Copyright © 1998-2023  Dawn E. Monroe. All rights reserved 

 ISBN: 0-9736246-0-4

Actors - Stage & Movie
Jean Adair

Born Violet McNaughton June 13, 1873, Hamilton, Ontario.  Died May 11, 1953, New York, New York, U.S.A. Jean studied acting in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. Most of her life she was a stage actor traveling with local stock companies and also appearing on the vaudeville in one-act plays. In 1922 she had a starring role in the comedy hit, It's a Boy. She was seldom out of work after this performance. Later in life she appeared in numerous films in the 1940’s working with such greats as Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. Perhaps she is best remembered as one of the sweet, but murderous, aunts in  the film Arsenic and Old Lace in 1944. It was a role that she had originated on Broadway. In the early 1950's she would appear in some minor television roles. (2018)

Marguerite Martha Allan

Born 1895 Montreal, Quebec. Died March 31, 1942, Victoria, British Columbia. She organized the Montreal amateur dramatic group which would come to be known as the Montreal Repertory Theatre and would become one of the most successful amateur dramatic groups in Canada. In 1935 she received the Canadian Drama Award for outstanding service in the development of the Canadian theatre. At the annual Dominion Drama Festival the Martha Allan Trophy is awarded in her memory for the best visual performance. She also wrote three plays: What fools we mortals be; All of a summer's day; and Summer solstice. (2021)

Ricca Allen   4041

Born June 9, 1863, Victoria, British Columbia. Died September 13, 1949, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. For almost a decade Ricca performed as a dancer in the Nance O'Neil company which performed in the 1880's and 1890's throughout the U.S.A. She moved on to perform on Broadway in the early 1900's and her last Broadway show was called Blind Alleys in 1924. It was in the 1920's that she headed up her own company of performers. Between 1913 and 1941 she appeared in more than 50 movies.

Mae Ames

Born February 1920, Manchester, England. Died May 13, 2012, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Mae was a shy child but family soon coaxed her to sing and dance and she even began to appear in local productions. A student in fashion design at the beginning of World War ll she worked in an aircraft factory and then became a Red Cross Nurse eventually meeting and marring a young Canadian forces man, Frank Ames (died 1979). In 1946 she and her infant daughter were aboard the Queen Mary on their way to Canada with other war brides and 750 babies!!! The family moved to Prince Edward Island in 1961 and Mae became involved actively in the Charlottetown Little Theatre. When Frank was next posted to Halifax Mae retained her interest in Theatre in Halifax and also taught at the Ladies College. In 1979 with the death of her husband, Mae moved back to PEI to be close to her daughter and reunited with the Theatre. She eventually active with a seniors theatric group, The Venerables, touring group traveling across Canada to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, farther west to Victoria and even to New York City. She also appeared on the TV Series: Emilie of New Moon. She was well known not only as an actress but as a story teller and drama teacher. On Remembrance Day she recounted stories of England during the Blitz. Having served as a military nurse, she saw first hand the heavy too plaid by those who served in the cause of freedom.  Source: Making History: a Celebration of Prince Edward Island Women of the 20th Century. Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 2000.; Obituary (accessed 2021)

Mary Margaret Anglin

 Born April 3, 1876, Ottawa, Ontario.  Died January 7, 1958, Toronto, Ontario. Margaret was actually born in the Houses of Parliament Speaker’s Chambers. Her father Timothy Warren Anglin (1822-1986) was, at that time, Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons. A strong willed individual she headed for a career in acting in New York City in the 1890’s much against the wishes of her family. In 1894 she graduated from the Empire School of Dramatic Acting. By 1896 she was touring on stage in the U.S.A. and Canada. By 1905 she had earned wide recognition for her dramatic skills and was invited to work with the renowned Sarah Bernhardt. In 1911 she married a colleague Howard Hill who had little reputable acting talent. By 1913 she was appearing in Shakespearian performances of her own acting group. When her husband did not receive roles she was absent from the stage for many years. She did return to the stage however with her last Broadway appearance was in 1936. The Encyclopedia Britannica called her one of the most brilliant actresses of her era. Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online Accessed 2000. : Encyclopedia Britannica online. (accessed 2000). Suggested reading Margaret Anglin: A stage life by John Levay 1989. (2021)

Julia Arthur

née Ida Lewis. Born May 3,1869, Hamilton, Ontario. Died March 28,1950, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.  Julia chose her stage name for her acting career from her mother's family name.  As a youth of 11 she played in some amateur theatricals in her home. She had her stage debut at the age of 14 in the United States performing in Shakespearian plays with the Bandmann traveling theatre. After three seasons she was off to Berlin to study the violin but soon changed to voice and theatre. In 1895 she went to act in London, England. having secured an engagement at the Lyceum Theatre.  Back in North America after her European tour she accepted a position with a company in California, U.S.A.  and eventually headed to New York City, U.S.A. and toured the eastern coast. In 1889 and 1890 she was back to stages in Canada. After more time in the United States she was back with success appearances in London England  and while with the Lyceum Company she earned an international status. In the summer of 1897 she returned to the U.S. as the star of her own company financed by her brother and the wealthy Bostonian Benjamin Cheney.   She married Benjamin Pearce Cheney on February 23, 1898 and took a few years reprieve from the stage. In 1914 she returned to the stage doing a benefit performance at the Boston Theater for the European Actor's Relief Fund. In 1924 she had a very successful tour of her beloved Canada. As well as her stage appearances she was the star of such movies as Napoleon, The Man of Destiny and Uncle Tom's Cabin. (2021)

Margaret Bannerman  4115

née Girard. Born December 15, 1896, Toronto, Ontario. Died June 14, 1976. After primary school in Toronto Margaret attended Mount Saint Vincent Academy, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She and her family relocated to England at the out break of World War l in 1914. She began her stage career in 1915. She went on to appear in several silent English comedy movies. She married London producer Anthony Prinsep and then Actor Pat Somerset.  In 1925 a nervous breakdown force her to lay aside her career. She toured Australia and New Zealand in 1928 prior to returning to theatre in London. She relocated to the U.S.A. in the 1930's and attempted to break into American films. She did appear in films until 1947 when she decided to return to the stage where she worked until 1963.In 1940 she appreard tin Toronto's Royal Alex Theatre and was in Toronto again for a role in My Fair Lady in November 1963. (2022)

Mabel Barrington

Died November 1, 1912. A prominent stage actor who debuted on stage in 1902 and achieved "star" quality by 1905. She had great success in 1908 in New York with the BLUE MOUSE. By 1911 she was forced to retire from the stage because of serious ill health. (2021)

Mabel Barrison

Eva Maud Farrance

Born April 21, 1882, Toronto, Ontario. Died November 1, 1912, Toronto, Ontario. Born Eva Maud Farrance  she was a singer and stage actress. While still in her teens she joined a musical stage chorus, She performed in vaudeville on Broadway with Weber and Fields company. In 1903 she appeared Babes in Toyland. Her life saw her with a multitude of health problems. (2022)

Juliette Béiveau  4117

Born October 28, 1889, Nicolet, Quebec. Died August 26, 1975, Montreal, Quebec. At the age of ten Juliette performed with the acting group Soirées de famille. Two years later she was performing at the Théâtre national. She studied at the Acadeemie Marchand but soon returned to being on state. By 1911 she was working with the group Conservatoire Lasalle and Nationascope. In 1916 she married and there was a decline in the number of her performances.  She had a fine voice and in 1920 she was signing with the Starr Label.  During the 1920's she would appear in some 100 plays with the Théâtre national.  In 1935 she debuted on radio on C K A C.  From 1937 though until 1959 she was a cast member of Rue principale and also was a cast member of Un homme et son péché on Radio Canada. For three years beginning in 1947 she had her own radio show, Le Programme Juliette Béiveau. In 1949 she made her movie debut in Un homme et son péché and  in the early 1950 landed numerous movie roles. Returning to the stage in 1956 and appeared on stage and on television until her death. (2022)

Sonya Biddle
Black Politician & Actor
SEE - Politicians
Nanette Bordeau

Hélène Olivine Veilleux

Born April 3, 1911, St. Georges, Quebec. Died September 20, 1956, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Her birth name was Hélène Olivine Veilleux. Nanette moved with her family to New York City, U.S.A. in the 1930’s and she began to audition for theater work. In 1938 she did a screen test for Hal Roach Studios and won out over 50 other actors. She had several small roles in the 1940’s using the stage name Francine Bordeaux. In 1949 she was hired by Columbia Pictures where she began appearing with the famous comedians, the Three Stooges. Since she had a natural French accent when was often cast as Fifi in these films. She also learned to mask her accent to be more American for additional roles. (2021)

Ester Evelyn Sera Owen Bowen

Born June 18, 1911, Cardigan, Wales, United Kingdom. Died November 4, 1994, Wolfville, Nova Scotia. She left her native Wales to go to theatre in London, England attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and later, while working in a touring theatre, and the Old Vic Shakespearean Company. In the early 1930 she married Robert Speaight (1904-1976) but the marriage dissolved in divorce by the end of the decade. The couple had one son. Returning to Wales she founded the Welsh National Theatre Company serving as its director from 1933 through 1936. In 1939 she married Frank O'Connor and Irish writer (real name Michael O'Donovan) and the couple lived in Ireland and had three sons prior to their divorce in 1952.She immigrated to Canada in 1956 and found work in Montreal, Quebec acting and writing. It would however be Nova Scotia that she chose to live. In 1967 she was appointed Artistic Advisor for the Nova Scotia Centennial Celebration and worked as Director of Drama at . She organized and directed the first all Negro drama group in Canada. She wrote plays, directed and taught drama to the youth of her chosen home province. To learn more about this talented woman read Great Dames, edited by Elspeth Cameron and Janice Dickin, [Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1997]. (2021)

Doris Buckingham

Born 1910 (?) Died February 1, 1988, Vancouver , British Columbia. A stage and radio actress she created Vancouver’s Theatre Under the Stars. Doris began her stage career by reading lines with her actor husband Bill Buckingham. Through the 1940’s and 1950’s the group saw her in more than 50 productions. She also worked in CBC productions. Along with her husband the pair were known as Mr. and Mrs. Theatre. They had one son. As well as theatre in the 1950's she appeared in many early live C B C television broadcasts.  The couple was honoured in the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame Starwalk at the Orpheum which honours BC residents who have made outstanding contributions to entertainment on the local, national and international scene. (2021)

Kate M. Horn Buckland

née Horn. Born 1826? Ireland. Died September 10. 1896, Montreal, Quebec. Kate made her stage debut in Charleston South Carolina, U.S.A.. In 1841 she acting in New York City, U.S.A. where she had her 1st breakthrough on March 24, 1845 at the Park Theatre. She married John Wellington Buckland (  -1872) a theatre manager in 1862. John accepted a position as director of the new Royal Theatre in Montreal where he worked with English language productions. Kate spent time in productions in Montreal and New York City. After the death of her husband, Kate assumed control of the management of the theatre in Montreal and served there until 1879-80. She continued her interest id theatre life until her death in Montreal.  She was considered a popular and accomplished actor.  (2021)

Peggy Cartwright 4120

Born November 14, 1912, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died June 12, 2001, Victoria, British Columbia. Peggy was living in California, U.S.A. with her family when she appeared in several silent films, usually unaccredited, from 1915 to the 1920's and was one of the child stars of the early Our Gang films. These films were released in 1922. The family returned to Canada as their father felt they would receive a better education. In 1927 she and her mother travelled to Great Britain where she worked on stage at the St. Martin's Theatre. n 1931 she was again filming in movies and in 1932 performed in the British drama Hindle Wakes, her final movie. She would relocate to New York City, U.S.A.  where she married comedian Phil Baker (1896-1963)  and the couple had nine children. Divorced in 1941 Peggy married actor William 'Bill' Walker in 1962. Once her children were grown she took a job as a secretary. In 200 she made an appearance at the 12th International Sons of the Desert Convention in 2000. (2022)

Shirley Cheechoo

Cree Actor, Director, Producer & Artist

Born 1952, Eastman, Quebec. Shirley would grow up in Northern Ontario spending time  on trap lines with her family. At the age of nine she was taken away to Shigwauk Residential School (now Algoma University) where she experienced violence and abuse.  She left school at 15 and suffered with substance abuses which eventually she overcame. She began to work in theatre and film exploring themes of healing and  post trauma survival. She attended art classes at the Manitou Arts Foundation in the summer of 1966.  In 1991 her semi autobiographical play Path With No Moccasins was produced.  She founded a children's theatre De-Ba-jeh-mujig Theatre where she not only acted but was artistic director, administrator and playwright. Shirley is the 1st First Nations woman to "write, produce, direct, and act in a feature length film from Canada. She is the co-owner with Blake Debassige of Kasheese Studios art Gallery. She is also president of Spoken Song Film Production Company. She is the founder of Weengushk Film Institute on Manitoulin Island, Ontario where she trans, develops and guides independent filmmakers. Shirley is also a well know artist and her art has been exhibited around the world. She had produced Christmas Cards for UNICEF, had commissioned worked completed for Amnesty International , the Ontario Native Women's  Association and for the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. In February 2008 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. In 2012 she received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award. The TV series Medicine Woman is directed by Shirley. She was inducted a member of the Order of Canada November 19, 2018. (2021)

Joy Dorothy Coghill-Thorne

née Coghill. Born May 13, 1926, Findlater, Saskatchewan. Died January 20, 2017, Vancouver, British Columbia. Some of her early education occurred in Scotland and then Kitsilano High School in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1949 she earned a bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia and followed this in 1951 with a Master of Fine Art from the Art Institute of Chicago, U.S.A. In 1953 she and Myra Benson founded Canada’s 1st professional touring children’s theater called Holiday Theatre. She would marry John Thorne, a producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the couple had three children. Joy enjoyed writing and her bet play was the Song of This Place about Emily Carr. Joy acted on stage and in several Canadian television shows. She earned four Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards for her work including Outstanding Performance by and actress in a leading role in 1991. In 1994 she founded the Western Gold Theatre Company in Vancouver. She earned a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, the Gemini Humanitarian Award, the Dominion Drama Festival acting award and a Canadian drama award. On October 25, 1990, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada  (2021)

Dorothy Davies

Born July 26, 1920, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. Died March 27, 2002, Victoria, British Columbia. As a child she moved with her family to British Columbia.  At the age of 18, Dorothy received a Licentiateship in Speech Arts and Drama from Trinity College of Music, London. Ten years later, she was named a Fellow of that College. Also while in her teens, she became secretary to Major William Bullock-Webster, superintendent of schools in British Columbia and an ardent supporter of school drama. In her position, Dorothy was instrumental in the foundation of the British Columbia Drama Association (now Theatre BC). She played “Mary” on “The Carson Family” CBC radio serial 1947-65 and other radio and TV roles through 1984. She was an original member, Totem and Everyman Theatres. She earned an award as Best Director in the 1955 Dominion Drama Festival. She was the 1st recipient, Jessie Richardson Award for lifetime achievement. She also won the  Sam Payne Award for developing young talent and is a  charter member of the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame . In 1988 Dorothy and her husband moved to Victoria, where she produced a CD of nonsense poems called "The Other Day ...", performed by herself, with musical settings by Amanda Lince. Sources: Canadian Encyclopedia of Theater online (accessed January 2013); Vancouver Hall of Fame on line (accessed December 2012.)

Katherine 'Katie' Paula De Mille

née Lester. Born June 29, 1911, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died April 27, 1995, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A. Katherine's father was killed at the Battle of Vimy Ridge during World War 1. Her mother died of tuberculosis when she was just 9 years old. She was adopted at 11 from an orphanage by famed movie director Cecil De Mille (1881-1959) and his wife Constance. Attending high school in Santa Barbara, California she played roles in school theatre productions and just knew she wanted to be an actor. Her 1st movie role was in 1930. On October 3, 1937 she married actor Anthony Quinn (1915-2001) and the couple had five children. Tragedy struck the family when their oldest son, Christopher drowned in a friends pool at three years of age. In 1959 she decided to retire from the film industry. In 1965 she and Quinn divorced. (2021)

Hazel Desbarats

née Rickets. Born September 15, 1936, London, England. Died December 20, 2015, London, Ontario. Hazel studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in London, England and started her career in British television. In the early 1950’s she immigrated to Canada with her 1st husband Ray Bidwell and she continued to work in television and was a reporter for current affairs programs at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Global Television Network. Divorced by 1961 she married Anthony Snowsill a CBC technician. This marriage dissolved shortly after the birth of their daughter. In 1968 she married Peter Reilly and the family settled in Ottawa where Hazel worked a new anchor at C J O H and another daughter and a son were born.  At home she co-authored a cookbook with friends.  In September 1979 she married for the 4th time to Peter Hullett Desbarats, Dean of Journalism, University of Western Ontario and the family relocated to London, Ontario. It was hear that she would begin her second career as an actress.  A Dora Award winning actress she performed on stages across the country including the Soulkeeper Theatre Company, the Canadian Stage in Toronto and the Stratford Theatre. Sources: Obituary The Toronto Star December 22, 2015; Susan Ferrier Mackay, From Newswoman to celebrated actress. Globe and Mail January 6, 2016. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2021)

Danica D'Hondt

Born May 29, 1939, London, England. At 9 years of age, in England, Danica appeared in her 1st movie. While still in schools she relocated with her family to Montreal, Quebec where she appeared on television, stage, and was heard on radio. She attended the University of British Columbia and returned to England to continue her career on stage, television and in movies. Back in Toronto she found work at the CBC television as a games show personality and did summer stock theatre in the U.S.A. In 1959 she participated and won the Miss Canada pageant. By 1960 she was in Hollywood where she appeared in ‘B’ movies and on numerous television programs until 1990. From 1966 through 1971 she taught at her own school called The Actor’s Lab. In 1971 she began directing stage productions and continued directing in television and movies. She also worked as a television journalist. She married Nello Olivo (1940-   ) and became a real estate investor and raised her six children. The couple owns a vineyard and a large banquet facility in California  (2021)

Fifi D’Orsay

Marie-Rose Angelina Yvonne Lussier

Born April 16, 1904, Montreal, Quebec. Died December 2, 1983, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.  Could you guess that this is a stage name? Her real name is Marie-Rose Angelina Yvonne Lussier. After several successful acts in Vaudeville, she began her Hollywood movie career in 1929. In 1933 she married Maurice Hill. She was in movies and television as well as live stage for 40 years and worked with famous male stars like Will Rogers .She married a second time to Peter LaRicos in 1947. Billed as a French bombshell from Paris, she never even traveled outside of North America. Her life story was featured on the TV show This is Your Life.  Source: Find a Grave Canada. (2021)

Shirley Douglas

Born April 2, 1934 Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Died  April 5, 2020, Toronto, Ontario As a youth she had been involved in church dram and music activities. At 16 she began to take acting seriously and attended the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta. She also attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London England prior to acting in British stage and television. Her second marriage to Donald Sutherland took her and her family of three children, including twins Kiefer and Rachael to California to live. It was here that she threw her energies into the American protest movement of the 1960's and 1970's. Returning to Toronto as a single mother in 1977 she resumed a successful stage, television and movie career. In 2000 she received a Gemini Award for Best Featured Actress followed in 2001 with a Diamond Award from the Variety Club. In October 2003 she was presented the Order of Canada and in 2004 she received her own star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto along with her son, actor Kiefer Sutherland who became a star on the Walk in 2005. (2021)

Leila Marie Dressler

née Koeber. Born November 9, 1869(?) Cobourg, Ontario.  Died July 28, 1934, Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A. Her father was the Anglican Church organist and at age five she appeared in a church play in Lindsay, Ontario. The family relocated to Bay City, Michigan, U.S.A. in the 1889's. Marie left home when she was just 14 lying about her age, saying she was 18 and changing her name to Dressler she joined the Nevada Stock Company. Three years later she joined Robert Grau opera Company and performed throughout the American Midwest. She worked with various companies gaining in experience and popularity and finally Marie made it to Broadway stage in 1892 and became a vaudeville star comedienne headliner shortly after 1900.She continued to send money to support her parents throughout her early career. In 1899 she married George Hoppert/Hoeppert/Hopper (1862-1929). In 1900 she formed her own theatre troupe but she was soon forced to declare bankruptcy. In the early 1900's she married James Henry Dalton (1871-1921) and the couple relocated to London  England where Marie was soon performing on stage. Once again her efforts resulted in bankruptcy and she was back in the U.S. working on Broadway and in 1909 she appeared in films.  In 1914 she was in the 1st full-length silent film comedy.  During World War l she used her popularity to help sell Victory Bonds. in 1922 she was touring in Europe. Back in the U.S. she made her final Broadway appearance in 1926. She had easily made the move to ‘talkies’ when many top silent film heroines did not survive. More homely than beautiful she was also an over-weight woman. This was an unlikely star material. However, she was talented and she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1930/31. In August 1933 she became the 1st woman to ever appear on the cover of Time magazine. There is some dispute as to her true birth date with various sources using 1868, 1869 and her grave using 1871. Marie's birth home in Cobourg, Ontario is a museum open to the public. Each year, the Marie Dressler Foundation Vintage Film Festival is held, with screenings in Cobourg and in Port Hope, Ontario. In 2008 Canada Post included Maries in a Canada In Hollywood postage stamp series. (2021).

Maude Eburne - Riggs

Born November 10, 1875, Bronte-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Died October 15, 1960, Hollywood, California, U.S.A. Maude embarked on her acting career after the death of her father in 1901 as he would not have approved of such a profession for his daughter. She began her acting career on stage in Buffalo, New York, U.S.A. and by 1914 she had made her Broadway debut in the play A pair of Sixes. In 1905 she married Eugene J. Hall and the couple had one daughter. She switched to a movie career in 1930 appearing in  the move The Bat Whispers.  She would, in her career, over the next 21 years appear in more than 100 movies. She retired from acting in 1951. (2021)

Lily Evangeline

Born August 3, 1979, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. Since she was a teenager she has been an active volunteer. She was ‘discovered’ by the Ford Modeling Agency. She decided not to pursue a career as a model but worked with the Ford agency to earn funds to attend the University of British Columbia. In addition to help pay for university she worked as an extra on film sets. In 2003 she married but the marriage was ended the following year. In 2004 she stared on the Television series Lost and was voted one of the breakout stars by Entertainment Weekly Magazine. In 2005 she was names second on the Hot 100 of the Year. Returning to modeling she earned a position of Super Model with L’Oreal starting in 2009. In 2011 she gave birth to a son with her boyfriend Norman Kali. A second  son was born in 2015.In 2012 she appeared in the movie The Hobbit learning sword play and archery for her role. Lily has also appeared in superheroe films such as Wasp and Ant-man. She is the author of the ongoing children's series: The Squickerwonkers (2013-   ) with planned two nine-book series. (2021)

Eva Maud Farrance SEE - Mabel Barrison
Margot Finlay

Born January 30, 1980. Born in London she moved to Vancouver in 1989 and studied with the Vancouver Youth Theatre. She has acted in numerous films including: Misery Harbor, Opposite Sex, In Cold Blood, and The Adventures of Yellow Dog. 

Marie Gignac

Born Quebec City, Quebec. Marie had it seems always wanted to act even when she was still a child but put aside her dreams and ambitions to concentrate on school. She studied at Laval University. In her 20s and in university the urge to perform returned, specifically to work on the stage. Marie is a two-time Genie Award–nominated actress. Gignac has been nominated twice in the category of Best Supporting Actress each for The Confessional (Le Confessional) in 1995 and La Vie secrète des gens heureux in 2006. In 2011, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada "for her contributions to the performing arts as an actress, director, playwright and artistic director of Québec’s Carrefour international de théâtre. She has also been nominated for the Prix de l’institut canadien de Quebec. Marie has served as co-artistic director of the Carrefour International de théâtre de Québec. (2017)

Joanna Gleason

née Halprin. Born June 2, 1950, Winnipeg Manitoba. As a daughter of TV game show host Monty Hall (1921-2017)she was exposed to a TV life. She first received a taste of TV work as a child in repeat appearances in the TV series Different Strokes. She took time to study at the University of Manitoba and then acted on Broadway where she received a Tony Award as best actress in a musical. Her main exposure is still TV with numerous appearances on programs such as Friends and West Wing most recently. Movies are also a form of work she enjoys. She first married to Paul G. Gleason, an acting coach,  in 1975 and the couple had one son before becoming divorced in 1982. From 1984 through 1990 she was married to Michael Bennahum.  In 1994 she married Chris Sarandon. Check out I M D B for a listing of her movies, television appearances and work in theatre. (2021)

Lorna 'Nonnie' Margaret Jean Griffin 4102

Born October 20, 1933, Toronto, Ontario. Died June 7, 2019, Toronto, Ontario. Nonnie studied at the Toronto Conservatory of Music and at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England. In 1956 she played Diana Barry in the first TV production of Anne of Green Gables. She became a veteran on stage. At 16 she performed at the Red Barn Theatre in Jackson's Point, Ontario and at 18 she was appearing with the Canadian Repertory Theatre in Ottawa. She was known for her ability with accents and ability to play deferent ages and styles which allowed her to have an career on radio and television in the 1950's and 1960's.  She was a welcome guest on many television series including Kung FU: The Legend Continues, King of Kensington, Robo Cop: the Series, and Street Legal. She also did voice work in the 1980's Care Bears Movie ll as Funshine Bear, in the Raccoons and in 2012 she was heard in Wild Life, a film nominated for Best Animated Short at the 2012 Academy Awards. However, it seemed that live stage was her first love and in 1998 she returned to play at the Red Barn Theatre once again. She was the author of the one person play Sister Annunciata's Secret in which she played six different characters in 2012 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Hamilton Fringe Festival in Ontario. The one woman play Marilyn-After is another one woman play that sees Marilyn Monroe come back to life fifty years after her death was part of her career at the SpringWorks Festival, Stratford, Ontario in 2014 and then toured going to United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City, U.S.A. in 2015. When she died at 85 she was in rehearsals for a new solo show about Margaret Mitchell of Gone With the Wind fame. (2022)

Linda Pauline Griffiths

Born October 7, 1953, Montreal, Quebec. Died September 21, 2014, Toronto, Ontario. As a youth Linda did puppet shows for her brother and in High School participated in the Drama Club. She attended Dawson College in Montreal and was accepted into the National Theatre School’s acting program. She dropped out and felt she had failed and obtained a teaching certificate at McGill University instead of acting. However she decided to give acting another try. She relocated to Saskatchewan in 1973 and helped to found the 25th Street Theater. It was here that she began to write and create plays. Back east in Montreal near the end of the 1970’s she played the personality of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. In 1980 her play Maggie and Pierre became an instant hit and eventually she was doing a cross country tour with the play. She would go on to create additional plays and give memorable performances on stage. Source: J. Kelly Nestruck Leading Lady liked to showcase outsiders, Globe and Mail October 4, 2014. (2021)

Tammy Grimes

Born January 30, 1934, Lynn, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Died October 30, 2016, Englewood New Jersey, U.S.A. Tammy graduated from Stephens College in Missouri. She worked for West Port County Playhouse in Connecticut. In 1955 she saw a young Canadian actor, Christopher Plumber in a Broadway comedy and fell in love. They  married in 1956. By 1958 she was on stage at the Stratford Theatre, Ontario with her husband Christopher Plumber. The couple had one daughter, Amanda who is also an actress. Sadly they were divorced in 1960. In 1964 she stared in High Spirits with the incomparable Canadian Beatrice Lilly (1894-1989). At 26 she was the winner of her 1st Tony Award for her role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown By 1969 she had a 2nd Tony Award for her role in the Noel Coward play Private Lives. In 1966  she married actor Jeremy Slate and was divorced a year later. Her 3rd marriage was in 1971 to musician and composer Richard Bell (  -2005). Source: Anita Gates, Obituary, Globe and Mail November 3, 2016. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2021)

Idris Galcia Hall SEE - Aloha Wanderwell Baker
Ellen June Evangeline Havoc

née Hovick. Born November 8, 1912, (also reported as 1913 and 1916). Vancouver, British Columbia  Died March 28, 2010, Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. The family relocated to Seattle, Washington , U.S.A. when June was an infant. Her mother wanted stardom for June and her older sister Louise (who would become known professionally as Gypsy Rose Lee (1911-1970) ). June was featured on Vaudeville as Baby June Image result for June Havoc imagesand her Farmboys and the act continued into the 1920's when her name 'Dainty June". Her mother forged the girl's birth certificates to keep them working as young 'children'. June, who could not speak until she was three, also appeared in some silent movies. June resented Vaudeville and at 13/16 she married Bobbie Reed, real name Weldon Hyde, in 1928. He was one of the boys in the chorus line to escape. The couple had one daughter before the marriage dissolved. June's mother, Rose Thompson Horvick, simply regrouped her energies around her older daughter, Louise. Although her marriage did not last she gathered her talents and enjoyed life. In 1935 she Donald Staley Gibbs and the marriage lasted seven years. In 1936 she had her 1st acting break on Broadway. In the 1940's she moved to Hollywood, California, U.S.A. In 1948 she married for the last time to an American writer, producer, and director for TV and radio, William Hannan Spier (1906-1973), with whom she remained until his death. June would remain on the edge of the industry. She would have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  and was nominated for her work as a director on Broadway in 1964. June would write two memoirs Early Havoc and More Havoc. In the 1960's through 1990 she appeared in numerous roles in various popular TV shows shuch as The Outer Limits, Murder She Wrote, and General Hospital. In the 1970's she worked to restored an abandoned train depot in Wilton, Connecticut. The restored area still houses artisan ships, galleries, and food outlets popular with modern tourists. In 2000 she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. In 2003 the June Havoc Theatre in New York City was named in her honour. (2021)

Jane Watson Heffelfinger

née Sayler. Born Fargo, North Dakota, U.S.A. Died June 22, 2011, Victoria, British Columbia. Jane graduated from the University of Minnesota, U.S.A. She would later enroll in special studies at the University of Manitoba and the University of Victoria in British Columbia. She also attended Université Laval, Quebec and studied at L’Alliance française in Paris, France. In 1951 she moved to Winnipeg with her husband George. The couple had five children. She began her career as a puppeteer and producer with the Winnipeg Children’s Theatre and went on to act on stage at the Manitoba Theatre Centre and for many ears she was an actor and broadcaster on the CBC Radio and Television in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1958 she was known for her role in the Bird in a Gilded Cage a made for TV movie. She was enthusiastic about her adopted country and ran twice for political office. She shared her passions for the Pacific Opera in Victoria and charity work with the Greater Victoria Hospital foundation. She was a member of the University of Victoria Foundation Board and was a member of the Television Association Board of the Public Broadcasting Station K C T V in Seattle Washington, U.S.A. In 1992 she received the Confederation Medal marking the 125th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. She also received a Certificate of Merit Award from the McPherson Foundation and was named Arts leader of the Year in 1989 from C F A X Community Awards. (2021)

Martha Kathleen Henry

née Buhs. Born February 17, 1938, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.  Died October 21, 2021, Stratford, Ontario. Martha adopted the legal surname of her 1st husband Donnelly Rhodes. She graduated from the National Theatre School, Montreal, Quebec and as one of Canada’s leading actresses she has long been associated with the Stratford Festival in Ontario. From 1962 to 1965 she was married to Donnelly Rhodes Henry (1937-2018), a fellow actor know as Donnelly Rhodes. In 1968 she married actor Douglas Rain (1928-2018) and the couple had one daughter. She worked as artistic director of the Grand Theatre, London, Ontario from 1988 through 1994. In 1993 she starred in the film Mustard Bath which was filmed in Guyana, South America. It was in this film that she earned her 1st Genie Award as best supporting actress. She went on to win Genie Awards for her work in films in , 1984, 1994, and 1996. She has also earned Gemini Awards for her work in TV. She has received the Order of Ontario in 1994 and promoted to Companion in the Order of Canada 1990. She received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for lifetime contribution to Canadian Theatre in 1996. In 2007 she was appointed director of Stratford's Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training. (2021)

Victoria Hopper

Born May 24, 1909, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died January 22, 2007, Romney Marsh, Kent, England. In 1922 Victoria immigrated to England with her family. In the 1930’s she appeared on stage and was mentored by actor, director and producer Basil Dean (1888-1978). She Married Basil Dean in August 1934 and continued with her successful career. She was a popular actor on stage and in film. She appeared in a dozen films between 1933 and 1948. She had the leading role in the film Lorna Doone in 1934 and again leading role in Laburnum Grove in 1936. Her career became somewhat stalemated after her divorce in 1948. She did some made for television movies in 1950’s but was largely ignored as an actress. In 1951 she married actor Peter Walker (1915-1993). In the last years of her life she lived as a recluse. (2021)

Kate M. Horn See - Kate M. Horn Buckland
Kathleen Howard

Born July 27, 1884, Clifton Hill, Ontario. Died April 15, 1956, Hollywood, California, U.S.A. In 1906 she began a caree in opera in Germany. She performed in Berlin for eitht years and in concerts in Belgium, Holland, Scandinavia, and England. In 1913 she went to the United States and by 1916 saw with the Metropolitan Opera of New York. In 1918 she became fashion editor for Harper's Bazaar magazine and also served as president of Fashion Group International. She would resign her position to begin a career as an actor. In 1934 she debuted in Death Takes a Holiday.  and made two additional movies that same year. In 1935 she appeared in Man on the Flying Trapeze with the famous W. C. Fields. By 1951 she had appeared in over 50 movies. Source: Northern Stars online (accessed 1999)

Juliette Huot

Born January 9, 1912, Montreal, Quebec. Died March 16, 2001, Brossard, Quebec. Juliette began her career as an actor in the 1930's appearing on stage and in radio productions. In 1950's came television and she appeared in the original show The Plouffe Family/La famille Plouffe and 14,Rue de Galais. She also appeared in French language films such as Amanita Pestilens and Je suis loin de toi mignonne (Far from you sweetheart). In the 1960's she took on the television role of a chef, the first on the magazine show Le 5 AA 6 and then she was the host of her own show Les racettes de Juliette. In 1987 she was awarded the Order National du Québec. (2021)

Frances Hyland  3993

Born April 25, 1927, Shaunavon, Saskatchewan. Died June 11, 2004, Toronto, Ontario. After her parents divorced when was still and infant Frances was raised in Ogema, Saskatchewan. and when she was seven she was in Regina. In 1948 she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Saskatchewan. Earning a scholarship she went on to graduate from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, England. She made her stage debut in London in 1950. In 1954 she married fellow actor George McCowan but they separated a few yeas later. She performed in 1954 at the famous Stratford Festival in Ontario and returned for ten seasons of the Festival. She also appeared in eight films and appeared in over fifty television shows many of which were recurring roles in such shows as The Albertans and the series Road to Avonlea. In 1970 she was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1994 she received the Governor General's Award for the Performing Arts for her lifetime contribution to Canadian theatre. Her last television role was in 1996 in the TV film Moonlight Becomes you. (2022)

May Irwin

Georgina May Campbell

(Real name Georgina May Campbell) Born June 27, 1862 Whitby, Ontario. Died October 22, 1938. As early as 1872 she and her sister Flora were singing on stage. Once the sister act split up, May would go on and become a well known Broadway performer. Her movie career was short but historically significant. Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, placed May in the staring role in his pioneering one minute moving picture called The Kiss. It was the first kiss of the movies!!! It was considered scandalous by early movie audiences and the clergy! It is considered to be the first moving picture to ever be shown in Canada! May would make only one other movie Mrs. Black is Back before she retired to live with her husband and two children. She is also credited with having named the famous Thousand Island Salad Dressing. She and her family owned a vacation home in the 1000 islands. (2021)

Margo Gwendolyn Kane

Born August 21, 1951, Edmonton, Alberta. As a child she was the only First Nations child adopted into a white working class home which left her having and identity crisis. She studied acting, voice, and dance at Grant McEwan College, Edmonton, the Banff Centre, Alberta, and the Square Theatre, New York City, New York, U.S.A. She is considered the ‘Mother of Canada in a native performance arts’. In 1992 she founded and served as artistic director of Full Circle: First Nations Performance in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her performances blend storytelling, song, dance, poetry and often the latest hint of technology. She is known for her one-woman show Moonlodge which premiered in 1990 and has toured Australia in 1997. In 1991 she received a Canadian Achievement Award from the National Capital Commission in Ottawa. (2021)

Ethel Ruby Keeler

Born August 25, 1909, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Died February 28, 1993,.When Ruby was just three the family relocated to New York City, U.S.A. As a child at primary school she was able to take dance lessons one a wee from a visiting dance instructor. The teacher was so interested that she gave Ruby free lessons at her studio. At thirteen she auditioned for a chorus line by lying about her age. In 1923 she was working on stage for forty-five dollars a week to help her family. She would work her way in the entertainment world even working for the famous Ziegfeld Follies. A former speakeasy dancer and Broadway lead, she married musical star Al Jolson in 1928. Ruby was picked up with a contract at the Warner Brothers Studio. After several films she retired from the screen in 1941. She charmed audiences again in 1971 with a return to Broadway in the reprised musical No No Nanette for two seasons plus two seasons of tours. In 1974 Ruby survived a brain aneurysm and became spokesperson for the National Stroke Association. She always contended that she had a horrible singing voice, could not act, and that her dancing skills were not that good either. (2019)

Barbara Kent

née Cloutman. Born December 16, 1907, Gadsby, Alberta. Died October 13, 2011, Palm Desert, California, U.S.A. Barbara and her family moved to California when she was a teenager. In 1925 she won the Miss Hollywood Beauty pageant. Described as gorgeous , full-figured, and baby faced, and even though she had never acted previously, she was signed up by Universal Studios. Her debut was as the only woman in the western Prowlers of the Night, batting her eyelashes as she nursed the wounded sheriff back to health. In the landmark 1926 film Flesh and the Devil, opposite Greta Garbo, the lovelorn Kent displayed her broken heart in an Oscar-worthy supporting performance. She starred in Lonesome , the last great silent American film in 1928.   Kent's natural voice was a bit too “tinny” and her career in the  talkies was in doubt. Determined she took voice lessons. Her career peaked when she played superstar Harold Lloyd's love interest in his first two talkies, Welcome Danger and Feet First. In 1932 she married  Harry Edington, a longtime Hollywood producer He tried to revive his wife’s career in the late 1930s, but her roles became smaller and films less prestigious. Her last film was Guard That Girl in 1935.  After her husband died in 1949, Barbara retired from  show business retreating from public view and refusing all demands for photographs and interviews.  She married a second time to engineer Jack Monroe who died in 1998. She had been living in a retirement home in Sun Valley, where  neighbors were unaware she had once graced the silver screen.  At the age of 103 she was one of the last surviving silent screen actors. Sources: Bergan, Ronald “Alberta –born silent film star transitioned to talkies, then retired”  The Globe and Mail October 31, 2011 page R9 (accessed November 2011. )  Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa. (2021)

Florence Annie Bridgewood Lawrence

Born January 1 1890, Hamilton, Ontario. Died December 28, 1938, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.A. . This petite Canadian born actress is universally acknowledged as the world’s first movie star. At age 4 she was performing as “Baby Flo, the Wonder Whistler” on vaudeville. In the pioneer days of filmmaking, credits with the names of actors were not important. She became known simply as the "Biograph Girl". In 1915 she tried to help someone in a studio fire and was badly burned.  She never achieved her former active career. By the time of her death she had appeared in 250 films! For more information read Florence Lawrence, the Biograph Girl : America's First Movie Star by Kelly R Brown (McFarland, 1999). (2021)

Viola Léger See Politicians - Senator Viola Léger
Carla Lehmann

Born February 29, 1917, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died December 1 1990, Berkshire, England. Carla appeared in little theatre productions from the time she was 15 years old. She trained to be an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London, England and joined the Croydon Repertory Company. In 1941 she Married George Anderson McDowell Elliot but the marriage ended in di During World War ll she stared in war films with American male counterparts. In 1947 she married John R. Townsend and the couple had three sons.  In 1952 she played in the BBC TV series The Three Hostages. (2021)

Jane Mallett  3978

Born Jean Dawson Keenleyside, Born April 17, 1899, London, Ontario. Died April 14, 1984, Toronto, Ontario, Jane was performing at the University of Toronto's Hart House Theatre when she was an undergraduate at Victoria College at the University. In 1921 she was on stage at Upper Canada College, Toronto. In 1926 she married a chemistry teacher from Upper Canada College Frederick Mallett. She would continue to appear on stage in the 1930's , 40's and 50's and was an well known comic talent. Jane worked on CBC Radio in the 1940's through to the 1970's and was known for her ability to portray different voices for different characters in the same show! She is best remembered for the radio comedy series Travels with Aunt Jane. In 1977 a television was created for Aunt Jane but was never picked up. Jane is also well known for her stage work which included performances at the famous Shaw Festival and the Stratford Festival. Form 1967 through to 1983 she worked in ten films. In 1975 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada. In 1976 she earned the John Drainie Award from Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (A C T R A) for her significant contribution to broadcasting in Canada. She earned the title of 'Godmother of Canadian Performers' with her creation of the Actor's Fund of Canada which helps those in need in theatre work. In 1984 the Jean Mallett Theatre was named in her honour at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto. Source: Nothernstars online (accessed 2022)

Marie Lise Monique Mercure

née Emond. Born November 14, 1930, Montreal, Quebec. Died May 16, 2020, Montreal, Quebec This actress who  headed up the National Theatre School has acted the classics but also retained an active interest in new works of our writers and directors. In 1949 she married Pierre Mercure and the  couple had three children. She has won the Palm d’Or for Best Actress at the world famous European Cannes Film Festival in 1977. In 1983 she won a Genie for Best Supporting Actress in Beyond Forty and she earned a second  Genie again for her role in Naked Lunch in 1992. Her third Genie was earned in 1999 as Best Supporting Actress in Conquest. She is an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1979 and was promoted to Companion of the Order in 1993. She has received the Governor General's Award for Lifetime achievement and in 2006 she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. (2019)

Clara Morris

née La Montagne. Born March 17, 1848, Toronto, Ontario. Died November 20, 1925 New Canaan, Connecticut, U.S.A. When she was just three Clara moved with her mother to Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. where the mother adopted her mother's name, Morrison.  Her stage name was Clara Morris and she was known as the “Queen of the Melodrama”. Clara began her stage career at 13 in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. In 1870 she relocated to New York City, U.S.A. and soon became a member of the Augustin Daly's company working there for nine years. November 30, 1874 she married Frederick C. Harriot (died1914). 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. By 1910 she was blind and living in poverty. There is a plaque on the grounds of Cleveland Public Library marking the location of the home of her youth. (2021)

Claire 'Clairette' Françoise Oddera

Born April 3, 1919, Marseille, France. Died October 28, 2008, Montreal, Quebec.  At 20 she was working as a waitress at a local French film studio shen she got her firs film role in La fille du puisatier in 1939. She would so work as a singer on radio. During World War ll she mad movies and toured France with stage and variety shows. She visited Quebec for the 1st time in 1949. Married in 1940 the marriage only lasted a few years. In 1956 she immigrated to Quebec. Here she opened Chez Clairette offering young French Canadian talents such as Robert Charlebois a chance to perform. She closed and reopened again in a different area of Montreal and this time she remained open for a decade. She performed at at Chez Clairette and from time to time had roles on local TV series. She would also open an academy for singers. She was inducted into the National Order of Quebec in 2002 and as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2003. Her final public appearance was in June 2008. (2019)

Louise Olson   3785

née Downing ? Born 1903?, England. Died August 19, 1998, Toronto. Ontario. While still a child the Dowling family immigrated to Canada ans settled in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Louise attended the Regina Normal School (teachers' college) and taught in the early 1920's in Moose Jaw.  She married Carl Olson and the couple had three children in Saskatoon  Interested in drams she joined the Saskatoon Little Theatre Club and was known to have participated in some 30 productions and served as club president. She was an adjudicator for high school drama about the province from 1933 through 1957. She served as director and producer of the Quota Club Children's Theatre for two seasons at the end of World War ll in 1945. From 1949 through 1956 she was the drama chair for the Saskatchewan Arts Board and took part in various Saskatoon radio productions. After the  theatre club disbanded she founded in 1952 the Saskatoon Community Players where she again served as president for four years. IN 1955 she took a business course and began teaching at the Saskatoon Business College. She retired around 1973. Source: Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan online (accessed 2022)

Rose Alma Ouellette       3449

Born August 25, 1903, Montreal, Quebec. Died September 14, 1996, Montreal, Quebec. When Rose was just twelve she won several local singing and theatre contests. At 19 she was on stage in Montreal theatres. She became a duo act with Olivier Guimond Sr. and they became popular province wide. At first she called herself 'Casserole'  but then became 'La Poune'. She became a leading figure in the burlesque and vaudeville productions of the Montreal théâtre. From 1936 through 1953 she was in charge of the Théâtre National.  In 1958 she began a career in cabaret which lasted over two decades. In the 1960's and 1970's she worked at the Théâtre des varietes of Montreal and beginning to appear on television. In 1985 she won, by popular vote, the Rose d'or. That same year she published Comment atteindre le bel age en grand forme. In 1990 she was inducted into L'Ordre national du Québec. In 1991 she earned the Prix Victor du festival just pour rire pour l'ensemble de sa Carriére. Source: Hommage à 56 femmes d'exception qui ont changé le Québec. Editions spéciale 7jours. 2021.

Mercedes Palomino

Born February 2, 1913, Barcelona, Spain. Died April 18, 2006, Montreal, Quebec. When she was just five her family relocated to Argentina. IN Argentina she studied at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts. She worked as a journalist and broadcaster. In the 1940's she was acting in Chile and then she worked as head of the theatre section of Radio-Lima, Peru. By 1946 she was working with Columbia Broadcasting Services radio in New York City. Next she was off to Paris France as a reporter for La Prensa. By 1948 she was working in Montreal, Quebec where she founded the Théâtre du Rideau Vert where she served as Chief Administrator until her death.  From 1953 to 1965 she was the producer of Spanish Services at Radio Canada International. From 1971 to 1985, she was president of the Association des Directeurs de Théâtre and, from 1986 to 2003, she was President of the Théâtres associés. In 1983 she became a member of the Order of Canada . In 1991 she earned the Prix Victor-Morin from Societé Saint-Jean Baptiste followed the next year with the Gascon -Thomas Award from L'Ecole nationale de Théâtre. In 1994 she earned a lifetime achievement award from the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards and was named to the Ordre National du Québec. (2019)

Minou Petrowski SEE - Writers - Journalists & Broadcasters
Daphne Katherine 'Kate' Reid

Born November 4, 1930, London, England.  Died March 27, 1993, Stratford, Ontario. As a child she immigrated with her family to Canada settling in Oakville, Ontario. After high school she attended University in London and the studied acting at a performance art school in Canada. This warm and vulnerable performer thrived while working live theatre. She is well known for her role as Lady MacBeth in Macbeth and Katharina in the Taming of the Shrew and Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe on stage. She has also appeared in some 50 movies from the 1960's through the 1980's.  did numerous television productions. She was nominated for Tony and Emmy Awards and holds many Canadian awards including an A C T R A. In 1974 she was inducted as an Officer in the Order of Canada. (2021)

Marigold 'Goldie' Semple

Born December 11, 1952, Richmond, British Columbia. Died December 9, 2009, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario. She studied at the University of British Columbia where she met her husband, Lorne Kennedy. The couple had one daughter. The young couple continued their studies and began their career at the Bristol, England, Old Vic Theater. After traveling to gain roles the couple settled in Ontario where Goldie honed her craft and gained a solid reputation garnering lead stage roles at Stratford Festival and the Shaw Festival. She combined unequalled grace beauty and elegance on stage. Although diagnosed with cancer she continued on stage. Her last performance was in a Noel Coward play,  Brief Encounters in 2009. Source: Goldie Semple by Richard Ouzounian, The Toronto Star December 9, 2009 online (accessed August 2011.)  (2021)

Jean Roberts

Born 1926,  Perth, Scotland. Died December 12, 2012, France. She studied in Belgium and at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1949 she joined what is now the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford on Avon, England working on stage set up and earning promotions to the level of assistant director. In Canada she worked at the Crest Theatre, Toronto, and the Red Barn Summer Theatre at Jackson Point, Ontario. In Ottawa she established the theatre section at the National Arts Centre where she worked from 1971-1977. At the NAC she preferred not to import talent but rather use our own Canadian talent. She became Director of Theatre and Artistic Director of English Theatre at the NAC before moving to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to develop and produce television drama. She also taught directing and production of plays as a freelancer. She received the Maggie Basset Award and the Toronto Theatre Alliance Award in 1984. In the mid 1990’s she retired to France. She was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2006. Upon her death the flags at the NAC were flown at half staff in her honour. Source: Jean Roberts by Kate Taylor, the Globe and Mail January 2, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario (2021)

Anna Claudia Russell

Born December 27, 1911, London, England. Died October 18, 2006, Rosedale, New South Wales, Australia. Her mother was Canadian and in 1939, after the death of her father the family settled in Toronto. Anna married twice: John Denison from 1934- 1946 and Charles Goldhamer 1948-1954 but sadly both marriages ended in divorce. Although she had appeared as a fold singer on the British Broadcasting Network in England in 1931 it was not until the family was in Canada that she found success. By 1940 she was successful on stage as a solo artist. Her one woman comedy show debuted in New York City in 1948 and there as a U.S., Britain and Australian tour that would be one of many English Language country tours. By 1953 “Anna Russell’s Little Show” was on Broadway, the 1st of several Broadway shows. She also appeared on the Ed Sullivan television show, performed at Carnegie Hall as well as for the Canadian and Metropolitan Opera Companies. Her operatic parodies were famous. Some even said she was the funniest woman in the world. In the 1960’s she retired to Unionville, Ontario , living on a street names in her honour. In the next 2 decades she would come back to the stage in several farewell tours to satisfy public demand. In 1985 her auto biography was published under the title;  I didn’t make this up you know. She spent the last years of her life in Australia. Source: Obituary  by Patrick O’Connor, The Guardian, October 24, 2006   (2021)

Helen Nell Shipman

née Foster-Barham.  Born October 25, 1882, Victoria, British Columbia. Died January 23, 1970, Cabazon, California, U.S.A.  When she was 13 her family relocated to Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. Prior to being in films Ness worked in theatrical stock companies working on stage. In 1910 she married silent fImage result for Nell shipman imagesilm producer Ernest Shipman (1871-1931). The couple moved to Hollywood  and raised one son.  Nell was became a pioneer in early Hollywood. She was one of the 1st women in the world to direct her own films and she even established her own production company. She was one of the 1st directors to shoot her films almost entirely on location. In 1919 she and Ernest  had a successful Canadian silent film entitled Back to God's Country in which she debuted and performed one of the 1st nude scenes in film. Filmed on location in Alberta, Nell swam in frigid water during some of the film. She began an affair with co-star Bert Van Tuyle (1878-1951) and she divorced Shipman. Nell loved animals and spoke out against animal cruelty in Hollywood. She rescued animals and developed her own zoo containing more than 200 animals. The couple created Nell Shipman Productions focusing on major themes with wild animal, feminist heroes and filming on location. by 1924 the production company had financial problems and she broke up with Bert Van Tuyle who had become unstable and killed many of her animals.   In 1925 she married Charles H. Austin Ayers (1889-1964) and the couple had twin daughters.  Nell's last major project was her autobiography, The Silent Screen and My Talking Heart which was published posthumously. (2019)

Margaret Ruth Springford 3992

Born 1921, Toronto, Ontario. Died November 20, 2010, Etobicoke, Toronto. Ruth had a long career in radio, stage, film and television. Ruth began her acting career in 1961 and appeared in films for 20 years. She acted on stage at the Crest Theatre and the Royal Theatre. She received the John Drainie Award for her significant contribution to broadcasting in Canada. From the Alliance of Canadian Cinema she olds a coveted Andrew Allan Award.  Award. She also worked in films in Hollywood, California and In New Zealand. She also holds a Dora Mavor Award from the Toronto Alliance for the Performing arts which recognizes theatre, dance and opera productions in Toronto. Source: Obituary online (accessed 2022)

Mary June Storey  3935

Born April 20, 1918, Toronto, Ontario. Died December 18, 1991, Alta Vista, California, U.S.A. June's family relocated to Tyler Lake, Connecticut, U.S.A. when she was just five years old. The family moved again to Long Ilsand, New York and by 1930 they were living in Southern California, U.S.A. As a teen she acted with the Laguna Beach Little Theatre. She auditioned and was picked up by Fox Film Studio. She then took acting and dancing lessons while being part of the Fox training school for young actors.  In 1934 she made her first screen appearance in the movie Student Tour. All in all she would appear in 45 films in the 1930's and 1940's for Fox ant Republic Pictures where she played opposite the cowboy star Gene Autrey (1907-1998). In 1947 she married a businessman, Fred Bohing, and the couple had one son. After her divorce she married a second time to Nick Ostreyko. and they had a daughter. Her last role was in the Movie Miss Mink in 1949. Leaving films after a serious auto accident she worked as a nurse in a doctor's office and then in a nursing home. Inspired by her work she earned and nursing degree and worked as a private nurse. In 1979 she married for a third time to Lincoln Clark. (2022)

Janine Sutto          3444

née Mamert. Born April 20, 1921, Paris, France. Died March 28, 2017, Montreal, Quebec. Janine immigrated to Montreal, Quebec with her family in 1930. At 14 she began acting in radio dramas. In 1943 she was a founding member of Théâtre de L'Equipe troupe and through the early 1950's worked with Théâtre de nouveau Monde. She would go on to make over 100 roles in theatre, as well as 75 film and television appearances. She was the mother of two children. In 1986 she became an Officer in the Order of Canada and this was advanced to Companion in 1991. In 1998 she was inducted into the L'Ordre nationale du Québec. Her son-in-law, Jean-François Lépine published her biography, Vivre avec le destin / Living With Destiny in 2010. In 2014 she received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement for her contribution to Canadian theatre. Source: Hommage AA 56 femmes d'exception qui ont changé le Quebec. Editions spéciale 7 jours. 2021.

Eva Tanguay

Born August 1, 1879 * Marbleton, Quebec  Died January 11, 1947, Hollywood, California, U.S.A. Eva began her career on stage at the age of 8. Her true medium was vaudeville and musical comedy. She would become known as the "I don't care girl" after a song "I don't care what happens to me" that she sang in a show called the Chaperons in 1904. In 1912 she was one of the most highly paid women actors in the United States. She made a couple of musical recordings and was the star of two movies Energetic Eva (1916) and The Wild Girl (1918). In 1929 she suffered from ill health and was losing her eyesight forcing her to retire from acting in 1930. In 1953 a movie The I don't care girl was loosely based on her life and career. Evidently her ghost spends time just off stage left in the centre of balcony row at Cohoes Theatre in Albany New York, U.S.A. * Her birth year is sometimes reported as 1878 (2021)

Marie Rose Yvette Thuot

Born October 13, 1918, Iberville, Quebec. Died December 5, 2021. After studying dramatic arts in France and in Quebec Yvette began her acting career in the lat 1940's appearing in the film Maternité in 1947 and in 1949 on stage with Les Compagnons de Saint-Laurant. She then spent 20 years living in France. Yvette did not return to the North American screen again until the early 1970's. with her last film being Lawrence Anyways in 2012 when she was 94. . From the 1960's through to 2012 she she appeared on more then 20 television shows many with recurring roles. On stage in the 1980's, 1990's and in the early 2000's she worked with various artistic groups including Théâtres du Rideau Vert, Centre National des arts, Théâtre St.-Mathieu de Beloeil, Théâtres du Rire and Theatre du Nouveau Monde. Source: Northernstars online (accessed 2022)

Aloha Wanderwell - Baker    

née Idris Galcia Hall. Born October 13 1906 (sometimes reported 1908) Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died June 3, 1996, Newport, New Jersey, U.S.A. Her father was killed in action during World War l and she moved with her mother and sister to France. In 1922 she joined the Wanderwell Expedition, a travelogue company as a secretary. Here she also participated in production and acted in four travelogue films. The company traveled to China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Palestine, Soviet Union, Turkey and Yemen. In December 1924 they landed in the U.S.A. On April 5, 1925 she married Walter Wanderwell (d 1032) in Riverside, California, U.S.A. The couple had 2 children. By 1926 they were off on a new expedition to South Africa and South America. Widowed Aloha Married Walter Baker on December 26, 1933 and the couple continued to work on travelogues . Her final films were produced in the 1950's. In 1982 she gave her last public performance as a travel lecturer at the Natural History Museum, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. (2021)

Actors - TV and Movies      Return to categories
Susan Aceron - Gray  3812

Born July 6, 1972, Tisdale, Saskatchewan. Died October 9, 2016, Edmonton, Alberta.. Susan was a Canadian actor and businesswoman of Asian descent who appeared in several film and television roles. She was perhaps best remembered for voicing Sailor Pluto in the English adaptation of Sailor Moon. She was the announcer on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids tv show. She also voiced a number of roles in Beyblades. She married Jundee Grey in the summer of 1996 and the couple had three children.  Source: I M D B online (accessed 2022)

Sharon Acker

Born April 2, 1935, Toronto, Ontario. Died March 16, 2023, Ontario.An actor in movies and television her career spans from the 1950"s through to the late 1980's. A supporting actress she has appeared in such TV shows as Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Cannon, McMillan and Wife, Barnaby Jones, The Rockford Files, Quincy and Murder She Wrote. She also played Della Street in the TV Movie The New Perry Mason.

Claire Adams 3988

née Beryl Vere Nassau Adams. Born September 24, 1898, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died September 25, 1978, Melbourne, Australia. Claire was educated in Canada, England, and developed acting skills for silent films in Hollywood, California, U.S.A. She began to appear in films in 1912 and completed her career in 1934. In 1924 she married Benjamin B. Hampton who died in 1932. In the 1920 she was making numerous silent films. In 1926 alone she appeared in 10 films! In total she appeared in some 80 films. In 1932 she married Donald Scobie Mackinnon (died 1974.) She would spend the second half of her live in Australia. Some of her photographs are maintained in the Special Collections and Archives ot the University of California Irving Libraries.

Frances Bay

Born January 1, 1918, Dauphin, Manitoba. Died September 15, 2011, Tarzana, California, U.S.A. Frances was a young stage actress in Winnipeg and during World War ll she hosted CBC Radio's weekly Everybody's Program for the Canadian Troops. This radio stint earned her the title "Girlfriend of the Canadian Forces". After the war she and her husband Charles lived in New York an Boston where she did more stage work. The couple had one son who committed suicide when her was 23. It was not until she was 60 did Frances find herself immersed in the world of TV and movies. In 1978 she played a small part in the movie Foul Play and both she and the industry became ‘hooked’ on each other. She would go on to become “Hollywood’s Granny” in such movies as The Karate Kid, Twins, Little Red Riding Hood (Faerie Tale Theatre) and Happy Gilmore with Adam Sandler. Her TV Granny appearances were also numerous and included Happy Days, Hill Street Blues, Touched by an Angel and The Golden Girls. In total she has played in over 140 roles. She has also played roles both on and off Broadway stage and regional theatre. Her work has won her 2 Drama Lodge Awards and a Gemini Award for her role in Road to Avonlea. In 2002, as the result of an auto accident, she had to have part of a leg amputated. That same year she suffered the death of her husband Charles. Once recovered and walking with an artificial leg she is back at work and in 2008 she had a star placed on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto. Source: Online Canada’s Walk of Fame ( accessed July 2008) ; Obituaries. Globe and Mail September 23, 2011 (2021)

Kirsten Johanne Alice Bishopric

Born September 1963, Montreal Quebec. Died  April 15, 2014, Toronto, Ontario. As a youth Kirsten and her brother, Thor, both worked as models. At eight she worked on the Kids of Degrassi Street a popular television show. Kirsten made her acting debut on the stage at Stratford Theatre, Ontario. At 11 years of age she had a role in a David Croninburg thriller movie. She studied drama at Dawson College, Montreal and in 1983 she spent a year at Stratford. She had a distinctive voice and had numerous jobs doing voice over animation as well as her screen roles for movies and television. Some of her role credits appear under the name Kirsten Bishop. For 20 years she helped others learn acting  in The Monday Night Group in Toronto. She married but did not use her married name, Roberts, professionally. The couple had two sons. Source: Kirsten Bishopric, A distinctive Voice Silenced Too Soon by Fred Langan. The Globe and Mail June 4, 2014. Suggested by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2021)

Rachel Louise Blanchard

Born March 19, 1976, Toronto, Ontario, She started her career in a McDonald’s commercial! At eight she appeared in The Kids of Degrassi Street a popular television show. She appeared in Are You Afraid of the Dark? before she landed her current role in the series Clueless. Rachel attended Havergal College in Toronto before attending and graduating from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.  In 1993 she received the Young artist Award as an outstanding Performer in a Children's Program. Other movies she has appeared in are Road Trip, Nailed  in 2001 and Wild Dogs in 2002 from 2004 for two years she appeared on the television series 7th Heaven. Through the years she has appeared in numerous television series including in 2014 the series Fargo. She also has appeared in musical video with such artists as Maroon 5. In 2007 she earned a Golden Nymph from The Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo In 2011 she earned a Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Guest Role in a Comedic Series. Rachel is married to composer Jeremy Turner. (2019)

Nanette Bordeaux

Born April 3, 1911, St Georges, Quebec. Died September 20, 1956. Her real name was Helene Olivine Veilleux. She was an actress who is perhaps best remembered for roles she played in a series of movies with the famous Three Stooges in the early 1950's. 

Genevieve Bujold

Born July 1, 1942, Montreal, Quebec. She trained at the Quebec Conservatory of Dramatic Art and began her acting career in French Canadian theater making her debut in 1962. During a trip to Europe she was 'noticed' by French director Alain Resnais who placed her in several of his films. Returning to Canada she married film director Paul Almond in 1967.The couple had one son.  Her husband placed her in three films including Isabel in 1968 and the Act of the Heart in 1970 which won the Canadian Film Award for Best Actress. She has received recognition for her dramatic talents with a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) and an Oscar nomination for the role in Anne of a Thousand Days. released in 1969. In 1973 she again won Best Actress from the Canadian Film Awards for her role in Claude Jutra's Kamouraska. Divorced in 1973 the couple worked again in Final Assignment in 1980 and The Dance Goes On in 1991. She won a Genie Award in 1980 as Best supporting Actress and in 1981 for Performance by an Actress in a leading role which she earned again in 1989, 1994, and1998.  She acted in numerous films in the 1970's and early 1980's with top male stars of Hollywood. After a long departure she returned to Quebec to be in two films by Michael Brault. She has continued to work mainly in independent films. In 2010 she earned the Best Performance by a Female from the Canadian Comedy Awards for The Trotsky. In 2013 The Canadian Screen Awards honoured her with Performance by and Actress in a Leading Role in Still Mine.

Jacqueline 'Jackie' Burroughs 3981

Born February 2, 1939, Southport, England. Died September 22, 2010, Toronto, Ontario. In 1961 she married Zalman Yanovsky co-founder of  musical group The Lovin' Spoonful. The couple had one daughter before they divorced in 1968.Jackie began a career in acting in 1966 and would appear in over 50 films during her career.  In 1969 Jackie earned a Canadian Film Award for Best Actress for the television film Dulcima. In 1976 Jackie began her acting career on stage at the famous Stratford Festival in Ontario with the role of Portia in the Merchant of Venice. She worked in numerous films including The Grey Fox, 1982, The Dead Zone, 1983 and did voice over in the animated anthology Heavy Metal in 1981. In 1985 she appeared in Anne of Green Gables. Later she played Hetty King in the C B C TV series Road to Avonlea in the 1990's. She also played Mother Mucca in the television adaptations of More Tales of the City and Further Tales of the City.  In 1987 she would co-write, produce and direct A Winter Tan. In 2001 she earned the Earle Grey Award for her contributions to arts and entertainment from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. In 2005 she receive the Governor General's Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. In 2006 she was in the Film The Sentinel and also appeared in the TV series Smallville. (2022)

Kathleen 'Kay' Emmett Callard-McNaughton

Born November 10, 1923, Toronto, Ontario. Died March 7, 2008, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England. Most of Kay's professional acting career was in Great Britain.  She first appeared in the Limping Man in 1953. In 1959 Kay married Jack McNaughton (died 1990).  She appeared in some 22 films with her last appearance being in Riders in 1993. She was also a popular performer in British television series in the 1950's and 1960's. Source: IMDB (accessed 2022)

Neve Adrianne Campbell

Born October 3, 1973, Guelph, Ontario. Acting seems to be in the family blood as her grandparents ran and performed in a theatre company in the Netherlands and her father was a high school dram teacher. At six she began taking ballet and later performed  with the National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto. She changed to acting when she was 15 and performed on stage while she was still in high school. In 1991 she appeared in a commercial for Coca-Cola. On television she had roles with The Kids In The Hall, Are you Afraid of the Dark? , and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.  By 1994 she was in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. making a name for herself in acting on television with Party of Five which ran from 1994 to 2000. After the sixth season she wanted the freedom from the TV show to pursue work in movies. Her talents have seen that she has had success appearing in over 30 movies. She earned the Saturn Award for Best Actress in the 1996 film Scream. In 1995 she married Jeff Colt but the marriage ended in 1998.In Scream 2 in 1997 she the MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance. In 1998 she was listed as on of 50 Most Beautiful People by People magazine, as 100 Sexiest Movie Stare by Empire magazine, and was included as one of FHM's sexiest women in the world. She has even played a real princess, Elizabeth Windsor in Churchill: the Hollywood years in 2004. In 2006 she work on stage at the Old Vic Theatre.  She has also written scripts for movies and is a known producer of movies. In 2007 she married Jeff Light but this marriage also ended in divorce in 2011. In 2009 Neve returned to Television staring on NBC's drama series The Philanthropist. She has also been guest star in numerous TV shows. Since 2012 she has been partners with J.J. Field and the couple have one and have adopted a second son. Hers is a career to watch. (2019) 

Rose Marie 'Tantoo' Cardinal

Métis Star

Born July 20, 1950, Fort McMurray, Alberta. The baby Rose Marie was named Tantoo by her grandmother. It was her grandmother to educated her in the Cree language and the traditions of her people. Tantoo has become one of North America’s most widely recognized Métis actors. In 1968 she married Fred Martin and the couple had one son prior to their divorce. She has earned a Grammy award for her work as a guest appearance on the TV program North of 60, one of numerous television shows in which she has appeared. Tantoo had a second son with actor Beaver Richards. In 1988 she married  actor John Lawlor and the couple had a daughter. She has also appeared in numerous films including Dances With Wolves (1990). 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 for Legends of the Fall. In 1991 Maclean’s Magazine declared her Actress of the Year. In 2002 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada 'for her contributions to the growth and development of Aboriginal performing Arts in Canada, as a screen and stage actress, and as a founding member of the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company. Tantoo has her hands in cement on Neka'new'ak: The Aboriginal Walk of Honour, Edmonton, Alberta. On August 3, 2011 she, and fellow Canadian actor Margot Kidder (1948-2018), were arrested with others for protesting the proposed extension of the Keystone Pipeline. In 2017 she received the Earle Grey Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. She played a guest role in the popular Scottish series Outlander in 2018 and continues to appear in popular movie and television productions. In the fall of 2021 she was on of the recipients of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. (2022)

Kim Victoria Cattral

Born August 21, 1956, Mossley Hill, Liverpool, England. She immigrated as an infant with her family to Courtney, British Columbia. At 11 she lived with her grandmother in England and studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Returning to Canada she completed High School and earned a scholarship at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. She made her movie debut with director Otto Premanger in Rosebud in 1975. She then worked in television series including Quincy, Columbo and The Hulk before returning to the movies and live theatre. She has enjoyed stage work in both the U.S.A and in England. She has been married three times: 1977 to Larry Davis; in 1982 to Andre J. Lyson and in 1998 through 2004 to audio designer Mark Levinson. She has earned numerous awards including a Genie Award for best leading lady in 1980, 2 Gemini Awards (2006 and 2010) ad a 2010 Razzie Award with co-stars for worst actresses in Sex in the City 2. On September 9, 2009 she received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto.

Sarah Chalke

Born August 27, 1976, Ottawa, Ontario. Sarah would grow up in Vancouver British Columbia where she worked in musical theatre when she was just 8 years old. . Sarah began professional acting with children's television shows, she got her break in 996 when she became Becky Connor # 2 on Roseanne, the popular television show about the Connor family . She has appeared in movies and television, including Ernest Goes to School;  Beyond Obsession;  Dead Man's Gun; Neon Rider, and for nine years she had a role  on the NBC comedy Scrubs. She took up her role as Becky Connor on the reboot of the Roseanne show in 2018.  When not acting Sarah can be found on the ski slopes where she is a qualified instructor. Sarah and her life partner lawyer Jamie Afifi became parents for the 1st time in may 2016. She is an ambassador for the Audrey Hepburn Children's Foundation and in 2009 was ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Passionately Pink for the Cure program. (2019)

Andrée Champaign SEE - Politicians
Cayle Vivian Chernin 4166

Born December 4 1947, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Died February 18, 2011, Toronto, Ontario. When she was six her family relocated Stephenville, Newfoundland. There were no public schools in the town at the time so these Jewish children attended Catholic School. At twelve the family was living in Toronto where Cayle started acting classes. Cayle began an acting career working the Canadian classic film Goin' Down the Road in 1970. Moving at first to Montreal and then to Los Angeles in California, U.S.A. , she finally settled in Toronto. In 1998 she met her husband, actor Dwight McFee. They married December 19, 1999.  Cayle appeared in TV series like Little Mosque on the Prairie and Queer as Folk and in theatre productions. She went on to have a career as a producer of award winning documentary films. In 2010 she filmed a sequel to Goin' Down the Road called Down the Road Again. The film was released posthumously in October 2011. (2022)

Rae Dawn Chong

Born February 28, 1961, (sometimes reported as 1962), Edmonton, Alberta.  She began her movie career with a movie in which there was no dialogue! Quest for Fire which premiered in 1981. She has appeared in numerous movies including the Color Purple in 1985 and Far Out Man in 1990. She married Owen Bayliss and the couple had one son divorcing in 1982. In 1989 she married actor C. Thomas Howell, a co-star in the movie Soul Man. Divorced she married Nathan Ulrich but again the marriage ended in divorce in 2014.  She also appeared with her father in Cheech & Chong's the Corsican Brothers. Her career to 2013 had spanned roles in some 40 movies. and numerous appearances on TV show including many recurring roles. (2017) 

Katherine 'Kate' Mary Craven Clark          3529

née Hawtrey. Born November 8, 1926, Toronto, Ontario. Died June 11, 2021, Toronto, Ontario. Kate was educated at Trinity College, Toronto. She began acting on stage at Hart House Theatre and then was off to England for a year with the Embassy Theatre, London. In 1956 she married fellow English actor John Clark and in 1959 the couple lived in New York City, U.S.A. . In 1963 their son was born. Sadly the couple divorced in 1967 and Kate returned to Toronto with her son. Here she appeared in numerous film and television productions. In 1980 she was well known when she appeared in the film Funeral Home. She worked well into the 2000's including doing voice for Grandma Bunny on the children's TV show Max and Ruby from 2002 through 2019. (2021)

Suzanne Clouthier  3980

Born July 10, 1923, Ottawa, Ontario. Died December 2, 2003, Montreal, Quebec. Suzanne began her career as an actor in New York City and then worked with the Comédie Française. In 1951 she played Desdemona in Orson Welles' film of Othello.  She acted on stage in London, England with Peter Ustinov (1921-2004) and the couple married in 1954. They had three children before divorcing in 1971. After some time in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. she relocated to live in Montreal in 1988. (2022)

Dorothy Davies

Born Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. Died March 27, 2002. She worked as a radio actress, script writer and director on the CBC radio serial The Carson Family from 1947 through 1965. She was an original member of the Totem and Everyman Theatres which were early professional troupes. In 1955 she won the Dominion Drama Festival Award with a UBC Alumni production of The Crucible. She was the first recipient of the Jessie Richardson Award for lifetime achievement. She also won the Sam Payne Award for developing young talent. She was a charter member of the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame. Source. The History of Metropolitan Vancouver – Hall of Fame  (accessed June 19, 2009.)

Yvonne De Carlo

née Middleton. Born September 1, 1922, West Point Grey (now Vancouver), British Columbia. Died January 8, 2007, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.. Her mother was Marie De Carlo who was an aspiring actor. Her father abandoned the family when Yvonne was three years old and she went to live with her grandparents. At ten she and her mother were in Hollywood, California and she began dance school until their visas expired and they returned to Vancouver. Mother and daughter made many trips to Los Angeles where Yvonne entered beauty pageants.  In 1941 with dancer and showman Nils Granlund pledging his sponsorship and offer of steady work Yvonne was back in the U.S.A. Within the year she quite dancing and landed her 1st movie role in Harvard, Here I Come.  She never looked back and had sang, danced and acted her way through 95 movie roles during her career. Television roles were also numerous on westerns Bonanza and The Virginian, but she perhaps left her most distinctive mark as Lily on the TV hit show The Munsters. In 1957 she earned a BoxOffice Blue Ribbon Award for her role in the Ten Commandments and again in 1964 for McLintock. In 1960 she was awarded two stars, one for movies and one for TV, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Yvonne had a daughter from her 1st marriage and she married for a second time Bruce Ross in 1955 and the couple had two sons, they divorced in 1974. In 1987 she won the Fantafestival Award as Best Actress in American Gothic.

Adelaide 'Laddie' Margaret Eleanor Marie Dennis

née Boissoneau. Born May 7, 1920, Winnipeg Manitoba. Died February 22, 2009, Toronto, Ontario. The outgoing young Laddie took courses and performed at the Montreal Repertory Theatre. Moving to Toronto and adopting  her mother’s maiden name she took a fashion model position which lead her to fashion commentary. She  became a writer and on-air-host for the Laura Secord Music Box show, CFRB Radio. She worked with Monty Hall (later a famous U.S. game show host of Let’s Make a Deal) and acted in CBC radio dramas along with doing hundreds of radio commercials. In 1946 Laddie wore dark pancake make-up, brown lipstick and green nail polish to provide the best image on demonstration black and white television sponsored by Eaton’s Department Stores. In 1951 she married novelist, editor, critic, and advocate for the disabled James Burke (1917-2006). Their romance lasted 55 years. She became the first Canadian woman to appear on Canadian TV, September 8, 1952.  Laddie was named Liberty Magazine’s 1955 TV Demonstrator of the Year. After a brush with cancer, Laddie found a job with regular hours from 1970-1985 as Director, Public Relations Scarborough Public Libraries. On vacation she travelled to Morocco and  upon return she sold her travel story. Thus began a journalistic career that would cover 80 countries. She was presented with the first Lifetime Achievement Award , 2001 by the Travel Media Association of Canada. Sources: Northern Stars (accessed March 2009): Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation, (accessed March 2009); Personal knowledge. (2021)

Edna Mae 'Deanna' Durbin

Born December 4, 1921, Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Died April 17 (sometimes reported as 20), 2013 Neauphle-le-Château, France. Known as 'Winnipeg’s Sweetheart', this glamour actress of the 1930’s and 1940’s had a real star status in Hollywood. She began her career in 1926 and had 23 credits behind her by 1948. In 1938, at 17, she was awarded at he Academy Juvenile Award. IN 1941 Deanna married assistant movie director, Vaughn Paul  and they divorced in 1943. In 1945 she married a second time to writer/actor Felix Jackson (1902-1992) and the couple had one daughter but were divorced by 1949. Then she simply dropped out of the Hollywood life.  In 1950 she married producer/director Charles Henri David (died 1999) and the couple lived in a farmhouse near Paris, France with her daughter and their son.  She has not given an interview of any kind since she “dropped acting” . Up until her death fan mail was still sent to the reclusive actor.

Denise Filiatrault

Born May 16, 1931?, Montreal, Quebec. An actor, director and writer, most of her work has been done in the French language. One of her TV series, Moi et l'autre, 1967-1971, was considered the biggest comedy hit in the history of Quebec TV. Her stage productions earned her acclaim and awards. In 1982 she earned a Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in The Plouffe Family ( Les Plouffe) .  Her first film C't'a ton tour Laura Cadieux was so successful that it required a sequel, Laura is Back or Laura suite! In 1994 she became an Officer in the Order of Canada and in 2000 she became an Officer of the National Order of Quebec. In 1999 she received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for her work in television. In 2002, she produced a new comedy fantasy, L'Odyssée d'Alice Tremblay. In 2003, taking advantage of the success of her motion picture characters, Filiatrault produced a television miniseries for TVA, Le Petit monde de Laura Cadieux (2003), before tackling a new film Bittersweet Memories (Ma vie en cinémascope)  in 2004 depicting the biography of singer Alyse Robi. In 2006 Denise received a lifetime achievement Jutra Award.  (2019)

Diane Foster

Born October 31, 1928, Edmonton, Alberta. Died July 27, 2019, Hidden Hills, California, U.S.A.In the 1950's and 1960's she established herself as an actress in some 20 movies. In the 1960's she was in demand to appear in guest roles in television. She appeared in some 50 different roles in such main time shows as The Wild Wild West, Parry Mason, The Big Valley, My Three Sons, Ben Casey and The Fugitive. By the 1970's she became more interested in play the role of mother to her three children. She has also expressed her talents as an artist and an accomplished musician.

Rosemary Forsyth

Born July 6, 1943,  Montreal, Quebec. This actor has appeared in numerous movies since she began her career in 1965 in the role of Bronwyn apposite Charlton Heston in The War Lord and James Steward in Shenandoah. That year she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best New Star of the Year - Actress. She married three times.1966 to 1975 she married Michael Tolan and the couple had a daughter. In 1972 to 1975 she was married to Ron Waranch. In 1980 to 1983 she was married to  Alan Horowitz;  Maternity leave caused a crimp in her career but she maintained her career with numerous guest appearances with day time drama in TV series such as Days of Our Lives and General Hospital and with prime time evening television shows such as NYPD Blue, Monk, and Without a Trace. In 2003 she was elected to the Board of Directors of the Screen Actor's Guild. (2018)

Nicole Germain

née Marcelle Landreau. Born November 29, 1917. Died February 11, 1994. Nicole began her acting career in 1939 on radio and was voted the French Canadian Miss Radio in 1946. She enjoyed a successful career in French language films in the 1940’0 and 1950’s. By the mid 1950’s she was a television journalist and moderator. She was co-chairman of the 1960 Christmas Gift Campaign for the Quebec Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association which raised gifts for Quebec's hospitalized mentally ill. For her efforts to promote the French Language she was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1974. (2017)

Marie Gignac

Marie studied at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Québec. She has appeared in numerous roles on stage and . She has also appeared in several television series including  Nos étés, Smash, La chambre numéro 13 and Fortier.   In 2011 she became a Member of the Order of Canada recognizing her work as an actor, director, playwright and artistic director of Carrfour international de théâtre.

Gail Gilmore / Gail Gibson 3990

née Gerber. Born October 4, 1937, Edmonton, Alberta. Died March 2, 2014, Sharon, Connecticut, U.S.A. When she was just 15 she became a member of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. In 1963, wearing a tight fitting sweater, she was featured in Playboy magazine ad one of the girls from Canada. The next year she began acting appearing in four television series, Mr. Novak, My Three Sons, Perry Mason, and Wagon Train. She also did some stage work at the Ivar Theatre in Hollywood, California, U.S.A. She stared with Elvis Presley two time in Girl Happy in 1965 and in Harum Scarum 1965. In 1966 she met her life partner Terry Southern (died 1995) and the couple moved to New York City and finally settled in Connecticut. From 1973 through 1995 she taught Balled in Berkshires area of New England in the U. S. A. In 2005 she published her autobiography Trippin' with Terry Southern: What I Think I Remember which won the Independent Publisher Award Silver Medal. (2020)

Luba Goy

Born November 8, 1945, Haltern, Germany. Luba's family immigrated to Canada in 1951 and settled in Ottawa, Ontario. This petite (she is only 1.5 meters tall) comedienne  graduated from Montreal's National Theatre School. She began her acting career on stage at the Stratford Theatre in Ontario. In the 1980's she was featured in an education series of TV shows on computers called Bits and Bites which aired throughout north America on Public Television stations. She went on and worked on such shows as Bizarre and did some of the voices in Care Bear animated features. She became a welcome addition to Air Farce where she is known for her impersonations of Sheila Copps, Pamela Wallin, Hanna Gartner,  Queen Elizabeth, Kim Campbell, and even Donald Duck. As part of the Air Farce tem she has won 15 ACTRA Awards, a Juno, the Maclean's Honour roll and was one of the 1st Canadians inducted into the International Humour Hall of Fame. In 1996 she received the Outstanding Achievement Award from Women in Film and Television  Air Farce won in 1998 the Governor General's Award for Performing Arts. for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. She speaks Ukrainian fluently and has been featured in Ukrainian films.  In May 2012 she debuted he one-person show LUBA, Simply Luba at the Berkeley Street Theatre in Toronto, Ontario. She does not like to publish the year of her birth.

Patricia Hamilton

Born April 27, 1937, Regina, Saskatchewan. Patricia married fellow actor Leslie 'Les' Carlson (193302914) in 1967 and the couple had one son who also became an actor. She began her acting career in 1971 appearing on numerous television shows. Patricia will be remembered for her recurring role as the character Rachel Lynde in the television mini series Anne of Green Gables, all the TV sequels and several Anne movies. She also provided the voice of this character for the Public Broadcasting Services' animated series.  She was nominated for a Gemini Award three times for her performance as Rachel Lynde and won the award in 1996. In 2008 she starred in the Harold Green Jewish Theatre production of Kindertransport in Toronto. 

Jillian Hennessy

Born November 25, 1969, Edmonton, Alberta. Jillian has an identical twin sister Jacqueline. The girls were partially raised in Kitchener, Ontario by their grandmother. She is multi lingual speaking Italian, French, Spanish, and German. The twin girls played call girls in 1988 film Dead Ringers. but it was Jillian who went on to a full career as an actor in numerous movies. She earned roles in  Robocop and had TV presence on in dramatic roles in Law & Order and Crossing Jordan which ran for 6 seasons. In 1990 she debuted in the Broadway musical Buddy.- the Buddy Holly Story. In 2000 she wrote, produced and co-directed the independent film The Acting Class. That same year she married Paolo Mastropietro. The couple has two children. In 2001 she played Jackie Kennedy in the film Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot. June 9, 2007 she received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. She plays guitar and as a singer cut her 1st album in 2003 and she had brought out her second album I DO  in 2011 for which she wrote all the songs. The band Molly cuddle wrote a song, The Ballad of Jill Hennessy. In 2012 she appeared in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town in which she was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Film. She continues to appear in movies and TV series. (2019)

Catherine 'Cathy' Theresa Mary Andrea Jones

Born April 6, 1955, St. John’s, Newfoundland. At 17 she worked touring for the summer with the Newfoundland Traveling Theatre Company and the following year she relocated to Toronto, Ontario for more theatre work. In 1973 she and her thespian friends for med CODCO, a Canadian comedy troupe. In 1992, along with Rick Mercer, she was part of the group that created the TV series This Hour has 22 Minutes. She has played numerous roles of both men and women on the show. She has earned 18 Gemini Awards and three Canadian comedy awards for Best Writing in a Comedy Series for her work on 22 Minutes and CODCO. From 1996 through 1999 she was married to Paul Hannon and the couple had two children. She toured with a one woman show; Wedding in Texas and Me, Dad and The Hundred Boyfriends. In film  in made for TV films Secret Nation and Bruce McDonald’s Wierdos. In 2006 the TV series on CBC Life and Times aired Keeping up with Cathy Jones. (2017)

Julie Khaner

Born December 5, 1957, Montreal, Quebec. This accomplished actor played Alana on Street Legal (CBC series) and Emily on Jake and the Kid ( Global TV Series). She is also a regular on the CBC series Newsroom. Her TV guest roles have included Aderly, Night Heat, My Secret Identity and many more. She also enjoys live stage work and has played various roles at the famous Stratford Festival located in Ontario.

Margaret "Margot' Ruth Kidder

Born October 17, 1948, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Died May 13, 2018, Livingston, Montana, U.S.A. Margot's family moved a lot during her early years and she suffered from some mental problems including attempting suicide at 14. While attending Havergal College, a girls boarding school in Toronto, Ontario Margot gained an interest in acting. Graduating in 1966 she had her 1st acting job in a 'short' film. After working in Canadian TV series she relocated to Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. in 1970. In 1975 she married novelist Thomas McGuane. The couple had one daughter but this marriage lasted two years. In 1979 she married actor John Heard but  the marriage only lasted 6 days. In 1983 she married Philippe De Broca but the marriage only lasted one year. Margot was to date Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau in real life and become the girl friend of Superman in the movies. She appeared in all four of the Superman movies. She has over 80 movie and major TV productions to her credit.  Her career was stalled and she was injured in a serious car crash in 1990. She then became bankrupt. In 1996 she suffer ed a public breakdown. Sh would pick up her career in the 2000's with movies and in 2004 a TV series which was a Superman spin-off and the series Brothers and Sisters.  Did you know that the comic book characters of Superman and Lois Lane were the idea of a young Canadian artist? Look it up!

Marilyn Iris 'Mimi' Kuzyk

Born February 21, 1952, Winnipeg, Manitoba. As a child she loved dance and joined the Russia Folk Ensemble where she danced and was a choreographer for fifteen years and briefly studied Jazz dance at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Happiest when she was on the stage she relocated to Toronto in 1977 to pursue acting as a career. She first appeared in commercials which led to small TV roles and then relocating to Los Angeles in 1983 she landed recurring TV roles on successful TV shows such as Hill Street Blues. She also had a successful movie career beginning in 1984 with the film He’s Fired, She’s Fired. Her career has  included earning a Genie nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In 2013 she entered the would of video games. She has married twice to Don Cilinsky and in 1996 to Manolin Kourtikakis and has one daughter. In 1994 she relocated to Toronto appearing with Donald Sutherland in a made for TV movie. She also returned to police presence on TV in the 2001-2004 series Blue Murder where she earned two Gemini Award nominations again for best supporting actress. She continues to work on TV shows and movies in Canada. (2018)

Carole Laure

Born August 5, 1951, Shawinigan, Quebec. She began a career as a teacher but did not find it to her liking. In 1971 she appeared in her 1st movie Mon enfance à Montréal and has a distinguished career not only in French language films and television but also in English language films. In 1980 she appeared in a dinging role in the film musical Fantastica. Here solo singing career is like her acting, bilingual with single discs and LP’s in both languages. (updated Sept 1, 2014)

Ruta Lee

née Kilmonis. Born May 30,1936, Montreal, Quebec. In 1948 she moved to Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. where she studied at Hollywood High School and Los Angeles City College and the University of California. Her 1st TV appearance was as a guest on the George Burns and Gracie Allen show and then the Roy Rogers Show.  This actress began her career in films in 1954 in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  She has mainly appeared in lesser-known films such as Pterodactyl Women from Beverly Hills. She also continued to appear in numerous TV shows and was popular on TV western and TV detective shows. She made regular appearances on Game shows such as Hollywood Squares. In 1974 she hosted the show High Rollers for two years. In 1976 she married Webster B. 'Webb' Lowe Jr., a restaurant executive.  During the 1980's she did voice for cartoon shows such as the Flintstones and the Smurfs. Turning to the live stage she performed extensively in such musicals as Peter Pan. In the 1990's she once again did numerous guest appearances on TV .In 1995 a Golden Palm Star was placed for her on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. In 2002 she earned a Golden Boot Award for her work on western TV shows. In 2006 she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the 2000's she once again took to stage work. On August 24 she was inducted into the National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame.

Anne Marie Loder -DeLuise

Born August 3, 1969, St John's, Newfoundland. An accomplished TV and movie actor, she always wanted to act. She took local classes in St John’s Newfoundland until she discovered theatre school. After university she attended the Ryerson Theatre School for Acting in Toronto. She had her 1st role in Family Pictures in 1993.  She Married actor and director Peter DeLuise  in 2002 and the couple have one son. To date he most notable roles are Dr. Greene in Fifty Shades of Grey and Mrs. Briggs on Strange Empire for which she won the Leo Award from British Columbia for Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series. (2019)

Mari-Lou MacDonald

Born circa 1941, perhaps in Toronto, Ontario. She was a model and actress who in the mid 1960’s was introduced to skydiving by Canadian champion  skydiver Darrell Henry. In May 1964 she placed second in several women’s sky diving events at the National Championships and in July 1966 she was overall Champion woman skydiver. In September 1964 she became the 1st woman skydiver to perform in the Royal Canadian Air Force’s international Air Show at the Canadian National Exhibition. She was not only an actor but she was a stunt woman for movies, television and commercials. In 1970 Life magazine did a photo layout of some of Mari-Lou’s achievements.  Sources: Mari-Lou MacDonald  (accessed June 2015) ; Life Magazine September 25, 1970 Online, (accessed June 2015) ; Ottawa Citizen September 2, 1962 Online, (accessed June 2015) Suggestion submitted by Bernard Pelletier.

Barbara Jean Maczka March 4103

Born October 9, 1953, Toronto, Ontario. Died August 1, 2019, British Columbia. Barbara graduated from the University of Windsor in Ontario and shortly after graduation she began her acting career. As a stage actor she performed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A. as well as stages in New your City and Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. In 1979 she married Alan Scarfe and the couple had one daughter. . An actress of television and movies she played in Star Trek: the Next Generation in 1987, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1993 and Star Trek: Generations in 1994. She also had numerous TV appearances in L.A. Law, the Luck of the Draw,  and the Deserters for which she earned a Genie Award nomination.  (2022)

Andrea Martin

Born January 15,1947, Portland, Maine U.S.A.  Andrea's grandfather had been an amateur thespian and had changed the family Armenian name from Papazian to Martin. Like many youngsters she took piano lessons and had played piano at the Portland Art Museum. In 1965 she was crowned Miss Deering High and was a member of her high school drama club. After graduating from Emerson College, Boston, Massauchetts, U.S.A. she earned a role with a touring company. She has had guest appearances since the 1950’s in such series as Maverick, Carol Barnet Show, Superman, and doing voices on The Simpson’s. She visited Toronto Often and settled there in 1970 finding work on TV, in films and theatre. In 1974 she earned the Sitges Film Festival Best Actress Award for he role  Black Christmas. In 1976 she joined fellow Canadian John Candy, Dave Thomas, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Harold Ramis and Joe Flaherty on the TV series S C T V. She became a well known impersonator portraying top actors of the day. In 1981 she was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Variety Show for her S C T V work. In 1992 with her Broadway debut in My Favorite Year she won a Tony Award, Theatre World Award, and a Dram Desk Award for Best featured actress in a musical. She authored and performed in the one woman show Nude, Nude, Nude, Totally Nude  appearing across the United States and earning the 1996 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One Person Show.  She has been equally successful with movies and television guest appearances throughout the decades of her career. In 2017 she became a Canadian citizen.  In 2018 she was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. A proud mother of two sons, and now a grandmother she continues to perform on stage, TV, and movies often winning more awards for her performances. (2022)

Lois Ruth Maxwell

née Hooker. Born February 14, 1927, Kitchener, Ontario. Died September 29, 2007, Fremantie, Australia. Lois ran away from home at fifteen to join the Canadian Women's Army Corps during World War 11. She was quickly on stage as part of the Army Show in Canada. Later as part of the Canadian Auxiliary Services Entertainment Unit she was sent to England where she appeared next to such entertainers as Wayne and Shuster. When her true age was discovered she was discharged and she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. She became friends with fellow student Sir Roger Moore. They would re-unit during their careers in the James Bond film series. During her acting career she also used the name Lois Hooker. At 20 she moved to Hollywood and won the actress Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer for a role with actor Shirley Temple. Between 1950-1955 she lived in Rome, Italy,  making films and at one point becoming an amateur race driver. Visiting Paris, France she met her future husband Peter Marriott (died 1973) and they married in 1957 settling in London, England. The couple had two children together. After the death of her husband she returned to Canada living in Fort Erie, Ontario. She appeared in numerous TV shows including, The Saint, with her old friend Roger Moore.  While she is credited with some 68 roles in movies and TV she will perhaps be best remembered for her portrayal in the Ian Fleming's James Bond films as Miss Moneypenny. In her first appearance as Miss Moneypenny she even supplied her own wardrobe. Her last appearance in the Bond films was in a View to Kill, 1985. She wrote a column from 1979-1994 for the Toronto Sun newspaper using the pen name Miss Moneypenny. In 1994 she returned to England to live closer to her family. In 2001 she relocated to Perth, Western Australia to live with her son. (2021)

Rachel Anne McAdams

Born November 17, 1978, London, Ontario. She began to show an interest in acting at the age of 7 but her artistic talents were originally brought out as a competitive figure skater. By the age of 13 she was performing Shakespeare at summer theatre camp. In high school she was active on the Student Council, participated in Crimestoppers and was a member of the Per Help Group. In the summers she worked at McDonald’s  fast food restaurants. In 1995 she received an award for appearing in an one act school play at the Sears Drama Festival. In 1998 she was working  on a Disney series. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from York University, Toronto, in 2001. She starred in the Time Traveler’s Wife which won  Best Breakthrough movie award at the National Movie Awards and in 2011 Sherlock Holmes which won the Best Action / Thriller Award. Well her career became noticed by the fans in Mean Girls she has appeared in numerous comedy and romantic comedy films. An active environmentalist she is a co-founder of which helps raise awareness about the environment. She lives in Toronto, preferring to travel rather than live in Los Angeles when required to work there. Sources: imdb (accessed February 2012)

Allyn Ann McLerie

Born December 1 1926, Grand Mere, Quebec. Died May 21, 2018, North Bend, Washington, U.S.A. Allyn and her widowed mother moved to the United States when she was just one year old. Allyn  become an actress having made films from the 1940's through to the 1980's. A listing of her TV appearances is like a listing of the classics, Bonanza, The Walton's and Dynasty to name a few of the shows in which she appeared. She married Adolph Green a lyricist in 1945 but they divorce in 1953. She married a second time to actor George Gaynes (1917-2016) and the couple had two children. She retired from acting in 1993.

Marie Louise Monique Mercure

Born November 14, 1930, Montreal, Quebec. Died May 16, 2020, Montreal, Quebec.As a child she learned to play the cello. Monique began playing roles on the stage in 1947. In 1949 she married Pierre Mercure (1927-1966) a composer and TV producer. The couple had a daughter and twin sons. After her divorce in 1958 she took up acting once again. This actor who  in 1991 headed up the national Theatre School has acted the classics but also retained an active interest in new works of our writers and directors.  She has performed in Quebec and throughout north America, in France and in England. She has won the Palm d’Or for Best Actress at the world famous Cannes Film Festival. In 1992 she won a Genie for Best Supporting Actress in the film Naked Lunch.  In 1994 she earned the Toronto Drama Bench Award for Distinguished Contribution to Canadian Theatre.  She became an Officer in the Order of Canada in 2006. She has received the Governor Genera's Award. (2019)

Ramona Milano

Born November 9, 1969, Nobelton, Ontario. Before entering the Drama program at Humber College she worked on stage at Canada’s Wonderland theme park located just outside of Toronto, Ontario. On June 25, 1994 she married Fabio D'agostino and the couple have one  child. She has appeared mainly on Television and maybe best known for work  as Francesca on the TV series Due South for which she was nominated twice for Gemini Awards in 1997 an 1998. She has appeared in roles in addition TV series as well as commercials for various Canadian companies. Ramona has co-hosted Living Romance on the W Television network. She has also enjoyed appearing on state in Sudbury, Ontario, Hamilton, Ontario  and Toronto, Ontario.

Gabrielle Miller

Birth name Gabrielle Sunshine Miller. Born November 9, 1973, Vancouver, British Columbia. As a teen she worked at many odd jobs including being a gas station attendant. She gave up working at her mother’s house cleaning business and attended the Breck Academy of the Performing Arts in B.C. By 2008 she has had over 50 different TV and movie credits, had won three Leo awards, and had maintained key roles in Robinson Arms and the award winning Corner Gas, the highest rated television program in Canada at that time. She shares her time between Los Angeles and Vancouver for her work and yet finds time to do charity time as well. In 2007 she travelled to Mali with World Vision and handed out trees, piglets and clean water to villages. She is also the spokes person for the VELA Association, a non-profit organization helping people with disabilities. She enjoys time with her dog Duncan and regularly works out with a boxing coach. Definitely a rising Canadian star to watch. Source: Official Gabrielle Miller web site  (accessed June 2008)

Belinda Montgomery

Born July 23, 1950, Winnipeg, Manitoba. When she was 11 her family moved to England for a couple of years before settling in Highland Creek, a village east of Toronto, Ontario. She and her brother modeled for the Sears catalogue as children and did some work for the CBC TV. While still a teen she was in Hollywood as a popular youth actor. One of her earliest appearances was in the TV Western the Virginian. She became popular on the TV – Movie circuit and shared billing with some of the top talents such as George Pepard, Pernell Roberts, Jessica Walter, and Ida Lupino. She had numerous appearances on the top TV series of the 1970’s and 1980’s; Marcus Welby, Medical Centre, Love Boat, Man from Atlantis, Trapper John MD , to name a few. She had a recurring role as the ex-wife of the character Crockett (Don Johnson)  in Miami Vice and played the mother on Doogie Houser, M.D.  She appears less often in T. V. series in the 1990’s and 2000.s. From the time she sold her first piece of art work at 11, Belinda continued to relax and express herself with painting. She works in both acrylic and watercolours and now enjoys having shows of her works.  Sources: Belinda Montgomery web site (Accessed January 2012) ; (accessed January 2012)

Margaret 'Maggie' Glenesk Beal Morris

née Morris. Born December 10, 1925. Died September 4, 2014, Toronto, Ontario. At 14 she was sent from England to Winnipeg, Manitoba as an evacuee child to protect her from the ravages of World War ll. She was chosen to participate in a Christmas telephone hook –up between refugee children in Canada and their British parents back home in England. At 18 she returned to the United Kingdom and completed studies as a nurse and midwife. While visiting Winnipeg to be a bridesmaid for a friend she met and fell in love with the grooms brother Victor Morris and they married in 1950. She became involved with the local theatre and radio drama at CBC Winnipeg. Resettling in Ottawa but the marriage broke down and she became a single mother to her two daughters. She worked on the CBC TV show Diplomatic Passport interviewing foreign diplomats. She won a position with CBC Toronto on the TV quiz show Flashback and held that position from 1962-1968. She became popular with her audiences and received five fan mail letters to one received by male counterparts. In 1970 she was let go from CBC because of her “Precious pronunciation” and strange style. She worked in Public Relations at Bell Canada and was the voice for the message “ the number you have dialed…”In 1971 she married for a second time to Stanley Smolensky and the couple settled in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. Sadly Stanley died within 5 months of their marriage and Maggie returned to work in Public Relations for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. In later years she worked recording audio books. Source: Globe and Mail September, 2014. Suggested By June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.

Carrie-Anne Moss                 

Born August 21, 1970, Vancouver, British Columbia. When she was 11 she became a member of the Vancouver Children's Musical Theatre and  when in high school she toured Europe with the Magee Secondary School Choir in her senior year.  While modeling in Europe she obtained a movie role in a film being done in Spain. She began her North American acting career with appearances in TV and movies in 1991.  She was in several  TV series, Dark Justice in1991, Models Inc. in 1994, and F/X the Series in 1996.In 1997 she was nominated fro a Gemini Award for her role as a guest on the popular TV series Due South.  In 1999 she married actor and director, Steven Roy.  The couple have three children. In 1999 through 2003 she appeared in the Matrix Trilogy, winning an Empire Award for Best Newcomer in 1999. In 2000 she earned an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female in Memento. She has kept busy with additional movies earning a Genie Award for Best Performance by and Actress in a Supporting Role in the romantic drama Snow Cake in 2006 and a Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in a Canadian Film in Fido. . Busy with numerous movies she has also tried voicing animated films such as the Clockwork Girl in 2013. Her career continues with her appearing in two to three films a year and numerous TV guest roles.  (2019)

Kate Patricia Colleen Nelligan

Born March 16, 1950, London, Ontario. Kate began studies at York University but switched to the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England. She was born in London, Ontario, and studied at York University and in London, England. She began her stage career in Bristol, England. and appeared in the British TV series The Onedin Line. In 1974 she joined the Comedy Theatre and later the National Theatre Company.  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! In 1991 she earned a British Academy of Film and Television Arts  (B A F T A) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. In 1993 she won a Gemini Award. She has also received Toni nominations for her work on Broadway. She has also worked on several TV specials including the mini series A Wrinkle in Time in 2002.

Claire Françoise 'Clairette' Oddera

Born April 3, 1919, Marseille, France. Died October 28, 2008, Montreal, Quebec. At 20 years of age she was working as a waitress in a canteen of a local French film studio and in 1939 she had her 1st film role.  At 21 she married. She adopted the stage name of Clairette. She began working in radio where she became known as a singer. She would make three movies during World War ll and worked on stage and in variety shows. In 1949 she visited Quebec and by 1956 she immigrated to Quebec. She opened Chez Clairette when she held auditions to scout local artists helping to launch the careers of numerous French Canadian entertainers. She also continued to perform herself at Chez Clairette. She also performed occasionally on TV and opened an academy for singers at the home of her younger sister. In 2002 she was inducted as a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. In 2003 she was named a Member of the Order of Canada.  Her final public performance was in June 2008. (2019)

Catherine Anne O’Hara

Born March 4,1954, Toronto, Ontario. She was a waitress at the Firehall Theatre in Toronto when she convinced Canadian 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. In 1981 she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series. In 1988 she had the staring role in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice. In 1992 she married production designer Bo Welch and the couple have two sons. She has also stared in additional Tim Burton productions including the Nightmare Before Christmas and Frankenweenie. In 2000 she won a Genie Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in the film the Life Before This. She played the mother in the two Home Alone movies. After 2000 she has done mainly voice over work for animated stories. In 2001 she won the Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture from the American Comedy Awards. In 2006 she won the National Film Board Review for Best Supporting Actress in For Your Consideration.  In 2016 she was playing in the series Schitt's Creek.  and won the Canadian Screen Award for Bst Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role for this series. Her role also garnered her an ACTRA Toronto Award for Outstanding Performance.  She has won two Canadian Screen Awards for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, at the 4th Canadian Screen Awards in 2016 and the 5th Canadian Screen Awards in 2017.

Hugette Oligny          3443

Born January 31, 1922, Montreal, Quebec. Died May 9, 2013. Hugette began her acting career in 1939 on stage playing in the great classics of French theatre. In 1952 she was Miss Radio-Television. In the 1950's she worked regularly with Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and appeared in many works by Michael Tremblay. She is also well known for her work in television productions.  Her marriage to Marcel Alexandre, with whom she had two children had sadly ended in divorce.  In 1973 she married Gratien Gélinas who was a pioneer in Quebec theatre. In 1984 she was inducted as an Officer in the Order of Canada and this was promoted to Champion in 1996. In 1998 she earned the Prix Gemeaux de la mailleure actrice de soutien pour son role de Marie-Rose Julien dans Sous le signe du lion. In 1999 she became an officer in L'Ordre nationale du Québec. Source: Homage à 56 femmes d'exception changé le Queebec. Editions speciale 7 jours.

Marina Orsini

Born January 4, 1967, Ville-Emard, Montreal, Quebec. She started her career as a model in 1982.. By 1996 she was acting with a major role in a TV series Lance et Compt.  In 1990 and 1991 she earned a Gemini Awards for her work in Les filles de Caleb and L'or et le papier. Since 1991 Marina has been the spokesperson for the Tel-Jeunes kids talk-help program. In 1995 she began performing on stage. She married Serge Postigo in 1996 and the couple have one child.  In 1998 she appeared in the miniseries The Sleep room and the following hear she was the Canadian Horror series, The Hunger. By 2009 she was hosting an afternoon radio show in Montreal. In 2012 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. (2019)

Candy Palmater

Indigenous Actor, Comedian & Broadcaster

Born December 4, 1968, Point La Nim, New Brunswick. Died December 25, 2021, Toronto, Ontario. Candy attended Dalhousie Regional High Scholl where she enjoyed various sports. After graduating secondary school she  entered St Thomas University, Fredericton and followed this up with a legal secretary course at the Maritime Business College. Her legal secretary course led her to attend Dalhousie Law School where she graduated as the first Aboriginal law student in Canada to be valedictorian of her graduating class. in 1999. While a law student she served as president of the Dalhousie Aboriginal Law Student Association. She took a job with a law firm but soon recognized that corporate law was not her true calling. Her second job was was with the Nova Scotia Department of Education. She was soon a contributor to the C B C Radio program, Definitely Not the Opera and wrote a regular column on The Next Chapter. She also served as a host of the radio show Q. She also wrote a series for the Halifax Daily News called Mi'kmaq History Month.  She was soon doing her own show called, The Candy Show, on A P T N TV. She also enjoyed being on the Canadian comedy club circuit. In 2011 she produced her first film, Building Legends: The Mi'kmaq Canoe Project. She appeared in the TV series Forgive Me, Sex & Violence and Trailer Park Boys. In 2016 she debuted her C B C daily radio show The Candy Palmater Show. During her career she had been nominated for an East Coast Music Award, a Canadian Screen Award for Best Direction in a Variety or Comedy TV Series, and for an A C T R A Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 2017 she received the Bonham Centre Award for her contributions to the advancement and education of issues around sexual identification. Source: Obituary (2021)

Denise Pelletier            3448

Born May 22, 1923, Saint-Jovite, Quebec. Died May 24, 1976, Montreal, Quebec. After graduating from school she answered an advertisement that was offering acting course by the Montreal Repertory Theatre. At the theatre she was presented in various classical plays and went on to perform in some radio soap operas. In 1943 she appeared in on of the first Québécois films AA la croise des chemins. She was one of the few actors who was performing in both official languages. In 1952 she appeared on television as Cécile in Les Plouffes. In 1955 she was crowned Miss Radio Television. In 1970 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 1958 she became a widow of Basil Zarov. The couple had one son.  In 1975 she made her last stage appearance in The Devine Sarah at the famous Stratford Festival. The provincial government of Quebec has created the Prix Denise-Pelletier which is presented to individuals for an outstanding career in the performing arts. Source: Hommage à 56 femmes d'exception qui ont changé le Québec. Editions spéciale 7jours. 2021

Mary Pickford

née Gladys Louise Smith. Born April 8, 1892, Toronto, Ontario. Died May 29, 1979, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A. Gladys Smith become seriously ill with diphtheria and is baptized by a Catholic priest and has her middle name changed to Marie. In 1900 her mother, having been left alone to raise her three children, suggests her daughters Gladys and Lottie be cast in a play. January 8, 1900 'Baby Gladys Smith' makes her stage debut at the Princess Theatre, Toronto in the play The Silver King. By 1905 Gladys is in Manhattan, New York, U.S.A. sharing a room with future film star,  Lillian Gish (1893-1993) and her family. In 1907 Gladys take the name Mary Pickford. She began her screen career in the silent films in 1909 with the Biograph Film Studio in New York City, U.S.A. The following year she becomes the company's second 'Biograph Girl' after fellow Canadian Florence Lawrence (1886-1938) leaves. January 7, 1911 she married, in a secret ceremony, Owen Moore but it was a strained marriage. She would divorce him to marry Douglas Fairbanks on March 28, 1920 when they were know as the King and Queen of Hollywood. As an actress she stands above the rest of her era and Image result for mary pickford monument torontoearned herself a Best Actress Academy Award (1929) at the second annual event. She was the 1st Canadian Born woman to have won an Academy award.  Her sweet girlish looks and her long ringlets endeared her to the the fans who knew her as "America's Sweetheart". Her dedication to realism in her work sometimes meant getting down into real mud! Her talents went beyond her sincerity and heart melting appearance. She entered the film industry and became Hollywood's 1st female businesswoman "movie mogul" creating with her colleagues United Artists Studios. She was the 1st woman to make $1,000,000.00 a year in the U.S. Movie business!!! Mary and Douglas Fairbanks marriage did not survive the constant making of movies and being constantly in the limelight. The divorced in 1936. The following year Mary married actor and banc leader Charles 'Buddy' Rogers (1904-1999).  and they adopted two children. She remained to the end of her life, proud of her Canadian heritage. The Toronto Sick Kids Hospital is build on the site of her birthplace and around the corner there is an historic plaque and a monument. In 1999 she received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame, Toronto. Catherdral City, California, U.S.A. has a Mary Pickford Theatre established in 2001, build complete with a bell tower and three-story lobby. In 2006 Canada Post issued a Canadian Postage Stamp in her honour. February 2011 the Spadina Museum, Toronto, staged performances of Sweetheart: The Mary Pickford Story, a one woman musical based on Mary's life. On August 20, 2019 the Toronto International Film Festival presented the first Mary Pickford Award. (2021)

Lorraine Pintal

Born September 24,1951, Plessisville, Quebec. Lorraine studied at the Conservatoire Lassalle  and the Conservatoire d'art dramatique de Montréal. She debuted with the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde in 1973 in Mistero Buffo. That same year, she was a co-founder of the Théâtre de La Rallonge. She has directed works at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde where she is also been the artistic Director since 1992.   She has also worked with Compagne Jean-Duceppe, the Théâtre de Quat'Sous and for the Théâtre Denise-Pelletier. As a playwright she is known for her script and acting in the one woman play Madame Louis 14. In 1998 she received a Masque Award for best staging and production. In 2001 the National Theatre School of Canada, Montreal presented her with the Gascon-Thomas Award. Since the late 1990's Lorraine has also produced a number of series for television. In 2002 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 2014 she tried her hand at provincial politics running as a candidate for the Parti Quebecois but was not successful. (2019)

Amanda Michael Plummer

Born March 23, 1957, New York, New York, U.S.A. Amanda is the daughter of Canadian actor Christopher Plummer. Amanda attended Middlebury College and as a young adult she studied acting at the Neighbourhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York 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. In 1996 she won a Cable Ace Award for The Right to Remain Silent and an Emmy Award for her guest appearance on The Outer Limits TV show. With movies and TV she has had some 9 appearances in 2002 alone! In 2005 she was awarded a second Emmy for her appearance on in Miss Rose White, a Hallmark made for television film. She has also had success on Broadway and off Broadway stage performances.

Louise Portal 

née Lapointe. Born May 6, 1951, Chicoutimi, Quebec. A Twin, both she and her sister Pauline too to being actors. This actress has be recognized with nominations for Best Actress Genie Award in1980 and won the Best Supporting Actress Genie Award in 1987 for the film The Decline of the American Empire. In the film Sous-sol in1996 she won the Guy-L'ecuyer Award for Best Actress. She has also won two Gemini Awards in 1994 and 1996 for her work on TV. As if this was not enough she has written an novel, Jeanne Janvier and has written plays. Composing some 40 songs she has released 4 successful albums. In 2015 she had a staring role in the TV Series Marie-Louise and from 2012- 2015 Lance et Compte. She has been successful appearing in French language series for TV. (2018)

Marie Provost 3989

née Marie Bickford Dunn. Born November 8, 1898, Sarnia, Ontario. Died January 21, 1937, Hollywood California. Marie went to High school in California, U.S.A. and at 15 she was working as a secretary. Beginning her acting career during the silent film era she would appear in over 120 films. She was discovered by Hollywood mogul Mack Senate (1880-1960) in the 1910's. In 1918 she married Henry Charles 'Sonny' Gerke and the marriage ended in divorce in 1923. In 1922 she signed a contract with Warner Brothers Studios where she became a leading lady of films. In 1924 she married felloe actor Kenneth Harlan (1895-1967) but the marriage only lasted three years. She was 'let go' from Warner Bros. in 1926 and she began to play secondary roles. She began to abuse alcohol making it difficult to obtain good roles in film. By 1935 she was reduced to playing 'bit parts' with her las film being in 1936. She squandered most of her earnings and died in poverty. Her death prompted the film community to open the Motion Picture & Television House and Hospital. Marie Provost has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (2022)

Barbara Read / Reed        3605

Born December 29, 1917, Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay), Ontario. Died December 12, 1963, Laguna Beach, California, U.S.A. In the mid 1930's Barbara relocated to California, U.S.A. While watching the filming of a movie on site she was spotted and offered a screen test! Needing experience she joined the Laguna Beach Players Theatre where she acted for two years. In 1936 she had her debut in films in Three Smart Girls, with Deanna Durbin (1921-2013). In the fall of 1936 she eloped with artist William Paul lll but within two months the couple were divorced, From 1937 through 1939 she appeared in nine films. In the next decade she had roles in 11 films including The Shadow series. December 27, 1947, she married a second time to talent agent William 'Bill' Josephy and the couple had two boys. A third marriage happened in 1953 to actor William Whitney Talman lll (1915-1968) and had another two children. The couple divorced in 1960. (2021)

Pierrette Robitaille

Born June 6, 1950. Pierrette is well known for acting in Quebec. She was nominated for a Genie Award twice for her role in It's Your Turn, Laura Cadieux, and the show sequel. She earned a Jutra Award for Best Actress for her work in the film:  Vic et flo ont vu un ours. In 2011 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. (2019)

Sandi Ross 4314

Black Actor of Stage, screen, & TV

Born 1949, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A. Died August 31, 2016, Toronto, Ontario. Sandi attended the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A. where she studied theatre arts earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts.  Sandi relocated to Toronto in the mid 1970's. She was an accomplished stage actor who was part of the George Luscombe Company at the Toronto Workshop Productions (now Buddies in Bad Times) and was one of the 1999 founding members of the Obsidian Theatre. One of her favourite shows was called The Seahorse. She also appeared in the Vagina Monologues with Jann Arden, The Crucible, and many more productions. Television and film roles also contributed to her working career but it was her love of the stage that kept her busy. She appeared for three seasons at the famous Stratford Festival including traveling to New York City with Much Ado About Nothing. She also worked with Karen Woolridge's Company, Johnson Girls where she inspired younger performers. She performed in the play Portia White: First You Dream in Nova Scotia which expressed her love of opera. She had also worked with the Canadian Opera Company or Opera Atelier productions. She would work on the first national symposium on non-tradition casting for Canadian Actors Equity Association, Talent Over Traditions in 1987. She would go on to work with the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (A C T R A) conference in 1989. In 1994 she was the first woman and first person of colour elected president of A C T R A Toronto. She received the New Pioneers Award for the Arts from Skills for Change. In 2008 she earned a Crystal Award for  in Women in Film and Television. She was also  founding editor and producer of Into the Mainstream, a casting directory of visible and audible minorities.  In 2012 A C T R A named her Woman of the Year. In 2016 the A C T R A Share the Screen Awards were renamed in Sandi's honour. Source:  In Memorium: Sandi Ross By Jon Kaplan Toronto Now September 7, 2016 (online (accessed 2023)

Susan Douglas Rubes

Born March 13, 1925, Vienna, Austria. Died January 23, 2013, Toronto, Ontario. Susan's actual birth name was Zuska Zento Bernstein. She and her mother immigrated to New York, U.S.A. to escape the oncoming ravages of World War ll (1939-1945). She Americanized her name and began a long distinguished career on stage, TV, and film. She married Czech – Canadian opera star and actor Jan Rubes (1920-2009) September 22, 1950. The couple had three children. She played on TV soap opera The Guiding Light for ten years as well as numerous movie credits and a Tony Award for best debut on Broadway. She joined her husband to settle in Canada in 1959. She was the founder of the Young People’s Theatre in 1966, an organization she worked with for the rest of her life. In 1982 to 1986 she was head of the C B C Radio Drama and from 1987-1989 she was president of Family Channel. She was also a Board Member of the St Lawrence Centre. In 1975 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. Source: Obituaries. Globe and Mail, January 26, 2013  Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa Ontario. (2021)

Margaret 'Meg' Ruffman

Born February 28, 1957, Richmond Hill, Ontario. Although she studied physical Education at the University of Toronto it was acting that became he main interest. In 1980 she won the Du Maurier Search For The Stars’. In 1985 she had a role in the movie Anne of Green  Gables followed in 1987 with Anne of Avonlea. From 1990 through 1996 she had a major role in the TV series Road to Avonlea. During this time she commuted to San Francisco, California U. S. A. to work at construction with her husband Daniel Hunter. Meg became a licensed in construction and this second main interest in her life led her to a career as a TV handy woman. She hosted shows on home improvement for W network TV, the Canadian Women’s Network. From 1999-200 she hosted A Repair to Remember. She launched her won series Anything I Can Do. She also writes a home improvement column for the Toronto Star newspaper. She founded Ruffman Entertainment and has produced a video series of fun colourful projects that families can build together. In 2000-2001 she hosted the TV show Men on Women. She has also maintained her acting career and made an appearance on the acclaimed Canadian TV series Murdoch Mysteries. She narrated My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirt which was an animated film nominated for a Jutra Award and an Oscar. She is the National spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity. In 2003 she published ToolGirl columns as a book, How Hard Can it Be? She continued to act in movies an on television. In 2008 she made her directorial debut in the movie The Red Green Story: We-re All in this together. In 2017 she had a recurring role in the film Alias Grace filmed in Kingston, Ontario. In 2020 she had a recurring role in the TV series Avocado Toast. (2021)

Camilla Scott

Born  June 12, 1962, Toronto, Ontario. A childhood dream of becoming a dancer helped propel this native Torontonian to fame as an actor, singer and noted talk show host.  Her 1st lead role was in Evita at the Limelight Dinner Theatre. She worked on soap operas in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. then returned home and kept busy acting in a variety of guest spots on television shows and a couple of movies. She also performed in musical theatre in Toronto.  From 1996-1998 she had her own TV Talk show but it was cancelled after receiving a poor critical reception.  Her role in the TV hit series Due South which ran from 1995 through 1999 was much more successful. In 2002 she married actor Paul Evans and that same year she was the voice of Mamma Bear in the Berenstain Bears.  In 2008 she starred as Khashoggi, a role usually played by a man in the Toronto production of the Queen musical We Will Rock You. As her acting career wound down she took a position with Arbonne, a multi lever marketing company becoming Executive National Vice President.

Helen Shaver

Born February 24, 1951, St. Thomas, Ontario. As a child she was not very health and spent a lot of time in hospital. However as a teen she was of good health and attended the Banff School of the Fine Arts. She also studied drama at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. In 1978 she got her big break when she won the Canadian Film Award as Best Lead Actress in the film In Praise of Older Women. In 1985 she won the Bronze Leopard Award at the Locano International Film Festival for her work in Desert Hearts. In 200 she earned a Genie Award for her portrayal of a drug addicted prostitute in We All Fall Down and another Genie Award in 2003 for Just Cause. She also appeared in numerous TV episodes in various top rated Television dramas. In 2004 she was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto. Source: Canada’s Walk of Fame online accessed July 2009

Edith Norma Shearer 

Born August 10, 1900 or 1902, Montreal, Quebec. Died June 12, 1983. The parents of Edith Norma and Athole (pronounce Ethel) registered the birth of both daughters but did not include their first names. Norma would go on to become an actress of great repute and would always claim to be the youngest of the sisters. The family moved from Montreal to New York working as performers and models.  It was tough times but eventually Norma would make it to Hollywood where she would become one of the great stars at MGM. She would marry the famous studio executive Irving Thalberg. She was the presented with the third top Actress Academy Award for her work in the film The Divorcee. She was the second Canadian woman to receive this award.

Madeleine Louise Helene Sherwood

née Thornton Born November 13, 1922, Montreal, Quebec. Died April 23, 2016, Lac Cornir, Quebec. Her 1st stage appearance was at the age of 4 in a passion play at church. In 1950 she studied acting under lee Strasberg at the Actor’s Studio, New York, U.S.A.. In 1952 she made her Broadway debut and went on to work in such hits as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Camelot. She also had numerous film roles and day time TV roles. She played the Mother Superior in the hit TV series the Flying Nun from 1967 through 1970. She had been black listed during the U.S.A. McCarthy era for active participation in the Civil Rights Movement. She was arrested during a Freedom March in Alabama. She was also a staunch supporter of the women’s right movement in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s she became the 1st woman to direct a short film for the American Film Institute. In the early 1990’s she retired to Victoria, British Columbia and later relocated to Saint-Hippotyte, Quebec. In 2010 she released a short film called Madeleine’s Method for the Actor’s Studio. She married Robert Sherwood and the couple had one daughter. Source: Mike Barnes, “Madeleine Sherwood; Star of Tennessee Williams Classics on Stage and Scene Dies at 93.” The Hollywood Reporter April 25, 2016.  

Joanna Shimkus

Born October 30, 1943, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Joanna began he film career in the mid 1960's with some 14 movies to her credit by the mid 1970's. In 1976 she married actor Sidney Poitier and abandoned her career to devote herself to her family of two daughters. Currently she is immersed in a successful career in Interior decor.

Gladys Alexis Smith

Born June 8, 1921, Penticton, British Columbia. Died June 9, 1993, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.. She began her long acting career as a teenager in summer stock in Canada before relocating to the U.S.A. “Discovered” while studying at college she was signed on to act for Warner Brothers Studios. In 1944 she married actor Craig Stevens. She was a leading lady in movies of the 1940’s and 1950’s playing opposite such leading men as Errol Flynn in Gentleman Jim 1942 and San Antonio in 1945; Cary Grant in Night and Day, 1946 and Clark Gable in Any number Can Play in 1949. She won a TONY Award in the musical Follies in 1971/72 and played in the TV series Dallas from 1984 -1990. She died just before the release of her final film, The Age of Innocence.

Jessica Steen

Born December 11, 1965, Toronto, Ontario. There was a lot of time to practice acting in Jessica's house.  There was always an annual Christmas skit, and trips to the theater with her director father. She had her first TV role at the age of  8.  In the mid 1960's she appeared in a TV movie with Lindsay Wagner and schoolmate Keanu Reeves.  Lately she has had roles in Touched by an Angel; The Outer Limits; ER;  and Due South. If her busy schedule between TV and movies allows it, she enjoys kayaking and rock climbing.  She is also a volunteer with environmentalist David Suzuki.

Cree Summer

Born July 7, 1970, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. 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.

Betty Thompson-Beauman 3921

Born 1934, Walkerton, Ontario. Died 1994. Betty graduated in broadcasting from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Metropolitan Toronto University). Betty began working in 1956 at C K C O-TV in Kitchener, Ontario. At first she was a writer of local commercials which in those days were performed live on TV. For a couple of years she left the TV station and worked as a teacher but by 1971 she was back with in television. She earned national television exposure as the first host of the C T V version of the popular children's program Romper Room from 1972 through 1975 as 'Miss Betty'. She returned in 1992 for the 20th anniversary special of the show. She also hosted shows such as Ladies First, The Flower Spot, Be My Guest, and Betty and Friends. She was also a frequent guest at the Canadian National Exhibition. In 1992 she was honoured at a Mayor Dinner in Kitchener which was followed with being Kitchener Citizen of the year from the twin cities Junior Chamber of Commerce. Betty married a sedonc time to Ken Bauman and raised three daughters. In 1992 she became C K C O's community relations co-ordinatior. In 1992 the annual Betty Thompson Golf Classic was established to raise funds for breast Cancer education and research. She was a founding member of the club and had served as a past president. She was also a strong supporter of the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, the local Big Sisters organization, the John Howard Society, The United Way, and Parents Are People Too. In 1990 she was the special events chairman for the Ontario Summer Games.  In 1995 she was inducted into the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame. In 1996 the Betty Thompson Youth Centre was named in her honour. (2022)

Jennifer Ellen Tilly

née Chan. Born September 16 1958, Harbour City, California, U.S.A. Her parents divorced when she was five and she moved with her mother to Texada Island, British Columbia. At 16 they were living in Victoria, British Columbia. She studied for her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at Stephens College, Missouri, U.S.A. By 1883 she had roles in TV series such as Hill Street Blues, Cheers and Frasier. In 1984 she married Sam Simon, producer of The Simpson’s. The couple separated in 1991. Her breakthrough in movies was in the Fabulous Baker Boys. She has worked with Richard Dreyfuss, Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, and Jim Carey.  In 2001 she portrayed gossip columnist Louella Parsons in The Cat’s Meow. And starred in the Broadway revival of The Women. In other theatre she has won the Theater World Award for the off-Broadway play One Shoe Off. She is a popular choice for voice over for animated features such as Family Guy, Monsters, Inc., Stuart Little and others. In 2004 she became life partner with Phil Laak. In 2005 In 2005 she won the World Series of Poker and later that same year she won the World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament.  After the series Out of Practice in which she appeared was cancelled in 2006 she began only to return to TV in 2008. Dividing her time between films and professional poker. In 2005 she won the World Series of Poker and later that same year she won the World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament. In 2006 she began dividing her time between films and professional poker. She has appeared in several online TV poker events. In 2008 she retired from her poker career with the idea of treating it more like a hobby.  In 2012, she returned to Broadway in Don't Dress for Dinner and the following year she appeared on the London stage in Grasses of a Thousand Colors. Among the awards she has won  she has earned the Golden Gate Award GLAAD Media Award for media professionals who increase the understanding of the LGBT community.

Margaret 'Meg' Elizabeth  Tilly 

née Chan. Born  February 14,1960, Long Beach, California. In the mid 1960's her parents divorced and she lived with her mother and stepfather in Texada Island, British Columbia later moving to Vancouver. As a youth she wanted to be a dancer and studied at the Connecticut Ballet Company and later at the Throne Dance Theatre. However her career turned to acting with  a back injury after her debut in 1980 when she appeared in “FAME”  The following year she began acting career with a small part in the hit TV series Hill Street Blues. In 1983 to 1989 she was married to Tim Zinnemann and the couple had two children. in 1993 she dropped out of the acting scene. In 1994 she published her 1st novel Singing Songs which is about a young girl and her sisters living in the Northwest who are molested by their stepfather. Meg has stated that she had been abused by her own step father. In 1995 through 2002 she was married to John Calley. In 2002 she married Don Calame. In 2010 she was once again acting in a TV series. Her sixth novel appeared in 2007, Porcupine which was a finalist for the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize. In 2011 she appeared at the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre in Victoria, British Columbia. In January 2012 she stared in the Global Television mini series Bomb Girls winning a Canadian Screen Award for Best Lead Actress in 2013.

Marie-Soleil Tougas       3446

Born May 3, 1970, Mont-Saint-Hillaire, Quebec. Died August 10, 1997, Kuuijjuaq, Quebec. As a teen she began her career with the role of Zoe in the soap opera Peau de banane and went on to do additional television shows. She was co-host of the Show Fort Boyard and The Débrouillardds with Gregory Charles.  She also worked on advertising campaigns for such companies as Toyota. She was a well known spokesperson for the Educ'alcool organization with promoted reasonable alcohol consumption. She was involved in the cause of disabled children and was spokesperson for Operation enfant soleil, hosting their annual téléthon. She died with her boyfriend Jean-Claude Lauzon in a plane crash near Ungava Bay, northern Quebec. Source: Hommage à 56 femmes d'exception qui ont changé le Québec. Editions spéciale 7 jours 2021.

Shannon Lee Tweed

Born March 10, 1957, Placentia, Newfoundland.  The family moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan after the father fell into a coma after a car crash. After appearing in the Canadian TV series Thrill of a Lifetime where she won a sitting for photographs for Playboy magazine she was chosen Playmate of the Month for November 1981 and was Playmate of the Year in 1982. She would life at the Playboy Mansion for over a year where she met her future husband musician, best known for being part of the rock group Kiss, Gene Simmons. This native Newfoundlander has been busy with appearing in 60 movies  since 1978. She made her debut in  Of Unknown Origin” and she has been on the TV series Falcon Crest from 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. From 2006 through 2012 she, along with her family, had a reality TV show, The Gene Simmons Family Jewels. It was during the show that Gene proposed to Shannon after some 20 years of being together. They married October 1, 2011.  Saskatoon City Council named Tweed Lane in her honour.  She has a video game featuring her voice and appearance called Shannon Tweed's Attack Of The Groupies. She has also narrated the reality TV Show Ex-wives of Rock

Mary Cynthia  Walsh

Born May 13, 1952, St John’s Newfoundland Mary caught pneumonia as an infant and was taken to live with two aunts and an uncle with whom she remained.  A bit of a rebel as a teen she became engaged to an American service man and took off to the U.S.A. When things did not work out she returned to Newfoundland and was in the right place when a Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) had a local opening. Her natural quick wit and vivacity meant she would never look back. She joined a the Newfoundland Traveling Theatre Company and ended up moving to Toronto to study theatre. However, another opportunity opened up and she left school to join a young group that would become well known as CODCO from 1987-1992. There followed in 1993 This Hour Has 22 Minutes. In 2003 she hosted May Walsh’s: Open Book and went on to create Hatching Matching and Departing for the CBC which won a Gemini Award. On a personal front she was fighting alcoholism which had began in her early teens. By 2005 she was awarded the Courage to Come Back Award by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. She also wanted to participate in helping others and became the spokesperson for Oxfam Canada (an international aid agency). She became a member of the Order of Canada in 2000. Mary suffers from Macular degeneration, a condition that usually affects older adults and results in a loss of vision in the center of the vision field. From time to time she has served as a spokesperson for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. In 2012 she was presented with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, Canada’s highest honour in the performing arts. Source Mary Walsh: an inferno of wit by Peter Feneck Good Times February 2007 pg 8-14 : Library and Archives Canada. Canadian Women in Theatre and Dance. (accessed March 2008) ;

Janet Wright   3837

Born March 8, 1945, Farnborough, England. Died November 14, 2016, Vancouver, British Columbia. The Wright family immigrated to Canada and settled in Saskatchewan when Janet was just a child. She married Brian Richmond and the couple had two children. In 1974 she and her sister Susan (died 1991), co-founded the Persephone Theatre Company in Saskatoon. Janet appeared in such popular TV shows as The Beachcombers and the King of Kensington. In Vancouver she worked at the Vancouver Arts Club where she appeared in and directed over 40 productions. She also had roles in other live theatre productions across Canada including the Stratford Theatre in Ontario. In 1992 she earned the Best Actress Genie Award for her role in the film Boardertown Café. In 1995 she became the first woman to take the role of King Lear in the Shakespearian play in Toronto. In 2003 she took Best Supporting Actress in a dramatic program or miniseries in Betrayed. In January 2004 her daughter Rachel Davis (1981-2004) her was fatally shot while intervening for a stranger being beaten in Vancouver. Janet and her husband Bruce Davis, founded the Rachel Davis Foundation to recognize bravery in young people. From 2004 to 2009 she played on the comedy TV show Corner Gas as Emma Leroy for which she won the 2006 Canadian Comedy Award for Pretty Funny TV Female. Source: Obituary (accessed 2022)

Vina Fay Wray                  

Born September 15, 1907, Cardston, Alberta. Died August 8, 2004, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A. She and her family relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. in 1912 and then to Hollywood where Fay attended high school. At 16 she appeared in her first movie, a short historical film, sponsored by a local newspaper. She went on in movies having unaccredited bit parts until 1926 when she became one of the W A M P A S Baby Stars, a group for up and coming starlets. She came under contract to Universal Studios and had parts in low budget westerns. In 1927 she was with Paramount Pictures where she had her first lead role in the Wedding March. She remained with Paramount as Hollywood entered the era of the ‘Talkies”. Leaving Paramount she worked for numerous companies including R K O Radio Pictures where she found her most famous role in the movie King Kong. She became a naturalized Citizen of the U.S.A. in 1933. She continued to star in various films through to the 1940’s. Retiring in 1942 but with mounting financial constraints She returned to acting in films and in bit parts on television. She played in individual episodes of the show Perry Mason, Playhouse 90, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and 77 Sunset Strip to name a few. In 1988 she published her biography entitled On The Other Hand; a Life Story. She married three times first to John Monk Saunders (1897-1940), with whom she had a daughter, Robert Riskin (1897-1955), with whom she had a daughter and a son, and she had three children with Dr. Sanford Rothenberg (1919-1991). She was a special guest at the 70th Academy Awards, where she was introduced as the "Beauty who charmed the Beast". She was the only 1920's Hollywood actress in attendance that evening. In 1991 she was a special guest at the 60th anniversary of the Empire State Building. Two days after her death, the lights of the Empire State Building were extinguished for 15 minutes in her memory.  Along with numerous other awards she received a posthumous star on the Canadian Walk of Fame in 2005. A small park in the city of Cardston, Alberta has been named in her honour. In May 2006, Wray became one of the first four entertainers to ever be honored by being featured on a Canadian postage stamp.   Sources: Fay Wray, IMDB Online (Accessed 2005); Adam Bernstein, ‘Fay Wray Dies at Age 96’, Washington Post, Online (accessed 2004); Fay Wray, Canada’s Walk of Fame Online (accessed 2005)

Dancers                    Return to categories
Peggy Laurayne Baker

née Smith. Born October 22, 1952, Edmonton, Alberta. Peggy studied at the University of Alberta where she was introduced to modern dance. She married Michael J. Baker and then in 1971 she moved to Toronto, Ontario to study at the School of Toronto Dance Theater. In 1974 she co-founded the Dancemakers Dance Company. In 1980 she relocated to New York, City, U.S.A. working with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. In 1990 she joined Mikhail Baryshnikov’s dance company which re-launched her career as a dancer and choreographer. In 1990 she married a second time to Ahmed Hassan (  -2011) In 1993 she joined the National Ballet School of Canada as their 1st artist-in-residence. In 2006 she was inducted into the Order of Canada and in 2007 she became the 1st person to receive the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2010 she earned the Walter Carsen Prize.

Patricia Beatty

Born May 13, 1936, Toronto, Ontario. Patricia studied modern dance at Bennington College in Vermont, U.S.A. in 1959 and at the Martha Graham School in New York City, U.S.A. In 1966 she founded the New Dance Group of Canada. In 1968 she was a co-founder of the Toronto Dance Theatre.  She was an inspirational teacher and mentor who played a seminal role in fostering the growth of modern dance performance and choreography in Canada. She retired in the early 1990’s but continued to present occasional performances focusing on spiritual themes. In 2004 she became a Member of the Order of Canada.

Louise Bédard

Born Montréal May 26, 1955. She turned to dance later in live with the Group Nouvelle Aire in Montréal in 1979. She studies various forms of dance, including modern dance, butch, ballet and she also studied voice. In 1981 she performed in Linda Robin’s O’Parade and the intensity of her dancing did not go unnoticed. In 1983 she began work as a choreographer with Pulsions et Dérisions. In 1987 she helped found Circuit-Est a co-op which assured a consistent rehearsal venue. She formed her own Louise Bédard Dance in 1990. She has also worked beyond the live stage in numerous film and video productions for Television, the National Film Board as well as dozens of productions where she dances for others in the story lines of movies. Source: Louise Bédard by Linda Howe-Beck The Canadian and World Encyclopedia [Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Inc., 1997)

Helen Birdsall

Born 1906, Toronto, Ontario. Died November 19, 1988. Helen and her sister Fanny had a lifelong interest in dance and teaching young performers in their art. From 1923-1983 the sisters operated a ‘legendary’ dance studio in Toronto. In the 1920’s and 1930’s she was choreographer for the grandstand show at a the Canadian National Exhibition (C N E). The 1931 C N E production featured a cast of 1,500! She was also well known for the annual spring dance review that were held each year at Massey Hall and the C N E.

Debra Brown

Debra earned her Bachelor of Arts from York University, Toronto and moved to Canada’s west coast. Her work is a fusing of gymnastics and dance and she has travelled all over the world with her job. In 1987 she joined the famous Cirque du Soleil as Principal choreographer. In 1999 She won a Golden Clown Award at the World Circus Festival for her work on Quidam’s Banquine Act. In 2002 She earned an Emmy Award for her production of the 74th Academy Award show. She has choreographed operas in Chicago, New York, Vancouver and Toronto. She has also worked with such performers as Madonna and Aerosmith. Her film work includes such movies as Catwoman and VanHelsing. In 2008 she was inducted onto Canada’s Walk of Fame. Source: Canada’s Walk of Fame. Online. (accessed 2009)

Rachel Browne

née Ray Minkoff. Born November 6, 1934. Died June 9, 2012 Ottawa, Ontario. Rachel loved to dance and to teach dance to others. After high school she trained in New York City, New York, U.S.A.  She joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1957 and retired from ballet in 1961. She was the founder of Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers in 1964. Rachel traveled to New York City annually to study and learn  as a dancer. It became Canada's longest running modern dance company. Rachel was Director until 1983 but remained connected working as a fundraiser and advisor. In 1995 she was awarded the Jean A. Chalmers Award for Creativity in Dance.  In 1997 she became a member of the Order of Canada. That same year the venue for the Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers named their venue in her honour the Rachel Browne Theatre. (2019)

Yvonne Millicent Firkins

Born Worcester, England. Died January 6, 1966, Vancouver, British Columbia. During World War I, she  lived in Birmingham, England, where she was introduced to theatre. She immigrated to Vancouver in 1920. Her husband was magistrate Walter H.C. Firkins, a police court clerk for 31 years. Yvonne was a founding member of the Vancouver Little Theatre, Vancouver Ballet School and Vancouver Dance Festival. She served as president of the British Columbia Drama Association and was a  founder of the  British Columbia  Dance Festival. She was also a  member, Community Arts Council and a  director of Theatre Under the Stars. From 1939 throughout World War ll she was  production manager of service shows for Pacific Command. In 1964 she opened the Arts Club Theatre and produced the controversial Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. She is considered B.C.'s first lady of the theatre. Source: Vancouver Hall of Fame on line (accessed January 2013)

Judy Jarvis

Born June 6, 1946, Ottawa, Ontario. Died November 1, 1986, Toronto, Ontario. Judy devoted her life to introducing a distinctively European aesthetic to the Canadian dance scene. She was recognized as a brilliant dancer and this allowed her strength in her teachings. From 1967 through 1983 she was the force behind a series of companied teaching classes and hold workshops at Canadian universities. The Judy Jarvis and Theatre Company toured in Canada, Berlin, Germany and Edinborough, Scotland. In 1983 her company lost it’s government funding forcing Judy to attend teachers’ college. At the time of her death she was teaching dramatic arts at a Toronto high school. In 1988 the Judy Jarvis Foundation was established to promote and protect her work.

Lata Pada

Bharatanatyam Dancer & Choreographer

Born November 7, 1947, India. At thirteen she made her solo debut at a dance recital. Dance would become an important part throughout her life.  She married Vishnu Pada in 1964 and the couple settled in Thompson, Manitoba in 1965. The couple went to Indonesia and then back in Canada they lived in Sudbury, Ontario. The couple have two daughters. In 1985 she traveled ahead of her family to India. The family were to join her but their Air India Flight 182 crashed off the cost of Ireland. Lata became the spokesperson for the families of the victims.  Lata turned to her dancing in her grief. In 1997 earned a Master's Degree in Fine Arts from York University, Toronto.  Lata is the founder and artistic Director of Sampradaya Dance Creations.  In 1990 she formed The Sampradaya Dance Academy , Mississauga, Ontario, which is the only South Asian dance school in North America affiliated with the British based Imperial Society for Teachers of Dancing. In 2008 she was named a Member of the Order of Canada for her efforts in choreography, a teacher, a dancer and artistic director. She is an Adjunct professor in the Graduate Faculty of Dance at York University. In 2011 the President of India presented her with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award recognizing her outstanding contributions. She is the 1st Canadian to have received this award. In 2012 she was presented the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal. (2019)

Menaka Thakkar

Born March 3, 1942, Bombay, India. Died February 5, 2022, Toronto, Ontario. Menaka studied dance as a child in Bombay and performed with her older sister. She learned classical styles of Indian danced and Japanese dance. In 1963 she earned her BA in visual arts. 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. In 1974 she founded the Menaka Thakkar dance company and was director of Nrtyakala: the Canadian Academy of Indian Dance. She been a major influence in the development and appreciation for Indian classical dance in Canada. In the 1980's students at York University, Toronto could earn credits for taking her dance classes. She soon became an adjunct professor of dance. She has taught dance across Canada. Her dance company has traveled to Asia, Europe and Australia.  She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work both in Canada and in India including the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in Performing Arts from the Canada Council of the Arts in 2012. The following year she received the Governor General's Award in Performing Arts.  (2022)

Onna White

Born March 24, 1922, Inverness, Nova Scotia. Died April 8, 2005, Hollywood California, U.S.A.. When Onna was 12 she began a live long passion with dance. She would study dance in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. Her 1st Broadway performance was in Finnian's Rainbow in 1947 which was followed by her appearing and assisting in the choreography of Guys and Dolls. In 1948 she married Larry Douglas, an actor. The couple had two children before they divorced in 1958. In 1956 she would choreograph her 1st Broadway show, Carmen Jones. In 1969 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted her an Academy Honorary Award for Oliver!. It is rare that the Academy recognizes choreography in a film and her award is the only one that states the name of the film. Onna continued to choreography stage and film production into the late 1970's winning eight Tony Awards for her work including The Music Man in 1958 and I Love My Wife in 1977.

Tracy Wright

Born December 7, 1959, Toronto, Ontario. Died June 22, 2010, Toronto, Ontario. In 1989 Tracy was a founding member of the Toronto Augusta Company along with her future husband Don McKeller. One of Tracy's first major film role was in Highway 61 in 1991. As well as appearing in numerous films she appeared on television in such shows as Kids in the Hall and Twitch City.  In January 2010 she married fellow actor Don McKeller (1963-   ). In 2011 she was posthumously presented along with Co-star Molly Parker with the Best Actress at the A C T R A Awards for her role in Trigger. This role also saw her nominated for the Genie Award for Best Actress. (2021)

Yoné Young

née Kvietys. Born Kaunas, Lithuania. Died July 17, 2011, Calgary, Alberta. As a child she enjoyed music and dance and loved to express herself with experimental moves. In the early 1940’s she participated in early European contemporary dance and moved to Hamburg, Germany, training in modern dance movement. In 1948, after touring as much as possible during the war, she was a refugee camp in a post-war Germany. Eventually the family landed in Toronto. She worked in dance briefly in Toronto before heading to Montreal to teach at McGill University. She also ran a dance company and began dancing in New York City, Chicago and performing for CBC Television. Moving back to teach at the University of Toronto she had her only child, a son. She broke up with her common la husband Giliaras Urbonas in 1966.  And shortly after married Ray Young and the family settled in Calgary. She became an importer of contemporary dance for the city and worked at the Drama Department at the University of Calgary where she laid the basis for the Dance Department. In 1970’s she was disillusioned with government sponsorship and cut all ties with dancing turning to visual arts and painting for her artistic release. She worked with paints, stained glass and mixed media often being inspired by the animal world and celestial themes. Her works were displayed at numerous showings at galleries in Alberta and beyond. Source: An experimental dance pioneer who found a second life on canvas by Philip Fine. Globe and Mail September 10, 2011 Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario

Dancers - Ballet     Return to categories
Annette av Paul

Born  February 11, 1944, Stockholm, Sweden. She began her ballet career in Sweden training at Swedish Ballet School from 1953 to 1961. In 1964 she married Canadian choreographer Brian Macdonald. In 1973  she joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal. She brought beauty, vast experience and artistic maturity to the many roles that were created for her. She retired from the stage in 1984. and two years later founded the Ballet British Columbia and served as artistic director. Leaving Vancouver in 1987 she as worked as a guest teacher throughout Canada and in Sweden.  She has also served as director of the dance program at the Banff Centre in Alberta.

Margaret Ruth Pringle Carse

Born December 7, 1916, Edmonton, Alberta. Died November 14, 1999. This ballet dancer was a true pioneer of her profession in Western Canada. She founded the Alberta Ballet Company and it's associated school of dance.  She studied with several leading institutions including the National Ballet of Canada and in New York City. An injury in 1954 forced her to retire from the stage.  She turned her talents to teaching the youth of Western Canada. She was winner of the Dance Canada Award in 1989 and she holds the Order of Canada. 

Ludmilla Alexandrovna Chiriaeff

née Otzoup-Goeny. Born January 10,1924, Riga, Latvia. Died September 22, 1996.Ludmilla was trained in ballet in Berlin, Germany. During World War ll she was confined to a Nazi labour camp as she was was suspected of being Jewish. Escaping the camp she found her way to Switzerland where she could resume her career in dance. Here she married a Russian Artist Alexis Shiriaev. The family name became Chiriaeff in French. In 1952 the family immigrated to Canada and settled in Montreal, Quebec.  Founder of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens she was a strong force in the development of dance in Quebec and Canada. The company was brought to international attention during Canada's Centennial year at Expo '67 World Festival. This success was followed by tours throughout North America and Europe. In 1969 she was inducted as an Officer in the Order of Canada and in 1984 she was promoted to the rank of Companion in the Order. Ludmilla retired as co-artistic director in 1974. n 1978 she was proclaimed a Grande Montréalaise by the City of Montreal, and in 1985 she was made a Grand Officier de l'Ordre National du Québec. In 1993 she received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award and that same year she earned the Denise Pelletier Award for the Performing Arts. (2019)

Betty Farrally

née Hey. Born May 5, 1915, Bradford, England. Died April 9, 1989 Kelowna, British Columbia. Betty trained in dance at a studio in Leeds, England. In 1938 she emigrated to Canada with her former dance teacher Gweneth Lloyd. The two women opened the Winnipeg Dace Club in 1939 and changed the name to Winnipeg Ballet in 1941. In 1945 the dance company began to tour and in 1953 they received Royal patronage as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (R W B). Betty was the Ballet Mistress training and rehearsing the dancers as well as being a principle dancer. When Gweneth Lloyd relocated to Toronto in 1950, Betty remained to work with the R W B. Betty also worked with Gweneth as co-head of the Banff School of the Arts summer dance program for many years. In mid 1950’s she moved with Gweneth to Kelona , British Columbia where they founded a branch of the Canadian Ballet School.  In 1970 she received the Manitoba Centennial Medal celebrating the 100 years of the Provincial history. In 1981 she was inducted into the Order of Canada and in 1984 she received the Dance in Canada Award. Sources: Memorable Manitobans online (accessed April 2014) ; The Canadian Encyclopedia online (accessed April 2014). Book: The Royal Winnipeg Ballet: the first forty years (1979). (2021)

Celia Franca

Born Celia Franks June 25, 1921, London, England.  Died February 19, 2007, Ottawa, Ontario. Celia was introduced to dance when she was just four years old.  She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Academy of Dance. She made her professional debut when she was 14. In 1947 she joined the Metropolitan Ballet of Britain as a soloist and ballet mistress. and began choreographing for television. In 1950 she was offered a position to stat a Canadian classical company. To support herself at this time she worked as a file clerk at Eaton's department store. The new company opened on November 12, 1951.  She became in 1959 the founding artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada. She was strong willed and determined ballet dancer traits required to face the many trials  over the 23 years as she helped the young ballet company to succeed.  She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1967 and in 1985 she was promoted a Companion in the Order.  In 1994 she received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. In 1979 she joined the School of Dance in Ottawa as a co-artistic director. She was a member of the board of governors of York University, Toronto and the board of directors of the Canada Council. She later served on the Board of Directors for the Canada Dance Festival Society. Her biography The Pursuit of Perfection: A Life of Celia Franca by Carol Bishop-Gwyn was published in 2011. (2021)

Margie Gillis

Born July 9, 1953, Montreal, Quebec. She began taking gymnastic and ballet lessons when she was just three years old.  She is a solo artist who has presented modern ballet around the world. She has hip-length chestnut hair and wears remarkable costumes. In 1881 she founded the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation to support and present her artistic work.  She introduced modern dance to contemporary China. She has performed in Asia, India, Europe and the Middle East as well as throughout North and South America. She was named Canadian Cultural Ambassador in 1981 and in 1986 Quebec Cultural Ambassador. When she is not on stage she had been dedicated to the fight against AIDS and a strong supporter of OXFAM and the Planned Parenthood Foundation.  In 1988 she was appointed to the Order of Canada, the 1st modern dance artist to receive this honor. In 2001 she she received a Career Grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for her exceptional contribution to Quebec culture. In 2004 she was named as one of the 25 to Watch by Dance Magazine. In 2008 she received the 1st MAD Spirit Award from the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York, City, New York, U.S.A. for her involvement in various social causes. That same year she was awarded the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2009 she was inducted as a Knight in the National Order of Quebec. On March 3, 2011, Gillis was named a 2011 laureate of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. Two months later she received a Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award from the Governor Generals Performing Arts Awards. In 2013 she was upgraded to Officer of the Order of Canada. 

Gail Gilmore / Gibson SEE - Actors - TV & Movies
Vanessa Clare Harwood-Scully

Born June 14, 1947, Cheltenham, England. In 1959 she was one of the 1st pupils of Betty Oliphant at eh National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto. In 1965 she joined the National Ballet of Canada and became a soloist in 1967 and principal dancer from 1970 through 1987. Her performance in the ballet Swan Lake garnered her the nickname of ‘Superswan’. Vanessa married noted surgeon Dr. Hugh Scully whom she met on a blind date on June 14, 1980.   In 1984 she became an Officer in the Order of Canada. In 1992 she received the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation.  She also holds both the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. She also worked as an actor with roles in the Canadian Television series Road to Avonlea and Due South. She has served as the President of the Board of Directors” Fund of Canada 1996-98. In 2001 she appeared in the film Betty Oliphant: A Life in Dance.

Melissa Hayden

(real name Mildred Herman). Born April 25, 1923, Toronto, Ontario. Died August 9, 2006, Toronto, Ontario.  This ballerina who trained as a young girl in Toronto, became an internationally known dancer.  She danced with the New York City Ballet. Upon retiring as a dancer she opened her own teaching studio in New York City.

Karen Kain

Born March 28 1951, Hamilton, Ontario. Karen trained at the National Ballet School, Toronto, Ontario. She joined the Corps de Ballet of the National Ballet of Canada in 1969. 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 1973 she earned the silver medal in the Women's category at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow, Russia. In 1983 Karen married Ross Petty, a stage and film actor.  In 1991 she was elevate to the level of Companion of the Order of Canada. In 1997 after her fair well tour she became Artist-in-residence at the National Ballet. She has been named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France. In 1997 she received a Governor General's National Arts Centre Award and received a Governor General's Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award in 2002. From 2004 to 2008, she was Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2007, she was presented with the Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award for demonstrating excellence and professionalism in the performing arts. In 2008, the Karen Kain School for the Arts officially opened,She is the founding president and president for life of the Dancer Transition Centre which is dedicated to helping retrain retiring professional dancers. In 2005 she was named Artistic Director of the National Ballet. In 2011 she received the Distinguished Artist Award from the International Society for the Performing Arts.  Her Biography Movement Never Lies may be found at your library.

Judith Rose Marcuse

née Margolick. Born March 13, 1947, Montreal, Quebec. Judith began her training in Montreal but was soon attending Britain's Royal Ballet School from 1962 through 1965.  Back in Canada she danced with les Grands Ballets Canadiens, before going to Israel in 1970 with Bat-Dor Dance Company. In 1974 for two years she danced with Ballet Rambert in England. She is is also know as a choreographer and artistic director having worked in Vancouver, British Columbia as the Judith Marcuse Dance Project Society the Repertory Dance Company of Canada and DanceArts Vancouver. 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. In 1976 she earned the Jean A. Chalmers Award for Choreography and in 1979 the Clifford E. Lee Award.  In the 1997 production of ICE: Beyond Cool, a show about teenage suicide that played in shopping malls to thousands of teenagers in a seven-city Canadian tour. In 2000 the production was adapted for TV. Both ICE and a second production FIRE broke new ground for the company, allowing young people to articulate solutions to problems facing them, and involving a broad range of sponsors, government-agency collaborators, and venues not normally associated with dance presentation. In 2009 the Canada Council awarded her with the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize. (2019)

Emily Molnar

Born September 7, 1973, Regina, Saskatchewan. Emily is a graduate of the National Ballet School of Canada, Toronto, Ontario. She has danced with the National Ballet of Canada and the Frankfurt Ballet, Germany. She has performed throughout Europe, Asia and North America.  2009 she became. Artistic Director of Ballet British Columbia. In 2013 the Globe and Mail newspaper named her Dance Artist of the Year. She has served as Artistic Director of at Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity. In 2016 she received the Vancouver Mayor's Arts Award and she became a Member of the order of Canada. She has also received the BC Community Achievement Award, the YWCA Woman Of Distinction Award in Art, Culture and Design. (2019)

Nancy Elizabeth 'Betty' Oliphant

Born August 5, 1918, London, England. Died July 11, 2004, St. Catharines, Ontario. Betty was encouraged by a doImage result for Betty Oliphant imagesctor to take ballet as a means to help her breathing after she suffered from pneumonia as a child. By the age of 17 she had opened her own dance school. Betty immigrated to Canada in 1947. By 1959 she was a co-founder of the National Ballet School of Canada and founding director from 1959-1979. She has also worked for ballet schools in Sweden, Denmark, and Russia.  She is an Officer of the Order of Canada as well as many additional awards from the City of Toronto, France and the 125 Anniversary of Confederation Medal of Canada. She has also published her autobiography; Miss O: My Life in Dance. The Betty Oliphant Theatre is located in Toronto. Sources: Canadian Encyclopedia  (2019)

Paula Cecilia Isabel/Isobel  Teresa Campbell Ross

Born April 29, 1941, Vancouver, British Columbia.  Paula began to study ballet at five years of age. At 15 she left home to join a traveling performing group at the Bellevue Casino in Montreal. She chose the name Paula Ross as her stage name. She travelled with the club throughout north America performing as a dancer and as a comedienne.  By the early 1960's she had returned to western Canada and had become a principal dancer in  the Pacific Dance Theatre in Vancouver.  In 1965 she opened her own Paula Ross Dance Company.  The Company, although well presented in western Canada and the United States, dissolved due to financial problems in 1987. Paula was known for her dance creativity and continues to work in Canada, Japan, and France. (2019)

Geneviève Salbaing

née Nehlil. Born February 2, 1924, Paris, France.  Died May 8, 2016, Montreal, Quebec. She was brought up in Casablanca Morocco and this is where she received her early ballet training. She won 1st prize as a ballerina at the Casablanca conservatory and continued her training in Paris, France. She met her husband in Casablanca during World War ll. She also studied at the Sorbonne in France to earn her BA in philosophy but left after a year to be married. She went on to study with great Russian dancers in Paris. She and her husband emigrated to the US before settling in Montreal in 1946. Although trained as a classical dancer she turned to jazz as a less restrictive form of dance. She became co-founder of Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal. Her style blends classical ballet with the free form of jazz. She was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 1987. In 2012 she received the National Order of Quebec. (2018)

Berta Lynn Seymour

née Springbett. Born March 8, 1929, Wainwright, Alberta. She studied ballet in Vancouver and England. In 2959 she was a principle dancer with England's Royal Ballet. Between 1966-1969 she was with the Deutsche Opera Ballet of Berlin, Germany. In 1978-9 she was director of the Bavarian State Opera Ballet in Munich, Germany. In Canada she has danced with the Royal Ballet, the Western Dance theatre and the National Ballet of Canada. In 1984 she published her autobiography.

Victoria Tennant

Born January 15,1947, London, England. This prima ballerina of the National Ballet of Canada won international acclaim for her extraordinary versatility and dramatic power as she danced herself around the world for 25 years.  Retired from dance she turned her talents to writing and producing for television and theatre. She has written books for children and is doing freelance writing for notable Canadian magazines. She volunteers for charity and has bee chairperson for UNICEF.  She belongs to the Order of Canada. 

Eva Von Gencsy

Born March 11,1924, Hungary. Died April 11, 2013, Montreal, Quebec.  She studied ballet at the Trognoff Russian Ballet Academy as a young girl. She won a scholarship to study at the University Mozartium Saltzberg in 1924. The next year she made her solo debut. In 1948 as she entered Canada a customs officer, seeing she was a dancer, suggested she move to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Working as a domestic servant to fulfill the requirement of working for a year in order to stay in Canada she studied with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. In 1954 when the R W B was destroyed by fire she moved to Montreal to continue dancing. She worked in Banff and taught jazz dance for 13 years. Often summers vacations were spent in New York City taking ballet and jazz classes. She specifically loved jazz-ballet as a celebration of the soul. In Montreal she formed a jazz ballet group Les Jazz-Ballet Contemporaines but left in 1978 after a disruptive collision of ideas with others in the group. She spent the next 35 years as a freelance teacher. In 2003 Mireille Dansereau completed a documentary feature EVA about the talented dancer. She had married at one time but did not relish the role of homemaker and definitely loved dance more than married life which also carried the treat of motherhood. She had a love of learning often taking courses at local institutions. At 80 years of age she discovered and embraced life with a computer.  Source: Her legacy is all that bale-jazz by Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail, April 30, 2013.  

Dancers - Contemporary - Modern      Return to categories
Maud Allan

née Ulla Maude Durant. Born August 27, 1873, Toronto, Ontario. ( sources give varied dates of birth from 1873 to 1880) Died October 7, 1956, Los Angeles California, U.S.A. The family moved to San Francisco, California, U.S.A. and then in 1895 to Germany where Maud studied piano in Berlin. Maud changed her name to cover her relationship and scandal with her criminal brother who was hanged in 1898 for murder in San Francisco. The trauma of her brother's death was such that she abandoned her piano playing and took up dance.  Maud became true pioneer of modern dance. Maude Allan in Salome.Her costumes were very creative and were fashioned and sewn by herself. Her version of the Dance of the Seven Veils became somewhat notorious. In 1908 she published My Life and Dancing and she went on tour in England. She would continue to perform in Europe, North America, Australia, Africa, and Asia. By 1915 she was appearing in silent films. In 1918 she sued a British Member of Parliament who had called her a lesbian but she lost the case which became entangled in obscenity charges against her dance performance. There was a ban on public performances on the play by Oscar Wilde from which her dance was based. Her bothers crimes were also brought out during the trial to suggest sexual insanity in her family.  Maud taught dance in the 1920's. From 1930 through 1942 she opened the West Wing School of Dance for slum children to learn dance in New York City, U.S.A. In 1937 she opened the West Wing School of Art in London, England for underprivileged children. She continued to appear in films in the 1930's and early 1940's. (2019)

Patricia Beatty

Born May 13, 1936. Born in Canada, her early dance training was in the United States. She soon brought her talents back to Canada and founded the New Dance Group of Canada.

Rachel Browne

Born November 16,1934, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.  Although trained in classical ballet, Rachel became one of the most important figures in Canadian modern dance. She created Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers.

Nancy Lima Dent

Born 1919, Toronto, Ontario. Died February 15, 2013, Toronto, Ontario. Nancy had her introduction to ballet in Toronto as a child and studied modern dance in New York City. In the 1940’s and 1950’s she worked with the Toronto New Dance Theatre establishing the Nancy Lima Dent Dance Theatre in the 1960’s. She created a body of over 30 dance works, many of which were a commentary on social issues of the day. She also performed, choreographed and organized modern dance festivals in 1960’s Toronto. Her last original choreographic work was presented in May 1974. In 1986 there was a production of her work Heroes of Our Time originally performed in 1952.

Saida Gerrard

Born April 9, 1913, Toronto, Ontario. Died May 4, 2005. Her Russian immigrant parents passed on to her the love of music as a child and she studied at the Toronto Conservatory of Music., and then on to New York City. In the 1930’s she would make significant contributions to the early establishment of modern dance in Canada. In 1951 she and her pianist husband, Aube Tzerko moved to work in Los Angeles where she formed her own dance company.

Judy Jarvis

Born June 6, 1946, Toronto, Ontario. Died November 1, 1986,Toronto, Ontario. Judy was one of Canada's important modern dance choreographers.  In 1963 she moved to Germany to become one of the last protégées of modern dance choreographer Mary Wigman. She retuned to Canada in 1967 and taught dance in the physical education department at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. She later formed a series of modern dance companied and taught dance at the University of Waterloo i Ontario. Sadly she struggled for most of her professional career to achieve acceptance.  In 1974 she was the first recipient of the Jean A. Chalmers Award in Choreography. In 1983, when funding from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council was withdrawn for her company, Jarvis returned to teacher's college. She was teaching dramatic arts in Toronto at Madonna High School at the time of her sudden death. She dies as a result of smoke inhalation during a fire in her apartment.  The Judy Jarvis Dance Foundation, created in 1987, seeks to preserve Jarvis' legacy. Source: Canadian Encyclopedia   (2021)

Jacqueline Lemieux

Born November 13, 1957, East Angus, Quebec. By the age of 13 she knew she would be a professional dancer. 1978-1979 she trained at the Ecole de dance Pointepiernu and then with the Groupe nouvelle aires’s school in 1980. 1981-1982 found her training in New York City, U.S.A. In the 1980’s she toured internationally as a performed and artistic collaborator with several groups. After ten years of touring she returned to Montreal, Quebec working with various choreographers. In 1993 she was working with Danse Cite Volet Interpretes. She is known for her modern jazz techniques. She teaches actors and circus performers to enhance their physical expressiveness. (2018)

Ginette Laurin

Born January 3, 1955, Montreal, Quebec. Ginette trained as a gymnast as well as a dancer of modern dance and ballet. began her choreographic career in 1979. She founded her own company in 1984, O Vertigo. She has also  done work with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Introdans in the Netherlands, and for films. She also taught at the Université du Québec, Montréal. The company appeared at Expo 86 and won the Jean A. Chalmers Award. In 1987 she was profiled in the documentary film, Dance for Modern Times. Since 1986 the company has returned to appear in Europe, the United States of America, Denmark, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan. In 2003 she earned the Cinedance Award for Best Direction at the Moving Pictures Festival, Toronto.  In 2015 she was invested with the Order of Canada. (2021)

Jeanne Renaud

Born August 27, 1928, Montreal, Quebec. Jeanne studied music at Ecole de musique Vincent-d'Indy, Montreal, Quebec. She went on to train in classical ballet and modern dance with private tutors. She also studied in New York City, New York, U.S.A. In 1948 she married Jean-Pierre Labrecque and the couple had two children.  From 1949 through 1954 she taught dance in Paris, France and joined the Canadian group Les Automatistes who were in Paris to perform. Back in Montreal in 1959 to 1965 she danced and taught with the Ecole de dance moderne de Montréal.  She founded Le Groupe de la place Royale, the 1st official modern dance company in Quebec in 1966. Jeanne served as a dancer, choreographer, artistic director and administrator until 1972. She operated until 1975 Galerie lll, a space for contemporary visual art, theatre, music and dance. She worked for the Canada Council, the Quebec Ministere des affaires culturelles and was head of the Conservatoire d'art dramatique du Québec in both Montreal and Quebec City. In 1990 she retired from teaching at the Université du Québec à Montréal. In 1989 Renaud received the prestigious Prix du Québec Denise Pelletier, and in 1995 the Governor General's Award for the Performing Arts. Jeanne is also a member of the Order of Canada. (2019)

Ola Shanks  4085

Black Dancer

née Shepard. Born 1926, Toronto, Ontario. Died August 13, 2018, Toronto, Ontario. Ola immigrated from the Caribbean with her family in 1918 and settled in Toronto. As a youth learned to tap dance by copying what she saw and liked in movies and then performed professionally at various venues and events in Toronto in the 1940's. After her marriage and the birth of her four daughters she  took up dancing again and trained in western interpretive dance forms. Inspired to learn more about her African heritage, Ola reached out to universities in Ghana and Nigeria and learned dances directly from Nigerian students on exchange at the University of Toronto in the 1950's. She continued with classes  with pearl Primus in Buffalo, New York, U.S.A. and began to merge western interpretive dance forms and the dances of the African Diaspora in her own teaching and fashion design. She performed taught and choreographed extensively for stage and television folk festivals, Caribana and the San Diego Museum of Art in California, U.S.A. She also taught at the University of New York in Buffalo and at the Three Schools Artists' workshop in Toronto. In 1974 she would open her own studio. In 2018 she was inducted into the Dance Collection Dance Encore! Dance Hall of Fame. Source: It's About Time: Dancing Black in Canada 1900-1970. online (accessed 2022)

Filmmakers       Return to categories
Evelyn Spice Cherry
Documentary Filmmaker

née Spice. Born 1906, Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Died December 17, 1990, Victoria, British Columbia. Her first career was that of a teacher in public schools in Saskatchewan. She returned to school herself graduating with a degree in journalism  from the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, U.S.A. in 1929.  After graduation she too a position as society columnist with the Regina Leader Post newspaper. By 1931 she was in London, England working with the Government Post Film Unit and worked with members of the British Documentary Film Movement as the only Canadian and only women in the unit. While in London she met met her husband Lawrence William Cherry (1903-1966. The couple had two children. With the outbreak of World War ll (1939-1945) the couple returned to Canada and became successful independent film makers. She would also work as the Head of the Agricultural Films Unit with the National Film Board of Canada where she served from 1941 to 1951 making 128 films. During her time at the NFB she helped to found a nursery so her son would be taken care of when he was young. She is considered a pioneer in the Canadian documentary filmmaker industry. After being forced into retiring from the NFB during the era of the 'Red purge" Evelyn returned to teaching. In 1960 she was once again working with her husband making films is Saskatchewan as Cherry Films Ltd. which was founded in 1961. She retired a second time in 1985. Some of her texts and photographs are kept in the Library and Archives Canada. Suggested by Nancy Addison.  Source: Canadian Women Film Director's Database online (accessed 2022.

Jennifer Hodge de Silva

Black Film Maker

Born January 28, 1951, Montreal, Quebec. Died May 5, 1989, Montreal, Quebec. Jennifer began high school in Canada and then finished her secondary education in Hasilberg-Goldern, Switzerland. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Arts at Glendon College, York University in 1974. This was followed by a Bachelor of ApPhotograph of Jennifer Hodge de Silvaplied Arts in Television Arts at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute (now Ryerson University) in 1979. She apprenticed at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB)  in Montreal where she worked on documentaries such as A Great Tree Has Fallen and Potatoes which told the story of the P.E.I. potato industry. In 1982 she began working for he CBC. Jennifer became the 1st film maker to work constantly with the NFB and the CBC. That same year she married producer Paul de Silva and the couple had one daughter. Together she and her husband started  a film production company Jenfilms Inc. Jennifer was among the 1st Black filmmakers. Her documentaries covered such diverse topics as Chinese-Canadian immigrants, World War ll, Indigenous artists, prison reform, diverse neighbourhoods, and Black history in Canada. Her works earned numerous awards. For her work on the film Dieppe 1942 won the CBC's Prix Anix. In 1987 she received the Award for Creative Excellence from the U. S. Industrial Film and Video Festival for her prison reform documentary called In Support of the Human Spirit. Her work Inside Stories garnered her a Gemini Award in 1989. Jennifer produced Neighbourhoods series which told the history and character of various communities in Canada. Terminal illness did not slow her filmmaking which she continued until her death from breast cancer. In 1992 the Film Jennifer Hodge: The Glory and the Pain was produced. Photo: National Film Board of Canada's web site nlc8893

Dorthea Mitchell 4010

Early Filmmaker & Accomplished Businesswoman

Born 1877, England. Died 1976, Victoria, British Columbia. Dorthea's father worked for railroads internationally so she grew up in Egypt and India until they returned to England in the 1890's By 1904 they had immigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto. She purchased a boarding house in Toronto so that her mother and sister could join her. She became a "work companion' to a mining engineer as his wife in Silver Mountain, Ontario. She remains here becoming the Canadian Pacific Railway station master, post master and ran her own general Store.  Since people preferred to trade for goods she was ont making a living so she bought a saw mill and became a 'Lady Lumberjack.'  Applying for land under the Homestead Act and as an unmarried woman she received 79 acres instead of the usual 160 acres granted to single men. From 1911 through to 1920 she operated her saw mill prior to relocating to Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay), Ontario. She took business courses and by the summer of 1921 she was teaching the courses! In 929/30 she and the Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society produced three feature length silent films. Their work was so popular that people were turned away from the theatre.  The advent of sound films and the depression saw the demise of the Society.  In 1930 she became the first secretary-treasurer of the Port Arthur General Hospital. From 1931 four four years she dabbled in local real estate. She was also a prominent member of the Daughters of the Empire. During World War ll (1939-1945) she trained Red Cross Transport Corps members to go overseas. She was in charge of the registration of Canadian women. She also worked to provide accommodation for British child evacuees with the Children's Aid Society. Dorthea retired to the Canadian West Coast for her heath and joined the Victoria Amateur Movie Club. She would also published numerous short stories. At 92 she penned the story of life at Silver Mountain. (2022)

Lea Pool

Born September 8, 1950, Soglio, Switzerland. Lea immigrated to Canada in 1975 to study at the Université du Québec, Montreal where she graduated with a degree in communications. She was working at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) when she produced her 1st solo film Strass Café in 1980. It was in the early 1980's that she worked on a TV series Planète et Eva en Transit, aired on Radio-Québec. Known for her feminist film studies she produced several films in the 1980's and 1990's including a documentary on the life of author Gabrielle Roy which earned a Jutra Award. Some of her works have been screened at the Famous Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, U.S.A. and the Venice Film Festival in Italy. In 1984 La femme de l’hôtel was awarded the Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 1986 she received the Audience Award for Anne Trister at the International Women's Film Festival in Créteil, France. Her 1st work in English Lost and Delirious was shown at Sundance and the Berlin Film Festival in Germany. In 2006 she was awarded the Prix Albert-Tessier for her outstanding career in cinema from the Quebec government. In 2011 she presented Pink Ribbons Inc which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. In 2013 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada. in 2017 accepted the Vancouver Women in Film and Television Artistic Merit Award at Vancouver International Film Festival.  (2019)

Kathleen Shannon

Born January 1, 1935, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died January 9, 1998, Kelowna, British Columbia. After dropping out of high school at 16, Kathleen worked cataloguing films at Crawley Films , Ottawa. By 1956 she was working at the National Film Board (NFB)  she worked as a sound and picture editor. In 1970 she directed her 1st film Goldwood.  in the Working Mothers series. Kathleen became a driving force behind the creation of the famous Studio D (1974-1996) , a women's film production unit producing feminist documentaries created by and for women. She was the 1st executive producer a position she held for 12 years and over saw the creation and production of some 80 films including a 1977 and 1982 Academy Award winning films. One of the last films from Studio D was a biographical documentary, Kathleen Shannon: On Film, Feminism, and Other Dreams. The NFB also established a documentary prize, the Kathleen Shannon Award presented annually at the Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival. Kathleen was married twice and was mother of one son. She retired to the Kootenays in British Columbia opening a guest house for women. In 1986 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. (2020)

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Winnifred Estella Bambrick  SEE - Writers - Authors
Katherine E. Bellamy

Born Bay Roberts, Newfoundland. Died March 23, 2010, Newfoundland. Katherine earned her Bachelor of Arts from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At 18 she entered the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland. She became an educator of music serving in numerous schools. Under her tutelage the Our Lady of Mercy Glee Club was the first Newfoundland Junior choir to with the Matheson Trophy, a national award. She spent more than 20 years as organist and choir director at the Basilica of St. Jon the Baptist. She has also demonstrated a commitment to serving the less fortunate in areas where she has taught. In 2006 she was inducted into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador and in 2007 she was appointed to the Order of Canada. Sources: Order of Newfoundland and Labrador online : Order of Canada Online (accessed November 2011)  (2020)

Helen Arlene Dahlstrom

née Underbakke. Born June 5, 1917, Regina Saskatchewan. Died July 25, 2013, Victoria, British Columbia.  Helen married Alton Dahlstrom and the couple had two children. It was however, her love of music which she would best known for. She received her piano teachers certificate from the Toronto Conservatory of Music. In 1934 she received he Licentiate for Music Diploma at the University of Saskatchewan. She actually started her piano career at 16 when she played with the Regina Symphony Orchestra. She toured, played on radio and accompanied notable musicians at recitals. In 1950 she moved to Rossland, British Columbia and began her lifetime work at St. Andrew’s United Church. She also shared her leadership and management skills  by holding numerous positions of local, provincial, national and international music organizations for 70 years. She was paramount in the organization of Canada Music Week for which she chaired for 25 years. In 1998 she received the Order of British Columbia in recognition of her contribution to the enrichment of the love of music in the province. Sources: Canadian Women of Note, Media Club of Canada (Toronto: York University, 1994) # 189 page 208; Trail History Society online (accessed August 2011).

Shirley Rose Eikhard 4171

Born November 7, 1955, Sackville, New Brunswick. Died December 15, 2022, Orangeville, Ontario. Shirley came from a talented musical family and she was given her first guitar when she was just eleven years old. When she was a teen her family relocated to Oshawa, Ontario. At 12 she had her first stage performed at a fiddle festival in Cobourg, Ontario.  In 1969 she was successful in her audition for the Songwriter's Workshop at the Mariposa Folk Festival.  In 1971 she wrote It Takes Time which was performed by Anne Murray (1945-    ). By the early mid 1970's she had released her first album and her work earned her two R P M Weekly Gold Leaf Awards in Canada and a 1973 and 1974 Juno Awards. This was followed with three more albums. Her works have been recorded by Kim Carnes, Anne Murray, Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris, Alannah Miles, Cher, and Bonnie Raitt. Her work Something to Talk About received a S O C A N Classics Award and a B M I Award. In 2020 Shirley was inducted into the Canadian Songwriter' Her final album was released in October 1921. s Hall of Fame.  (2022)

Joyce Margaret McCulloch Brooker

Born 1921, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Died 1991, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. She was educated locally and served as secretary-manager of the Portage la Prairie Chamber of Commerce for many years. With her husband she led, and played piano in, the Brookers Bombshells, a leading dance band in southern Manitoba. She also helped found the Portage Music and Arts Festival. Source: Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted University of Manitoba Press, 1999

Eleanor Reed Townsend

Born January 8, 1944, Dungannon (near Stratford) Ontario. Died December 31, 1988. Eleanor studied classical violin as a youth before choosing fiddle music as her preferred art form. She won the women's Class Canadian Open Old Time Fiddler's Competition four times from 1967 through 1974. In 1979 she became the first woman to win the Open Class Competition (competition open to both men and women). When she was not touring with her music she taught fiddling at the boards of education in Scarborough and Simcoe Ontario. She cut four albums of music and published the Townsend Old-Time Fiddle method (1996) She is a member of the Fiddler's Hall of Fame (1984) in Oceola, New York and also the Canadian National Fiddling Hall of Fame.

Grace Trotman 4313

Born April 14, 1911, Liberia. Died March 8, 1982, Toronto. Grace immigrated to Canada in 1920 and settled in Toronto. She graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto. For some 45 years she would teach the youth of Toronto music lessons. She was the choir leaded and organist of the British Methodist Episcopal Church. In the 1930's she was known to have established a summer camp for Black youth in the city. Source: Our Lives and The Black Women's Collective Salutes Women in Our history in Our Lives: Canada's First Black Women's Newspaper Vol 2 No. 1 March April 1987. Online (accessed 2023); Find a grave Canada online (accessed 2023)

Producers & Directors of Movies & Films     Return to categories
Judith Crawley

Born April 21, 1914, Ottawa, Ontario. Died September 15, 1986. A film producer, director, and scriptwriter, she and her husband Frank “Budge” Crawley formed Crawley Films, which became one of Canada’s foremost independent production companies.  She was also president of the Canadian Film Institute.

Sarindar Dhaliwal

Born 1955, Punjab, India. A feminist of Sikh descent s he came to Canada with her family as an infant. She has earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Falmouth School of Art at Cornwall, England in 1978. She returned to school at York University in Toronto for her masters in 2002. Her paintings combine fragments from the past such as photographs and mementos with paper made from organic plants in geometrically arrangements. She has also tried her talents as an author of short stories. Since 1983 she has participated in solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada. Her works resides in major public collections across Canada as well.

Madeline Hombert

Born October 4, 1944, Shoal Lake, Manitoba. She attended school in Rivers, Manitoba before heading off to Ryerson University in Toronto. Her education also included hands on training through cable television, commercial video, television and film productions. She has applied herself as a newspaper columnist, book editor, and a writer of screenplays. She has worked in most areas of film and television productions, from setting up equipment through budgeting and production management to songwriting. Through this experience she had gained insight to cost control and financial accountability while still appreciating the artistic demands of production. In 1989 she received a CTV Fellowship Award. She has always taken an active interest in her community and expressed herself in politics by running as a federal Liberal Candidate in the elections in 1979 and 1980 in Calgary. Her work in her community, her volunteer efforts and her political involvement earned her the nomination as a Woman of Distinction in Calgary 1981. The award encouraged her and she continues her volunteering with such organizations as the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Variety Club and the Canadian Fund for the Support and Assistance of Lung Transportations.

Annette Mangaard

Born March 26, 1955. After studies at the Ontario College of Art she began her career as a filmmaker. She has earned recognition as a strong independent filmmaker. She has also returned her time to her profession by participating in various associations for Canadian filmmakers and has served as a board member for the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto. She earned the Award of Merit at the Charleston International Film Festival in 1994.

Anne-Claire Poirier

Born June 6, 1932, St-Hyacinthe, Quebec. A film director and producer, she joined the National Film Board in 1960.  Her efforts allowed female film producers their first organized platform for expression. In 1968 her documentary Film Du Mere en fille was the 1st feature film ever directed by a French-Canadian women. In 1996 her documentary film, Tu as Crie: Let me go. was made to help her understand the events leading to the murder of her daughter. In 2001, Poirier received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in film. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003.

Linda Marie Gillingwater Rainsberry

Died January 10, 2009. She was a writer, editor, educator, TV and film producer, philanthropist, and a businesswoman. She studied at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia for her Bachelor of Education and earned her masters frat the University of Toronto. She won a Gemini Award for best shot dramatic program: Saying goodbye: the first snowfall, which was a ten part drama/documentary series on grief and bereavement. She was the director of the Ambassador program which is an educational program for 16-24 year old youth who lived on Toronto’s streets. She was the mother of two sons. Source: Toronto Star, January 17, 2009 pg. CL9

Betty Riley   4162

Black TV Producer

Born 1930, Saint John, New Brunswick. After working as a TV producer in New Brunswick Betty relocated to Montreal where she worked as an office supervisor for a cable TV company. She noticed that there was noting on TV about Blacks and decided to do something about this! She created the TV program Black Id which aired in the 1970's as Canada's first all-Black TV program. It dealt with contemporary issues in the Black community such as police brutality and discriminatory immigration. She ran a television workshop teaching Black youth the basics of production. She spoke out against racial and gender equality in the workplace being herself a Black woman in a male dominated field. Source: Rediscovering the roots of Black New Brunswickers. online (accessed 2022)

Denise Robert

Born 1954, Ottawa, Ontario. Denise studied music at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts d'Aix-en-Provence, France. She took travel time from her studies to visit Israel, India and South America. Back home in Canada in 1978 she worked at the French-language theatre company of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Moving on to work with the Canadian Department of Communications she attended workshops on filmmaking at the Canadian Film Institute and decided to strike out on her won making movies. In 1984 she relocated to Montreal and worked for the Société générale du cinema gaining a solid base understanding of the industry. She founded in 1988 Cinémaginaire with production manager Daniel Louis. The 1st film she produced A corps perdu in 1988 won six Genie Awards. From 1997 for two years she served as President of  2003 her film Les Invasions barbares, directed by husband Denys Arcand, won the Oscar. The couple have an adopted daughter from China. In 1997 for two years she served as President of Cinematheque Québécoise and from 1999 to 2002 she was President of the Association of Film and Television in Quebec. By 2002 Cinémaginaire was established as a commercial force in the francophone film industry. Denise is a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's National Advisory Council and a member of the producer's branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Academy Awards), the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (B A F T A) and the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma (César Awards).  In 2003 her film Les Invasions barbares directed by husband Denys Arcand won the Oscar. Her 2009 film De pére en flic is the highest-grossing French Canadian film up to 2015. Her films have won more than 100 awards worldwide.  She is a Chevalier in France's L'Ordre des arts et des lettres.  (2019)

Kathleen Shannon

Born November 11,1935, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died January 14, 1998, Image result for Kathleen Shannon national film board imagesKelowna, British Columbia.  Kathleen dropped out of high school in Ottawa and began working Crawley Films cataloguing music. She joined the National Film Board in 1956 as an editor and by 1962 had 115 films to her credit. She became a film editor and executive producer for the National Film Board of Canada using film to examine the role of women in society. In 1970 she directed her 1st film Goldwood, a film based on her childhood memories in northern British Columbia. In 1974 she was the founder and 1st executive producer of Studio D of the National Film Board which was the 1st government funded film studio in the world dedicated to women filmmakers. Studio D provided women with employment, training and information needs of Canadian women where they could explore and expand their creativity. The films produced included Academy Award winning documentaries I'll find a Way in 1977 and If You Love This Planet in 1982. Studio D was closed in 1996 with one of the last films produced being Kathleen Shannon: On Film, Feminism, and Other Dreams. The Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival in Saskatchewan presents an annual Kathleen Shannon Award established by the National Film Board. (2021)

Mina Suingai Shum

Asian Canadian Producer

Born December 12, 1965, Hong Kong. Mina studied for a degree in Theatre and then Film and TV Production at the University of British Columbia. She is a writer and producer of films and is perhaps best known for her work in short films. In 1993 her work Me, Mom and Mona, won a special Jury Citation for Best Canadian Short Film. She has won a Genie Award for Best Actress and Best Editing and she has been nominated for seven Genies in the categories of Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Screenplay.

Laura Sky

Born 1947, Montreal, Quebec. Laura was born with an undiagnosed learning disability but she had she had unstoppable determination. She learned things in her won way. At 14 she joined the Peace Movement and learned to research events, debate ideas and calculate strategies. She became a single parent and stared her career in 1979 with the National Film Board of Canada Challenge for Change Program. She would be one of the women film makers who laid the ground work for the famous “Studio D” a special unit of the National Film Board dedicated to films about women’s issues. In 1983 she established SKYWORKS, a charitable foundation that is a community based not-for-profit educational documentary production organization. Sources: Herstory, the Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006 Coteau Books, 2005

Anne Wheeler

Born September 23, 1946, Edmonton, Alberta   Actor, filmmaker, producer, director, and writer are her professions.  She worked for the National Film Board of Canada in the 1970’s working on numerous documentaries.  Her film “Bye Bye Blues” made in 1990 won Three Genie Awards.

Puppeteers         Return to categories
Noreen Young

She studied drawing and painting at the Ontario college of art but it was something more along the line of sculpting that would capture her attention and career. She began to hone her skills as a puppet builder and puppeteer. In 1979 she formed Noreen Young Productions. While she has been involved in several productions for the younger audiences it was her Under the Umbrella Tree television show that is perhaps the best remembered. It was aired on CBC, Y T V, Canal Famille and the Disney Channel. In 1995 she received the Order of Canada for her achievements in children's television. Her political character puppets have been a constant source of entertainment for Canadian adults.

Vocalists - Singers - Children's Songs   Return to categories
Charlotte Diamond

Born July 31, 1945, Nanaimo, British Columbia. In 1983 Charlotte graduated from University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Secondary Education. She continued French language studies at Laval University, Quebec before teaching science, French and Music at Junior High school in New Westminster Secondary School for ten years. Charlotte loved to sing and performed with local fold groups. She wrote songs and entertained her own children and also developed a preschool music program which resulted in requests for workshops and school concerts around Vancouver and around the province. In 1986 her recording of 10 Carrot Diamond , which would become a Gold Record, won the Canadian Juno Award. She has become a frequent headliner for the Vancouver International Children’s Festival. Her popular son Octopus (Slippery Fish) became a book in 2013: Slippery Fish in Hawaii. In 2015 she released with her son Mat, Diamonds by the Sea. Trilingual, English , French and Spanish, she as released recordings in all three languages. Her works have garnered her Parents’ Choice Awards and American Library Association Awards. She tours throughout North America, Costa Rica. She has been awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal and has been named as a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. In 2016 she was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada.

Vocalists - Singers - Folk & Country     Return to categories
Angèle Arsenault

Born October 1, 1943, Abrams, Prince Edward Island . Died February 25, 2014, Saint-Sauveur, Quebec. When she was 14 she won a television singing contest in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. While studying at the University of Moncton in New Brunswick she  made her professional  debut in Moncton and then Quebec City. She graduatedImage result for images Angele Arsenault with her Master's degree from Université Laval in 1968. She performed on radio, television and toured Canada. With a sincere love of Acadian folk music as incentive she wrote and sung her own songs in both of Canada’s official languages. She hosted the TVOntario show True North from 1973-1974. Her educational program won a Gold Hugo Award at the Chicago Film Festival in 1974. Her 1st album Première appeared in 1975. The following year she had her only English album.  She earned a Felix-award in 1979 when he album Libre sold more than 200,000 copies. She is perhaps best known for her Acadian Anthem Grand-Pre. She used her music to express her own special brand of humor. She hosted the TV series Angèle in 1980 for Radio-Canada Atlantique, as well as Radiomutuel’s Le Radio-café Provigo from1986 to 88, Radio-Canada’s Mes noëls en Acadie in1988 and Radio-Canada Moncton’s morning show in1989. She was also a correspondent in Charlottetown for Telefilm Canada's PassepArt.  After a brief break she returned to the stage in 1988 and performed in France in 1990. She was an officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Prince Edward Island. She also received the Order de la Pléiade from the Association of French Speaking Parliamentarians for promotion of the French language and culture. (2019)

Hélène Baillargeon-Coté

Born August 28, 1919, Sainte-Marie-du-Beauce, Quebec. Died September 25, 1997, Montréal, Québec  As a child she loved singing folk songs. As an adult she studied voice and researched folk songs. She recorded 10 albums of her beloved folk music. In 1944 she married André Coté and the couple had three children. From 1959 through 1973 she galvanized Anglophone children to their television sets with her show Chez Hélène. She spoke only French to her English speaking mouse friend, Suzie.  To the children it was endearing, in reality she was bridging tow national cultures. In the 1970’s she became a celebrity Canadian Citizenship judge accepting new immigrants who had succeeded in there quest to gain citizenship to their new country. In 1973 she received the Order of Canada. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2000 (Silver anniversary edition) Coteau Books, 1999. Page 54.

Carroll Ann Baker

Born March 4, 1949, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. Carroll was performing at the age of four. At 16, Carroll and her family relocated to Toronto. Carroll had her 1st single song hit in 1970.  She dominated the country music scene in the 1970's winning several Juno Awards as Country Female vocalist in 1977, 1978 and 1979. In 1976, she won a Big Country Award for best album of the year, and in 1978 and 1977 she was named top female country singer at the same awards. She produced over 20 albums of her music. In the summer of 1983 she hosted her own television show and was always a welcome guest on the long running Tommy Hunter show. She decided to take partial retirement in the early 1990's. She was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. In 1997 she received a lifetime achievement award from the Nova Scotia Country Music Association. In 2010 she became a Member of the Order of Canada for her singing and songwriting.

Anita Best

Born Merasheen Island, Newfoundland. Her interest in Newfoundland oral history let her to a career as a performer. She had made numerous television and radio appearances and several recordings of songs and stories of the province. She has served as President of the Newfoundland Folk Arts Society of which she has been involved for over 30 years.  In 2011 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for ‘ensuring this priceless cultural legacy’ of son and stories of Newfoundland and Labrador. She has explored, researched, catalogued the lifestyle and culture of Newfoundland. She is considered one of the province’s most prominent traditional singers. In 2015 she won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Folk Fest at Bannerman Park.

Heather Bishop

Born April 25, 1949, Regina, Saskatchewan. Heather went to university for her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Saskatchewan in 1969. She had studied piano as a child but decided she enjoyed guitar more when she was a teen. She also studied voice in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1976 she began her solo career at the Regina Folk Festival. By the 1980's she was one of Canada's leading performers in both feminist and children's music and was touring throughout North America. She has some five albums of music as well as a recordings of songs for children.

Marie Bottrell

Born January 16, 1961, London, Ontario. To her it seems she has always written and sang. When she was a teen, her brothers sent he son tapes to various country and western groups and she was soon hired as a writer and then she began recording and singing herself. Her first album, Just reach out came out when she was 17 years old. She has toured all over North America doing public and TV appearances. After a tour of Germany in 1980 she has maintained a loyal fan base there.  She received the Best Country Awards for outstanding performance, country female singer in 1979 and best single recording for the Star in 1980. She was the Canadian Country Music Awards best female vocalist of the year in 1983 and 1984. She was nominated annually from 1979 through 1986 for Juno Awards. In 1991 she made a comeback with the hit Lasso your Love recorded in Nashville, U.S.A.

Edith Butler

Born July 27, 1942, Paquetville, New Brunswick. Learning music in her home town of Caroquet, New Brunswick, Edith applauds the Acadian culture wherever she entertains. She has a strong singing voice and is a well rounded entertainer combining humor with her own music. Edith was one of the first songsters to promote Acadian culture in Canada and internationally. She was able to launch her career on Radio-Canada in Moncton, New Brunswick. By 1962 she was singing with CBC TV Halifax on Singalong Jubilee. In 1969 she graduated from Laval University, Quebec City. In 1970 she was a featured performer at the Canadian Pavilion at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan.  She won the award of the Académie Charles-Cros, in Paris, France and  she was induced as a Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Pléiade 1978 in France. In 1999 France presented her with the Chevalier de l'Ordre Nationale du Mérite de la République française  She was made a Member of the Order du Mérite de la culture française by the Canadian Senate and was induced  an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1975.  She has recorded some 27 albums of her Acadian music and in 2007 her song, Paquetville, was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. July 2, 2009 she was one of four musicians who had their picture on stamps issued by Canada Post. The following year she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society Of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). In 2012 she was given the Lieutenant-Governor's Award for High Achievement in the Arts for Performing Arts. and in 2013 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of New Brunswick.

Carmen  Campagne

Born September 8, 1959, Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan. Died July 4, 2018, Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec. Carmen was a singer and children's entertainer. She loved working with children and chose to be a kindergarten teacher prior to being a folk singer and composer.  In the 1970’s she was a member of the folk music band Folle Avoine. She relocated to Quebec and releases several French-language albums.  She, along with her sister-in-law, Connie Kaldor, received a Juno Award at the 1989 in the category Best Children's Album for Lullaby Berceuse. Her use of own compositions and traditional folk songs encouraged young Francophone to discover their heritage, and helped young Anglophones to learn the French language. She would also win four Felix Awards and a Parents' Choice Award in the United States. Along with her brother and sisters and her former band mates she continued to entertain with the folk band Hart-Rouge. In 2003 she returned to her home province to be closer to her family. In 2013, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada "for her contributions as a singer, songwriter and composer enhancing music for young children and using music in French-language education". She had taken some time off from entertaining when she once again taught kindergarten. In 2014 she returned to performing.

Emma Enid Maude Caslor

née Carmichael. Born December 18, 1913, Chilliwack, British Columbia. Died December 25, 1977, Chilliwack, British Columbia. Emma enjoyed piano lessons as a child and as a youth too voice in San Francisco, U.S.A., Vancouver, and Halifax. She was introduced to the joy of folk music in 1930 while living on Canada's east coast. Until 1948 she used the professional name of Nina Finn when singing and playing public and radio performances. In the 1940's she worked for the National Film board in Ottawa. After 1948 she took the professional name of Emma Caslor and began her own career as a singer. Her music embraced at first the Celtic roots but soon took on the folk cultures of Canada's full diversity from aboriginal music to Elizabethan songs.

Louise Forestier

née Belhumeur. Born August 10, 1942. Louise studied acting at the National Theatre School, Montreal, Quebec but she preferred singing to acting. In 1966 she received the Renee Claude Trophy from Le Matriote and was ‘discovery’ of the year for radio-Canada. In 1968 she was part of an successful revue which also toured France in 1969. She continued to sing and act doing Rock music and then turning folk music. In 1976 she received the Manteau d’Arlequin prize from France for the best presentation of a French language song. In 1984 she was the woman of the year in Quebec in the arts field. In 2013 she received the SOCAN (Society for composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) and was presented with the Order of Canada. (2017)

Connie Isabel Kaldor

Born May 9, 1953, Regina, Saskatchewan. Connie earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater at the University of Alberta in 1976. She worked performing with various theatre groups until 1979 she she began a full-time music career. In 1981 she founded her own independent record label, Coyote Entertainment. She won her 1st Juno Award with Carmen Campagne in 1989 for the Best Children’s Album, Lullaby. She earned two more awards for Best Children’s Album in 2004 and in 2005. She do-wrote a song for the animated television series based on the comic strip For Better of For Worse which debuted in 2000. She married music producer and Hart-Rouge member Paul Campagne. In 2003 her television show @Wood River Hall debuted on Vision TV. In 2006 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. She continues to write music and to tour.

k. d. Lang

(Kathryn  Dawn) Born November 2, 1961, Consort, Alberta. This country singer has real country roots.  She grew up in Consort, Alberta, which has a population of 700.  In 1981 she became a vegetarian. In 1985 she won her 1st Juno as Most Promising Female Vocalist of the year followed in 1987 with a Juno as Country Female Vocalist of the year.  She has been very outspoken against cattlemen . Her natural joy of country music is evident in the songs she sings. In June 1992 she 'came out' as a lesbian.  In 1995 she was awarded the International Solo Artist Award. This multiple Grammy winner is considered an innovator in her field, she performs from the heart and is an inspiration to all. In 2005 she received the National Art Centre Award and that same year she won her 6th Juno this time for Artist of the year.  In 2008 she received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto, Ontario. In 2011 she was inducted to the Q Hall of Fame Canada in recognition of the work she has done to further equality for all peoples around the world. In 2014 she made her Broadway debut as a 'Special Guest Star' in After Midnight. She has also appeared in movies and numerous television programs over the years.

Rita MacNeil

Born May 28, 1944, Big Pond, (Cape Breton) Nova Scotia.  Died April 13, 2013, Sydney, Nova Scotia. As a child Rita suffered from shyness and endured surgery for a cleft palate. She loved to sing for her mother who encouraged her to Higher goals. Rita is mother of two children but her marriage did not ad to nor survive her budding career. She began writing her own heartfelt songs. An early title, Born a Woman, composed to protest beauty pageants, would become the name of her first album in 1974. She has recorded more than 20 albums since then, setting sales records, and outselling such icons as Garth Brooks in 1990’s Canada. In the late 1970’s after a slow start to her career, she was invited to sing with the all male miners choir, Men of the Deep. It was a successful and long lasting musical relationship. In 1987 she won the first of her 3 career Juno awards. She also holds 4 Canadian Country Music Awards and 7 East Coast Music Awards. Her 1990’s CBC TV show, Rita and Friends, garnered her a Gemini Award. As an entrepreneur the family runs Big Pons publications and productions as well as her big Cape Breton tourist attraction Rita’s Tea Room. She holds 5 honourary degrees from Universities, the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award, honouring her contribution to Atlantic Canada Music and holds the Order of Canada (1992) and the Order of Nova Scotia (2005). Her autobiography is On a personal note, written with Anne Simpson Toronto; Key Porter Books, 1998. Flying on her own is a a musical play of her life through her songs by Charlie Rhindress, 2008 Source: Rita MacNeil web site (accessed June 2011); Profiles From a Century of Canadian Music by Alex Barris and Ted Barris Toronto; Harper Collins.

Anna McGarrigle

Born December 4, 1944, Montreal, Quebec. Along with her sister and singing  partner, Kate McGarrigle (1946-2010) , she began singing in coffee houses in Montreal in the 1960's. Anna studied at the Ecole des Beaux-arts de Montreal from 1964-1968. In 1976 they produced a record album together and won the Melody Maker Best Record of the Year.  Other albums followed including an all French album in 1982 and the duo would win Juno Awards for their works. Anna married journalist Dane Lanken and the couple have two children.  The McGarrigles were named to the Order of Canada in 1994. In 1999 the sisters received the Women of Originality Awards. In 2006 the singers received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).

Kate McGarrigle

Born February 6, 1946, Montreal, Quebec. Died January 18, 2010, Montreal, Quebec. Kate was the youngest of three sisters who grew up in St-Sauveur-des-Monts, Quebec. Along with her sister and partner, Anna, she began singing folk music in coffee houses in Montreal in the 1960’s. From 1963 to 1967 she joined Jack Nisserson and Peter Weldon to form the Mountain City Four. Kate studied engineering at McGill University before she began writing songs.  In 1976 they produced a record album together which won Best Record of the year from Melody Maker. Kate married Loudon Wainwright lll and the couple had two children, Rufus  Martha who themselves became acclaimed musicians.  After a brief solo experience in New York, Kate rejoined her sister and more albums followed including a French language collection in 1982. n 1998 the sisters won Juno Awards for two albums. The McGarrigles were named to the Order of Canada in 1994.In 1999 Kate and Anna earned Women of Originality Awards. In 2006 the sisters received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).  In 2008, after a diagnoses of cancer Kate established a Fund at the McGill University Health Centre to raise awareness of the rare cancer called Sarcoma. May 12-13, 2011 a tribute concert was filmed and released in June 2013 as:  Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle Place Kate McGarrigle was inaugurated August 7, 2013 in Montreal.

Renée Martel     3614


Queen of Quebec Country Music

Born June 26, 1947, Drummondville, Quebec. Died December 18, 2021, St-Hyacinthe, Quebec. Renée was the daughter of singers and was introduced to a love of music very young. Renée would earn the title queen of Quebec Country Music. In the 1960's she had hits such as Liverpool, Je vais à Londres, and Johnny Angel. She maintained her career through the 1970's and 1980's. She toyed with retiring in the 1990's but decided to put out more albums in the 2000's. Her album L'héritage won her the Félix for Show of the Year Performer in 2009. July 31, 2014 Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp with her likeness on it. She interrupted her 2019 tour, which she was calling her final tour, due to breast cancer but fortunately was in remission in 2020.  In October 2021 she released an album, Contre vents et marées with fellow country singer Paul Darmiche.  She died of pneumonia. Source: Obituary (accessed 2021)

Ann Mortifee

Born November 30, 1947, Durban, South Africa. In the late 1950's the family immigrated to Canada and settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. While in school she entered and won talent shows. At summer camp she was asked to replace a sick performer  and she knew what she she wanted as a career. She has written an impressive list of songs and two musicals. She was married to Jazz flutist Paul Horn (1930-2014).  In 1975 Ann produced her 1st solo album Baptism. In 1980 she received the Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival Grand Prix Award for her TV Ontario Special, Journey to Kairos, a one woman show. In 1981 she earned the West Coast Music Award as Best Female Vocalist and followed this up in 1982 with nominations for the Genie Awards and the Juno Awards. In 1991 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada and the following year she was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame. In 1994 she was a featured soloist at the Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony, Victoria, British Columbia. In 2002 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2012 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada. (2019) Ann has co-authored two books In Love With the Mystery and The Awakened Heart. (2019)

Verna Marguerite 'Marg' Osborne

Born December 29, 1926, Moncton, New Brunswick. Died July 16, 1977, Rocklyn, Ontario. . Marg began her singing career in a community choir and won a local radio contest. She earned the nickname ‘ the girl from the singing hills. In 1947 she was travelling in her home province she was heard by Orchestra leader Don Messer and was hired as part of the ‘Don Messier and his Islanders'. The program was broadcast by the CBC from Prince Edward Island. She was often performing duets with Charlie Chamberlain. The show appeared on Television in 1956 running until 1969 becoming Don Messer’s Jubilee. In 1960 she was named the most popular female personality on television by C F R N in Edmonton, Alberta. In 1967, as part of the Canadian Centennial show performed live across the country. After the television show was cancelled Marg performed as a night club singer, and a fairs including the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. She was also a guest on several C B C shows such as Juliette and the Tommy Hunter Show. In 1977 she hosted a half-hour variety program called That Maritime Feelin’. She collapsed on stage while performing in Rocklyn, Ontario.(2022)

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Indigenous  Entertainer

Born February 20, 1941, Piapot Reserve, Craven, Saskatchewan. (Sometimes recorded as 1942) This orphaned aboriginal child was to become a moving force in the international emergence of folk music. She was adopted and grew up in Massachusetts where she attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, U.S.A. As a child and teen she taught herself to play piano and the guitar. In 1962 she was touring with her music at music festivals across North America. In 1963 her song The Universal Soldier was one of her most popular works and she was named Billboard Magazines Best New Artist.  In 1964 she attended a Powwow on the Piapot Cree reserve where she was adopted by the her people and where she learned of her culture. In 1968 she married Dewain Bugbee of Hawaii but sadly the marriage ended in divorce in 1971. In 1975 she married Sheldon Wolfchild of Minnesota and the couple had one child. It was in 1975 that she 1st appeared on Sesame Street after which she was always a welcome guest. Once again divorced she married a third time to Jack Nitzsche (died 2000). In the 1980's she began used Apple Inc., Apple ll and Macintosh computers to record her music and visual arts. Many of her songs have been used in movies and TV  including the son Up were we belong  in An Officer and a Gentleman which received the Academy Award for Best Song in 198 and a Golden Globe Award for Best original Song in 1983. In addition the song received an B A F T A Award for Best Original Song Written for a Film. That same year she was honoured as Best International Artist in France. .In 1989 she wrote and performed the music for Where the Spirit Lives, a film about native children being abducted and forced into residential schools. She took leave from the profession returning in 1992 after 16 years releasing a new album followed by another album in 1996. As an artist her works have been exhibited at the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, The Emily Carr Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia, and the American Indian Arts Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A. In 1996 she started a philanthropic fund Nihewan Foundation for American Indian Education and in 1997 she founded the Cradleboard Teaching Project devoted to better understanding Native Americans. She earned a Juno Award, a Gemini Award, a Dove Award and became an Officer in the Order of Canada. The following year she received a Star on Canada's Walk of Fame, Toronto. In 2003 she became the spokesperson for the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network in Canada. In 2009 she was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and won a Juno Award for Aboriginal Recording of the Year for Running for the Drum. In 2010 she earned the Governor General's Performing Arts Award. In 2015 she received the Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award. In 2016 she earned two Juno Awards. November 2021 Canada Post issued a postage stamp with her image. (2021)

Sylvia Tyson

née Fricker. Born September 19, 1940, Chatam, Ontario.  At age 15 Sylvia knew she would be a folk singer. She moved to Toronto where she met Ian Tyson. The duo became full time singers with their 1st recording in 1961.  They were among the leaders of the 1960’s North American fold music boom. Sylvia wrote songs such as “You Were On My Mind”.  In 1970 they had the their own TV show “Nashville North”. In the 1970’s Sylvia headed out on a solo career. She hosed a CBC Radio show, recorded albums, and formed her own company “Salt Records”.  She still enjoys performing today. She has teamed up only three times with Ian to do special performances, preferring to concentrate on her solo efforts.

Patricia Lorraine Tutty

Born April 12, 1953. Known as Paddy, she and her sister began performing folk music in the late 1960's. She developed a serious interest in English and Celtic traditional music.  She traveled to England to perform and collect fold music.  She is and active member of the Canadian Fold Music Society and has produced albums of this popular and growing form of music. 

Vocalists - Singers - Classical Music   Return to categories
Frances Adaskin

Born February 3, 1903, Saint John, New Brunswick. Died August 22, 1988. She studied music and voice in Montreal, Toronto, and New York City. She made her debut in the 1920’s and appeared on CBC. From 1931-1941 she was a recitalist for the Canadian Pacific Railroads Hotels. She was a pioneer in supporting Canadian composers. For her efforts she received the Canadian Music Council Medal for “outstanding contribution to the life of Music in Canada”. She would become a teacher of music at the University of Saskatchewan from 1952 through to 1967.

Stella Irene Boyd

Born December 23, 1891, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died 1945. Daughter of William J. Boyd, she was a leading contralto soloist and vocal teacher in Winnipeg, having studied in France, Germany, and England. She was a vocal examiner for many years. She was an executive member of the Women’s Musical Club and the Registered Music Teachers’ Association. Sources: Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted  (University of Manitoba Press, 1999) ; Memorable Manitobans Online (accessed December 2011)

Marguerite Cecile Craigie

née Homuth. Born February 24, 1895, Wingham, Ontario. Died August 20, 1986, Toronto, Ontario. Marguerite would be her debut as violinist at a church concert when she was a child. In 1915 while a student at the Ontario Ladies College, Whitby, Ontario she won a gold medal for her singing. In 1918 she graduated from the Toronto Conservatory of Music and sang in Massey Hall, Toronto. July 5, 1919 she married Edward Craigie ((1894-1984) and the couple had one daughter. While traveling with her husband in Spain she gained an enduring enthusiasm for Spanish music. She did research and always enjoyed performing Spanish songs. In the 1940’s she gave public concerts and performed on radio. Source: Canadian Women of Note, Canadian Womens Press Club, York University, 1994.

Ida Joséphine Phoebe Eva Gauthier

Born September 20, 1885, Ottawa, Ontario. Died December 26, 1958, New York, U.S.A.  As a child she took piano lessons and at 13 she began voice lessons.  As a mezzo-soprano she made her Ottawa debut in 1902 as a contralto voice at the Ottawa Basilica participating in a service commemorating the death of Queen Victoria. Sir Wilfrid and Lady Laurier assisted her to leave for Europe in July 1902. She studied at the Paris Conservatoire with an interruption in her studies when she had an operation for nodules on her vocal cords. In 1905-6 she toured the British Isles and Canada with Dame Emma Albani (1847-1930).  1907-08 was spent in study in Italy with her stage debut at Pavia in the role of Michaela in Carmen. She performed with orchestras in Holland and Belgium, including a concert with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1910 she performed with an orchestra at the Royal Palace in Copenhagen. It was about this time that she gave up the stage to devote herself to the more intimate art of recital and concert. On a tour of the Orient she married Franz Knoote, who worked as a plantation manager in Java. She toured throughout Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Divorced in 1911 she continued touring. During World War 1 she returned to America where she made her New York recital in May 1915. On November 1, 1923 in New York she sang music of Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin with none other than Gershwin himself at the piano to accompany her. This performance is considered historically significant as she would continue to help introduce more than 700 new songs in concerts or recitals after this event.  In 1927 for the celebration of Canada’s 60th Anniversary since Confederation she performed in Ottawa. After the 1936 season in New York and Boston she devoted herself to teaching giving master classes, and serving on juries for important competitions. She was a founding member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). In 1949, received a citation from the Campion Society of San Francisco for her contribution as an interpreter and teacher. Her library and her personal documents were acquired by the New York Public Library. Additional documents and photographs are held in the National Library of Canada. It is fortunate that recordings as early as 1914 have been preserved and have been featured in retrospectives of Canadian performers.

Doreen Hume

Born July 14, 1926, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. 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 in 1970.

Suzanne Lapointe

Born May 16, 1934, Montreal, Quebec. Died January 2, 2015, Sainte-Adèle, Québec. Suzanne took classical studied and studied classical singing at the Conservervatoire de musique du Québec a Montréal. In 1959 she became the host of a television show La Poule aux oeufs d'or. In 1960 with a grant from the Canada Council of the arts she spent two years singing in New York City, U.S.A. She loved to cooks  and worked on the Attention c'est chaud on Television for Radio-Canada. From 1970 through 1984 she would publish more than twelve cook books. in 1987 when she co-animated Les Démons du midi with comedian Gilles Latulippe. Their madness and laughter invaded homes around Quebec every day of the week for six years with a total of 1,050 shows. After the death of her husband, Pierre Larin, and being a breast cancer survivor she became active in the cause to find a cure. She was member of the board of the Fondation de L'Hôpital régionale de Saint-Jérôme, and led fundraising campaigns  travelling all across Quebec as a spokesperson for the breast cancer screening program.

Suzie Le Blanc

Born October 27, 1961, Edmundston, New Brunswick. As a youth Suzi learned to play the piano and was a member of a youth choir, Les jeunes chanterus d'Acadie. In 1976 the family relocated to Montreal. From 1979 to 1981 she studied voice an harpsichord at the the Cégep de Saint-Laurent. Suzie likes 17th and 18th music and began singing professionally as a soprano. She would join the Consort of Musicke and would produce two albums with them. In 2000 she founded Le nouvel  Opéra as she also performs and records opera. She was also the founder and first artistic director of the Académie Baroque de Montréal. Her work won the Opus Award from the Conseil Québecois de la musique in 2008. She also recorded two albums of Acadian folk songs. In 2014 she releases an album of old French Christmas songs. In 2014 her album I am in Need of Music won the East Coast Music Award for Best Classical Album. Suzi teaches at the Université of Montréal. She has also been an actress playing the lead female in Lost Song winning the Toronto International Film Festival Award for Best Canadian film in 2008. In 2010 the Quebec Arts Council awarded Suzie a Career Grant. In 2014 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. (2019)

Portia May White

Black Entertainer

Born June 24, 1911, Truro, Nova Scotia. Died February 13, 1968. As a child Portia sang in her Baptist church choir. Her professional career began its assent i1941 with an appearance at the Eaton Auditorium in Toronto. In 1944 she became the first black Canadian woman to appear in the New York Town Hall, where she was touted as the “Canadian Marion Anderson”. She toured in Canada, the U.S.A. and Latin America before returning for further studies in Toronto. She would teach at the all girls school of Branksome Hall and eventually open her own studio. She was very proud to perform before Queen Elizabeth II in a Command Performance in 1964. Even though she was an extraordinary contralto, her career was hampered by racial prejudice shown against black artists at the time. In 1999, some 30 years after her death, her family released a private CD “First You Dream”. Canada Post released a special stamp in her honour as part of it millennium celebration series.

Vocalists - Singers - Jazz    Return to categories
Salome Bey

Black Entertainer

Born 1944, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A. Died August 8, 2020, Toronto, Ontario. From 1957 through 1966 Salome toured with her sister and brother as the Bay Sisters throughout the North America. The family made their 1st appearance in Toronto in 1961. On April 7, 1964 she married Howard Berkeley Mathews. Returning to the city in 1966 she chose to live in Toronto and raise her three children. She appeared at night clubs, on radio, and on television singing jazz blues and spirituals. She was a featured entertainer at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. In 1972 she earned an Obe Award for her performance in the New York production, Justine, also called Love Me, Love My Children. In the 1970’s and 1980’s she was well received in numerous musicals in New York, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. In 1978/9 she wrote and starred in Indigo, a Dora Mavor history of the blues. She  appeared at several benefits with her daughters, Jacintha, Tuku, and Saidah Talibabh. She performed at Ontario Place, Toronto and at Expo 86, the World Fair held in British Columbia. She recorded several albums of her music. In 1991 she was presented with a Toronto Arts Award in the Performing Arts Category. In 1995 she did the Salome Bey Christmas Show for national Television. In 1996 she received the Martin Luther King Award for lifetime achievement from the Black Theatre Workshop in Montreal, Quebec. She  celebrated on February 22, 2002 with a performance for Canada’s Black History Month. She was inducted as an honourary Member of the Order of Canada in 2005. Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online Accessed May 2013. (2022)

Holly Cole

Born November 25, 1953, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Holly resettled in Toronto, Ontario in order to further a musical career. In 1986 she founded the Holly Cole Trio and in 1989 they released their 1st album. Holly is an acclaimed jazz singer who has produced several music albums that have made her one of the best-selling jazz artists ever to emerge from Canada. In 1995 she left the Holly Cole Trio and followed with two jazz albums solo. She is also very well liked in Japan where she toured in 2012-2013. (2019)

Elnora Ruth 'Eleanor' Collins

Black Entertainer
Canadian First Lady of Jazz

née Procter. Born November 21, 1919, Edmonton, Alberta. Eleanor' love of music began as a child when she sang hymns, and anthems at the Shiloh Baptist Church, Edmonton. She went on to sing with Joe Macelli's dance band and the Three E's and was heard on C F R N radio. Along with her sister Ruby and two friends she headed for Vancouver where they performed on C B C Radio in the early 1940's. In 1942 she married Richard Collins, a marriage that lasted 70 years. The couple settled in Burnaby, British Columbia and had four children. As the only Black family in the area they survived the experience racism. Eleanor volunteered at school and became involved with the local Gir Guides.  By the mid 1940's she was singing with the Ray Norris jazz quintet on C B C and being broadcast to overseas troops. She removed herself from the music world for awhile after the war but in 1952 she was appearing in the Musical Finian's Rainbow and other productions at the Theatre Under the Stars. In 1954 she began the C B C television program Bamboula: A day in the West Indies appearing in the first interracial cast in Canada and the first variety series produced in Vancouver. June 19 to September 11, 1955, she became the first person of colour, and first jazz singer to headline a show on a national television. She went on to other popular shows of the 1960's and appeared in 1964 in her own television program Eleanor. Her popularity continued in the 1970's where she appeared not only on shows on C B C but also on C T V as well as performing in clubs and in concert. In 1975 she was on Parliament Hill singing to celebrate Canada Day. In the 1980's she appeared on Jazz Canada, and Jazzland radio programs. Eleanor was also a music director of the Unity Church, Vancouver. In 1986 she received the Distinguished Centennial Pioneer Award. In 1992 she was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame. In 1994 she and her family in the video documentary Hymn to Freedom: The History of Blacks in Canada. Among her award she has received th British Columbia Historical Society Award, the Alberta Black Cultural Research Society Award, and in 2006 the Same Payne Award from The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Arts (A C T R A). On her 95th birthday, November 21, 2014, she was appointed to the Order of Canada and that same year she received the Black Canadian Award for Lifetime Achievement.  January 2016 she  paid tribute at a memorial service for musician Leon Bibb (1922-2015). January 21, 2022 Canada Post Corporation issued a commemorative postage stamp in her honour. Source: The Alberta Women's Memory Project. online (accessed 2022)

Fanny Helen Felker-Facault

née  Leech. Born August 16, 1875, Victoria, British Columbia. Died March 24, 1955, British Columbia. Fanny was the daughter of Mary Macdonald (1837-18920), a 1862 ship bride, and Peter Leech an architect in Victoria. The family was a neighbor of Emily Carr (1871-1945) and Fanny and Emily became friends. In 1899 she married William Philip Felker (1866-1902). The couple settled on the Felker Ranch on the Cariboo Trail and had two children. In 1904 she married Alphonse Facault (1866-1946) and they settled in WalhShe removed herself from the music scene after the war but by 1952 she was appearing at Theatre Under the Stars in Finian's Rainbowchin where they had a child to grow up with the children from Fanny's first marriage. When a new grand piano arrived in the new hall in Walhchin Fanny packed the hall with prople coming to hear her play the piano. She played classical jazz, ragtime and other popular music of the era. She would also travel to perform in towns like Kamloops and Williams Lake. She continued to perform up until the 1940's.

Judith 'Jude' Marian Johnson

Born January 6, 1954, Hamilton, Ontario. She began performing at the age of 3 in commercials. She attended the Sheridan College School of Design, Oakville, Ontario and took courses at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. She has been a full time musician shine 1980. Jude is one of Canada’s finest vocalists and jazz singers and performers for both adults and children. She has sung back up to artists such as Raffi and Stan Rogers as well she has released multiple albums and CDs.  In 1985 she was the founder and director of the MAD Creative Arts School and has helped over 9,000 children explore their creativity through music, art and drama. She has participated in MAD camp for over 30 years. In 1992 she received the Canada 125 Medal and was named Hamilton’s Woman of the year in Arts. 1993 she was given the Hamilton Arts Award. In 2009 she was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction and in 2011 she received the Hamilton Arts Award for Arts Education.  

Ranee Lee

Black Jazz Singer, Author, and Educator

Born October 26, 1942, New York City, New York, U.S.A. In 1970 Ranee relocated to Montreal. She played drums and jazz saxophone and toured North America in the 1970's. As an actor she appeared in in Lady Day playing the title role as Billie Haliday and won a Dora Mavor Moore Award . She began to appear in a solo career and completed her 1st album in 1984. She wrote and starred in Dark Divas, The Musical, a tribute to the lives and careers of seven of the most popular female jazz singers of the 20th century. She also wrote a children's book, Nana, What did you say?. On television she was the host of The Performers. In 1988 she received the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award. In 2006 Ranee became a Member of the Order of Canada. She has been twice the winner of the International Association of Jazz Educators Award in 2004 and again in 2008. In 2010 she album, Ranee Lee - Lives Upstairs won a Juno Award. (2022)

Vocalists - Singers - Opera   Return to categories
Pierrette Alaire

Born November 9, 1921, Montreal, Quebec. Died July 10, 2011, Victoria, British Columbia . A famous soprano singer born in Montreal she was Winner of the Prix de Musique Calixa-Lavallée among many awards. She married Leopold Simoneau (d 2006) and the couple had two daughters. She was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1967 and became a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1995.She founded with her husband the Canada Opera Piccola in Victoria, British Columbia in 1982. In 1997 she became a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. She not only and at the famous Metropolitan Opera, New York City, New York U.S.A. but performed at opera houses across North America and Europe..After retiring from singing, Alarie became active as a teacher, she taught 1st at the Ecole Vincent d'Indy in Montréal and later at the Banff Centre in Alberta. In 2003 she received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.

Dame Emma Albani

Marie-Louise-Cecile-Emma Lajeunesse

(Marie-Louise-Cecile-Emma Lajeunesse). Born November 1, 1847, Chambly, Canada East (now Quebec). Died April 3, 1930, Kensington, England.  Dame Emma became a world famous soprano opera singer performing on stages across Europe and throughout North America. In 1852 the family moved to Plattsburgh, New York. U.S.A. where she gained musical instruction. On August 24 1860 she was a soloist in the world premiere of Charles Wugk Sabatier's Cantata in Montréal, to honour the visit of the Prince of Wales. She became a popular singer at her home in Albany New York by 1865. By 1868 she travelled to Paris to continued her musical studies. In Italy she took the name Emma Albani and on March 30, 1870 she made her operatic debut. She rise to stardom was swift and she was soon performing in England as well. By 1874 she was touring the U.S.A. She married Ernest Gye (died 1925) on August 6, 1878. The couple would have one son. By 1880 she was once again touring in Europe and England.  She made her Canadian Operatic debut on February 13, 1883.  Her final season of tours was in 1896. By the 1920's the couple were financial strapped and Dame Emma gave musical lessons to earn an income. She became the 1st Canadian born artist to distinguish herself in the international world of opera and concert singing. Note: Some authors place her birth in 1848 or 1850.

Rosa Anthony

Rosa received her musical training at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University, Toronto and a diploma in Operatic Performance from the University of Toronto. She also holds a diploma in Contemporary Music Theatre Performance from the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts in Alberta. In addition Rosa holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. With certification in Intermediate/Senior Music and drama and Primary Education and Montessori F C E training. She has performed with various groups including the Canadian Opera Company and Tapestry Music Theatre in Toronto. While raising her family she has taught voice to adults and youth in Orangeville, Ontario. She has formed her own Community Opera Theatre group called Opera Plus producing several shows. Her shows have supported Theatre Orangeville, the Salvation Army Food Bank, Hillside House/Family Transition Place and the Orangeville Concert Association. In 1996 she wrote and performed her own one woman play League of Notions about the life of Dr. Minerva Ellen Reid (1872-1957), the 1st woman in North America to be a Chief of Surgery. She has returned to University to earn her master in Theological Studies at Tyndale University, Toronto and is involved in the Lay Chaplaincy program at Headwaters Health Care Centre. Source: Orangeville and District Music Festival. Online (accessed February 2014)

Rhoda Pendleton Baxter

Born 1928, Calais, Maine, U.S.A. Died November 30, 2012, Ottawa, Ontario. She attended Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick and went on to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario. She married Start Baxter in 1959, and settled in 1969 to Kingston, Ontario and finally settling in 1972 back in Ottawa. The couple had two children. She has a career as a prominent Canadian soprano performing throughout North America. She also performed on CBC. She performed well into her 70’s at various Ottawa churches with the Choral Society and the Cantata Singers of Ottawa. Source: “Rhoda Pendleton Baxter. Powerful gift beyond the norm”. by Tony Lafaro, the Ottawa Citizen, January 20, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.

Camille Bernard

Born February 25, 1898, Joliette, Quebec. Died July 16, 1984, Montreal, Quebec. She was a regular performer in her home province of Quebec when in 1924 she was invited to study in Paris, France. She completed her training under renowned Canadian sing Pauline Donalda (1882-1970) and Yvette Guyilbert (1865-1944). In 1929 she founded the Théâtre des petits, a children's school of diction. She founded another school for children with language difficulties and two institutions merged to form the Institut Camille-Bernard. In 1973 she appeared in her only major acting role in Kamouraska where she son the Canadian Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 1981 she was inducted into the Order of Canada.

Donna Brown

Born February 15, 1955, Renfrew, Ontario. She studied near home in Ottawa and then at McGill University in Montreal before heading for in depth voice study in France, Austria and Italy. She made her European debut on the professional opera stage in 1982 and toured extensively in Europe. She moved back to Canada in 1997. She is in international demand, performing an extensive repertoire of opera, recital and oratorio works covering music from the baroque to 20th century works. She has graced the opera and concert stages of London. Paris, Tokyo, Geneva, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, Sao Paulo, Caracas, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles!! Many of her opera and concert performances have been recorded for television broadcast in North America, Europe and Asia.

Measha Bruggergosman

Black Singer

née Gosman. Born June 28, 1977, Fredericton, Nova Scotia.   As a child she sang in her Baptist Church choir. From the age of 7 she would study voice and piano. As a teen summer holiday time found her studying on scholarships at the Boston Conservatory in the U.S.A. She obtained a Bachelor of Music at the University of Toronto and then off she went to Germany for a 5 years Masters degree program at the Robert Schumann Hochschuls in Dusseldorf. In 1998 at 20 years of age, she premiered in the title role of a new opera Beatrice Chancy and her career was launched into orbit. In 1999 she married her high school beau who was an exchange student.  Measha and Mark Brugger combined their surnames to form their family name. She has performed around the Globe. She has been across her native Canada, been on CBC TV and earned an Gemini Award nomination. In 1998 she won the Canada Council for the Arts Award. In 2000 she debuted at Carnegie Hall in New York City before moving on to Japan, Switzerland, German, and other U.S.A. destinations. The Grand Prize of Jeunesse Musicales Montreal Internationale Musical Completion was won by Measha.  In 2007 she found time between performances to serve as the Goodwill Ambassador for the African Medical and Research Foundation working for better health in Africa. A Juno Award was hers in 2008 for her classical Album of the year. She has taken international awards in London, England, New York City, U.S.A., Oslo, Norway and Munich, Germany just to name a few countries. In June 2009 she was forced to take time off to have open heart surgery. Never one to be kept down she returned to perform again in September 2009 at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2010 she wan a Juno Award for  Classical Album of the Year. In 2015 she appeared in the television documentary series Songs of Freedom.

Fernande Chiocchio

Born May 29, 1929, Montréal, Québec. Died September 2021, Quebec. A talented mezzo-soprano she studied music with Canada's top teachers such as Pauline Donalda and made her debut with the Opera Guild in 1952. After a dozen major roles in opera she joined a vocal quartet and made a 50 concert tour in France in 1958. In 1960 she was performing on radio and television and was featured at EXPO 67. She has the reputation as one of Canada's top musical interpreters of her generation ( Montreal, La Presse, December 11, 1963) She enjoys teaching voice privately to select talented students.

Tracy Elizabeth Dahl

Born November 13, 1961, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She enjoyed music as a child and studied music and theatre at the Banff School of Fine Art and after making her opera debut in 1982 transferred to the school's opera program. She launched her career at the San Francisco Opera in California, U.S.A. She had her European debut in 1987 in France and appeared at the Metropolitan Opera of New York City, U.S.A. in 1991. She has made several recordings. Tracy is married and is the mother of two children. She teaches voice at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and conducts workshops throughout North America. In 2009 she was the recipient of the Ruby Baton Award by Opera Canada for her outstanding achievements on stage. In 2010 the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra presented her with a Goden Baton Award. 

Pauline Donalda

née Lightstone. Born March 5, 1882, Montreal, Quebec. Died October 22, 1970. Pauline was educate at Royal Victoria College, McGill University, Montreal. In 1902 she went to study at the Conservatoire de Paris, France on a grant from Donald Smith (1820-1914), Lord Strathcona. It was here that she adopted the stage name Donalda in honour of her patron. In 1904 she made her singing debut in Nice, France. In November 1906, Returning to Montreal with her husband Paul Seveilhac, to make her North American debut. In December 1906 she began a season with Oscar Hammerstein's Manhattan Opera House in New York City, U.S.A. By 1907 she was once again singing in Europe. She remained in North America during World War l returning to Paris in 1917 to marry her second husband, Mischa Leon in 1918. 1n 1922 she opened a teaching studio in Paris, France returning to Montreal only in 1937 to open her studio there. She founded the Montreal Opera Guild in 1942 where she served as president and artistic director until 1969. In 1967 she became an Officer in the Order of Canada.

Mary Louise 'Mary Lou' Fallis

Born April 22, 1948, Toronto, Ontario. She was educated in singing by her grandmother Jennie Bouck. She studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and made her operatic debut when she was just 15 years old on CBC television. She also sang with the St George’s Youth Choir and the Festival Singers of Canada. She graduated in music from the University of Toronto. In 1972 she married musician Peter Madgett. In 1973 she won the CBC Talent Festival and the following year won the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions. She performed at the famous Stratford Festival and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. While she performed internationally in dramatic opera and as a classical singer she is perhaps best known for her comedic theatre.  She developed the character in Primadonna, a satirical one-woman concert in 1982 which earned her an ACTRA Award was a huge success. She performed at Expo ’86 in Vancouver and at the Roy Thomson Hall and even at the federal penitentiary for women in Kingston, Ontario. In 1989 she presented her shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. In 1990 she did a three month tour of Great Britain. In 1991 she celebrated the bicentennial of Mozart’s death with the character Ms. Mozart, again a one-woman show which was followed by the show Primadonna on a Moose. Several additional tours of Primadonna shows followed. She has taught at York University, the Royal Hamilton College of Music, Queen’s University and the University of Western Ontario.  In 2006 she was a judge on the reality TV series Bathroom Divas: So you want to be an Opera Star? In 2011 she was awarded the Order of Canada for her contributions in making classical music more accessible for Canadians. (2019)

Sarah Eugéne 'Nini' Fischer

Born February 23, 1896, Paris, France. 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.

Maureen Forrester

Born July 25, 1930, Montreal, Quebec 1930. Died June 16, 2010, Toronto, Ontario. 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. In 1957 she married Eugene Kash (1912-2014) and the couple  had five children. In 1967 she became a Companion of the Order of Canada. In 1979 she received the Loyola Medal from Concordia University, Montreal and the following year she received the Diplôme d'honneur from the Canadian Conference of the Arts. In 1983 she received the Sanford Medal from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A. From 1986 through 1990 Maureen served as Chancellor for Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario and the recital hall was named in her honour. In 1990 she was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame followed in 1995 with the Governor General's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000 she earned a star on Canada's Walk of Fame, Toronto. She was inducted an Officer in the National Order of Quebec in 2003 and in 2004 she became  a MasterWorks honouree of the Audio Visual Preservation Trust of Canada. (2018)

Claire Gagnier

Born March 28, 1924, Montreal, Quebec. In 1944 she won the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) program Singing Stars of Tomorrow. She studied at the Julliard School in New York City, U.S.A. and in 1945 appeared at the Metropolitan Opera. She has appeared regularly on CBC radio and television .In the 1950’s she performed in the television series Folio and in the 1960’s in the series Festival.  In 1972 she received the Calixa Lavallée Award from the Saint-Jean Baptiste Society. She earned the nickname as ‘The Canadian Nightingale.’.  In 1990 she was inducted into the Order of Canada and in 1966 she was included into the Canadian Opera Hall of Fame. (2017)

Sarah 'Sallie' Holman - Dalton

Born June 24, 1849, Lynn, Massauchetts, U.S.A. Died June 7, 1988, London, Ontario. Sallie was the oldest daughter in the family and the main singer and performer in the Holman Opera Company which toured the Easter United States and Canada from the 1850's until the 1880's.  In 1867 her father George took over the management of the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Toronto where the family performed until 1872  The company relocated to Montreal when George took over management of the Theatre Royal. The following year in 1873 George had purchased the Music Hall in London Ontario and renamed it the Holman Opera House. The troupe also continued to tour. In 1879 Sallie married James T. Dalton, a fellow performer. The opera company faded out after her death and that of her father in July 1888. Source: D C B (accessed 2001)

Edith Doreen Hume

Born July 14, 1926, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. An operatic soprano, she started performing on CBC radio in the late 1940’s. 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 in 1970.In 1965 she represented Canada at a special liberation anniversary concert in the Netherlands in May 1965.  In 1990 she returned to Sault Ste. Marie and was appointed to Algoma University and became a voice teacher at the Algoma Conservatory of Music. In 2009 she was inducted into the Sault Ste. Marie Walk of Fame. (2018)

Claire Gagnier

Born March 28, 1924, Montreal, Quebec. Died December 2022, Laval, Quebec.  In 1944 she won the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) program Singing Stars of Tomorrow. She studied at the Julliard School in New York City, U.S.A. and in 1945 appeared at the Metropolitan Opera. She has appeared regularly on CBC radio and television .In the 1950’s she performed in the television series Folio and in the 1960’s in the series Festival.  In 1972 she received the Calixa Lavallée Award from the Saint-Jean Baptiste Society. She earned the nickname as ‘The Canadian Nightingale.’.  In 1990 she was inducted into the Order of Canada and in 1966 she was included into the Canadian Opera Hall of Fame. (2017)

Gillian Keith

Born Toronto, Ontario. A talented soprano, her first training was in piano at McGill University in Montreal. She did her post graduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England. As a chamber music musician she has performed throughout the United Kingdom. She is also in demand as an opera, recitalist and oratorio concert singer. She is particularly know for her interpretations of Baroque music for which she has received several awards. She has performed in the United Kingdom and across Europe, North America, Turkey and Israel.

Maria Knapik

Born Pradnik, Poland. Maria has loved and been surrounded by music all her life. At 7 she was playing the violin and at 13 the guitar, piano and trumpet. At 16 she began voice lessons. She performed with her 7 sisters in some 4000 concerts in Poland and the rest of Europe and United Kingdom as a youth. She attended the Karol Szymanowski Academy of vocal and acting Arts. While at university she met her future husband, Richard Sztramko of Hamilton, Ontario. The couple are married and in 2009 were the proud parents to a son. Maria founded in 2006 and is artistic director of the Ottawa Classical Choir and the group with Maria as soprano soloist have produced their own CD’s. She performs not only throughout North America but also in Europe. She also gives her talent for concerts to raise funds for charities, especially those involved with helping children. She has received the Gold Cross of Merit from her homeland, Poland, in recognition not only of her professional efforts but also for her continued dedication for the Canadian –Polish cultural association. In 2005 she won the award for International Rising Star from the American Institute of Polish Culture. As well as the organization’s 2011 Gold Medal. Source: Power of her voice by June Coxon, Ottawa Family Living, March 2012.

Marie Anne Béatrice LaPalme- Issaurel

Born July 27, 1878, Beloeil, Quebec. Died January 18, 1921, Montreal, Quebec. In 1881 her family relocated to Montreal. She enjoyed learning music from her mother and the nuns who taught at her convent school. She studied violin and gave her 1st concert on March 5, 1844. She was the 1st recipient of the Strathcona Scholarship to attend the Royal College of Music in England for five years. In 1900 Béatrice was the 1st French Canadian woman to be made a corresponding member of the Royal College of Music. On advice of the famous Canadian opera singer, Mme Emma Albani, Béatrice devoted herself exclusively to singing. She presented a vocal recital in Montreal on October 17, 1902 and began her international career the following year in the Royal Opera House in London, England. She met her future husband, Salvador Issaurel, also an opera singer, while performing in Paris, France in 1905. The couple was married on October 14, 1908 and they settled in Montreal in 1911 where she joined the Montreal Opera Company. The company went bankrupt in 1913 and Béatrice tried singing in the New York City but with the clouds of world war l gathering she returned to Montreal she returned to Montreal. The couple taught in their studios and she gave her last performance in Montreal on November 14, 1919. Salvador continued to teach as their studio in Montreal until his death in 1944. Source: Marie-Thérèse Lefebvre, “LA PALME, BÉATRICE (Issaurel),” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 15, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, (accessed July 27, 2014).

May Lawson

Born March 29, 1901, West Calder, Scotland. Died April 28, 1965, Winnipeg, Manitoba.  May emigrated to  Canada in 1914 with her parents. A musical child she singing in Winnipeg Thomas, and in Toronto as well she was  coached in voice in New York City. May was soloist at various churches in Winnipeg as well as soloist with the Winnipeg Philharmonic Chorus, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Choristers. She appeared in productions by the Winnipeg Light Opera and was a frequent guest on CBC Radio. She retired from public performance in the late 1940s. She gave private lessons throughout her career and from 1958 through 1965 she taught at the Canadian Mennonite Bible College, Winnipeg. Source: Canadian Encyclopedia Online (accessed February 2014)

Anna Malenfant

Born October 16, 1905, sometimes reported as1902, Shédiac, New Brunswick. Died June 15, 1988, Montreal, Quebec. Anna became one of the most famous Acadian performers. Growing up in a musical family, she enjoyed a musical childhood studying both piano and voice. At age 15, Anna gave her 1st public performance before an English audience. She then went to Paris and worked with some of the finest instructors of the time developing her talent for opera. In 1930 she sang for a Boston radio station for a year under the name of Louise Malmont. Returning to Canada she sang in stage and radio productions. Anna also composed many songs depicting her Acadian heritage under the pen name of Marie Lebrun. In her later years, she opened a music school in Montreal. There are two schools named for her in her home province as well as a street in Dieppe, New Brunswick. In 2001 Telefilm Canada produced a documentary film on her life and works. Source: New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Celebrating Achievers; Behind Every Successful Woman Are All the Women Who Came Before Her., September 2002. Online (accessed January 2016)

Nora McLellan

Born October 29, 1954. This actor and singer made her stage debut at age 9 in La Bohème produced by the Vancouver Opera Association. She has appeared in more than 50 roles on stages in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, London, Victoria, Saskatoon and Seattle. Her TV appearances have included such hit shows as X-Files. In 1987 she was co-founder, with Michael Dobbin, of the Aids-Relief Fundraising for the Actors' Fund of Canada.

Lois Catherine Marshall

Born January 29,1924, Toronto, Ontario. Died February 17, 1997. Though she suffered from Polio as a child it did not stop this opera singer. Her career too her all over the world to sing in the world’s greatest operatic productions and for solo appearances. She received many acknowledgements for her contributions to Canadian society including the Molson Prize and being a companion in the Order of Canada.

Ruby Mercer - Por

Born July 26, 1906, Athens, Ohio, U.S.A. Died January 26, 1999, Toronto, Ontario. Ruby attended Ohio University and the Cincinnati Conservatory, Ohio, U.S.A. graduating in 1930.  In 1934 she earned the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation Award that encourages young classical musicians in North America. She also studied at the famous Juilliard School of Music in New York, U.S.A. making her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1937. In the 1940's she appeared on Broadway and later in Vancouver, British Columbia at Theatre Under the Stars. She toured North America in opera, operetta, and musical comedy for several years. In 1958 she married a Canadian businessman, Geza Por (d1965) and the couple settled in Toronto, Ontario. In 1960 she founded the magazine Opera Canada which she edited until 1990. In 1968 she co-founded the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus serving as the 1st President. She hosted various radio programs including Opera Time, Opera in Stereo and Saturday Night at the Opera .In 1976 she published a biography of Edward Johnson a famous Canadian tenor. She also wrote articles for established music magazines and journals.  In 1983 she was presented with the Canadian Music Council Medal. In 1988 she received the Toronto Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. Ruby proved scholarships at Ohio University, Cincinnati Conservatory, the Banff Centre, Alberta, and at the University of Toronto. In 1990 she published the story of Louis, Gino and Lina Quilicos. In 1995 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada. In 1997 she donated her personal papers to the National Library of Canada (Now Library and Archives Canada) (2019)

Jean Gowans Moore r 01

née Brown. Born   Died May 4, 2006. In 1942, on a challenge from a friend, Jean auditioned at the Royal Conservatory of Music.  Immediately she had a career with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Royal Conservatory Opera School of Toronto. She was a founding member of the Canadian Opera Company. Jean Married Ronald Moore and the couple had four children. She ended her music career in the late 1960's. She worked as a microbiological photographer at the Banting Institute and the Ontario Research Foundation. Source Obituary Globe and Mail May 20, 2006. (2023)

Clara Morris r 03

née LaMontagne. Born March 17, 1848? Toronto, Ontario. Died November 20, 1925, New Canaan, Connecticut, U.S.A.  When she was just three her mother found out her father was a bigamist and took Clara to Cleveland, Ohio where they took the grandmother's name, Morrison. She took ballet at the Cleveland Academy of Music and took the name Morris. In 1869 she had the lead role in the theatre.  She went to Halifax, Nova Scotia for a summer and then moved on to Louisville, Kentucky and finally by 1870 she was in New York City where she was on stage for 20 years. The actor was called Queen of the Melodrama because she could move an audience to tears. In 1874 she married Frederick C. Harriott a fellow actor.  She was also an author who penned several novels and her autobiography. Retiring from the stage because of ill health she wrote articles on acting for various magazines and wrote a daily newspaper column for ten years. By 1910 blind and living in poverty she moved to Whitestone, Long Island. There is a plaque on the grounds of the Cleveland Ohio Public Library marking the location of her her home. The Clara Morris School was named in her honour but was demolished in 1968. (2023)

Mary Louise Morrison

Born November 9, 1926, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She studied voice in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Toronto. In the mid 1940's she was acclaimed the talented sweetheart of Winnipeg. She appeared at festivals and on radio. By the end of the 1940's she was appearing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She moved to perform for C B C Opera and the Canadian Opera Company. Her personal Canadian Centennial project in 1967 was the role of Sara Riel in the opera Louis Riel. She has toured throughout North America and Europe as an advocate of 20th century music. Married to composer Harry Freedman, her voice as graced his works in several movies. She has held positions on numerous boards and committees for the Canada Council, the Sir Ernest Macmillan memorial Foundation, the Toronto Arts Council and has taught at McMaster University in Hamilton and the University of Toronto. She became an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1983.

Anna Maria Pellegrini

Born July 15, 1943, Pretoro, Italy. Maria arrived in Canada in 1958 with her family. Two years later she was attending the Royal Conservatory of Music (R M C) studying voice for 4 years. She also studied in London, England. She made her profession debut in 1963 with the Canadian Opera Company. She debuted in London, England with the Royal Opera in 1965. In 1977 she appeared in Madame Butterfly on CBC television and is considered by some critics as the best Madame Butterfly of her generation. Her life partner is Antonio Barone de Pinna and the couple have one son. In 1980 she was performing at the Ottawa Opera, and across Canada. In 1982 she was in New York City and earned leading roles in other American companies. Internationally her voice is well known in Italy, Santo Domingo, as well as Scotland and Wales. Her life partner is Antonio Barone de Pinna and the couple have one son.  She has received numerous awards including the Carvella D’oro from Italy, the Puccini Madallion from Italy, the Friend of Rome Citation and Ambassiatrice Della Cultura Italiana. She has received the Award of Merit from the City of Ottawa and in 1995 she was woman of the Year with the Canadian Ethnic Press Council. In 2004 a one hour documentary: Canada’s Butterfly: Maria Pellegrini was produced. In addition to private voice coaching and master classes at McGill University and University of Ottawa, Maria, in 2004, founded Pellegrini Opera, was the Artistic Director until 2013, and continues now as the recognized Founder and Executive Consultant in all areas of the company.

Patricia Irene Ridout-Rosenberg

March 16, 1931, Saint John, New Brunswick. Died September 8, 2006, Cambridge, Ontario. Patricia studied piano in the early 1940's and then voice from 1946 through 1948. She also enjoyed performing in theatricals in Saint John. In 1949 she earned a scholarship to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and went on to the Royal Conservatory Opera School at the University of Toronto from in 52 to 1955. In 1950 she performed as a singer and dancer at the Red Barn Theatre at Jackson's Point, Ontario. In 1954 she taught at University Settlement, Toronto and appeared as soloist in opera at the Banff School of Fine Arts, Alberta. first important operatic role was Madame Flora in a 1955 Royal Conservatory Opera School production of Menotti's The Medium at Hart House, University of Toronto. That same year she has a role in an Opera Festival Association (now Canadian Opera Company, C O C). As well as her career stage work which took her throughout North America and Europe she was popular with opera fans on CBC-TV throughout the decades. In the 1980's she taught voice at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario and the late 1980's at the University of Toronto. (2019)

Catherine Robbin

Born September 28,1950, Toronto, Ontario. This mezzo-soprano studied in Toronto, Vancouver, London, Paris and New York City. She made her debut as a singer in 1972 in Messiah with the St Catharines Niagara Symphony in Ontario. She won the Caplet Award in 1978 at the Concours international de chant in Paris, France and won a silver medal that same year at the Geneva Concours International in Switzerland. The following year she took the Gold Award at the Benson & Hedges International Competition for Concert Singers. Her rich voice is in demand throughout North America and Europe.  She has made several classical recordings that have brought her acclaim. It was in 1978 that she began to perform in a trio with John Dodington, bass and Jane Coop on piano. In March 1981 she made her New York recital debut. In 1982 she was performing in the Stratford Festival production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, in Stratford, Ontario. She has appeared in recital with major Canadian Orchestras and has sung with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Nation Symphony Orchestra and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in the U.S.A. She has been heard on the BBC, the CBC and Radio France and has produced many recordings.  Upon retirement in May 11, 2003 she dedicated her time to teaching privately and most especially as Director of Vocal Studies at York University. She is President of the Canadian Aldeburgh Foundation, an organization that supports young Canadian Artists studying and performing in the Britten- Pears Young Artists programme in the UK. She holds the Order of Canada. Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online (accessed 2006)

Henriette Schellenberg

Born August 9, 1947, Backnang, Germany. She immigrated to Canada as a child with her family. She studied voice and music first in Winnipeg, Manitoba and then in Europe. This young soprano made her debut in 1979 in Canada and in 1988 she made her debut in the U.S.A.  Since then she as performed with leading orchestras across North America , Europe and Israel.

Georgina Ann Stirling

Born April 3, 1866, Twillingate, Newfoundland. Died April 23, 1935, Twillingate, Newfoundland. Georgina’s father, William, believed that all 10 of his children should have a well-rounded education which included music. At 15 Georgina began playing the organ at church as well as playing and singing at local concerts. Leaving home in 1873 she spent 2 years at the Toronto’s Ladies College before returning home. In 1888 she was in Paris, France for Voice training and began training at Marchesi’s School of Music. In 1890 she was invited to join the Milan Opera Company in Italy. Back in Newfoundland in 1892 she sang at church concerts before returning to Europe for additional studies and appearances at the Paris Grand Opera. In 1896 after an extended visit home and doing local appearances she was at the New Imperial Opera Company of New York, U.S.A. for a year prior to touring in the United States. While making appearances in Italy between 1898 and 1901 Georgina damaged her vocal cords and was prescribed total rest. Unfortunately she never recovered enough to do extensive foreign tours again. She would give a rare concert appearances in Newfoundland but she was hampered by depression and bouts of alcoholism. In 1904 she went to England to recover from her alcoholism. Back in Newfoundland in 1925 she helped organize charity events and rarely performed at some of the conferences. Source: Bert Riggs, Nightingale of the North, The Gazette, November 16, 1998. Suggestion submitted by Nora Phillips.

Teresa Stratas

née Anastasia Stratakis. Born May 26, 1938, Oshawa, Ontario. As she entered her teens Teresa was performing Greek songs on the radio. She attended the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto and made her professional opera debut in La bohème  at the Toronto Opera Festival when she was 20. In 1959 she was the co-winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and appeared that year at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, New York, U.S.A. In 1961 she was appearing at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in England. Teresa began her singing career by singing Greek pop songs.   Her beautiful soprano voice has been heard all over the world and she is considered one of the foremost singing actors of the 20th century.  In 1972 She was inducted into the Order of Canada.  The Canadian Music Council named her artist of the year in 1980. She won Grammy Awards for Best Opera Recording and for Best Classical Album in 1981 and again in 1984. In 1987 she was given the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress. In 2000 she earned the Governor General's Performing Arts Award. In 2001 she was given a Star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. (2018)

Pauline Vaillancourt              

Born February 2, 1945, Arvida [Jonquière] Quebec.  Pauline made her debut as a soprano soloist in 1970. Pauline earned her Masters in Music from the University of Montreal in 1976.  Pauline is active in classical as well as contemporary music. She has performed in Europe and throughout North America. She founded and is artistic director of the lyric company “Chants Libres” she has been artistic director since 1990.  In her career she has won the Prix d’excellence Victor-Martyn-Lynch-Staunton from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Prix d’interprète de musique contemporaine Flandres-Québec. She has been a member-researcher at Hexagram, since 2006. In 2009 she was named an ambassador of the Canadian Music Centre for her contribution to new music in Canada. In 2015, she was awarded the Opera America Service Award for her 25 years as Artistic and General Director of Chants Libres. (2017)

Vocalists - Singers - Popular  & Contemporary Music    Return to categories
Jann Arden

Born  March 27, 1962, Calgary, Alberta. 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 19 Juno Award nomination and received 8 including Songwriter of the Year in 1995 and 2002, and Female Artist of the Year in 1995 and 2001.  In 2006 she received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. November that year she  received the National Achievement Award from the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) for having six singles reach the 100,000 airplay mark on Canadian radio. In November 2007, Arden was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and was the winner of the International Achievement Award at the 2007 Western Canadian Music Awards. December 29, 2017 she became a Member of the Order of Canada not only for her music but also in recognition of her extensive charitable works. She has published her memoirs several times in 2002, 2004, 2011 and 2017.

Susan Aglukark

Inuit Entertainer

Born January 27, 1967, Churchill, Manitoba.  Her Inuit name is Uuliniq. She is one of six children. She actually worked as a civil servant at the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs in Ottawa for awhile but gave it up to be able to sing. She had produced three albums and two hit singles by 1999. The music video for Searching won best cinematography honors at the 1991 Canadian Music Video Awards. She is a committed family person and does motivational talks to youth advising that "staying in school is cool ." She Received the order of Canada in 2005.

Edith Butler

Born July 27, 1942, Paquetville, New Brunswick. Learning music in her home town of Caroquet, New Brunswick, she applauds 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. 

Carmen Champagne

Singer of Children's Songs

Born September 8. 1959, Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan. Died July 4, 2018. In the 1970’s Carmen formed a musical group with her brothers and sisters called Folle Avoine and later known as Hart-Rouge. When the group originally broke us Carmen became a teacher but soon yearned to return to music. She began performing for children. She soon earned the nickname Diva des Petits. Her French language works have won the Prix Felix and a Juno Award for best children’s album in 1989. She has performed throughout North America and Europe. In 2014 she was inducted into the Order of Canada for her contribution to French language music  for children.

Renée Claude

née Bélanger. Born July 3,1939,  Montreal, Quebec. As a youth Renée studied piano at Ecole de musique Vincent-d'Indy. She also studied dramatic arts and voice. In 1955, while still just a teen she made her debut on CKVL in Verdun, Quebec. She has performed in the US, France, Belgium, Poland, USSR, Japan just to name a few countries. In 1963 she produced her 1st album and each successive year she produced albums 2,3,& 4. In 1965 she earned the Stéphane Venne et François Dompierre prix de la meilleure chanson de l'année (best song of the year). In 1967 she signed a contract with Columbia records but switched to Barclay in 1969 until 1974. By 1976 she had produced 14 successful albums. In 1980 she made her stage debut in  a production of songs, monologues and poems in homage to her friend Clémence Desrochers. 1986 saw yet another album. In 1990 she was appearing on television and two years later she was back to the stage and doing films.

Dorothy Collins

née Marjorie Chandler. Born November 18, 1926, Windsor, Image result for Dorothy CollinsOntario. Died July 21, 1994, Watervliet, New York, U.S.A. This singer had the nick name of "Lucky Strike Girl" after the cigarette sponsor of a TV show on which she sang. She appeared on the Canadian television show Your Hit Parade (1950-1957). In 1957 she became a regular on the Steve Allen Show. She also had her own record label in the 1950's. She worked on setting up gags on the show Candid Camera. In 1952 she married musician and band leader, Raymond Scott and the couple toured throughout the U.S. until a divorce happened in 1965. In 1966 she married Ron Holgate and the marriage lasted eleven years. In 1971 she appeared in a Broadway musical and continued her singing by presenting jazz in nightclubs. In 1980 she was forced into retirement by asthma and volunteered with the Muscular Dystrophy Association as vice-president from 1988 until her death. (2019)

Helen Maude Dallas

Born April 12, 1898, Hastings, England. Died May 26, 1993, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1919.  She studied music at Wesley  College and began musical career that spanned six decades. In 1920 she married Joseph Dallas and the couple had 2 children. She performed regularly with various choirs and  on local stages ranging from the Walker Theatre to Rainbow Stage. During the depression of the 1930’s she often sang for causes to help the homeless and unemployed.  In the 1940s she hosted a radio show on CKY. During world War ll she regularly performed for troops and continued doing weekly recitals at Deer Lodge Hospital well into her eighties. Later in life she became a green space activist in her Omand’s Creek neighbourhood. Source: Manitoba Lives: Helen Dallas, West End Dumplings, Online Blog of Christian Cassidy (accessed February 2014)

Rosemonde Desjardins

Born 1885, Hull, Quebec. Died June 1940. Rosemonde and her sister Rose-Alba Desjardins (1878-   ) were talented singers who were in demand in the regions to perform at important concerts. Rosemonde studied at the Conservatory of Music at McGill University and under the patronage of Lord and Lady Strathcona she was sent to London, England to study at the Royal College of Music. Here she would study voice and piano. She would travel and perform in France, Italy and Germany. Sadly she was killed during a bombardment during the War while she was in France.

Céline Dion

Born March 30, 1968, Charlemagne, Quebec. Céline 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 singer 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. In 2023 she made her acting debut in the movie Love Again.

Diane Dufresne

Born September 30, 1944, Montreal, Quebec. Diane studied voice in Paris, France from 1965-1967. In 1987 she was awarded the Felix Award for best pop show. She is the 1st female singer to perform rock songs in French. She show are popular for her music and her eccentric costumes. In 2001 she earned the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award which is Canada’s highest award in the performing arts. In 2002 she was made a Knight in the National Order of Quebec. She was presented with the Felix Hommage for her lifetime achievements in 2006. In 2008 she was presented with the Legion of Honour from France. In 2015 she was appointed as a member of the Order of Canada for advancing the widespread distribution of the music of Quebec at home and abroad. She also enjoys painting and her works of art have been exhibited in Canada and abroad.

Lucille Dumont               3447

Born January 20, 1919, Montreal, Quebec. Died July 29, 2016, Montreal, Quebec. Lucille was encouraged from a young age by her mother to sing. She she first performed she used the name Micheline Lalonde to hide her identity due to the stigmas around being a performer. In 1935 at 16 she made her professional debut on the Sweet Caporal Radio Show. She began hosting radio shows and was hired by Radio Canada to perform or host shows in French. In the spring of 1945 she sang at a War Loan Drive and she was invited to tour in France but she turned down the offer to ma marry Jean Maurice Bailly a CBC sports commentator. In 1947 she was elected as Miss Radio, the first singer to be thus honoured. She placed first at the Concours de la chanson canadienne in 1957 and second in 1962 at the Chansons sur mesure competition. By 1950 she was known as the Grande Dame de Chanson. In 1965 she hosed the Lucille Dumont television show and recorded her second album. In 1968 she began giving lessons in performance establishing the Atelier de la chanson, a music school. In 2001 she became an Officer in the Ordre nationale du Québec. In 2001 she became an Officer of the Order of Canada  In 2006 she was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and le Prix du patrimoine du Panthéon des auteurs et compositeurs canadiens. Source: Hommage à 56 femmes d'exception qui ont changé le Québec. Editions spéciale 7jours. 2021

Susan Elizabeth Jacks 

née Pesklevits. Born August 19, 1948, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Died April 25, 2022, Surry, British Columbia. Susan and her husband Terry Jacks formed  singing group called “The Poppy Family”. Together they produced several albums of music. In 1969 their career soared with the hit son Which Way You Goin' Billy? which earned four Juno Awards. They began single careers in 1973 and ended their marriage. Susan would go on to have a single performer career in the 1980's. In 1983 she married Ted Dushinski of the Canadian Football League and that same year she relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. releasing her new album Tall Dark Stranger which earned another Juno nomination. She and Ted have one son. After her new music label floundered she concentrated on songwriting rather than singing. She began a management position at a music publishing business and rose to be an executive Vice President of a successful telecommunications firm in Nashville. In 2005 the couple returned to Canada where Ted died of cancer in 2005. In 2010 she was the recipient of a Kidney transplant donated by her brother Billy. June 27 2010 she was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame. In 2011 she performed as a Kidney Foundation of Canada benefit concert. After complications from kidney failure the recovered entertainer returned to performing and recorded a new album in 2018. She died while on the waiting list for a new organ. (2019)

Pauline Julien

Born May 23 1920, Trois Riviéres, Quebec. Died October 1, 1998, Montreal, Quebec. She pursued a career in acting in Quebec City. From 1950 through 1961 she was married to actor Jacques Galipeau. The couple had two children. In 1952 she was in Paris, France where she began singing on French radio and television. In 1961 she recorded her 1st two albums. In 1969 she represented the CBC at an international song festival in Poland where she placed 2nd. Back in Canada she appeared regularly on stage and worked sporadically in Europe. In 1965 she hosted the CBC television show, Mon pays, mes chansons. She toured the USSR, Cuba, France, Nepal and Rwanda prior to marring Gérald Goden, a Member of the Quebec legislature and cabinet minister in the Parti Québec. In the decade from 1965-1975 she was featured in six movies. In 1994 she was presented with the Chevalier des arts et des letters from France.  In 1997 she was invested as a Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec. The Montreal Centre des arts de la scène Pauline Julien is named in her honour. Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online (accessed 2010).

Avril Lavigne

Born September 27, 1984, Belleville, Ontario. At the age of two she showed that she could sing when she began to sing church songs with her mother. In 1998 she won a competition to sing with fellow Canadian Shania Twain on tour. At 16 she signed with Artista Records. She was tagged the Best New Artist in 2002 and 2003 she won 4 Juno Awards and was nominated for 8 Grammy Awards. Her first album Let go, releases June 4, 2002 sold 18 million copies and was 6 x Platinum in the U.S.A. She has at least ½ dozen number 1 songs worldwide. Her music has been described as modern rock, pop punk, pop rock, power pop, alternative rock or pos grunge.  She married Deryck Whibley July 15, 2006 and continued to rise in her career. In December 2007 she ranked #7 in the Forbes Top 20 Earners under 25 years of age, earning 12,000,000.00. Also in December 2007 her third album, The Best Darn Thing had sold 6.1 million copies. Her movie debut came with the DreamWorks animated feature Over The Hedge and she recorded the Theme song or the Sponge Bob Squarepants Movie. She works with various charities on health issues such as AIDS/HIV, UNICEF and is involved with environmental concerns. In 2013 Avril married musician and producer Chad Kroeger but the marriage only lasted two years. In 2014 after a time of tours with numerous visits to doctors Avril was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. In 2015 she was on the cover of People Magazine to tell her story. She managed to slowly recover strength over a couple of years and recorded the single Head Above Water. By 2019 she had earned eight Juno Awards. She his in the Top Ten of BillBoard's Best of the 2000,s. She is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest female solo artist to tope the United Kingdom Chart and she has made history with Girlfriend which became the 1st music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube!  Through her foundation set up in 2010 she has donated to Easter Seals, Global Lyme Alliance, LymeLight Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation, UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, Race to Erase MS, Special Olympics, Toronto Sick Kids Hospital and UNICEF. The foundation also supports people with Lyme Disease, serious illness or disabilities through programs and grants funding education. (Avril R suggested that Avril Lavigne be included on this site.) (2019)

Monique Leyrac

née Tremblay. Born February 26, 1928, Montreal, Quebec. Died December 15, 2019, Cowansville, Quebec. Monique was just 13 when she first acted on radio. Monique would go on to become the 1st great international star from French Canada. Using her natural gifts of music and drama she started her acting career on radio in 1943.In 1950 she was appearing in French language movies. In 1952 Monique married French actor Jean Dalmain (1915-2010) and briefly work in theatre in Paris.  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. She would also tour in France, Russia. and North America. She appeared in numerous TV shows in both French and English networks. 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. In 1972 she appeared on stage in Threepenny Opera at the Stratford Festival.  She received the 1979 Prix de musique Calixa-Lavallée. In 1988 she was inducted as a Knight in the National Order of Quebec.  In 1997 she earned the Governor General's Performing Arts Award. Monique married French actor Jean Dalmain (1915-2010)

Lois Ada Goldberg Lilienstein

Children's entertainer & singer

Born July 10, 1936, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. Died April 22 2015. Music was part of her system. She learned to play piano at 5 and she loved singing and dancing. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Michigan, U.S.A. in 1958. In 1966 she moved with her husband Ernest and son to Toronto, Ontario. She brought music to schools children and participated in the program ‘Music For Children, working with public libraries. In 1978 she joined friends Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison to record an album ‘One Elephant, Deux Elephants’. It became the fastest selling collection of children’s songs ever produced in Canada. The album launched a thriving career for the trio who have since done 16 albums some of which are gold and platinum. They also made a children’s TV series .  Beginning in 1988 she became Canadian Ambassadors for UNICEF and were active in campaigns to end child hunger around the world. (2018)

Beatrice 'Bea' Gladys Lillie

Born May 29, 1894, Toronto, Ontario. Died January 20, 1989, Henley-on-Thames, England. Bea began entertaining in Ontario towns on stage with her mother, Lucy and sister, Muriel (1893-1973).  In 1914 she made her London, England, West End debut and soon gained notice. January 20, 1920 she married Sir Robert Peel (1898-1937) and became Lady Peel. The couple had one child. The family's Baronet title brought no money with it and the family lived on Bea's earnings. She made her New York City, U.S.A. debut in 1924 and within two years she had starred in her first film. She had a sweet voice and when singing she would add jokes between her songs until she was better known for the jokes than her music. She would become known as the “Funniest woman in the world.” During World War ll (1939-1945) she was a welcomed entertainer for the troops. Sadly her only child, 6th Baronet was killed in action in 1942. In 1948 she met John Philip Huck who became a friend and companion. She won a Tony in 1953 for her revue An Evening with Beatrice Lillie. She made her last Broadway appearance in 1964 in High Spirits and  her last of her seven films, Thoroughly Modern Millie in 1967. Her companion Philip Huck died the next day of a heart attack and the two were buried together. Source: Canadian Encyclopedia, online (accessed June 2003)


Born 1958, Lubomir Kowalchyk. Montreal, Quebec. She was performing on stage at 13 and recording since she was 15 years old. She studied at Concordia University, Montreal. She formed a band called Luba in 1978, but agencies only wanted her as a solo artist. In 1983 after the death of her father she wrote Every time I See Your Picture and sang it with pure emotion. It has become her signature song. She hold 5 Juno awards as female vocalist of the year, three of which were 1985,1986 and 1987. She has also won 3 Felix Awards, and a Casby. In 1991 she was the featured artist for the half time show at the Grey Cup football game. In 1989 she put her career on hold as she went through a divorce, death of close family members and caring for her ill Sister. As a solo artist she has made 6 albums. In 2000 she made a comeback album From The Bitter To The Sweet. She wrote all 11 songs and c0nsiders this album her most honest. She is nor doubt one of Canada’s most successful artists and yet she has never charted in the U.S.A. She now lives in Anguilla.

Gisele Mackenzie

Born January 10,1927, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died December 5, 2003. Marie Marguerite Louise Gisele La Fleche began showing her musical talent by playing the piano at age 2!. As she grew into her music she preferred the violin and she performed her first public appearance at 12. During World War ll she entertained the troops where she met he future husband. After her violin was stolen she began to concentrate on her singing career where she would earn the informal title of Canada's first lady of song. She had her own radio show on CBC and was 'discovered' in the early 1950's and was on her way to Hollywood where she changed her name to Mackenzie. She appeared on numerous TV shows and toured with comedian and violinist Jack Benny. She also recorded for Capital Records. Her song Hard to Get was on the 1955 hit parade for 16 weeks! She starred in musicals, TV shows and the movies. She is a member of the Canadian Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Lorraine McAllister

Born April 15, 1922, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Died. April 27, 1984, Vancouver, British Columbia. She was a singing star of radio and TV in 1950s, headlining CBC Toronto's Holiday Ranch and Vancouver's Burn's Chuckwagon, Some of Those Days and Meet Lorraine. She was also a headline performer for Theatre Under the Stars. Performed in Johnny Holmes' orchestra, as well as singing from 1950-1965 with her bandleader Dal Richards at the Panorama Roof of the Hotel Vancouver. Source: The Vancouver Hall of Fame online (Accessed November 2012)

Kate McGarrigle

Born February 6, 1946, St-Sauveur-des-Monts, Quebec.  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.

Catherine McKinnon

Born May 14,1944, Saint John, New Brunswick. This singer and actress began her career on radio at age eight. By age 12 she had appeared on TV. After studies at Mount St. Vincent College, Halifax, Nova Scotia,  she appeared on the CBC TV series Sing-along Jubilee, Don Messer's Jubilee, and Music Hop. Her 1st and biggest selling album was entitled Voice of an Angel, was a collection for folk songs. She would also have her own radio show on the CBC called That McKinnon Girl. On stage she excelled in musical productions. March 12, 1969 she married actor and comedian Don Harron becoming step mother to two children. Catherine often appeared with her husband, until they divorced in 2003. Catherine continued to record and make albums until 2007.

Sarah Ann McLachlan

Born January 28, 1968, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Sarah was adopted by the McLachlan family. At the age of four she was playing the ukulele and she went on to study classical guitar, classical piano and voice at the Maritime Conservatory of Music. At high school she was the lead for a rock band called The October Game.  She was offered a recording contract but her parents insisted she finish high school and complete one year of studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design before moving to Vancouver and embarking on a new life as a recording artist As a teen she was a member of a new wave band. In 1994 she was the victim of a stalker who killed himself before a trial. Since releasing TOUCH in 1988 she has explored her own unique musical interests being indifferent to current trends and fads. Her songs convey a passionate honesty rarely found in today’s music. Her song Building a Mystery was included in the 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's. She married Ashwin Sood in 1997 and the couple had two daughters prior to divorce in 2008. in 1998 she received the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Visionary Award for advancing the careers of women in music. Sarah holds both the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada. Sarah is the founder of the Lilith Fair tour which showcased female musicians on an unprecedented scale from 1997 through 1999 resuming again in the summer of 2010. She has performed in numerous TV shows in both Canada and the US. February 12, 2010 she performed her son Ordinary Miracle at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. In 2012 she earned a star on Canada's Walk o Fame, Toronto.  In 2013 she received the Kiwanis International World Service Medal in recognition of the founding of the Sarah McLachlan Scholl of Music in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2015 she earned a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for lifetime Artistic Achievement. In 2019 she was the Host of the Juno Awards and in 2017 she was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. She herself has bee nominated for 26 Juno Awards and has won nine Junos. She has also won three Grammy Awards. (2019)

Amanda Meta Marshall

Born August 29, 1972, Toronto, Ontario   Amanda began performing when she was just 16 years old.  Her powerful voice landed her a contract with Columbia Records in New York City but it was Sony Music Canada that released her first album in 1995. Her song “This could take all night” was part of the sound track of the movie Tin Cup.  She has also had a strong endorsement from Elton John.

Denise Katrina Matthews


Born January 4, 1959, Niagara Falls, Ontario. Died February 15, 2016, Fremont, California, U.S.A. Denise was abandoned by her mother and abused by her father but she rose from these circumstances as a youth model becoming Miss Niagara Hospitality in 1977 and competing for the Miss Canada title the following year. She headed for New York, U.S.A. to further her career and did several TV commercials. She hooked up with the entertainer PRINCE (1958-2016) who renamed her 'Vanity' and placed her in a singing group of three girls called Vanity 6 (the number of breasts the girls had in total). The girls always performed wearing lingerie. The group had a couple of albums. She also appeared in several B rate movies in the 1980’s through the mid 1990’s. She posed for Playboy magazine in 1995 and again in 1998. She was not only reportedly linked with PRINCE but also Billy Idol and Adam Ant while becoming the sex idle of the 1980’s. She was a drug addict and this life style cased severe health problems. She was married for a year in 1994/1995 to Adam Smith but soon divorced when her health continued to deteriorate. In 1997 she survived a kidney transplant and after a religious re birth she has renounced all connections of her former life and established her own evangelical ministry. In 2010 she wrote and published her autobiography entitled Blame it on Vanity. (2023)

Constance Sylvia Gladys Munston SEE - Beatrice Lilly
Alannah Myles

née Byles  Born December 25, 1958.  When she was just nine years old she began writing her own songs. This rock singer began playing the guitar at age 11. At 19 she changed her name to Myles while appearing in TV commercials.   She was unable to gain the attention of Canadian companies for her music so she released her records through a New York company in the United States  By the time she was in her mid 20's she had produced her debut album. She appeared in guest spots on Canadian television and film productions. She won a Grammy for her first album. An album in 1995 was simply called Alannah. In August 2007 she released a solo album which was a tribute to Elvis on itunes to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his death. April 2008 she released her 5th studio album Black Velvet.  August 2013 for her 25th anniversary   her Black Velvet album was retiled 85bpm and repackaged with new images.

Joni Mitchell

(real name Roberta Joan Anderson).  Born November 7, 1943, Fort Macleod, Alberta. Joni began her singing career in small nightclubs in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and then moved east to busking on the streets of Toronto, Ontario. By 1965 she was living in the U.S.A. and began touring and introducing some of her own songs. Her songs were covered by folk singers and she cut her debut album in 1968.  Moving to Southern California her works such as Big Yellow Taxi and Woodstock helped define an era of folk music. Her 1971 album Blue made the list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time produced by Rolling Stone magazine. A pop singer who is famous for her folk songs of the 1960’s with The Circle Game an Both Sides Now. She switched to jazz and in 1969 when her album Clouds won a Grammy Award.  She retired from touring and released her 17th album of original songs in 2007. During her career she earned eight competitive and one honorary Grammy Awards, receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. She became a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1981. and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.  In 1996 she was presented with Canada's highest honour in the performing arts, The Governor General's Performing Arts Award. In 2000 Joni received a Star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto, Ontario followed in 2002 she was inducted as a Companion of the Order of Canada. By 2007 she had been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and in June of that year Canada Post featured her on a postage stamp. In 2008 Rolling Stone once again listed her this time as one of the 100 greatest singers. To celebrate Mitchell's 70th birthday, the 2013 Luminato Festival in Toronto held a set of tribute concerts entitled Joni: A Portrait in Song – A Birthday Happening Live at Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario on June 18 and 19 2013. In 2015 she was the recipient of the San Francisco Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award and at the same time Rolling Stone listed her as one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of all time!

Alanis Nadine Morissette

Born June 1, 1974, Ottawa, Ontario. Alanis is 12 minutes younger than her twin brother Wade. As a child in Ottawa she liked to sing, dance, and act. The family moved around to follow her parents jobs and from 1977 to 1980 they lived in Lahr, Germany. She took dance lessons at seven, began writing songs at nine, and played in a TV series on Canadian TV in the popular You Can’t Do That on Television. At 11. Her 1st album was titled simply Alanis was released in 1991. She produced the album Jagged Little Pill in 1995 which sold more than 33 million albums internationally, before moving to Brentwood California. Rolling Stone magazine has labeled her Queen of all rock Angst. In 1999 she had the role of God in the comedy film Dogma and the same role in Jay and the Silent Bob Strike Back. For the next while she appeared in productions of Sex in the City and in the play The Vagina Monologues.  In 2003 she appeared in an Off-Broadway production.  In June 2005 on the 10th anniversary of Jagged Little Pill she released Jagged Little Pill Acoustic followed that same year with Greatest Hits Album Alanis Morissette: the Collection. That same year she was a guest on the hit TV show Degrassi: The Next Generation. She continues to play guest roles on various TV shows, stage, and movies. In 2007 her engagement to actor Ryan Reynolds was announced but the couple broke up before a marriage. In 2009, she ran a marathon promoting awareness for the National Eating Disorders Association. In 2018 Jagged Little Pill, a musical played at the American Repertory Theatre. In 2010 she married rapper Mario 'Souleye' Treadway and the couple have a son and a daughter. (2019)

Anne Murray

Born June 20, 1945, Springhill, Nova Scotia.  She has sung her way into the hearts of fans all over the world. She was the 1st Canadian female solo singer to reach number 1 on the music charts in the U.S.A. and the 1st woman to earn a Gold record for her song, Snowbird in 1970.  She is also the 1st  woman and 1st Canadian to win the Album of the Year Award from the Country Music Association Awards in 1984. In 1975 she married music producer Bill Langstroth  (died 2013) and the couple have two children. She has record sales of over $25,000,000. She has won 4 Grammies and 32 Juno Awards. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. and on Canada's Walk of Fame, Toronto, Ontario. All of these things make her the most successful female recording artist in the history of Canadian entertainment.  She has been inducted into the Juno Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Canadian Broadcast Hall of fame as well as the Country Music Hall of Fame Walkway of Stars, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. Companion of the Order of Canada. In May 2007 Golf for Women magazine named Anne the world's best female celebrity golfer. June 29, 2007 Canada Post issued a Commutative Anne Murray stamp. In 2008 she retired from singing saying that she only sings for her grandchildren now. In 2008 she appeared as a mentor for the TV programme Canadian Idol. In 2009 she published her biography, All of Me. In 2010 she was one of the eight notable Canadians to carry the Olympic Flag as the opening ceremonies and was  inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.  In 2011 Billboard listed Anne as number 10 on their list of the 50 biggest adult contemporary artists. The Anne Murray Centre, Springhill, Nova Scotia which opened July 28, 1989, houses her memorabilia collection. Revenue generated from the Centre is used to provide local employment. She is the Honorary National Chairperson for the Canadian Save the Children Fund.  In 2009 Colon Cancer Canada launched the Anne Murray Charity Gold Classic. She has also been a public supporter for the environment and David Suzuki's Nature Challenge. (2023)

Ginette Reno

née Raynault. Born April 28, 1946,  Montreal, Quebec. Ginette loved to sing even as a child. This chanteuse puts warmth and passion into her renditions of sentimental ballads that have won her an adoring fan base not only in her home province of Quebec, but from across Canada and abroad. Her first recording appeared in 1961. She has earned several Juno Awards  in 1969 and the 1970's  and was presented with the A D I S Q lifetime achievement award in 1995.  She was invested as an officer of the Order of Canada October 20, 1982. In 2012 the Canada Post Office honoured her with a feature postage stamp.

Alice Robitaille

Alys Robi

Alice Robitaille. Born February 3, 1923, Quebec City, Quebec. Died May 28, 2011, Montreal, Quebec. Alice/Alys always knew she could sing and act. ant by the age of seven she was performing on stage at the Capitol Theatre and on the local radio station in Quebec City. By 13 she was being tutored at the Theatre National in Montreal. During World War ll she was the host of a French radio shoe: Tambour Battant. She also toured performing at Canadian military bases and started recording for records. She became know for her Latin titles which she translated into French. While traveling in England she appeared on a regular British Broadcasting television programme. In 1948 she was injured in an auto accident while on her way to Hollywood in California, U.S.A. Depression became a real battle and she suffered a mental breakdown after a failed romance. She recovered in a Quebec City asylum where she was subjected to a lobotomy which was a rare success. She returned to the stage in 1952 but she never regained her former popularity. It was not until the early 1990's that she gained major success with the song Laissez-moi encore chanter (Let me sing again). She became the subject of books, plays, and a television series. In December 2004 a movie Alys Robi: Ma Vie en Cinemascope /Bittersweet Memories was released. She would publish two autobiographies Ma Carriére, ma vie /My Career, my life and Un long cri dans la nuit. Cinq années a l'asile/ A Long cry in the night; five years in the asylum

Jane Siberry

née Stewart. Born October 12, 1955, Toronto, Ontario. As a child Jane learned how to play piano.  During her college years, studying microbiology at the University of Guelph, she began performing at local coffee houses and also worked at times as a waitress to pay for her studies.  She used her tip money to fund her 1st album in 1981. She has not looked back. By 1996 she had formed her own record label “Sheeba” to produce her records. In 2005 she was awarded the Victory Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in music by the Canadian Council for the Arts.  In 2006 she sold most of her possessions and changed her name to Issa (the feminine of Isaiah) and continued to produced albums of her music. By 2009 she felt the name Issa had run its course and her album With What Shall I Keep Warn sported both names. Her 'Last formal record' Ulysses' Purse was released in 2016. (2019)

Amy Sky

Born September 24, 1960. She is a graduate in music theory from the University of Toronto. She expanded her skills while living in Nashville and Los Angeles, where she wrote for artists such as Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper, Sheena Easton and Canadian performers such as Anne Murray and Roch Voisine. She has returned to Toronto where she now centers her own performing artist career. She is a wife and mother of two who has found a working balance suited to her. Her first CD was Cool Rain which was followed closely by Burnt in the Sun (1998), Phenomenal Woman (2001) and With a Kiss (2003). Her music is a mainstay on Canadian radio and has earned Juno nominations, SOCAN Awards and Canadian Independent Music Award nominations. She is also known for her numerous contributions and support for charitable causes. This mini profile was nominated by Nikki Harris.

Juliette Augustina Sysak 

Born August 27, 1927, St Vital, Manitoba. née Sysak. Born August 27, 1926, St Vital, Manitoba  Died October 26, 2017 Vancouver, British Columbia. As a youngster in Winnipeg Juliette sang at the Ukrainian Hall and at amateur talent shows. When she was just a teenager her family relocated to Vancouver. At 13 she was singing at the Hotel Vancouver making more money than her father earned at his job as a cook for the Canadian Pacific Railway.  She was appearing on CBC radio at 15 and was headed to Toronto to appear on TV’s Holiday Ranch. Image result for Juliette Cavazzi imagesKnown as Juliette, this singer and entertainer used only her first name on stage. She married manager Tony Cavazzi. She had regular appearances on the Billy O’Connor CBC TV late show. By 1956 she had her own national TV program where she was known as “Our pet, Juliette”. The show was third in the popularity rating only behind Hockey Night in Canada and CBC National News! Two of her favourite guests were Tony Bennett and Jack Jones. From 1969 through 1971 she hosted a day show called ‘After Noon’ and from 1973 through 1975 she hosted ‘Juliette and Friends’. She also had a successful recording career which included 5 LP 9Long Playing records) albums. In 1975 she was appointed a member of the Order of Canada. In 1999 she was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. In 1994 She became a member of the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame. She was often criticized for her choice of music, she hair style and the clothing she wore. However she is hailed as a trailblazer for female entertainers who wish to control their own image and Career.  Sources: John Einarson. ‘Juliette’ in Manitoba Music Museum . (accessed August 2014 : The Canadian Encyclopedia Online (accessed August 2014)

Margo Timmins

Born January 27, 1961, Montreal, Quebec. In 1977 the family relocated to Etobicoke on the edge of Toronto.  Margo remembers music as always being part of her life. She even sang as a child when washing dishes! (Source: Paolo Car(?) ‘Ultimo Buscadero, no. 207 November 1999)  She studied social work at university and then she joined her two brother and some friends helping to  form a rock group that produced their first album in their garage. In 1985 her brother Michael convinced his shy but talented sister to sing to the group. Margo became a welcome working member of the group.  The Cowboy Junkies have not looked back and have since produced many more million selling albums such as Pale Sun, Crescent Moon (1993), 200 more miles (1995) and Lay it down (1996) as well as In the time before llamas (2003) and One soul now (2004) , At the end of paths taken. They have a very active tour schedule playing across the country. Margo married Graham Henderson, an entertainment lawyer in 1988 and they have one son. When not on the road with the group she enjoys being home with her family and  their pets, doing whatever she wants to relax like reading a good book and some slithery. The town of Timmins Ontario was founded by her Grandfather.

Marie / Mary-Rose-Anne Travers-Bulduc

La Bulduc

Born June 4, 1894, Newport, Gaspésie, Quebec. Died February 20, 1941, Montreal, Quebec. She is best known as Madame Bulduc or LA BULDUC in the 1930's. She would become Canada's premier chansonère (singer), and as the Queen of Canadian Folk Singers,  composing and singing songs of ordinary daily life of Quebec. La Bulduc is often considered to be Quebec's 1st  female singer/songwriter. She combined the traditional folk music of Ireland and Quebec the two acquired music genres of her parents. By 1908, when she was just 13, She was giving public performances playing the according at the logging camp where her father worked as a cook. That same year she went to live in Montreal with family where she worked as a maid for $15.00 a month plus room and board. A few years later she was working in a textile mill. 60 hours a week. On August 17, 1914 she married a plumber, Edward Bolduc. Mary had twelve pregnancies but only four children reached adulthood.  In 1921 the family moved to Springfield Massachusetts, U.S.A. to look for work but a year later they were back in Montreal. Mary it seems always entertained family and friends and sometimes  performed with the Veillees du bon vieux temps at the Monument-National. The small payment from her entertaining was useful for the family and by 1928 she was performing regularly. She was signed up with the Compo company on Star records and earned $25.00 per side of a record. She made her 1st recording April 1929. and her second recording for Christmas of that same year. The second record more than 12,000 copies! Much of her music were comedic songs. She went on to become  a French language singing  legend in her home province. By the end of 1930 she had recorded more than 30 songs and had collaborated with 56 recordings of other artists. ! In March 1931she was headlining a burlesque company at Theatre Arlequin de Quebec. She began touring in 1932. giving 50 shows from August through December. She went on to tour in New England in the U.S.A. in 1934 and the French speaking areas of Northern Ontario in 1935. By 1936 she had produced 33 records and the family could afford a nanny to take care of their children. In June 1937 she was injured in an automobile accident and while in hospital it was discovered that she had cancer. Her insurance would not pay for treatments of the cancer. She could not write songs due to a concussion that cause memory loss. In 1938 she was again on tour but only in Montreal. She did do radio broadcasts and  and made two new recordings in 1931. About 100 recordings survive but she also wrote songs for special occasions that were not recorded. Canada Post issued a stamp in her honour on August 12, 1994. There is a museum exhibit in her home town of Newport. In April 2018 a biographical film, La Bulduc was released.

Shania Twain

née Eileen Regina Edwards. Born August 28, 1965, Windsor, Ontario. She took the name of her step father and went through school as Eileen Twain in Timmons, Ontario. She enjoyed music and her family recognized her talent when she was young. So did the CBC who had her appear at 13 on the popular Tommy Hunter Show. When she was 21 her parents were killed in an auto accident and she took on the responsibility for her brothers and sisters by working in a lodge in Huntsville, Ontario where she had a chance to perform as part of her work.  In 1990 when she signed her first recording contract with Mercury Nashville Records she changed her first name to Shania, which is from the aboriginal Ojibwa language , meaning 'I'm on my way'.  She was indeed! Her 1995 album, The Woman in me sold 12 million copies and her 1998 release Come on over produced 8 world wide single  hits. Her singing and her original writings of songs have won Grammy Awards, Juno Awards, Canadian and American Country Music Awards and World Music Awards. In 2001 she took time from her busy career to give birth to a son and in 2003 returned to touring and performing to her adoring fans. In 2004 she and her husband purchased a ranch in New Zealand as a get away from their home in Europe. . She has been honoured in her home town of Timmins with museum dedicated to her life and career.

Vanity SEE - Denise Katrina Matthews
Adele Wilson                

Died September 7, 2018, Ajax, Ontario. She had two children Adele was well known in the Kirkland Lake, Ontario region where in the 1960's and 1970's she was the singer in the band called The Cavalleros. She also had a morning TV programme on the local K F L station. She hosed during the annual winter carnival the annual Mini King / mini Queen competitions. She briefly relocated to Perth, Ontario but was soon back in Kirkland Lake where she started a bookkeeping/counseling business. (2019)

Vocalists - singers - Rock      Return to categories
Sarah 'Sass' Jordan

Born December 23, 1962, Birmingham, England. When she immigrated as a child to Canada the family settled in Montreal. She left home at 14 when her parents broke up. She originally worked as a backup singer for the Montreal Pop group, The Box. She earned a Juno for her debut album; Tell Somebody in 1988. In 1989 she won a Juno Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year. In 19900 she moved to Los Angeles California, U.S.A.  In 1992 she was names Album Rock’s Top Female Artist of the Year by Billboard Magazine. She stared in the TV series Sisters and the Canadian hit comedy Corner Gas. She played Janis Joplin in the off Broadway hit Love Janis in 2001.  Sass married musician Derek Sharp, a lead singer with the Guess Who. From  2003 to 2008 she served as a judge on the CTV TV show Canadian Idol. In 2012 until 2016 she was the honorary colonel of 417 Combat Support Squadron. (2017)

Vocalists - Singers - Rhythm & Blues   Return to categories
Deborah Cox

Born July 13, 1974, Toronto, Ontario.  She began singing on TV Commercials when she was only 12 and her mother helped her enter various talent shows. As a teenager she performed in nightclubs and began to write music. In the 1990’s she performed as backup for Celine Dion. In 1994 she relocated to Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. with her producer and songwriting partner, Lascelles Stephens.  The couple would marry and have 3 children. The following year she released her 1st album. In 1996 she won a Juno Award for Best R&B soul recording.  She sang for the soundtrack for the 1997 movie Money Talks and a dance mix of the song topped U.S. dance charts. In 1998 she produced a second album One Wish which included the single Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here which was #1 on the Hot R&B charts for 14 weeks. That year she won a Juno Award for Best R&B/Soul Recording and won the Soul Train Award for best R&B/Soul Single.  In 1999 there was another Juno Award. Her 3rd album was released in 2002. While she has done a number of movie soundtracks she has also acted in movies since 2000. In 2006 she released her 4th album as a tribute to jazz singer Dinah Washington. Her 5th album was released in 2008. That same year she received a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame. On September 7, 2012 she debuted in a musical, Jekyll and Hyde and debuted on Broadway April 5, 2013. In 2014 she was 1 of the performers at the opening ceremonies of World Pride in Toronto.

Jackie Shane

Born May 15,1940, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. Died February 21, 2019, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. Born a boy Jackie, with the support of her mother, self identified as a female from the time she was 13 years old. She played drums and sang with rhythm and blues groups in Nashville. Along the way she met and performed with or for Jackie Wilson, Jimi Hendricks, and Little Richard. It was the time of Jim Crow Laws in the southern U.S.A. were state and local laws enforced racial segregation and Jackie left to perform in the eastern U.S.A., Montreal, and Toronto. She fell in love with Toronto and the city fell in love with her singing. She packed night clubs in the city all through the 1960's performing to audiences that were 50% white. She was known to have said "one cannot choose where one is born but you can choose your home. I choose Toronto...I love Canadaian people'. In 1971 she left Canada to live with her recently widowed mother in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. When her mother died she returned to Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. where she lived as a recluse. The CBC produced a documentary about Jackie in 2010 that brought about a renewed interest in the septuagenarian's music and her career. Her former recording studio, Numero Group, tracked her down and she agreed to a new release of all her single and live hits. In 2017 the album Any Other Way was released and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Historical Album. Jackie is featured on a 20 story mural of dedication to the Toronto musical greats.
Image result for Images Jackie Shane      Image result for Images Jackie Shane toronto mural

Miscellaneous      Return to categories

Anne Adamson Campbell

Choir Conductor

née Cowie. Born January 16, 1912, Sutherland, Saskatchewan. Died April 13, 2011, Cochrane, Alberta. She studied voice at the Banff School of Fine Arts. She was an Associate of the Toronto Conservatory of Music (ATCM) for piano in 1930 and for voice in 1934. In 1953 she formed the Southminster Junior Girls Choir in Lethbridge, Alberta. Ten years later she form the Teen Clefs and it was this choir that won the George M. Mathieson Trophy in 1968. The Anne Campbell Singers would with the Mathieson Trophy in 1970. Her choir performed at Expo in Canada's Centennial year and again at Expo 70. The choir also toured Europe winning two international competitions.  Anne produced recording with all three choirs. In 1976 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. (2020)

Carmen Elizabeth Clarke

Song Writer

Born 1911, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died July 1960, Vancouver, British Columbia. As a child Carmen enjoyed music but it was not to be her career. She studied to become a nurse and worked with Children at the Vancouver Hospital for Children. In 1947 she wrote a poem “There’s a Bluebird on Your Windowsill' for one of her small patients and later added music to her lyrics. She was encouraged by friends and colleagues to perform the son on the local radio. The song would published by Empire Music and it was performed locally in British Columbia by the Rhythm Tones and nationally by Don Murphy.  American singers Doris Day and Tex Williams made the song a hit in 1949. Elizabeth became the first woman to write a son that sold over 1,000,000 copies! She donated all royalties to Canadian hospitals for sick children. In 2010 the song was inducted into the Canadian Song Writers Hall of Fame. Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia online (Accessed January 2013) ; The History of Metropolitan Vancouver Online Accessed December 2012) (2020)

Marie May Demers

When Marie was just a toddler she was unable to walk and actually learned to walk on her hands beforE using her feet. She became a contortionist known as Miss Twisto, the human Pretzel performing in Toronto, Montreal, and Buffalo, New York, U.S.A. Dedicating her life to teaching gymnastics to children. She was involved with performances at Expo 67 in Montreal during Canada's Centennial in 1967. She also was involved with performances for International Day of the Child. in Toronto. In 1954 she entertained the troops in Korea. In 1957 she was a member of the Canadian delegation to the World Youth Festival in the Soviet Union. Unknown at the time Marie had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which is a group of inherited disorders that affect you connective tissues giving her overly flexible joined and stretchy, fragile skin.

Jo-Anna Downey 3838

Stand-up Comedienne


Born February 1, 1967, Montreal, Quebec. Died December 1, 2016, Toronto, Ontario. Jo-Anna graduated from Concordia University, Montreal with a degree in history. In 1991 she moved with her parents to Toronto. It seems that Jo-Anna was always a funny person and when invited to an open mic night by a musician friend she ended up on stage and the laughter of the audience was addictive. In the 1990's Toronto she hosted weekly open mic nights at the Spirits Bar and Grill and at Eton House.  In 2012 she earned the Phil Hartman Award from at the Canadian Comedy Awards which recognizing her outstanding lifetime contribution to her profession. She seemed to always have time to encourage new comics, especially new female comics which earned her the nickname 'Mamma'. She never told the same joke in the same way and she could be welcoming and insulting in one breath. . She was one of the best hosts and producers of comedy. Humber College, Toronto offers the Jo-Anna Downey Comedy Scholarship. Source: Lives Lived, The Globe and Mail February 3, 2017 online (accessed 2022)

Marguerite Helen 'Margo' Fournier 3718

Choirmaster & Director

née Leblond. Born August 16, 1919, Rosthern, Saskatchewan.  Died July 22, 2000, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Margo grew up loving music. She was an accomplished singer and dancer who, during the Second World War (1939-1945) enlisted with the Royal Canadaian Air Force as an entertainer. She toured military bases in Canada. Britain and, Europe. On May 5, 1945 she married Canadian L. J. 'Pluke' Fournier in Scotland. The couple would have seven children. She worked at being a music teacher and choir master. She conducted choirs of bys and girls, student nurses, church, and even an inmates prison choir. She was a founder of the local Music Festival Association in 1960's Prince Albert She helped organize and served as president of the local Jeunesses Musicales group. In the early fall of 1965 she was appointed to the Saskatchewan Youth Review Committee. She was also the founder and director of the Prince Albert Boy's Choir which earned not only local accolades but was recognized provincially, nationally and internationally. Margo also enjoyed sports and with her husband, Pluke, taught and coached swimming and diving. The Prince Albert multi-purpose recreation centre was named in her honour. In 1983 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. Source: Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan online (accessed 2022)

Nadine Gagne

Métis Drummer

Born Vancouver, British Columbia. Nadine  is from the Métis Nation (Cree/French Iroquois/English ancestry) She works as an Infant Development Consultant and Early Childhood Education for kla-how-eya Aboriginal Centre. While she holds a diploma in Early childhood Education from the University of British Columbia, she is also a composer and performer using traditional drumming in contemporary children’s music. Her spiritual name is Metoni-Apihtaw-Achkos. In 2003 she was honoured with her first Eagle Feather. In 2005 she earned the Aboriginal Childcare Award from the British Columbia Ministry of Children and Families. She also receive a Métis sash from the Métis Family Services and was declared a National Aboriginal Role Model for Canada. In 2006 she was one of twelve National Aboriginal Youth Role Models for the Aboriginal Health Organization for her Lead your Way Program. In 2007 she was an Aboriginal Leading Lady on the Calendar by Samaya Photography. In 2008 she produced a music album, My Moccasins for Children. Nadine has one daughter. Source: Herstory: A Canadian Women’s Calendar 2008 (Coteau Books, 2007) (2020)

Dona Massin r 18

Born February 18, 1917, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died May 26, 2001, Malibou, California, U.S.A. When she was just eight years old the family relocated to live in Los Angeles, California. While still a child she was singing on stage and seemed to be a natural when it came to dancing.  While in her early teens she began working with MGM Studios and appeared in many musicals. She moved over to other studios, 20th Century Fox, Universal , Warner Brothers, and Columbia Pictures and continued to appear in musicals. When she was just 21 she worked as a choreographer on the film The Wizard of Oz. She also had a small role in the famous film. Dona married Don Carn and the couple had one daughter. When she was 30 she retired from show business trading it for the life of a wife and mother. She was a welcome visitor for yeas at festivals celebrating The Wizard of Oz. In 2001 she taped Memories of Oz and that same year she was on the TV special Last Days of Judy Garland and the E! True Hollywood Story. (2023)

Ann Meekitjuk Hanson

Inuit Film Maker

Born May 22,1946, Nunavut Her official name was Annie E 7 – 121. Her Christian name was Annie. The E stood for Eastern Arctic, '7' denoted her birth community and 121 was the number assigned by the federal registry. Her peoples still lived on the land when she was born. After the death of her parents she moved to Toronto to live with an aunt. She too the name of her new family becoming Ann Cotterill to attend high School. She was never officially adopted so she took her father’s name Meekitjuk as a legal surnamed before she started working for the Federal Government in Ottawa and later in Iqualuit when it was still known as Frobisher Bay, Northwest Territories. She had an additional name change when she married Robert Hanson. The couple had four children. She worked for CBC Radio providing Inuit programming. Her shows actually provided oral histories, legends, songs, food facts, and other cultural aspects of far North life and they helped preserve these aspects of life. In 1973 she was in Hollywood to be part of a movie The White Dawn and she became intrigued with the process of filming. She has daringly produced a film on spousal abuse in the North and after the premier of the film the first women’s shelter opened in her community.  She enjoys doing films on the life around her in the North and as such is continuing the tradition of the women who have for generations told stories and sung songs of the culture of the people. She has served as Deputy Commissioner of the Northwest Territories and she has been inducted into the Order of Canada. Source. Herstory: A Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006, Coteau Books, 2005. (2020)

Christina Jennings


Her original career path was in urban planning then she bought a travel agency and branched out with a family restaurant all before she was 30! In 1987 she was the founder, CEO and chair of Shaftsbury Films. They started out in Toronto and eventually opened a second office in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Her company is well known for its production of such television series as Murdoch Mysteries and Frankie Drake Mysteries. In 2005 she won an International Emmy for Best Children's and Young People Program and in 2008 they earned a second International Emmy Award for Outstanding Interactive Program ReGenesis. @009 garnered the company a Gemini Award for Best Children's or Youth Fiction Program for Life of Derek. In 2010 Christina earned Playbacks, Producer of the Decade. 2016 brought the Female Eye Moverick Award, Academy Achievement Award from the Academy Cinema, and Television and the Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award. That same year there was also the Innovative Producer Award at the Banff World Television Festival. By 2017 Christina had earned a Lifetime Achievement Award followed the next year with a CFC Award for Creative Excellence. It is no wonder that Christina is considered by MacLean's magazine list as one of Canada's most powerful top 50 in business. (2020)

Roberta Kennedy
Kung Jaadee

Indigenous Entertainer

Roberta, also known as Kwii-Ga-Li-Ones (a name that according to Haida tradition has been passed on to her daughter) and Kung Jaadee (woman in the moon) is a Haida singer, drummer and storyteller who has performed across Canada since 1992. She teaches Deer Culture and the Dogrib languages to primary students. Often when she is performing she wears a striking red and black button blanket made by her great grandmother. (2020)

Judith Anne Lawrence


Born Barnsdale, Victoria, Australia. Judith leaned how to make puppets after writing to a children's show. Finding that some internationally experience would be an asset to a career as a puppeteer. Judith went to Canada where she taught kindergarten in Deep River, Ontario. In 1960 she co-founded the Voice of Women. She began working for the CBC and created puppets for the Butter Square Show in 1964. By 1967 she was creating puppets for Ernie Coombs (1927-2001) and the Mr. Dressup TV Show. Her two puppets Casey and Finnegan were an integral part of the show. Judith and Ernie Coombs often adlibbed much of the show. Casey was androgynous so that both boys and girls could consider him one of them. Judith also wrote numerous books for the publisher Thomas Nelson in the series Young Canada Reads. In the 1970's  she served on the 1st National Action Committee on the Status of Women. In 1989 she retired to Hornby Island in British Columbia taking her beloved puppets with her. Mr. Dressup explained to his TV fans that Finnegan and Casey were now in Kindergarten to explain that they were no longer part of the show.  In 2001 she inducted into the Order of Canada honouring both her work for children and as an activist. In 2001 she was presented with the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal. That same year she participated in a documentary film, Tales from the Tickle Trunk: the Life and Times of Ernie Coombs and a second documentary honouring Mr. Dressup, The Friendly Giant and other children's shows.  In 2012 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal. While Casey and Finnegan live with Judith for the moment they will eventually be housed in the CBC Museum. Judith brings out the puppets for special visitors and once in awhile for a special appearance a local senior events. (2020)

Ray/Rae Levinsky

SEE - Ray / Rae Lewis

Ray/Rae Lewis

Performer, Poet, Scriptwriter, & Editor

née Rae Levinsky. Born March 14, 1893, Toronto, Ontario. Died July 5, 1954. By 1907 she was an established vaudeville performer as part of the Palmer and Lewis Duo who sang and dances. In the mid 1910's she had produced 2 volumes of poetry. By 1914 she was performing and writing dramatic plays. It was that same year she was invited to be the wardrobe consultant for Connesstill Company in Toronto, Ontario. The following year she had moved to Long Island, New York, U.S.A. probably working as a script writer. From there it was off to Los Angeles, California where in 1917 one of her scripts became a film. In 1916 she was back in Toronto editing the Canadian Moving Picture Digest, Canada's 1st film trade journal. She often hid behind male sounding pen names Ray L. Levinsky, Mrs. Joshua Smith, to promote her own opinions. During a stay in England in 1919-1920 she met Joshua Smith a pointer. (2020)

Mary Livingstone

Born June 23, 1904, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.  Died June 30, 1983, Hollywood, California, U.S.A. .Her birth name was Sadie Marks/Marx.  Sadie was raised in Vancouver, British Columbia and as a teen she first met her future husband Benny Kubelsky, better known as the famous comedian Jack Benny (1894-1974) at a Passover Seder at her family's home in 1922. They met again in 1926 when she worked at The May Company Department store in Los Angeles. The couple were married 1927 and the couple adopted a daughter, Joan. Taking the stage name of Mary Livingstone she played as Jack wisecracking partner for 21 years on his radio show and later on his TV. show. The character proved to be so popular with fans that she took the name Mary Livingstone legally. She was awarded a star on the walk of fame for her role but the name was misspelled with no “e’ at the end. Mary was somewhat insecure and developed severe stage fright appearing less and less and finally retiring from performing in 1958. Sources: The Vancouver Hall of Fame online : Find-a-Grave. online;  IMDB (accessed November 2012) (2020)

Gweneth Lloyd


Born September 15, 1901, Eccles, England. Died January 1, 1993, Kelowna, British Columbia. Gweneth originally trained in England as a physical education teacher before she became interested in dance. She opened a dance studio in Leeds, England in 1927. In 1938 she immigrated to Canada with one of her students , Betty Farrally. The two women settled in Winnipeg where in 1939 they opened the Winnipeg Ballet Club. In 1941 it was renamed Winnipeg Ballet and by 1953 they had received royal patronage and became the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Gweneth would produce 35 original ballets before she retired from the R W B in 1955. Unfortunately in 1954 a fire destroyed the building housing the Ballet and sets, costumes and archives were all destroyed including Gwyneth’s works. In 1950 she relocated to Toronto for a short time and finally settled in Kelowna, British Columbia with Betty Farrally. From 1946 through 1965 she directed the Banff School of Fine Arts (Banff Centre) summer school of Dance. In 1962 she and Betty founded the Canadian School of Ballet branch in Kelowna. In 1968 she was inducted into the Order of Canada followed in 1970 with the Manitoba Centennial Medal. In 1984 she received the Dance in Canada Award. In 1992 she was presented with the Governor’s General Performing Arts Award. Sources: Memorable Manitobans Online (Accessed April 2014) ; The Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Accessed April 2014). Book: The Royal Winnipeg Ballet: the first forty years (1979). (2020)

Mary MacLane

SEE - Writers - Authors

Stella Meghie

Black Director


Born Toronto, Ontario. Stella began her working career as a Public relations agent for the fashion industry in New York City. Stella left this field to pursue her dream and she studied for her degree in screenwriting. She wrote, directed and produced her 1st film, Jean of the Jones in 2016 and earned two Canadian Screen Awards for her work. Her fourth film, Photograph was released on Valentine's Day 2020. (2020)

Dorothea Mitchell

Amateur Filmmaker, Screenwriter, & Author




Born June 1, 1877, England. Died February 2, 1976, Victoria, British Columbia. Dorothea was brought up in India where her British father was a railway engineer. Family fortuned wained and Dorothea and her sister worked as governesses in 1897 after their father's death. Soon Dorothea left England for Canada arriving in 1904. Living at first in Toronto and Montreal she took jo as a companion in Silver Mountain, near Fort William/Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) in Northern Ontario. Here she became a post master and railway stationmaster. In 1911 she petitioned the Ontario Provincial government for some crown land and she became the 1st single woman in Ontario to be granted a homestead. She ran a sawmill and lumber company on her newly acquired land. She earned respect of the lumber barons for her fairness and treatment of immigrants and became known as 'Lady Lumberjack'. She retired to Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) in 1921. It was at this time that she began her connections to theater setting up the Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society. She wrote a script based on her lumbering career: A Race for Ties which went on to become the 1st feature length amateur film in Canada premiering May 31, 1929 in Port Arthur. In 1930 her script entitled Fatal Flower, a crime story was produced by the Port Arthur Amateur Film Society. It was one of the last silent films to be made. Sadly the Great Depression interrupted the finishing of the film. During World War ll she worked with the Canadian Red Cross but at 63 she was deemed to old to go oversees which was her initial desire. She relocated to British Columbia for a better health and she became involved in the Victoria Branch of the Canadian Author's Association where she served as secretary for the 1960's. While in Victoria she published several short stories. In 1967 she published Lady Lumberjack when she was 90 years old. (2020)

Bessie 'Betty' Mitchell 4271

Born May 4, 1896, Sandusky, Ohio, U.S.A. Died September 10, 1976, Calgary Alberta. Betty came to Alberta with her family when she was a teenager.  After completing high school by correspondence she went on to normal school (teacher's college) in Calgary and taught in rural schools in the province.  She went on to study botany at the University of Alberta where she had her first role in a university drama production.  After graduation she taught school in Calgary for a decade. While teaching she helped set up a number of theatre groups such as The Green Room Club in 1930, the Side Door Playhouse in 1932, and Workshop 14 in 1944.  Workshop 14 morphed into Theatre Calgary, a professional theatre group in 1966. From 1936 to 1961 she was director of drama at Western Canada High School and also a director at the Studio Theatre of the University of Alberta.  From 1955-1960 she was a judge with the Dominion Drama Festival. Recommended for the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and she earned a Master's Degree in theatre at the State University of Iowa in the U.S.A. A National Research Fellowship from the Cleveland Play House, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. provided her opportunity to visit and study theatre groups in the United States.  The Betty Mitchell Awards were established in 1998 to recognize the best in Calgary Theatre.  The Allied Arts Centre , Calgary, and the Betty Mitchell Theatre at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium are named in her honour. Source: A Grand dame of theatre by Charles Enman, Globe and Mail April 4, 2005. (2023)

Nancy Helena Columbia Palmer

Nancy Columbia

Born January 16, 1893, Chicago, Illinois.  Died 1959, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.  Nancy was born just prior to the World's Columbian Exhibition better remembered as  Chicago World's Fair to an unwed Labrador Inuit mother. She took the name Palmer from Mrs. Bertha Palmer, president of the World's Fair Board of Lady Managers who took an interest in the child and was her godmother. Nancy would return with her grandparents to Labrador when she was a toddler.  By 1892 she was touring the world as part of ethnographic shows. Nancy would travail with her family and other Inuit as they visited Africa, Europe, and North America. The participants in the show were paid a small sum for their time traveling and performing. The also received a Winchester rifle and 200 cartridges for each man, Women received a small financial payment and 30 yards of calico and four woolen blankets. She and other family members appeared in silent films playing roles of indigenous peoples. She wrote, directed, and stared in the silent film, Way of the Eskimo, which debuted July 17, 1911, making her the 1st Inuit screenwriter in the world. The filming was done on the shores of Lake Michigan and The film was even screened in Australia and New Zealand. Nancy was the main star of her film billed as Columbia Enutseak. Sadly this movie and another Lost in the Artic were made on a single reel and the reels have been lost. Only promotional material survives as proof of her work. In total Nancy and her family members would appear in 19 movies.  Her last movie appearance seems to have been in the Last of the Mohicans made in 1920. She lived the rest of her life in quiet animosity. (2020)

Pat Muriel Welsh Patterson

Broadcaster, Children's Entertainer, & Composer

Born December 4, 1921, Victoria, British Columbia. Died December 15, 2005.She studied violin, voice and piano in Victoria. In 1946 she relocated to Toronto, Ontario where she became a radio program writer for two years and then the host for Pat’s Music Room from 1948 through 1964. And for the Children’s show Musical Playroom in 1951. With the introduction of children’s television programs Pat became involved in the 1950’s with CBC children’s programs. From 1962 through 1969 she hosted and then co-hosted with Helen Hutcheson for CBC radio’s Trans-Canada Matinee. In 1972 she composed the music and co-wrote the lyrics for the theme of TV Ontario's The Polka Dot Door which was in use 1971 to 1993. She also wrote for the TV program Fred Penner’s Place, a TV musical program for pre-school children. She collaborated with Dodi Robb (1920-2012) to write several children’s works and composing music for CBC Radio. She has also written several documentary films and radio plays and published three children’s books. In 1986 she received the John Drainie Award for distinguished broadcasting. (2020)

Belle Shenkman

Arts Promoter & Fund Raiser

née Gubler. Born June 24, 1928, Kiev, Ukraine. Died March 11, London, England. When she was just three month old Bell's parents immigrated to Canada. The family settled in Ottawa, Ontario. At twenty she married Harold Shenkman and the couple had two children before their divorce. In the 1950's Belle was vice Chair and then chairman of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra Committee. In 1962 belle relocated to London, England. During the 1967 Canada Centennial celebrations Belle organized a Canada Centennial Ball which funded a scholarship for Canadian students in the United Kingdom. In London she also promoted Canadian Inuit artists, an exhibition of modern Canadian tapestries. In 1979 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. That Same year she married Desmond Smith  In 1982 she helped the Royal Winnipeg Ballet raise funds that enabled them to perform in London, England. She gained a reputation for her tirelessly organization galas to benefit the arts. (2020)

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