Copyright © 2004-2020 Dawn E. Monroe. All rights reserved.
The names appearing are just a fraction of the Canadian
women of accomplishment.
Check out The Famous Canadian Women 's
section ON THE JOB
which contains mini profiles of 3000
Canadian Women of Achievement.
Born Exeter, Ontario January
1, 1876. Died January 1, 1933.
She graduated from McGill
University in 1888 and began research with the renowned
Dr. Ernest Rutherford as
Canada’s 1st woman
In 1901 she was the first woman to
study at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge
University in England. After she earned her Masters
degree she worked for a short period of time in the
Laboratory of Dr. Marie Curie. She returned to Canada to
resume her work with Dr. Rutherford until 1907 when she
married Frank Pitcher. Since protocol of the day was for
women not to work once they were married, Harriet was
forced to give up her work as a physicist. She turned
her energies to raising her three children and remained
active in the Federation of University women.
Elizabeth Muriel Gregory (Elsie)
Born Vancouver, British Columbia 1905. Died November 4,
She became Canada’s
1st woman graduate to hold a degree in electrical
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.
She is considered the first woman to be a
designer of airplanes.
Helen Irene Battle.
Born August 31, 1903,London, Ontario. Died June 17,
1994, London, Ontario. She earned her BA at the
University of Western Ontario in 1923.One of the first
women to enter the male dominated field of zoology. she
earned her PhD at the University Of Toronto
in 1929 and was the
1st woman in Canada to earn a PhD in marine biology.
She pioneered the use of fertilized
fish eggs to study the effects of carcinogenic
substances on development. The penetrating insights of
her published papers were often accompanied with
detailed pen and ink drawings done by her own hand. In
1949 she became a full professor. She always stated that
her 1st love was teaching and many of her students
visited their old professor years after their
graduation. In 1961, she co-founded the Canadian
Society of Zoologists and became its President in
1962-1963.In 1967 she was presented with the Canada
the 1970’s Battle took on the role of Associate Editor
of the Canadian Journal of Zoology.
She did her research for the National
Fisheries Research Board, the Ohio State Fisheries Lab,
the Atlantic Biological Station in St. Andrews, N.B.,
and the Marine Biological Lab in Plymouth, England. In
1975 she was selected by the National Museum of Natural
Sciences in Ottawa as one of 19 outstanding women
scientists in Canada and was represented in a travelling
exhibit to mark International Women's Year. In 1977
Prof. Battle was the first woman to be awarded the F. E.
J. Fry medal from the Canadian Society of Zoologists and
within a few weeks she received the first J. C. B. Grant
award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists. Many
student awards and a memorial lecture are named in her
honour at the University of Western Ontario.
Encyclopedia Online. (accessed June 2010;
University of Western Ontario, A part of our History:
Helen Irene Battle.
(accessed July 2015)
Alice Evelyn Wilson.
Born Coburg, Ontario August 26, 1881. Died April 15,
1964. A paleontologist who worked at the Geological
Survey of Canada, where she described fossils in papers
and books. She lectured and traveled to bring
geology to the public, especially children. In
she was the 1st woman to be elected a fellow
of the Royal Society of Canada.
Born June 29, 1914. Died
September 15, 2016 Burnaby, British Columbia. Thelma
attended the University of Toronto graduating in 1936.
She began her entomological career in
as a Technical Officer for the Canada Department
of Agriculture at the Belleville Research Institute.
She was one of the 1st women
scientists to enter the federal government research
In 1967 she was
appointed Assistant professor and Curator of Entomology
at Simon Fraser University, the 1st women in the
Department of Biological Sciences.
A founding member of SFU's
Centre for Pest Management she became a full professor
in 1976. She was a Professor Emeritus for the
Department of Biological Science at SFU in 1979. The
Thelma Finlayson Society at the University is named for
her as is the Thelma Finlayson Centre for Student
Engagement. As a student counsellor she helped more than
8,000 students as she worked past the age of 95.She
wrote approximately 40 research papers, and several
books in entomology. She severed as director of the
International Organization of Biologists. In 2005 she
was inducted into the Order of Canada. She was elected a
lifetime Member of the Canadian University Women's
Society. In 2007 she was recognized with a YMCA Woman Of
Distinction Award and in 2010 she received SFU's
Chancellor's Distinguished Service Award.
Born Montreal, Quebec April 20, 1887. Died April 6,
1971. During her early days of university study Margaret
took an interest in diseases that related to Canada
stable agricultural product, wheat. She was one of the
first women in Canada to earn a degree in agriculture
and she was the
woman to earn a PhD in agricultural sciences.
Her lifetime work in wheat rust was
well respected. In 1922 she was invited to Russia to
discuss her work. She was the second woman to become a
“Fellow” in the Royal Society of Canada.
In 1942 she became the 1st woman recipient of the
Flavelle Medal for meritorious achievement in biological
science. The list of winners of this award
that is recorded online contains no other winners who
are women! The University of Victoria named one of its
residences “Margaret Newton” Hall. After more than
25 years exposure from her research she was forced to
retire because of ill health.
Helen Battles Hogg-Priestley.
(née Sawyer) Born Lowell, Massachusetts U.S.A. August 1,
1905. Died January 28, 1993. An astronomer who
joined the teaching staff of the University of Toronto
in 1936, she was nominated professor emeritus in 1976.
A world expert who receive numerous honours including
being a Companion in the Order of Canada, she took her
profession to radio and TV in a clear and understandable
manner for all listeners. She wrote a book, “The
Stars Belong to Everyone”. For her efforts to
bring information to the public she was the
1st person to win the Klumpke-Roberts Award and
she is also the only Canadian woman to have a minor
planet (#2917) named after her!
Ursula Martius Franklin
Born September 16, 1921
Munich, Germany. Died September 22, 2016 Toronto,
Ontario. During the Nazi regime in Germany in World War
ll Ursula was separated from her parents and sent to a
forced labour camp and fortunately were reunited in
Berlin after the war. In 1948 she earned her Ph.D. in
experimental physics from the Technical University of
Berlin. Offered a post doctoral fellowship at the
University of Toronto she moved to Canada becoming a
senior scientist at the Ontario Research Station from
1952-1967. An expert in metallurgy and materials science
she was the 1st woman
to become a professor at the Faculty of Engineering,
University of Toronto.
She authored some 100 research papers
and reports and is an acclaimed contributor to books on
the structure and properties of metals and alloys. She
contributor to the 1977 report :
Canada as a Conserver Society which
recommended steps to reduce wasteful consumption and
environmental problems it causes. She was active in the
Voice for Women (VOW) and called for the U.S. military
withdrawal from Vietnam. She fought for the right to
refuse military service on the grounds of conscience to
be extended to the right to refuse to pay taxes for war
preparations. The case was refused by The Supreme Court
of Canada. In 1982 she was named as an officer of the
Order of Canada and this was upgrade to Companion of the
Order of Canada in 1992. In 1987 she was presented the
Elsie Gregory McGill Memorial Award for her
contributions to education, science and technology. In
1989 she was the author of the
Real World of Technology based on
her 1989 Massey lectures for CBC Radio. In 1990 she was
inducted into the Order of Ontario. After her retirement
she was part of a group of women she fought for pay
equality from the University of Toronto. The university
made a pay equity settlement to some 60 retired women
faculty. In 1991 she received the Governor General’s
Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case for
advancing the equality of girls and women in Canada. In
1995 the Ursula Franklin Academy, a high school in
Toronto was founded. In 2006 the Ursula Franklin
included her articles and speeches on pacifism,
feminism, technology and teaching. In 2012 Ursula was
inducted into the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall
of Fame. In April 2013, Franklin donated her extensive
collection of writings devoted to Chinese culture and
history to the Confucius Institute at
College in Toronto.
Sources: Ursula Franklin, Quakers in the
world, Online (Accessed September 2009) ; Dr. Ursula M.
Franklin, United Nations Association in Canada. Online
Born India. She moved to
Ottawa, Ontario in 1968. She is
the 1st Canadian woman PhD graduate in
electrical engineering and the only woman in her 1973
graduating class at Queens University, Kingston,
Ontario. In 1974 she joined the Canada
Department of Communications (forerunner of Industry
Canada) . Her 36 year public service career has been
studded with recognition. She has received the Public
Service Award of Excellence in 2011 for her contribution
to telecommunications and to women in leadership. 1n
2003 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Golden Jubilee
Award as well as the Excellence in Leadership Award from
Industry Canada. 2004 saw her as Canadian Woman of the
Year in Communications for the Canadian Women In
Communications. In 2005 she was included in too listing
of Canada’s most Powerful Women as expressed by Canada’s
Executive Women’s Network. That same year she was
Professional Woman of the Year for the Indo-Canada
Chamber of Commerce. In 2008 she won the Sara Kirke
Award recognizing her as Canada’s leading woman high
Tech Entrepreneur from the Canadian Advanced Technology
In 2004 she was the
first woman president of the Communications Research
Centre which is an internationally-renowned agency of
She retained this position until her
retirement in June 2011. Always a mentor for women
in the 1990’s she worked with groups concerned with
violence against women and with high school girls sports
teams. She is also a volunteer mentor with the Women’s
Women in Technology
2011; Women in Ottawa: Mentors and
accessed June 2011.
Born December 5, 1945 Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.
Roberta's 1st university degree was earned at the
University of Guelph in 1968. Her post graduate studies
began at the University of Western Ontario with a Master
of Science in 1971 followed by a PhD from the university
of Toronto in 1974.She earned her medical degree from
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario in 1977. In
1992 Canada’s 1st woman astronaut had
flair. She took her favourite food, Girl Guide cookies,
into space with her. She brought from space a real sense
of just how delicate our small blue planet really is and
is now using her photography to help show and save our
earth’s environment. She was inducted into the Order of
Canada in 1992 and the Order of Ontario in 1993. She is
a Specially elected Fellow of the Royal Society of
Canada in 1999. She has been awarded the Queen's Golden
Jubilee Medal in 2002. In 2003 she began a tenure of
service as Chancellor of Trent University, Peterborough,
Ontario the same year that Canada Post brought out
stamps honouring our individual Canadian astronauts. She
also has a Star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. She
has served on numerous boards of directors of
organizations and served as well government committees.
A respected and busy motivational speaker in 2017 for
the 150th anniversary she toured the country to
encourage youth to take the Bondar Challenge in
photography. She encourages youth to study science and
follow their dreams. Check out how many schools
she went to in the Canadian Who’s Who at your
Born Montreal, Quebec October
21, 1963. Did you know that this Canadian
astronaut plays piano and has sung with the Montreal
symphonic Orchestra Chamber Choir? She is active
in various community activities and has an ongoing
commitment to volunteer work. She attended school at the
United World International College of the Atlantic,
located in South Wales, United Kingdom. She studied for
her bachelor of engineering at McGill University,
Montreal, Quebec and took her Masters at the University
of Toronto, 1990. This exceptional engineer was chosen
as an astronaut in June 1992. From May 27 to June 6,
1999 she was a member of the STS 96 space mission and
flew on the space shuttle Discovery.
She is the 1st
Canadian to visit and work on board the international
2017 Prime minister Justin Trudeau appointed her as
Governor General of Canada.