sport,
Jean won the 500m race in 58 seconds and came second in the 1500 m
event. At only 23 years
of age she died from a progressive muscular disease. She was inducted
into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955.
. Born Fort McMurray, Alberta 1950.
One of North America’s most widely recognized Native actresses she has
won a Grammy award for her work as a guest appearance on the TV program “North
of 60”. She has also won the American Indian Festival, best actress, and the
1st Rudy Martin Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Native American
in film (“Legends of the Fall”) In 1991
Maclean’s Magazine declared her Actress
of the Year.
Born July 22, 1891 Bramley England. Died Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
August 11, 1968. She and her widowed mother immigrated to Waterbury
Connecticut, U.S.A. as a teenager. She became a factory worker and found
herself a women’s rights supporter. She moved to her brother’s farm near
Strasbourg, Saskatchewan in 1914. By 1919 she moved to Kerrobert and worked
as a bookkeeper. She worked to found the local library and pursued her own
studies in Social issues. After her mother’s death in the early 1920’s she
traveled abroad to continue her studies in commonwealth countries. She
reported her experiences back to Canada and they were published in the Star
Phoenix and other newspapers. It was the Winnipeg Free Press that would
later publish a booklet of some of her articles. She was active in the
Consumers Association of Canada serving as provincial president in 1954 and
then as national President from 1956-1960 in Ottawa. She was also active in
the Saskatoon Council of Women and took interest in the Liberal Party of
Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Online (Accessed January 2012)
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon.
(née Johnson) Born
Tintern, Upper Canada (Ontario) 1863. Died September 12 1899. She was married in her home of Tintern,
Lincoln County, Ontario on October 1, 1884. The newlyweds headed for western Canada
to begin life where she one of two white women at their settlement.
Her husband, John was massacred by the Cree Indians at Frog Lake, North West Territories
(now Alberta) during the Northwest Rebellion on April 2, 1885. Theresa was
taken captive into the camp of Chief Big Bear, and held captive for two months
before being rescued by the Northwest Mounted Police. Theresa and the other white
women captive Theresa Delaney wrote of there experience. Theresa returned home
to Ontario but never overcame the terrors of the ordeal which broke her spirit.
A good biography may be found at: http://www.rootsweb.com/-nwa/theresa.html
Winnipeg, Manitoba 1982. She lived in New
Zealand when her family moved there in 1986. This young actress won her
1st Academy Award in her 1st film “The
Piano” in 1993. She has appeared
in 17 movies since her debut.
She graduated from Windward School in West Los Angeles, California in June
2000. She completed the school's community service requirement by working in
an LA soup kitchen and at a special education center. Anna enjoys music and
she plays both the piano and the cello.
Winnipeg, Manitoba 1905. Died July 10,1991. She was born into a political household as
the daughter of J. S. Woodsworth, founder of the CCF party of Canada.
She followed her home training by entering politics and being a known
social activist. She served as a member of the legislative Assembly
of British Columbia from 1941 to 1945 and as a Member of Parliament
in Ottawa from 1965 to 1974.
Forrester. Born Montreal, Quebec 1930.
An internationally famous soprano, Maureen has sung all over the world
in such sites as the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Whenever she was performing
a series of songs she would always include a song by a Canadian artist. She is
a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Born 1926. For some 50 years she has been respected
businesswoman of the Saint John business community. In 1991 she
received a Certificate of Appreciation for distinguished service to
the community from the United Nations Association. She is married and
has three adult children. She was the first woman to be elected
president of her synagogue. As a result of her work she was elected
National Vice President of the Hadassah WIZO Organization of Canada. She was appointed
to the Senate of Canada in 1993.
Born Central Bedeque, Prince Edward Island 1939. A politician
she succeeded Joe Ghz as Premier of her home province in 1993.
She was defeated in the election of 1997.
She was appointed to the Senate of Canada in September 1997.
Stowe). Born Mount Pleasant, Canada West (Ontario) 1857. Died September 25, 1943. She was the daughter of
the famous Canadian Emily Stowe and she was the first woman to gain
a medical degree in Canada. She graduated from Victoria College in
Coburg in 1883.
Douglas Savage. Born Montreal, Quebec 1896. Died March
25, 1971. She was a pioneer in teaching children’s art. Her own works
matured showing a lyrical quality and late in life she was attracted
to the abstract form of painting. She was a teacher to several rising
young Canadian artists.
Paquetville, New Brunswick 1942.
Learning music in her home town of Caroquet, New Brunswick, she
the Acadian culture wherever she entertains. She has a strong singing
voice and is a well rounded entertainer combining humor with her
own music. She has toured Europe and Japan. She won the award
of the Académie Charles-Cros, in Paris. She was made a member
of the Order du Mérite de la culture française by the Canadian Senate
and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. She has recorded some
20 albums of Acadian music.
Born 1970. Isabelle and her partner Lloyd Eisler are one of Canada’s
finest pairs figure skating teams. . They hold 5 Canadian Championships,
5 World Championship medals, and 2 Olympic Bronze medals. She is a
member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
Born Vancouver, British Columbia 1935. Died September 24, 1975. She was Co–chair of the
league of Canadian Poets in 1974 and later the British Columbia Arts
Council. She devoted
herself to the promotion of poetry. She published 4 collections of
her own poetry. A mother
of four children, she was murdered by her husband in 1975. The League
of Canadian Poets annually awards the Pat Lowther Award.
Born 1971. Annie, who hails from Windsor, Quebec, has been a member of the
National Short Track Speed Skating Team for more than 12 years. She is one of
Canada's most decorated female Olympians with credits of one bronze medal and
two gold medals. She also coaches some of her family members who have also become
recognized skaters. She enjoys her sport and wants to maintain her performance
level and to have fun while doing it.
Louie. Born 1949. A musician
and composer when writes music for orchestra, chamber music and electronic music.
She is known for a work that she dedicated to the memory of the famous
Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.
Born 1953. Between 1973 and 1976 Sylvie won 24 national level
individual and team synchronized swimming gold medal! She also holds 7
medals from the 1975 & 1976 Pan American and Pan Pacific Games
and won the world championship title in 1976. She is a member of the
Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.