Born Vienna, Austria 1926. This
sculptor emigrated from Austria with her parents in 1925. In 1953
she was winning international prizes for her works. Her woodcarvings
are the decorative panels for the Winnipeg airport, Winnipeg General
Hospital, and Montreal’s Place des Arts.
Born Rome, Italy 1936. She was first 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.
Born 1923. A very talented artist she is considered an outstanding
example of creativity of women artists that have characterized a century
of art in Montreal.
Jarret de Verchères.
Born Verchères. Quebec 1678.
Died August 8, 1747. The young Madelaine would become one of Canada's
first youth heroes when she, with only a handful of helpers would
successfully defend the family fort against attack. Her exploits have
been written up in several books including HerStory by
Susan Merritt. Her entire life story is recorded in the Dictionary
of Canadian Biography (Volume III) Be sure to check out the
true life adventure at your library.
Thakkar. Born Bombay, India 1942. 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. She has founded a dance company and been a major influence
in the development and appreciation for Indian classical dance in
Canada. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work
both in Canada and in India.
Born Bridgewater, Nova Scotia 1949. Born in Bridgewater Nova Scotia she is a songwriter
and singer of country music. She was performing first at the age of
4. She dominated the country music scene in the 1970's winning several
Juno awards for her music.
Born 1954. She was a waitress at the Firehall Theatre in Toronto
when she convinced 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 Tracey, Home Alone,
and such TV series as “Tales
From the Crypt”.
Born 1916. In 1934 & 1935 she held every single Canadian
freestyle swimming record from 100 yards to one mile! She set records
and won a gold medal at the British Empire Games and returned to the
games in 1938 for another gold medal triumph.
She is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
(Real name Pauline Lightstone) Born
Montreal, Quebec 1882. Died October
22, 1970. A teacher and administrator she was also a well-known soprano
who had sung with the world famous singer Caruso! She performed all
over Europe, the United States, and even Russia as well as Canada.
She founded the Montreal Opera Guild in 1942.
© Public Domain
F. Whittome. Born
1942. After her early studies in Canada and Paris, France,
she chose etchings as her first major form of artistic expression.
By 1975 she had produced a series of sculptures and went on to use
the medium of hand made paper relief and sculptures to produce several
one-woman shows in many Canadian galleries and museums. Her modern
works continue to receive acclaim and awards, including the Victor-Martyn-Staunton
Award in 1991.
Born Vancouver, British Columbia 1951. As an athlete, she first competed in
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.
Born Renfrew, Ontario 1896. Died January 25, 1975. This social worker,
politician, and feminist was a colourful, energetic, outspoken,
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.
When she became mayor of Ottawa in 1951 she was the first
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 the next year she succeeded him. She was elected mayor in
1952, 1954, 1960 and 1964 and later served as an alderman until 1972.
||Flavia Elliott Redelmeier.
Born 1926. 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 also served on hospital
and museum boards She is currently a board member at the Canadian
Museum of Nature.
(née Stewart) Born Cereal, Alberta 1934.
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. 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! She is a member of
the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and in 2004 she became the first
Canadian member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Arlene Chow. Born 1941. After her studies in science at university
she entered the field of research. She also has an interest in recognizing
women's work and has contributed to Women In Science. She has herself
become a teacher at the Department of Immunology at the University
of Manitoba and has been recognized at the YWCA Woman of Distinction
in 1992. She is also a recipient of the the Canada 125 medal.
Born 1955. 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 1996 Canadian and World Championship Curling teams. She has
also co-authored a book on the sport of curling. She is a member of
the St Catherines Ontario Hall of Fame.
(née Beckwith) Born Fredericton, New Brunswick 1796. Died November 28, 1867.
She wrote the first 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”
(1824). She wrote this book when she was only 17 years old!
would continue publishing her writings while she raised 6 children!
Born Six Nations Indian Reserve, Canada West (Ontario) 1861. Died March 7, 1913. Canada’s first renowned native
poet she was also the first native born cultural ambassador. She was
working towards unity for all peoples and the land when most settlers
were only thinking of human unity.
She took her works all over Europe where she performed her
readings in her native dress. Her native name was Tekahionwake.
The latest biography by Charlotte Gray was published in 2002 and is
available at your public library.
© Canada Post Corporation
Avril Phaedra Douglas Kim Campbell. Born Port
Alberni, British Columbia 1947. She
studied in British Columbia and at the London School of Economics.
She taught at University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Community College and then worked
for Premier Bill Bennett's office in Victoria, British Columbia. She
left the Social Credit Party and joined the Progressive Conservative
Party of Canada and won a seat in the federal House of Commons in
1988. She served as Minister of Indian Affairs, then Became the
first woman to serve as Minister of Justice
and later she was the first woman to be Minister of Defense. In 1993 when she was
the first woman elected as
leader of the PC Party she became the first woman Prime Minister of
© Famous Canadian
Born Mission, British Columbia 1953. A track and field athlete originated the reverse
jumping style called the "Brill Bend" in high jumping. She
was the first North American woman to clear the 6-foot/1.83 meter
barrier. She won several medals in international events. She is a
Member of the Order of Canada.
Born 1957. This
native Newfoundlander has been busy with appearing in 49 movies and
TV productions since 1978. She made her debut in
“Of Unknown Origin” and she has been on the TV series “Falcon
Crest” (1978-1983), daytime drama with “Days
of Our Lives” as well as “Pacific
Blue” in 1996 and more recently "Diaries of Darkness"
and "My Guide to Becoming a Rockstar".
Born 1955. One of Canada’s
finest swimmers she won 27 gold, 19 sliver and 10 bronze international
medals, including world and Olympic silver . She set Commonwealth
Games records in 1974 in both the 200 and 400 meter events.
Santa Cruz, California, U.S.A. 1951.
She published her first 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. Her life and
relationship is recorded in the CBC series Life and Times. She
continues her prolific writing from her family tree house in Victoria,
(née Margolick). Born 1947. A versatile dancer who has danced with
les Grands Ballets Canadiens,
the Bat-Dor of Israel, and
the Ballet Rambert of England.
She now prefers choreography.
(née Jackson) Born 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.
Born Cookstown, Ontario 1868. Died
October 27, 1933. Emily
was journalist who would write about the adventures of the famous
"Janey Canuck" character. She became the first woman in
the British Empire to become a judge when she was appointed a
police magistrate for Edmonton, Alberta in 1916. She is also a member
of the Famous Five who would be part of the Persons Case in 1929 which
would have women declared "persons" in the eye of the law. If
you watch the "Historical Moments" which appear on Canadian
TV be sure to watch for her story.
Born Toronto, Ontario 1968. 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” Since
then she has appeared in numerous TV and screen movies, as well as
live theatre and documentaries. 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. She married Christopher Porter in 1991 and is the
mother of a son and a daughter.
(née West) Born 1935. This artist is perhaps best described as a photo
realist. Her paintings 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”
She is an opera singer who has performed exclusively in Canada. She
has performed major choral works with most of Canada’s leading orchestras
and choral societies. .She specializes in contemporary Canadian music.
Bruce Mather wrote Madrigals Three for her. She is a
fine and committed performer of modern music.
Born 1950. She was born in London,
Ontario, and studied at York University and in London, England. 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! She has also worked
on several TV specials including the mini series "A Wrinkle
in Time A" in 2002.
(née La Montagne) Born Toronto 1848. Died
November 20, 1925. Her stage name was Clara Morris and she was 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.
She would later write her life story in three volumes of memoirs.
H. Smith. She
was the first trained children's librarian in Canada. She devoted
40 years of her working life to the development of the children's
collection within the Toronto Public Library. 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.
Born Hamilton, Ontario March 17, 1954. 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.
© Famous Canadian
Born St. André Est, Quebec 1869. Died September 2, 1940. 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! Later she would specialize on heart disease and eventually
published the “Atlas of Congenital Cardiac Disease" 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.
Died April 8,1730. She took her vows as a nun on October 27, 1671. She was the first
Canadian born woman to become a religious sister. She would become
bursar and superior of the Hospitalièrs of Montreal. She was also
one of the first 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.
Born 1928. An
artist who trained in Canada and Europe, her works are represented
in the collections on the National Gallery in Ottawa.
Born 1976 Toronto, Ontario,
She started her career in a McDonald’s commercial! She appeared
in “Are You Afraid of the Dark?
” before she landed her current role in the series “Clueless
Other movies she has appeared in are "Road Trip"
, "Nailed" (2001) and "Wild Dogs"
Brunet. Born 1969.
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 medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Patenaude) Born 1904. Died November
24, 1987. 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 a cooking school in
Montreal. In 1973 she
became an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Mackenzie. (née Syms)
Born 1825. Died March 30, 1893. She would become the second
wife of Alexander Mackenzie, second Prime Minister of Canada. 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.
Born 1909. Died July 13, 1983. A 3 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.
Born New York, New York, U.S.A. 1957. This daughter of actor Christopher Plummer was born in
New Your 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 King, The World According to Garp, Pulp
Fiction, Dallmake, The Last Angel, and Triggerman. With
movies and TV she has had some 9 appearances in 2002 alone!
Born Preston Tsp., Grey Co., Ontario 1890. Died February 13, 1954. She was the only woman elected
to the Canadian parliament in 1921 when women first had the right
to vote for parliament. She was the founder of the Elizabeth Fry Society
of Canada which even today works to give help to women in need.
Blondwin-Andrews. Born 1951. She was the first Native
woman elected to the Canadian Parliament and to become a member of
Legge. Born 1952. After university studies in Toronto
and England she became a curator of Fine Arts and worked at in Winnipeg
before returning to the 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.
Catherine Pélissier Sales Laterière.
née Delezenne Born 1755. 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.
Born 1946. She was elected to the Ontario Legislative Assembly in
1990. She has held several cabinet posts including Minister responsible
for Women's Issues and Attorney-General for the Province of Ontario.
She is the first woman and the first 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.
Vancouver, British Columbia 1905. Died November 4, 1980.
She became Canada’s first 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 first woman to be admitted corporate membership in
the Engineering Institute of Canada.
She is a member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.
Born Calgary, Alberta 1962. 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 Juno Awards. and continues
to produce hit singles and albums.
Ramsey Simpson. née Simpson. Born London,
England. 1812. Died March 21, 1853. (Lady Simpson)
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 Hamilton, Ontario 1951. 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 1991 she was elevate to the level of Companion of the Order of Canada.
She is the founding president and president for life of the Dancer
Transition Centre which is dedicated to helping retrain retiring
professional dancers. Her Biography
“Movement Never Lies” can be found at your library.
Carol Ann Cole. She has
written a couple of books including "Comfort Hearts". 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 2001 she became a member of the Order of Canada,
(née Le Sueur) Born 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.
Born 1960. Ski racing since the age of 9, 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 Graham retired after
an eleven-year career.
Born 1968 Charlemagne, Quebec. . She
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
is a member of the Order of Canada.
© Famous Canadian
Born 1938. 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.