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Business women / Entrepreneurs          
Elizabeth Arden (Real name Florence Nightingale Graham).  Born Woodbridge, Ontario December 31,  1884. Died 1966. She left Woodbridge Ontario for the bright lights of New York City when she was 25 years old.   After working as secretary at a cosmetic firm she decided that she would work in the cosmetic business herself. The rest is history.  Along with her rival, Helena Rubenstein, she made make-up acceptable to the average North American woman. You can see for yourself all the various products her company makes at most large department stores cosmetic sections.
Gladys "Gladdy" Balsillie Born 1919,  Franklin, Manitoba. Died 1987.  Gladys was educated at St. Mary’s Academy. She opened a restaurant on Main Street in Winnipeg and ended up running a restaurant consultancy firm and a bartending school, as well as managing a stable of 100 dancers. For years she was known as Winnipeg’s “Queen of Burlesque” because of the agency for exotic dancers she operated in the province. An equal opportunity employer she also hired male strippers who proved popular for bridal showers. In 2009 a made for TV movie told her story.  Sources : Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J.M. Bumsted (University of Manitoba Press, 1999) ; Memorable Manitobans , Online (Accessed December 2011)
Vicki Lynn Bardon Born Halifax, Nova Scotia June 27, 1947. After studying at Acadia University in Nova Scotia she continued her studies at the the New York School of Interior Design. Returning to Canada she used her artistic skills and combined them with business acumen and founded the highly successful Shuttles and Seawinds of Nova Scotia Ltd in 1973. The stores sold designs with a Canadian maritime flavour and soon expanded to central Canada. For her work she has received the Design Canada Award in 1974, The Tommy Award from the American Painted Fabrics Council in 1978, and the Commemorative Medal of the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Federation 1992. She is married and is mother of three children.
Ida Virginia Barclay Née Burns Born May 16, 1877. Almonte, Lanark County, Ontario Died  Morden, Manitoba December 26, 1935. She came to Manitoba in 1887 and settled at Wood Bay. On 22 July 1897, she married Alexander McKenzie Barclay of La Riviere, at Winnipeg. They had four children. After divorcing her husband, she moved to La Riviere late in 1914. The next year, she bought the Valley Hotel. It featured heat, air conditioning and hot water, as well as telephone service. It was originally known as Barclay House and, after her death, it was operated by two of her daughters. She was instrumental in developing ski hills at La Riviere after being approached, in 1935, by a group of young people from Winnipeg. She agreed to finance the cutting of the first ski slides on the hills facing north of the Canadian Pacific Rail station. The 1st ski trains started around 1933 and, in 1934-35, a special ski train ran from Winnipeg every second Sunday during the winter, carrying as many as 800 to 1000 people to the La Riviere slopes. Skiing continued until 1959. Following her death, the Ida V. Barclay Memorial Trophy was donated by a Mr. Mathers of La Riviere, a prominent skier. Sources: Pioneers and prominent people of Manitoba, (Winnipeg, 1925 : Memorable Manitobans online (Accessed December 2011
Sonja Bata (née Wettstein) Born Switzerland. She was of a well to do historical family in Switzerland and as a student she studied architecture. She was active in community activities , establishing the first Swiss Rotary Club and working for the Red Cross. In 1946 she married shoe business magnate Thomas Bata who brought her to Canada. She helped her business and life partner husband rebuild his family shoe business into one of the world's largest after the devastation of World War two. In 1979 she created the Bata Shoe Foundation for research and study of the history of footwear. In 1995 the Bata Shoe Museum was founded. They both worked on numerous foundations including the National Design Council of Canada and the World Wildlife Fund. Her knowledge of 5 languages is a help with all the travel for work, volunteerism and pleasure. They both received the Order of Canada and in 2003 the Retail Council of Canada gave both a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mira Goddard Bennett

Born 1928 Bucharest, Romania. Died September 20, 2010, Toronto, Ontario. She married Reginald S. Bennett and in 1948 the family moved to Paris, France where Mira studied physics and mathematics at the famous Sorbonne University. She also studied medieval art history at Ecole de Louvre. Moving to Montreal she earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Concordia University and went on to McGill to earn her masters in Business Administration. She eventually began her career as a metrology engineer at Aviation Electric. She also enjoyed being an art dealer, this avocation she pursued for nearly 50 years. She opened her 1st gallery in Montreal in 1962 and ran it until 1979. She set up in Calgary from 1972 through 1983 and finally settled with her gallery in Toronto. She was a founding member and 1st president of the Art Dealers Association of Canada. As a philanthropist she was a patron of the Toronto Symphony, Chair in Vision Research at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children. She was inducted into the Order of Canada. Source: “Birth and Death Notices” The Globe and Mail September 27, 2010. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.

Alice Helena Berry (née Miller). Born New West Minster, British Columbia August 10, 1868. Died 1919. She married Henry Azariah Berry (1862-1899) on June 24, 1890. After the death of her husband she earned a living by teaching piano and was the “Lady Manager” of Mutual Life Insurance of Canada. In 1905 she founded The World Printing and Publishing. With the help of her father, Jonathan Miller, she purchased the newspaper The World in 1911. She became the only woman managing director of a Canadian daily newspaper in this era. The newspaper, which had originally been founded in 1888, would become the highly respected Vancouver Daily World. It was the first Canadian paper to bypass Canadian Press telegraph and get its news from the U.S. press associations.   One of her early partners was Louis Denison Taylor whom she married on June 9, 1916. Source: The History of Metropolitan Vancouver – Hall of fame  http://www.vancouverhistory.ca (accessed June 17, 2009)
Susan Riva Bellan. Born July 5, 1952. An import and retail executive she showed promise of achievement early in life with achievements in music at the Winnipeg Music Festival 1968. She would work early in the field of small business and enterprise and use her knowledge and experience to write a book, Small Business and the Big Banks. (1995) Combining an interest in world crafts where is the owner/manager of Frida Craft Stores. She is also a mother of a family of three. 
Jalynn Riva Bennett Born March 12, 1943. Earning her B.A. degree at the University of Toronto in 1965 but even with degree in hand she was only hired to answer the telephone at the Manufacturers Life Company in 1965. While the company held interviews for young men with B.A.'s to be professionals interviews for women were only for clerical positions. Since first breaking into the workforce, she has had a varied career that has included being a member of the Trent University Board of Directors, a Director at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, an executive at Sears Canada and Canwest Global Communications Inc. In 1989 she took on being president of Jalynn H. Bennett Associates. She was one of the 6 women to become the first women members of the exclusive men's only York Club and the first woman to be a member of the Toronto Club. March 4, 200 the National Post Newspaper declared her to be one of the Power of 50 : Canada's most influential women.
Martha Billes. Born September 7, She studied sciences at the University of Toronto but had more of an interest in business. She has worked her way to become the Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Tire. She is also married and has one son. In 1996 she was the Entrepreneur of the Year. In 1997 she bought out her two brothers from the family business. She envisions future beyond her native Canada with perhaps expansion to China and South America. She received an honourary doctorate from Ryerson University in 2002.  Dr. Billes has striven for the creation of, and is the Chairman of, the Canadian Tire Foundation for Families, an organization that is dedicated to helping families in times of crisis. She is a trustee of the Calgary Emergency Women’s Shelter Endowment Fund and has also served as a member of Sunnybrook Medical Centre Foundation. She has served on the boards of several other public corporations. Dr. Billes is the Honourary Consul Emeritus, Southern Alberta region, for the Republic of Chile. A firm believer in encouraging entrepreneurship and in 1996 through 1998 she has been a Judge, Entrepreneur of the Year, Prairie Region; in 2001, Ontario Region; and in 1998, a National Judge, Entrepreneur of the Year. When she is not working, Dr. Billes enjoys theatre, gardening and bicycling. Not unexpectedly, she is an accomplished handyman.
M.A. "Jill" Bodkin (née Madsen) Born Belleville, Ontario June 18, 1943. She studied foreign languages at the University of Alberta and enjoys speaking English, Russian, French and Spanish and is considering learning Mandarin. She helped to negotiate Canada's historic auto pact with the United States, played a pivotal role in EXPO 86 and founded the British Columbia Securities Commission and was the first woman deputy minister (Consumer and Corporate Affairs) , responsible for financial institutions. She currently heads up Golden Heron Enterprises as CEO. In 2004 she was presented with a lifetime achievement award from the Association of Women in Finance.
Micheline Charest Born United Kingdom 1953. Died April 14, 2004. She and her partner Ronald Weinberg were the founders of Cinar Films Inc. in 1976 and it became, an award-winning animation company producing such popular children's Television shows as Arthur and Caillou. At one time the Hollywood Reporter named her to the top twenty most-powerful women in Hollywood. In 1993 she was awarded the Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year. and in 1994 she was the Outstanding Achievement Award winner for Women in Television and Film. In 2000 there were sever financial problems and the two were ousted from the company and fined 1,000,000 dollars each while baring them from managing any Canadian company for five years. She died during  from complications experienced during recovery from some plastic surgery.
Erminie J Cohen. Born July 26, 1926. For some 50 years she has been  respected businesswoman  of the Saint John business community. In 1991 she received a Certificate of Appreciation for distinguished service to the community from the United Nations Association. She is married and has three adult children. She was the first woman to be elected president of her synagogue. As a result of her work she was elected National Vice President of the Hadassah WIZO Organization of Canada.  She was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1993. Source: Senate of Canada online accessed 2009)
Jocelyne Marguerite Marie Coté-O'Hara Born, North Bay, Ontario. She earned her B.A. at the University of Ottawa in 167 and later , 1986 topped off her education with Advanced Management Program at Harvard University. She has held numerous executive positions with such groups as Petro Canada, the International Assistance Corporation and was a financial advisor with Treasury Board. She also worked with the RCMP with the Reform Implementation Council. She has worked as Director with BC Tel, Manitoba Telecom Services, President of Cora Group and CEO of Stentor Telecom Policy Inc where she was CEO. In 2005 she was invited to join Ryerson University Board of Governors.  She has been named Woman of the year by the Canadian Women in Communications and the Award for Excellence from the International Association of Business Communications.  She was invested with the Order of Canada on September 26, 2012 and has also been presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Thérèse de Couagne Born January 18, 1697.  Died February 26, 1764. She married Francois Poulin de Francheville in 1718 and was a widow in 1733. She became interested in business after her husband's death.  She would be known as an astute business woman and played an active role in New France economy.  She was the owner of the slave Marie Joseph Angelique. It was this slave who while trying to cover her escape would set fire to the widow's house in 1734 and the fire would get out of control burning much of the settlement. 
Nazia L. Dane

Born June 6, 1906. Indian Head, Saskatchewan She began her working career as a teacher. During WW II she worked in the Department of Munitions and Supply and the Department of Transport. After the war she became Director of Education and Woman’s Division at Canadian Life Association in Toronto. She retired in 1971 and became a free lance Public Relations Consultant. She was President oft he International Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs from 1971 through 1974. In 1977 she was the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Medal.  Sources: Canadian Women of Note. Media Club of Canada. (York University 1994) page 212. : Canadian Who’s Who volume 14. 1979 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press)

Sarah Debbois.  Born December 29, 1733. She married successful merchant, George Debbois and raised a family. As loyalists or people who had left the colonies in the United States because they were still loyal to the British monarchy, her family relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia. When her husband died in 1799 she assumed supervision of his business. She was somewhat of a novelty in Halifax society and the business survived difficult times. She provided a solid foundation for the business which continued as a family business into the 19th century.
Rita Deverell Born 1945. She started in television when she helped create a successful children's show, All in a Tube in 1972. Her career has encompassed being an on-air journalist, a producer, a university professor , a social activist and visionary television pioneer. In 1988 she was one of the founders of the world's firs multi-faith and multicultural enterprises of its kind...VISION TV. She has mentored the careers of visible minorities and aboriginal hopefuls. She assures positive portrayal of women of all ages on VISION TV. Her work has been diversified from Obsidian Theatre to the Couchiching Conference of Public Affairs. In 1993 she was included in Maclean's Roll of Outstanding Canadians. She has received the Canadian Black Achievement Award and is a member of both the Broadcast Hall of Fame and the Order of Canada.
Arlene Dickinson

Born October 8, 1956, Germiston, South Africa. Arlene emigrated to Canada with her family when she was quite young. She attended High School in Calgary. She married when she was 19 and the couple had 4 children. By the time she was 31 she was divorced and lost the custody of her children because she had no  financial system of support. After several attempts at various positions in 1988 she was working at venture Communications. Within 10 years she was the CEO and owner of the business. She was listed as one of Canada’s top 100 Most Powerful Women, Calgary’s Business owner of the Year and earned the Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. A self made millionaire she entered the successful CBC television business show, Dragons’ Den in 2008. She has served on numerous boards including Kids Help Phone, Marketing Magazine and is the national spokesperson for the Breakfast Club which raises awareness of the necessity of a nutritious morning meal for children. In 2011 she published her 1sdt book , Persuasion and earned the Women in Film and Television Showcase Lifetime Achievement Award. Source: Arlenedickinson.com (Accessed February 2014)

Denise Donlon Born 1956. She entered broadcasting in 1985 when she joined MuchMusic. In 1997 she had worked her way up the corporate ladder to Vice president and general manager of MuchMusic. She was instrumental in taking the company to an international audience. In 2000 she accepted a position as President of Sony Music Canada. She has won two Gemini Awards, the Peter Gzowski Award of Merit, 3 times she has received Canadian Music Week's Broadcast Executive Award and she has received the Outstanding Achievement Award from Women in Films and television. Shift Magazine 1998 listed her as one of the top 25 most important people in New Music. In 2002 she was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and in 2005 she was appointed a Member in the Order of Canada.
Marie-Geneviève Drapeau (née Noel) Born Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Quebec January 13,1766. Died November 17, 1829. She married Joseph Drapeau in 1782 but became a widow with his death in 1810.  As a wife she had no rights nor power but as a widow she had the same rights as an adult male. This was a law entitled Coutume de Paris. She took over the family businesses and rented out houses, businesses and lands. The monies were invested in real estate. She was a well known and respected business personality of her day. Upon her death her estate was divided evenly among her 6 daughters who ably continued the family businesses. 
Celia Duthie Born Vancouver, British Columbia. She studied English literature at the University of British Columbia. She began her working career as a social worker and wrote poetry for release. Eventually she returned home to the family business, Duthie Books Ltd. She automated the business and increased the total number of book stores in Vancouver to 10 outlets. The company also publishes The New Reader, a quarterly journal of book Reviews which has run for over 20 years
Flora McCrae Eaton Born Omemee, Ontario 1881. Died July 9, 1970. As a young woman she trained as a nurse. In 1901 she married Sir John Craig Eaton and turned her energies to philanthropic works. She would dedicate herself to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Institute for the Blind and children's welfare. As a businesswoman she was a director of the T. Eaton Co. and Vice-President and director of the Eaton Knitting Co. This busy mother of four sons also found time to pen a autobiography, Memory's Wall (Toronto 1956) which was to be a legacy for her grandchildren.
Marie Anne Fornel Born August 26, 1704. Died November 16, 1793.She was a woman of the merchant class. She and her husband would have 14 children but only seven would survive infancy. In this era of New France it was typical for a woman to continue in the family business after the death of a husband. When she became a widow in 1745 she took over the family business interests to assure the support of her family. She showed a strong business sense entering the pottery business when the war cause a shortage of shipments from France. She was successful in several ventures including real estate and she expanded her affairs throughout the community and even into Labrador.
Julie Frost Died October 3, 2002. She worked in radio in Red Deer Alberta, and Dawson Creek, British Columbia before moving and settling in Saskatchewan. In 1957 she and her husband, Bill founded C J F B - TV in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. She was more than 'just' owner and general manager and is described as a true pioneer of independent broadcasting. The station signed over to CBC only in May 0f 2002. She was also extremely committed to her community. She created the Kinsmen Telethon in Saskatchewan. Now called, Telemiracle, it is recognized nationally for the tens of millions of dollars that it has raised for individuals with disabilities.
Lois Hole Born Buchanan, Saskatchewan 1929. Died January 7, 2005. She moved to Edmonton in her early teens. It was here that she would meet her husband Ted and in 1952 they purchased their farm. By 1960 they had diversified into a vegetable and mixed garden business and by 1979 the incorporated as Hole's Greenhouses and Gardens Ltd. Their business would grow into one of the largest retail greenhouse operations in western Canada. An advocate of education she was a member of the Governing Council of Athabasca University. She also worked on the Farm Credit Corporation, was honourary chair for the 27th Canadian Congress on Criminal Justice and for the Children's Millennium Fund. She also served as a board member of the Canadian Heritage Garden Foundation, the Child and Adolescent Services Association and the Quality of Life Commission. In 1999 Prime Minister Jean Chrétien appointed her as Alberta's 15th Lieutenant Governor. She is the second woman to hold this position. In her spare time, Mrs. Hole managed to publish several books on gardening as well as being a regular contributor to several newspapers across Canada. This in-between being an  in demand and popular  lecturer throughout North America. She was also appointed to the Order of Canada.
Lenora Hume

 

Production executive for Children's Media

Born Vancouver, British Columbia. Lenora obtained her B.A. at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario. She began work with Nelvana Lid. as a cinematographer but soon choose production as her preferred career. She worded on productions for entertainment of children and in 1989 she won a Grammy for work on the storied elephant Babar. This was followed with recognition for work on the animated series Beatlejuice by winning  Daytime Emmy. By the mid 1990’s she was in charge of Walt Disney Television Animation in Toronto. Her name is associated with children’s character entertainment of the era from Strawberry Shortcake, the Care Bears, My Pet Monster and the Puffalumps. In June 2006 she settled in London England to work for HIT entertainment where characters such as Thomas the Engine come to life. In 2011 Waterloo University honoured her with the Alumni Achievement Award. Lenora sits of the board of Directors for Women in Animation (WIA) is an active member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She is also a founding committee member of  Canadian Studies Program at the University of California. Leona Hume was nominated for inclusion into Famous Canadian Women by James Leier in March 2011.Sources: HIT news releases. http;//www.hitnewsonline.com (accessed May 2011) The Children’s Media Conference http://www.thechildrensmediaconference.com/2010/speakers/ Accessed March 29, 2011)
Annie Lucille Johnstone

 

'Tugboat Annie'

 Born Vancouver, British Columbia 1924. Died December 31, 2004. In high school she was introduced to accounting and enjoyed it. Later on she would attend night classes to follow through with studies to become a Certified General Accountant. In 1945 she was hired by a company called Riv Two as a “girl Friday” and she learned quickly. Through the years she worked her way to president and CEO of the company! An inspiration to all her staff she did whatever was required to be done. When she was tug dispatcher she earned the nickname ‘Tugboat Annie’. After courses in advanced management she helped prepare the company for a successful merger doubling its size. By the time of her retirement in 1989 she was overseeing 1500 employees,  one of the largest marine companies in British Columbia. After she left the job she continued with her volunteer positions, which included being Chair of the Vancouver International Airport Authority, an aboriginal business foundation and a sexual assault recovery program.  She was the Woman of the Year in Vancouver in 1984 and was appointed to the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada.  
Source: The amazing story of tugboat titan Lucille Johnstone by Paul E. Levy. (Madira Park Harbour, 2006).

Vickie Kerr

Born Montreal, Quebec. A pre school teacher by profession she and her farmer husband would settle to growing potatoes in the fertile regions of western Ontario. In 1986 she began making her own potato chips in her farmhouse kitchen in New Lowell. Her children were loved her potato chips and were a real encouragement for the long work house. Her idea was to provide a healthy snack food for children. The farm was mortgaged and the business began in 1989. The first year Miss Vicki’s Potato Chips was a million dollar business. She would be the Director of Blinding Hope Foundation that was established to relieve the suffering of orphaned, abandoned and other disadvantaged children worldwide. The business was eventually sold and plants are now located in British Columbia and Quebec. After the death of her husband Miss Vicki moved to the United States from where her dream of living on a beach in Mexico finds her on the Sea of Cortez near Puerto Penasco ,Mexico only a i/2 day drive from San Diego. She is a certified notary and a student of Spanish language and culture. She is an investment specialist encouraging opportunities by the beach in Mexico. Suggest source: I know that Name: The People Behind Canada’s Best-known Brand Names  by Mark Kearney and Randy Ray (London: Hounslow, 2002)

Catherine Kim McArthur

Born Simcoe Ontario. 1953. She attended the University of Western Ontario , London, Ontario, for her B.A. and earned a Gold Medal for her studies. She then attended Alehouse College in Toronto, earning her B. Ed. and started her high school teaching career. By 1981 she had made the career switch that would open a whole new world for her. She worked in book publishing with McGraw Hill- Ryerson, Carswell, and Methuen Publishers. Married in 1982, she would become a working mother of two children and switched to Little Brown Publishers. When an American firm took over Little Brown in 1998 she looked for a way to continue working where her passion was. McArthur and Company Publishers was born. She is a strong supporter of Canadian writers and the Company publishes a an impressive list of best-selling and award-winning authors of fiction and non-fiction and wears the lave of one of the top three Canadian owned publishers of Canadian fiction in the country. She was awarded the Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the year for start up 2001-2 and has been listed on the Chatelaine top 100 women Business Owners for several years. She served on the Book and Periodical Council for Canada in 1999 through 2002. She also chaired the first Book Lovers Ball in February 2006 for the Toronto Public Library Foundation. She has been recognized with the Consumers Choice Award for Business Woman of the Year in 2005. In November 2007 , the Woman’s Executive Network recognized her as one of the top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. Sources University of Western Ontario Alumni Gazette Spring 2008;  Canadian Who’s Who (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006)

Maria M. Klawe

 

Born Toronto, Ontario July 5, 1951. Maria earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta in 1973 and went on to graduate studies at the University of Toronto before returning to the University of Alberta to earn her PhD in 1977. May 12, 1980 she married Nicholas J. Pippenger and the couple had two children. The following year she earned the IBM Outstanding Innovation Award. Since 1996 she has explored the potential for computer and video games to teach mathematical concepts to be girl friendly using such games as Phoenix Quest. In 1997 she was honour by the Vancouver YWCA as the Woman of Distinction for the year in Science and Technology. In 2001 she was named as a “Wired Woman Pioneer”. In her academic world she became in 2003 Dean of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University in the U.S.A. returning to British Columbia to become Dean of Science at the University of British Columbia. Sources: Herstory; the Canadian Women’s Calendar 2000 (Silver anniversary edition) . Coteau Books, 1999 page 18 : Canadian Who’s Who 2006 Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.

Eudora Jane Lochead Died February  2, 1937, North Vancouver. After her husband James, a logging contractor, left she took to making her own living by opening the first general store at Hastings Grove  in 1911.  Above the store she ran a 20 room boarding house and a dining room that could seat 60 people. When the rooms were full additional “guests” were accommodated in a large tent. Her place was the social centre of the area. She hosted special events at which she played the violin as part of the evening entertainment.  Two cousins.  Marion and Emma, and son William assisted. She opened a second stoor in an area she named Lochdale in 1913 She applied for and was able to add post office to this store in March 1, 1914.  She was also  poet her best-known work Would Life Be Worth Living was published in the newspaper.  Source: The Vancouver Hall of Fame online
Ann Kirby Macaulay

Baptized Knaresborough, England November 11, 1770 Died January 20, 1850. She married Robert Macaulay February 13, 1791 and the couple settled in Crown Point, in the Colony of New York. With the American Revolution this loyalist Family moved Upper Canada. By 1800 Ann was a widow with three sons. She became a successful overseer of her estate. She was a strong supporter of the Anglican Church and worked for relief of victims of disasters. At the age of 76, after the death of one of her daughters-in-law, she assumed responsibility for her four grandchildren. She was a strong community activist and businesswoman who primarily cared for her family.  Suggested source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography (Toronto, University of Toronto Press)

Viola Rita MacMillan (née Huggard.) Born April 23, 1903 Dee Bank, Ontario. Died August 26, 1993. She worked as a maid and a telephone operator in order to pay for school. In 1923 she married George Macmillan. She worked part time as a stenographer and in the good weather she and George were prospecting for gold in northern Ontario. She would strike it riche in Hislop Township near Timmons, Ontario. She was now  a prospector and a mine manager. During World War ll she became the first woman president of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. She would hold this position for twenty years . During her time as president the association grew from a membership of 100 to 4,000. By the Mid 1960’s the mines were slowing in production, some to a point of closing. Cobalt with its sliver, Kirkland Lake and Timmins with their gold were experiencing what might be called “tired mine” syndrome. However Aerial surveying pinpointed huge deposits of copper, zinc and other base metals and groups like Texas Gulf lead the new rush of mining. Texas Gulf is in 2013 known as Kidd Creek Mine and is still an active mine site. The mid 1960’s mining rush also brought trouble for Viola as she held back a report on one of her mine sites and let the excitement and the rumor mill create an increase in cost for her mining shares. Once released the report proved to be negative and Viola was arrested and charged with wash trading. In 19677 the Queen Bee, as she was called was acquitted of fraud charges after serving only 6 weeks of her nine month prison sentence. Viols returned to tramping in the bush prospecting and promoting mining continuing well into her eighties. In 1991 she was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame and in 1993 she received the Order of Canada. The Viola R. MacMillan Award is given for company or mine development. Source: Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Online Accessed January 2013;  Great Northern Characters by Michael Barnes (General Store Publishing House, 1995.
Marguerite_Magdelaine LaFramboise

Pioneer fur trader and businesswoman

(née Marcot). Born February 1780. Died April 4, 1846. Born to a fur trader father and the daughter of an Ottawa Chief she was raised to learn the life of a fur trader. On October 11, 1804 she married Joseph LaFramboise but the marriage only lasted a couple of years when in 1806 she became a widow. She became on of the leading fur traders of the Upper Lakes Region. She would retire in 1822 as a wealthy woman devoting herself to education of young people and to her Church. At one time she even was hostess to the famed traveler and author, Alex deTocqueville.  Source: Online Dictionary of Canadian Biography (accessed June 2008) .

Amanda Lynn Mayhew

Born Manitouwadge, Ontario September 3 1974. As a youth she had a thyroid condition that resulted in looking like a bean pole and then her condition switched and resulted in excessive weight gain. To combat her health issues she become motivated not only to keep fit herself but to help others to keep fit and healthy. She turned to establishing a web site to answer all the questions she was receiving. With a few years she founded Fytness Fanatk magazine that runs with no commercial advertising and uses real people and real stories. Her career as an editor of the magazine run concurrent with her career as a successful model. She lives with her husband and three sons in Waterloo, Ontario. Her web page is : www.amandalynnmayhew.com  (Accessed May 2008) 

Ann Francis Oakes

Born Dundas, Ontario. Died Ancaster, Ontario March 6, 2010. She began her career working in Eaton’s Department Stores. She was marketing manager of the Eaton Centre along the way and as Manager of the Jackson Square store in Hamilton, Ontario, she became the first woman on the board of T. Eaton Co. Ltd. In the 1970”s she married John Leonard McLaine and the couple had one son. Leaving the Eaton Hamilton Store she moved to Palm Beach in the Late 1970’s where she orchestrated construction of the Esplanade Shopping Centre. Moving back to Toronto, she became vice president of Burton-Marsteller. She was also assistant general manager responsible for the opening of the Rideau Centre shopping complex in downtown Ottawa. She organized an impressive list of dignitaries to the opening in Ottawa including Prime Minister Trudeau and  the Premier  of Ontario. Her work efforts garnered her the top Shopping Center Management Award in North America and awards from the International Council of Shopping Centers. In 2005 she went back to school in the Masters’ Program at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute so that she could give back to her community to help improve mental health delivery to Canadians. In 2009 Therapy through the Arts, a registered charity to promote work in schools was born with Ann as a founding director. Source: Obituary Toronto Star March 2010. Online. Accessed June 2011. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.

Susannah Oland Born England Born 1798(?) Died 1886. Susannah and her husband John immigrated to Canada from England in the 1860’s.She first brewed her brown October ale in her back yard in Nova Scotia in 1867.  By the 1870’s Susannah found herself a single parent with 6 children to care for. She renamed her small brewing business to S. Oland and Sons to hide the fact that a woman was in charge of the company. She proceeded to build the company into the dominant brewer of beer in the Maritimes. She used her own personal recipe for her beer, a recipe which is still the base for the beer produced in the company that is the owner of the Oland beer label today. Moose Head Beer is  enjoyed across Canada.
Janice G. Rennie Born June 29, 1957. She describes herself as a self employed financial consultant. She won numerous scholarships and awards for her university studies. She won the Commerce Cup from her peers and in 1980 she won the Provincial gold medal and the national silver medal from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. She is also giving of her time and talents to her community having worked with the YMCA and the United Way campaigns. She is married and mother of two children. 
Charlotte Francoise Juchereau de Saint Denis Comptesse de Saint-Laurent. Baptized February 4, 1660. Died December 28, 1702. In 1702 she purchased the Ile d'Orleans becoming the Comptesse. She was a strong business personality of New France. She was also the mother of 16 children. Check out her story in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. 
Marie Saint Pierre. Born August 25, 1961.  Her enjoyment of designing cloths has lead her to establishing her own company Marie Saint Pierre Design Inc. in 1987. Within a few years her work won recognition and awards from the industry including Vidal-Sasson-sponsored Buyer’s Designer of the Year in 1995. She has been subject of numerous newspaper and TV interviews and has been cited as “Canada’s most promising designer” (Globe and Mail). Watch the labels of clothing you buy…it might just be from…
Eleni Skalbania Born April 14, 1943,  Santorini, Greece. Died September 22, 2013, Toronto, Ontario. She and her husband Angelos Marinakis emigrated to Canada with their 2 children. She and her second husband Nelson Skalbania began investing in the Devonshire Hotel and then Hotel Georgia in Vancouver. In 1984 she launched her won boutique, the Wedwood Hotel and Spa. In 1996 she earned the Independent Hotelier of the Year Award. . She worked with and donated funds to the British Columbia Cancer Foundation. Source: Obituary, The Globe and Mail Oct. 2, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Rose Marie Reid

Fashion designer and entrepreneur

 

(née Yancey) Born Cardston, Alberta September 12, 1906 Died November 18, 1978. This mother and homemaker was asked in the 1930’s by her husband to make him a new swim suit that was not itchy like the woolen suits of the day. The old wool suits also became baggy once wet. Rose Marie cut an outfit from an old water resistant coat and provided a lace for a snug fit. Everyone wanted one! Mr. Reid soon approached a local department store and the reluctant Rose Marie began a lifetime entrepreneurial journey. She would enter the fashion world of women’s bathing suits changing women’s swim gear on an international scale. Hollywood embraced her designs and it is said the Marilyn Monroe credited Reid’s designs for her success as a pin up girl. Rose Marie kept personally in touch with the designing of her swim suit lines until the business was taken over in 1968. By then the bikini was taking on the ladies swimsuit fashion and the small two piece suits were not of her liking. However her legacy of changing the fashions for several decades still remains and her name line still continues to sell among modest bathers. Source: Succeeding in swimwear by Julie Gedeon in The Beaver August/September 2007pg. 13.  Also: www.vintagevixen.com/articlesDesigners/vintageRoseMarieReid.asp  (accessed May 21, 2008)

Claire Samson Born April 12, 1955. She studied for her Masters of Business at the University of Montreal. Communications and broadcasting were the area of her career choice She has worked for Telemedia Communications, Société Radio Canada and Tele-metropole. In February 1995 she became Executive Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer for TQS (Télévision Quatre-Saisons) in Quebec and retuned to Radio Canada as Director Genera of Programs in 1999. She was also President of the Quebec Association of Television and Film Producers. A person in demand by her profession!! In 2004 she was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.
Jagdish Kaur Singh

Born July 12, 1912, Mesopor, Punjab, India. Died August 5, 1991, Chilliwack, British Columbia. She arrived in Canada on Nov. 19, 1929, settling in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Her husband, a Sikh priest, Giani Harnam Singh , ran a pioneer lumber business and helped found the Akali Singh Sikh Temple. After his death in 1956, she started and served as president of G.H. Singh & Sons Trucking. a gravel truck business in Chilliwack . She was also  Director of Dhillon Holdings and owner of several dairy farms and land holdings in Chilliwack and Langley area. A staunch supporter of Sikhism, she donated to charities worldwide. Source: Vancouver Hall of Fame online (accessed November 2012.

Eleni Skalbania Eleni and her husband, Angelos Marinakis immigrated to Canada with their two children. She married a second time to Nelson Skalbania. At one point she began investing in the Devonshire Hotel and then in Hotel Georgia in Vancouver. In 1984 she launched her won boutique, the Wedgewood Hotel and Spa. In 1996 she earned the Independent Hotelier of the Year Award. She worked with and donated funds to the British Columbia Cancer Foundation. Source: Obituary. The Globe and Mail, October 2, 2013.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa Ontario.
Sophie Strub Born Kharkov, Ukraine  Died 1949. The family immigrated to Canada in 1921 but by the end of the decade the country was immersed in the Great Depression. Butcher Michael Stub traded a barrel of his wife Sophie's homemade pickles with a local grocer for food for his family. The grocer wanted more!!! A family business Strub Brothers Ltd. was born. Today the family empire works out of Brantford, Ontario and still uses Sophie's recipe!!!
Barbara G. Stymiest Born June 13, 1956. This businesswoman held the Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Nesbit Burns Inc. from 1992 to 1999. It was during this time that she was the first woman to be Governor of the Toronto Stock Exchange. In 1999 she became President of the Toronto Stock Exchange! In 2000 she was on the top 10 list of Canadian businesswomen presented by the National Post.
Eira Margaret Thomas

Geologist and Entrepreneur

Born  Calgary, Alberta. Eira enjoyed geology and earned her B Sc at the University of Toronto in 1990. In 1994 she was chief geologist for Aber Resources Ltd when she discovered what proved to be the highest grade cluster of diamond pipes the world has ever seen. This discovery led to the founding in the Northwest Territories of the Diavik Diamond Mine, estimated to be a 10 billion dollar mine. By the turn of the century she was Director of Strongbow Exploration Inc.  Chief Executive Officer of Stornoway Diamond Corporation and until 2006 she served as Director of Aber Diamond Corporation. Her mining firm, Sternway Ventures, has diamond rights to more than 7,000,000 Arctic acres. Her dream is to find diamonds and develop a mine as the first Canadian owner and diamond operator. Sources: Ottawa Citizen January 17, 2004 p. B3; Canadian Who’s Who 2005 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005) p 1306.

Rose-Anna Vachon Born 1870 (?). Died December 2, 1948. It was Rose Anna who convinced her husband to borrow money and purchase a bakery just outside of Quebec City. It was her donuts, sweet-buns, shortbreads, cakes and pies made in her own wood burning stove in her home kitchen that kept clients coming back for more. In 1932 she made a delicious chocolate cake with a cream filling and named it after two of her sons...Jos -Louis! By 1937 the business had expanded throughout their home province as well as Ontario and the Maritimes. After the death of her husband in 1938 , it was Rose-Anna who expanded the business even farther. In 1945 she stepped down from the business and turned it over to her four sons. Her home, wood stove and all, in Sainte Marie de Beauce is now a museum. Canada Post issued a commemorative Millennium postage stamp featuring Rose-Anna and her husband in 2000.
Michelle Valberg

Born January 8. Michelle studied fine arts at the University of Ottawa and took photography at Algonquin College, Ottawa She has become renowned for her unique portraiture and spectacular landscapes.  She has also written two books: Look beyond…the faces and stories of people with HIV/AIDS and Dare to dream…a celebration of Canadian women. The funds raised by these books have been donated to Charity. An entrepreneur she owns and operates a gallery and studio as well as a publishing and special events business called Dare to Dream. She is active on Boards and Committees for local charities. She has received the Woman of Distinction Award from the Ottawa YM/YWCA in 200, Ottawa’s Business woman of the year award, 2004, and the St. Joe’s Women Stellar Quality of Life Award as well as being Algonquin College Alumnus of the Year. In 2005 the Ottawa Business Journal listed her in the Top 40 under 40 achievers. Sources: Ottawa Citizen October 18, 2005 p. D3 also Correspondences with Michelle Valberg.

Shirley Westeinde. She studied to become a Public Health Nurse and worked for the Victoria Order of Nurses. She took time off from her career to stay at home and raise her family and also studied business administration. She became interested and involved with the construction industry. In 1994 she joined the board of the Canadian Construction Association. In March 2004, she became the first woman to Chair the Canadian Construction Association.
Leila Wightman

(née Schnurr.) Born Mildmay, Ontario January 29, 1899. Died Clifford, Ontario November 22, 1976. .On October 14, 1925 Leila married Benjamin Wightman of Wightman Communications in Clifford, Ontario. His Father, Robert Wightman, had been a frustrated farmer whom Bell Telephone could not serve. Robert set up his own company in 1908 so he and his neighbors, could have a telephone. Leila acted as lead operator and office administrator for the telephone company after her marriage to Benjamin.  At the same time the couple brought up a family of four children. In 1947 Benjamin died and Leila decided to keep the company going. This made her the first woman telephone company owner. In 1953 she instituted the superior 4-diget dial service while the much larger Bell Telephone Company systems which were still cranking the old magneto telephones. The new system was the most modern of its day and heralded the arrival of 24 hour service telephone service. Leila had set the company on the path to modernization that kept the company going. Leila was inducted as member of the Telecommunications Hall of Fame in 2006.  Sources: Telecommunications Hall of Fame http://telecomehall.ca (Accessed October 2011)  ; also family provided vital information.

Hana ZalZal

Born Egypt, 1964. When she was 2 years old her family immigrated to Canada. She earned a civil engineering degree at the University of Toronto and a Masters of Business Administration at York University, Toronto. She worked as several jobs including being a financial analyst before she decided to follow her passion for makeup. She founded Cargo Cosmetics and first launched it through Eaton’s Department Stores in 1996. Since then she has found that advertising is best when it is done by word of mouth. She asked some of the Hollywood stars who used Cargo products to tell others. They did just that. Cargo Cosmetics was launched in Europe and Australia and is a multi-national business. She has been recognized by the New York Fashion Groups as an International Rising Star. In 2004 she was honoured in the list of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 and Brand Packaging Magazine presented her with  the Brand Innovator of the Yeas in 2006. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006. Saskatoon: Coteau Books, 2005.

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