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

 ISBN: 0-9736246-0-4

Mary Abbott

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Bethune. Born 1823. (sometimes reported as October  1824)  Died February 25, 1898. .Mary married a young lawyer John Joseph Caldwell Abbott (1821-1893) July 26, 1849. He was also a businessman, educator, politician who would become the 3rd Prime Minister of Canada 1891-1893. They would have eight children together. Raising four daughters and four sons no doubt kept this young woman completely occupied. She had no love of politics but supported her husband in his political career. No doubt Mary was satisfied that his term in office was somewhat short lasting from June 1891 until November 1892. She is the most obscure wife of any Prime Minister in Canadian history. She is a  relative of the famous Dr. Norman Bethune (1890-1939), the Canadian physician who served in the Spanish Civil War and during the Chinese revolution. (2020)

Mary Ann Abbott

Black Mother & Wife

née Casey. Born September 15, 1855. Died April 28, 1931, Toronto, Ontario. Not much is known about Mary Ann. She is listed as from Toronto and she married in Toronto to Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott (1837-1913), the 1st Black licensed physician in Canada. The couple settled 1st in Chatham, Ontario, The family grew to have three daughters and two sons. Mary Ann took her family, relocating wherever her husband worked, Toronto, Oakville, and back to Toronto. They Moved to Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. in 1894 where Anderson was surgeon-in-chief at Provident Hospital and by 1897 they were once again in Toronto. Her story is just one of the many untold stories of wives and mothers that are untold in our history. Her husband’s story is well documented but only the name and recorded dates of birth, marriage, and death are written for Mary Ann. Sources: find a grave website. (accessed February 2015).(2020)

Emily Birt Abington-Teague     3539

Ship Bride

Born 1844, South Africa. Died June 9, 1892, Victoria, British Columbia. Emily arrived in British Columbia in September 17, 1862 on the Bride Ship S.S. Tynemouth. Also on the ship was a Catherine Abington, perhaps her sister. The long arduous voyage from England saw the women treated like cargo confined to the bottom level of the ship with no windows, no fresh water, no fresh food, no sanitation. The Tynemouth, it turns out, was the biggest of four bride ships. It was part of a scheme to ship the urban poor of London to what was considered one of the remotest parts of the British Empire. This trip was sponsored by the Columbia Mission Society through the Anglican Church. Emily married John Teague (1833-1902) on July 16, 1863 in Victoria. The couple had six children

Bluma Levett Appel


Born September 4, 1919, (sometimes reported as 1920), Montreal, Quebec. Died July 15, 2007, Toronto, Ontario.  Bluma arrived in Canada with her Russian parents in the early 1900’s .Even as a youth growing up in Montreal, Bluma recognized the value and the need for volunteering. She became a gifted fundraiser and sat on boards of directors and donated to dozens of art organizations including the Canadian Opera Company, Canadian Stage, National Gallery of Canada, Necessary Angels Theatre Company, and the Royal Ontario Museum. On July 11, 1940 she married a chartered accountant, Bram Appel, and with his financial success Bluma was able to not only volunteer but support philanthropic ventures. The couple had 2 sons. She was the personal representative for Marc Lalande the Minister responsible for the Status of Women in 1972. She got every bank in Canada to put a woman in their board of directors in 1975. In 1979 she was an unsuccessful Liberal Party candidate for the House of Commons in the Nepean-Carleton Riding (Ottawa area). In March 1983 the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto named the Bluma Appel Theatre in her honour. In the late 1980’s Bluma became part of the Planning Committee for the Canadian Foundation for Aids Research (C A N F A R) and created a Board of Advisors and a Junior Committee as well as serving as Chair of the Executive Committee until her death.  In 1988 she became a Member of the Order of Canada and in 1998 she was awarded the Order of Ontario. In 2001 she was elevated to Officer of the Order of Canada  In June 2005 she was presented with an honorary Dora Mavor Moore Award for her lifelong dedication to the performing arts in Canada. In 2007 The Canadian Club named her Canadian of the Year. Source: Herstory; The Canadian Woman’s Calendar. 2010. (2020)

Marie-Louise Arseneault  4191

Medicine Woman & Light Keeper

née Landry, Born 1800, Dalhousie, New Brunswick. Died 1884, Dalhousie New Brunswick. Marie-Louise was a medicine women and the wife and mother of a fisherman. She had married Louis Arseneault in 1823 and the couple had five children.. She had a sound knowledge of herbs and roots which she used along with garden plans to tend to the locals in her home area and a time sailors who came in need of help. The coast were they lived was dangerous and every night she place a light in the window of her home to guide the local fishermen as they returned from sea. By 1870 a tower-style lighthouse was build on the site of Marie-Louise family home.  Her descendants kept the light until 1935.  In 1991 the lighthouse was declared an historic site by the Canadian government. The light of Inch Arron can be see for more than 25 km. Source: Herstory 2004

Isabel / Isabelle Julia Askew

Ship Bride

née Curtis. Born 1850, London, England. Died October 12, 1905, Victoria, British Columbia. Isabel came to British Columbia with her widowed mother, Frances Curtis Boucherat (1817-1888) on the Bride-ship, Tynemouth in September 1862. The Columbia Emigration Society working with the Anglican Church had arranged for single women to come from London to British Columbia with the object of the women becoming brides to the large number of male population. Isabel married Thomas George Askew (1837-1880), a prospector, and the couple settled in Chemaimus on Vancouver island. The couple would have eight children. Thomas build a lumber mill and after his death on October 1, 1880 Isabel ran the saw mill business for five years. In 1885 Isabel moved to a house at 852 Pemberton Rd., Victoria, British Columbia where she continued to raise her family. A novel, Askew, by Martin Ainsley is based on the life of Thomas and Isabel.

Karen Diane Baldwin
Miss Universe

Born London, Ontario 1963. In 1981 she was crowned Miss London in a city beauty pageant but she was destined for more. July 26, 1982 she was crowned Miss Universe at the pageant held in Peru. She was the first Canadian to become Miss Universe. For awhile, back in Canada, she hosed a Canadian fashion and lifestyle TV program called The New You. She married and is mother of two children. The family have settled in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. (2020).

Bronislawa 'Betty' Barban

Music Administrator

Born September 3, 1913, Przemysl, Austria (now part of Poland) Died June 26, 2013, St John’s Newfoundland. Betty fled from the Nazis in Vienna just prior to  World War ll. In Shanghai, China, where she married Andreas Barban (…-1993) in 1939. Shanghai was the only place in the world at this time that did not have any immigration restrictions. After the war, in 1947, the couple settled in Newfoundland and opened a piano studio in their house. She looked after the business side of the work while he took his music to the radio, worked with Kiwanis Music Festival. The couple arranged community concerts and he was the 1st conductor of the St John Symphony Orchestra. Source: “She helped bring classical arts to St John’s”. by Joan Sullivan, The Globe and Mail July 15, 2013. Suggested by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Katherine Patricia Mary Barber

Lexicographer          3206

Born September 8, 1959, Ely, England. Died April 24,  2021, Toronto, Ontario. Katherine's parents were a Canadian military family and when father retired from the military the family returned to Canada and settled in Winnipeg. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in French literature from the University of Winnipeg and then she earned a master's degree from the University of Ottawa. Katherine was fluent in French and German and could converse in Italian. She had worked on a bilingual dictionary but in 1991 she was hired by Oxford University Press to oversee the publication of a new Canadian English reference guide. She was known in Canada as the 'Word Lady'. She devoted her professional life to collecting and cataloguing the manifold words and idioms that make our Canadian English unique. The Canadian Oxford Dictionary was published in 1998 and became the universal standard. Canadians have at least 17 words to describe ice and many regional terms for the beloved doughnut. In 2004 she oversaw the larger edition of the Canadian dictionary. Sadly in 2008 she and her staff were laid off when the publishing house closed down the Canadian Dictionary Division. She operated a travel company that arranged trips around ballet performances. She was the author of two books; Six words You Never Knew had Something to Do with Pigs: and Other Fascinating Facts About the Language from Canada's Word lady and Only in Canada You Say; A Treasury of Canadian Language. Source: Obituary. online (accessed 2021)

Elsie Catherine Barclay


Born October 22, 1902, Joliet, Illinois, U.S.A. Died 1985, Calgary, Alberta. In 1905 George and Elsie Barclay brought their three children to homestead in Lacombe, Alberta. The children grew up loving the outdoor and exploring the countryside. The family was not destined to earn a living by working the land and by 1913 the bankrupt family relocated to Calgary, Alberta. The children however never lost their love for the outdoors. Catherine and her older sister Mary established the first youth Hostel at Bragg Creek, Alberta. They wanted others to enjoy the outdoor life of their beautiful province. The first hostel was a plain tent but it soon grew to a tent with a wooden door and creates that served as shelves for storage. By 1939, only six years after pitching their first ten,t there were 16 hostels between Banff and Calgary. Catherine attended the University of Alberta, studying English and French. Before it was in vogue she was a champion of bilingualism. In the summers she helped create and encourage student exchanges between Quebec and Alberta. She even attended the famous Sorbonne in France to improve her French. She would earn a masters from Columbia University in New York, U.S.A. She had attended normal school (teacher’s college) and taught at the Banff School of Fine arts becoming involved in drama and theatre. In 1973 Mary and Catherine were Citizens of the Year in Calgary. In 1975 the sisters were presented the Richard Schirrman Medal in recognition of their work in Canada by the American Hostelling Association. The University of Calgary created the E. Catherine Barclay Scholarship supporting students wishing to study in France. Source: 100 more Canadian heroines by Merna Forster, Dundurn Press, 2011. (2020)

Mary Belle Barclay


Born July 30, 1901, Joliet, Illinois, USA. Died 2000, Calgary, Alberta. In 1905 George and Elsie Barclay brought their three children to homestead in Lacombe, Alberta. The children grew up loving the outdoor and exploring the countryside. The family was not destined to earn a living by working the land and by 1913 the bankrupt family relocated to Calgary, Alberta. The children however never lost their love for the outdoors. May with her sister Catherine established 6the first youth Hostel, a tent, in North America in 1933 at Bragg Creek, Alberta. Membership was $1.00 plus 25 cents a night. The area would eventually be declared an Historic Site by Parks Canada in 2012. By 1939, only 6 years after pitching their first tent there were 16 hostels between Banff and Calgary. Off season Mary and Catherin attended Normal School, (Teacher’s College) and began teaching in schools around the countryside. Mary attended the University of Chicago but after a year transferred to the University of Toronto and obtained her B.A. She returned to Alberta and served as principal in several schools. The summers however sere still used to build hostelling within the province and indeed across the country. In 1973 Mary and Catherine were Citizens of the Year in Calgary. In 1975 the sisters were presented the Richard Schirrman Medal in recognition of their work in Canada by the American Hostelling Association. In 1987 Mary was invested with the Order of Canada. In 1998 the Banff Hostel built the Mary Belle Barclay Building. A far cry from the first tent was Mary’s observation. Source: 100 more Canadian heroines by Merna Foster, Dundurn Press. 2011 : Mary Belle Barclay: founder of Canadian Hostelling by Evelyn Edgeller, Detselig Enterprises Ltd., 1988 (2020)

Patricia Gwen Barlee


Born March 29, 1963, Penticton, British Columbia. Died June 21, 2017, Victoria, British Columbia. As a youth along with her sister she enjoyed expeditions to the province's interior, exploring forgotten mines and abandoned ghost towns in the Cariboo in search of relics with her father. The girls' grandfather had been a Klondike prospector and he taught them how to pan for gold. Gwen would work as a model, a cocktail waitress, a blackjack dealer, and studied painting at what is now Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver. She earned a degree in political science at Langara College, Vancouver. She worked with the Wilderness Committee producing a documentary film about endangered species. She was a tireless champion of the environment. She showed the government that putting parking meters in provincial parks would cost more in the long run than the meters would make. She was an on site person talking to reporters on site  while  working in the forest home of spotted owl in the winter. After contacting lime disease she was a dedicated advocate for all those who suffered from the disease. In 2017 she was working on presenting a 40,000 signature at the provincial legislature asking for the creation of a provincial endangered species law. (2020)

Harriet Barnett   3540

Ship Bride

Born England? Died British Columbia?. Catherine arrived in British Columbia in September 17, 1862 on the Bride Ship S.S. Tynemouth. Also listed as a passenger was Emily Brit Abington, perhaps her sister. The long arduous voyage from England saw the women treated like cargo confined to the bottom level of the ship with no windows, no fresh water, no fresh food, no sanitation. The Tynemouth, it turns out, was the biggest of four bride ships. It was part of a scheme to ship the urban poor of London to what was considered one of the remotest parts of the British Empire. This tri[ was sponsored by the Columbia Mission Society through the Anglican Church. On January 10, 1863 Harriet married George Barnett. It is not known if they were related in any way.

Elizabeth Jane 'Eliza' Barns
"The Witch of Plum Hallow" Clairvoyant

Born Ireland 1800?. Died 1893. She ran away from home as a young girl and was not long before she was married. She emigrated to Canada and settled in Eastern Ontario in the area of Plum Hollow in 1843. Married a second time to a David Barnes they would have 9 children. In her old age she became known as Granny Barnes, the witch of Plum Hollow. She was described as an amazing clairvoyant. She helped local farmers find missing livestock and her physic powers helped solve a murder resulting in the execution of Edgar Doxtater. Her fame spread when she began to tell fortunes. The fame earned income to help the family and led to her becoming a legend. Source: Legends Told in Canada By Edith Fowke (1994) (2020)

Joan Barrington

Therapeutic Clown

Joan is also known as “Bunky” . She is a therapeutic Clown. In 1993 she launched Ontario’s 1st therapeutic clown program at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital. In 1999 she was a co-founder and director of the Therapeutic Clowns Canada Foundation. It is a non-profit organization created to bring therapeutic clowning to major Canadian pediatric facilities. In 2005 Joan was a founding member of the Canadian Association of Therapeutic Clown / l'Association Canadienne des clowns therapeudiques. In 2007 therapeutic Clowns of Canada disbanded because its mandate to take the program national has been met. Suggestion submitted by Fran Herman. (2020)

Norma Marion Beechcroft


Born April 11, 1934, Oshawa, Ontario. Norma grew up in an musical environment with her father a musician and her mother having been trained in music and dance. As a youth she studied piano. In 1954 she worked as a script assistant for CBC music programming. She earned a bursary with the Royal Conservatory of Music in 1957-8 and continued her studies in composition with a scholarship at the Berkshire Music Center. She studied in Rome and in 1961 she received an Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Scholarship. She also studied in Germany and England. Returning to Canada she studied electronic music at the University of Toronto and at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Centre in New York, U.S.A. In 1963-4 she also  returned to work at various positions at the CBC. She resigned in 1969 to begin a freelance career as a producer and commentator on contemporary music. In 1971 she co-founded New Music Concerts where she served as president and general manager. In 1976 her documentary, The Computer in Music won a Major Armstrong Award for excellence in FM broadcasting. From 1984-1987 she taught music at York University, Toronto. In 2002 she was awarded an honorary membership in the Canadian Acoustic Community. Source: Canadian Encyclopedia, Online.  (2020)

Jenny Belzberg


Born January 7, 1928, Calgary, Alberta. Jenny married Hyman Belzberg and the couple had three children. From 1987 through 1991 she was Chair of the Banff Centre for the Arts. She served for 14 years with the Calgary Philharmonic Society. She also volunteered with the Royal Conservatory of Music Foundation and the National Council of Jewish Women. In 1997 she received the Queens Jubilee Medal for her volunteer work. In 2000 she was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence. And that year she served on the Board of Trustees, National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Ontario. She has also received the Paul Harris Fellow Medal from the Rotary Foundation. Source: Alberta Order of Excellence, Online (accessed May 2013.) (2020)

Maggie Big Belly  4194

Naditah' or Searching Woman

Nadith' or Searching Woman was married to Chief Big Belly of the Tsuu T'ina (Saree) nation of Souther Alberta. The couple had one child. The Chief died in 1921 leaving Naditah' to care for their child. A few years later she married to an non-Indigenous man, photographer Arnold Lupson. While Naditah' choose to remain on her reserve living a tradition life, Arnold as a non tribe member could not live with her full time. He joined her on weekends and took photographs of life on the reserve.  He photgraphed Naditah/Maggie tanning hides, smoking meats and drying berries as well as helping to set up the tipi. The couple, with Arnolds weekend photographs left a descriptive legacy of life on the reserve during the early 20th century. Source: Herstory 2004.

Alice Bettridge 4345

Born 1915? Died December 1927, Isle Royale, Michigan, U.S.A. Alice worked as an Assistant Stewardess on the S S Kamloops. Built in 1924 the ship, owned by Canada Steamship lines Ltd., was a 250 foot Canadian package freighter. The great lakes ship departed from Port Colborne, Ontario and headed to what is now Thunder Bay, Ontario, on Lake Superior. There was an early December raging storm
on the largest of the Great Lakes with sub-zero levels with lows of -10 to - 38 degrees below freezing, and the ship was blown towards
 Isle Royale. The ship crashed on the north shore of Isle Royale and the 22 crew members, including Alice were, stranded on a life boat in the sub zero waters. Soaking wet clothes were frozen to their bodies as they managed to reach the northern shore of Isle Royale, a 45 miles long and nine miles wide uninhabited island part of the state of Michigan, U.S.A. The families of the crew were left wondering what happened to ship and crew. The Kamloops was one of five vessels eventually declared a total loss.  A year after the disaster in December 1928 a bottle was found with a message signed simply Alice. The message read ' I am the last one left alive, freezing and starving to death on Isle Royale in Lake Superior. I just want mom and dad to know my fate.' The following spring bodies were found on the shore of Isle Royale and in June 4,1928  six bodies were found and although decomposed one appeared to be that of a woman. The woman was later identifies as Alice Bettridge. The body had its natural teeth and Chiref Stewardess Netty Grafton had had false teeth. In 1940 Isle Royale,  the largest island in Lake Superior, became a U. S.  National Park protected from development by a wilderness are designation in 1976 and a U N E S C O International Biosphere Reserve in 1980. In 2019 she was added to the U. S. Register of Historic Places. The northern boundary of the island lies adjacent to the Canadian Lake Superior National Marine Conservation area along the international boarder. In 1977 the sunken wrect of the S S Kamloops was finally discovered.    Source: Isle Royale National Park. SS Kamloops: Wreck event. online (accessed 2023)

Ellen Agnes Billbrough -Wallace

Home Child Administrator

Born November 21, 1841, Leeds England. Died September 23, 1900, Belleville, Ontario. In  the 1860’s Ellen worked with philanthropist Annie Macpherson of London England. Miss Macpherson was concerned with the “waifs” of London and began to send children to Canada for a chance at a better life. Ellen emigrated from England and set up Marchmont House, Belleville, Ontario, Canada accepting the first immigrant children on May 13, 1870. The children would arrive from England in groups often exceeding 100 at a time. From Marchmount Ellen oversaw the distribution of the immigrant children to either be adopted or contracted to work in homes and farms throughout the province and even into the North-West Territories. The original Home was destroyed by fire in 1872 and yet again a few years later. After the fires a large brick building was constructed. In 1877 Annie Macpherson turned the Marchmont Home entirely  over to Ellen. In 1887 she married the Reverend Robert Wallace and the couple continued to manage Marchmont.  By the late 1880’s over 7000 children had passed through the Marchmont Distribution Home. As a “Distribution” center Marchmont was used by various British child welfare organizations including the Quarrier and Barnardo Homes who eventually would establish their own distribution centres in Canada. While many of the immigrant children would go on to lead health and productive lives, research has shown than perhaps as many as half the children were placed in unfortunate or abusive circumstances. One adopted child wrote to a friend that she often saw Auntie and Uncle Wallace who brought gifts to her. Other children were indentured out to work with monies being paid to the Home until they reached 18.  Although Ellen and Robert Wallace had people sign contracts which required that the children be educated at least four months of the year, with reports from teacher, and that they be required to attend Sunday Services and be provided with clothing, many situations were not followed up. The home would be closed in August 1925, 25 years after Ellen’s death. Sources: Various web sites on Marchmont Home including reports on immigration in the Senate of Canada. (Accessed April 2014)  (2020)

Vicki Bisaro


Born May 6, 1917, Posso, Italy. Died October 2, 2017, Trail, British Columbia. In 1924, along with her mother and brother, Vicki landed at Pier 21 in Halifax and then took a train to British Columbia to join her father who had settled in Trail three years previously. She left high school after receiving her grade ten certificate. Her youthful skill of sewing would server her well providing her with a lifetime career as a seamstress. She made fancy dress special occasion gowns and wedding gowns for almost every family in town. She practiced her profession well into her 90's. In 1937 she married Alessandro Bisaro (d 1980) and the couple raised four sons. Vicki was a tireless volunteer for the Sisters of Columbo, the Catholic Women's League and the Trail Hospital Board. In 2008 she was honoured by being named Trail Citizen of the Year. Source: Lives Lived, The Globe and Mail March 20, 2018. (2020)

Emily Hilda Blake

Accused Murderer

Born 1877, England. Died December 27,1899. She was sent to Manitoba by an English benevolent society. She became a domestic servant to the Lane family of Brandon and in 1899 shot Mrs. Lane with a pistol, claiming she was jealous of the mother’s relationship with her children. Tried for murder, she was convicted in five minutes and sentenced to be hanged. Amelia Yeomans began a movement for clemency, which insisted Blake was “morally degenerate” and suffered from “moral insanity.” Blake was hanged on 27 December 1899, the last woman executed in Manitoba. Her story is told in the book: Walk Towards the Gallows: The Tragedy of Hilda Blake, Hanged 1899 by Reinhold Kramer and Tom Mitchell, University of Toronto Press, 2007. Source: Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted University of Manitoba Press, 1999. Memorable Manitobans Online Accessed December 2011) (2020)

Emma Bliss

Titanic Survivor

née Junod. Born May 9, 1866, Rolle, Switzerland. Died April 15, 1959, Toronto, Ontario. Emma immigrated to England where she worked in 1891 as a lady's maid. She married August 13 1892 to John Bliss (1861-1932). The couple had two sons and a daughter. In the summer of 1911 John emigrated to Canada and the boys joined him in February 1912. By April 15, 1912 Emma had worked as a stewardess on the ship Majestic and then she worked on the Titanic. She was rescued from the Titanic perhaps in lifeboat 15. She would be called as a witness to testify at inquiries into the sinking of the great ship. It is not clear that she ever worked on ships again.  Emma joined her husband in Canada after the Titanic disaster. By 1923 the family had settled in Toronto. April 15, 1939 she joined other survivors at a Titanic reunion at the Royal York Hotel, Toronto. In 1959, while in hospital on March 11, she watched the movie A Night to Remember. Source: Encyclopedia Titanica online (accessed 2020)

Nathalie Bondil

Museum Curator

Born February 19, 1967. A dual citizen in France and Canada Natalie studied at the Ecole du Louvre,  and graduated from the Ecole nationale du Patrimoine de Paris in 1994 making her a Conservateur du patrimoine d'Etat. In the late 1990's she worked at the Musée des monuments Français. Natalie has worked for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts since 1999. In 2007 she became the 1st woman to become Director General and Chief Curator of the Museum. In 2011 she oversaw the addition of the Claire and Marc Bourgier Quebec and Canadian Art Pavilion having her team restore and install 4,000 works of art from the collections. In 2012, she also led the expansion of the new educational facilities for school groups and families–the Studios Art & Education Michel de la Chenelière. She has worked with some 450 community organizations and schools to make sure the Museum is a community centre. Her work has garnered her numerous awards including:  2011 she became a Knight in the Ordre national du Québec. The following year she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Samuel de Champlain Award from the Institut France-Canada. She was inducted as a Member of the Order or Canada in 2015. In 2016 she received the Medal of the Assemblée nationale du Québec. 2017 saw her receive the Prix Femmes d'affaires du Quebec, the Prix Paul Gérin-Lajoie and was designated Personnalité de l'année en culture by La Presse newspaper. In 2018 she became a Knight of the Legion of Honour, France, a Knight of the Ordre de Montreal and a Mentor with the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. (2020)

Laura Bordon

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Bond. November 26, 1889, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Died September 8, 1940, Ottawa, Ontario. On September 25, 1889 she married an up and coming young lawyer, Robert Laird Borden (1854-1937). He would become the 8th Prime Minister of Canada serving from 1911-1920. Robert Borden was knighted in 1914 giving Laura the title of Lady Borden. The couple did not have any children. She was well known for being a gracious host. The terms of affability and graciousness have been used to describe the woman. Like her husband she was a proud Canadian and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada presented her with an automobile in gratitude for her contribution providing other nations with a view of the Canadian identity while her husband was in office. At the Paris Peace talks ending World War l Canada was represented by Sir Robert and Canada was allowed to sign the treaty along with and as a separate entity to Great Britain. (2020)

Harriet Louise Bowell
Wife of a Prime Minister

née Moore. Born May 11, 1828, Brockville, Ontario. Died April 2, 1884, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. . On December 23, 1847 , in Belleville, Upper Canada, Harriet married Mackenzie Bowell (1823?-1917) who at that time was a partner with the newspaper, The Belleville Intelligencer, and who would be Prime Minister of Canada 1894-1896. The couple has nine children, four sons and five daughters. Sadly she died prior to her husband becoming Prime Minister. Sources: The D C B (accessed July 2013) (2020)

Florence Bray 4181

Born 1889? Died February 3, 1916, Ottawa, Ontario.  Florence and her businessman husband, H. Bray,  lived in Quebec City The couple had one child. In February 1916, Florence was visiting in Ottawa in the quarters of the Speaker of the House the Hon. Albert Sévigny (1881-1961) in the Parliament buildings. The alarm was put out about a fie in the Parliament Buildings. Florence and Mabel Morin, thinking they had time, made the poor decision of returning to their bedrooms to pick up their fur coats. After all, it was February, and it was cold outside. Sadly the tow women succumbed to smoke inhalation before firefighters could reach them. Evidently the two women had attempted to escape through a window but the window would not open and they were caught by the fast spreading fire. (2022)

Marjorie Bronfman


Born Montreal Quebec. Died February 24, 2012, Montreal, Quebec. Marjorie married Gerald Bronfman and the couple had four children. Marjorie was the driving force behind the Gerald and Marjorie Bronfman Foundation which is well known for its extensive charitable donations. A patron of the arts as well she donated not only works of art but large financial contributions to numerous galleries including the National Gallery of Canada. Marjorie was equally a giving with her volunteer time. She was an active member of numerous boards of directors for such organizations as the Université d Montréal, the McCord Museum, the National Council of women of Canada, the Arthritis Society, the Mount Sinai Hospital Corporation, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Ballets Jazz de Montreal to name but a few. She established the Marjorie Bronfman chair for Social Studies in Medicine at McGill in 2003 and   little later a palliative care centre at the Jewish General Hospital. Marjorie was a recipient of many awards in recognition of her philanthropy including being inducted into the Order of Canada in 2001. Source: Obituary, The Gazette. February 25, 2012. (2020)

Anne Brown
Political Wife

'Mother of Confederation'

Born 1827 or 1837?. Died May 6, 1906, Edinburgh, Scotland. Anne was the daughter of a prominent publisher Thomas Nelson of Edinburgh. On November 27, 1862 she married George Brown (1818-1880) a successful newspaper businessman of Upper Canada. Historian Frank Underhill stressed that Brown, after his marriage, became an accommodating politician. He was known for his outstanding political views which were often in opposition to those of Sir John A. Macdonald (1815-1891), the 1st Prime Minister of Canada. George and Anne had three children. She was a prominent hostess during the Canadian Confederation era of the 1860’s. After the death of her husband who was shot by a disgruntled employee, Anne returned to Scotland with her children. (2020)

Roza 'Rosie' Brown

Born Hungary? Died March 9, 1947, Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Rosie married Lieutenant Louis Brown, a soldier who had served in the Boer War. The couple traveled to Paris, France then to London, England before finally arriving in Canada when Rosie was about 48 years old. By 1905 they were in Cobalt, Ontario which lured many in search of fortune in the small mining town. The couple sought to feed the hungry fortune seekers by opening a bakery. Roza was the sales person. Wearing a long beaver coat and hip length rubber boots she was a common sight making deliveries about toen. Rosie and her husband soon parted and she became a cook for the railway. About 1910 she was living in the town of Swastika near Kirkland Lake in northern Ontario. She ran a bakery and laundry business. Scouting the area she also staked a mining claim next to the future Lucky Baldwin Mine. At night she worked her claim and ran the bakery and laundry during the day. Witin a year she sold her claim for a small fortune which she saved. Taking up real estate she became a land owner in Kirkland Lake. She was also known for her menagerie of cats, dogs and chickens. By 1930 her overwhelming fondness for the British royal family meant that she world send them birthday and anniversary greetings even through she herself could not read nor write.  She also sent the royals complaints about injustices she observed. She received replies on royal stationery. She even sent the young princess Margaret Rose a little black lamb. When the town had to condemn her poorly build and decaying rental properties she had signs painted with the names of their new royal owners. Rosie was also a humanitarian buying meals for down and out miners and dropping food parcels on porches of those in need. In 1939 she went to Montreal to see the royal visitors. During World War ll (1939-1945) she paid $5.00 to any man who would enlist and saw the enlisted soldiers off on the train from Swastika. She often helped those who returned on leave financially and bought $1,000.00 in war bonds. An off leash dog park in modern day Kirkland lake is named in her honour. (2022)

Catherine "Ode' Edith  3696 Brown-Sandeman

née Brown. Born March 19, 1866, Toronto, Ontario. Death ???? Catherine was known as Oda to her family. She was the youngest daughter of newspaper man and politician George Brown (1818-1880). The president of the University of Toronto promised her when she was tall she could attend lectures at the university. She grew to be an inch taller that the university president Daniel Wilson (1816-1892). Catherine and her older sister Margaret got to listen to his anthropology lecture lessons through his open office door concealed from prying eyes of male students. Catherine would continue her education with the help private tutors and she became on of the first women to graduate from the University of Toronto in 1885 with a Bachelor of Arts in modern languages. While women had the right to sit exams at the University of Toronto it was not until 1884 that the Ontario provincial legislative assembly passed a provision to allow women students to attend the university. Catherine married George Sandeman in Scotland and the couple had six children.  *Her birth date is sometime listed as March 18, 1864. (2022)

Sophia Burden-Pooley 4020

Born New York State. Sophia was sold to the Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant, Thayendanegea, (1743-1807) while he was still living in New York area in the 1770's. He stood with the British during the American Revolution. When Joseph Brant relocated to Upper Canada (now Ontario) to lands granted to him by the British in 1784 he brought Sophia with him making her perhaps the first Black woman in Ontario. She became free in 1792 and married Robert Pooley. Source: African Canadian Online (accessed 2022)

Elizabeth Bushell


Born Boston (?) USA. Elizabeth moved from Boston in the U.S.A. to Halifax with her father in the 1750’s. In 1751 he set up Canada’s 1st printing shop.  Little is known about Elizabeth’s life but there is some documentation that indicates that she worked in the print shop from 1752 until the death of her father in 1761. On March 23, 1752 John Bushell, with the help of his daughter, launched the Halifax Gazette. The press and Elizabeth were responsible for printing of government documents as well as print jobs for local businesses. She shares a place with her father in our history as establishing the 1st printing office and the 1st newspaper in Canada. She may have returned to the United States after the death of her father. It is known that her brother ran a printing business in Boston until his death in 1797. She may have worked with her brother

Ashley Callingbull - Burnham

Beauty Contestant

Born October 21, 1989, Enoch Cree Nation, Alberta. As a youth of ten she was winning local princess crowns. She studied drama at university in Edmonton, Alberta.  She was chosen Miss Canada and participated in the Miss Friendship International Pageant, Hubei China and the Queen of the World Final held in Germany that same year.  In 2011 she was in Barbados participating  in the Miss Humanity International pageant. As an actress she has a role in the series Blackstone, produced in Canada for APTN and Showcase television. In 2013 she was the runner-up in the Miss Universe Canada pageant. In 2015 she married Ryan Burnham. In August 29, 2015 Ashley became the first Canadian and fir1st indigenous  woman to win the Mrs. Universe title. In 2016 she participated with her step-father in the TV series The Amazing Race Canada

Beverley 'Bev' Ann Busson

Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Born August 23, 1951, Halifax Nova Scotia. Bev joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in the 1st class of women in1974 after graduating Teacher's Certificate from Nova Scotia Teachers' College.  Later she would return to earn a law degree from the University of British Columbia. She would become the 1st female commissioned officer and the 1st female Criminal Operations Officer. She worked in Salmon Arm, Vancouver, Ottawa before becoming the 1st female Assistant Commissioner and then the 1st female Commanding Officer of a province as Commanding Officer of the RCMP in Saskatchewan. For a year in 1999-2000 she took leave to head the British Columbia Organized Crime Agency. From there she served as Deputy Commissioner for the RCMP Pacific Region from 2000 to 2006. In 2004 she became a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces and two years later she became a Member of the Order of British Columbia. In 2006 she was named one of Canada's Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network. Bev is the 1st woman to be appointed Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police December 16, 2006. She held the position until July 16, 2007. After her retirement from the RCMP she served as a member of the RCMP Reform Implementation Council and as an advisor to the Government on National Security. As a Volunteer volunteered on a number of endeavours including serving as a director of the Justice Institute of British Columbia, and the Okanagan College Foundation, and participating in the Women's Executive Network Mentorship Program. On September 24, 2018 she was appointed to the Senate of Canada representing the province of British Columbia.

Sonia Butt

SEE - Sonia ‘Toni’ Esmée Florence d’Artois   

Mary L. Chase-Mack

Ship Bride

Born England? Died British Columbia? Mary arrived in British Columbia in September 17, 1862 on the Bride Ship S.S. Tynemouth. The long arduous voyage from England saw the women treated like cargo confined to the bottom level of the ship with no windows, no fresh water, no fresh food, no sanitation. The Tynemouth, it turns out, was the biggest of four bride ships. It was part of a scheme to ship the urban poor of London to what was considered one of the remotest parts of the British Empire. This tri[ was sponsored by the Columbia Mission Society through the Anglican Church. On March 7, 1863 she married E. H. Mack.

Flora Ann Campbell

Law Enforcement

Born 1883. Died 1961. Flora worked as a probation officer and superintendent at a women’s hostel in Ottawa. On December 31, 1913 she became the 1st woman to be hired to serve on the Ottawa police Force. She never wore a badge or a uniform nor did she ever carry a weapon. Her main role was to deal with women who were charged and had to appear in court. Many offenders who were acquitted of charges had Flora to help them find employment. (2018)

Mary Agnes Joe Lay Kho-Lote Capilano

Indigenous  Leader

Born Potlatch Creek, Howe Sound, British Columbia. 1836. Died December 15, 1940. she was also known by the name Lay Kho-Lote, or Lahuliett (pronounced Lay-yulette). A Squamish elder, with a family background going back to the landing of George Vancouver (1757-1798), she was the daughter of chiefs and earned the title of Indian Princess of Peace. An acclaimed orator in the Squamish language she also had great knowledge of the genealogy or of the western coastal tribes. All her life she traveled by dugout canoe over dangerous First Narrows from her tribal home to Vancouver. Many foreign dignitaries made sure to include a visit to this leader during visits to the area. Source The History of Metropolitan Vancouver   (accessed June 19, 2009) (2022)

Rosetta Ernestine Carr


née Watson. Born 1845 (sometimes reported as 1844) Drummond Township, Upper Canada. Died July 6, 1907, Ottawa, Ontario. As an adult she studies photography in New York City and in Ottawa under the famed Canadian photographer William Notman. In 1883 she moved to Winnipeg and purchases Sears Photography. Not wanting to have a photography business in the name of a woman she called her establishment American Art Gallery. She became well known for her portraits many of which she hand coloured in watercolours and oils. She photographed personalities of the day such as Premier John Norquay, Catholic Archbishop Antonin Taché as well as hospital nursing classes and other students. In 1889 she was given exclusive rights to photograph at the Winnipeg Industrial Exhibition. Her competitors boycotted the showing and she won every photography category at the show! She employed the latest technology in the shop as well as the latest marketing savvy  with special charges for baby photos, offering coupons and special holiday discounts.  There is little information on her private life other than she did marry. She sold her business in 1899 and soon moved to Ottawa, where she died in 1907. Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Biography by Virginia G. Berry. (accessed March 2012. )

Aline Chrètien

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Châiné. Born  May 17, 1936, Saint-Boniface-de-Shawinigan, Quebec. Died September 12, 2020, Shawinigan, Quebec. As a teen she met a young man on a local bus and the relationship grew and blossomed. On September 10, 1957 she married the young up and coming lawyer, Jean Chrètien (1934 -   ), who would serve as the 20th prime minister of Canada from 1993-2003.The couple had three children and an adopted child. Aline is fluent in four languages and while in her 50’s she began to take lessons and earn of love of the piano. She became an active advocate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She was extremely bashful often described as having a quiet elegance. She may have shunned the limelight during her husband’s political career but he admitted that she was his confidant and advisor. He often made jokes to the press about having to ask his wife first. She was thrust into the headlines when on November 15, 1995, at the Prime Minister’s official residence at 24 Sussex Dr., Ottawa,  She was laying awake and while her husband slept she interrupted an armed intruder by shutting the bedroom door in his face!  She was appointed as the first chancellor of the bilingual institution, Laurentian University, in 2010.She presided over convocation ceremonies, conferred degrees, advised the president and help promote the University. Sources: Ottawa Women; milestones and mentors Online (accessed July 20120; Biography of Aline Chrètien by Lawrence Martin. (accessed 2012).( 2021)

Patricia Claxton


Born 1929, Kingston, Ontario. Most of her early childhood was spent in India. When she returned to Canada she settled in Montreal, Quebec and earned her B.A. from McGill University. She continued her studies at Université de Montreal earning a M.A. in translation. She remained at the Université for 8 years after graduation as a teacher. She is the founder and President of the Literary Translators Association of Canada. In 1987 she won the Governor’s General Award for translation for her translation from French to English of Gabrielle Roy’s La Detress et l’enchantment = Enchantment and Sorrow.  In 199 she won her second Award by translating the Biography of Gabrielle Roy. She has translated additional well respected authors including works by former Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

Martha Clay -Ackerman  3545

Ship Bride

Born September 27, 1837, Leicestershire, England. Died December 15, 1938, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Martha arrived with her sisters Martha and Fanny on the 'bride ship' Robert Lowe in early January 1863. The girls were unemployed mill-workers from the English midlands who were adventurous and looking for a better life in the far reaches of the British Empire. On May 14, 1863 Martha married Joseph Akerman (1837-1919) who had given up the hard labour of the gold fields to establish a market garden near the site of the Legislative buildings in Victoria. The couple honeymooned on Salt Spring Island and became the first white family to settle permanently on the island. The couple had eight children. Sources: Peter Johnson , Voyages of Hope; The saga of the Bride ships. (accessed 2021); Find a grave Canada (accessed 2021)

Edith Clayton 4335

Basket Maker

née Drummond. Born September 6, 1920, Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia. Died October 8, 1989, East Preston, Nova Scotia. Edith was descendant of Black Loyalists who arrived in Nova Scotia in Nova Scotia after the War of 1812. She learned basket weaving techniques from her mother. The weaving technique had been passed down some six generations originated in Africa. She used natural dyes from the Mi'kmaq women of Nova Scotia. Some of her works were exhibited at Expo 86, Vancouver, British Columbia. She sold her baskets as craft fairs across the country wan willing taught classed in her art. She would appear in the film, Black Mother, Black Daughter, by Sylvia Hamilton. Her own three daughters continue the family tradition. (2023)

Maria Cobham


née Lindsay. Born Plymouth, England.  In 1740 she was a pirate with a hideout on the west coast of Newfoundland. She preyed mostly on French ships in the Gulf of St Lawrence.. She would kill all witnesses and scuttle the ships she attacked. The ships would be recorded as lost at sea. Her husband Eric supposedly wrote a confessional autobiography in France on his deathbed in 1780. The document has never been found. A book was published on the stories of the pirate husband and wife but their distraught children destroyed all copies of the publication. Philip Grosse in is 1924 publication The Pirates Who’s Who included the story of this pirate team saying they met in the seaport of Plymouth, England. Nor record of a marriage can be found but they were life partners. Their ship was a 65 foot long sloop of shallow draft of 8 feet which allowed top speed and entry to shallow waters to escape pursuing ships. David E. Jones wrote Warrior Woman in 1997 describing a Pirate queen doing her own share of killing. After two decades at sea the couple retire to France as wealthy landowners and had three children. An alcoholic who was considered crazy she disappeared one day and her body was found at the base of a sea cliff. In 2009 Dan Colin included the couple in his work Pirates of the Atlantic: Robbery, Murder, and Mayhem of the Canadian East Coast. Source: Canada’s Pirate Queen. Canada’s History Online.

Isabella Binney Cogswell  3819


Born July 6, 1819, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Died December 6, 1874, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Isabella's father was an attorney and Member of the legislative assembly. She seems to have gained her fathers acute business instincts and after his death she carried on numerous property transactions in the city of Halifax which would allow her to pursue her philanthropic works. After the death of her father she devoted her life to bettering life of the poor. During the 1850's she assisted at Sunday services at the Ragged School for pauper children.  In the next decade she organized a ladies' committee to help the school and in 1863 the Halifax Protestant Industrial School  became a home to help poor boys.  She helped with the religious instruction at the school and was known to entertain the teachers and students at her home. She also funded the St. Paul's Alms House of Industry for Girls providing financial support to carry on the work.  She also participated in the establishment and endowed a home for the aged. She was an active participant with St. Paul's Parochial District Visiting Society and the Halifax branch of the Colonial Church Society. She served as the first president of the Women's Christian Association. Source: D C B (2022))

Mercy Anne / Ann Coles


Born February 1, 1838, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Died February 11, 1921, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Not much is known about mercy. She was one of 12 children of George Coles (1810-1875) and Mercy (née Haines) Coles of P.E. I. Mercy would accompany her parents in 1864 to the events leading up to Canadian Confederation. They traveled to Quebec City, Montreal, and on to Niagara Falls. It is known from comments in documents from Sir John A. Macdonald Canada’s 1st Prime Minister and a political power figure in the years building up to Confederation that the Coles’ daughters were attractive, well educated, and well informed. On his part, at this time he was a widower who was considered quite eligible to unattached women. At 26 years of age in 1864 when the Quebec Conference to consider Canadian Confederation took place, Mercy would have been one of the older unattached women. She was an ardent diarist and her legacy is that she has left behind the scene details which serve to enliven the rather dry political happenings of the day. There were numerous soirees, balls and other social events that were used to court the visiting politicians to join Canada but were also used by the unattached ladies, such as Mercy, to entice courting from the eligible single politicians. Details such as those of the ball of October 14, 1864, hosted by Governor General Lord Monck in the Parliament Buildings were recorded by Mercy with particular attention paid to these unattached gentlemen. Alas Marcy did not gain a suitor for the described events  but remained single living out her life in Charlottetown. Sources: Anne McDonald, Mercy Coles of PEI in Canada’s History August-September 2014 ; Ancestry Canada (accessed June 2015)

Chloe Cooley


Very little is known about Chloe Cooley, but her importance to Black history in Canada and to the abolitionist movement is great. On March 14, 1793, Chloe's owner, William Vrooman, sold Chloe to another man who lived on the American side of the Niagara River. Chloe did not want to be sold. She resisted the sale. Peter Martin and William Grisley saw Chloe being sold, and her struggle to stay in Upper Canada. They reported this incident to the Executive Council of Upper Canada. Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe (1752-1806) was angered by this sale. Simcoe did not support slavery. This incident led Simcoe to have a new law passed on July 9, 1793, that prevented anyone buying a slave and bringing them into Upper Canada. While the new law did not abolish slavery, and settlers could still bring up slaves that they already owned, this was the first legal effort to end slavery in Upper Canada. Source: Slavery in Canada. Online

Marie-Josephite Corriveau


Born Saint-Vallier, Quebec May 14, 1733. Died on the gallows April 18(?) 1763. She has become simply known as La Corriveau.  After two trials she was condemned to death for murdering her second husband Louis Dodier in January 1763. She was, as the law provided, hung and her body exposed in chains. Her body was exposed for about a month in an iron cage, The cage would be found in a graveyard in 1850. Writings over the years drew on the story as a base.  These stories never quite separated facts and fiction. Legends grew and are still recounted as fantastic tales. 

Frances Carpenter Curtis-Boucherat

Ship Bride    3542

Born February 2, 1817, Bath, England.  Died March 16, 1888, Victoria, British Columbia. Frances, a widow, left her tow sons in England and arrived in British Columbia in September 17, 1862 on the Bride Ship S.S. Tynemouth. The long arduous voyage from England saw the women treated like cargo confined to the bottom level of the ship with no windows, no fresh water, no fresh food, no sanitation. The Tynemouth, it turns out, was the biggest of four bride ships. It was part of a scheme to ship the urban poor of London to what was considered one of the remotest parts of the British Empire. This trip was sponsored by the Columbia Mission Society through the Anglican Church. Frances travelled with her young daughter Isabel Julia Curtis-Askew (1850-1905). Frances married Jules John Boucherat (1819-1898). Financial strain forced the couple to move in with from Chemaimus, British Columbia to live with her now widowed daughter Isabel and her eight children in Victoria, British Columbia. Source Find a Grave Canada (accessed 2021)

Isabel Julia Curtis-Askew

Ship Bride    3543

Born September 17, 1849, London, England. Died October 12, 1905, Victoria, British Columbia. Isabel (1817-1888) arrived with her mother as escort in British Columbia on the Bride Ship S S Tynemouth on September 17, 1862. The Tynemouth was the biggest of four such ships to arrive in British Columbia. It was part of a scheme to ship the urban poor of London, England to what was considered on of the remotest parts of the British Empire, where the women would become brides to miners in the gold fields and help increase the population. The trip was sponsored by the Columbia Missionary Society through the Anglican church. On September 25, 1868 she married Thomas George Askew (1838-1880), a wealthy sawmill owner, and the couple had eight children. Their daughter Julia Askew (1871-1942) was the first white child born in Chemaimus, British Columbia. After the death of her husband Isabel decided to run the mill herself, a bold move for the era. She also applied for a liquor license and hoping to turn part of the family home into a pub. Instead she opened a small store that accommodated the local Post Office. After a five year struggle she she had enough money to move her family, including her mother and step father, to Victoria. After the death of her mother her stepfather attempted to win her affection and when rejected turned his attention to the daughter Julia who evidently detested the man. He eventual moved to California, U.S.A. (2021)

Lizzie Cyr?

Born 1888? , Canada. She was described as a half-Breed. One legal form lists her as a wife so she may have been married. Her alias was Waters. Her recorded narrative begins on May 17, 1917. She was broke, without a place to sleep and ended up spending a few nights in the home of John James Ryan who subsequently, had her arrested and charged with vagrancy. At her trial the next day her defense lawyer, John McKinley Cameron (1879-1943), appealed her conviction on the grounds that the female magistrate, Alice Jamieson, who made the ruling, did not have the legal authority to act as a judge because, as a woman, she was not a person under the British North America Act. The Alberta Court of Appeal struck down the appeal in November 1917, a decision later overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Persons Case eventually came before the British Privy Council, which asserted October 18, 1929, that women were in fact persons under constitutional law.

Helen Mary Creighton


Born September 5, 1899, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Died 1989. She studied music at McGill University in Montreal in 1915 and attended the Halifax Ladies College in 1916. During WW1 she worked as a military chauffeur. After the war she worked as a journalist and a children’s radio show host in Halifax and then took off on an adventure to teach in Mexico. In 1928 she became interested in stories and songs of the early days. By 1940 she was working in the National Museum in Ottawa as a recognized folklorist. During her career she would collect and in many cases record the folktales, songs and stories of the Canadian Maritimes leaving a legacy of some 4000 records. She would publish  several books of the stories and songs that she had located. In 1976 she became a member of the Order of Canada.

Sonia ‘Toni’ Esmée Florence d’Artois   

World War ll Spy

née Butt. Born May 14, 1924, East Church, Kent, England. Died December 21, 2014, Pointe-Claire, Quebec. As a youngster her parents divorced and she spent six months a year with her mother in the south of France where she was a feisty tomboy. In 1943 she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in Canada and became part of Special Operations Executive (S O E). Women were sought to be spies as they were less likely to be suspect. In April 1944 she married a Canadian military officer, Gary d’Artois (d 1949) from the S O E.  On May 28, 1944 she landed in France to work as a courier for undercover agents working in LeMans. She would be withdrawn a few months later. Toni worked under the name Suzanne Bonvie of a Parisian fashion company. Her code name was ‘Blanche’. On one occasion she bicycled several hundred kilometers through dozens of German roadblocks attempting to obtain a radio of S O E communications. After the fall of LeMans on August 8, 1944 to allies she and her partner crisscrossed lines to scout German defenses. She was described in reports as ‘utterly fearless’. By December 1944 she and her husband sailed for Canada. He was posted several times across the country and internationally with this Royal 22nd Regiment (The Van Doos). The couple eventually settled in Montreal and Toni worked in retail fashions and volunteered at the local veteran’s hospital. Toni was inducted into the order of the British Empire for her war efforts. In 2000 she worked on a BBC documentary on women in the S O E during the war and as a surprise was reunited with her comrades with whom she had served. Source: David Stafford, Secret Agent Was ‘Utterly Fearless’. Globe and Mail January 10, 2015. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon. (2021)

Agnes Deans Cameron


Born December 20, 1863, Victoria, British Columbia. Died May 14, 1912. (sometimes recorded death May 13, 1912) A teacher, she was the first high school teacher and the first woman principal in the Vancouver, British Columbia Area in 1994. This educator was also a real life adventurer who would successfully write about her explorations. In 1906 she was an elected school trustee in her home in Victoria, British Columbia. She was dismissed from her teaching position when she allowed a student to use a ruler in an art exam! In 1908 she made a 10,000 mile journey from Chicago to the Arctic Ocean including traveling the famed Mackenzie River. In 1909 she published her record of her experiences in "the New North" She would continue to write articles and toured in a lecture circuit throughout North America with accounts of her incredible northern journey. Read about her adventures: The New North: an account of a woman’s 1908 journey through Canada and the arctic. By Agnes Deans Cameron. Source: The History of Metropolitan Vancouver (accessed June 2009)

Marion Elizabeth de Chastelain 4068

Secret Agent

née Walsh. Born May 24, 1910, Freehold, New Jersey, U.S.A. Died January 2000, Canmore, Alberta. Marian attended schools in Switzerland and when she was 21 she graduated in law from the Sorbonne in Paris, France. In the early 1930's she married Alfred Gardyne de Chastelain and the couple had two children.  with the outbrak of the second world war she took her children to the safety of England and returned to her husband in Romania. The following year she took the children to be with her family in New York State, U.S.A. Here she was recruited to work for Sir William Stephenson,(1897-1989) code Name INTREPID" working as a transriptionist for Secret Intelligence Service which would become the famous  MI6. (think James Bond). By 1943 she and her children were back in England where she continued to work for MI6. After the war the family settled in Canada where she worked for Westbourne International Industries as executive assistant to the president. She retired in her 70's and lived with her daughter in Canmore, Alberta. A documentary film has been produced by History Television entitled,  Family Secrets: Marion de Chastelain. (2022)

Exilda Paquette Desjardins  4183

Died December 18, 1942, Ottawa, Ontario. Exilda was part of the crowd watching the Canadian Parliament Building fire in Ottawa February 3, 1916. The next day she learned that her husband Alphonce Desjardins (1861-1916), a pipe fitter, had died in the fire she had watched. She learned of her husband's death from the newspapers. Her husband's nephew, also named Alphonce Desjardins, a police officer, had also died in the fire. (2022)

Lisa De Wild

Born 1956, Winnipeg, Manitoba. When Lisa was just ten her family relocated to Montreal, Quebec, where she became fluent in both French and English. She attended McGill University for her Bachelor of Arts degree and went on to McGill Law School. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada. She began her career in legal services with the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (C R T C) and went on to the private sector becoming president and C E O of Astral Television Networks. In 2005 she was appointed Chief Executive Officer (C E O) of TV Ontario. She has served numerous charities including being on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Film Festival. In 2009 she was Canada’s Most Powerful Women awarded by the Women’s Executive. In 2012 she was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2015 she became a member of the Order of Canada.

Edna May Diefenbaker

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Bower. Born November 30, 1899*,  Wawanesa, Manitoba. Died February 7, 1951. Edna was the daughter of Chauncy and Mary Brower. She met her future husband while she was still in school.  June 29, 1929 she married John George Diefenbaker (1895-1979) the future 13th Prime Minister of Canada. The couple married in Toronto.  When she married she gave up her teaching career to devote herself to politics and support her husbands career. She was a hard working campaigner for her husband, arriving at venues prior to him to assure everything was set up. She was known to have worked on his speeches and to have acted as his chauffeur. Once established in Ottawa when John became an elected Member of Parliament she worked with the Parliamentary press gallery to assure information was correct before it was published. She was a frequent visitor to the Parliamentary public gallery. She was considered instrumental in laying the foundation much of her husbands early  political success. Sources: Memorable Manitobans Profile by Gordon Goldsborough.  Online (accessed December 2011) Suggested reading: The Other Mrs. Diefenbaker by Simma Holt, 1982, Doubleday Canada; More Than a Rose by Heather Robertson. (1991)  * Some sources report her birth date as 1901.

Olive Evangeline Diefenbaker

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Freeman. Born April 14,1902, Roland, Manitoba. Died December 22, 1976, Ottawa, Ontario. As a youth she met a young John Diefenbaker. Her family moved a lot and although he wrote to her the letter was delayed. She earned her BA from Brandon College in 1923 and became a high school teacher. She married a lawyer,  Harry Palmer in 1933 and the couple had one daughter, Carolyn born in 1934. When she became a widow she returned to teaching. When in Toronto she was spotted by widower John Diefenbaker and the two were married two weeks later on  December 8,1953. John George Diefenbaker (1895-1979),a Saskatchewan politician who became Prime Minister of Canada. Olive was an ardent and active supporter of her husband’s political career. She often entertained the press and even cooked a turkey dinner for them at one time.  In 1979 her remains were taken to Saskatoon to be reburied with her husband. Olive Diefenbaker Drive in Price Albert, Saskatchewan was named in her honour. Source: “Both Diefenbaker wives vital to husband’s career.”, Star-Phoenix, August 23, 1979 Copy provided by Archives, University of Saskatchewan.

Annette, Emilie, Yvonne, Cécile, and Marie Dionne

Annette (1934-  ), Emilie (1934-1954), Yvonne (1934-2001), Cécile (1934-   ), and Marie (1934-1970) Dionne all share the same birthday May 28, 1934 in Corbeil, Ontario. They were the only known-surviving quintuplets in the world at the time of their birth. While they were young they were wards of the provincial government of Ontario and their life in their nursery had special viewing areas for the public who flocked to see these little miracles. Most of their youth they were exploited. They were even taken to Hollywood where they would do commercials for products. In 1965 the remaining four sisters published their story in the book We Were Five. Three of the sisters would marry but their marriages did not survive and they returned to living with one another in Montreal.

Bridget Donnelly  3473

Born May 1858, Temporary, Ireland. Died February 4, 1880, Lucan, Ontario. Bridget had the misfortune of being the niece of James and Johanna Donnelly. The family was known in Canadian legend as the Black Donnelly's. For 33 yeas the family was in feud with the town of Lucan. In truth the feud may have had its roots in Ireland. The family was actually considered bad luck. On February 4, 1880 their homestead was burned to the ground and four family members died including Bridget. The Donnelly farm belonged to the Canada Company and a Patrick Farrell bought the land from the company. James Donnelly killer Patrick Farrell and was sentenced to time in Kingston Penitentiary. The Donnelly's were considered 'squatters'. The courts recognized the Donnelly family improvements to the land and split the lot giving Donnelly only 50 acres. A feud ensued. In 1964 the family tombstone was replaced leaving out the word 'Murdered'.

Jane 'Jennie / Jenny' Donnelly - Curry / Currie          3474

Born 1858, Lucan, Ontario. Died 1916. Jennie was the only girl of the eight Donnelly children. She was born when her father James Donnelly (1816-1880) was serving time in Kingston Penitentiary for the killing of Patrick Farrell with whom he had had a land dispute. She married James Curry/Currie and the couple settled in Glencoe, Ontario. For 33 yeas the family was in feud with the town of Lucan. In truth the feud may have had its roots in Ireland. The family was actually considered bad luck. She was not with her family on February 4, 1880 when her parent's home was burned to the ground and four family members perished in the fire. (2022)

Johannah Judy / Judith / Julia Donnelly          3472

née McGee. Born September 22, 1823, Temporary, Ireland. Died February 4, 1880, Lucan, Biddulph, Ontario. In 1840 Johannah married James Donnelly (1816-1880) and the couple raised 8 children. The family immigrated in 1845/1846 settling in Biddulph Township, near London, Ontario. Johannah encouraged a school be built on the family property to ensure her children and others would gain an education. A number of the famous 'Black Donnelly's' of Canadian legend. For 33 yeas the family was in feud with the town of Lucan. In truth the feud may have had its roots in Ireland. The family was actually considered bad luck. On February 4, 1880 their homestead was burned to the ground and four family members died including Johanna. The Donnelly farm belonged to the Canada Company and a Patrick Farrell bought the land from the company. The Donnelly's were considered 'squatters'. The courts recognized the Donnelly family improvements to the land and split the lot giving Donnelly only 50 acres. A feud ensued. James Donnelly was sent to Kingston Penitentiary for the killing of Patrick Farrell.  In 1964 the family tombstone was replaced leaving out the word 'Murdered'.

Winnifred Blair Drummie

Miss Canada

née Blair. Born 1903,  Saint John, New Brunswick. Died May 23, 1983. She was working as a stenographer when she was encouraged to enter a contest in Saint John searching for a representative young woman for a proposed pageant at the Winter Carnival in Montreal. The contestants skated before the judges and partied on the evening of the event itself. On February 10, 1923 the first Miss Canada, Winnifred Blair, was announced. The new Miss Canada  followed a round of social engagements at hospitals, schools, plays, teas and she did drop pucks at hockey games. On March 8, 1923 she attended the opening of the New Brunswick Legislature and became the first woman allowed to sit on the 'floor' of a Canadian Parliament. She also tried a screen test for the movies in New York City, but she decided that it was not for her. With little financial support for attending special events she soon searched out a job as stenographer at the Power Commission at the City of Saint John. She continued to work until she married a young lawyer, Harold Drummie  in 1930. She became a housewife and soon mother of two sons. (2020)

Jessica Donalda Bell Dunlap

Philanthropist & Cattle Breeder

Born March 6, 1867. Died July 31, 1946, Toronto, Ontario. Jessica married a young lawyer and mining entrepreneur, David Alexander Dunlap (1862-1924). After the death of her husband she continued to run Don-Alda Farms where she developed the best herds of Guernsey cattle in North America. Also after the death of her husband she would donate funds to the University or Toronto for land and building of an observatory to be named in memory of her husband. The Observatory was opened in the spring of 1935 with the world's second largest telescope at this time. Jessica served as a director on the Board of the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. From 1940 until her death she was the Honorary President of the Board. During World War ll she served as chair of the War Services Committee of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). In 1963 she was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. (2020)

Lorrie Alfreda Dunnington -Grubb

Town Planner/Gardner

Born England 1877 Died January 17,1945. She could perhaps be called a child of the British Empire as she grew up in India, South Africa and Australia. She studied garden design at Swanley Horticultural College in England and applied her trade throughout the Empire. After her marriage  she and her husband emigrated to Canada in 1911. The two would work as individuals and at times as partners designing public gardens, town planning and suburban design in the Toronto area. She had a talent for encouraging other artists, such as sculptors, to include their works in public areas. She lectured at the University of Toronto on town planning and housing and she was a prolific writer on the subject of garden design. She is considered a true and extremely successful pioneer of the professional field of landscape architecture.

Nicole Dunsdon

Last Miss Canada

Born 1971, British Columbia. On October 28 1991 she was crowned Miss Canada and since the pageant was cancelled a few months later she is considered the last Miss Canada. She participated in the Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, Thailand, no doubt as part of her obligation to being Miss Canada. She then turned her efforts to her education earning a B.A. at the University of Alberta in 1994 and followed this with a Masters Degree in journalism. She enjoys her profession. She made the news headlines again in 2007 when she shaved her head to raise funds for Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta.

Diane Dupuy

Famous People Players

Born 1948, Hamilton, Ontario. As a youth she herself was a high schools drop out who has been labeled as a "slow learner" in 1974 she founded the Famous People Players, a professional black light theatre company that combines music with the size characters that pay tribute to the music and artistry of Famous people. The actors are developmentally challenged youth. The group was discovered by the famous entertainer Liberache who took them to Las Vegas to perform. They have been performing around the world ever since. Diane's artistic and humanitarian works have earned her numerous awards including several honorary degrees from universities, the 1981 Woman of the Year from the B'Nai B'rith Women, the Vanier Award and and appointment to the Order of Canada in 1982.Married and a mother of two daughters she is also the first Canadian to receive the Library of Congress Award. She has written to books, Throw your heart over the fence and Dare to dream: the story of the Famous People Players. (1988)

Flora Eaton

Socialite & Philanthropist

née McCrea. Born 1879*, Omemee, Ontario. Died July 9, 1970. As a young woman she moved to Toronto where she became a nurse at a private hospital, Rotherham House. It was here that she met a young patient John Craig Eaton (1876-1922) the son of entrepreneur Timothy Eaton (1834-1907) The couple married and they had four sons, one daughter and an adopted daughter. In 1915 she became Lady Eaton when her husband was knighted. She would serve 21 years as a director on the Board at Eaton’s department stores where she took varied interest in the business and retiring from the position in 1943. In 1944 she turned her mansion in King Township, Eaton Hall, to the Royal Canadian Navy to use as a convalescent home for 75 servicemen. She was a life member of the Woman’s Hospital Aid Association, Dame of Grace for the St John Ambulance, and served as Joint Master of the Toronto and North York Hunt. She worked with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and the Canadian National Committee for Mental Hygiene and was an active member of the Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. She also was Vice-president of the Canadian Red Cross and president of the United welfare Chest. The Eaton family were responsible for constructing several prominent building in Omemee and at one time proposed that the town be renamed Eatonville but the town fathers refused. There is however a Lady Eaton Elementary School in the town. The family was also generous to Trent University in Peterborough and Lady Eaton College was named in her honour. Source: Rod McQueen. The Eaton’s: the Rise and Fall of Canada’s Royal Family. (Toronto: Stoddart, 1998)  * Birth date sometimes reported as 1880

Madge Edgar

Lady Lynn Bagnall

Born 1898, Sterling, Scotland. Died Victoria, British Columbia 1984. Her family emigrated to Canada in 1913 and settled in Edmonton, Alberta. After her schooling she worked as a secretary. By 1920 she had ventured to Chicago and New York, expanding her career opportunities even trying modeling and acting. When her mother died in 1923 she returned to Western Canada. Putting her Chicago court experience to good use, she worked with a lawyer and politician Newton Rowell. Her experiences included working for the development of the United Church of Canada, the Protocol for the Pacific settlement of International Disputes (Geneva Protocol), with the League of Nations established Federal External Affairs Department, the great distillery scandal of 1925 and the development of the Canadian Communication Service, forerunner of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC). She also worked with Rowell when he was working the famous Person’s Case. In 1930 she married Major Alan “Mike” Turnbull who sadly died in 1933. In 1934 she remarried John Bagnall (1888-1954) who called her Lynn. John was knighted for services to his country in 1936. The couple lived and worked in Singapore and then South Africa and by 1947 they were exploring businesses in New Zealand, Australia. While living in Brazil she learned Spanish and while in France she mastered French. After John’s death she returned to Canada to be with her family. Source: Lady Lynn Bagnall (Madge Edgar) by Margaret Edgar Benetz accessed June 2009.

Lucy Faris


Born 1885, Aylmer., Quebec. Died 1924, Aylmer, Quebec. It seems that from the time she learned to read it gave her great enjoyment. She had a dream of creating an educational and cultural facility for the good residents of Aylmer.  Upon her death in 1924 she bequeathed the assets of a fund to open a library. She also donated her personal collection of 220 books, periodicals, games, works of art and music recordings. Here bequest sat the establishment of the first library in the town of Aylmer in 1938. In the spring of 2004 the town named their new library in her honour and is situated in the Old Aylmer neighbourhood of Gatineau, Quebec. Source: Notable Women of Gatineau Valley... Online (accessed 2022)

Sheila Leah Fischman


Born December 1, 1937, Moose Jaw , Saskatchewan. Her family relocated to Ontario where she attended the University of Toronto where she earned a Master’s degree. She has worked as an editor for the Montreal Star and a columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Montreal Gazette. She is also a broadcaster for CBC Radio. She is a founding member of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and founding co-editor of Ellipse: Oeuvres et traduction/writers in Translation. She has translated over 150 Quebec novels for the enjoyment of England language readers. Since 1987 she has received 14 nominations for the Governor Generals Award for Translation, receiving the Award in 1988. In 1974 and again in 1984 she won the Canada Council Prize for Translation. In 1989 and again in 1990 she earned the Felix-Antoine Savard Award from the Translation Center at Columbia University, New York City, U.S.A. In 2000, she was invested into the Order of Canada and, in 2008, made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. She won the 2008 Molson Prize for the Arts. (2019)

Rose Blanche Fleury

Indigenous Genealogist

née Gariepy. Born November 26, 1927, MacDowall, Saskatchewan. Died January 6, 2020, Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. Rose grew up on a homestead just north of Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. She learned reading and writing at school but considered of equal value the education received at home. She listened to her grandmothers stories
of the peoples and their travels, she became fluent in Cree and Michif-French and learned to respect the family history. She ran a trap line as a teenager before leaving home at 17. When she was 21 she married Ernest Fleury. A dedicated keeper of journals of daily life she mourned the loss of her early journals in a fire in 1960. In 1967 while confined to a wheel chair recovering from broken bones she used her time to learn about and record the family genealogy. As time passed she expanded her research to the other Métis families of the area. In 2010 she was continuing in her full time position as a resource person and Elder at the Batoche National Historic Site. She was inducted into the Silver Order of Gabriel Dumont and was proud to have been a torch Bearer in Duck Lake for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012; Obituary online (accessed 2022) 

Maud Foley 4030

Halifax Streetcar Conductor

World War l (1914-1918) caused a shortage of male labour. Maude and 11 other women were hired as conductors to operate the Halifax electric trams. They earned a good wage of 45 cents an hour and worked eight hour days. Their winter uniform included trousers and boots which allowed them to do the physical work of not only collecting fares but also re-attaching the trolley to the electric power lines. After the war when the men returned from fighting the women were no longer needed and were let go from their positions. Source: The Canadian Woman's Calendar Herstory 2004. (2022) 

Ethel Flora Fortune- Gordon

Titanic Survivor

née Fortune. Born September 23, 1883, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died March 21, 1961, Toronto, Ontario. Ethel went on a European tour with four of her siblings and her parents Mary and Mark Fortune Mark (!847-1912). The family arrived in London, England in April 1912 to board the S.S. Titanic on the final leg of their voyage back to Canada. Ethel and, her mother Mary and her two sisters, Alice Elizabeth Fortune and Mabel Helen Fortune, were placed in lifeboat number 10 when the Titanic collided with an iceberg in the north Atlantic . They were picked up by the ship the Carpathia hours after the ship sank with her father Mark and brother Charlie on board. The women returned to their newly built home in Winnipeg. In 1913 Ethel married Crawford Gordon (1883-1957) to whom she had been engaged prior to leaving on the fatal family trip to Europe. Ethel and her husband lived in Jamaica and then London, England where Crawford was manager of the Canadian Bank of Commerce. The couple raised two sons. They would eventually return to Canada and settle in Toronto. Ethel was an active home front worker with the troops during World War ll. All her life she was haunted by the Titanic disaster. (2020)

Mary Fortune

Titanic Survivor

née McDougal. Born May 12, 1851, Chinguacousy Township, Peel County, Canada West. Died March 8, 1929, Toronto, Ontario. Shortly after mary was born the family relocated to Portage L Prairie, Manitoba. Mary married real estate tycoon Mark Fortune (1847-1912) . The couple settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba and raised a family of 6 children. In 1991 Mark took four of his children an a family tour of Europe. They arrived in London, England in April 1912 to board the S.S. Titanic to return home to Canada. Mark and his 19 year old son, Charlie, would die in the sinking of the Titanic. Mary and her three daughters Alice Elizabeth, Ethel Flora and Mabel Helen were placed in lifeboat ten which was later picked up by the Carpathia. Returning to the new family home in Winnipeg the women lived quiet lives. In later years Mary relocated to Toronto. In 2010 a plaque was unveiled at Winnipeg City Hall dedicated to those who went down with the Titanic. The Fortune Block in the business area of Winnipeg was saved from demolition and restored by 2019.

Rose Fortune

Law Enforcement

Born Virginia, U.S.A. 1774, Died February 20, 1864. The daughter of a loyalist slave family they all immigrated to Nova Scotia in the 1780's. To ear money she worked as a baggage carrier, using a wheelbarrow to move luggage from the docks. Soon she expanded her business and covered the entire town and added a "wake Up' service so that clients would not miss their next ship. Eventually she appointed herself as a police officer in the town of Annapolis Royal. She imposed and enforced curfews and kept the wharves under control. She was the first woman to be a police officer in Canada. Today her descendants work in the trucking and hauling business.

Veronica Foster-Gurerrette        3470

Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl

Born January 2, 1922, Montreal, Quebec. Died May 4, 2000, Toronto, Ontario. Veronica moved with her mother, brothers, and sisters to the Christy Pits area of Toronto when she was a teenager but she remained in touch with her family in Montreal. Veronica was one of 75,000 Canadian women who worked on the home front during World War 11. She was a munitions worker during the second world war working at the John Inglis Co. Ltd factory that manufactured Bren light machine guns in Toronto. Veronica was chosen to appear in a series of propaganda posters of her working for the war effort. Veronica was promoted as 'Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl' and became a sensation in Canada.  Veronica became Canada's version of the famous American poster of 'Rosie the Riveter' which appeared a few months after the Canadian posters with 'Ronnie'. She met and on July 6, 1945 she married George Guerrette. The couple raised five children together. After the war she worked as a model and had a successful career as a singer with Mart Kenney and His Western Gentlemen.  April 29, 2020 Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp featuring Veronica Foster for the 75th anniversary of V E Day May 8, 1945. Suggestion submitted by Veronica's daughter, Laura Guerrette

Jean Frances

Doll Collector


née Clark. Born May 16, 1915. Died October 26, 2011, Scarborough, Ontario (Toronto). After graduating from high school Jean trained in Peterborough, Ontario to become a nurse. In 1934 she married for the 1st time and became mother to eight children. In 1964 she married John Frances. Jean opened the Jean Frances Doll Hospital and the the Loves of Yesterday Museum in their home. She would published five books on Canadian Doll Collecting from 1978 through 1998  and was known as Canada's Doll Lady.  She was a member ad founder of several doll organizations including the Toronto Trillium Doll Club. She maintained a membership with the International Doll Society and the United Federation of Doll Clubs. A baby doll was made from a six month old baby photograph of Jean by doll artist Yvonne Richardson as a limited edition of 25 dolls. (2020)

Catherine Fraser 4000d

née MacDonnell. Born August 19, 1790, Matilda, Canadian Colony (now Ontario). Died August 19, 1862, St. Andrews West, Canada West. (now Ontario) On June 7, 1820 she married Simon Fraser (1776-1862) a well known fur trader with the North West Company and explorer of western Canada. Perhaps it may be said that she calmed the wandering Simon who became a farmer and mill owner settling in St. Andrews in what is now Ontario. They had nine children. The couple died within a day of each other and were buried in a single grave in St. Andrew's West, Ontario. In 1921 the Hudson Bay Company placed a marker with an inscription on the grave extolling the adventured of the explorer with no mention of his wife having been buried with him. (2022)

Verna Isabel Margaret Freeman

Music Teacher

née Carrathers. Born January 4 1923. Died March 2, 2002, Winnipeg Manitoba. Verna attended Normal School (teacher’s college) in Gimili, Manitoba and from 1944-1947 she attended United College (Now University of Winnipeg) majoring in Music. A lifelong learner she would return to university to ear her masters degree in Educational Psychology at the age of 65. She would teach school, music and piano. On May 23, 1947 she married John Freeman and they would have three children. She was an active leader in Marriage Encounter dealing with health relationships between marriage partners. She also was a clown and palliative care worker. Sources: Lois M. Wilson, I want To Be in That Number: Cool Saints I Have Known (Self published, 2014) ; Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press March 30, 2002.

Madeleine Alberta Fritz


Born November 3, 1896. Died  August 20, 1990. was a Canadian paleontologist. She was a professor at the University of Toronto where she taught vertebrate studies in the Department of Geology. Her writing on the fossil Bryozoa and her research on the stratigraphy of Toronto and the surrounding areas were major contributions to the geological field. As one of the pioneering researchers of the Paleozoic fossil Bryozoa, a type of sea creature that bond together to build joint skeletons composed of tiny chambered, she later became known a the Great-grandmother of Paleozoic Bryozoa. Madeleine worked at the Royal Ontario Museum as an associate director from 1936 to 1955, and then she became the Invertebrate Paleontology Curator from 1955to 1957.She retired from the University or Toronto in 1967. She belonged to several professional associations as well as the Canadian Confederation of University Women and the International Federation of University Women.

Linda Gaboriau


née Johnson. Born Boston, Massacheutts, U.S.A. Linda relocated to Montreal, Quebec in 1963 and studied for the B.A. and Master's at McGill University. While still a student she married . The marriage did not last long but Linda kept her  married surname as her professional pen name. She worked as a freelance journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Radio Canada and the Montreal Gazette newspaper. Linda married a second time to Nick Auf der Maur and the couple had one son. She has another son with her life partner Yves de Fontenay. She took an interest in theatre and began translating into English plays and novels originally presented in French. She has earned three Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Awards and in 1991 she won the Dora Moore Award Moore Award for Outstanding New Play. She also holds two Governor General's Awards for French to English translations in 1996 and again in 2010. In 2014 she earned the Lambda Literary Award for Drama. In 2015 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. (2020)

Helen Gardiner


née McMinn. Born July 18, 1938, Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Died July 22, 2008 Carleton East Ontario. She attended York University, Toronto as a mature student. In 1979 she studied in London, England. Helen married a prominent Toronto businessman, George R. Gardiner. Helen and George enjoyed a mutual hobby of collecting distinct ceramic art from around the world. In 1981 the Ontario government passes bill 183 to establish the George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art as an independent , public Institution which was opened in 1984 at the University of Toronto. In 2007 Helen was inducted into the Order of Canada.  (2017)

Rachel Goldbloom


Born circa 1865, New York, U.S.A. Died April 1931. Rachel married William Goldbloom in 1882 and the young couple moved from New York to Fort Garry. Nell, their daughter, was the first Jewish girl born in Winnipeg. In the mid-1900s, they moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. Their home at 540 Burrard became the centre of Jewish community life, with almost every Jewish organization of that time said to have started there. The Hadassah's second Vancouver chapter was named in Rachel’s honour during her lifetime. Sources: Pioneers, Peddlers, and Prayer Shawls by Cyril E. Leonoff.; Vancouver Hall of Fame online accessed January 2013.

Anne Golden


Born 1941, Toronto, Ontario. Anne earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in 1962. She continued he studies earning her Master's degree at Columbia University, New York City, U.S.A. and Ph.D. in American History from the University of Toronto. In the1970's married Ronald Golden and the couple raised two children together. In 1982 joined the Greater Toronto United Way Campaign and served as President from 1987 to 2001. She chaired the Greater Toronto Area Task force for Ontario in 1996 and in 1998 she was appointed chair of the Toronto Homelessness Action Task Force. Leaving her position she began working as President and C E O of the Conference Board of Canada. April 2012 she became Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Special Advisor at Ryerson University, Toronto. She also has taught at Newark College of Engineering, and York University in Toronto. In 2003 she was made a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2013 she was made a Member of the Order of Ontario.

Vera Good

Producer of TV Programmes

Born November 13, 1915, Hawkesville, Ontario. Died March 20, 2018. Vera came from a Mennonite family that had to be convinced to be more progressive and send their children to post high school education. Vera worked at Kaufmann Rubber while she completed private studies up to grade 12. She took grade 13 at the Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate for her grade 13. With a $100.00 scholarship she attended Stratford Teachers' College. Her first teaching job was in a one room school in Breslau, Ontario. After teaching for a few years she signed up for the Mennonite Central Committee and was sent to India where she served as secretary at the Mennonite headquarters. She was able to hear the great IImage result for Polka Dot Door imagesndian leader Mahatma Gandhi speak just a day before he was assassinated on January 30, 1948. She would return to Canada after a brief European tour. She earned her BA at Goshen College, Indiana, U.S.A. and her Master's Degree at Northwestern University, Illinois, U.S.A. Continuing her post graduate studies she earned her Doctorate at Columbia University, New York City, U.S.A. Back in Canada she taught school in Etobicoke, Ontario where she became the 1st woman school principal in the area. Prior to joining TVOntario she was a school inspector for the Ontario Ministry of Education. Well into her 50's she surprised her family when she married a former prisoner of war who had been part of the Polish underground in World War ll, Antoni Nowakowski. In the 1970's at T V O she was challenged to design a pre-school children's program and the result was the popular and long running Polka Dot Door. The show ran from 1971 through 1993. In 2010, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television gave Polka Dot Door a Masterworks award, calling it a 'groundbreaking children's educational series' that 'changed the nature of Children's television programming and 'impacted countless young Canadians and raised the international profile of the Canadian television industry'. In 2010 while legally blind she memorized the acceptance speech when she received an honourary doctorate.   

Lucile Garner Grant


Born June 14, 1910, Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan. Died March 4, 2013, Oakville, Ontario. She studied nursing at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Quebec , graduating in 1937 and moving to Vancouver, British Columbia. It was 1939 when she heard that Trans-Canada Airlines (later Air Canada) was hiring.  She applied and became the 1st woman hired to be a stewardess. The requirements were strict: must be 21 to 26 years old, must be a registered nurse; must not be married along with strict weight and height regulations. Lucille was also asked to  participate in the design of her new uniform. The job required that she monitor weather, handle radio communications, and establish a food plan for flights. In 1941 she established the stewardess programme for Yukon Southern Air Transport (Later Canadian Pacific Airlines) She married Norman Dennison a aeronautic engineer. The couple had two children. Stationed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1951, with Norman working for the United Nations, Lucile worked for the ministry of education teaching at a commercial school. The family settled in Lachine, Quebec. After the death of her husband she married a second time March 31, 1936 to Jack Grant and raised a combined family of four children. Source: “She was Canada’s firs airline stewardess” by Nora Ryell The Globe and Mail, March 29, 2013.  Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.

Ibola 'Ibi" Szalai Grossman

Holocaust Survivor

Born December 10, 1916, Hungary. Ibi is a self described ordinary woman. She is also a survivor. She survived attempts on her life. She survived the physical and mental horrors of the Hungarian Holocaust, she survived to escape to the “west”, she survived the obstacles of being a European immigrant Jew and she survived the chant to a new and foreign culture and way of life in Immigration to Canada. She did all of this after her husband, her mother, her father and her sisters died in the death camps. She survived to raise her son alone in Canada. She survived to tell her story in the hopes that the horrors will not happen again. Source: Great Dames [Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1997.)

Violet Irene Guymer

Funeral Director

née  Poynter. Born July 18, 1885, West Yorkshire, England. Died September 4, 1955, The Pas, Manitoba. In 1906 Violet married Daniel Herbert Guymer (1879-1918) . In 1909 she and her two sons immigrated to Canada to join her husband and brother-in law in Saskatchewan. Farming was not for the Guymers and in 1910 they relocated to The Pas Manitoba. Daniel took training in embalming in 1914 and was the region's official mortician and funeral director. Daniel died during the 1918 flu pandemic when Violet was expecting their sixth child.  Shortly after her husband's death Violet miscarried. At the age of 33, with a family of five children to support, she took over the family business Guymer Transfer and Forwarding Company and Guymer Funeral Home. In August 1919 after being the only woman in her class for mortician training in Winnipeg, she received her Diploma in studies as a Funeral Director and Embalmer. January 16, 1922 she received her Manitoba Embalmers License and became the first Canadian woman Funeral Director. She soon learned all aspects of funeral planning from flowers, music, choosing caskets and headstones. transportation of the remains to a burial site and how to comfort and counsel the bereaves. For 20 years she was the only woman licensed embalmer in Manitoba. She sold the business to a competitor in 1939. Sources: Family member Myrna Guymer; Memorable Manitobans online (accessed 2022); Homemaker to Undertaker: Canada's First Female Mortician by Susanna McLeod Kingston Whit Standard April 8, 2021 (accessed 2022)

Louise Guyon


Born circa 1668, Ile Orleans. Orphaned as a youngster she never the less acquired a good marriage at 16 to Charles Thibault. Unfortunately the young mother was widowed at 17. She was soon married again in 1686 to Mathieu Damours de Freneuse. The couple moved to his seigneury in Acadia and had a family of five children during their ten year marriage. Unfortunately he died of wounds received defending his family and home from an American attack. Louise moved her family to Port Royal. Here she became involved in a scandalous affaire and had a child with a certain married M. Bonaventure. The affair ended when the legal wife came to Port Royal and Louise found she and her family in Quebec. She was back in Port Royal , Visiting in few years, when the area was under British rule. Suspicions of her being a spy were never officially reported. Was she a spy? It is here that she becomes a footnote to history perhaps moving to France where some of her children were recorded as living in New Rochelle. Source: D C B Vol. 1 p. 245 and Vol. 11 p 167.

Elizabeth 'Bessie' Prichard Hall

Sea Captain

Born April 7, 1849, Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia. Died June 30, 1930, Nova Scotia. At 17 she began to go to sea joining her seafaring father who was the captain of large square rigged sailing vessels. With him she learned celestial navigation. On March 4, 1870 the sailed from New Orleans, U.S.A. on the Rothesay with a crew of 10. 4 days at sea off the coast of Florida, U.S.A. the 1st mate fell ill with small pox followed shortly after by the captain himself. Bessie had to take over sailing the ship and after the crew met decided to sail to Liverpool, England arriving May 12, 1870. While some may have wished to celebrate Bessie’s accomplishment the rush of making up for delays in New Orleans meant avoiding quarantine regulations so no formal acknowledgement of the feat was made. Women were not allowed to apply for Mates nor Captain’s papers so Bessie left seafaring. At 21 she married James Hall. The couple had 4 children. Her home in Granville Ferry serves as a Bed and breakfast known as the Seafaring Maiden. Source: Ryan Scrantan. The Seafaring Maiden of Granville, Annapolis Royal Heritage. Online. (accessed January 2016).

Marlyn Hall   r7

née Plottel. Born May 17, 1927, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died June 5, 2017, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Marilyn earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto (U of T). In 1947 she married Monty Hall (1921-2017) and in 1955 the couple relocated to California, U.S.A. to raise their three children. She would continue her education later earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Theatre, Film, and Television. Her career began with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (C B C). She would go on to be a song writer and wrote for television including for the show Love American Style and Lights Camera, Monty. While working as a book reviewer for the Los Angeles Times she co-authored a cookbook in 1975. As a producer she worked with the Public Broadcasting System (P B S) producing A woman Called Golda and Do you Remember Love? winning Emmy Awards for boh shows. She served on the Board of Trustees of Variety Club International. As a philanthropist she was welll known to the Wallis Annenberg Centre for the Performing Arts, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.A.  and donated generously to the Julia Ann Singer Child Care Centre, the Guardians of Courage, the Jewish Welfare Fund, the Jewish Home for the Ageing and the Brandeis Universt as well as Tel Aviv University in Israel. (2023)

May 'Billie' Alexandra Hallam

Born August 22, 1919, Toronto, Ontario. Died March 18, 2015, Oakville, Ontario. On July 18, 1937 Billis was chosen in the 1st annual Police Games Miss Toronto from a group of over 300 contestants. She was encouraged to enter the competition by her grandmother. Billie had always enjoyed sports including ice skating, swimming, golf, volley ball and baseball. Billie was the pitcher on a Toronto women's baseball team in 1937. After being crowned Miss Toronto Billie went on to have a career as a model appearing in such publications as Eaton's Catalogues. In the 1950's she married becoming Mrs. Maeda and the couple soon began their family.

Alice Hollingsworth - Webster

née Hollingsworth. Born October 2, 1879, Muskoka, Ontario. Died 1954, Creemore, Ontario. Alice was a traveling lecturer with the Department of Agriculture. The Women's Institutes which would bring rural women together for camaraderie and education was founded in 1887. Alice would organize 18 local branches of the Women's Institutes between the founding and her retirement in 1902. December 2, 1902 Alice married Frances 'Frank' Ernest Webster (1868-1947) and the couple settled to a new house in Websterville near Creemore. The couple had two children. In 1906 Alice joined the Huron Institute which was an educational association deeply interested in local history. She would record and collect artifacts located during local archeological digs. (2020)

Dorothy Cann Hamilton

Educator & Food Aficionado

Born August 25, 1949, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A. Died September 2016, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. By the age of 17 she was already an accomplished cook. She studied for her BA at the University of Newcastle, England. During her university studies there were numerous trips to France where she learned about cultured dinning. She spent three years with the Peace Corps in Thailand teaching English. Returning to New York she worked at her father’s trade school and studied for her Master’s in business administration at New York University. Her marriage to Douglas Hamilton ended in divorce. The couple had one daughter. In 1980 she went on tour as a board member of the National Association of Trade and Technical Schools and visited a training program for Chefs in Paris, France.   By 1984 she had founded the Culinary Centre in New York City, U.S.A. where she trained some 15,000 chefs One of her specialty dishes was Forichu Lobster from Cape Breton, The International Culinary Centre was founded in California and spared to Italy. Dorothy hosed TV show Chef’s Story on the Public Broadcasting Station and the Heritage Radio Network. In 2015 she was awarded the Legion of Honour from France for her promotion of French cuisine in the U.S.A. She authored several books including Love What You Do: Building a Career in the Culinary Industry in 2009. She also maintained a blog called Love What You Do. 

Ruth Hammond

Public Relations

Born July 6, 1920, Toronto, Ontario. Died October 16, 2015, Toronto, Ontario. Ruth graduated with her B.A. from the University of Toronto and attended the Ontario College of Education in 1944. She taught for a couple of years before becoming a reporter and Women’s Editor at the Toronto Star newspaper from 1946-1950. On October 7 1950 she married her 1st husband David Wall Bunting (D. 1988) and the couple had 2 children. As a member of Canada’s first newspaper Guild at The Toronto Star, Ruth was among the 1st women to speak out in the interests of achieving significant gains in terms of employee salaries, rights, and working conditions in the newsrooms of the day.  In 1951 she established Ruth Hammond Public Relations and had a successful career in this field. Among her 1st clients was Kate Aitken, then one of Canada’s foremost journalists. Ruth took over the public relations program for the Women’s Division of the Canadian National Exhibition. In 1956, Ruth Hammond joined the Canadian Public Relations Society, one of the 1st women public relations consultants to participate in Society activities. She established, with colleagues, public relations courses at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University), York University, and the University of Toronto. In 1968 she became the 1st woman accredited by the Canadian Public Relations Society. From 1966/67 she served as the President of the Canadian Women’s Press Club in Toronto.  She served as a director of the Canadian Public Relations Society in Toronto from 1969-1974 and was the force behind the professional accreditation for the Society. In 1985 she received a Certificate of Achievement, Public Relations and Education, Government of Ontario, and was the YWCA Woman of Distinction for the Year. This was followed in 1986 by the Award of Excellence in Communications from Ontario Community Colleges. In 1989 she became a Life Member of the Canadian Public Relations Society and was inducted into the Society College of Fellows in 2001.

Agnes Harrigan

Park Guide

Born Port of Spain, Trinidad. Died 1988. The family moved to Salmon Arm, British Columbia when Agnes and her sister Mona were toddlers. Growing up on a farm the girls learned to love the outdoors. The girls were first offered women’s work of cooking and cleaning at camps and so the girls began their careers in Jasper Park, Alberta. They soon learned about the terrain, the flora, fauna and the animals. In 1928 they stood firm with demands to work out of the camps as guides. Figuring some women might prefer to travel with women guides, Fred Brewster hired the two as the first women Guides in a Canadian National Park. Since men trail help would not work with either of the women they were forced to tend the animals and cook meals on the trail. In 1929 Agnes married Mark Truxler. The couple raised two children. The pair retired in 1970. The sisters’ stories were told by Cyndi Smith in her book Off the beaten track: women adventurers and mountaineers in Western Canada. Coyote Lake Louise, 1993. Source:  Harrigan Sisters by Frances Rooney accessed June 2009.

Mona Harrigan

Park Guide

Born Port of Spain, Trinidad Died 1983. In 1908 the family emigrated to a farm in Salmon Arm, British Columbia where Mona and her sister Agnes grew up with a love of the outdoors. Unable to secure jobs as guides in Jasper Park they originally accepted “women’s work” of camps and did cooking and cleaning. In 1928 Mona and Agnes stood firm and because of their acquired knowledge of the area and the fact that Fred Brewster though women clients might prefer a woman guide, the girls became the first women guides in Canada National Parks working in Jasper Park, Alberta.  Their trips soon became in demand but they were still forced to tend animals and cook as no men world work the trips with them! The girls worked successfully on separate trails. On New Years Eve 1930 Mona married Charlie Matheson, a Park Warden. The couple opened and operated an outfitters and riding stable in Jasper in 1937. By 1940 they operated their own guest ranch until they retired in 1952. The sisters’ stories were told by Cyndi Smith in her book Off the beaten track: women adventurers and mountaineers in Western Canada. Coyote Lake Louise, 1993.

Antoinette Hope Harris - Millholland

Mrs. Red Cross in Sarnia, ON

Born 1901, South Carolina, U.S.A. Died 1999, Sarnia, Ontario.After the death of her father at sea in 1913 she and her mother lived in Washington, D C, U.S.A. Her mother married William B Millholland in 1922 and by 1928 the family was living in Sarnia, Ontario. Mear the beginning of World War ll (1939-1945 Antoinette began volunteering with the Red Cross of Lambton-Sarnia to aid in the war effort by making clothing and crafts with monies going toward war relief. She would also volunteer at local blood clinics as a receptionist. Her 50 years volunteering with the red cross was recognized in 1984 with the Ontario Bicentennial Award and the Canada 125 Anniversary medal. Source: Canuckstorian. online (accessed 2022)

Pearl Hart

Bad Girl of the American West

née Taylor. Born November 13, 1871(Sometimes reported as 1876), Lindsay Ontario. Died (Reportedly) December 28, 1955,(?) Globe, Arizona, U.S.A. Pearl’s family was financially well off enough to send their daughter to boarding school. While at school the teenager fell in love with a certain Mr. Hart (reported by various names such as Brett, Frank or William) and the couple eloped. Pearl soon learned that she had married an abusive individual and returned to be with her mother who was now living in Ohio, in the United States. The couple would reunite several times and Pearl would have two children who were reportedly raised by their grandmother. Pearl supposedly became enamored with the western American life when she saw Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1893. She headed west working a numerous jobs such as she could earn some monies on which to live. Pearl would meet Hart yet again in Arizona where, once her money ran out he took off to join the Spanish American War. Pearl returned to working odd jobs. Needing money to return home to her ill mother she cut her hair, donned men’s clothing took a partner and robbed an Arizona stagecoach. It would be one of the last few recorded stage robberies. Arrested she was acquitted but the Judge saw to it that she was charged with a second crime of tampering with US mail. By this time she was a popular subject for pulp fiction dime novels. She served two years of her five year prison term, receiving a governor’s pardon in 1902. From this point her life is sketchy with a mixture of truth and myth. She reportedly ended up running a Cigar Store in Kansas City. It was also reported that she portrayed her story on stage and even worked in the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. In 1904 she was arrested again for receiving stolen property and again acquitted of any crime. There is a report that she married George  Calvin Bywater and the couple lived in Arizona until they died. The couple’s tombstone reports her death as December 28, 1955. An early movie, a musical, songs and a book of historical fiction have all been based on her life.  

Clara Jennings Melville Hays
Titanic Survivor 

née Gregg. Born October 13, 1859, St Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. Died February 1, 1955, Montreal, Quebec. October 13, 1881 Clara married Charles Melville Hays (1856-1912) a railway man and for a time the family with their four daughters lived in Saskatchewan where the town of Melville is named for Charles. He became manager of the Grand Trunk Railway in Saskatchewan and later the family moved to Montreal. Clara and two daughters sailed with Charles on the ill fated Titanic. Clara and her two daughters, Margaret Hayes and Mrs. Thorton Davidson,  were rescued by the Carpathia. (2020)

Anna Maria Head

Political Wife

née Yorke. Born 1808, England. Died August 25, 1890, Oak Lea, Guildford, England.  On November 27, 1838 she married Sir Edmond Walker Head (1805-1868) who would serve as Lieutenant-Governor o f New Brunswick (1847–1854) and serve simultaneously as Governor General of the Province of Canada, and Lieutenant Governor  of both Canada West and Canada East (1854–1861). The couple had Three children. A son accidentally drowned in Quebec's Saint-Maurice River in September 1859. One of their two daughters was born at Fredericton, New Brunswick on February 6, 1849. Anna Maria was an artist, who sketched a picture of a view from Major's Hill, Ottawa, Ontario which she subsequently presented to Queen Victoria (1819-1901). A month or two later Her Majesty chose Ottawa as the seat of Government of United Canada. Lady Anna Maria Head was known for volunteering and distributing alms among the poor. A memorial of her Ladyship's visit to the Upper Ottawa, in a bark canoe, in 1856, stands at Portage-du-Fort, Quebec. In the county of Renfrew, a township Maria, was named in her honour and the Renfrew county of Head was named in honour of her husband. Source: Henry James Morgan, Types of Canadian women and of women who have been connected with Canada. Vol. 1 (Toronto: William Briggs, 1903) Online (accessed January 2016)

Eva Marlene Heddle

"Canada's Loveliest Child"

Born 1933, Caledonia, Ontario. Died Hamilton, Ontario September 25, 2009. At three years of age she would become Canada’s sweetheart. On July 4, 1936 her grandmother sent an 8 X 10 photograph of her daughter into a contest. Marlene was chosen out of almost 1200 entries to become an instant star as “Canada’s Loveliest Child” in the contest held by the Toronto Star Weekly. She won $250.00 and an official portrait by Joshua Smith and a trip to see the famous Dionne Quintuplets. But her winning the contest provided more when Marlene’s face appeared on billboards and corn syrup containers. She had invitations to fashion shows, store openings and other special events. The Town of Caledonia even named a Street Heddle Street, in her honour. Attention dropped during World War ll. In 1954 her wedding  to photographer Patrick Sullivan was covered by the Toronto Star. The couple would have one daughter. Her stardom was brief and because she was so young she actually did not remember much of the fanfare. A shy person she never really wanted to cash in on any of the fame but she never forgot and had photographs of 1936 hung in her home. In 2005 Marlene returned to Caledonia to attend a special welcome and a special day commemorating the event that had put the town on the national map. Source: Contest catapulted child to stardom by Raveena Aulakh Toronto Star October 15, 2009.

Martha Lou 'Louie' Henley


For more than three decades Louie Henley has been an avid supporter of the Vancouver Opera giving both financial and volunteer hours in support of this organization. She has support in addition some 70 additional organizations and the Mary Lou Henley Foundation helps women meet their full potential. She has received the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts. In 2011 she was inducted into the Order of Canada and in 2012 the Simon Fraser University President’s Distinguished Community Leadership award was given to Martha Lou Henley.

Julia Wilmotte Henshaw


née Henderson. Born 1869, Durham England. Died November 18, 1937, Vancouver, British Columbia. On June 15, 1887 she married Charles Grant Henshaw (1869-1927) of Montreal and the couple had one child and settled in British Columbia in 1890. She used the nom de plume of Julian Durham and in 1889 wrote her 1st novel, Hypnotized, which was called the Canadian Book of the Year. Her second novel appeared in 1901. Julia mapped Vancouver Island's interior during 1910–1911. The Royal Geographical Society made her a Fellow in 1911. She also wrote for two newspapers in Vancouver. She was an outdoors woman and explored and even mapped Vancouver Island. She loved the mountain wild flowers and in the early 1900’s she produced botanical books about the Mountain Wild Flowers of North America. In 1914, she and her husband were the 1st people to drive a car across the Rocky Mountains. Although she was 45 years old when World War l began she was ready to serve. Even though she had no medical trainings in 1915 served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as an ambulance driver as part of the British Red Cross Society where she earned the rank of Captain. For her bravery she was awarded the Croix de guerre with a Gold Star for "evacuating and recuperating inhabitants under shell fire and aerial bombarding. She was also awarded the British, Allied and Canadian war medals and other honours.  She served with the French Red Cross until November 1918. Source: Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Toronto: 1978 Page 355.

Margaret 'Marmie' Perkins Hess

Specialist in Inuit Art & Crafts

Born May 3, 1916, Calgary, Alberta. Died September 2, 2016, Calgary, Alberta. In 1934 Marmie began university studies at the University of Alberta and graduated from the University of Toronto in 1938 with a BA. She had an interest in indigenous peoples art and received the Inuit name Angauka Nu Natsuit. Her interest would be lifelong. She completed graduate studies at the University of Iowa in 1947. In 1970 she established Calgary Galleries Ltd, and helped established the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary. She was regarded as a world authority on Northern Inuit and First Nations arts and crafts. She was a volunteer for the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede for many years and the 1st woman to receive the Calgary Stampede Western Legacy Award. She worked on the Board of Calgary Rotary International, the Glenbow Museum and the Board of the Canadian National Museum. In 1967 she was the recipient of the Canadian Confederation Medal followed by the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 1981 she became a member of the Order of Canada which was upgraded to Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993. She also held the Alberta Order of Excellence and the Alberta Centennial Medal. She also earned the Northern Territories Commissioner’s Award and the Grant MacEwan Lifetime Achievement Award from City of Calgary. In 1999 she was the YWCA Woman of Distinction for Calgary. Source: Obituary Globe and Mail September 9, 2016. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa Ontario.

Mary Eugenia 'Gene' Hinch -Mahar   3577

Survivor Halifax Explosion

née Jackson. Born January 1877, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Died August 8, 1958, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mary Gene married Joseph Devereaux Hinch (1872-1917) and the couple would have 15 children. Sadly four of the children died when they were very young. On December 6, 1917 two ships collided in Halifax Harbour initiating the largest explosion in Canadian history. The explosion and resulting fires destroyed the inner city and thousands of people were killed. Amongst the dead were Mary Gene's parents, husband and her ten children. A pregnant Mary Gene was thrown to the street during the explosion and covered in rubble. She was not discovered until more than 24 hours after the explosion. She suffered a concussion, cuts and bruises and was forced to have 30 teeth extracted without pain control because she was pregnant. She and her sister ada had to identify the remains of her family.  She remarried to widower James Wallace Mahar (1872-1944) and the couple had two additional children. She was buried in Halifax with her first family. Source: How did this woman's Mind Survive... TikTok (accessed 2021)

Madeline Hinchey

née Tiennet. Born Toronto 1922. Died January 5, 2005. She had a successful career the the government of Canada in the National Research Council of Canada. She was the 1st woman to hold a number of senior management positions in the council including chairing the selection committee for Canada's first astronauts. She retired in 1984 as Secretary General to the National Research Council.

Pat Holden - Collins

Photo Journalist

Born August 28, 1924, Wallasey, England. Died November 26, 2011, Toronto, Ontario. She came to Canada with her mother and brother in 1939 to escape the aerial bombardment of war time Britain. Though her mother returned to England to work for MI 5, the children settled in Winnipeg where Pat shortly enlisted. She fudged her age and to hide the fact she told recruiters she was born on the now Nazi occupied Isle of Guernsey. She took training in photography, a profession with few women. Eventually posted overseas she was the lone woman in photographer galleries. As a professional photographer he presence surprised men like Dwight Eisenhower. After the war, working for Reuters she was one of only 6 photographers allowed inside Westminster Abby for the wedding of then Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip in 1947. On leave in Ottawa she met her future husband Flight Lieutenant Arthur Collins. N novelty as a professional photographer she was the subject of a British Pathé Films  short documentary: Women Going Places. Back in Canada she was the subject of an article in the Toronto Telegram that was seen by Arthur Collins who sought her out. The couple married in 1948 and would have five children. Her home was a welcome refuge for pregnant girls in need. Once her family was grown she embarked on a successful Real estate career. Sources: Groundbreaking wartime photographer was first woman to shoot Eisenhower by Michael Posner. The Globe and Mail December 9, 2011; Chrystia Chudczak, Documentary photographer. Online (Accessed January 2012) Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa.

Alma Houston 4241

Inuit Art Promoter

Born 1927, Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. Died 1997. As a teen Alma worked with the navy at H M S Cornwallis and then she became a teacher before being a reporter for the Montreal Star newspaper. In 1949 she was to cover an Inuit art exhibit. At the exhibit she met and later married James Houston and the couple headed for Cape Dorset  by a  three week dog sled trip. Their two children learned to speak Inuktitut before they spoke English. Alma was called Arnakotak meaning 'Tall Women" when she lived in Cape Dorset with the Inuit people. From 1952 through to 1965 she was Head , Fine Arts Division of Canadian Artic Producers where she was the main catalyst in presenting the art  of the Inuit to the world. In 1959 the couple founded the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative to promote Inuit art and protect the artists from exploitation. After the marriage ended in 1961,  mother and children spent a year in England before settling in Ottawa, Ontario. In 1975 she became a Member of thee Order of Canada. In 1981 she started the Houston North Gallery in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. She helped found the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival and returned to Baffin Island in 1994 to speak at a conference. In 1999 she was the central figure in the film Songs in stone. Source: Christine Hamelin, Tall Woman of Cape Dorset, Alma Houston (1927-1997) in City Woman Magazine Spring 2003.

Mina Hubbard - Ellis

Adventurer / Explorer
National Historic Person

née Benson. Born April 15, 1870, Bewdley, Ontario. Died May 4, 1956, Coulston, United Kingdom. Mina began her working career as a teacher but soon found herself studying to be an nurse at Brooklyn Training School for Nurses, New York State, U.S.A. graduating in 1899. She worked at a small hospital in Staten Island, New York.  It was while caring for a young journalist that she found romance with Leonidas Hubbard Jr., assistant editor of the U.S. magazine Outing, who married his nurse January 31, 1901. In July 1903 Leonidas and a colleague became lost in the backwoods of what was then part of Quebec and he died of starvation. Mina took over the idea of her husbands exploration and on June 27, 1905 she set out in her husband's footsteps. She would write about her two months exploit in her book, A woman's Way Through Unknown Labrador. During her trip she recorded maps which were accepted by the American Geographical Society and the Geographical Society of Great Britain. She named the source of the George River, Lake Hubbard after her husband.  Her mapping work provided details of Labrador and gave insight into the massive Caribou migrations. She eventually remarried to businessman, Harold Ellis and settled in England to raise their three children. After her divorce from Ellis she returned to Canada in 1936 to accompany George Elson on a canoe trip down the Moose River in northern Ontario. Some of her personal papers are maintained  in the Archives at the University of Ottawa. In 2018 Mina Hubbard-Ellis was designated a National Historic Person by the National Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (2021)

Catherine Jérémie
Botanist & Midwife

Baptized September 22, 1664, Champlain, New France (now Quebec). Died July 1, 1744, Montreal, New France. Catherine Married Jacques Aubuchon on January 28, 1681 and the couple had one daughter. On Novemebr 3, 1688 she married a second time to Michel LePailleur and the couple had 10, possible 11 children. The family settled in Montreal and Catherine did studies and research in botany and midwifery.  She leaned medical practices of the Indigenous peoples of the area.  Catherine is considered the first woman botanist in Canada. She worked with the French Académie des sciences collecting native flora. Plant specimens she sent to France are preserved at the Muséumm national d'histoire naturelle in Paris. nd fauna. Source: Musée de la Neufve-France (accessed 2023)

Mary Irene Patricia Jolliffe

Theatrical Press Agent

Born November 11, 1923, Chengda, China. Died October 29, 2014, Toronto, Ontario. Mary was the daughter of two Canadian foreign missionaries of the Methodist/United Church of Canada. Her younger years were spent in China where she learned to speak Chinese fluently and easily handle chopsticks. In 1945 she graduated from the Canadian Missionary School in western China. She attended the University of Toronto graduating with a B.A. in 1949. After graduation she returned to China to teach with the United Church of Canada’s Overseas Mission for two years. Mary then decided to teach high school in Welland, Ontario. In 1954 she went to work at the newly established Stratford Festival while it was still held in a tent. Here she honed her craft where the opening event at Stratford made the cover of Life Magazine and had detailed coverage from Time magazine. She stayed seven years at Stratford refining her Public relations skills. She would go on to be the 1st notable theatrical press agent working at the Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A., The Metropolitan Opera touring company, New York, U.S.A. and returning to Toronto in 1959 working at the O’Keefe Centre (now Sony Center) as Communications Director. She also worked at Expo 67, Canada’s Centennial fair in Montreal, the National Ballet, the National Arts Center, the Canada Council and the Arts Center. Dedicated to her career she never married. She liked to smoke, drink what she wanted and had a functional street vocabulary. In 1985 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 1993 she was one of the founders of PAL, a Toronto living facility for members of the performing arts. Source: Obituaries; Mary Jolliffe, Arts Press Agent. Globe and Mail, December 6, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa Ontario.

Louise Johnson

'Bomb Girl'

Born June 14, 1921, Saskatchewan. Louise was a farm girl who left home to work at Saskatoon City Hospital when World War ll (1939-1945) broke out.  In November 1942 Louise was recruited for wartime duty at the Defence Industries Ltd. (D I L) munitions complex in Pickering Ontario. She was one of some 300 girls from the province to passed physical examinations and cleared police background checks. to work at the D I L Complex. The women worked the assembly lines  handling TNT, amatol and R D X filling percussion caps, detonators, small bombs , anti-tank shells, armour-piercing artillery and anti=aircraft shells. The women would become known as "Bomb Girls'. Louise married a fellow worker , Russel Johnson, and the couple made their home in Ajax, the town that grew from the munitions complex. In 1951 the couple purchased one of the small war time houses in Ajax. In 1991 she received the Ajax Civil Award. in 2007 she took home a Senior's Award. At 91 Louise shred her memories local historians and the creators of a television series in 2016 call Bomb Girls. In 2015 she was selected by the Town of Ajax to be a torch bearer for the Toronto Parapan Am Games Torch relay. When Louise turned 100 the town named a Parkette on Harwood Ave. at Hwy 401 in her honour. (2023)

Vivian Mabel Jung


Born June 7, 1924, Merritt, British Columbia. Died March 19, 2014, Vancouver, British Columbia. Vivian just wanted to become a teacher however, at the time teachers, were required to have a swimming certificate in order to teach and people of Asian descent were not allowed in Vancouver public swimming pools. The swim instructor and classmates refused to swim at the pools until Vivian was accepted. Eventually she was allowed to swim and became a teacher at Tecumseh School for 35 years. In retirement she was a student and teacher of Tai Chi. She was also a member of the Chinese-Canadian Military Museum. Source: Obituary Vancouver Sun December 2014 online (accessed 2021) Suggestion submitted by Jennifer Smart. Quebec.

Nicole Juteau

Law Enforcement

Born September 22, 1954, Laval, Quebec. She was the first woman to earn her diploma in correctional studies at College Ahuntsic in 1975. Police recruitment officers had no jobs to offer the graduate providing any excuse they could think of to turn down her enquiries of work. Eventually La Sureté du Québec (Quebec provincial police) and the police of the City of Sainte Foy expressed and interest. It was on June 19, 1975, the International Year of the Women, she began her internship with La Sureté du Quebec à Parthenais working for the 1st few months making photocopies in their office, mainly because they had no uniform for a woman. She took a position with the police of Shawinigan becoming the 1st policewoman in Quebec. Source: Pionnières Québecoise (accessed June 2013).

Violet Keene

Portrait Photographer

née Keene. Born 1893, Bath, England. Died May 10, 1887,Oakville, Ontario.  Violet was the daughter of acclaimed pioneer photographer Minna Keene. Violet learned her love of photography and her knowledge of the art from her mother. As a youth the family had moved from Montreal to Toronto where Violet would begin her career in portrait photography. He married Harold Edgar Perincheief but retained her maiden name for her professional work. She photographed many important artists and statesmen, inducing the Governor General, Alduous Huxley, the author, and the playwright George Bernard Shaw. She also worked as manager of the Eaton’s College Street Portrait Studio. Her works were exhibited throughout North America and Europe. Some of her works are owned by the National Gallery of Canada, the and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Source: Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Online (accessed August 2011.)

Maryvonne Kendergi / Kendergian

Born August 15, 1915, Gaziatep, Turkey. Died September 27, 2011, Montreal, Quebec. Her family was forced to leave Turkey during World War l. Maryvonne grew up in Syria and then France. She earned her teaching certificate from Ecole Normale, Paris. She studied at the Sorbonne graduating in 1942. In 1944 she earned her diplôme Superieur from the Institute d'art et archéologie. In 1952 she immigrated to Canada living in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan. She worked as a host on CBC Radio-Canada and made frequent appearances on CBC Television. In 1956 she was teaching music at the University of Montreal and in 1966 she helped found the Quebec Contemporary Music Society. She would also serve as President of the Canadian Music Council. In 1980 she was the 1st Chair of the Association pour l'avancement de la recherché en musique en Québec. That same year she became a Member of the Order of Canada which later would be promoted to the level of Officer in 1992. In 1983 she earned the Lynch-Staunton Award from the Canadian Council for the Arts. In 1985 she was inducted as a Chevalier in the Ordre National du Québec followed in 1988 with the induction into the Ordre de Montréal. In 200 she earned Le Prix Opus hommage. In 2000 her biography; Maryvonne Kendergi, la musique en partage was published. (2019)

Dorothy Ruth Killam


née Brooks-Johnson.  Born 1899 / 1900, St Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. Died  July 26 / 27 1965, French Rivera.  April 5, 1922 she married Izaak Walton  Killam (died August 5,1955) and the couple settled in Montreal, Quebec. After the death of her husband Dorothy too over the family financial business, Royal Securities  and expanded it over the next ten years. In August 1960 and article in the Ladies Home Journal featured Dorothy as ‘the Richest Woman in the World’.  She made anonymous donations to several institutions such as Canada Council to advance the study of medicine, science and engineering by Canadians, and to Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.  April 1960 she became a benefactress of the Metropolitan Opera Association financing shows. Her will provided a substantial bequest to build a children’s hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia as a memorial to her husband. The Izaak Walton Killam Hospital for Children opened in 1970. After visiting Halifax she left Montreal and resettled in Halifax.  The Killam Trust offers awards through five Canadian Universities. As of 2015 more than 6,000 scholars and researchers had benefited from the Killam Trusts Awards.

Winnifred 'Winnie' Kirkland - Josselin 4054

née Kirkland. Born July 21, 1879, Alliston, Ontario. Died May 14, 1960, Scarborough, Ontario.  Winnifred Kirkland was a secretary, living with her widowed mother and working for the Ontario Department of Mines in Toronto in the early 1900's. She would become office assistant to Surveyor Louis Valentine Rorke (1865-1943) who in the early 1900's was working in the backwoods area of Northern Ontario for the provincial government. In 1907 he mapped an unnamed lake in Teck Township and labeled it Kirkland Lake after the office secretary. He also named Winnie Lake in her honour. The Kirkland Lake no longer exists because of mine tailings but the nearby town of Kirkland Lake, known as the Mile of Gold or the Town with the Heart of Gold, founded in 1919, has survived. Winnie Kirkland never visited her lake nor the Town of Kirkland Lake. In 1927 Winnie married Frank Edward Josselin (died 1959) who also worked for the Ontario government. The couple retired and settled in Scarborough, Ontario just north of Toronto, (now part of Toronto). Source: Bill Glover, L. V. Rorke, Mile of Gold Surveyor. Ontario Professional Surveyor Vol. 59 vol. 4 Fall 2016 online (accessed 2022)

Sandra Kobler



Born June 7, 1934, White Plains, New York, U.S.A. Died September 12, 2001, Montreal, Quebec. She worked as a director of the CBC and of Cineplex Odeon Corporation and was a trustee of the National Film Board of Canada. She was also a founding vice-president of Canadian International Studios. As a philanthropist she was a patron of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Stratford Festival, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture.  For her support of the arts she was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1993. As a volunteer she earned in 1994 the Raymon John Hnatyshyn Award for Volunteerism in the Performing Arts. She was the 1st woman to sit on the board of the United Talmud Torah, and was an active fundraiser for various Jewish charities including the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital where this is a pavilion named for her and her husband Leo Kolber. The couple had two children. (2018)

Myrtle 'Molly' Kool

Sea Captain

Born February 23, 1916, Alma, New Brunswick. Died February 25, 2009, Bangor, Maine, U.S.A.  Molly would learn and take to the ways of the sea from her sailor father. She learned quickly and could repair an engine, run the winch, handle the lines, and set sails as well as cook and sew canvas! She was a woman who became accomplished in a man's profession with courage and tenacity. She received a telegram on April 19, 1939 from Navigation School...she passed. She was the 1st registered woman sea captain in North America and second (to a woman in Russia) in the world! She was the 1st Master Mariner in Canada. She would sail as a Sea Captain for five years before she married Ray Blaisdell in 1944.After Ray's death she married a second time to John Carney of Main, U.S.A.  While she enjoyed sailing for pleasure she never worked for pay at sea again. Sadly she lost both her legs to a vascular disease. In 2003 a sailing ship was named in her honour.  A monument dedicated to her accomplishment was erected near the wharf in Alma, New Brunswick. Fundy National Park, New Brunswick has a Molly Kool Memorial. The Canadian Coast Guard medium class icebreaker, Captain Molly Kool, commissioned in 2018, was named in her honour. (2020)

Olga Alexandrova Kulikovsky

Russian Royalty

née Romanof. Born June 14, 1882, St. Petersburg, Russia. Died November 24, 1960, Toronto, Ontario. Olga was a Grand Duchess of Russia and sister to Czar Nicholas. As a child she was raised by an English nanny. She 1st married in the simmer of 1901 to Duke Peter von Oldenbury but this marriage ended in an annulment. She married a second time in November 1916 to Colonel Nikkolai Alexandrovitch Kulikovsky (1881-1958) and the couple would have two children. She was saved from being executed with the rest of the Russian Royal family in during the Russian revolution in 1917 because she had decided to become a nurse and was working with the wounded in Kiev. She and her family narrowly escaped, 1st living in exile in Denmark, England and finally in 1948 they immigrated to Canada. Here she was a farmer's wife living near Guelph, Ontario, leading a very ordinary life. The couple would retire to Cooksville, Ontario. In June 1959 she was invited for lunch with Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip. Olga lived simply wearing cheap clothes and doing her own shopping and gardening.   She enjoyed painting and actually had a showing in of her art works in Toronto,  in the 1950's. During her lifetime she painted over 2,000 art works to provide extra income for her family. in 2001 her son exhibited selections of her work at the residence of the Russian Ambassador in Washington, DC. and in 2006 in Moscow.

Maryvonne Kwendergi / Kendergian

Born August 15, 1915, Aintab, Alepppo Vilayet, Ottoman Empire.  Died September 27, 2011, Montreal, Quebec. . She grew up in Syria and after moving to France she attended the Sorbonne graduating in 1942. Maryvonne immigrated to Canada in 1952 and became a Canadian Citizen in 1960.   She hosed several radio programmes on contemporary music for Radio-Canada and often appeared on TV. She helped found the Quebec Contemporary Music Society in 1966 and began teaching at the University of Montreal where she established Canadian Music as a subject for the 1st time. . She also served as President of the Canadian Music Council. A member of the Royal Society of Canada she became in 1980 a Member of the Order of Canada which was raised to Officer in 1992. In 1985 she became a Chevalier in the order of Quebec. (2017)

Gisèle Lamoureux

Photographer, Botanist, & Ecologist

Born October 5, 1942, Montreal, Quebec. Died June 23, 2018, Levis, Quebec. Gisèle graduated from the Université de Montréal and the Université Laval. In the 1970's she was the founder of the Guides Fleurbec. In 1989 she was awarded the Prix Georges-Prefontaine form the Association des biologistes du Québec. In 1996 she was inducted as a Knight of the Order National du Québec. The following year the Quebec Ministry of Environment presented her the Mérite de la conservation de la flore. In 1999 she co published Cultiver des plantes sauvages sans leur nuire and she was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada for having contributed to the protection of Canada's environment. In 2001 she co-authored Flore printaiere. In 2015 she was honoured with the Prix Georges- Emile-Lapalme from the Quebec government to her outstanding contribution to the quality and diffusion of the French language. (2019)

Françoise Landry 4203
Volunteer & Environmentalist

née Laroque. Born October 24, 1928. Died July 4, 2021,Smooth Rock Falls, Ontario. Françoise was married to Armand Landry and the mother of three children. Francoise loved her little town in Northern Ontario and wanted to keep in clean. for more than 70 years she took it on herself to pick up trash on her daily walks about the town. In 2002 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Jubilee Medal. In 2020 he received she was recognized with the Governor General Volunteer medal.  The 7th of June has been declared Francoise Landry Day in the town and each year on this date the people gather to clean up street litter. Source: Obituary online (accessed 2023)

Lola Lange   4036


Born 1922, Edmonton, Alberta. Died December 21, 2013, British Columbia. Lola was a gifted piano player received her grade eight lvel with the Royal Conservatory of Music. In 1943 she married Ottomar Lange, a farmer and the couple had three daughters. Lola was active in the 4-H Clubs, and the Alberta Farm Wives Union. After her divorce she worked at the Central Mortgage and Housing corporation. Lola served on the Royal Commission for the Status of Women. The committee traveled across the country gathering the concerns of Canadian women. The committee itself consisted of seven people, an academic, an engineer, a judge, a journalist and Lola as a farmer's wife. In 1976 she won a grant to study the role of continuing education in young farmers lives. The report caught notice in Ottawa. In 1982 she relocated to British Columbia to be closer to her daughters. Source Lola Lange...A Woman in Her Own Right by Elizabeth Renzetti, The Globe and Mail January 28, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. 

Filumena 'Florence' Constanzo Lassandro

Booze Runner & Convicted Murderer

née Constanzo. Born 1900, Cadenza, Italy. Died May 2, 1923, Alberta. In 1909 she and her family immigrated to Canada and settled in Fernie, British Columbia. A teacher suggested that she change her name to Florence. She had an arranged marriage on October 16, 1915 to Carlo Sanfidele. After their marriage the couple settled in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. for a few months but with no job prospects they to Canada living in Blairmore, Alberta. They took the surname Lassandro and Carlo worked for a hotel owner, During prohibition he was driving bootleg booze runs to British Columbia. By 1917 Florence was accompanying her husband on runs to the U.S.A. . It was felt that a young couple would be less suspicious. They were successful at evading the law for several years. In a police chase in September 1922 the hotel owner's son was shot by Police Florence and her husband went to see the police and in an exchange of gun fire an officer was killed. The couple were charged with murder and the pair were convicted. The Canadian Supreme Court upheld the conviction and the death sentence. Florence was the only woman to be hanged in Alberta. In 2003 the opera Filumena debuted portraying her life and death. (2020)

Zoe Laurier

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Lafontaine. Born March 26, 1849, Montreal, Quebec. Died May 10, 1930, Ottawa, Ontario. A child of a modest family she taught piano lessons to help family finances. She met a young lawyer in Montreal but he felt himself too poor and too ill at the time to be a suitor. When Wilfrid Laurier learned of her impending engagement he immediately went to Montreal and on May 13, 1868 Zoe and Wilfrid Laurier (1841-1919) were married. The young couple lived in Arthabaska (Victoriaville), Quebec until his role in politics forced a move to Ottawa where he served as Prime Minister. Sadly they did not have any children. While the couple remained married, it is known that Sir Wilfrid did have a relationship with another woman, Emilie Lavigne. It seems both Zoe and Emilie’s husband were both aware of the situation with their spouses. Zoe kept herself busy and served as one of the Vice-Presidents on the formation of the National Council of Women of Canada (N C W C). The N C W C was founded on October 27, 1893, at a public meeting in Toronto, chaired by Lady Aberdeen, wife of the Governor-General of Canada and attended by 1500 women. Zoe would join Sir Wilfrid and move to Ottawa in 1896. By 1897 Sir Wilfrid cut off his relationship and he and Zoe became close once again. Working with Lady Aberdeen (1857-1939) on February 10, 1897 Sir Wilfrid Laurier offered the motion inaugurating the Victorian Order of Nurses, (V O N), honouring the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s assent to the throne of the British Empire. Lady Laurier served as honourary Vice-President of the V O N. While the Lauriers maintained their home in Arthabaska for holiday visits, the Liberal Party of Canada provided a fine yellow brick home in Ottawa for the couple. Throughout her life Zoe Laurier favoured and encouraged artist, Musicians, and poets by attending their parties, supporting them and their studies in Europe. A piano lounge in the famous Chateau Laurier Hotel, Ottawa, is named in her honour. The Home in Arthabaska (Victoriaville) became a museum. Laurier House in Ottawa was used by Prime Minister William Lyn Mackenzie King as his residence and bequeathed to the Public Archives upon his death. The house is now a Museum dedicated mainly to W. L. M. King but with a room dedicated to Sir Wilfrid and Lady Laurier.

Jeanne Brault Laurin


Born 1923, Beauharnois, Quebec. Died September 11, 2012, Beauharnois, Quebec. Even at the early age of 9 Jeanne was interested in all things about cars and trucks. Her father was a mechanic and she spent many hours of you youth helping him at the family garage. In 1943 she became the 1st official woman mechanic in Canada. In 1945 Jeanne married Rolland Laurin (d. 2001) and the couple had three children.  Her biography has been written with the help of her oldest daughter Jocelyn: Ma Vie Pleine de Vie. (2012) Source: Elles du Nord online. (Accessed August 2014) Suggestion submitted by Jeannine Ouellette, Elles du Nord.

Marie Louise Emilie Lavergne




née Barthe. Born March 26, 1849. Died May 19, 1930, Montreal, Quebec. She was well travelled as a young woman, having been to Paris and London. In 1876 she arrived in Athabasca, Quebec (Victoriaville) where her charm and self confidence soon made her the  celebrated hostess in the town. She enjoyed reading English Literature and soon caught the eye of Wilfrid Laurier (1841-1919), an up and coming politician at that time. Emilie married Joseph Lavergne, the law partner of Wilfrid Laurier. The couple would have two children in whom Sir Wilfrid would take a life long interest. Letters written by Emilie to Sir Wilfrid Laurier were returned to her by Sir Wilfrid in 1897 and she later gave them to a family member. The letters reappeared in the 1960’s and are in the collections of the National Archives. The letters are written in the style of the Victorian Era and are proper and polite in content leaving history to question the state of the connection between Sir Wilfrid and Emilie. Sir Wilfrid cut off their connection when he returned her letters. Her husband’s career took the family from Ottawa to Montreal at this same time. Emilie kept up social appearances but it is said that she was never the same after they moved to Montreal.

Judith A. Lawrence


Born Australia. Judith learned to make puppets when she was 12 years old from instructions mailed to her from a popular radio show. She put on her own shows from behind the family couch. After the television popularity of the 1956 Melbourne, Australia Olympics she foresaw a place for TV puppet shows. Judith moved to Canada at 22 and worked at 1st as a kindergarten teacher. In the 1960’s she founded the Voice of Women expressing her pacifist and feminist sides.  She soon found herself working at the CBC where she was asked to join the team of the popular children’s programme with Ernie Coombs (1927-2001), Mr. Dressup which began in 1967 and ran until 1996. She forged Casey and Finnegan and performed the voices for the show’s 2 popular puppets as well as other characters on the show. In the 1970 she served on the National Action Committee for Women.  She also wrote books for children the Young Canada Reading Series and books on women and work for D.C. Health.  She worked 23 years on the show retiring in 1989 and taking her puppets with her. In 1990 she and her partner Thea Jansen retired to Hornby Island, British Columbia in 1990 where Judith became involved in community recycling and other environmental projects. October 18 2001 she became a member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the performing arts. Her will provides that her beloved puppet creations will find eternal rest at the CBC Archives.

Emma Lazenby- Spencer

Ship Bride         

née Lazenby. Born May 10, 1842, Bubwith, England. Died September 4, 1934, Victoria, British Columbia. Emma was a Wesley Methodist. She arrived in Victoria, British Columbia in early January of 1863 on the bride ship the Robert Low with 36 other single women from the Manchester area of England.  A week later was a member of the local Methodist church. Her first mission was working with children. It was at church she met a Welshman, David Spencer (1837-1920)  who had arrived in Victoria the year before. After hitting the gold fields her returned to Victoria and opened a bookshop and library on Government Street. On June 3, 1867 the couple were married. By 1873 David was a proprietor of Victoria House, a successful dry goods store allowing the couple to raise their 13 children. The company would become a retail empire known as Spencer's Ltd. Emma became a Superintendent of Social Purity continuing the commitment to temperance. She established a refuge and halfway house. In 1889 she became president of the Victoria Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and led a campaign to create a women's wing to the Royal Jubilee Hospital. In 1918 she was honourary president of the WCTU. Source: Peter Johnson, Voyages of Hope (accessed 2021); Find a Grave Canada (accessed 2021)

Elizabeth Le Geyt


née Rothera. Born June 28, 1914, Bushey Heath (London), England. Died October 5, 2017, Ottawa, Ontario. Educated in Great Britain she married an engineer in the Royal Navy, Jack Le Geyt. Pronounced Le Jet) the couple had 5 sons and when Jack was loaned to the Canadian Navy his family followed in 1952 to Halifax and later to the Ottawa area. After the marriage dissolved in the late 1950’s Elizabeth worked cleaning houses and as a waitress to support her family. She retired at 65 as administrator at a local chiropractor’s office. But for most of this time she used her love of learning about birds of all kinds to begin a second career. She often called to report her bird sightings to Wilf Bell at the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. When he became bored with the topic he asked his phone buddy if she would take over. In March 1973 her 1st column appeared and for the nest 39 years she shared her enthusiasm of birding with Citizen readers.  She was an active supporter of the Wild Bird Care Centre in Ottawa. The center created the Elizabeth Le Geyt Environmental Award that it presents annually in appreciation. When she could afford to travel she headed out on birding trips around the world elating her readers with her adventures.  Source: Charles Enman, Elizabeth Le Geyt: A lifetime of Birding. Ottawa Citizen, October 31, 2009.

'Flores' Florence Le Due

Rodeo Star

née Grace. Maude Bensell. Born 1883, Montevideo, Minnesota, U.S.A. Died 1951. Imagine following your dream and running away to join the circus! She took the professional name of Flores La Due and never looked back! She had grown up on ranches in Minnesota and South Dakota and she knew how to ride horses. She joined a wild west show as a trick rider and roper. In 1909 she married a handsome cowboy, Guy Weadick, and the young couple performed and toured together throughout North America and Europe. She became World Champion Trick and Fancy Roper ( three times actually) at the first Calgary Stampede in 1912, which was produced by her husband. The couple eventually became semi retired ranchers , performing the circuit for part of the year and running their ranch in the Alberta foothills. She performed for some 31 years in total. In 2001 she was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth , Texas, the only Canadian resident to date to receive this honour.

Marie-Charles-Joseph LeMoyne de Longueil

Baroness de Longueil

(Baronne de Longueil) Born March 21, 1756, Montréal, Québec. Died February 17, 1756. Born a posthumous twin, her sister Marie-Catherine-Joseph died when just a few months old leaving Marie-Charles the only surviving daughter of the late 3rd Baron of Longueil. May 7, 1781 she married David Alexander Grant (d. 1806) The couple had three sons, one of whom Charles William became the 5th Baron de Longueil. Marie-Charles owned and managed land in Lower Canada as well as ½ of Wolfe Island in Lake Ontario, Upper Canada. It was she that had planner Joseph Weilbrenner draw up plans for the town of Longueil. She was extremely generous when it came providing the Catholic Church with lands. She established and was president of the Orphelinal Catholique de Montréal. She would be the last of the legal French descendants of the LeMoyne de Longueil family.

Jennie Lepard

née Wonch. Jennie married John Lepard in the late 1870's. By 1891 the couple had several children. but the couple were estranged .  Jennie was arrested and taken to the Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women and her daughters were taken to a house of refuge and her son to a boy's home in Toronto. Two years later Jennie is living with her mother with a two year old daughter. Jennie's mother Mary Ann Wonch and Jennies' daughter were found dead. Jennie had gone to a neighbors to borrow a hand sleigh for hauling wood. The next day a fire was discovered at the cabin where the family had lived. Mary Ann's body was found in the woods and the toddler's remians were found under the floor board of the burned home. Jennie was found a few days later working in a hotel in Meaford. She said she wanted to earn money to buy a coffin. Jennie was found responsible for the deaths  and was transferred to the Barrie jail to go to court. For the first time in Canadian history Jennie was able to testify on her own behalf. The outlook was bleak for Jennie until the doctor who had performed the post-mortems on the deceased found no evidence of violence and supported Jennie's claims. While her brother, who had helped moved the mother's body after the fire, was sent to the Orillia Insane Asylum, Jennie's fate is unknown.

Hollyanne Lewis


Born Gloucester (now Ottawa) Ontario. At 16, she did not make the cut for the Gloucester High School fashion show. A scout persuaded her to take a trip to New York City, U.S.A. to meet with some model agencies. She signed with the famous Ford Agency even though she was not finished high school.  In July 1995 she was a finalist in Ford Canada’s Supermodel Contest in Toronto, Ontario. She is in the line ups for fall and spring shows in New York City, London, Milan, Italy and Paris France. She has been able to complete her high school and has even learned Japanese. At 20 years of age she appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine.  She worked as a model for the famous Channel company and Victoria Secret.  (2018)

Mary London 4281

Convicted Adulterer & Murderer

née Osborn. Born 1776?, Bedford, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Hung August 17, 1801, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Mary married Bartholomew London and the couple may have had one child. In the late summer of 1801 Mary London and George Nemiers/Nemire where put on trial for the murder of Bartholomew London on February 17, 1801. The trial captured the attention of the young province of Upper Canada. According to the trial medical evidence Bartholomew London had been poisoned by the two young lovers Mary and George. locals followed the details of the trail reported in great detail in the Niagara Herald. Bartholomew came to Canada with is four children and four grandchildren after the American Revolution.  Mary Osborn was an immigrant from Pennsylvania and the couple were married.  George Nemiers was also from Pennsylvania and he may have worked as a labourer on the London family farm. The young Mary and the labourer were soon lovers.  Arrested shortly after the death of Bartholomew may was four months pregnant. The guilty verdict brought the sentence that the lovers were to be hanged and afterwards their bodies dissected. Mary's baby was baptized the day before the execution. Mary London was the first woman to be hung and dismembered  in Upper Canada. Source: D C B (2023)

Isabella 'Belle' Clarke Lougheed.

Métis Political Wife

née Hardisty. Born 1859. Died 1936. Isabella was born into a Métis family, one of the richest in the Canadian North west. After primary education she attended the Wesleyan Female College, Hamilton, Ontario. On September 16 1884 she married a young and upcoming lawyer, James Lougheed (1854-1923), who would go on to serve as a Canadian Cabinet Minister and senator. The couple would have 4 sons and two daughters. In 1891 the Lougheeds moved into a large house on the outskirts of Calgary which would become a cultural centerpiece of the area where Belle was grand hostess to such notables as the Governor General and the Prince of Wales. Belle as an active participant in the growing community. In 1890 she was treasurer of the Women’s Hospital Aid Society and in 1896 she was Vice-President of the Alberta District National Council of Women. In 1916 James was knighted in recognition of war effort work on the home front. Lady Bell was the 1st President of the Victorian Order of Nurses, active with the Children’s Aid Society and the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire. In 1922 she helped to found and served as 1st president of the Southern Alberta Pioneers and Old Timer’s Association. Lougheed House, the family mansion is both a provincial and in 1992 became a National Historic Site with restoration to the days when Lady Bell was denizen of Calgary.

Lillian Beatrice Love - Knapp  3894

Prospector in Northern Ontario

née Beaudreau. Born 1887? Died 1990, Westborough, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Lillian prospected for silver around Maple Mountain on the Montreal River.  It is known that Lillian was in Desbarats, just east of Sault Ste. Marie in 1907 and Dawson Island taking copper claims. In 1910 Mrs. A. B. Love was the only woman to make the trek from Haileybury, northern Ontario, to Timmins, Ontario, on a winter road with a group of 30 hearty souls. On the trail there were a few tents selling hot coffee to help keep travelers warm up from the cold. The trail was not always wide enough to get past and trees had to be cut down. When the group reached Porcupine Lake they set up tents  for themselves and set out to stake their gold claims..  She wrote her story of her early days in the porcupine and it was published in the Timmins Daily Press in 1949. Married three times first to a man named Love, then a many called Perry and then a man named Knapp.  most of her post marriage life she worked as a private nurse. Source: Looking for 'cheery' past Januarys, Timmins Daily Press, January 7, 2022

Isabella Macdonald

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Clark. Born 1811. Died December 28,1857. Isabella was the 1st cousin of Sir John A. Macdonald. They met in Scotland in 1842 during one of Sir John’s trips to the United Kingdom. Later in 1842 Isabella visited her sister in Kingston, Upper Canada and met once again Sir John. On September 1, 1843 the couple were married. After two years of marriage Isabella became ill. Although she removed from this bout of ill health she became ill once again in 1844 and this time she became an invalid and never really fully recovered her health. The couple travelled in the United States in 1845 in the hopes of Isabella regaining her strength. She would remain in the U.S.A. for the next few years while Sir John travelled between her and his political offices in Ottawa. In August 1847 a son, John Alexander Macdonald Junior was born. Unfortunately tragedy struck when the 13 month old died suddenly. A second son Hugh John Macdonald was born in March of 1850 (1850-1929). When Hugh was just seven years old he mother succumbed to her illness and died.  Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia online (accessed July 20130; The Invisible Lady by James McSherry (1989) (accessed July 2013) ; Women of Ottawa: Mentors and milestones Online (accessed July 2013)

Mary Macdonald-Leech

Ship Bride

née Macdonald. Born 1837, England. Died April 28, 1892, Victoria, British Columbia. Mary came to British Columbia on the Bride-ship, Tynemouth in September 1862. The Columbia Emigration Society working with the Anglican Church had arranged for single women to come from London to British Columbia with the object of the women becoming brides to the large number of male population. She survived the three month  voyage suffering storms at sea and mutiny on board ship. Mary was a gifted musician as was soon on demand as a sinter and pianist at parties and weddings. She became organist at Bishop Cridge's Reformed Episcopal Church. In 1873 she married Peter John Leech (1826-1899). John had come to British Columbia with the Royal Engineers as a surveyor. The short lived gold rush around Leech Creek/river and Leech Town were named after him. He worked at numerous jobs as a surveyor with the Hudson Bay company and the railways  taking him away from home for long periods of time. John eventually became city surveyor and an architect in Victoria. The couple had one daughter, Fanny Helen Leech-Felker-Faucault (1875-1955), who inherited her mother's musical talent and performed in towns on Vancouver Island. See entry for Fanny under Entertainers - singers

Susan Agnes Macdonald

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Bernard. Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe. Born Jamaica August 24,1836. Died September 5, 1920. Brought up in Jamaica and England she came to Canada  to live with her brother. It was through her brother, Hewitt, that she met the Canadian politician, Sir John A. Macdonald. They married February 16, 1867. She was the 2nd wife for Sir John but as the wife of our 1st Prime Minister she Canada's 1st "First Lady".  She was intelligent and curious about life but she had little patience for the social graces and duties of the wife of a Canadian Prime Minister. In 1886, following the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway the Macdonald's set of on a transcontinental rail trip. Consumed by the beauty of the Canadian Rockies, the 50 year old woman raised concerns from the crew when she enjoyed part of the trip wrapped in blankets and perched atop a candle box on the locomotive's cow catcher! The diaries she wrote, now preserved in Canada's National Archives, provide a fascinating view of the early years of Canadian Confederation. She and Sir John had one daughter Margaret Mary Theodora Macdonald, who was born severely handicapped, both mentally and physically (1869–1933).After her husband's death in 1891 she was raised to the peerage in his honour as Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe, in the Province of Ontario and Dominion of Canada. She eventually returned to England where she died and is buried.

Gladys Cameron MacGregor-Watt

Theatre Promoter

Born Galveston, Texas, U.S.A.. Died October 15, 1979, Ottawa, Ontario . Her mother died in childbirth and Gladys was sent to Brooklyn to live with an aunt and Uncle. She graduated from Brooklyn’s Adelphi College with her B.A.. Shortly after she married a Canadian forestry engineer Roy MacGregor Watt January 10, 1917. The young couple moved to Dauphin, Manitoba where she was paramount in establishing a local library and a little theatre. During the great depression she operated a billboard company to make ends meet for the family. In 1937 the young family, now including two sons, moved to Ottawa, Ontario. It did not take Gladys long to become involved with her beloved theatre work. In 1958 she was Governor of the Canadian Drama Festival and was presented with the Canadian Drama Award for her efforts. In 1963 Lady Bird Johnson, first lady of the United States presented Gladys with the Margo Jones Award for her impact on encouraging live theatre. Gladys was instrumental in preserving Ottawa’s old Union Station building in the heart of downtown Ottawa and campaigned vigorously against the demolition of the Wet block of the Canadian Parliament buildings. In 1964 the City of Ottawa honoured her for her dedication. In 1967 she was recipient of the Canadian Centennial Medal. When she retired from the Ottawa Little Theatre, where she had advanced the One Act Play contest to a national level, she was presented with an engraved silver tray and a seat in the Theatre with her name on it. Source: Gladys Cameron Watt by Valerie Knowles.

Jane Mackenzie

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Sym. Born March 22, 1825, Perthshire, Scotland. Died March 30, 1893, Toronto, Ontario. Married on June 17, 1853, Jane would become the second wife of Alexander Mackenzie, second Prime Minister of Canada1873-1978. The couple did not have any children but Jane was stepmother to a daughter from her husband's 1st marriage. The Toronto Globe newspaper described her as "the best-known woman of Canada...and one of the most admired and respected." It was a role she did not really enjoy but she supported her husband and  entertained all of Ottawa's politicians.   (2020)                                                                

Grace Marks  4081

Born July 1828, Ireland. Died after 1873. Grace along with her eight siblings and her parents immigrated to Canada in 1840. A maid, Grace was involved in the 1843 murder of her employer Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery his housekeeper in Richmond Hill, Ontario. There was much controversy and debate about her part in the murder. Was she instrumental in the plot or was merely an unwitting accessory? James McDermott, a servant committed the murders shooting Thomas Kinnear and hitting Nancy Montgomery on the head with an axe. Using the name, Mary Whitney, Grace fled to the United States with James McDermott but they were caught in Lewiston, New York and deported back to Toronto. Grace and Thomas were tried for the Murder of Thomas Kinnear and sentenced to death. Jame McDermott was hanged but Grace had her sentence commuted to live in prison and was sent to Kingston Penitentiary.  For a year she was committed to an asylum but in the summer of 1853 she was returned to Kingston Penitentiary. After almost 30 years of incarceration she was pardoned and she left to live in northern New york where she disappeared from the history books. Susanna Moodie wrote of Grace in her book Life in the Clearings Versus the Bush and acclaimed author Margaret Atwood  wrote the 1996 historical fiction novel Alias Grace. In 2017 Alias Grace was adapted for television and also adapted for stage. (2022)

Sheila Ann Martin
Wife of a Prime Minister

née Cowan. Born 1943, Windsor, Ontario Was neighbour to Paul Martin and his family A Canada Steamship Lines ship, Sheila Ann, is named in her honour. Before her husband, Paul Martin, became the Prime Minister of Canada, Sheila Martin's work in Ottawa included serving on a committee called Politics and the Pen, and on this committee she helped give prizes and money to Canadian writers.

Eileen Viola Mayotte 4190

née Thornber. Born May 25, 1916, Fort William, Ontario. Died October 13, 2008 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Living in Montreal the young Eileen helped run camps to earn funding for studies as Sir George Williams and McGill University. September 6, 1947 she married Alvin Stewart Mayotte. By 1948 she and her husband Alvin Mayotte had graduated with degrees in  Science and a Masters in Social work and soon after arrived with their baby daughter in Saskatchewan. Two more children joined the family and the enjoyed the camping experience. She again ran camps for various United Church sites and organized Saskatchewan Camping. She would serve as president of the Saskatchewan Camping Association and the Canadian Camping Association. advocating non-trace camping. She and Al were featured in the documentary film Canoe Country. As a senior she organized a seniors' environmental action group advocating reused and recycling. She worked as a tour guide for the Regina Science Center and Museum of Natural History. In 1993 she was one of the founders of the Intercultural Grandmothers Uniting Network which was a group of First Nations and Métis and other women who wanted to build understanding, respect, friendship, and trust among races and generations. Source: Herstory 2004; Obituary online (accessed 2023)

Patricia 'Pat' Mary McDonagh

Born March 17, 1934, Manchester, England. Died May 31, 2014, Toronto, Ontario. Her mother was a seamstress and created for Pat the latest in fashion that the youth showed her mother from a magazine. She attended Manchester University where she was approached, much to the horror of her parents, to become a model. In August 1960 she married David Main and the couple had 3 children. She opened a dress shop in Horwick, England which proved to be popular and led to a second shop opening. In 1966 with her husband having a job offer from the CBC the family immigrated to Toronto, Ontario. Pat found the city void of fashion sence and opened a shop in Toronto providing up to date fashion for the city. She soon recognized the need for Canadian modern designing and in 1968 opened her 1st factory. Her designs have been worn by such notables as Cher, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Rigg, and our own Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean. She won the New York Times Award for Design Excellence in 1992 followed in 2000 with the Best Shoe acknowledgement from the Bata Shoe Museum. In 2003 she was presented with a lifetime Achievement Award from the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Source: Susan Ferrier MacKay, She brought Carnaby Street to Toronto, The Globe and Mail, July 5, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.

Mary Teresa McGee 4259

'Mother of Confederation'

née Caffrey. Born 1847, Dublin, Ireland. Died January 17, 1871, Montreal, Quebec. Mary married Thomas D'Arcy McGee (1825-1868)July 13, 1847 in Dublin. The couple would have five children, three of whom died in infancy. Her husband was an author and journalist who was forced to leave Ireland in disguise because of his involvement with the Young Ireland Movement. By 1850, Thomas Darcy McGee had established himself in Boston, Massauchetts, U.S.A. and was able to send for his wife.  In 1857 the couple relocated to Canada where Thomas was elected to parliament. He would be part of the government which brought the country together and would be known as a Father of Confederation. April 7, 1868 Thomas D'Arcy McGee was assassinated by a member of the Fenian Brotherhood. He was given Canada's first state funeral. The Canadian parliament voted a pension to Mary and the children. (2023)

Eleanor McKinnon 3763
Private Secretary to Tommy Douglas

Born October 22, 1912, Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Died January 4, 2004, Regina, Saskatchewan. Eleanor and her family were members of the same Calvary Baptist Church where Thomas Clement 'Tommy' Douglas (1904-1986) was a minister. Eleanor attended Brandon College and worked as a secretary at the Weyburn Mental Hospital for nine years. Tommy Douglas became the Premier of Saskatchewan in 1944 and offered Eleanor the position as his private secretary. It was a busy position with lots of phone called and lots of letters to be written. There were often extra hours of work with no extra pay. When considering to move to Ottawa as leader of the New Democratic Party (N D P) Tommy Douglas asked if Eleanor would come with him. In 1961 Eleanor began working in Tommy's Ottawa Office where she served for
27 years retiring in 1983. She earned $315.00 monthly with $100.00 each month going to her rent. Well known in the halls of the House of Commons she still had to sign into the parliament buildings each day. Source: The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan online (accessed 2022)

Sara Anne McLagan

Telegraph Operator & Social Activist

née Maclure. Born 1816?. Belfast, Ireland. Died March 20, 1924, Vancouver, British Columbia. Sara immigrated with her mother and siblings arriving in April 1859 to join their father who had arrived in British Columbia the previous year. Her father took a land grant in 1866  and had a telegraph repeater station in her home. Sara was fascinated becoming a good telegrapher . She was hired by Western Union Telegraph when she was just 15. Soon promoted she was charged with sending line maintenance men. December 11, 1874 she married John Campbell McLagan and resigned her office manager position with the Telegraph Company. Married women of the time did not work out of the home. By 1888 the couple along with Sara's step son and their four additional children settled in Vancouver.  Sara would often receive telegraph messages for her husband's newspaper, the Vancouver Daily World. She became a founding member of the Local Council of Women in 1894 where she served as treasurer  and later as president. After the death of the husband in 1901 she took over the newspaper as publisher, editor, writer, and reporter. She established a women's page and covered health issues, children's nutrition as well as news of women's clubs and politics.  She was a founding member of the Canadian Women's Press Club and a founding member of the British Columbia Institute of Journalists. 1903-1907 she was president of the British Columbia Council of Women working to improve women's lives including advocating for the vote for women. She worked to establish a training school for nurses and established the local Victoria Order of Nurses (VON) where she served on the executive from 1898 through 1907. She was also a charter member of the Vancouver General Hospital Women's Auxiliary. She would help to found the Art Historical and Scientific Association serving as president in 1903. She worked with both the Young Men's/Young Women's Christian Associations  and the local Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire (I O D E) In 1905 she sold her flourishing newspaper. In 1911 she joined the newly formed Vancouver Women's Association, the Georgian Club. In 1908 she returned to her Fraser Valley home to run the family far . Finances became short and she once again hired out her telegraphic skills during World War l. After the war she worked in France with the British Red Cross. Source: D C B (2020)

Theresa Helen McNeil

High Sherriff

née Membourquette. Born 1928, Lower Ardoise, Nova Scotia. Died March 11, 2009. Theresa married Burt and was the busy stay at home mom to the couple ‘s  17 children. When Burt died suddenly in 1973 there were still 7 children under the age of 10 at home. Theresa was hired by  Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, as High Sherriff. She was the first woman in Canada to hold such a position. She inspired all of the people around her including her children who would in time become teachers, public Servants, police officers, small business owners even a Nova Scotia Member of Parliament. She was also a tireless volunteer who worked in and for her community until she became ill to deliver Meals on wheels.  In 1992 she received the Canada 125 Medal and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002. In 2005 she was named to the Order of Nova Scotia. Source: Protocol Office, Order of Nova Scotia recipients online (accessed August 12, 2008. )

Violet Madeline Mellinger - Mann

Titanic Survivor

née Mellinger. Born Feb 22, 1899, Walthamstow, England. Died May 27, 1976, Toronto, Ontario. Madeline grew up in England. After her father became estranged from the family she and some her siblings were sent to Children's Homes because of the severe straights of the family with only a single parent. In early 1912 her mother, Elizabeth, was offered a position as a domestic in Bennington, Vermont, U.S.A.  Madeline and her mother boarded the Titanic on April 10, 1912 for passage to the U.S.A. Madeline and her mother were placed in lifeboat 14 when the ship began to sink. They were later transferred to lifeboat 12 and rescued by the ship Carpathia. The pair returned to England after the disaster and emigrated to Canada about 1915 and settling in Toronto. October 1, 1921 Madeline married David Daniel Man (1898-    ) a banker, in London, Ontario. The couple would have four sons. On April 15, 1939, Madeline and her mother, Elizabeth, attended a Titanic Reunion at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. She would also attend a Titanic Historical Society convention in the 1970's. See also Elizabeth MellingerSource: Encyclopedia Titanica Online (accessed 2020)



Born 1710 ? Baptized June 28, 1730. She was a black slave who had the misfortune to fall in love with a white man, Claude Thibault. They fled from Canada  to New England. To mask their escape she set fire to her master's house. The fire burnt out of control and 46 homes were destroyed along with the famous Hotel Dieu. She was captured and sentenced to have her hand cut off and be burned alive. The sentence was changed to handing before her body was burned. Her ashes were scattered to the wind.

Jessie Isabel Meighen

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Cox. Born April 18, 1883, Granby, Quebec. Died September 6, 1985, Toronto, Ontario. Isabel left home to teach in Manitoba. It was while here that she me a young man who had also been a teacher and then studied law. In June 1904 she married Arthur Meighen (1874-1960) who would become the 8th Prime Minister of Canada. The couple had three children. Sources: Une Granbyenne, première dame du Canada by René Beaudoin in Société d”Histoire de la haute-Yamaska, Fév. 26, 2012. Online (accessed July 2013. )

Elizabeth Anne Mellinger

Titanic survivor

née Maidment. Born 1870, Pimlico, England. Died January 4, 1962, Toronto. Elizabeth married Claude Leinard Deschamps Mellinger on March 13, 1895. The couple had five children. By 1901 Claude had become estranged from his family and resettled in Australia. With her husbands departure Elizabeth lived in dire circumstances with some of her children being taken from her to live in Children's Homes. In 1912 Elizabeth was offered employment as a housekeeper in Bennington, Vermont, U.S.A. April 10, 1912 she and her daughter Violet as second class passengers on the Titanic. The mother and daughter first boarded lifeboat 14 and later transferred to lifeboat 12 and were picked up by the ship Carpathia. The two returned to England after the disaster and emigrated to Canada around 1915 settling in Toronto. April 15, 1939 Elizabeth and Violet Madeline attended a Titanic reunion at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. SEE also daughter Violet Mellinger


Indigenous  woman

Born 1740 ?, Labrador. Died 1795, A daughter of an Inuit Chief, Mikak lived with her husband and son in a small British fishing station when the settlement was raided and her husband was killed. The young widow learned to speak English from a British solder, Francis Lucas. She and her son went to England with Lucas. Here she  was treated like the Inuit Princess that she was. She and her son had their portrait painted by the famous artist John Russell. In London she met Jens Haver, a Moravarian Missionary. She helped the missionary raise funds for a mission and in the summer of 1768 she returned to Labrador with Francis Lucas. When Jans Haven arrived in 1769 she helped establish the mission for which she had helped to raise funds from the British. She remarried to an Inuit hunter, Tugavina, and settled with her family in her homeland.   

Joyce Lola Milgaard 4202

Born 1930, Ontario .Died March 21, 2020, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan. Joyce grew up in an abusive household where her drunk father used to beat her. At just eleven years of age she started working by lying about her age. As a teen she worked as a switchboard operation at a hospital and then at the Toronto Star newspaper. She married Lorne Milgaard and the couple settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Joyce  became a Christian Scientist and trained as a Christian Science Nurse. She was the mother of four children. In 1969, a 16 year old David Milgaard was arrested and the following year at 17 she was wrongfully convicted of raping and murdering Saskatoon nurse Gail Miller and sent to prison for life. Joyce believed in her son's innocence and relocating to Saskatoon to be closer to David, she immediately began fighting for his release and an overturning of the conviction. She recruited criminal lawyers to help with the case. She handed out leaflets at Christmas in 1980 offering a $10,000.00 reward for new information. She interviewed witnesses. She sold her own possessions to continue her fight. She hired private investigators. She even threatened to camp out on the lawn of the Saskatchewan legislature. She confronted the federal Justice Minister and the Prime Minister of Canada. When two lawyers became convinced, in 1987, to review the Milgaard case they hired a well-known forensic pathologist, Dr. James Ferris, to looking into the existing evidence. In December 1988 applications for a new trial under section 690 of the Criminal Code which is a provision that permits the Minister of Justice to review new evidence and order a new trial. Joyce meanwhile was continuing her efforts to keep the case in the forefront of the news. Old police statements from key witnesses showed an contradiction of testimony. New witnesses were located. On an anonymous tip, Joyce tracked down the wife of a suspect convicted of several sexual assaults in the area and the wife said her husband was capable of a crime of murder. With what she felt was new evidence Joyce contacted the Canadian Justice Minister Kim Campbell pleading for help but was snubbed by  in front of reporters. February 27, 1991 Justice Minister Kim Campbell dismissed Milgaard's application to review his case. David Milgaard himself was ready to throw in the towel but not Joyce. Independent investigators found more evidence and also found  that the authorities at the time of the arrest had hid evidence. In August 1991 a second application  application for review was submitted. A month later Joyce confronted Prime Minister Brian Mulroney outside a Winnipeg hotel in front of a gaggle of reporters the Prime minister promised the mother that he would look into the case. November 29, 1991, Justice Minister Kim Campbell directed the Supreme Court of Canada to review David Milgaard's conviction. David would spend almost 23 years behind bars before being released in 1992 and exonerated by D N A evidence in 1997.July 18, 1997 the Canadian government admitted that "a terrible wrong was done to David Milgaard by his wrongful conviction." After being released David Milgaard went on to published for an independent Criminal Case Review Commission to make it easier and faster for potentially wrongfully convicted people to have their applications for release reviewed. Joyce was instrumental in the fight for a new commission. Joyce was named to the Maclean's Magazine Honour Roll and received the Canada 125 Anniversary medal for her significant contribution to Canadian citizens. She continued working with the John Howard Society as an honorary Board Member and was regional director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted. She also authored a book: A Mother's Story: The Fight to Free my son David, which was co-written with reporter Peter Edwards in 1999. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra performed the piece 'Milgaard' in 2000.  In September 2021 judges suggested a new independent body, A Miscarriages of Justices Commission  be formed. Source: Jana G. Pruden, Joyce Milgaard was the symbol of a Mother's relentless, Unapologetic fight fro her child., The Globe and Mail March 21, 2020. (accessed 2023)

Eleanor Joan 'Dusty' Miller

Theatre Administrator

née Faircloth. Born August 3, 1929. Died February 14, 2012. In 1949 she married  Thomas B. Miller (  - 1996) and the couple moved to England returning to live in Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1954 where Dusty would become Artistic Director of the Cambrian Players for nine years. She also taught theatre and television arts in high schools and designed and co-directed the Fine Arts Division at Lakehead University. She also taught in the Confederation College Performing Arts Management Program.  She became active in politics and in 1974 was elected as a city councilor. In 1978-1980 she was the first woman mayor of Thunder Bay,.  She was elected again to city council in 1985 and served through 1991. She was a member of the Board of Directors of Lakehead University for 11 years and was a founding member of Theater Ontario. Influential Women honoured her with the Northwestern Ontario Business Award and was presented the Maggie Bassett Award from Theatre Ontario for her outstanding contribution to theatre. She received the Order of Ontario and was appointed a Fellow of Lakehead University. Source: Obituary  Globe and Mail March 10, 2012. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa Ontario

Dorothea Mitchell

Teacher, Lumberjack, Photographer, & Amateur Film Maker

Born 1877, England. Died 1976, Victoria,  British Columbia. As a youth the Mitchell family lived in Bombay, India (now Mumbai) where her father worked building railroads. Dorothea and her sister Vera were educated not only in the traditional skills for girls of the times but also were introduced to carpentry, riding, and marksmanship. After the death of her father the family returned to England where Dorothea worked at various jobs to help support the family. In 1904 Dorothea emigrated to Canada working in Halifax, Nova Scotia as a dance teacher. When her mother and sister also immigrated they lived in Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario. In 1907 she was granted a homestead but one of only 79 acres, about half what a man would be granted. She was the rist single woman in Ontario to be granted a homestead. In 1909 she worked for a mining engineering company in northwester Ontario in the town of Silver Mountain and later worked for the Canadian National Railway (C N R ) as a station master and also worked at the general store. Later she purchased a lumber mill and was able to hire workers earning the titl of Lady Lumberjack. Trading an old cook stove for a camera she soon gained a solid reputation as a photographer. By 1921 she had settled in Port Arthur, Ontario (now Thunder Bay) and she soon her photos and stories began to appear in local newspapers and theartre as she became interested in film. In 1929 she was actor, production manager, editor, casting director and writer for the film A race For Ties. She followed this up with Sleep Inn Beauty. Her final film and The Fatal Flower, in 1930 was left uncompleted due to financial difficulties This silent film was completed by a group of film historians in 2004. In 1930 she became the first secretary-treasurer of the Port Arthur General Hospital. After the death of her mother and sister she worked in real estate and accounting.  During World War ll she worked with the Red Cross Society in the transportation corps. After the war she  continued working to help returning service men and British war orphans. In 1941 she retired to Victoria, British Columbia once again entering the foray of amateur film mating She would also serve as secretary for the Victoria Branch of the Canadian Authors Association. Her autobiography is called the Lady Lumberjack. (2020)

Marie Catherine de Baillon - Miville r 22

Fille du Roi

née de Baillon. Born 1645?, Les Layes, Ile de France, France. Died January 27, 1688, Rivière-Ouelle, New France (now Quebec). Catherine was from a noble France family and chose to answer the call  to go to New France under the protection of the King as a Fille du Roi to marry and settle in the colony. There is some controversy as to Catherine having gone to New France of her own free will some historians have contended that Catherine had had an liaison with a French Duke who married someone else. To avoid scandal, and perhaps to protect his own position in the Royal Court,  it is proposed that her brother put on the ship sailing to New France  She arrived in Quebec June 30, 1669. On November 12, 1669 she married Jacques Miville in Quebec. The couple would have six children. Catherine and Jacques died just a few hours apart in 1688 perhaps the victims of an epidemic. (2023)

Mabel Morin  4182

Born 1886? Died February 3, 1916, Ottawa, Ontario. Born 1889? Died February 3, 1916, Ottawa, Ontario. Mabel was married to a professional man and the couple  who had settled in St. Joseph de Beauce. The couple had five children. In early February 1916, Mabel was visiting in Ottawa in the quarters of the Speaker of the House the Hon. Albert Sévigny (1881-1961) in the Parliament Buildings. The alarm was sounded. Fire in the Parliament Buildings. Florence and Mabel, thinking they had time, made the poor decision of returning to their bedrooms to pick up their fur coats. After all, it was February 3, and it was cold outside. Sadly the two women succumbed to smoke inhalation before firefighters could reach them. Evidently the two women had attempted to escape through a window but the window would not open and they were caught by the fast spreading fire. (2022)

Haru Moriyama  3580

Picture Bride

Born June 22,1892, Japan. Died February 9, 1987, Lethbridge, Alberta. Haru was a 'Picture Bride'. Her mother sent a photograph of her young daughter to a farm family in Japan and Haru was sent to live with this family. Her photograph was went to a son of the family who lived in Canada. Upon his approval their marriage was registered and celebrated in Japan before Haru sailed to British Columbia in 1912. The wedding ceremony was formalized with a second wedding in Canada. Toyoki Moriyama and Haru would have five children. During the Second World War they were interned with other Japanese Canadian families in Coalhurst, Alberta. After the war the family relocated to Picture Butte, Alberta. After her husband's death Haru settled in Lethbridge, Alberta. In 1983 the Lethbridge and District Japanese-Canadian Association honoured her or her successful life in Canada where she celebrated her heritage. The city of Lethbridge named a street in her honour. Source: Legacy of Lethbridge Women, Lethbridge Historical Society, 2005; Find a Grave, Canada (accessed 2021)

Nancy Morton


Born 1764? New York? U.S.A. A slave Nancy seems to have arrived in New Brunswick in 1785. In 1800 two lawyers argued on her behalf in a Fredericton, New Brunswick, court that she should be freed from her 'owner' Caleb Jones. Some sources state that Jones was acting on behalf of Stair Agnew her actual 'owner'. Agnew had evidently 'purchased' Nancy for forty pounds in 1791. The trail was drawn out over a year and at times saw physical outbreaks in the courtroom. The trial resulted in a divided decision from the four judges. This forced Nancy to continue living as a slave.  After the trial she was 'sold' by William Bailey and was documented for fifteen years before dropping off the pages of history. However Nancy Morton's case may have been instrumental in turning the public opinion against slavery which was abolished in Canada in 1834. (2022)

Milica  'Mila' Mulroney

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Pivnicki. Born July 13,1953, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina .Her father was a doctor and could not advance without being a member of the party politics.  He took a research fellowship in Montreal in 1956 and worked the next two years through red tape necessary to bring his family to Canada. Mila was 5 when she arrived in Canada and had her first glimpse of snow. She registered at Concordia University to study engineering and fine art but became diverted in her studies. In 1972 She met  an up and coming lawyer from Bae Como and they married May 26, 1973. Brian Mulroney (1939 -   ) would become the 18th Prime Minister of Canada 1984-1993. Mila dropped her university studies becoming a housewife, mother of 4 children and staunch supporter of her husband’s political career.  Both were involved with the Progressive Conservatives in Westmount. Mila played a large role in Brian’s first campaign for the Progressive Conservative Party leadership. Many PC campaign buttons featured both Mulroney’s face and hers. She was known for having a good handle on fashion but she could also work a crowd with her friendly manner making people feel at ease. Her charity works included being a director of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation . After politics and with her children grown and married she rekindled her interest in the arts. She enjoys making necklaces that she gives to family and friends. She also enjoys painting and abstract works of art. Sources: “Mila Mulroney : Designing Woman” by Julia Smith. Maclean’s Magazine July 12, 2013. Online accessed July 2013. ; “Meet Mila Mulroney’s greatest asset.” By Hubert Bauch. Montreal Gazette September 3, 1983 Online (accessed July 2013).

Letitia Munson

Slave / Healer

Born North Carolina, U.S.A. ca 1820.  Died Ca 1882. Born a slave she was sent by her master to learn the art of healing to help other slaves and protect the investment of the master. By 1861 she had gained her freedom and was settled in Woodstock in Canada West. By 1870 she was a well established herbalist and fortune teller and her home was the place that many unwed women visited when they became pregnant. She became involved in a scandalous legal case where she was accused but acquitted of performing abortions. In her day orphanages did not accept illegitimate children and many women felt their choice was limited to visiting her home.

Asayo Murakami

Picture Bride



née Imamoto. Born 1898, Japan. Died December 21, 2002 Vancouver, British Columbia. Asayo married in Japan into the Ishibashi family and had two daughters before her marriage was dissolved. Her daughters were sent to live with their paternal grandmother. On May 27, 1924 Asayo arrived in British Columbia as a 'picture bride' for a Mr. Murakami. However, when she saw the short unattractive man she changed her mind. She worked for three years cleaning houses and working in a canning factory to pay back the spurned fiancée for her travel to Canada. A matchmaker introduced her to Otokichimi Murakami and the married couple settled in Stevenson, British Columbia. Between the children from previous marriages and their family there were 12 children. In 1942 the government of Canada confiscated homes and businesses and moved Japanese families to internment camps. The Murakami family were moved to  Letellier, Manitoba. Here they worked for fifty cents and hour. In 1949 the couple joined the family of their oldest daughter in Ranier, Alberta. They retired in 1967.

Sheila NaGiera

Legendary Pioneer

(Magella or MaGeila?) Is she real? Only the undiscovered foggy history of Newfoundland knows for sure. As oral history tells it, she may have been an O’Connor, the daughter of a claimant to the Irish Throne of Connaught. Oral traditions abound in tales of Newfoundland’s early Irish Princess. She is reputed to have come to Newfoundland in the early 1600’s and married one Gilbert Pike. The couple became planters and small business people in nearby Carbonnear Island in 1611. Were they indeed the first European couple to settle Newfoundland’s shores??? Source: The Beaver, February / March 2005 pages 44-45

Angelina Napolitano

Convicted Murderer

Born near Naples, Italy 1883(?) Died after 1924. In 1909, Angelina and her husband emigrated to Canada fro Ital via New York City. The settled in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. On April 16, 1911 she hugged her children good bye and went to jail. She had waited for the police. She had killed her abusive husband. In 1910 she had been disfigured when stabbed by her abusive husband.  She saw no other way out for the safety of her children.  He had tried to force her to prostitute herself to earn money to build a family house. She was convicted and sentenced to hang after the birth of the child she was expecting. A protest erupted following the conviction. Organizations from across North America and Britain. Feminist groups screamed 'self Defence'. On July 14, 1911 her sentence was commuted to life in prison. December 30, 1924 she was granted parole. She had kept in touch with her children but it is not known what happened after 1924.  Her case was the beginning of recognition of a major problem of western civilization. Was she guilty. Yes, but in the modern millennium law and society would have provided at least alternative solution to her situation.

Natawista-Iksana 'Nattty'     3583

Indigenous Woman

Her name translates as Medicine Snake Woman. Born 1824? Died March 1893, Stand Off, Alberta. Natty was the daughter of a leading Blood tribe chief. In the 1840's she married chief trader for the Upper Missouri Outfit of the American Fur Company, Alexander Culbertson (1809-1879). Their marriage would be formalized in 1859 in Peoria Illinois, U.S.A. The couple had five children. Natty was a strong supporter of her husband and cultivated friendly relations between the Aboriginals and American traders. She also worked to have the Blackfeet to live in peace with other tribes and to allow white settlers and military personnel to settle in the region for the U S government agreement of annuity payments. It was rumoured that her husband was  an alcoholic and a gambler and she soon returned to her Blood  Reserve near Lethbridge, Alberta. In 1877 she accepted treaty status in Canada under the name Nat-Kix-in, with her Fred Kanouse. By 1880 she had left her husband and was living with Red Crow on the the new Blood Indian Reserve in Alberta. She is remembered as being remarkable in both appearance and character. Sources: Legacy of Lethbridge Women, Lethbridge Historical Society, 2005; D C B. (2021)

Hanna Newcombe

Peace Advocate

née Hammerschlag. Born February 5, 1922, Prague, Poland. Died April 10, 2011, Hamilton, Ontario. She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2007. When she was in her late teens the German Nazis marched into Prague and her family emigrated to Canada in 1939. The family settled on a fruit farm near Grimsby, Ontario. By 1945 Hanna had earned a Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and the family had moved to Toronto. While she was studying at University she met her husband Alan George Newcombe and the couple studied for they PhD's at the University of Toronto. Graduating in 1950 she soon gave birth to a daughter and then a son. In 1955 the young family relocated to Hamilton and a second son was born. Hanna augmented the family income as an occasional instructor in chemistry. The couple founded the Peace Research Institute in Dundas, Ontario in the late 1970's and followed this with founding the Canadian Peace Research and Education Association. They both published articles in numerous scholarly journals. They established summer institutes on peace research. Hanna was an active member in the World Federalist Movement, the Canadian Voice of Women, and the Canadian Religious Society of Friends ( known as Quakers). In 1997 Hanna received the Pearson Peace Medal.  The family has endowed the Newcombe Prize in Peace Studies at McMaster University, an annual support to an outstanding undergraduate in Peace Studies.

Angelina Napolitano

Born 1883, Naples, Italy. Died 1924?, Frontenac County, Ontario. In 1898 she married Pietro Napolitano. The couple immigrated America in 1909 and lived seven years in New York City prior to coming to Canada and settling first in Thessalon in northwestern Ontario in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. The couple had four children. On April 16, 1911 a pregnant Angelina killed her husband with an axe as he slept. She contacted a neighbour to say what she had done and waited for the police. At her trial on May 8, 1911  she had a counsel appointed. The following day she was convicted with the recommendation of clemency. She was sentenced to hang on August 9, to allow for the birth child. Evidently Pietro had forced Angelina into prostitution to earn money to build a house. She had been disfigured in November 1910 when he had stabbed her nine times. He received a suspended sentence for this assault. At the time of the murder he had threatened to beat or kill her if she did not give him money fro prostitution. The Judge at her murder trial Justice Brian Moffatt ruled evidence of  her abuse as inadmissible that anyone could give old injuries as an excuse for murder. There was heated debate from the public and even was international in scope. Some critics said the murder was proof of the danger from immigrants. Some argued simply that she was immoral  On the other side of the debate there was a campaign to commute the sentence to a prison term or be pardoned. Feminists declared the judge's decision was sexist. To some she was a heroine. Fear of hanging might injure the unborn child was another cry. July 14, 1911, Angelina's sentence was commuted by the federal cabinet to life imprisonment. December 30, 1922,  Angelina was granted parole from the Kingston Penitentiary in Ontario. The trail of her recorded life ends when Angelina left Kingston in the spring of 1924. It is not known if she ever saw her other children, who were in foster care, again. Her milestone trail was the first time that domestic abuse had been used as a defense in a Canadian Court. Source: D C B (accessed 2022)

Catherine Norton

Indigenous Women

Born ca 1797, U.S.A. ?. Died January 16, 1827, Thamesville, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Her Aboriginal name was Karighwahcagh. In 1813 when she was approximately 16 years old she married the 50 year old Chief John Norton. John was the son of a Cherokee father and a Scottish mother who was probably born in Scotland. As a youth he had joined the British Army making his way to North America where he eventually became adopted by the Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant (1743-1807). After their marriage Catherine accompanied John during his service in the War of 1812. She would have been exposed to the rough living in army camps. After the War John took Catherine to Scotland where she attended school in Dunfermaine. While in Scotland Catherine became acquainted with the Duchess of Northumberland who had a portrait of Catherine commissioned. In 1816 the couple returned to Upper Canada and eventually settled on a large farm at Sims Locks overlooking the Grand River. In 1823, believing Catherine to have been unfaithful to him, John Norton became embroiled in duel. He was charged with murder and convicted of manslaughter and paid a fine of 25 pounds. John settled a portion of his British army pension on Catherine and left for the U.S.A. There is evidence that he intended to return to Canada but there is no proof that he did indeed return. Catherine settled in Thamesville in Upper Canada. Sources: Carl F. Klinck, “NORTON, JOHN,” in D C B, vol. 6, (accessed March 14, 2015),: Women of Valour , in Canadian History Aug-September 2013;

Cornelia Oberlander
Landscape Architect

née Hahn. Born June 20, 1921, Mulheim, Germany. Died May 22, 2021, Vancouver, British Columbia. Cornelia learned her love of plants from her horticulturalist mother. She , her sister, and her mother escaped Nazi German persecution by fleeing to England when she was 18.  By the beginning of World War 2 (1939-1945) she was in the United States. In 1944 she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in Northampton, Massauchetts, U.S.A. By 1947 she was a member of the first class women to receive a degree in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University and became one of the first women to enter the Harvard Graduate School of design where she met her future husband Peter Oberlander (died 2008)whom she married in 1953. The couple lived in Vancouver and raised three children. .  In 1953 she began her own business Cornelia Hahn Oberlander Landscape Architects. For Canada's Centennial in 1967 she created the Children's Creative Centre and play area for Expo 67 in Montreal. During her career she helped make designs for the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Chancery, Washington, D C, U.S.A., the Vancouver Public Library, the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly, Yellowknife and many more. in 1981 she was elected to the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects' College of fellows. and eleven years later to the American Society of Landscape Architects' Council of Fellows. in 1990 she was inducted into the Order of Canada.   In 1992 she received the 125th Anniversary of Confederation of Canada Medal. In 1997 she became an honorary member of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia. In 2004 she was an Honoree of Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2009 her order of Canada was upgraded to Officer. Recognition of her work continued with the American Society of Landscape Architects Meda, the Margolese National Design for Living Prize, Chatelaine Magazine 's Woman of the Year in 2015, the order of British Columbia and the inaugural recipient of the Governor's General Award in Landscape Architecture in 2016. The Cultural Landscape Foundation awards the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Award.  Cornelia died of Covid 19 during the pandemic one month short of her 100th birthday. (2022)

Gwendolyn Lucy Gwen O'Soup-Crane

First Woman Chief  3593

née O'Soup. Born August 12, 1930, Key Nation, Saskatchewan. Died August 10, 2005, Regina, Saskatchewan.  Gwen  was allowed by government to complete grade eight in school She wanted more and worked with babysitting the teacher's children to learn more. Gwen married Clifford Crane after he was discharged from service at the end of World War ll. Together they raised nine children. December 14, 1956 Gwen became the first woman to be elected Chief in post-colonial Canadian History. She was elected Chief of the Key Nation, Saskatchewan. In 1956 she took her infant son to the hospital  but was turned away because she was not at an 'Indian hospital'! which was 40 km away. Sadly her son died just after his second birthday. In the early 1960's the family lived in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan before relocating to Edmonton, Alberta where they lived until 1984. Gwen eventually separated from her husband and worked at various jobs such as seamstress, hospital porter, and house and bus cleaner. She retired  back to  Key Nation. She instilled in her children the need for education and six of her family earned university degrees. Gwen was a member of the National Anglican Council for Indigenous People. She worked to have the 1885 St. Andrew's Church recognized as an historical site. She was honoured by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chiefs Assembly for her lifetime achievements. Source: iheart podcasts August 12, 2017. online (accessed 2021)

Gilberte Paquette

Hospital Administrator

Born La Reine, Abitibi, Quebec. Died August 10, 2009 Ottawa, Ontario. Within weeks of her birth her family relocated to Mace, Ontario, an Indian reserve in the District of Cochrane in Northern Ontario. From Mace the family moved to Frederick House, near the town of Cochrane, Ontario to allow the children to attend school. Gilberte entered religious life with the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa on January 15, 1942 and took her 1st vows on January 3, 1944. After earning a teaching certificate at the Ottawa Teacher's College Gilberte went on to earn her BA and then a degree in Commercial Sciences in 1952. By 1966 she had also studied hospital administration. She taught in various towns in Eastern Ontario and Quebec as well as Ottawa. In 1959 she joined the staff at the Ottawa General Hospital and in 1968 she was appointed as CEO a position she held until 1980. At that time she transferred to the Elisabeth Bruyère site of the Ottawa General Hospital leading it to become a palliative care Centre. In 1983 she established the 1st regional palliative care centre in Ontario.  May 16, 2002 the city of Ottawa dedicated Gilberte-Paquette Ave. in the city in her honour. (2019)

Isabella Pain


née Ford. Born 1968, Nain, Labrador. She left home to study at Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland earning a degree in political science. She joined the Labrador Inuit Association land claims negotiating team in 2001  was named co-chief negotiator. In 2001 she was also appointed chief negotiator on Inco’s Voisey’s Bay development. Agreement was reached in 2002 and the project proceeded as planned in 2004. In 2004 she became Inuit Affairs Officer with INCO. In 2004 she was named one of Canada’s Top forty under forty. She is married and the couple have one daughter. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006. Saskatoon: Coteau Books, 2005

Maryon Elspeth Pearson

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Moody. Born December 13,1901, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died December 26,1968, Toronto, Ontario. While attending the University of Toronto in her 4th year of studies she enrolled in tutorial classes given by Lester Bowles Pearson (1897-1972) On August 22, 1925 the couple were married in Winnipeg. He soon became involved in politics and would become the 14th Prime Minister of Canada 1963-1968.They would have one son and one daughter. She did not really care for wearing hats nor politics but she was a staunch defender of her husband. She was known for speaking her mind and for off the cuff “quips” with the pres. She was known to have said “Behind every great man is a surprised woman.”  Evidently the couple argued as a way of life but still had a loving relationship. Reportedly at her request that the practice of curtseying to the Governor General and his consort was discontinued (apparently because Maryon refused to act deferentially toward her old friend Norah Michener, the wife of Rolland Mitchner, the Governor General). It is interesting that while she does not have an entry of her own in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, a paragraph in the biography of her husband is dedicated to her. Source: “Lester Bowles Pearson”, Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (University of Toronto Press) (accessed July 2013 )

Sophia Pooley


née Burthen. Born Fishkill, New York, U.S.A. A slave by birth she was stolen with her sister by the owner’s son in law when she was 7 years old. In Genesee, New York, she was sold to Joseph Brant (1752-1807) a Mohawk leader who sided with the British during the American Revolution. Sophia helped Brant hunt deer by scaring the deer towards Brant and his sons to them. While Brant himself was not disposed to mistreating his slaves, evidently his third wife was extremely brutal. he sold Sophia when she was twelve years old to Samuel Hatt who lived in Ancaster. Eventually freed in 1813, Sophia  moved to Waterloo County where she married Robert Pooley. When 90 years old she and other former slaves were interviewed to collect their stories and memories about their time as slaves.  Source: Slavery in Canada. Online  (accessed February 2015)

Harriet Powel

Black Woman Passenger on the Underground Railroad

Born 1815 ?  Died February 5, 1860, Kingston, Canada West (Now Ontario).  Harriet was ¼ African heritage and was sold at auction in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. when she was 14 years old. She arrived in Syracuse, New York, U.S.A. on a trip with the Davenports, a wealthy family from Mississippi, U.S.A. The group caused great discussion when word got out that the beautiful young woman with the Davenports was not a companion but rather a slave. While staying at the Syracuse House Hotel with her owners, Harriet was approached by some of the black staff of the hotel. Did she wish to escape from being a slave? They could help her escape. She worked her way through several safe houses on the famous Underground Railroad that helped escaped slaves find their way to Canada and freedom. At one stop,  the home of Gerrit and Ann Smith in Peterboro, Madison County, New York, Harriet told her tearful story to a young cousin visiting the Smith home. Elizabeth Cady Stanton would go on to become a prominent feminist and she would remember the young slave woman’s story. On October 29, 1839 Harriet left Cape Vincent, New York and landed on Wolfe Island, Upper Canada and then made it safely to Kingston, Upper Canada where she lived with  Charles and Charlotte Hales There were rumors that the Davenport family had hired men to kidnap and return the errant slave, so life at first was tense. In April 1840 Harriet married Henry Kelly, a respectable gentleman of colour who was a musician. The couple  had 5 children who lived to be adults. A son Charles and his daughter Hattie were professional musicians in Guelph, Ontario. A granddaughter, A granddaughter, Katrina Coffin Kelly, was a missionary in Chile. Their son Edward was a barber in Winnipeg who Canadian checkers champion. Source: A brief account of Harriet Powel’s Escape to Kingston by Joanne Stanbridge. A paper presented at the Kingston Genealogical Society February 2009. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.

Anne Powel

Doyenne of Toronto

née Murray. Born April 26, 1755, Wells, Norfolk, England. Died March 10, 1849, Toronto, Canada West (Now Ontario). As a young woman she had been forced to learn the profession as milliner which she felt was beneath her station in life. On October 3, 1775 she eloped without permission of family with William Dummer Powell (died 1834) and the couple set off for England. The couple would have 9 children. By 1780 she and her children joined William in Montreal. The family moved numerous times to various locations in the U.S.A. and England finally settling in Toronto in 1799. Here William served as a judge providing Anne with a suitable station in the community where she became a well known social arbiter. In  April 1813, during the War of 1812, the Americans attacked Toronto Anne fearlessly determined to remain In her house while other families fled the town. She did not however survive the scandal with her promiscuous daughter Anne who was involved with the married John Beverly Robinson. The mother, at one time, sought to have her daughter committed to an asylum. Young Anne died in a shipwreck in 1829. The mother was brought to disgrace and withdrew from society. In 1826 the couple moved to England for a few years but by 1829 there returned to Upper Canada. In 1840 a ‘wicked’ granddaughter was embroiled in a messy divorce, the first divorce in Upper Canada. Much of Anne’s life is known through the some 700 detailed letters to family and friends which have survived. A portion of Anne Powell’s voluminous correspondence has been published under the title “Letters of Mrs. William Dummer Powell, 1807–1821,” ed. By Janet Carnochan, in the Niagara Historical Society, no.14 (1906): 1–40. Sources: Edith G. Firth, “MURRAY, ANNE,” in D C B, vol. 7, ( accessed March 14, 2015,); Women of Valour, in Canadian History August--September 2013;

Harriet Powel - Kelly

Escaped Slave & Settler in Frontenac County, Ontario

Born 1815?, Mississippi, U.S.A. Died February 5, 1860, Kingston, Ontario. Harriet was a slave belonging to a wealthy couple named Davenport in Mississippi. When the family took a trip to Syracuse, New York in 1839 free Black workers at the hotel in Syracuse offered to help Harriet to escape to freedom.  The night of her escape she handed the Davenport baby to its mother and walked out to a waiting buggy. Harriet was provided with a disguised in a man's coat and hat.  Over the next three weeks she moved from place to place while her owners searched for her. On October 29, 1939 her rescuers helped her escape to Wolfe Island and freedom.  Her first months in Canada were spent with Charles and Charlotte Hales, a well established business family. In April1840 Harriet married Henry Kelly (died 1874) and the couple would have eight children five of whom would live to adulthood and would distinguish themselves as Canadian citizens. Various documents including a reward poster are to be found in the Special Collections Research Centre, Syracuse University, U.S.A. (2023)

Gladys Powers

World War l Veteran

Born 1899, England. Died August 14, 2008, Abbottsford, British Columbia. She served in the British Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp in World War 1. She also served in the British Royal Air Force when she worked as a barracks waitress. After the war she came to Canada as a War Bride of a Canadian Soldier, Ed Luxford. She proudly became a Canadian Citizen. The couple settled at first in Calgary, Alberta but Gladys found it rather cold so the couple walked the rails in 1925, 1000 kilometers to settle on the west coast. Hollowing her divorce from Ed, Gladys married three more times, only to outlive all three husbands. Upon her death she was believed to have been the last woman World War One veteran. She was 109 years old.  Source: Online (accessed February 2009)

Minnie Sophia Prat

Book Binder

Born 1868, Wolfeville, Nova Scotia. Died September 4, 1901, Wolfeville, Nova Scotia . Minnie and her sisters, Annie and May were adventuresome spirits leading up to the turn of the century. At one time Minnie was engaged to marry Goodridge Roberts, brother of the poet Charles G. D. Roberts, but Goodridge dies of flu in 1892. In 1897 Minnie boldly moved to New York City to study the art of book binding with Evelyn Nordhoff, the first independent woman bookbinder in North America. Her sister May joined Minnie in New York t, learning about leatherwork for binding. The women were all pioneers in this male professional bastion. After Evelyn died, Minnie and May opened their own Primrose Bindery in New York City in 1900. Minnie won a silver medal at the 1900 Paris Exhibition and a Bronze Medal for her work in Buffalo, New York at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. Minnie died in 1901 of typhoid contracted during a visit home to Wolfeville. May kept the Primrose Bindery working with the help of big sister Anne but was forced to close it down in 1904 when she returned home to marry. Source: Nova Scotia Archives. The Prat Sisters. Online  (accessed June 2011) ; Herstory: the Canadian Women’s Calendar 2007 Coteau Books, 2006 page 74.

Catherine Anne Prevost

Political Wife

née Phipps. Born 1766. Died August 1, 1821, Belmont Bedhampton, Hampshire, England. On May 19, 1789 she married Sir George James Marc Prevost (1767-1816). Sir George held several political posts where the British government desired to have a military competency. The family was in Dominica when he served as Governor General. He was appointed as Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia January 15, 1808 and Catherine followed arriving in Halifax in August of 1808 where she took up duties as official hostess. On October 21 1811 Sir Charles was appointed Governor General of British North America and the family relocated to Quebec. Catherine presided over formal occasions and often represented her husband socially during absences leading forces in the War of 1812. Upon the death of her husband in 1816 she declined offer of peerage in honour of her husband as she did not consider herself or her family to have sufficient means to support the dignity. Source: Women of Valour , in Canadian History August-September 2013;

Jane Elizabeth Proctor

Born December 25, 1949. Died July 25, 2014, Richmond Hill, Ontario. Jane married Ronald Boss and the couple had one daughter. She was by profession a physiotherapist and she ran her own clinic in Etobicoke, Ontario. She was also physiotherapist for team Canada at such international events as the Pan-American Games, the Commonwealth Games and both summer and winter Olympics. At these games she served figure skaters and volleyball players with compassion. Source: Obituaries, The Globe and Mail, July 31, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.

Monica Proiette

'Machine Gun Molly'

Born February 25, 1940, Montreal, Quebec.  Died September 19, 1967, Montreal, Quebec.  Monica was born to a poor family that had of tussles with the law. At 13 she was a working prostitute.  In 1956 at just 17 she married Anthony Smith, a Scottish gangster who was almost twice her age. The couple had two children. In 1962 Anthon was deported from Canada. Two years after her marriage a fire in their home killed 4 of her brothers and sisters. After the loss of her husband Monica became involved with a bank robber Viteur Tessier and this couple had one child. Eventually Viteur Tessier was caught and was sent to jail for 15 years leaving Monica on her own again to raise her three children. She began her solo robbing career. Monica and her accomplices held up more than 20 banks in the Montreal area stealing over $100,000.00 dollars. The media dubbed her Machine Gun Molly/Monica La Mitraille. She used numerous disguises ranging from feminine outfits to masculine outfits. On September 19, 1967 Monica died after crashing into a bus and being shot twice by an undercover police officer following a high-speed chase through the north-end of the city. Reportedly, this was to have been her last bank robbery, intended to fund a new life in Florida. During her lifetime in robbery she became known by the nick name Machine Gun Molly. A 2004 Quebec film Monica la mitraille (Machine Gun Molly in English) was loosely based on her life. The film was adapted from the book Souvenirs de Monica by Georges-Hébert Germain.

Rose Marie Rauter


Marie was the 1st woman to graduate in forestry from the University of Toronto. She went on to earn her Masters in forestry genetics. She began her career with the Ministry of Natural Resources in Ontario. In the 1970’s she served a Supervisor of the Tree and Seed and Forest Genetics Unit.  In 1984, Marie convinced the forest industries of the Province of Ontario that they should actively participate in the tree improvement program, which resulted in 1985, in the formation of the Ontario Tree Improvement Council. chaired a working group in the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). She has presented papers throughout North America and abroad and has been an invitational participant in events such as the world forest policy forum in Indonesia. In 1992, she became the President and CEO of the Ontario Forest Industries Association, a position she held until 2000. Marie lead the development of Ontario Industry Codes of Forest Practice and been involved in many regional, provincial, national and international discussions on behalf of Ontario forest industries. She is an active member of several committees and associations including the board of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, the National Roundtable of the Economy and Environment, the Environment Forestry Task Force to the Biodiversity Advisory Committee for Environment Canada and External Affairs, and she was prominent in developing Canada's position at the Rio Conference. She served on numerous boards including the Advisory Committee of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia and the Ontario Board of the Canadian Nature Conservancy. Source: Jean Bannerman, Leading Ladies of Canada (Belleville, Mika Publishing, 1977);

Kate Reed

Interior  Designer

née Armour Born September 16, 1856 Cobourg, Ontario. Died September 18, 1928 London, England. On a trip to New York City, USA Kate met her 1st husband, an American lawyer, Grosvenor Porter Lowery. The couple had two children. After her husband’s death she returned with her children to Ottawa where she shortly married a former fiancé Hayter Reed(1847-1936) on June 16, 1889. The couple had one child. While in served as an early governor of the Victorian Order of Nurses. Kate was also a founding member of the Aberdeen Association (Now the National Association of Women of Canada) By 1900 Kate, with the family now living in Quebec City, began to help decorate the Chateau Frontenac Hotel of which her husband was in control. A connoisseur of antiques and paintings her efforts were noticed by the powers at be of the Canadian Pacific hotels and by 1905 when her husband was manager and Chief of the CP Hotel department Kate was using her skills to do interior décor with the architects of the hotels across the country becoming perhaps the 1st professional woman in interior design. She also encouraged the exhibiting of works of Canadian female artists. After her husband retired from CP hotels she helped with hotels owned by Canadian Steamship lines. Her personal papers including her journals are retained at the McCord Museum in Montreal.

Miriam Alleyne Priscilla Renouf


Born August 8, 1953, St. John’s, Newfoundland. Died April 2014, St. John’s Newfoundland. Priscilla loved to sew as a youngster and as a teen she won a Miss Singer Sewing Contest. She attended Memorial University of Newfoundland earning both her B.A. and her M.A. She earned her PhD at Cambridge University, England. In 1981 she joined the faculty of Memorial University. She held the Canada Research Chair of North Atlantic Archaeology. In 1992 she earned the President’s Award for Outstanding Research. She was a member of the 1st Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of civilization and a member of the Board of Directors for Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. She was also on the governing body of Social Sciences and Humanities Research council of Canada. She was co-founder of an international research group called LINK, whose goal is to answer questions relating to past societies and how they coped with climate changes. She would also author several books in her field. In 1999 she married Roger Pickavance. Source: “Obituaries: Priscilla Renouf…a humanistic approach to archeology.” By Joan Sullivan, the Globe and Mail, April 16, 2014.  Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa.

Eliza Reynolds   3537
Ship Bride

Born England. In 1862 she and her sister Eliza arrived in British Columbia September 17, 1862 on the Bride ship Tynemouth. Eliza arrived with her infant son, William,  having convinced the organizers that if her son were left in a London orphanage he would  surely die for want of proper care.  The Columbia Emigration Society working with the Anglican Church had arranged for single women from England to travel to British Columbia to become brides of the gold runs mining population.

Alma V. Ricard


née Vézina  Born 1906, Montreal, Quebec. Died June 2, 2003, Sudbury, Ontario. Alma moved to Sudbury in 1931. In 1940 she married Baxter Ricard. Baxter was a successful pioneer in communications with radio and television. Upon his death in 1993 Alma began investigating investing how best to help French Canadians living where their language made them a minority group. In 1998 she established the Baxter and Alma Ricard Foundation to help students living in linguistic minorities. She also made major financial contributions to various hospitals and educational institutions. She received honourary doctorates from Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario and the University of Ottawa. In 2000 she was appointed to the Order of Canada. She was also the recipient of the Ordre de la Pléiade. Source: Les Elles du nord Online (accessed June 2015)

Kathleen 'Kate'  Creighton Starr Rice


Born December 20, 1883, St. Mary’s Ontario. Died January 6, 1963, Minnedosa, Manitoba. Kate came from a well to do family and was well educated having earned a degree in mathematics at the University of Toronto in 1906. For a while she taught in St. Catharines, Ontario and at Albert College, Bellville, Ontario before heading to the Canadian west and teaching in 1908 in Tees, Alberta. By 1912 she had landed in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. She spent two years in The Pas where she spent her summers as a prospector. She enjoyed prospecting and taught to earn enough money to earn provisions for mining. In 1911 she set out for Flin Flon. By 1914 she decided to take on a business partner, Dick Woosey. She latterly split her cabin in half with a rope with each to their own side, it was a business partnership! Kate wrote scientific papers on the northern lights and dabbled in journalism writing for the Toronto Star. She even designed a hydro electric project with which she hoped to power one of her own mines. She knew well the Aboriginal population in the areas of northern Manitoba, she learned how to trap and live off the land as well as learning to speak their language. They simply called her Mooniasquao, meaning white woman. She is considered the 1st woman prospector and is responsible for the beginning of the gold mining community in Manitoba. After Dick’s death in 1940 she remained in the backwoods for two more decades. She wrote articles as a journalist, gardened and continued prospecting. She eventually returned to settled areas only to find herself in a mental institution. She was eventually ejected for not being mentally ill but being just a tough old miner. She died in an nursing home in Minnedosa. Although she is buried in an unmarked grave, the owner of the Snow Lake Manitoba newspaper erected tombstones for both her and Dick Woosey. Kate’s tombstone reads “Extraordinary woman of the wilds”.  Her home Island was officially named Rice Island in 1946 by the government. In 2013/14 Kate was inducted into the Canadian Miners Hall of Fame. An unpublished memoir and some of her drawings are maintained in the Archives of the University of Manitoba. In 1921 she was declared Manitoba Woman trailblazer.  Sources: “Not Crazy, just a female prospector: Kate Rice honoured for mining first” by Chris Purdy, Canadian Press, January 15, 2014 Online (accessed February 2014); Canadians All: Six Portraits of our People by Terry Angus et all. (Methuen, 1986); Memorable Manitobans, Online  Various dates for her birth and death have been reported.

Frederika Charlotte Louise Riedesel


née von Massow. Born July 11, 1746, Brandenberg, Germany. Died  March 29, 1808, Berlin, Germany.  She married Friedrich Adolph Riedesel (died 1780) an officer in the Prussian military. She would have 9 children. Her husband was in charge of a German contingent hired by Britain to fight revolutionaries in the United States. Charlotte decided to travel with her three young daughters, the youngest just 10 weeks old, to join her husband in North America. She set sail from England to Canada in April 1777.  She joined her husband after  Burgoyne campaign. She was often in attendance helping with the war wounded. The family moved to Boston and then New York City in 1779 and a daughter born in New York, U.S.A. was named America in 1780. In 1781 they traveled to Quebec and were assigned to the town of Sorel where that Christmas they erected, according to their German tradition, a Christmas tree, the 1st in Canada.  Another daughter would be born, this time she was named Canada. In 1780 her husband became heir to his family title in Germany. Charlotte had kept a journal of her life in North America. The journals were published after the death of her husband.

Marguerite Riel 4205

née Monet dite Belhumeur /Bellehumeur. Born  January 15, 1861, White Horse Plains (now Saint François Xavier), Rupert's Land 9now Manitoba). Died May 24, 1886, Saint Boniface, Manitoba. Marguerite was multi lingual speaking French, Cree, Chippewa (Ojibwa) and some Sioux. On April 28, 1881 she married Louis David Riel (1844-1885), a rebel to some, a hero to others, in Dakota Territories, U.S.A. The couple were married according to the custom of the area and were married on March 6, 1882 at Carroll, Montana, U.S.A. by a Jesuit priest. The couple would have three children. She accompanied Louis to Batoche from Montana and was with her husband during the Battle of Batoche until he surrendered on May 15, 1885. After the battle Marguerite and her children were forced to hide and lived in caves near Batoche.  She was eventually located by Louis' brother and taken to St. Vital to live with Louis' mother, Julie. Marguerite suffering from grief of her husband's imprisonment and execution was also tired and weak from the premature birth and death of her third child. She died of pneumonia and was buried beside her husband.

Dorothy 'Dodi' Elizabeth Robb

Pioneer in TV

Born 1920? Died February 17, 2012, Collingwood, Ontario. A pioneer worker with CBC television in 1952 she went on to become the 1st head both daytime and children’s programming for CBC TV. Dodi wrote and published five musicals for children’s theatre and collaborated with Pat Patterson who wrote music. Dodi created award winning shows for CBC, T V O and C F T O in Toronto. She continued to work as an on air commentator for Vision television after she had retired from the CBC in 1985. In 1994 she was presented with the Governor General’s Award for the Persons case  which recognized her efforts to improve career opportunities for women. The Muppet “Dodi” an elderly female bush pilot who flies across Canada, who was introduced for the Canadian version of Sesame Street in 1996 known as Sesame Park,  was styled after Dodi Robb. Perhaps her greatest contribution to Canadian television culture was the creation of the Kids of Degrassi Street which eventually became Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. The Globe and Mail newspaper called Dodi Canada’s Queen of Children’s Television.  Source: Obituary Globe and Mail February 25, 2012.

Laura Rose

Agricultural Lecturer

Born Ontario. Born and raised in Ontario she was a school teacher who had experienced pioneer farm life while keeping house on her brother's farm in North Dakota. She was an honours graduate and then lecturer at the Farm Dairy School of the Ontario Agricultural School in Guelph. She conducted a traveling dairy in Nova Scotia and participated as judge of butter, bread, jam, fruit and fancy work at many rural fairs. She wrote and edited articles for farm publications. Her 300 page book Farm Dairying was used as a text in agricultural colleges. Shortly after the formation of the first Women's Institute, the Ontario Department of Agriculture engaged her as a lecturer and organizer of Women's Institutes. It was under her guidance that the British Columbia Women's Institute began with the formation of the first fifteen institutes from Gordon Head on Vancouver Island to Cranbrook in the Kootenays in 1909. Her report to the B.C. Farmers' Institutes in 1910 indicates that her duties for the department had been to tour the province explaining to the women the aims and benefits of Institute association and then to help them with initial organization and election of officers. She returned to Ontario Department of Agriculture and by 1913 had married F. W. Stephen.

Elizabet 'Lizzie' von Rummel

Rancher & Lodge Owner

Born February 19, 1897, Munich, Germany. Died 1980, Canmore, Alberta. She was educated at home and learned to speak 4 languages. The family often vacationed in Canada and with the outbreak of World War l the family moved to a ranch in Alberta. In 1919 Lizzie returned to Germany for a year when her grandmother was ill but she preferred her Canadian life. The family wealth was lost during the war and the family ranch became a working ranch with Lizzie and her sisters learning to cook and clean without servants. The family raised Clydesdale horses and the girls even learned to be farriers. When tractors took the place of work horses the family ranch raised milk cows. As a young woman she had a dream of operating a guest lodge in the Rocky Mountains. In 1938 she began working as a chambermaid and soon became a guide and hostess at Mount Assiniboine. By 1943 she became involved with the Alpine club of Canada and began operating Skoki Lodge near Lake Louise. By 1947 she was operating Temple Lodge and the Lake Louise Ski Lodge. She became an ambassador for her beloved Rockies for the many world visitors. From 1951 through 1970 she operated Sunburst Lodge in the Mount Assiniboine area.  April 16, 1980 received the Order of Canada. She also holds the Canada Medal. The Elizabeth Rummel School in Canmore, Alberta is named in her honour as are Rummel Lake, Rummel Pass and Rummel Creek in Kananaskis Country.  Her biography was written by Ruth Oltmann: Lizzie Rummel – baroness of the Canadian Rockies. (2019)

Margaret  Sadler - Gilkes 

SEE - Academics & Librarians - Historians

Jane Anne Saunders - Nesbitt



née Saunders. Born 1844. Died June 17, 1897, British Columbia. In September 17, 1862 Jane arrived in Victoria, British Columbia on the 'bride-ship' S. S. Tynemouth. The Columbia Emigration Society working with the Anglican Church had arranged for single women from England to come to British Columbia to marry members of the gold rush community. She found employ with a family called Chambers. She married Samuel Nesbitt (1829-1881) in April of 1863. Samuel had originally followed the gold rush from California but soon learned that as a baker he could also make gold. He settled on Vancouver Island in 1858 and opened Victoria's 1st commercial bakery. He and Jane would have six children. The bakery obtained a contract with the navy to provide bread and biscuits and the family gained financial security. They built their home, Erin Hall in 1874 but the local snobs called it Cracker Castle as the Nesbitts had come from working stock. After her husbands death she and her oldest son took over the biscuit business and ran the company for five year. Later in life she could afford to travel extensively. The 'ship-bride' stories are told in the book Voyages of Hope by Peter Wilton Johnson. 

Mary Townsend Schaffer SEE  - Mary Townsend Schaffer Warren
Winifred Schantz

Patron of the Arts

née Fitch. Born 1923, London, England. During World War ll she was a typist and she fell in love with her boss, Canadian Major Don McLean (died 1972). She immigrated to Canada and the couple married in 1957. She continued working as a secretary but found a love for ceramics. She insisted that pottery making was a true art form and she was soon participating with a team who were raising funds for a Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery in Ontario. In 1966 she was an enthusiastic founding member of the  K-W Potters Guild and taught night classes sharing her love of this art. Widowed she married Keith Schantz (died 1992) with whom she shared her love of the arts. In 1990 she partnered with Aggie Beynon from the Harbinger Gallery, a showcase of contemporary Canadian artists of various media, to provide the Winifred Schantz Summer Internships providing opportunities for University of Waterloo Fine Arts Students to apprentice with established artists. As well she supported students from the Nova Scotia College of Arts and Design for international scholarships. She was also a contributing patron to performing arts organizations such as the K-W Symphony, the Stratford Festival, the Grand River Baroque Festival and the K-W Art Gallery. In 2002 she received a lifetime achievement Award from the K-W Arts.. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.

Clara 'Dolly' Scott

Side Show Persona

Born 1919, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Died April 28, 1991, Gibsonton, Florida, U.S.A. Clara was only 3 feet all when she was fully grown. She was afflicted by alkalosis of her joints and only her right hand was functional. In 1941 at 23 years of age she began a sideshow career as the ‘half-baby – half woman’ or the Ossified girl ‘Jolly Dolly’ with Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. She was married three times. In 1972 until her death she was a member of the Ward Hall’s Freak Show. Source: Sideshow World. The Ossified Lady. Online (accessed July 2012.)

Sonia Scurfield 3822

née Onishenko. Born September 19, 1928, Hafford, Saskatchewan. Died June 14, 2018, Calgary, Alberta. Sonia graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1949.  She went on to earn a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, in 1952. Sonia married Ralph Thomas Scurfield (1928-1985). The couple had seven children. Ralph was part of a consortium that brought the Atlanta Flames in 1980 and moved them to Calgary. Upon the death of her husband she inherited his interest in the hockey team. In 1989 she became the the only Canadian woman to have her name engraved on the Stanley Cup when the Calgary Flames won the National Hockey League (N H L) Championship. She established the Sonia Scurfield Scholarship Endowment at the University of Calgary. (2022)

Jane McKenzie Lupton Seal 4186

Born 1916?, Glasgow, Scotland.  Died August 17, 2006, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Jane has been deaf since her birth but it has never held her back from life. Jane served in the British Land Army and was honoured by Queen Elizabeth ll for her efforts. Following World War ll she was a teacher in England and studied theology at the University of London. In 1953 she immigrated to Canada and worked as a van driver with Sunday School by Post in Manitoba. Relocating to Taylor Flats, British Columbia she served in a northern community with no electricity. In 1954, returning to Manitoba, she soon married Albert Seal (died 1986). The family  lived on a farm until they moved to Winnipeg to educate their son. Jane earned a Manitoba's teachers certificate and taught French for many years. She always enjoyed sports snowshoeing, skiing both on snow and water. She played field hockey and Cricket. She took up fencing and became a coach in the sport for 22 years she was one of the founders of the Cavalier Fencing Club. She and her husband both competed in the first World Masters Games held in Toronto in 1985. It was as a senior that she took up Tae kwon Do  where she  earned in 1996 at the age of 80 her third degree black belt demonstrating breaking boards with a single blow!  Source: Herstory 2004; Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 2006 online (accessed 2023)

Elizabeth Catherine Shalla


née Etmanski. Born November 19, 1890, Sherwood Township, Renfrew County, Ontario. Died May 29, 1978. Born close to Canada’s first polish settlement, Wilno, Ontario, her parents were from Poland, Elizabeth she grew up speaking polish. Her father fired Canadian men to work in his lumber business. The young workers were boarded in the family home and the whole family leaned to speak English. Elizabeth would keep a journal all her life in which she described life in her community leaving a record of a way of life that has vanished. By June 1906 she had graduated high school and began attending classes at the Convent of Mary Immaculate in Pembroke, Ontario. Excelling in French she completed the 3 year program in just two years winning the Gold Medal for her efforts. She then went on to study to become a teacher and taught first at the Killaloe separate school in Renfrew County where she also taught Catechism to the children on Sundays. Her next school was in Wilno. In 1915 she married Alex Shalla and their 1st child arrived in May 1916 followed by seven more children. Her husband died in 1937 leaving her to raise their 8 children. After World War ll she was asked to teach Polish to the children of the area. She continued these language lessons even after 1955 when she became a regular staff member at the school. She retired in 1967. While as a teacher she no doubt touched the lives of the Polish descendants of Barry’s Bay she also left a legacy through her journals which detailed earl settlers lives in Canada’s 1st Polish settlement. Source: Brenda Lee-Whiting, ‘Along the Opopogo Trail: Memories of Canada’s First Polish Settlement’ in The Beaver, February/March. 1992.

Norma Shepard
Physiotherapist & Historian

Her profession is that of a psychotherapist but her avocation is that of hats. She is cofounder of North Shore Wordsmith’s writers group. In 1985 she earned the Canadian Achiever’s Award for entrepreneurship. In 1999 she set up a mobile hat museum. She has also written several books on fashion accessories through the decades. She is recognized as an authority on vintage clothing and women’s hats. 

Katherine 'Katerina' Sherbrooke

Political Wife


née Pyndar. Born November 22, 1782, Barrow Hill Staffordshire, England. On August 24, 1811 Katherine married Sir John Coape Sherbrooke (1764-1830). In October 1811 she and her sister accompanied Sir John to Halifax, Nova Scotia where Sir John took up the position of Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.  Katherine, as first lady of the territory, took on the duty of entertaining and hosting visitors on a daily basis. Some of her gatherings hosted some 200 guests at a time. Sir John served well during the War of 1812 and in June of 1816 the couple relocated to Quebec where Sir John took up his new position as Governor-in-chief or Governor General of British North America. Here once again Katherine became the hostess to events in the capital region. Sir John resigned his position in 1818 due to ill health and he retired to Nottinghamshire in England. Various settlements in Nova Scotia and Quebec are named for this Governor General and perhaps Katherine Street in Quebec City can trace its origin to the name of the wife of a Governor General. Source: Women of Valour , in Canadian History August-September 2013;

Ch'óonehte' Ma  Stóow Angela Sidney

Born January 4, 1902, Carcross, Yukon. Died July 17, 1991, Carcross, Yukon. Angela was given the Tagish name Ch'óonehte' Ma and the Tlingit name Stóow  as well as Angela by her Godfather. The names showed respect for both the peoples of her parents. Her mother Maria was ill and could not participate in regular activities of her daughter so times shared usually meant the telling of stories of the Tagish peoples. Angela married when she was just 14 to George Sidney (1888-1971) a future chief at Carcross. The couple would have seven children, three of who survived to be adults. Angela felt strongly about preserving the traditions and stories of her people and she was soon sharing her knowledge with her own family members but also with other school children. Angela also assisted linguists and anthropologists with research on the Tagish language and traditions. In 1980 she published Place-names of the Tagish Region, Southern Yukon and followed with Tagish Stories in 1982 and Our Family History in 1983. In 1984 Angela travelled to Toronto to be part of the storytelling festival. In 1985 she became a member of the Order of Canada, a national recognition of her efforts to preserve her people's language, stories and traditions. In 1988 she was the inspiration for the establishment of the Yukon International Storytelling Festival. She said "Well, I have no money for my Grandchildren. My stories are my wealth." (Julie Cruickshank, The Social Life of Stories Narrative and Knowledge in the Yukon. UBC Press, 2000) 

Jeanne St. Laurant

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Renault. Borne October 22, 1886, Beauceville, Quebec. Died November 14, 1966, Quebec City, Quebec. She was the daughter of a prosperous merchant. She would meet a young law clerk at a party in 1906. On May 19, 1908 she married Louis Stephen St Laurent (1882-1973) who would serve as 12th Prime Minister of Canada 1948-1957. The couple had 5 children. In 1913 their family home was built in Quebec City. The 15 room house on Grand Allée has been declared a heritage building.

Letitia Catherine Salter

Died 1919.  In 1884 she was paid by the government of Ontario $500.00 a years to be the first Lady Superintendent of women students who where finally allowed to officially attend lectures and study at the University of Toronto. Letitia remained in this position until she retired in 1916. (2022)

Sophia Shaw  3523

Fiancée of Sir Isaac Brock

Born May 31, 1792, New Brunswick. Died December 1, 1872, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Sophia was a young woman from a good family, the daughter of Major-General Aeneas Shaw 9c1740-1814). She visited with family in the Niagara area of Canada West where she met and fell in love with a handsome military man General Sir Isaac Brock (1769-1812). While he too was in love his finances were at the time problematic and he could not provide a home for a wife in 1811. The couple became secretly engages. On October 13, 1812 Sir Isaac rode his faithful stead, Alfred, from Fort George to Queenston Heights where the British were under attack from the American forces. On his was to the Battle of Queenston Heights she made one stop to see Sophia and say good bye before the battle. She provided him with coffee to keep him warm. History reports his death that day as he led his men in his bright red uniform. Sophia never married. She went to lived with her widowed sister, Isabella Powell at Niagara-on-the-Lake in a house they called Brockamour Manor. Today this historic house is a welcoming Bead and Breakfast Country inn. (2021)

Marjorie Skidmore 4057

'Home Child'

née Arnison. Born Sept21, 1926, Whitey Bay, England. Died January 18, 2017, Oliver, British Columbia. When Marjorie was just ten years old her father Thomas Arnison (d 1977) signed away guardianship of four of his nine children who were living with their mother in a rather destitute situation. Their mother, Winnifred, was not consulted by their father when he signed the children over to the Fairbridge Society. Marjorie and her siblings became part of the British Child Migration Program which saw over 118,000 children taken from their families in the United Kingdom and relocated to Canada. Children were also sent to Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.  Marjorie and her broth and sisters were sent to the Fairbridge Farm School in Cowichan, British Columbia. The farm was financially supported by the Prince of Wales and other wealthy British patrons and would receive a total of 329 British children. In 1948 Marjorie married Clifford Skidmore (died 1957) and the couple had five children. Marjorie would marry a second time to Roland Noel (died 1999). Marjorie was a volunteer with the local Kiwanis Club and Legion Branch 97 . Marjorie never really overcame the feeling of loss of her family in Britain. In 2010 when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized for the Child Migration Program more commonly known as 'Home Children' , Marjory was there to hear the apology in Person. Through the research of her daughter Patricia Marjorie was able to reconnect with her British family. Patricia Skidmore has written her mother's story in the book Too Afraid to Cry: A  Home Child Experience. Source: Obituary online (accessed 2022)

Hilda Mary Slayter

Titanic survivor

Born April 5, 1882, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Died April 2, 1965, Norris Castle, England. Hilda left home in 1902 to pursue training in voice in Italy and England. However a performing career was not to be her calling. She  changed her life direction when she met Harry Reginald Dunbar Lacon of British Columbia, and  the couple decided to marry. In order to return to Canada with her wedding gown and trousseau (valued at some $7000.00 at the time), Hilda booked passage on the Titanic in April 1912 as a second class passenger. Originally when the Titanic struck an iceberg, she was told to go back to bed as there was no danger. A half hour later the order to don lifejackets was raised. She was pushed down the corridor to the ship side where she was placed in lifeboat number 13. It was one of the last life boats to be lowered. She later provided touching eyewitness accounts as husbands and wives were separated and of children being handed over to the life boats by parents who stayed on board the sinking ship. In lifeboat 13 there were eight women, a husband and wife, and a ten month old baby, and more than 40 men stokers, men who had manned the furnaces in the bowels of the ship. In total 63 were people huddled in the life boat on the becalmed sea watching the mighty ship sink. The life boat was eventually saved by the ship, Carpathia, and Titanic survivors were taken to New York. Hilda continued her trip to British Columbia where she was married in June 1912. The couple had one son who served with distinction in the Royal Canadian Navy. Hilda is buried in her family plot in Nova Scotia. Rosalee Peppard, a maritime Canadian musical Oral Historian,  commemorated the 100th anniversary with a new show – Living Titanic – the musical memoir of Nova Scotia Survivor Hilda Mary Slayter Sources: Brave musicians of ship meet fate trying to drown cries…Worcester Evening Gazette, April 20, 1912. Online (accessed March 2012): Titanic Remembered: The Unsinkable Ship and Halifax by Alan Ruffman. Titanic, the Canadian Story. by Alan Hustak, Vehicule Press, 1999; (accessed March 2012)

Wendy Sloboda


Born 1968. Wendy was always fascinated by dinosaurs but unlike other young children she did not grow out of this interest. She worked at summer jobs looking for dinosaur bones. She actually found dinosaur egg shell chips in a place where they had never been found before. She worked with a museum crew finding shells with tiny unborn duckbilled dinosaurs. She became a Paleontology star! Wendy attended the University of Lethbridge, Alberta to earn her BA in 2001. She had continued with searching for elusive dinosaur findings and even has a dinosaur named after her, the Wendyicertiops. It is a 6 meter long, two-ton beast with a prominent upright horn atop its nose. It lived 79 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. Source: Canadian girls who rocked the world by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Walrus Books, 2001 

Charlotte Small -Thompson  3096

A National Historic Person

née Small. Born September 1, 1785, Ile-à-la-Crosse. Died May 4, 1857. Charlotte was a Métis with her father Patrick Small of the North West Company and un unnamed Cree woman. Her father would abandon the family when he  left the North West Company and returned to England. The On June 10, 1799 a thirteen year old Charlotte married David Thompson (1770-1857), a surveyor, map maker and explorer. The couple would have 13 children. Their marriage would have followed the custom of the Canadian North West with a simple exchange of good and the couple then living together. Shortly after their marriage the travelled west and established a small fur trade post overlooking the North Saskatchewan River that would become known as Rocky Mountain House. Charlotte often travelled with the husband on his expeditions throughout the country. During their travels together they would journey 3.5 times farther than the famous Americans Lewis and Clark. The couple, along with children born during travel covered and mapped over twenty-thousand kilometres.  Charlotte helped her husband not only with living on the trails of the far Canadian west but also as a translator of her maternal language and was trusted by her mother's people. She was also well educated in English and knew French. The children were also in her care while they travelled and pregnancy did not hold her back either. David retired from the fur trade in 1812. The entire family, including at that time five children, went to Montreal region and David and Charlotte had their marriage vows solemnized by a minister. Eight more children would be welcomed to the family but sadly four children did not survive. The couple were married 57 years with her death following that of her husband by only three months. Sadly their later years were lived in poverty after financial failures. They are buried together at Mount Royal Cemetery, Quebec. A statue of David and Charlotte Thompson was unveiled in Invermere, British Columbia. July 1,  2014 a special ceremony was held at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta dedicating a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada commemorative plaque to Charlotte Small a person of National Historic Importance. (2021)

Sandy Smith

Sandy earned her Bachelor of Science at the University of Guelph in 1978 and went on  to study for her Master’s at Guelph in 1981. She obtained he PhD from The University of Toronto in forestry and entomology. After graduating from 1985-1987 she worked for Forestry Canada in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She also worked at European Laboratories in France and Switzerland. In 1988 she became an assistant professor of the University of Toronto, the beginning of a full career at the university. In 2010 – 2-12 she became the 1st woman appointed as Dean to the Faculty of Forestry. She has written numerous scholarly papers and published with a variety of professional journals. In 2012 she became a Minjiang Scholar at the Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University in China. The Sandy Smith Research Laboratories at the University of Toronto accommodates graduate students and post doctorate Fellows. She has served as President of both the Entomological Societies of Ontario and Canada. She has also served as Examiner for the Ontario Professional Foresters Association. Sandy married Graham Rempe and the couple has three sons.

Madeline Spence

Madeline survived being forced to attend the Indian Residential School system. She also overcame having had tuberculosis (TB). She has served as an elder on numerous councils, including the Wuskwatim-NCN dam project. Madeleine and her life partner Wellington raised a large family and adopted many children from their community. For some 30 years, these respected elders presented culture workshops in western Canada and United States and were esteemed members of the Elders Council of University College of the North.  In 2010 she was honoured at the Keeping the Fires Burning Aboriginal Awards celebrating female leaders for preserving First Nations culture and serving as role models for younger generations. Source; Matt Preprost, “Gala recognizes accomplishments”.  Winnipeg Free Press June 18, 2010 Page A13.

Susannah 'Sue' Isabella Steckle 4088


née Chaise. Born May 9, 1898, King's County, Nova Scotia. Died January 26, 1985, Kitchener, Ontario.  Sue began her college studies in Truro, Nova Scotia prior to transferring to the Ontario Agricultural College (Now part of the University of Guelph).  She went on to graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College as the first woman to study agriculture and graduate at the College in 1921. When she relocated to the Kitchener area she set up a seven acre orchard, the first commercial orchard in the region. The orchard premiers several Nova Scotia apple species in the province of Ontario. She returned to Nova Scotia after graduation and served as the first woman president of the Nova Scotia Fruit Grower's Association. In 1928 Sue married John Steckle (1889-1981), a farmer in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and the couple had two children. Sue was a well know staple selling apples, pears, vegetables, and flowers at the Kitchener Farmers' Market. She was active on the Kitchener-Waterloo Council of Friendship, The Waterloo County Children's Aid Society, the Kitchener Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and served as the first president of the Helena Feasby branch of the local Women's Institute. In 1948 Sue was made an honourary member of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers' Association. In 1978, their daughter, Dr. Jean Steckle (1929-2003) purchased the family homestead which had been founded in 1833. In 1888 the J. Steckle Homestead was declared a Heritage site by the City of Kitchener. In 1988 a non-profit organization was established to preserve the site as an education center for youth. Source: Find a Grave Canada. online (accessed 2022)

Evelyn I. Robson Strahlendorf      

Canadian Doll Expert   

née Robson. Born April 23, 1931, Hamilton, Ontario.  Died September 28, 2019, Toronto, Ontario. At 16 Evelyn was working at Westinghouse August 25, 1951 she married Carl Strahlendorf. After Carl graduated from McMaster University the couple settled in Montreal and raised their family. of four children.  In 1971 the family relocated to Ottawa where Evelyn originally worked as an administrator and a real estate agent.  She then began working at the National Library of Canada in the cataloguing department where she was the only cataloguer not to have a library degree. An avid doll collector she wrote the definitive reference book Dolls of Canada: A Reference Guide in 1986 with Carl supplying the photography. In 1990 Canada post issued commemorative stamps on Canadian Dolls which featured dolls from her personal collection. She also published three price guides for Canadian dolls  In 1994 she launched the Canadian Doll Journal. She established her own company, Distinctive Dolls of Canada providing a line of Canadian Celebrity dolls that included Sir John A. MacDonald, Olympian Elizabeth Manley , and the Forgi Quintuplets. The Canadian Museum of Civilization (now Museum of History0 present an exhibit of some 400 dolls from 200-2003 with Evelyn as guest curator. Evelyn returned to Hamilton to live and donated much of her collection of dolls to the Clarington Museum, Bowmanville, Ontario. (2021)

Alice Starr - Tilley 4058

'Mother of Confederation'

née Chipman.  Born December 10, 1843*, St. Stephen, New Brunswick. Died May 25, 1921, Saint John, New Brunswick. She was the second wife of Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley (1818-1879), a Father of Confederation and Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick whom she married October 22, in 1867. Alice became step mother to eight children and the couple had two children. Both husband and wife were activists in the temperance movement.  Lady Tilley became deeply involved in her community
helping to found the Victoria Hospital, Fredericton, and the Nurses' Home of the Public Hospital in Saint John, The Seamen's Mission, the Home for Consumptives, and a Reformatory for the Care of Bad or Neglected Boys. She was largely responsible of the establishment of the Victoria Order of Nurses (V O N) in Saint John. Alice was also an active and founding  member of the National Council of Women.
She was 1st lady of New Brunswick when her husband served as Lieutenant Governor from 1873-1878 and again in 1885. Since Tilly is a Father of Confederation, Alice could be considered one of the Mothers of Confederation. She became Lady Tilley when her husband was knighted. Her residence, called Carleton House on Germain St., Saint John has been declared an historic place in the province. * her birth is sometimes reported as 1844. 1843 is date on her tombstone. Source: Henry James Morgan, Types of Canadian Women and Women Who are or Have Been Connected With Canada (Toronto, 1903) (2020); Find a grave Canada online (accessed 2022)

Mary Steeves

'Mother of Confederation'

Born October 29, 1813, Hillsborough, New Brunswick. Died June 22, 1889, Liverpool, England. Mary would marry her cousin William Henry Steeves (1814-1873) on May 17, 1836 in Hillsborough. The couple would have seven children. William was a representative of the province of New Brunswick and is known as a Father of Confederation. According to her diary Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minster was a good dancer. As a political wife of her era she would have entertained and attended events celebrating Confederation of Canada. She is a 'Mother of Confederation'. Source: Thanks to Aurora Feletti, The Hon. William Henry Steeves House Museum, Hillsborough, New Brunswick (2023)

Dorothy Summerset

Theatre Director

Born June 9, 1900, Perth, Australia. Died August 11, 1991, Vancouver, British Columbia. She studied at Radcliffe College and earned her BA. She  moved to Vancouver in 1921. She has been and actor and director Vancouver Little Theatre as well as direction with the  University Players' Club  in 1934-38. In 1937, she joined the University of British Columbia's extension department and the following year founded its Summer School of Theatre. In 1946 she taught U B C's first theatre credit courses. In 1952 she received Canadian Drama Award. In 1958 she helped found U B C's drama department. The Dorothy Somerset Scholarship Fund was set up in 1965.  In June 1991, she won a Jessie Award for "humanity, integrity and encouragement of young talent in the theatre." Source: The Vancouver Hall of Fame online. Accessed November 2012)

Donah Everal Supina

née Hill. Born October 4, 1904, Muscatine, Iowa, U.S.A. Died March 4, 1994, Lethbridge, Alberta. As a young girl the family relocated to Alberta and Donah helped with the family income by cooking for threshing camps and for cowboys on the McIntyre Ranch. After graduating from high school she attended Garbutt Business College, Lethbridge and worked as a stenographer. In 1922 she married Nicholas Frederick Supina (1891-1975) and the couple rant the Supina Mercantile Store. The couple had two children. Donah worked in the dry goods section of the store and ran the store's large mail-order business. Donah was also an acclaimed psychic with people coming from across Canada to have her read their cards. Donah was also active in her community as a charter member of the Order of the Royal Purple and Fraternal Order of Eagles. She worked for 15 years with the Rehabilitation Society of Southwestern Alberta. The City of Lethbridge has named a street in her honour. Source: Legacy of Lethbridge Women, Lethbridge Historical Society, 2005: Find a Grave Canada (accessed 2022).

Felicitas Svejda

Born November 8, 1920, Austria. Died January 19, 2016, Ottawa, Ontario. Felicitas earned her PhD in engineering and agricultural sciences from Hochschule fur Boden Kultur, Vienna and worked at the school from 1947-1951. Relocating to Sweden she worked at the Swedish Seed Association and in 1953 she immigrated to Canada. She worked at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, Ontario for 33 years where she created roses named after well-known explorers of North America that are grown around the world today. The 25 explorer roses with names like John Cabot, Martin Frobisher, Jens Monc and Champlain are considered Canada’s greatest contribution to the world of roses. Felicitas began working with roses in 1961 to develop plants that would survive in the harsh Canadian climate. In 1968 she launched a 20 year program and 1st ever national trial of ornament shrubs in Canada. The Henry Hudson rose is so hardy it can survive in Zone 2 which includes northern locations as Kapuskasing, Ontario and Fort McMurry, Alberta. She also developed the ornamental plants named after dances such as the Minuet and Tango as well as Northern Gold Forsythia. She authored numerous papers for various professional journals. Her hardy plants are grown in Finland, Russia as well and her native Austria. In 1985 she received a Certificate of Merit from the Royal National Rose Society in Britain for the rose, John Cabot. Source: Dean Peters, Obituaries, Globe and Mail November 19, 2016.

Anna Haining Swan

Tallest Woman

Born August 7, 1846, Mill Brook, Nova Scotia. Died August 5, 1888, Seville, Ohio, U.S.A. Anna was 1 of 13 children who were born all normal sized babies. However by the time she was 5 years old she was already 4’8” tall! As an adult she stood 7’6” tall (advertised as 8’) and weighed 350 pounds. At 16 the famous circus entrepreneur P.T. Barnum brought Anna and her mother to New York City where she earned $1,000.00 a month at the American Museum on Broadway. She was partnered with Commodore George Washington Morrison who was 29” tall and weighed 24 pounds! She was almost killed in a fire at the museum on July 13, 1865 when unable to escape down the burning stairs she was too large to escape through a window. It took and block and tackle with 18 men to help her escape! While traveling to Europe she met Martin Van Buren Bates (1837-1919)who stood 7’ 22” (that is the description!) and weighed 470 pounds. The two were married June 17, 1871 in London, England. After a tour of Europe billed as the World’s largest married couple, they settled in Ohio where they built a house with 14’ ceilings and furniture to suit their size. Anne would have two children who where born very large babies and unfortunately did not live past a few days. Some of her clothes and other personal articles are displayed at a museum in Tatamgouche, Nova Scotia, near the town where she was born. Source: D C B, vol. 11,Online (accessed August 2014) ;

Anne A. Taylor

Born August 4, 1946, Sherbrooke, Quebec. Died June 28, 2014, Ottawa, Ontario. She graduated Bishops University in 1967 and then spent a year studying at the University of Sussex in England. She married Mark Stiles and the couple had two children. After university she taught 1st in Montreal and then at the Dene First Nations at Haybay, Alberta. In 1975 she accepted a position with the National Film Board in Ottawa where she was the founder and co-director of the Media Awareness Network now known as MediaSmarts. She retired in 2005. She enjoyed combining two of her passions, music and children by working with Ottawa’s Leading Note Foundation and Orkidstra music program. She was presented the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for her outstanding contribution to healthy development of children and youth. Source: Obituaries, Ottawa Citizen, July 2, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.

Annie Emma Affleck Thompson

Wife of a Prime Minister


née Affleck. Born June 26, 1845, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Died April 10, 1913 Toronto, Ontario. Annie was raised a Catholic so when she married John Sparrow David Thompson (1845 -1894) a Protestant at the Bishop’s Palace in Portland, Main on July 5, 1870 it was with special permission. The couple would have 8 children, 5 of whom lived past infancy. Sir John Thompson was lawyer, judge, politician, and university professor, who served as the fourth Prime Minister of Canada December 5, 1892. In 1888 the family moved to Ottawa for John to take a government office. She became Lady Thompson when her husband was knighted by Queen Victoria. Annie was a strong personality who was a major supporter of her rather shy, timid husband. She was a sincere and busy host to Ottawa members of parliament. When the family could no longer afford a staff cook prior to him becoming Prime Minister, Annie prepared meals for dinner parties hosting some 250 people in 1892. On December 12, 1994 Sir John died of a heart attack while in England. Lady Thompson moved to Toronto were her small income was bolstered by a small supplement from the Canadian Parliament. Both Sir John and Lady Thompson were lifelong voracious letter writers. When the family moved to Toronto their baggage included some 30 trunks of saved correspondence now preserved in the Library and Archives Canada. Annie worked with Lady Aberdeen on the newly formed National Council of Women of Canada. Sources: “Obituary”, The Toronto Evening Telegram, April 11, 1913. ; “Annie Emma Affleck”, D C B vol. XIV Online (accessed April 2013). 

Anna M. Tilley 3860

Social Worker

Born 1872, Brantford, Ontario. Died 1952. In 1934 Anna was presented with the Order of the British Empire (O B E) for her working in Lethbridge. In 1908 a Nursing Mission was established by a group of philanthropic ladies. In 1913 Anna came to serve at the mission as a Social Worker. Starting with one nurse and many volunteers Anna was able to build a social welfare centre that would serve the thriving community.  Children Aid was always a top priority of the mission. Anna taught pre natal courses and the prevention of tuberculosis.  She assisted the Elk's Baby Clinic and planned distribution of hampers and Christmas dinners for the aged and homeless. She served as President of the Quota Club.  In 1942 she was appointed to the Senate of the University of Alberta. The City of Lethbridge has named a street in her honour. Source: Legacy of Lethbridge Women. Lethbridge Historical Society, 2005.

Besha 'Bessie' Tobin

Mob Boss

née Starkman. Born April 14, 1889, Poland. Died August 13, 1930, Hamilton, Ontario. By 1900 the Starkman family had settled in Toronto, were history has it that Bessie worked as a seamstress. December 15, 1907 she married Harry Tobsen/Tobin. The couple had two daughters. By 1913 Bessie left her husband for the family's Italian boarder, Rocco Perri. They lived in St Catharines and later in Hamilton where the couple ran a grocery store. It was the era of bootleggers and prohibition and soon Bessie w3as leading an organized crime gang selling illegal alcohol. Bessie made orders, laundered money, and handled the gang's banking. In 1924 Rocco was called King of the Bootleggers. In 1927 she appeared before a federal Royal Commission on  customs and excise investigating liquor smuggling. Naturally she denied any illegal connections. The couple was charged with perjury. Rocco plead guilty and charges against Bessie were dropped. Rocco spent six months in a reformatory. The  1927 Liquor Control Act killed the bootleg business. In 1929 Bessie was swept up in a distribution situation that could not be legally proven and was set free. August 13, 1930 she was killed by a shot gun perhaps in a gang related murder. After her death the Perri Gang went downhill and never regained its former superiority. Source: D C B (2020)


Inuit Guide & Translator

Born 1838, Cumberland Sound Baffin Island.  Died December 31, 1876. Tookoolito was recorded in history with several names: Hannah, Taqulittuq, and Tackritow. She made contact with some arctic explorers/adventurers and became a teacher and interpreter both of Inuit languages and of a way of life and survival. She became fluent in the English language and could also read and write in English. She embraced Christianity adding it to the guidance of her Inuit beliefs and teachings. She and her husband, Ipirvik, also known as Joe, would sail to England on a whaler and there, be presented to Queen Victoria. They would live for several months on a couple of occasions in the U S A where they would help raise funds with the explorer/adventurer, Charles Hall to continue his explorations in search of the lost Franklin expedition and the North Pole. In October 15, 1872 she, her husband, adopted daughter Punny, and sixteen others from the Polaris Expedition became separated from their ship. They would spend 6 1/2 months on a large ice floe surviving a 1,500 mile journey in Arctic waters until rescued on April 30, 1873 near the coast of Labrador. In 1981, Canada's Historic Sites and Monuments Board, designated Tookoolito and Ipirvik, National Historic Persons. (2022)

Josephte Tourond 4204

née Paul. Born July 1831, Northwest Territories. Died December 15, 1928, Batoche area, Northwest Territories. May 5, 1850 she married Joseph Tourond.  The couple had ten children. Joseph and his two brothers were with Louis Riel on October 11, 1869 when they stopped the Canadian surveyors in St. Norbert. In 1882 the family settled in the Batoche area called Coulee Poisson or Fish Creek  that emptied into the South Saskatchewan River. In May 1883 Joseph died and Josephte continued to run the farm. They built a large farmhouse and the following year fenced the entire farm. Her home welcomed a visitor, Louis Riel who had come to protect the area and offer condolences to the family on the death of their father. In 1885 the family fled after the May 14 Battle of Batoche where two of Josephte sons were killed. Enemy troops burned everything on the farm, scattered or slaughtered the animals, and pillaged Josephte's belongings. The troops took her team of horses and wagon. Josephte had an aged mother and an ill son and needed the wagon and horses. The brave widow walked across enemy lines and demanded her horses and wagons which the enemy promptly hitched up for her and she drove back to her family. In the following few years 4 more of her adult children died. (2023)

Louisa Townsend -Mallandaine

née Townsend. Born September 24, 1862, London, England. Died September 28, 1925, Victoria, British Columbia. Louisa was raised in a middleclass family having French language lessons and music lessons. In 1862 she and her sister Charlotte arrived in British Columbia September 17, 1862 on the Bride ship Tynemouth. The voyage had taken three months and Louisa have survived severe sea sickness, mutinies and storms to arrive safely in British Columbia. The Columbia Emigration Society working with the Anglican Church had arranged for single women from England to travel to British Columbia to become brides of the gold runs mining population. Louisa was not in love with this new country when she arrived in the muddy town of  New Westminster.  Host/employers had been arranged for the women but Louisa found herself doing chores she had never known about in her life. In additions the living condition was a kin to being cloistered as the women were not allowed out on their own. Louise soon found employment as a governess in Victoria where she could play cricket and join a choir. Louisa had brought with her from England her piano and her sewing machine and these were said to have been the  1st in Victoria.  September 1, 1866 she married Edward Mallandaine (1827-1905). Edward had come to British Columbia with the gold rush and would attempt to seek success in various careers including surveying and being an architect. The couple would have five children. In 1880 the couple wanted to build a new house and Louisa raffled a diamond necklace to help pay for the construction. Stories of the Bride Ship women was told in the book Voyages of Hope: The Saga of the Bride Ships by Peter Johnson in 2002.

Margaret Joan Trudeau

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Sinclair. Born September 10,1948, Vancouver, British Columbia. She studied English literature at Simon Fraser University. At 18, while vacationing in Tahiti she met the then Justice Minister of Canada, Pierre Elliott Trudeau (    -2000). She barley took notice of the encounter but Pierre had noticed. Much to the surprise of the entire nation the couple were married in a private ceremony on March 4, 1971. He was serving at this time as the 15th Prime Minister of Canada (1968-1979 & 1980-1984).  Margaret declared “I want to be more than a rose in my husband’s lapel” The couple would live in a tightly scrutinized bubble. They had three children together but there were problems on the home front. In 1977 the couple separated and Margaret with her jet setting ways became an embarrassment and a liability. She gave many "tell-all" interviews to Canadian and American magazines and appeared in two motion pictures. She was reported to have had affairs with celebrities and danced in a New York City club the night her husband lost an election. In 1984 the couple divorced with Pierre retaining custody of their three sons. Shortly after the divorce Margaret married Fried Kempler in 1984 and the couple had two children. While she lived a quiet life she did become Honorary president of WaterCan, an Ottawa-based organization dedicated to helping the poorest communities in developing countries build sustainable water supply and sanitation services. In November 1998 Michael Trudeau, the youngest of the Trudeau boys died in an avalanche near Kokanee Lake, British Columbia.  The following year her second marriage had failed and she became divorced. In 2000 she was at Pierre’s side when he died. Even though they were divorced the love had remained. The shock of these last events close to one another caused a breakdown for Margaret. In 2006, she announced that she had been suffering from bipolar disorder. Since then, she has advocated for reduced stigma of mental illness — bipolar disorder in particular — with speaking engagements across North America. She wrote Changing My Mind, a book about her personal experience having bipolar disorder, published by HarperCollins Canada in 2010.

Frances Amelia Tupper

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Morse. Born March 14, 1826, Amherst, Nova Scotia. Died May 10, 1912, Nova Scotia.On October 8 1846 she married Charles Tupper 1821-1915) a young Nova Scotia physician and a future Prime Minister of Canada, 1896. When Sir Charles was knighted by Queen Victoria for his contributions to his country and the Empire, his wife became Lady Frances Tupper. Sir Charles was only to serve in the tip office as Prime Minister for a period of ten weeks, the shortest term of any prime minister to 2013. Frances may not have had time to leave he imprint as 1st lady but she was hostess for all of her husband’s various political offices in Ottawa. The couple were married for 66 years. The couple had 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls, two of whom died in infancy.  Two of their sons followed their father into political careers.

Eugenie Lee 'Frankie' Turner

RCAF Women's Division WW ll

née Francoeur. Born November 30, 1922, Lachine, Quebec. Her friends and her brother all signed up to serve in World War ll. She could not enlist until the Canadian government allowed women to join the forces in 1942 and she enlisted on October 12, 1942 in the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division. Her mother objected going right to the recruiting office but finally her family let her go. She took basic training at Rockcliffe base in Ottawa and took courses in teletype. Most English speaking Canadians in her group could not pronounce her French Canadian name correctly so she became ‘Frankie’. Her 1st posting was to Gander , Newfoundland and in 1943 back to Montreal. When she turned 21 she qualified to serve overseas and was posted to no. 6 Group, Bomber Command in Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire, England where she worked as a teletype operator. It was here she met Hall Turner, another Canadian in the service who hailed from Winnipeg. The married on March 25, 1945 in York , England where she was working. On May 8, 1945 they sailed by to Canada. The couple raised 5 children 1st in Winnipeg, then Montreal before relocating to California. Two of their sons volunteered to fight in Vietnam. Eugenie retuned to Canada to live in Kelowna, British Columbia after the death of her husband in 1983. Source: Elinor Florence, RCAF Airwoman ‘wouldn’t have missed it for the world’. Elinor Florence’s Blog Online (accessed July 2015)

Geills MacCrae Turner

Wife of a Prime Minister

née Kilgour. Born December 23,1937, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She attended Harvard Business School in the U.S.A. and was employed at IBM. She was a campaign worked for the 1962 federal election and brought computers into John Turner’s campaign offices.  In 1963 married John Napier Turner (1929-   ) who would become the 17th Prime Minister of Canada June through September 1984. The couple have 4 children. She did not care for the members of the Canadian press and the way she was portrayed. Basically she tried to stay out of the way of the press. Source: Ottawa Women; milestones and mentors  Online accessed July 2013. (her name is pronounced Jill)

Mary Edith "Dollie' Tyrell 4000c

née Carey. Born September 11, 1879, Saint John, New Brunswick. Died October 14, 1945, Toronto, Ontario. Edith was called 'Dollie' by her family. When she was a teenager the family moved to England and Edith attended high school There. Back in Canada the family settled in Ottawa.  In 1984 Edith married explorer and map-maker Joseph Burr Tyrrell (1858-1957). The couple had three children. She studied geology and experienced long separations from her explorer husband. There were times when the couple traveled together like when they were in the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush but mainly there were long periods of separation. The family settled in Toronto in 1905. During World War l (1914-1918) she joined the Women's Auxiliary of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. Edith realized that there was a need for mining wives to be able to support one another. She organized 19 mining wives and launched in March 1921 the Women's Association of the Mining Industry of Canada. (W A M I C). She served as the president of the W A M IC for three years.  The group  raised money for charity and supported students and education. The W A M I C faded out in 2010.Joseph Burr Tyrrell was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 1997 and Edith was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 1921. Source: Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. online (accessed 2022)

Katherine Wall


née Bryanton. Born Spring Valley, Prince Edward Island November 23, 1944. After high School she married Edwin Wall and the couple settled to raise a family of 5 children who would grow up in the P.E.I. countryside. As if raising five children were not time consuming enough, Katherine became totally involved with the volunteer life of her community. From 1963- 2003 she was a member and served several terms as branch president of the Women’s Institute of P.E.I. From 1966 – 2000 she volunteered for the Red Cross in the Water Safety Programme. 1975-  2000 she was a community School Volunteer. In 1977 she was awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal. In 1997 she was the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year for Kensington and Area Recreation Association. In 1999 she received a Certificate of Celebration for her 30 years of 4-H Club leadership which included Atlantic and National levels for several years. In 2001 she was inducted into the Order of Prince Edward Island. Source: Canadian Who’s Who 2005. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005).

Evelyn 'Lynn' Beatrice Tyrrell

Fashion Designer

née Marvin. Born March 2, 1920, London England. Died May 25, 2013, Toronto, Ontario. She did not like her stepfather and left home taking schooling at a private Pitman’s school. She worked for the British Armed forces as a stenographer during World War ll. She earned extra money working evenings as a cocktail waitress and ended up married to bartender Ronald Emil Tyrell about 1944. She opened a consignment shop to sell clothes of wealthy clients and found success. With her money she bought a house in London for her family which had now expanded to include 2 children. In 1947 the family sailed for Jamaica purchasing the White River Hotel and Club. Their clients included notables such as the playwright Noel Coward. By 1950 her restless husband had the family immigrate to Toronto where their 4th child was born. Ron became Mr. Mom, well before it was fashionable, and Lynn apprenticed with dressmaker Rudy Lishka. Shortly after she opened her own fashion ship call The Baroness. She fashioned gowns for the Miss Canada Pageant participants and promotional outfits for Rothman’s cigarettes as well as hostess uniforms for Trans Canada Airlines. She only closed her shop in the 1980’s when the work was too much for her. She mentored students at Seneca College and remained involved with Fashion Group International until the last years of her life. Source: “Obituaries. Designer Brought Chic to Dreary Toronto ‘50’s.” by Susan Ferrier MacKay. The Globe and Mail, June 18, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa.

Polly Verner

Citizen of Toronto

née Fleming. Born 1837, Dromore County Tyrone, Ireland. Died 1918, Toronto, Ontario. At 9 she sailed from Ireland with her family. Her little brother and sister and a 9 month old baby died on the voyage across the sea. Her 11 year old sister died at the quarantine station at Grosse Isle, Quebec shortly after they landed. The family spent 3 years in Montreal and in 1850 settled in Toronto. In 1854 at 17 she married John Verner. The couple ran a grocery store that supported their community especially when times were tough. While they had no children of their own there house was often crowded with tots in need of love and care who had lost parents. At times they became the surrogate parents for families stricken by the death of either one or both parents. This couple were always there for their community. Source: Cabbagetown People: the Social History of a Canadian Inner City Neighbourhood. Online (accessed March 2014) 

Larissa Vingilis -Jarenko

Born 1982. Larissa had parents who could answer her science oriented questions. 1922 when she was just 9 she heard colleagues saying that science was just for boys. She created the Canadian Association for Girls in Science – CAGIS that encourages girls to follow their interests in Science by promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics – STEM. C A G I S has now provincial chapters. In 2004, for her work with CAGIS she received the National Science and Engineering Council’s Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion. In 2006 she was named one of Canada’s most powerful women by the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper. That same year she received the TD scholarship for outstanding community leadership and the Toronto YWCA awarded her the Young Woman of Distinction Award. Larissa holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto and a PhD from McMaster University. In 2017 she held a post-doctoral position at York University , Toronto, Ontario. Larissa is also the author of several books targeted to girls in which the young heroes solve mysteries using their science backgrounds.  Source: Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Canadian Girls Who Rocked The World. Walrus Books, 2001.

Mary Townsend Schaffer Warren

née Sharples (sometime recorded as Sharpless). Born October 4, 1861, West Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Died January 23, 1939 Banff, Alberta. Mary 1st came to the Canadian Rockies in 1888/1889 with a group, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. She fell in love with the land and returned each year. In 1989 she returned with her new husband Dr. Charles Schaffer who was also an amateur botanist. After Charles death in 1903 Mary published a book of his botanical work.  Since few guides would take women she explored with another woman, Mary Vaux (1860-1940) a fellow American Quaker. Eventually a William Warren agreed to guide these lady explorers and they explored the Yoyo Valley and Moraine Lake area. Mary is considered Jasper National Park’s 1st tourist as she was the 1st white woman to travel through the area. She was also an accomplished artist, photographer and writer. In 1903 she traveled as far north as the Columbia ice fields. In 1911 she published the book, Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies. That same year at the request of the Canadian Parks Department she returned to the area to provide more detailed information. By 1912 she had decided to relocate permanently and purchased a home in Banff, Alberta. In 1915 she married her former Guide William Warren. Mount Schaffer, located between Lake O’Hara and Lake McArthur in Yo Yo National Park was named in her honour in 1909. Some of her personal papers are preserved in the Alberta Provincial Archives. Sources: Kay Saunderson, 200 Remarkable Alberta Women, (Famous Five Foundation, 1999); Mary Schaffer Warren, Find a Grave, online (accessed September 2015). Books: Cindi Smith, Off the Beaten Track (Lake Louise; Coyote Books, 1989); Janice Sanford, No Ordinary Woman (Rocky Mountain Books, 2001).

Julia Washington - Berry 4307

Black Toll Keeper

née Washington. Born 1855?, Hamilton, Canada West (now Ontario). Julia married an slave escaped from the U.S.A. named Henry Berry. The couple had three children by 1881. Julia was a toll keeper. Toll roads were common in early Canadian towns where private businesses would construct and maintain roads and reserve the right to collect fees at told gates along the route. Julia was the toll keeper at the top of James Street, a major thoroughfare into the City of Hamilton.  According to historians she was the only woman working as a toll keeper at the time. Toll roads were abolished across Canada in the early 1900's. Source: Worker City. Online (accessed 2023)

Agnes Watts



Born 1899, Bunzlau, Germany. Died October 30, 1989, Vancouver, British Columbia. At 19, came to Victoria, British Columbia to work as a nanny. She married a logger, and moved to Powell River.  Later she became divorced and  moved to Vancouver where she met and  married Isaac Watts in 1944.  She was the 1st female employee of Scott Paper's New Westminster mill, "rolling toilet paper" for 22 years. She was known to be very  frugal  and she became a millionaire from stocks and real estate investments. She became a patron of the Variety Club of B.C., donating over $500,000 to children's projects. She received the Variety Club Humanitarian Award from Prince Philip in London, England, in 1987. Source: The Vancouver Hall of Fame Online (accessed December 2012)

Ann Marie Weems

Escaped Slave

Born 1841 Montgomery County, Maryland, U.S.A. A slave of the Prince family Ann Marie watched as her mother and siblings were sold off to other slave owners. At 15 she managed to escape captivity and began to travel the famous Underground railroad to freedom. With the help of a white doctor, and she cut her hair and disguised herself as a valet. The dangerous journey got her to Philadelphia. She continued her journey to Buffalo, still dressed as a boy. In Buffalo a Rev. William kink helped her to cross the boarder to the settlement of Buxton in Canada. Adopted by a kindly family she would eventually marry and have children. Her story is told in a book for young readers. Steeling Freedom by Elisa Carbone (1998). Her name is spelled various ways in sources: Anne Marie; Annemarie; Anna Maria  etc.

Daria Werbowy

International Model

Born November 19, 1983, Krakow, Poland. In 1986 she and her family emigrated from their home in the Ukraine. She reached 5’ 11” as a teen and was encouraged to enter modeling by a friend’s mother. She entered the Susan J. Model and Talent Management in Toronto. At 14 she won a national modeling contest and soon switched to Elite Models. At first she was actually uncomfortable as a model and looked at the profession as a way of financing studies in art. Within a  short time she had gained a foothold on the international runways. She became the world’s model and holds the record for opening and closing the most shows in a single season. She has worked for the world’s top firms such as Lancôme, Prada, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Valentino and many others. In 2008 she was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto.

Ada Ellen Kelly - Whitney

née Kelly. Born Windsor, Ontario. Died 1972, New York City, U.S.A. Ada became the Ist Black teacher hired by the Windsor Board of Education and the 1st Black woman to teach in an Ontario Public School Board. Ada Married Joseph R.B. Whitney, editor of the Canadian Observer. The couple had four children. Relocating to the Queens area of New York city Ada worked as a caseworker with the Department of Social Services from 1947 through 1969. She was the 1st Black Vice-President of the United Parents Association. She also formed a religious study group of the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation in Jamaica, Queens. At Rush Temple A. M. Z. Zion Church  where she trained Sunday school teachers at she served as Sunday School superintendent of St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Manhattan.

Yvonne Valleau - Wildman

née Valleau. Born August 1, 1923, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. Her family lived in Portland seven years before returning home to Kindersley, Saskatchewan when Yvonne was 4 years old. Seeking to provide for his family of 8 children her father searched for work in British Columbia and in September 1937 his wife and family joined him on the west coast. Yvonne helped out working on a chicken farm. She also cleaned house for a piano teacher in exchange for lessons for herself. At 19 she and her girlfriend headed for Victoria to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. Basic training took place in Ottawa, Ontario. She was assigned to photography and had her 1st trip in an aeroplane during aerial photography part of her course. After training she was posted to Service Flight Training Schools Number 19, Vulcan, Alberta where she was nicknamed ‘Val’. Of this time in her life she remembers the close camaraderie best but there was also hard work developing training pictures. She returned to Duncan, British Columbia after the war.  On July 17, 1946 she married Clarence Wildman and the couple raised 7 children in Kindersley, Saskatchewan. Source: Elinor Florence, RCAF photographer Yvonne Valleau. Blog: Wartime Wednesdays. Online. (accessed September 2015).

Lorraine Mary Williams

Born December 8, 1932, Died July 4, 2014, Markham, Ontario. In 1957 she married John Reesor Williams and the couple raised five children. She earned her BA and went on to study for her Masters degree in social work.  She worked as a senior social worker in the correctional, forensic psychiatry fields. She also founded a private psychotherapy and marriage counseling practice in Toronto. She was an active volunteer including being a member on the Visiting Homemakers Association, Chair of the Social Action Committee of the YWCA of Metro Toronto, executive secretary of the Indian-Eskimo Association of Canada, Board member of the Marguerite Bourgeoys Family Center, founding Board Member of the Human Life Research Institute, Chair of the North York Public Library Board, Member of the Metro Toronto Reference Library Board of Trustees, President of the Ontario and later the Canadian Library Trustee Associations, member of the founding committee for St. Timothy’s Willowdale Parish and Parish Council, President of St. Timothy’s Catholic League, and an active leader in Discovery Theatre, a forum for adult inquiry. She was also an active journalist writer and author.  She was a contributing editor to The Catholic Register and editor of the pro-life magazine, The Uncertified Human.  She published 2 books about the relationship between Library Trustees and Library C E O’s as well as publication of the Ontario Library Trustees Handbook. Her last completed book was Memories of the Beach: Reflections on a Toronto Childhood, Dundurn Press.   Source: Williams Lorraine Mary, Obituaries. Globe and Mail. July 7 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa.

Irene Winogron r32

Born Poland. Died April 17, 2020, Ottawa, Ontario. At the beginning of World War ll (1939-1945) the young family were taken in the middle of the night from their home in Poland to live in a camp in Siberia. Survival with almost no food or drink was all they could do. After an agreement wit the Plish Army in Exile the Russians releses camp families and they became refugees living in Palestine, then Argentina before finding their way to Canada. Needless to say Irene becace quite the linguist growning up in these differenct countries. Irene married Richard Winogron and the couple had three children. Becoming a widow in 1968 she raised her children through college as a single mother. Source: Obituary Online (accessed 2023)

Jane Barnes  Wisdom  3773

Pioneer Social Worker

née Bell.  Born March 1, 1884, Saint John, New Brunswick. Died June 9, 1975, Sutherlands River, Nova Scotia. Jane earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec in 1907.  She worked for the Charity Organization Society of Montreal. In June 1910 she attended one of the first diploma courses in social work at the New York School of Philanthropy, and experimental program affiliated with Columbia University, New York City. From 1912 through 1916 she worked with the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities, New York City. She was then head hunted to work at the Bureau of Social Services, Halifax, Nova Scotia as the first permanent 'General Secretary (executive director) a position she held until 1921. During the time after the great Halifax explosion in 1917 she was seconded to the Halifax Relief Commission as Supervisor of the Rehabilitation Department. In 1920 she was working with the provincial government of Nova Scotia reporting on mothers' allowances, wages, and working conditions of women in factories. In 1921 she returned to Montreal to earn a graduate degree in economics from McGill University. At the same time she worked as a part time instructor of social case work in the Department of Social Science and School of Social Work until 1924. She went on to serve as executive director for the Women's Directory of Montreal specializing in the care of single parent families. In 1941, working with Charlotte Whitton (1896-1975), she completed a study on the social conditions in the coal mining town of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia for the Canada Welfare Council. She would remain in Glace Bay as the town's first welfare officer developing their social services. She retired from Glace Bay in 1952. Some of her papers are preserved by the Nova Scotia Archives. Source: Jane B. Wisdom Fonds. Archives of Nova Scotia. Online (accessed 2022)

Katherine MacLean Wood
Air Traffic Controller     

Born Dumbarton, Scotland 1911. Died December 27, 2004. She emigrated to Canada with her family in 1930. She would become Canada's 1st female Air Traffic Controller.  (2020)

Emma Woods   3483

Black Adventurer

Died 1914, Dawson City, Yukon. Emma lived in Helena, Montana, U.S.A. when she heard about the Yukon Gold Rush. She survived coming up the famous and dangerous Chilikoot Trail hopping a boas at Tagish Post and arrived in Dawson City. She joined the sizeable Black community and was employed by the Dell Bundy Family. Born a Baptist she became a Catholic shortly before her death. The community erected a fine medal grave marking in her memory. Source: A Walking Tour of Dawson City Cemeteries. online (accessed 2021)

Geralyn Wraith

Makeup Artist

Born 1955?, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Died April 2018. As the daughter of a family Irish/Ojibwa descent, and a military family she grew up in various cities. In 1975 she began with doing make up with C B C TV. She did the makeup and prosthetics for dozens of wide-ranging projects. Her special skills were once used in a Toronto police sting operation when they needed to make an actor appears as if he'd been shot dead. This make up artist she helped set the look of television characters on shows including The Kids in the Hall in the 1980's and again for the 2020 miniseries The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town and Kim's Convenience. Geralyn also taught at the College of Makeup Art & Design and was a mentor to many. She was survived by her son, Kiviuq Wraith-Akpaliapik. Source: C B C In Memorium; online (accessed 2022)

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