Copyright © 1998-2020  Dawn E. Monroe. All rights reserved 

 ISBN: 0-9736246-0-4


Mary Eileen Abbott

Community Volunteer

née Bulman. Born July 5, 1896, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died August 9, 1980, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Mary attended the University of Manitoba earning both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science at Columbia University, New York City, U.S.A. She served as the President of the University of Manitoba Students Association (precursor of the modern Students Union) from 1918 to 1919. On 2 January 1925, she was married to A. C. Abbott. Mary was an active member of the  Winnipeg Winter Club, the Canadian Figure Skating Association, and President (1972) of Women’s Canadian Club of Winnipeg. Source: Manitoba Historical Society. Memorable Manitobans . by Gordon Goldsborough  online. (accessed December 2011) (2020)

Anne Abrametz

née Beck. Born December 22, 1916, Wroxton, Saskatchewan. Died January 10, 2015, Saltcoats, Saskatchewan. Anne remembers family life on the farm during the depression years with fondness. The family of 14 children did not go hungry what with a home garden and a milk cow. At 15 in 1921 she went to work as a nurse’s aide at the Queen Victoria Hospital, Yorkton, Saskatchewan, where she earned her room and board and $12.00 a month in pay. In 1939 she left her job to marry a farmer, Stephen Abrametz (d 1984). The couple raised six children. Anne held positions on the Yorkton Housing Authority and the Yorkton Arts Council and was deeply involved with the Ukrainian community. She organized Ukrainian kindergarten and adult language classes. She also loved to paint in watercolours and oils. Some of her works were exhibited in the province and at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  In 1975 the Ukrainian Canadian Committee elected her as Woman of the Year. The Saskatchewan division of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress gave her an award recognizing her volunteer work and cultural contributions. Source: Lives Lived, Anne Abrametz, Globe and Mail June 18, 2015. (2020)

Eva  Abremovich

née Finkelstein. Born June 10,1877, Radishevka, Volhynia Province, Russia. Died  December 18, 1953, Sarnia, Ontario. Eva arrived in Canada in 1883 with her mother and sister to join their father who had immigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba the year before.  Eva attended Carlton and Victoria schools then, in 1897 she graduated from Manitoba College, the 1st Jewish person to do so. In 1902 she married Manuel Hirsch Abremovich (1875-1958), an electrical engineer, in Winnipeg. They resided in New York City, U.S.A. for a few years before returning to Winnipeg where she was a member of the University Women's Club and the Women’s Canadian Club. During each of the world wars, Eva worked for the Canadian Red Cross. In 1948, she and her husband retired Vancouver, British Columbia. Source: Manitoba Historical Society. Memorable Manitobans . by Gordon Goldsborough  online. (accessed December 2011)  : City woman dies on visit to Sarnia”, Winnipeg Free Press, December 19, 1953. (2020)

Zanana Loraine Akande

Black Activist

Born 1937, Toronto, Ontario. Zanana holds a B.A. and  Master's in Education from the University of Toronto. In the 1960’s at an early teaching position she was asked by colleagues to eat her lunch in the basement, away from regular staff. Although her complaint to the school board on racism was heard and adjustments made she never had lunch on site at the school again, preferring to eat off school grounds. She was co-founder of the Tiger Lily, a newspaper for visible minorities. In 1990 she ran and was elected for provincial parliament in the riding of St. Andrew/St. Patrick, Toronto. She was appointed Minister of Community and Social Services, the 1st Black woman to hold a cabinet position in a provincial government in Canada. She resigned amidst political controversy concerning property holdings in 1991. At this time she was also mourning the death of her husband Isaac Akande who had died that year. She became assistant to Ontario Premier Bob Rae and established the Jobs Ontario Youth Programme that ran from 1991 through 1994. A disillusioned politician she retired from politics, even resigning from her New Democratic Party. After leaving politics she designed and coordinated programs for students with special needs, including gifted children and immigrant children. Many community based endeavors also gained from her services including the Urban Alliance, The United Way of Greater Toronto, the Elizabeth Fry Society, and the Toronto Child Abuse Center. Among the many recognitions for her work is the African Canadian Achievement Award for Education, and the Award of Distinction from the Congress of Black Women. Sources: Zanana Akande, first Black woman in Ontario Legislature. accessed 2009. Sway online  September 17, 2010 accessed June 2011. (2020)

Bertha Allen

Aboriginal Activist

née Moses. Born 1934, Old Crow, Yukon Territory. Died May 7, 2010. Bertha was raised in the traditional life style of her peoples. She married Victor Allen and together they raised a family of six children in both traditional and modern cultures. She was president of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women of the Northwest Territories and was founding president of Native Women’s Association of the NWT. She became president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada working for the improved health in her area through the Territorial Hospital Insurance Services Boards and the Inuvik Medical Transient Centre. In 2001 she was appointed to the Council of Grandmothers. She was the only woman of the Commission for Constitutional Development, and the Northwest Territories Judicial Appointment Committee. She also served on the National Aboriginal Committee to advise the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 2007 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. Source: “Bertha Allen” by Denise M. Kurszewski in Arctic Vol. 63. No. 4 December 2010 page 4078.  (2020)

Leanne Allison

Environmentalist & Filmmaker

Born 1969. At ten Leanne was named “Camper of the week” and she was hooked. As a teen she became a camp councilor. Learning of the outdoor pursuits program at the University of Calgary, Alberta, she participated in mountaineering, back packing, skiing, and paddling. In 1993 she was part of a four woman team, the 1st all woman team, to reach the east summit of Mount Logan. She met like minded Kaisten Heuer who was studying the urban and tourist encroachment on wildlife of the Bow Valley in Banff National Park and soon the couple found themselves on a trip along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. In 2003 the young couple endured following the migration of the Caribou across the Arctic’s remote tundra to study the effect of oil and gas development on the migration. Out of their escapade came the film Being Caribou. In 2009 they packed up the family dog and their two year old son to follow the wilderness treks of Farley Mowat and met the famous author at his home in Nova Scotia. The film of the family escapade was called Finding Farley. Allison has also created a 3D film in The Arctic. In 2012 she followed bear 71 producing a documentary and the following year she filmed Highway Wilding. Sources: Various online sites accessed 2014  (2020)

Virnetta Anderson

Black Activist

née Nelson. Born October 29, 1920, Monticello, Arkansas, U.S.A. Died February 11, 2006, Calgary, Alberta. After high school Virnetta attended M and N College, Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Metropolitan School of Business, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. In 1952 Virnetta relocated to Calgary, Alberta. It was here that she met and and married one of the city's football stars, Ezzrett 'Sugarfoot' Anderson. The couple had four children. Virnetta was deeply involved in her church and city wide community services. She was on the executive of the Alberta United Church Women and a lay commissioner of the United Church of Canada Council. She served as president of the Calgary Meals on Wheels and served on a multitude of boards such as the City Core Citizen Centre, Trinity Lodge, the Calgary Metropolitan Foundation, the Calgary Tourist and Convention Association, the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts and as well she served on school boards and on the Calgary Public Library Board. From 1974-1977 she was elected to the Calgary City Council serving as the 1st Black Albertan elected to a major public position. In 1988 she was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Calgary Rotary Club and in 1995 they presented her an Integrity Award. She set the standard high as an example for Black youth in the province of Alberta.  (2020)

Margaret Grant Andrew

Born March 19, 1912, Kingston, Ontario. Died July 30, 1982. Margaret earned her B.A. in economics and political Science from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, in 1933. When the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) began in 1936 she joined the staff. Settling in Vancouver she was active on the civic scene. She was a Vancouver School Board trustee, 1975-76 and chair of the Board from 1977-1979. A popular figure in the artistic and academic community, she was active in The British Columbia Arts in Education Council, she served at the Vanier Institute of the Family, The Vancouver Art Gallery, The Family Service Association, and the University Women’s Club. (2020)

Anna Mae Aquash

Aboriginal Activist

née Pictou. Born March 27, 1945, Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. Found dead February 24,1976, South Dakota, U.S.A. Anna Mae grew up in severe poverty living with her family in an abandoned army house without electricity or running water. When her parents left the family the children went to live with their older sister but there were too many mouths to feed. Anna Mae dropped out of school in grade nine and joined the annual job hunting migration from Canada to the state of Maine in the United States. She picked berries, and harvested potatoes before finding a promotion to factory work in Boston, Massacheutts, U.S.A.. The mother of two children by the time she was twenty she married and settled to Boston suburban life. Divorce allowed her to consider herself and the meaning of her life and she began to have a deepened interest in her native culture. She wanted to help her people. She organized the Boston Indian Council and began to help aboriginal peoples find meaningful employment. In 1973 she joined in the now famous protest at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, U.S.A. She became more involved in AIM (American Indian Movement) and represented the group at functions across North America. She organized fundraising benefits with stars like Kris Kristofferson and Buffy Saint Marie. In 1974 she was at the occupation of Anicinabe Park, Kenora, Ontario. The tortured body of this courageous Canadian activist was found in February 1976. (2020)

Edith Jessie Archibald

Social activist & author

née Archibald. Born April 15, 1854, St John's, Newfoundland. Died May 11, 1936. Halifax, Nova Scotia. As a young woman Edith was educated in London, England and New York, U.S.A. She married Charles Archibald, vice-president of the Bank of Nova Scotia, and they had a family of four children. She would use her social position to advantage and become an influential leader in the Canadian Women's movement. She worked with various organizations at the local, regional and national levels.  She was the Maritime Superintendent of the Parlor Meetings Department which orchestrated tea parties used to organize temperance activities and discussed how to educate other women. She worked with the National Council of Women, the Red Cross and the Victoria Order of Nurses. She was a fighter for woman's suffrage that was finally granted in her home province in 1918 , largely due to her efforts. She would also find time to write the history of the Red Cross, a novel a three act play and the Life and Letters of Sir Edward Mortimer Archibald (1924), the biography of her father. The Canadian Historic Sites and Monuments Board recognized her as a national historic person in 1997. (2020)

Helen Armstrong

née Jury. Born 1875, Toronto, Ontario. Died April 18,  1947, California, U.S.A. Working as a seamstress at her father’s tailor shop in Toronto, Helen met and married the politically minded George Armstrong in 1897. The couple raised four children. The couple originally settled in Butte, Montana, U.S.A. but moved numerous times following the job market for George. In New York City, New York, U.S.A. Helen became active in the National Women’s Suffrage Association. In Washington, D.C. she was jailed for chaining herself to the White House fence during a demonstration for votes for women. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1905 they were forced to take in borders to make ends meet. Preferring peace they denounced Canada’s involvement in WW l. She became a women’s labour rights leader and served as President of the Women’s Labour League in Winnipeg and also served on the Mother’s Allowance Board. She led women to strike at Woolworth’s Department Store in 1917, successfully winning a $2.00 a week raise. She was arrested four times during the notorious 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. The family home was raided by the RCMP. On Bloody Saturday, June 21, 1919, she suggested women use their hat pins (some of these pins were a good six inches long!) as weapons. She was arrested for inciting violence. While her husband would serve a jail term for his role in the Winnipeg Strike but she was acquitted. After the strike she toured eastern Canada on a lecture tour to raise legal funds for those men still in jail. She ran twice for a city alderman in Winnipeg. Finally with no jobs available for George the family moved to Chicago in 1924 where Helen worked with the Nobel Prize winning suffragist Jane Adams. In 2001 a documentary film was based on her life and courage.  Source: 100 more Canadian Heroines: Famous and forgotten faces by Merna Forester (Dundurn Press, 2011) (2020); Memorable Manitobans, online (accessed 2021)

Sally Wishart Armstrong

Born July 16, 1943, Montreal , Quebec. Sally earned her Bachelor of Education at McGill University, Montreal,1966. In 2001 she would return to university to earn her Master’s at the University of Toronto. She started working as a physical education teacher but soon found herself involved in journalism where she became editor in chief for Homemakers magazine from 1988 through 1999. Along with numerous magazine articles she has published several books including Mila, the biography of Mila Mulroney, wife of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1982. Her works have brought the political and cultural struggles of women around the world to her readers. She has highlighted strife of women in Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, and Afghanistan. She has chronicled lives of women who have opposed efforts of the Taliban to subjugate women. She has also produced award winning documentaries for the CBC spotlighting international struggles for women’s rights. She is a founder of WILLOW a resource for Breast Cancer in Canada. As well, she serves on the Council of Advisors for the Canadian Women’s Foundation. In 1996 she was awarded Women of Distinction Award in Communications by the YMCA in Toronto.  She has been granted numerous honourary degrees from universities and in 1998 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. Sally was married to Ross Armstrong (died 2000) and the couple had one son. In 2000 she won the Amnesty International Media Award for her article "Honour's Victims' in Chatelaine magazine. She won again in 2002 for her article "Speaking their peace" in Chatelaine magazine and again in 2022 for her article "These Little Girls are Setting out to Change the World" in Chatelaine. In 2002 she was UNICEF’s Special Representative to Afghanistan.  She is a member of a United Nations group consisting of Palestinian women, Israeli women and women of other nationality working to help bring peace to the Middle East. In 2008 she received the Canadian Journalism Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. Source: ‘Sally Armstrong’ by Dana Schwab New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia 2009. Online (accessed May 2014)  (2020)

Iphigénie Arsenault

Born September 17, 1908, Summerside, Prince Edward Island. Died July 13, 1996 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Iphigenie attended Price of Wales College and Union Commercial College. In 1927 she joined the local Red Cross and continued served for 70 years! In 1967 she was the only woman Red Cross Commissioner in Canada. She also served the young women of the Island while serving in the Girl Guides at various levels including Deputy Commissioner of PEI. Girl Guides presented her with their Medal of Merit. She held various offices in the Catholic Women’s League from 1938 through 1970. She worked as National Spiritual Convener, National Convener of Education and Scholarships. Working her way up from 3rd Vice President she became National President from 1970-1972. A love of the stage nourished her active participation in the Charlottetown Little Theatre. She was a charter member and president of the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs of PEI. In 1967 she received the Canada Centennial Medal and in 1977 became a member of the Order of Canada. In 1978 she received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 1981  (2020)

Gail Asper

Born May 28, 1960, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She was brought up with a love of music. She enjoyed playing the piano and performing on stage. Law became her focus at University where she took a B.A. in 1981 and followed this with a Bachelor in Law in 1984 from the University of Manitoba. She articled and worked in Nova Scotia at first but in 1989 returned home to Winnipeg. She worked as General Council and Corporate Secretary of CanWest Global Communications. In 2003 she became president of the Charitable Asper Foundation. She initiated multiple fundraising campaigns including the CanWest Raise-a-Reader and the CanWest National Spelling Bee. She was an inspiration and tireless worker for the establishment of the Canadian Museum of Human Right located in Winnipeg. In 2005 she was awarded the Governor General Ramon Jon Hnatyshyn Award for volunteerism in the Performing Arts followed in 2007 with the Order of Manitoba. In 2008 she had received the University of Ottawa’s Distinguished Canadian Leadership Award and she also received the Hadassah-Wizo’s Rebecca Sieff Award.  In 2009 she was given the Order of Canada. Source: Herstory 2012: The Canadian Women’s Calendar. Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective, 2011.  (2020)

Isabelle Atkinson

Born July 22, 1891, Bramley, England. Died  August 11, 1968, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She and her widowed mother immigrated to Waterbury Connecticut, U.S.A. as a teenager. She became a factory worker and found herself a women’s rights supporter. She moved to her brother’s farm near Strasbourg, Saskatchewan in 1914. By 1919 she moved to Kerrobert and worked as a bookkeeper. She worked to found the local library and pursued her own studies in social issues. After her mother’s death in the early 1920’s she traveled abroad to continue her education in commonwealth countries. She reported her experiences back to Canada and they were published in the Star Phoenix and other newspapers. It was the Winnipeg Free Press that would later publish a booklet of some of her articles. She was active in the Consumers Association of Canada serving as provincial president in 1954 and then as national President from 1956-1960 in Ottawa. She was also active in the Saskatoon Council of Women and took interest in the Liberal Party of Canada. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon.(2018) 

Isabel George Auld                     3456 née Hutcheson. Born September 21, 1917, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died March 27, 2016, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Relocating to Regina Saskatchewan Isabel attended Regina Central Collegiate and then graduated from the University of Saskatchewan. She intended to continue her education working on doctoral degree at McGill University, Montreal but left and joined the Rust Research Laboratory at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. In 1943 she married W. Murray Auld and the couple raised three children together. She was an active member of the Consumers Association in Canada where she served as Manitoba Chair.  She was also chair of the Women's Canadian Club of Winnipeg. From 1977 through 1986 she was the first woman to be Chancellor of the University of Manitoba. In 1977 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Silver Jubilee Medal. Isabel served as well on numerous boards such as the William and Catherine Booth College, the Manitoba Medical Service Foundation, the Cancer Care Manitoba Foundation and the J. W. Dafoe Foundation. In 1986 she was inducted into the order of the Buffalo Hunt and in 1989 the Order of Canada.  In 1993 she became a member of the Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame.  She received the 2002 Queen Elizabeth ll Golden Jubilee Medal as well as the 2012 Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal. Source: Memorable Manitobans, online (accessed 2021)

Grace Bagnato

Born 1891, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Died October 8, 1950, Toronto, Ontario. Born in the United States her Italian immigrant family moved to Toronto Canada about 1905. It was in this city in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s that Grace would become known to many immigrant Canadians who needed help. She learned their languages in order to help them and to communicate with them. She went to court with them to help them get the best justice their new home could offer. In 1921 Grace became the 1st Italian-Canadian woman to be a police court interpreter.  During World War II when Canadians who had immigrated to Canada were all suspect simply because they were aliens, Grace worked hardest making sure their needs were understood. She was a mother of 13 children who worked hard for all the immigrants of Ward area in Toronto. Grace St. is a part of the acknowledged Italian district of Toronto. In 2003 the City of Toronto erected an historic plaque in her memory and in 2013 Via Bagnato a small street was named for her. Learn more about Grace Bagnato in the video recording “An Act of Grace” (A scattering of seeds series) White Pine Pictures. (2020)

Denise Marie Baillargeon

Born February 17, 1946, Edam, Saskatchewan. Died October 8, 2013, Toronto, Ontario. Denise attended teachers College in Quebec and later attended the University of Manitoba. In June 1973 she married John West. The couple had four children. From 1989 until she retired in 2001 Denise was a French language interpreter for the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Returning home from a trip to Paris in 2001 she met Sister Delphine Nebi and the two women became friends with Denise becoming a dedicated supporter of Sister Delphine’s work in West Africa. Together they worked helping abused women and girls in Burkima, Faso. Denise traveled five times to Africa, creating Rescuing Our Africa Daughters (ROAD). ROAD runs a school and women’s centre helping over 200 women and girls escape forced marriage, mutilation and abuse. Source: Obituary, Globe and Mail, October 9, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario (2020)

Annie Ballantyne                                   3457 née McDermott / McDermot. Born November 12, 1832, Red River Settlement. Died May 14, 1908, Saskatchewan. Anne married on August 19, 1851 Andrew Graham Ballenden Bannatyne (died 1889), an independent merchant in Red River. Sadly her first son died while the family was in Edinburgh, Scotland. By 1860 the couple was back in the Red River settlement and had four young children. Five more children would round out the family. Annie was known as a gracious hostess in the community. She held an annual ladies bazaar to raise funds for the poor. In 1869 a local man, Charles Mair, wrote offensive remarks about 'half breed women' which were printed in the Toronto Globe newspaper. Annie's mother was a Métis. Annie took the slur personally and when Mr. Muir came to do business at the family store she thrashed him and he was forced to retreat quickly. In 1870 Sarah took her children on a trip to Scotland. Returning home her house was used on January 21 1871 for the first meeting of the newly formed Manitoba Legislature. In 1872 she raised funds for a hospital which was to be build on land donated by her family.  On December 3, 1873 her home and legislature building burned to the ground but there were no casualties. In 1881 the new family mansion was being built, nicknamed Bannatyne Castle it would be sold before it was completed. Source: Mothers of the Resistance 1869-1870; Red River Métis Genealogies online (accessed 2021).
Annie Bannatyne

Métis activist
née McDermott. Born 1830, Manitoba. Died May 14, 1908, Winnipeg, Manitoba. On August 19, 1851 Annie married Andrew Graham Bannatyne a general merchant. Their first son was born in 1852 but sadly died the following year during a visit to Scotland. The couple would have nine more children and Annie would outlive seven of them. Annie was a well known worker for various charity including the building of Winnipeg’s 1st hospital. Annie was a proud Métis and she stood up for the Métis women, many of whom had married white men in the community like herself. A local man by the name of Charles Mair was a well known bigot. Some of his offending remarks about Métis women were published in an article the Toronto Globe and Mail. Mair came to the Bannatyne store every Saturday to gather his mail. When Annie heard he was in the store she arrived a whip in hand. She lashed Mair several times claiming that this is how women handled such comments. Mair would hear about his humiliation for several decades after the event. Source: Annie Bannatyne, 1834-1910 in Métis Resource Centre (Accessed March 2013) (2020)

Clara Balinsky

née Zaitchick. Born January 1, 1924, Kharkov, Ukraine. Died October 8, 2006, Montreal, Quebec. Clara immigrated with her family to Canada and settled in Montreal, Quebec. She studied at the McGill Conservatory of Music graduating in 1939. In 1941 she married Charles Balinsky and the couple had three children. A officer the Canadian Hadassah Wizo Organization of Canada she served as National President from 1976-1980. She was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University and was made an Honorary Fellow in 1976; National Honorary Vice-President of the Canadian Zionist Federation, Member of the Administrative Board of the Canada-Israel Committee; member of the National Board of the United Israel Appeal; member of the Board of the Canadian Friends of Weizmann Institute Science; member of the World Assembly of Jewish Agency. She has been a delegate at the Brussels Conference of Soviet Jewry, 1971; delegate to the Prime Minister's Conference 1975, and a delegate to the World Zionist Congress 1972, 1978, 1983. In 1980 the Clara Balinsky Day Care Centre at the Asaf Harofe Hospital, Montreal, Quebec was named in her honour by Canadian Hadassah-Wizo. Source: Library and Archives Canada, Clara Balinsky Fonds. Online. (Accessed April 2014)  (2020)

June Elizabeth Bantjes

Born April 24, 1930, England. Died December 2006, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In 1952 June moved from England to South Africa where she met and married Dennis Bantjes. The couple would have 3 children. In 1959 she moved to Canada and after her divorce she settled in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She attended the University of Saskatchewan and earned a M.A. in sociology in 1995. She was a founding member of Saskatoon’s Women’s Calendar Collective which publishes Canada’s Women’s calendar annually. She became active with woman and drug use, Women for Childcare Action, and worked for the Saskatoon Environmental Society. She joined the Saskatoon Heritage Society and worked with the New Democratic Party both in the front lines and behind the scenes. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women's calendar. 2008  (Saskatoon Women's Calendar Collective / Coteau Books, 2007) (2020)

Annie McDermot Bannatyne

Born  1830?, Fort Garry, Manitoba. Died 1908, Saskatchewan  She was the daughter of Andrew McDermot, the pioneer free trader of Rupert’s Land. She married A. G. B. Bannatyne, prominent in business and politics in the Red River Settlement. The couple had three children. Along with caring for her family Annie devoted much of her time to charitable works. One of her interests was the Winnipeg General Hospital which had been built on land donated by her father, Andrew McDermot, and her husband. A feisty individual, there is a story that in February 1869 she horsewhipped Charles Mair over slurs Mair had published about mixed-blood women in Red River. Sources: "Some Manitoba Women Who Did First Things" by Lillian Beynon Thomas. Manitoba Historical Transactions, Series 3, No. 4, 1947-48; Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba (Manitoba Library Association, 1971) ; Memorable Manitobans: online (accessed December 2011). (2020)

Maude Victoria Barlow

Born 1947, Toronto, Ontario. Maude can perhaps be best described as a "loyal opposition" citizen. She was brought up with being exposed to the idea of speaking out against what you saw as wrong. As a young woman she was immersed in the Women's movement. After a failed attempt to become and elected member of the government of Canada she turned her energies to working to build something non-partisan. Maude is married to Andrew Davis and the couple have two children. She has become Canada's best known voice of dissent. She is an ardent opponent of Free Trade as not be good to Canada. She has put her talks into some five books to give Canadians a chance to see another point of view to what the government is doing or sometimes not doing. She is co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which works to stop commoditization of the world's water. In 2005 she was nominated for the 1000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize. Maude has been chair of the board of the Washington-based Food and Water Watch, a founding member of the San Francisco-based International Forum on Globalization and a Councillor with the Hamber, Germany based World Food Council. She has been appointed the 1st senior advisor on water issues by Miguel d"Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd session of the United Nations, 2008. Maude has received numerous awards including 14 honourary doctorates from various universities, the 2005 Livelihood Award, the Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement in 2008 from the Canadian Environment Awards and from Earth Day Canada in 2008 the the Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award.  In 2011 she received the EarthCare Award from the United States Sierra Club. She has received by 2010 six honorary doctorates from Canadian Universities. Maude has published and co-authored 19 books including Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse and Canada's Water Crisis, and Whose Water is it Anyway?  Sources: Women in Ottawa: Mentors and Milestones online (accessed June 2011) (2020)

Ada Youlton Barnes

Born December 18, 1906, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died March 5, 1998, Victoria , British Columbia. On  November 5, 1927, Ada married Kenneth Dudley Barnes in Winnipeg. They had three children. She volunteered for more than 30 years with the Manitoba Branch of the Canadian Red Cross Society. In April 1966, she was elected the first female president of the Branch. Three years later, she was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt, the 1st woman named Captain of the Hunt. Soon after, she and her husband retired to Victoria, British Columbia. Sources: Memorable Manitobans  profile by Gordon Goldsborough. Online (accessed December 2011)  (2020)

Katherine Bawlf

née Madden. Born January 9, 1855, Almonte, Ontario Died Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. November 26, 1918. Educated at Almonte, and married Nicholas Bawlf (1849-1914) February 6, 1877. The couple moved to Manitoba the next year. They had nine children. Nicholas became a pioneer grain merchant who brought Winnipeg into the forefront of grain business in western Canada. The family enjoyed living in the prosperous business community. Active in local philanthropy, Katherine was a member of the board for the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), and was president of the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Society. She was a member of the Women’s Musical Club, the Western Art Association, and the Roman Catholic Church. Sources: Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, 1911. C. W. Parker, editor. Canadian Press Association, Vancouver : “Mrs. N. Bawlf dies suddenly”,the Manitoba Free Press, 27 November 1918, page 9 : Memorable Manitobans , Profile by Gordon Goldsborough Online (accessed December 2011) (2020)

Mary Elizabeth Bayer






Born February 10, 1925, Alberta. Died  September 7, 2005. Mary was raised and educated in Manitoba. She served as Executive Director of the Volunteer Bureau and the Manitoba Centennial Corporation, founding Executive Director of the Manitoba Arts Council, founding Chair of Heritage Winnipeg, and founding member of the Assembly of Arts Administrators. She pioneered adult daytime television programming and served as the provincial government’s 1st woman Assistant Deputy Minister. At the national level, she was president of Heritage Canada, member of the National Executive of the Girl Guides of Canada, member of Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre for the Arts, and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. She also served on the selection committees for the Rhodes Scholarships and the Royal Bank Award. Retiring to Victoria, British Columbia in 1980, she served as Chair of the Greater Victoria Library Board, founding member of the Greater Victoria Arts Commission, Executive member of the Provincial Capital Commission, member of the Honorary Board of the Victoria Foundation, Chair of the British Columbia Heritage Society and founding Chair of the province-wide arts, and heritage advocacy group, Culture Acts Now. She was presented with the Girl Guides of Canada Merit Award, and the Manitoba Historical Society Centennial Medal (1970). In 1994 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada and in 2000 she was named an Honorary Citizen of Victoria. She was the 2004 recipient of the Woman of Distinction Award for Lifetime Achievement and in June 2005 received the British Columbia Heritage Award. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 15 September 2005 : Memorable Manitobans . Profile by Gordon Goldsborough Online (Accessed December 2011) ; Order of Canada, Online (Accessed December 2011) (2020)

Elsie Bear

Métis Activist

née Hourie. Born December 13, 1921, Grand Marais, Manitoba. Died March 5, 2002, Selkirk, Manitoba. At 18 Elsie worked as a cook at fishing camps. At one of the camps she met and fell in love with Sam Bear. The couple had five children. When the children became old enough to attend school the family moved to Selkirk, Manitoba. While her family was growing up Elsie volunteered for 20 years at the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre and the Manitoba Métis Federation. The couple loved children and they opened their heats to 40 children who needed a home. Christmas was always special as all the family gathered and the door was opened to needed families for Christmas dinner. Up to 100 guests would come on any given Christmas Day. In 1972 the Christmas dinner celebration was moved to the Métis Friendship Centre where Elsie and Sam would welcome 300 people . After Sam’s death Elsie carried on the tradition. In 1987 Elsie was Woman of the Year. Her name is also on the Wall of Honour at the Winnipeg Indian and Métis Friendship Center. She was honoured to be a Senator of the Manitoba Métis Federation and in 1992 she was inducted into the “Order of the Buffalo”, the highest honour given by the province of Manitoba. Sources: Hall of Fame, History of Metropolitan Vancouver web site Accessed April 2013; Obituary, March 8, 2002 Winnipeg Free Press (2020)

Ruth Marion Bell

née Cooper. Born November 29, 1919, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. Died December 16, 2015, Ottawa, Ontario. In 1929, after her father committed suicide her mother brought her home to Toronto to be close to family. After school and without a scholarship to university Ruth worked at the American consulate in Toronto. It was here she met her 1st husband, William Kirby Rolph. The couple married in 1945. They moved internationally to keep up with his teaching career and she began taking university courses at various universities on 2 continents. Dr. Rolph died in Australia in 1953 and Ruth returned to Canada. She completed her BA graduating in 1955 from the University of Toronto. She would earn her MA from Carleton University, Ottawa in 1965.  She worked at 1st for the Progressive Party of Canada in Ottawa. While working for a food processing company in Montreal she was invited to an evening with senior officers but reused to dance when asked. She was fired because she did not know her place! She then worked and a research economist at the Bank of Montreal and was hired as a lecturer with the University of Waterloo where she had to fight her way into the mail dominated engineering school. In 1963 she attended the annual Progressive Conservative party meeting in Ottawa reconnection with Robert Bell whom she met when she 1st returned to Canada. They married that year and settled in Nepean outside of Ottawa. As a volunteer she worked with more than 50 local, national and international organizations including being the 1st chair of UNESCO’s Sub-Commission on the Status of Women. Some of the organizations she worked with were Match International, the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of women, the Forum for Young Canadians, the Canadian commission for International Year of the Child, the National and Ottawa Council of Women, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the YM-YWCA. She was the longest serving director of TVOntario and a director of the Canadian Adult Education Association. She penned her autobiography, Be a Nice Girl…A Woman’s Journey in the 20th Century. In 1981 she was named to the Order of Canada followed in 1982 with the City of Nepean Distinguished Citizen Award. In 2000 she was presented the Nepean Millennium Medal. In 2002 she received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2005 she received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case and the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award. In 2007 she established the Dick and Ruth Bell Chair for the Study of Canadian Parliamentary Democracy at Carleton University, Ottawa and received the ScotiaBank Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008 she received the Founders Award from the University. The Bell’s historic home, Fairfields, was donated to the City of Nepean. Sources: Obituary, Ottawa Citizen December 19, 2016; Lisa Fitterman, ‘She Refused to be a ‘nice girl’. Toronto Globe and Mail January 18, 2016. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario (2020)

Jenny Belzberg

Volunteer & Philanthropist

née Lavin. Born January 7, 1928, Calgary, Alberta. Since her father did not believe in further education for women, Jenny went to work as a clerk for the Cunard Shipping Line in Vancouver, British Columbia and later at the Dominion Department of Immigration in Calgary. After first meeting, on a blind date, she married Hy Belzberg (died 2017) in 1948. The family was well off financially leaving Jenny time to volunteer for numerous community, provincial, and national organizations. Among  many groups she served as Chair of the Banff Centre from 1987-1991, Chair and founder of the Calgary Arts Partnership in Education Society, founder of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation in 2003, founder of the Ester Honens International Piano Competition, founder of the Canadian Cancer Society's Daffodil Gala, and a Trustee of the National Arts Centre, Ottawa. As well she held many important positions with the Beth Israel Sisterhood, Calgary, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish National Fund and the Calgary Jewish Community Fund. In 1996 she became a member of the Order of Canada followed in 2000 by the Alberta Order of Excellence. In 2006 she was a recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal and in 2012 the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth Medal. (2020)

Margaret Benedictsson                      3458 née Jonsdottir. Born March 16, 1866, Hrappsstadir, Iceland. Died December 13, 1956, Anacortes, Washington. Margaret ended up in foster care and when her father did come for her he died in 1879 when Margaret was just 13 years old. Hearing that girls could become educated in America she borrowed money in 1887 and relocated to settle in Pembina County, Dakota Territories, U.S.A.  She worked and put herself through two years at Bathgate College. In the early 1890's she moved to Winnipeg attending classed in book-keeping, shorthand, and typing at the Winnipeg Central Business College. She also became a member of the feminist oriented Icelandic Woman's Society. In 1893 she married Sigfus B. Benedictsson, a writer, poet and publisher. When Manitoba confederation women did not have the vote while Icelandic women were used to having the vote in their homeland.  It was in the 1890's that Icelandic women organized pioneering suffrage movements. Margaret lectured frequently on women's rights.  Margaret and her husband established a printing press in Selkirk, Manitoba and in 1898 published Freyja (meaning women) a monthly magazine with stories, biographical sketches, poetry, literary reviews, a children's corner and more importantly discussion on women's suffrage. The magazine soon had 500 subscriptions across Canada. Margaret often wrote using the pen name 'Herold' advocating political, social welfare, and legal equality for women. The magazine was published through to 1910 when she had marriage problems that ended in divorce. She was the first president in 1908 of the Icelandic Woman's Suffrage Society in Winnipeg. In 1912 she and her two children moved to Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. and then settled in Blaine, Washington. Source: Canadian Encyclopedia online (accessed 2021)

Agnes Benidickson

née McCaushland. Born August 19,1920, Chaffeys Lock, Ontario. Died March 23, 2007, Ottawa, Ontario. Although she was raised in Winnipeg Manitoba she decided to attend Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario where her father had served as chancellor. She earned a BA in 1941 and would return  in 1979 to earn a degree in law. During World War ll she began working and serving with the Canadian Red Cross. In 1947 she married William Moore Benidickson (1911-1985) who would be an Member of Parliament and Senator of Canada. The couple had three children. From 1972-1974 she served as president of the Canadian Council on Social Development and from 1974 through 1983 she was president of the National Association of Canadian Clubs. 1980-1996 she served as the 1st woman Chancellor of Queen’s University. In 1987 she was inducted as an Officer into the Order of Canada and in 1998 was promoted to Champion of the Order of Canada. In 1991 she was inducted into the Order of Ontario. Queen’s University named a beautiful gardened area the Agnes Benidickson Field in her honour. (2020)

Akua Benjamin

Black Activist

Born Lorna Benjamin, Trinidad. Akua emigrated to Canada in 1969. In the 1970’s she took an African name Akua meaning a girl born on Wednesday. She earned her PhD at the University of Toronto in Social work. By 1988 she was teaching at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her personal social work included outreach in over one dozen women of colour communities. She was president of the Congress of Black Women in Toronto, a founding member of the Coalition of Visible Minority Women, and the National Coalition of Visible Minority Women. She aimed to address poverty, oppression, and discrimination. In 1986 she was the winner of the Constance E. Hamilton Award which recognizes efforts in equitable treatment for women from the City of Toronto. In 1988 she became the 1st Black faculty member in the School of Social Work at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute (Now Ryerson University). In 2001 she participated in the United Nations Conference on Racism. She is currently the Director of the School of Social Work at Ryerson University. In 2005 she was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 1000 Women of Peace Project. Ryerson University  has instituted the Akua Benjamin Legacy Project with the aim to host an annual Akua Benjamin Lecture and organize an Anti-Black Racism Conference. Source: Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective. Herstory 2007: the Canadian Women’s Calendar (Regina: Couteau Books, 2006)  pg. 72.: The Akua Benjamin Legacy Project, Ryerson University, Online (accessed 2020)

Corinne Bernard

née L’Heureux. Born 1898, Norman, Ontario. Died Winnipeg 1939.  Corinne was the daughter of prominent Manitoba pioneers. She was an active member of many French-Canadian organizations including the Federation of French-Canadian Women of Canada and the Society of Ladies of St. Anne. She was also very active with her parish of Sacred Heart church. Source: Memorable Manitobans Profile by Kris Keen. Online (accessed December 2011) (2020)

Nora Bernard


Born September 1935, Millbrook First Nation, Nova Scotia. Died December 26,2007, Truro, Nova Scotia. Nora was a Mi'kmaq who's mother was forced to send her children to residential school. In 1945 Nora attended Scubenacadie Residential School along with her siblings. When she attempted to stand up and protect others who were being mistreated she herself was punished. In 1955 Nora married an non-indigenous man and, as outlined in the Indian Act, she lost her Indian Status. This portion of the Indian Act was repealed in 1985 but it did not mean automatic reinstatement to an Indian Band. In 1995 Nora began legal suit against the federal government to receive compensation for her time at residential schools. People from across the country soon joined in forming one national lawsuit becoming the largest class action lawsuit in Canadian History. In 2005 Nora testified before the House of Commons in Ottawa about the abuse that occurred in residential school. In 2005 79,000 residential school survivors settled the lawsuit for upwards of five billion dollars. In March of 2007 Nora was voted back into her Millbrook First nation. In December, just after Christmas, Nora was found dead in her home and four days later her grandson James Douglas Gloade was arrested and charged with her murder. In January 2009 he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison. (2020) 

Dorothy Betz

Aboriginal Activist

née Nepinak. Born June 26, 1929, Pine Creek Reserve, Manitoba. Died September 9, 2007, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dorothy's parents died when she was a child, and she was raised by her grandparents. She attended Pine Creek Residential School until the age of 18 and worked in various places before moving to Winnipeg in 1948. She married Elmer Betz on December 2, 1950. Together they raised a family of six children. Dorothy was moved by the hardship suffered by native people which led to a lifelong career in aboriginal law and community service. She pioneered the 1st Native Court Communicators Program with the Province of Manitoba, where she used her Ojibwa language to help aboriginal people to understand the law. She was appointed as the Canadian delegate to the Fifth United Nations Congress in Geneva, Switzerland and spoke on the topics of women, youth, and aboriginal people. She was a board member, worker, or volunteer for such organizations as the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre, Manitoba Society of Criminology, Manitoba Correctional Institutions, Native Clan Organization, Juvenile Review Board, Juvenile Corrections Child Welfare Government Board, Main Street Project, Police Natives Committee, Aboriginal Health Wellness Centre, Aboriginal Centre, Human Rights Committee, Native Alcoholism Council, Kekinan Centre (Aboriginal Seniors Residence), RCMP Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Pathway Children’s Home, Marymound School, Manitoba Association of Rights Liberties, Ma Mawi Chi Itata Centre, Native Women’s Transition Centre, Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development, and Keteyatsak Elders and Seniors. In recognition of her contributions, she was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt, received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, Women of the Year Award, the Manitoba Good Citizen Award, and the Joe Zuken Award for citizen activist. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 12 September 2007; Memorable Manitobans Profile by Gordon Goldsborough (accessed December 2011) (2020)

Ester Binder


Community Volunteer

Born 1910, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died February 16, 2007, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She grew up in Roblin, Manitoba, and like many youth she learned to play the piano. Moving to Winnipeg in 1929, she studied and became a secretary. She married Benny Binder in 1932.  The couple had two daughters, Gloria and Carole. The family moved to Rainy River, Ontario where they ran the general store for over twenty years. Returning to Winnipeg after the death of her husband in 1966, she began a 30 year career as a volunteer piano player for residents at Deer Lodge Hospital, later performing at several other nursing homes and seniors’ centers. She was made a member of the Order of the Buffalo Hunt in 1977. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 21 February 21,  2007; Memorable Manitobans, Profile by Gordon Goldsborough. Online (accessed December 2011) (2020)

Elsie Marion Eaton Bishop

née Eaton. Born 1909, India. Died 2003. As a student at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia Marion was an award winning multi sport athlete. She went on to Normal School (Teacher’s College) and began a career teaching Home Economics. She worked with the Women’s Institute extension program under the federal Department of Agriculture. In 1941 she married Alonzo Bishop just prior to him leaving to server in the war effort overseas. Most working women left the work place once they married but Marion refused to quite work, after all her husband was overseas. After Al returned from the war the couple had two children. The family moved about the country with Al’s military postings. Elsie became involved with the Girl Guide movement wherever they lived. This association with the guiding movement would garner her an award for her 27 years of Service. In 1991 she was inducted into the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame. In 1992 she received the New Brunswick Day Merit Award and in 1995 she was honoured by both local and Provincial governments. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women's calendar. 2008  (Saskatoon Women's Calendar Collective / Coteau Books, 2007); Hall of Fame, Acadia University Online (accessed 2020)

Violet Blackman

Black Activist

Born Jamaica. Violet came to Canada as a young girl in 1921. She worked in the garment district of Toronto and was an active member in the fur worker's union serving as secretary. She was involved in the work of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Toronto. It was an international organization founded by Jamaican Marcus Garvey in 1914 to unite people of African descent from across the globe. Violet was a strong influence on the group purchasing their own building on College Street. The Toronto Unit had a choir, a brass band and produced local plays for entertainment. A sub unit was the Black Cross Nurses. The Toronto Division quickly became a cornerstone in Toronto's Black Community and the Negro Credit Union. (2018) 

Marjorie B. Blankstein

née Rady. Born Winnipeg, Manitoba. Marjory graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba. She did he post graduate Master of Social Work in 1952. That same year she married Morley Blankstein, and architect. The couple had five children. She was active in her community serving on various boards including the Rady Jewish Community Center and the Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice. She was also an active member of the Capital Campaign Advisory Council for Friends of the Ralph Connor House and honorary Co-chair of the Words and Deeds Leadership Award Dinner in 2007. In 2008 she was honored at the Spirit of Leadership Awards, Winnipeg. In 1982 she was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada. She was the 1st to receive the Sol Kanee Distinguished Community Service Medal from the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council. She has received the 125 Anniversary of Confederation Commemorative Medal and in 1977 the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal. In 2003 she received a Distinguished Service Award form the University of Manitoba. (2019) 

Pearl Violet Borgal     3565 née  Edmanson. Born 1910, Calgary? Alberta. Died February 12, 1993, Lethbridge, Alberta. Pearl loved sports. She was Alberta's first Junior Swimming Champion. She also excelled at hockey and speed skating.  In 1936 Pearl and her husband Everett relocated to Lethbridge, Alberta. During World War ll she was an officer in the Canadian Auxiliary Territorial Service and served as president of the Officers' Wives Club. In 1944 she won the Alberta Officers' Wives Gold Tournament. Also an avid horsewoman whe was a member of the Lethbridge Saddle Club. In 1948 she founded the Lethbridge Figure Skating Club and served as publicity officer for the Lethbridge Exhibition Association. She was president of the Ladies' Organization for Civic Improvement and vice-president of the Lethbridge Community Council and City Civic Centre. She also worked with the Victorian Order of Nurses (V O N ) and the local Young Womens Christian Association (Y W C A). In 1952 she returned to Calgary for a short time but by the 1970's she was back in Lethbridge. She helped bring the Calgary Wranglers to become the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. In 1983 she helped establish the Keep-in-Touch Society providing comfort to local seniors. The Lethbridge Community College named Pearl to their Hall of Fame. . She was also honoured by the Sacce Band which gave her the name of Morning Star. The City of Lethbridge named a street in her honour. Source: Legacy of Lethbridge Women. Lethbridge Historical Society, 2005. (2021)

Adeline Ruth Boswell

née MacGregor. Born February 23, 1896, New London, Prince Edward Island. Died December 15, 1979, Prince Edward Island. She loved music all her life. The completed lessons with care and determination. At 15, she was the local church organist. She attended Price of Wales College and began teaching school but also continued in her musical studies. After World War I she married Keith Boswell. She initiated the Music Festival in Prince County, PEI and began a career as a traveling music teacher. She retired only at 75 years of age. She was presented with an honourary life membership of the PEI Music Festival for her musical contribution to her home province. She also had an active interest in local history. She was the prime activist in the restoration of the Boswell Home. It had been empty from 1947 thorough 1976 but is now a prime location for community social events. She was the prime researcher for the history of Victoria-B-The-Sea which is a highly prized Tweedsmuir History. Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 1981. (2020)

Beryl Bouvette

Métis Activist

née Knott. Born 1926?, Grand Marais, Manitoba. Died December 10, 2019, Manitoba. As a child Beryl loved to watch her fisherman father at work. She herself learned to make his fishing nets and kept him supplied. Later in life she and her brother-in-law made special presentations to the Canadian History Museum of Man and Nature (Now Canadian History Museum) about the construction of theses fish nets. Beryl married musician Red Bouvette (died 1992) and the couple enjoyed playing country music while raising their two children. Beryl has also been a judge for many contests for fiddle square dancing and jigging competitions within the Manitoba. Joining up with her sister and brother the family band known as the Why Not Band was born and played at many socials and senior homes in the province. The group also released two CD’s of Gospel music. She also volunteers for several agencies, including the Indian & Métis Friendship Centre and the Aboriginal Senior Resources Centre. She has been the Entertainment Chairperson for Folklorama for the Métis People’s Pavilion for a number of years. 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. Sources; Matt Preprost, “Gala recognizes accomplishments”.  Winnipeg Free Press June 18, 2010 Page A13; Lawrence Barkwell, Beryl Bouvette, Métis Museum. Online (Accessed October 2015); Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, December 14,  2019. (2020)

Judith Brady

Born 1931, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. Died May 5, 2013, Toronto, Ontario. Judith was the daughter of a father who believed in communism. She married briefly in her early 20’s. In 1957 she joined a group of Americans who wanted to travel to communist China. The members of the group were warned by the government of the United States that they could be criminally prosecuted for such a journey. However the group felt that they should have the freedom to travel where they wanted. They were met with great hospitality in China but when they returned to toe U.S. they were prosecuted and Judith lost her passport for a year. In San Francisco she met and married Trent Brady and they protested together in peace rallies against nuclear testing in the atmosphere. They moved to become citizens in Canada bringing up their two adopted children. Judith rallied people to oppose the Spadina Expressway which would have cut Toronto down the middle. The expressway was abandoned in 1971. She also helped found the Karma Food Co-op to provide for the needy. Judith earned a Masters degree in Library Science from the University of Toronto and authored an annotated bibliography of the works of Michael Ondaatje. She worked at the Sanderson Branch of the Toronto Public Library until she retired to care for her ill husband. She wrote poetry and volunteered for Out f the Cold, a program providing emergency care for the homeless. Source: “Spurned by her homeland, she followed her conscience to Canada” by Susan Ferrier Mackay, The Globe and Mail, May 31, 2013 (2020)

Maria Cordis Brennan

Sister Maria

Born 1908, Guelph Ontario. Died October 11, 2002, Hamilton Ontario. Maria moved to Hamilton, Ontario with her family in 1919. In 1926 she attended Hamilton Normal School graduating as a teacher. With no teaching positions available at the time, Maria worked at Westinghouse in the draughtsman's office. In 1927 she began teaching at St. Ann’s School in Hamilton then moved to Hespeler (now Cambridge) Ontario for six years. In 1934 she decided on a religious life and entered St. Joseph’s Convent. Sister Maria  became music supervisor for Hamilton's separate schools and taught music for 23 years to children in 25 elementary schools retiring in 1973. She served as president with the Canadian Pensioners Concern. She ran a weekly drop-in centre for seniors at Hamilton's Sons of Italy Hall. She lead the YWCA Fun Choir for seniors, played the organ every day at mass and sat on the board of the Boris Brott Summer Music Festival. In 1988, she received the Ontario Senior Achievement Award for outstanding contributions of individual senior citizens to their communities and the quality of life in Ontario. (2020)

Allison Brewer

Gay Rights Activist

Born July 15, 1954, Fredericton, New Brunswick. Allison earned her Bachelor of Arts at Dalhousie University, Halifax. Following a career as a journalist and communications professional,  she worked as a gay rights activist and established a national reputation. She and her partner are mothers of three children. Their son has Downs Syndrome and Allison became a forceful advocate for people with disabilities. In 1994 she worked to establish the Morgentaler Abortion Clinic in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In 1995 she represented Canadian women in the Beijing United Nations World Conference expanding her support for gays and lesbians everywhere. Moving to Nunavut in 2000 she worked as the vice president of Quilliit-Nunavut Status of Women. She was a founder of the Iqualuit Pride and Friends of Pride and was a driving force behind exclusion of sexual orientation in the Nunavut Human Rights Act. In 2004 she was recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. In the fall of 2005 she began a year long leadership for the New Brunswick New Democratic Party. She continues to be an activist while raising her children. Sources: Herstory: a Canadian women’s calendar 2007. (2020)

Andrea Brett-Bronfman


née Morrison. Born 1945, London, England. Died January 23, 2006. Andrea married David Cohen and settled in Montreal where they raised three children. In 1982 she married Charles Bronfman and became active in several philanthropic causes in North America and Israel. After 9/11 she created a program, the Gift of New York. She was also involved in Birthright Israel and the Association of Israel’s Decorative arts. 

Annie Gardner/Gardiner Brown

née Bar. Born July 29, 1864, Norwich, Upper Canada (Now Ontario). Died June 29, 1921, Regina, Saskatchewan. Annie graduated from Brantford Young Ladies College in 1883 and continued studies in art at Alma Ladies College, St Thomas, Ontario. On October 10, 1895 she married an up and coming lawyer and future Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan George William Brown (died 1919). The couple settled in Regina and brought up their two children. She was an admired hostess for her aspiring husband and an active volunteer in women’s groups in Regina. She worked with the Methodist Church women, the Local Council of Women, the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E), and the Aberdeen Association. She was also active in the Women’s Educational Club associated with Regina College. She worked with a small group called the Kanata Club which advocated women’s rights. She was recognized by the Red Cross and the government for her work during and after World War l with the Saskatchewan Siberian Relief Committee Source: D C B vol. XV 1921-1930. (2020) 

Bernice R. Brown 


née Dickhoff. Born April 11, 1905, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.  Died December 15, 1971, West Vancouver, British Columbia. A journalist with the San Francisco News  she came to Canada when she married in 1930. She continued her career as an editor of the Jewish Western Bulletin. In 1939 she organized Jewish women to do war work.  The group organized shipments of supplies overseas and resettled refugees. Many of the group opened their own homes to service men of all faiths. In 1946 she received the Canadian Red Cross Distinguished Service Award. An active member of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs she pressured Parliament to change immigration policy and accept orphaned Holocaust survivors. Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 1981 (2020)

Raymonde 'Ray' Brown

née Chevalier.  Born July 18, 1919, Senneville, Quebec. Died September 24, 2016 Ormestown, Quebec. In 1930 Ray was part of a group that made amateur dramatic films. She became a member of the Montreal Civil Liberties Union. During World War ll she was an active volunteer at the home from. In 1940 she married Desmond Farrel (   -1944) and the couple had one son. In 1945 she married George Roy, a bomber pilot. The couple had three daughters. After the war she worked as a real estate agent in Montreal. Ray was one of the founders of the Quebec branch of the Voice of Women (VOW). She worked for peace during the Cold War as well as for the political and economic rights of women. She help found the Federation des femmes du Quebec. In 1962 VOW organized a peace train that brought 300 members to present petitions to the Canadian government in Ottawa. In March 1962 she and her cousin, Therese Casgrain  (1896-1981), went to Switzerland to voice support for nuclear disarmament at a 17 nation conference. Ray married William Bowen (   -1998) and in 1982 she sold her home on the family estate in Senneville and moved to Elgin, Quebec. Source: Fred Langan, Obituary, Globe and Mail October 18, 2016. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa. (2020)

Sandra 'Sandy' Brown

née Tanzman. Born 1941, Saint John, New Brunswick. In 1965 she earned her Bachelor of Science in pharmacology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the next two years she studied and earned her Masters in Social Work from McGill University, Montreal and in 1963 she married Melvin Brown. The couple had three daughters. Sandy started her working career with the Family Services Association of Toronto. As a volunteer she served as a “foot soldier”, board member, and executive member for numerous associations including: The United Way, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Kidney Foundation, The Salvation Army, the Senior Care for the Jewish Elderly, the Heart Fund, the United Jewish Appeal, the Forest Hill Nursery School, the National council of Jewish Women, the Jewish Volunteer Services, the National Educational Conferences of. the Canadian Zionist Federation, the Toronto Board of Jewish Education, the Educational Planning and Allocations Committee of Toronto Jewish Congress… She was the 1st woman to be appointed president of the Jewish Federation of Toronto from 1995-1996. There is no doubt why she was selected in 1991 and again in 1995 by the Ontario Government to be presented with the Volunteer Service Award. Source: Brown, Michael, “Sandra Brown”, Jewish Women: a Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 1 march 2009. Jewish Women’s Archives (accessed August 2011) (2020)

Mary Bryant

Born March 3, 1919, Ardath, Saskatchewan. Died April 4, 2011, Ottawa, Ontario. Mary went to a one room school house until the depression of the dustbowl made it economically not possible for her to continue at school. She finished her grade school a home and at 16 attended high school for 90 days before successfully passing her final exams with honours. With financial assistance fro an older sister she enrolled in Normal School (Teachers college) and graduated and in August 1936 she was teaching.  She worked at a number of one room schools, an Indian Residential School at Lac L Rouge, Saskatchewan and from 1944-1948 at the Anglican Mission School at Aklavik, North West Territories. While in Aklavik, Mary wrote her own primer called Our Book for her students. Mary had a great interest in botany and enrolled in Biology at the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1951. It was while at the university she met and married Joe Bryant and the couple moved to Manitoba, then Aklavik, N.W.T. The couple had two children. After moving several times, including time in Scotland, the family settled in Ottawa in 1967. Mary received many awards for her community service, including the Ottawa Mayor’s Award for Community Service; the Ontario Horticultural Service Award; The Rehabilitation Centre Achievement Award; the Woman of Distinction Award for Lifetime Achievement. Through the 1970’s and 1980’s Mary Taught Mathematics and English in the adult re-entry program at Algonquin College, Ottawa. Perhaps more than the awards she prized the contacts of her students who tracked her down to tell her how much difference she made in their lives. Later in her life she would published a book Four Years – and then some (2007) documenting her early teaching experiences. The proceeds from her books were donated to the Rehabilitation Centre of the Ottawa Hospital. Source: Mary Bryant…a life travelled by Carl Dow True North Perspective. (Accessed March 2012) Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Jane Buchan

Born 1837, Paris, Upper Canada (Ontario). Died November 21, 1904. As a young girl Jane committee herself to Christian service and was baptized into membership of the Baptist Church. In 1873 Jane included in her benevolent works help in founding the YWCA /Young Women’s Christian Association of Toronto. She would serve for 20 years as Secretary of the YWCA. In 1876 Jane and her sisters Margaret and Erskine became leaders in the movement to create the Women’s Baptist Foreign Missionary Society of Ontario West. Jane and Margaret launched a private periodical, the Canadian Missionary Link with Jane as its first business manager. Soon their publication bloomed with 5000 subscribers. Within a year of the establishment of the Society it had grown to 30 Circles. In 1886 the women’s missionary society appointed Jane as corresponding secretary/foreign secretary. She would hold this position until her death. Source: D C B (2020)

Bessie Portigal Buchwald

Born 1901 Russia. Died June 15, 1989, Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Bessie immigrated to Canada at the age of five. She married Frank Buchwald and the couple had three children. A lifelong Zionist she was active in many community organizations. She was the 1st Manitoba Regional vice-president of Hadassah-WIZO and a founding member with her husband of the Winnipeg chapter of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University. She was also a chairperson for the sale of State of Israel Bonds, a member of the Women’s Division of the Jewish Welfare Fund, a member of the National Council for Jewish Women and of the Zaarey Zedek Sisterhood. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem awarded her its ‘Torch of Learning’ award for lifelong service in 1980. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, Monday, 19 June 1989, page 31 ; Memorable Manitobans. Profile by Kris Keen. Online (Accessed December 2011) (2020)

Rebecca 'Becky' Buhay

Born February 11, 1896,  London, England. Died December 16, 1953, Toronto, Ontario. Becky immigrated to Canada in 1912 settling in Montreal. During World War ll she was active in socialist causes in Montreal. She studied at the Rand School of Social Sciences, New York, U.S.A. Back in Montreal she became a union organizer for the garment industry. Around 1921 she joined the Workers Party of Canada (Communist Party)  lectured and toured across the country. In Alberta she helped organize the striking Coal miner's wives in the Women's Labour Leagues. In 1929 she was secretary of the Canadian Labour Defense League. In the 1930's she headed the Canadian women's delegation to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In World War ll she worked to free interned communists. Political friends knew her as a great communicator of radical ideas and for her loyalty. (2020)

Linda R. Bull

Aboriginal human rights advocate

Born 1950, Alberta. Died July 10, 1955, Alberta. Linda learned Cree as her 1st language from her grandmother. In 1991 she earned her Master's Degree at university. She valued and practiced cultural and spiritual teachings of her Cree heritage. She was a human rights advocate for Indigenous people and yet acknowledged that all peoples need to be empowered and healed. She was talking about reconciliation 20 years before the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Report. Linda and she was a dedicated member of the United Church of Canada and in 1986 she was instrumental in brokering an apology, the 1st such apology from any Canadian church, from the United Church of Canada to survivors of Indian Residential Schools in Canada. Linda was an invited speaker to more than 40 International peace education and human rights conferences. She helped host the 1999 International Institute on Peace Education held in Canada. Linda was also a member of the national organization, Understanding Strong Indigenous Communities. In 2002 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. Linda was married to Sam Bull (d1996) and the couple had four children. (2020)

Annie Buller Guralnick


Born Ukraine December 9, 1895. Died January 19, 1973. She immigrated to Montreal from the Ukraine with her parents when she was a child.  She studied Marxism at school and joined the Workers' (Communist) Party of Canada in 1922.  She devoted herself to the politics of the her party.  She would help workers of all trades, from mining to dressmaking, form unions to better their working conditions.  She retired in the late 1950's but continued to lend her experiences to the Party organization until her death. While Communism never gained a strong foothold in Canada, her devotion to the betterment of workers lives and the bravado she displayed in her beliefs is a strong legacy for all Canadian women. (2020)

Audrey Burger

Born 1912, India. Died January 15, 1988. Educated in England she began her working career as a teacher of languages in Germany until the Nazi regime forced her to relocate. She eventually settled in Canada in 1959. She became president of the Association of Women Electors in the 1960’s and was an active member of the Metropolitan Toronto Social Planning Council. She also served as a member of the Metro Toronto Housing C. Ltd. Which acted as the city’s public housing agency. (2020)

Mavis Burke

Black Activist

Born Jamaica. Mavis taught in local Jamaican schools and at the University of the West Indies. In 1970 she immigrated to Canada where she attended the University of Ottawa and earned her PhD in Education. In 1987 she founded women for P.A.C.E., Project for Advancement of Childhood Education. At the beginning it was a woman only organization but since it was always supported by men, the organization soon opened up. In the early years the group supported per-school in Jamaica with 11 schools which soon expanded to over 200 institutions. The work was featured on the television series ‘Jamaica  Proud’. Mavis has received the Order of Ontario in 2000 and in 2004 she was presented with the Order of Distinction from Jamaica.

Christine 'Chris' Mary Burrows             3459 Born August 7, 1940, England. Died November 11, 2019, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Chris attempted to attend Teacher's College but was proud to say she was kicked out. After marriage to Selwyn 'Sel' Burrows there was a move to Australia, the adoption of two children and finally settling in Winnipeg, Manitoba and a son arrived to complete the family. Chris earned a degree in education from the University of Winnipeg. She taught pre-school and primary grades at various schools in Winnipeg. As a community activist and staged protests against wars and encouraged actives community watch movements helping found the Point Powerline Community Watch Program. . She was on the Board that founded the Eagle Wings Daycare and the restoration of Barber House. She was also an animal rights person with lots of pets in the family home. Source: Obituary online (accessed 2021)

Marie Rosalie Cadron

Sister Marie de la Nativité

Born January 27,1794, Lower Canada (now Quebec). Died  April 5, 1864. She married at 17 years of age to Jean-Marie Jetté, October 7, 1811. The two would have eleven children. As a widow she opened her home to care for unwed mothers. In 1895 she became an nun and took the name  Sister Marie de la Nativité with the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy where she continued her efforts to help young pregnant girls. Source: D C B Vol. lX (2020)

Friselda Caisse

née Potvin. Born 1858, Quebec. Died 1948, Bracebridge, Ontario. Her family moved from La Prairie Quebec to resettle in Peterborough, Ontario. Friselda was a seamstress and milner. She married Joseph Caisse (1855-1916) and the couple settled in Bracebridge, Ontario where they raised their 11 children. She served as president of the Local Women’s Institut. Her work for the Red Cross in both world wars garnered her a honorary Life Membership. She was also active in her community church where a church window at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is dedicated to her. At the age of 72 she suffered from breast cancer and was given little hope of more than days to live. Her daughter René Caisse, a nurse who worked to establish a breast cancer cure called Essiac, used the herbal tea in caring for her mother and Friselda lived for another 18 years. Source: René Caisse. in the Bracebridge Examiner January 1979. Online (accessed June 2015) (2020)

June Callwood

Born June 2, 1924, Chatham, Ontario. Died April 14, 2007, Toronto, Ontario. While still in high school June was editor of the school paper, journalism was in her blood. After High school she worked at the Brantford Expositor. She moved to Toronto in 1942 to work at the Globe and Mail newspaper. After she married Trent Frayne (1918-2012) she retained her maiden name as the Globe and Mail did not employ married women. After the birth of her four children she returned to work as a freelance journalist. She even interviewed Elvis! She also ghost wrote several autobiographies of prominent Americans. By 1954-55 was the host of The Fraynes, a CBC television talk show. In the 1960's she became an activist for such social causes as homeless youth and drug addicts. June founded Casey House, a Toronto hospice for people wit AIDS and the June Callwood Centre for Yong Women. She continued in television journalism with In Touch on CBC from 1974-1975. She Became an Member of the Order of Canada in 1978 and became an Officer in the Order 1986. June also holds the Order of Ontario and was inducted into the Etobicoke Hall of Fame in 1992. She was named as Toronto's Humanist of the year in 2004 by the Humanist Association. In 2005 a Toronto park was named in her honour and the Victoria College, part of the University of Toronto, established a social justice professorship to honour her. A biography, written by Anne Dublin and entitled June Callwood: A Life of Action, was published in March 2007. In 2008 June 2 of each year was declared June Callwood Day in Ontario.(2020) 

Maria Campbell

Aboriginal Activist and Author

Born April 6,1940, Athlone, Edmonton, Alberta. In Edmonton Maria assisted in founding a halfway house for women and a women's emergency shelter. She began writing because she was upset that so few people knew about historic and contemporary Native Cultures. She has written screenplays and books. She is fluent in four languages: Cree, Michif, Saulteaux, and English.  Her 1st book Halfbreed came out in 1973 but continued to inspire generations of indigenous women. Four of her works have been published in eight countries and have been translated into German, Chinese, French, and Italian. Her plays have been performed across Canada and abroad. From 1985 through 1997 she owned and operated a production company, Gabriel Productions. She has also directed and written films produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). She is a well known activist for Aboriginal Rights. She has set up food and housing cooperatives, facilitated women's circles, advocated for the hiring and recognition of Native people in the arts and mentored many indigenous artists. She has been honoured with numerous awards for her works including 1979 the Vanier Award, 1985 the order of the Sash from the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, the Dora Mavor Award, Chalmers Award for Best new play in 1986, The Gabriel Dumont Medal of Merit from the Gabriel Dumont Institute in 1992, the Saskatchewan Achievement Award from the government of Saskatchewan in 1994, The National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1995, The Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2006, the Distinguished Canadian Award in 2006, and the Order of Canada in 2008. She has taught as an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan, at Brandon College she was a Stanley Knowles Distinguished Visiting Professor, and is an Aboriginal scholar and lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan. She has been writer-in residence at universities and public libraries since 1979. (2020)

Minnie Julia Beatrice Campbell

Born June 18, 1862, Palermo, Ontario. Died November 3, 1952, Port Arthur [now Thunder Bay], Ontario. After high school in 1880 she attended the Wesleyan Female College (Hamilton, Ontario) and made her debut at Government House at Toronto in 1878. She taught at the Ottawa Ladies’ Presbyterian College from 1881 to 1882 prior to her marriage, on 16 July 1884, to Colin H. Campbell. The couple had two children. She was active in many social activities throughout Canada. Minnie organized, promoted, and was chair of many war societies including serving on the Board of the YWCA, vice-president of the National YWCA, honorary president of the Woman's’ Auxiliary of the Anti-Tuberculosis Society, member of the Women’s Music Club, Empire Club (England), Western Art Association; Councilor of the Winnipeg Red Cross Society; and secretary of the first Provincial and local Red Cross Society. She was especially active with the Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E), as Regent of its Fort Garry Chapter, President of the Provincial Chapter, Councilor of the National I.O.D.E, and Life Member of the National I.O.D.E. In 1935 she was inducted into the Order of the British Empire. She was the only Canadian woman to be awarded the Golden Cross of Merit by Poland for her war relief service. She received the coronation medals of Edward VIII, George V, George VI, and the Silver Jubilee Medal of George V. Sources: Memorable Manitobans. Biography by Gordon Goldsborough (Accessed March 2012) (2020)

Sharon Capeling-Alakija

Helping people of the world

Born Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Died November 4, 2003, Bonn, Germany. Sharon taught school in Saskatoon for a year after receiving her Bachelor of Arts and her Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan. In 1967 she was working with Canadian Universities Services Overseas (C U S O). Returning to Canada she began working with the head office of C U S O in Ottawa. Back in the field in Togo, Africa she met and married Robin Alakija but unfortunately was soon widowed. In 1982 she was the Director of C U S O’s West African Region. Sharon was concerned for the women who had to walk miles to obtain drinking water and worked to provide small areas with safe wells with a man and a woman in charge of each well. In 1989 she was working with the United Nations (UN). From 1989 through 1994 she was Directory of the United Nations (UN) Office of Evaluation and Strategic Planning. In 1998 she became Executive Coordinator of the UN Volunteer program and would lead the UN through the 2001 Year of the Volunteer. In 2003 she was appointed an Officer in the Order of Canada which recognized her efforts to better the lives of peoples of the world. Sources: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2000 ( Silver Anniversary year) Coteau Books, 1999 pg. 22 ; The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan online (accessed July 2011). (2020)

Patricia 'Pat' Capponi

Born July 1,  1949, Montreal, Quebec. Died April 6, 2020, Toronto, Ontario. Abused as a child and committed to a mental institution are all part of the life of Pat. She turned her experiences into books and became a major voice for mental health and poverty. From 1992 to 2008 she published seven books advocating for mental health issues and poverty issues in Canada. Pat has served as a board member at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto as a member or the Advocacy Commission in Ontario.  She is the co-facilitator of the "From Surviving To Advising" initiative undertaken by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The effort brings together consumer-survivors with psychiatry residents to allow those with lived experience to work with residents to understand new perspectives of recovery She holds the Order of Ontario and has been awarded the C. M. Hincks Award from the Canadian Mental Health Association. In 2015 she was named as a Member of the Order of Canada. (2020)

Bonnie Cappuccino

Born 1934, St Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A. Bonnie trained as a registered nurse. In 1953 she married Fred Cappuccino and had two children and then her family grew even more with 19 adopted children. In 1985 she founded and became director of Child Haven International which is a non-profit charitable organization. The organization helps destitute children and women throughout the world. They maintain three children's homes in India and one in Nepal and are affiliated with others. Bonnie travels to each of the children's homes four times a years. For her efforts she has been awarded the Ontario Citizenship Medal in 1985, the Canada Volunteer Award in 1986 the UNESCO Prize for teaching of Human Rights in 1998. She and her husband Fred were the 1st Canadians to win this award. In 1996 they both received the Order of Canada. Their story has been written up as a children's book and been featured on the CTV program W5. (2020)

Judith 'Judy' Feld Carr

Born 1938, Montreal, Quebec. Judy earned her Bachelor of Music in musicology at the University of Toronto. She taught high school music in Toronto for several years and also taught musicology at the University of Toronto. She was a visiting lecturer at Yeshiva University, New York City, U.S.A., The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and Youngstown University, Ohio, U.S.A. In 1973 she established the Fund for Jews in Arab Lands in 1973. The funds were used to negotiate ransom for release of Syrian Jews from prison and to smuggle other Jews across Syrian boarders to safety. Her work covered a period of 28 years and was conducted in complete secrecy in order to protect lives of Jews Muslims and Christians in danger. Over 3,200 Syrian Jews escaped to safety, She served as chair of the Canadian Jewish Congress’s National Task Force for Syrian Jewry, publicizing the plight of Syrian Jews and approached the Canadian government to admit Syrian Jews temporarily to Canada. Her story is told in the book by Harold Troper: The Ransomed of God: the Remarkable Story of One Woman’s Role in the Rescue of Syrian Jews. June 2012 she received the Presidential Award of Distinction of the State of Israel. She has also been inducted into the Order of Canada. In 2002 she received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and in 2012 the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal. She was the Abram Sachar Medal’s Woman of the year at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, U.S.A. She has also received the Saul Hayes Human Rights Award from the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Simon Wiesenthal Award for Tolerance, Justice and Human Rights and the University of Haifa Humanitarian Award of Merit. (2020)

Emilie Leblanc Carrier

Born May 14, 1863, Memramcook, New Brunswick. December 19, 1935, Moncton, New Brunswick. Emelie taught school for a number of years in Nova Scotia before returning to New Brunswick with her husband. Between 1895 and 1898, using the pseudonym “Marichette”, she wrote a series of letters on women’s issues to the French-language newspaper, L’Évangéline. The 1st letter championed women’s right to vote, claiming that women were “aching with the desire” to get into the polling booths. This is believed to be the 1st and last suffrage (i.e., the right to vote in political elections) letter by an Acadian woman to appear in a major Acadian newspaper. It was many years later, on April 15, 1919, that the New Brunswick legislature granted all New Brunswick women the right to vote in provincial elections. Source: New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Celebrating Achievers; Behind Every Successful Woman Are All the Women Who Came Before Her., September 2002. Online (accessed January 2016) (2020)

Marion Young Coutts Carson

née Coutts. Born May 9, 1861, Kent County, Ontario. Died July 13,1950, Calgary, Alberta.  On May 18, 1887 she married William Carson and the couple had six children. In 1898 the family settled in Calgary, Alberta. In 1911 she formed the Tuberculosis (TB) Association and in 1912 the 1st TB hospital in Alberta opened in Calgary. She also volunteered for the Calgary Library Board. From 1920 through 1924 she served as a trustee for the Calgary Public School Board  and she was a member of the Alberta Council of Child Welfare for 27 years. She worked to establish free medical clinics and distribution of milk to needy families. In 1935 she received the King George V medal for her services to the province. In the mid 1940’s she was Calgary’s Citizen of the Year. The Marion Carson School was named in her honour. In 1969 the Marion Y. Carson School was opened in Calgary. Source: Kay Sanderson, 200 Remarkable Alberta Women. Famous Five Foundation, 1999. (2020)

Thérèse Casgrain

SEE - Politicians

Alice Katrina Loewen Chambers

née Loewen. Born June 11,1937 , Elkhorn, Manitoba. Died December 13, 1999, Pinawa, Manitoba. Alice attended the University of Manitoba. By the early 1960's she had completed an Honours Bachelor of Science in microbiology and was working in Ottawa at the National Research Council. In 1968, she and her husband Keith moved to Pinawa, Manitoba from Leeds, England with their infant daughter Anna. They would add two boys to the family. An active community volunteer, she served 14 years on the local school board, was a founding member of the recycling committee, worked in the public and school libraries, and volunteered as a Guide leader. In May 1992, her career as an environmental activist took shape when Alice noticed an ad in the Winnipeg Free Press regarding an environmental license for an old pulp mill downstream from where she lived. Discovering that the mill was discharging 38 million liters of lethal effluent every day was her wake-up call to the true state of “environmental protection” in Manitoba. She was well known (and sometimes feared) for her vast knowledge of environmental issues and the supporting science behind them. Her opinion was valued by many local, regional and international organizations. She was appointed to a number of advisory boards such the Manitoba Environmental Council. Her husband died suddenly in 1993, and three years later, she contracted cancer. Source: biographical profile by Roger Turenne, with revisions by the Chambers family. Memorable Manitobans Online. (accessed November 2012) (2020)

Charlotte M. Ayotte Chaput

Born Aylmer, Quebec. Died Winnipeg, Manitoba February 14, 2002. In 1942, her husband joined the Air Force, Charlotte launched on a long career of volunteerism, working for the Red Cross during the war. She was active in the 1950s in the Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL), serving as President of the CWL in Peace River, Alberta, Dawson Creek and Prince Rupert, BC and later as the CWL Provincial Treasurer in BC. She was also the President of Home and School of Notre Dame in Dawson Creek, and in 1964, she helped organize the Regina Newcomers Club. Moving to Winnipeg in 1971, her volunteer efforts turned to the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation. Joining St. Agnes Guild, she served as President for two years and chaired the Children’s Hospital Annual Appeal for two years. She was later honoured by being named Vice President of the Board of the Research Foundation for three years. She was active in the Rotary Inner Wheel Club and served as its President. Sources: Winnipeg Free Press, February 16, 2002, (2020)

Donalda Charron

Born August 29, 1886, Hull (now Gatineau) Quebec. Died July 10, 1967, Hull (now Gatineau), Quebec. Donalda's mother died when she was just nine years old. She began working in a mining company where they separated mica sheets by hand. By 1912 she was making matches at the E. B. Eddy Company. She was promoted to the role of contremaîtresse, a supervisor of women employees, where she shielded women from male factory workers. Around 1918 she became President of the Catholic Women Trade Union Association / ouvrière féminine de Hull,  the 1st female union. In 1919 the women signed a contract for fixed salaries but as electricity became more popular sales fell and company decided to slash the women's salaries.  Donalda was one of the main motivators of the 1924 wildcat strike by the matchmakers/ allumettières of the E. B. Eddy Company in Hull. She may have been president but she was not allowed to speak at meetings as only male union leaders and priests could speak and negotiate with the Eddy Match Company on behalf of workers. She rallied the troops and attended meetings. The 400 workers were locked out for three months. This was the 1st strike by women in Quebec. While the strike won workers recognition and allowed them to maintain the pay and hours they fought for working conditions were not improved. The Company refused to hire Donalda back after the strike. The union offered her a position at the headquarters but Donalda did not take to office work. In December 1924, just after the strike Donalda was in a train accident at the local station and  her leg had to be amputated. Nothing seemed to hold her back as she went on to work as a laundress at a local hospital. Creating her own bleach she sold it door to door and later worked as a seamstress at the Woods Textile Company.  When she was 60 she let yet another strike over union recognition In 2006 the City of Gatineau renamed Boulevard de L'Outaouais, Boulevard des Allumettières in honour of the female match factory workers who endured appalling working conditions and became the 1st women in Quebec to go on strike. A branch of the Gatineau Public Library carries the name Donalda Charron.  Source: National Capital Commission "Donalda Charron and the E. B. Eddy Match Company.' Online (accessed 2020): Donalda Charron, Workers History Museum , online (accessed 2020)

Gertrude Childs

Born November 1881. Died June 15, 1957, Winnipeg, Manitoba  . Gertrude was active in social welfare work for the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba.  She started working with the city social welfare commission in 1920. Later appointed supervisor of the city welfare commission, and she became supervisor of Mothers Allowances. In recognition of her work, she was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1934. She retired in 1948. After her death, the Gertrude Childs Scholarship was established to recognize second year students in the school of social work at the University of ManitobaSources:  “Noted social worker dies at age of 75” Winnipeg Free Press, June 15,1957, page 53: Memorable Manitobans Online (Accessed November 2012) (2020)

Ada Borradaile Chipman

Born June 11 1860 (?) Brussels, Belgium. Died October 26, 1913, London, England. Wife of  Clarence Campbell Chipman,(1856-1924), a Canadian civil servant who in 1891 was  appointed Commissioner of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The couple were married April 25, 1882 and lived first in Ottawa and then Winnipeg, Manitoba from 1890 to 1910. They had a family of seven children.  After her husband ‘s retirement the couple returned to England. Ada was the organizing president of a women’s art association, Western Art Association in 1907. She organized the Rupert’s Land diocesan branch of the Mothers’ Union in 1909, supported anti-tuberculosis campaigns, and aided patients at Ninette Sanitarium. Source: Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba (Manitoba Library Association, 1971):  (2020)

Elizabeth Goodfellow Chisholm

née Goodfellow. Born December 27, 1842, St. Catharines, Canada West (now Ontario). Died 1930, California, U.S.A. Elizabeth started work as a teacher in Brant County, Ontario. She married James Chisholm on February 22, 1864. The couple would have six children. In 1877 the couple relocated to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she was involved with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) for thirty years. She served as Manitoba Provincial President from 1888 to 1892. She then moved to the United States for eight years. Returning to Winnipeg in 1900, she was re-elected Provincial President in 1902 of the WCTU and continued in office for several years, representing Manitoba in the World’s WCTU Convention at Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1906. She went on to serve Vice-President of the Dominion WCTU and Vice-President of the Dominion National Council of Women. Source: Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba (Manitoba Library Association, 1971) : Obituary, Legacy, (accessed November 2012) (2020)

Agnes Marie Christenson

Born 1886 Hjørring, Denmark. Died November 2, 1989 Winnipeg, Manitoba. Agnes immigrated to Canada and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1907.  She served for years as president of the ladies’ auxiliary of the Danish Lutheran Church. During World War ll she placed Danish airmen training in Winnipeg homes and organized knitting groups making needed items for troops overseas. As a result, she was honoured by the Danish government and the Canadian Red Cross. (2020)

Marie Arzélie Éva Circé-Côté

Columbine, Musette, Jean Nay, Fantasio, Arthur Maheu, Julien Saint-Michel and Paul S. Bédard.

Marie Arzélie Éva Circé-Côté. née Circé. Born January 31,1871, Montreal, Quebec. Died May 4, 1949, Montreal, Quebec. Éva was a bright student winning a bronze medal for literature from the Governor General. She also excelled in her studies in French and music. In 1900 she joined the staff of the newspaper Les Debats. As a prolific journalist Éva used several pen names including Colombine, Musette, Jean Nay, Fantasio, Arthur Maheu, Julien Saint-Michel and Paul S. Bédard. writing works for a dozen different newspapers. In 1902 she co-founded the literary journal L’Étincelle. In 1903 her 1st play Hindeland et De Lorimer, was produced by the Théâtre National Français, in Montréal. During this era women oven used male pen names so that their works would be published. Éva also wrote poetry and was a playwright. She was Montreal's 1st Librarian in 1903 at the 1st public library. She also served as the curator of the prestigious Philéas Gagnon collection, of rare and antiquarian Canadian books. A staunch feminist she stood up for compulsory education for everyone and fought for the status of women. April 19, 1905 she married a physician, Pierre-Salomon Côté (d 1909) and the couple had one child. In 1908 Éva was the co-founder of a secular high school for girls which ran for two years. In 1922 she was a founding member of the Canadian Authors association and served as 1st vice-president of the French section. The library forced Éva to retire in 1932. After her retirement she became a spokesperson for Filles natives du Canada the female counterpart of the Native Sons of Canada. Having used so many pen names she died not having been recognized for all her numerous writings. (2021)

Julia Jane Murray Clark

Born November 1, 1857, Selkirk Settlement, Manitoba.  Died August 8, 1919, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Julia married fur trader William Clark. She was active in promoting the work of child welfare agencies such as the Children’s Home of Winnipeg, on whose Board she served for 12 years, seven as its president. In 1918 a two storey school was built and named in her honour and it was declared an historic site in 1997. Sources: Memorable Manitobans Online (Accessed November 2012) (2020). 

Janet Cochrane

née Williams. Born March 1, 1912, Fisher Bay, Manitoba. Died December 6, 1994, Winnipeg, Manitoba. The family had changed their name from Papaniakuse to Williams. Janet married Arthur Cochrane (   -1954) who relinquished all treaty rights to work with his father-in-law off the reserve. The couple had eight children. Sadly four of the children died in infancy. Arthur became blind in 1955 and the family relocated for better medical care to Winnipeg. In 1956 Janet and her friend Amy Clements founded the Friendship Centre concept where First Nation peoples and their family could gather across Canada. The 1st Friendship Centre was incorporated in Winnipeg. The two good friends helped First Nation and Métis families relocated in urban areas. She served her organization for over 35 years, fundraising and doing hands on work for any group or project that helped First Nations people. In 1984 she and her daughter Frances applied for a grand at the Core Area initiative to do a study for First Nation Elders Housing Complex. The Kekinan Inc. was founded with the grant and the housing complex was completed in Winnipeg. On April 20, 1989 Janet became a Member of the Order of Canada. Janet was also acknowledged for her work from the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre. The centre has named a hall after her, and had several portraits painted of her. She has been a long-time member of the Native Women's Group and was the president of the Indian and Métis Senior Citizen's Group of Winnipeg. (2020) 

Martha Ruth Cohen

née Block. Born October 14, 1920, Calgary, Alberta. Died February 26, 2015, Calgary, Alberta. Martha married Dr. Harry Cohen (1912-1990) and the couple had four children. Martha earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta in 1940 and a Master Diploma of Social Work from the University of Toronto in 1945. Martha was a driving force behind the creation of many social and cultural institutions including Jewish Family Service Calgary, Mount Royal College, and the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts. In 1970 she earned the Prime Minister Medal from the State of Israel Bonds. She received the Alberta Achievement Award in 1975 and that same year was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 1977 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Silver Jubilee Medal and a Sesquicentennial Year Plaque from the University of Toronto. In 1979 she was made Calgary Citizen of the Year. In 1984 she received the Boy Scouts of Canada Medal and the Variety Club International Lifeliner Medal.  From 1980-1985 she was a Councilor, of the Alberta Order of Excellence. In 1983 Harry Cohen donated $1 million to have a theatre named at the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts to honor Martha’s birthday. In the 1990’s she received the Scopus Award from the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Distinguished Citizen Award from Mont Royal College, the Angel Award from the International Society for the Performing Arts. In 2005 she received an Alberta Centennial Medal followed the next year by the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Calgary Board of Education. In 2008-2009 she received the Best of Alberta Award from the Calgary Herald and the Global News Woman of Vision. In 2012 she received the Western Legacy Award as one of the 100 Outstanding Albertans from the Calgary Stampede. The couple established a foundation in their name which provided grants primarily to Calgary based charities. On May 4, 2015, the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) announced that it would name a new Middle School (located in New Brighton/Copperfield) after Martha. In April, 2017, the CBE formally opened the Dr. Martha Cohen School at 1750 New Brighton Drive S.E. It will provide educational programming for approximately 900 students from Grades five to nine. (2020) 

Nina Cohen

née Fried. Born January 1, 1907, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Died December 31, 1991.  She studied music and art at Mount Allison Ladies College and went on to Rutgers’s University in New Jersey, U.S.A. In 1928 she married Aharon Mordechai Cohen (1899-1978)  During World War ll she served as chair of the hospital visiting committee and as publicity chair of the Canadian red Cross in Sidney, Nova Scotia. After the War she was active in the War Orphan Placement Service of the Canadian Jewish Congress. In 1955 she was a Negev Dinner Honoree in Sidney. She was an active Zionist serving as National President of Canadian Hadassah-Wizo from 1960-1964 after which she was proclaimed President for Life. She received the Canadian Red Cross Medal of Merit, and Woman of the Century 1867-1967 for the province of Nova Scotia and for the National Council of Jewish Women. Source: Jewish Women’s Archive.  Personal Information for Nina Fried Cohen. Online (Accessed June 2013) (2020)

Elizabeth Comper




née Webster. Born November 6, 1945, Etobicoke, Ontario. Died June 22, 2014, Toronto, Ontario. After high school Elizabeth attended Toronto Teacher’s College and began teaching elementary school students. In 1971 she married banker Anthony (Tony) Comper and the newly weds settled in Montreal, Quebec. While Elizabeth continued to teach she attended night classes and earned her BA from Concordia University, Montreal. She followed this with studies in librarianship receiving her Master's in Library Science from McGill University. The family moved to wherever the bank sent Tony including time in England before finally settling in Toronto. In 1989 Elizabeth helped raise funds for the 1st Yee Hong Center for Geriatric Cancer and she was honoured to receive the Dragon Ball in 2000 and 2001 for her work. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Tarragon Theatre serving 2 years as President. She was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Conservatory of Music. Aware of disturbances in Montreal against the Jewish community she formed Fighting Anti-Semitism Together (FAST), a coalition of non-Jewish businesses and citizens who provided free educational materials to 2 million primary grade children. Personally she helped aboriginal single mothers to enter university. She helped Reach for the Skye Program for child cancer research, the March for Remembrance and Hope and Smile Theater Company. She has received the Arbor Award from the University of Toronto, the Human Relations Award from the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, the Human Relations Award from the Canadian Center for Diversity and the Scopus Award from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2011 she and Tony were inducted into the Order of Canada. Source: Elizabeth Comper, Obituaries, The Globe and Mail, June 25, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon Ottawa, Ontario (2020)

Myrtle Rietta Conway

Born January 28, 1908, Miniota, Manitoba. Died April 5, 2005. Myrtle earned her BA and her teaching certificate from the University of Manitoba. She began her teaching career in Ebor, Manitoba. She taught at Neepawa and Gladstone before relocating to teach High School in Winnipeg during the Second World War. By1949 she had become a school Principal. She would serve as president of the Manitoba Teacher’s Society, the Manitoba Educational Association and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation. In 1948 she was one of only three Canadian delegates to the second international seminar of UNESCO at New York, U.S.A. She was also a member of the Canadian delegation to the seventh annual UNESCO conference in Paris, France. She was an active member with the Provincial and National Councils of Women, the Zonta (Aurora) Club, and the University Women's Club where she served as President from 1959 to1961. She retired to Victoria, British Columbia at the end of 2003. Source: Obituary, Manitoba Free Press, April 9,  (accessed 2018) (2020)

Bertha Cook

Métis Activist

née Houle. Born November 6, 192,2 Clear Hills, Alberta. Died  October 21, 2014. At 18 the young Métis joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and worked her way to being a corporal. After the war in 1945 she was incensed by the fact that she could not have a land grant like the men who had served in World War ll. Women were not allowed the grants of land. During the war she had met a young Australian serviceman who returned to Australia after the war. Bertha gave birth to a baby girl but was forced to give her up for adoption. It would be 50 years before the two would find one another again. Meanwhile Bertha married George Clark, a farmer, and eventually the couple had six children. In the 1960’s they lost their farm to fire and the family moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta. Bertha worked at various jobs to help keep the family together including being a hairdresser, a receptionist, a school bus driver and a telephone operator. During this time she was also and active volunteer in the community. She helped establish and aboriginal Friendship Center. In 1968 she founded the Voice of Alberta Native Women’s Society. She became the 1st president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. All the time she was working towards making a better existence for aboriginal women. She has received both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal. She has also been inducted into the Order of Canada. Source: Alicja Siekierska ‘Métis activist galvanized by injustice’. The Globe and Mail, January 31, 2015. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Gladys Evelyn Taylor Cook


Indigenous social worker


née Taylor. Born August 18, 1929, Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, Manitoba. Died May 9, 2009, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.  Her Indigenous name was Topahdewin. At the age of four, she was taken to the Elkhorn Residential School  where she remained for twelve years Like so many Indigenous youth she suffered abuse at this school.  After a brief return to her family, she moved to Yankton, South Dakota, U.S.A. working in a housekeeping position at the hospital. At the end of World War ll, she worked on a hospital ship bringing wounded soldiers from Hawaii and Guam to San Diego, California, U.S.A. Returning to Yankton where she met and married, Clifford Cook, on 29 September 1950. The couple eventually settled at Portage la Prairie where she worked in house cleaning in the local residential school and in private home. Gladys went on to became a drug and alcohol abuse counselor for the Friendship Centre and coordinator of the National Native Alcohol Drug abuse program. She worked with the Agassiz Youth Centre, Women’s Correctional Centre, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, and Al-Ateen Groups. She was a member of the Manitoba Council of Elders for Corrections with the National Association of Cultural Centres teaching Dakota culture to federal employees. She was presented with a Governor General’s Award, the Order of Manitoba, the Canada 125 medal for outstanding citizenship, the Premier’s Award for volunteer work, YM/YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, Manitoba Medical Association Award for Health or Safety Promotion, the Order of Rupertsland for the promoting native education in the ministry, and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award. In Portage la Prairie the the Gladys Cook Education Centre is named in her honour. (2020)

Jane Constance Cook     3513

Aboriginal Activist
Born 1870, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Died 1951, Vancouver, British Columbia. Jane was the daughter of a KKwakwaka'wakw noblewoman and a white fur trader. She was raised by a missionary couple in British Columbia receiving a good education of the day along with a good understanding of the culture of her mother's people. She later trained as a midwife and healer. She would go on to advocate a preservation of the land and the resource rights for her people. She also became a supporter for the rights of women and children. In 1912 she would testify at the joint federal and provincial Royal Commission on Indian Affairs also known as the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission which was reviewing indigenous people's land rights in British Columbia. She was the only woman to serve on the executive of the Allied Tribes of British Columbia, an Indigenous rights organization formed at the end of World War 1 in 1918 which focused on issues of land claims in British Columbia. Later she was ostracized for her criticism of traditional practices such as the potlatch. The award winning book, Standing Up with Ga'axsta'las published by the University of British Columbia in 2012 examines her life and impact on future generations of Indigenous peoples in British Columbia. 

Joan E. Coolican

née Campbell. Born 1918. Died July 20, 2010, Ottawa, Ontario. Joan married Denis Coolican and the couple had four As the daughter of a British Diplomat Jean was well traveled. She was born in Ethiopia and lived in England, U.S.A., and finally Ottawa where she met he husband. After raising the children Jean went to Carleton University and earned a BA in religious studies when she was 53 years old. She was co-founder of the Canadian Save the Children Fund and was a long time volunteer. In 1999 she was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award. Source: Births and Deaths, The Ottawa Citizen July 23, 2010. (2020)

Faith Coughlan

Born December 18, 1917, Riverside, New Brunswick. Faith trained for the Registered Nursing at St Joseph’s Hospital, St John, New Brunswick. She married and the couple had one daughter. In 1969 she took a cheque she had received at Christmas for $50.00 and planned a meal for 26 children in need in late February. Within a decade that had become an annual program. She also developed a cooking school for girls and also taught sewing, knitting and included handcrafts for boys in the free or charge program. In 1973 she earned publicity on local and national television for her project. She knew she had to do something to help families because social assistance cheques did not last the whole month. Source; Canadian Women of Note, Canadian Womens Press Club, 1994. (2020)

Ada Mary Brown Courtice née Brown. Born November 4, 1860, Bloomfield, Canada West (now Ontario). Died August 24, 1923, Toronto, Ontario. Ada was educated at Pickering College and the Ontario Ladies College, Whitby, Ontario. After graduating from school Ada taught music  prior to her relocating to Toronto. After a split in the local Quaker church on October 14, 188 Ada Married Cory Courtice, a Methodist minister. The couple had two children. In 1908 the couple opened the Balmy Beach Cottage and School of Music and Art. They operated the school until Andrew's death in 1918. Ada was an active member of the National Council of Women, where she convinced the standing committee on peace and arbitration. During World War l she opposed conscription to war service. Through her school she advocated for social events, sports events, and fund raising. She even attempted  to run for a position of school trustee. On February 12, 1916 she pushed the local Council of Women to form the Toronto Home and School Council and was elected as the 1st president. The group would lobby and push for educational reform. They supported women running for school trustee positions, backed women teachers, and advocated to expand kindergartens, domestic science classes, and health programs. In January 1917 Ada and Caroline Sophia Brown became school trustees. In addition to the goals of the Home and School Council she pushed for special education for slow learners and handicapped children. In May 1919 she worked for the founding of the Ontario Federation of Home and School Associations with representatives from teachers, inspectors, and Women's Institutes. Ada was the organizing secretary for the new provincial level of the organization in 1921-1922. By the time of her death there were some 270 Local Home and School associations in Ontario. Source: DCB

Léa Cousineau

In 1974 the Montreal Citizens Movement (MCM) / Rassemblement des citoyens et citoyennes de Montréal (RMC) was formed and Léa was right there. She would become the 1st woman to be elected president of a municipal political party in Quebec. She was instrumental in changes to the Montréal Police Service, leading to the hiring of more women police officers and more transparent and community-friendly approach to policing. She was elected as a city councilor from 1986 through 1994. Léa was also a member of the Status of Women Council and Associated Deputy Minister responsible for the status of women in Quebec. She was a strong force in the establishment of a programme analyzing differentials between genders and a grant programme enabling Quebec women to maintain involvement in regional development. In 2004 she was a recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person Case. Sources: 2004 recipients of the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Person Case Online (Accessed November 2008) (2020)

Linda Dorothy Crabtree

Born April 16, 1942, St Catherines, Ontario. From 1970 through 1982 she was a journalist for the St Catherines Standard newspaper. in 1986 she developed It's OK! a magazine which publishes information on sexuality, self-esteem and disability. In 1984 she established and became president of the Charcot-MarieTooth (CMT) International. CMT is a progressively debilitating neuromuscular syndrome. Having the disease herself, she is an active role model. She earned her BA from Brock University, St Catherines in 1987. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CARD). She became a member of the Order of Canada in 1994 and that same year was recipient of the YMCA Peace medal. She also received the Toronto Sun's Women on the Move Award. She also received the Canada 125 Medal, the Order of Ontario and the Ontario Medal for Citizenship. In 1993 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. (2020)

Marion Elizabeth Ottaway Crerar



née Stinson. Born September 8, 1859, Hamilton, Upper Canada (Ontario). Died May 20, 1919, Hamilton, Ontario.  Marion married Cuthbert John Ottaway on August 19, 1877 but sadly he died before their daughter was born. She married a second time to Peter Duncan Crerar on June 9, 1884. The couple would have three sons and a daughter. Marion was trained as a singer and raised funds for the local philharmonic orchestra. She founded the Hamilton branch of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (I O D E) in 1900 and served as regent from 1902-1913. She also worked for the battle against tuberculosis, which had claimed the life of her first husband. In 1906 she was a founding member of the Ladies” Auxiliary Board of the Hamilton Health Association. In WW l Marion directed her energies to the war effort. In September 1915 she donated her home for the use of a convalescent hospital for returned soldiers. She organized the Woman’s Auxiliary of the 11th Battery, Canadian Filed Artillery, her son’s unit. She also was a tireless worker with the Canadian Red Cross.  Source: DCB Online (Accessed 2002) (2020)

Sophie Crestohl

née Wolofsky. Born June 18, 1902, Montreal, Quebec. Died October 27, 2002. Sophie married Leon David Crestohl (1900-1963) on June 18, 1025. He was an up and coming Lawyer who would become a Liberal Member of the Canadian Parliament.  After World War ll Sophie made more than 25 trips to war torn Europe in her work for rehabilitation. She visited Poland, Italy, France, Czechoslovakia, and Germany on fact finding missions, visiting displaced people and concentration camps. Her work involved Liaison with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and the International Refugee Organization. In Turkey and Greece she worked with the Marshall Plan to raise money for more rehabilitation. In 1948 she founded the Canadian Women’s Overseas Office of Rehabilitation and Retraining (ORT) and served as the 1st president of the organization. Sources: Canadian Women of Note, Canadian Women’s Press Club through York University. (2020)

Cathy Crowe

Born 1952, Cobourg, Ontario. Cathy studied nursing at the Toronto General Hospital and received her diploma in 1972. In 1985 she earned her Bachelor Degree in nursing from Ryerson Polytechnic Institute (now Ryerson University). She went on to earn her Master of Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 1992. Cathy married twice and has one daughter. Cathy worked in a impoverished downtown Toronto area as a 'street nurse' caring for the homeless and poor. She advocated for affordable housing, public health and social justice. In 1998 she was a co-founder of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee which brought attention to homelessness in the city calling  for each level of government to commit an additional one percent of their budget towards affordable housing. In 200 she was named the Toronto Sun's newspaper Person of the Year. In 2003 she received an international Nursing Ethics Award in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The Atkinson Charitable Foundation  presented her with the Economic Justice Fellowship in 2004 and the following year she was named Toronto's Bess Homelessness Advocate by NOW Magazine. In the February 4, 2010 provincial by-election she ran unsuccessfully for the New Democratic Party. She was also a candidate in 2011 but again was not successful. She is the author of Dying for a home; Homeless Activists Speak Out which discussed practical steps needed to address homelessness. In She has also been involved in numerous documentary films about homelessness. In 2018 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. (2020) 

Elizabeth Mary Crowe

née Holmes. Born March 31, 1856, Clifton, Nova Scotia. Died November 6, 1918, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1875, she married grain merchant George Reading Crowe (1852-1924). The couple settled in Winnipeg in 1881.  They had three children. Elizabeth became active in their new community where she served as vice-president for Manitoba of the YWCA Dominion Council, president of the Winnipeg YWCA, president of the Westminster Presbyterian Church Ladies’ Society, president and Secretary of the Women’s Missionary Society, and president of the Women’s Canadian Club of Winnipeg. She was also a  member of the Independent Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE), and the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON). Source: Memorable Manitobans. Online. (Accessed February 2014) (2020)

Hilda Luella Cryderman

Born May 10, 1904, Vernon, British Columbia. Died 1985, Vernon, British Columbia Hilda at 19 was principal of Coldstream School from 1924 to 1937, when she obtained her B.A. from the University of British Columbia. From 1937 to 1967 she taught business law and history at Vernon Senior Secondary School and counselled female students. She always met her students halfway allowing them to keep their skates on when they wanted to because it took too much time from play to change to their boots. In 1936, she became the 1st president of the North Okanagan Teachers' Association, in 1939 she became president of the Okanagan Teachers' Association and from 1954 to 1955 she was president of the British Columbia Teachers' Federation. She led the fight for equal pay for women teachers. In 1953, 1957, and 1958, Hilda ran unsuccessfully as a Liberal in the federal riding of Okanagan-Revelstoke. However, in 1967, she was the 1st woman appointed to the Public Service Staff Relations Board in Ottawa. She was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977. In 1985 she was the 1st honorary member of the Human Relations Institute of Canada and received the Order of Canada. Source: Canadian Women of Note, Canadian Women’s Press Club, 1994. (2020)

Evelyn Cudmore

née MacEwen. Born MacEwen’s Mills, Bristol, Prince Edward Island. Died May 25, 1892.  She was born a member of the fourth generation Scottish Immigrant of the Island. She attended Prince of Wales College before marring Harry. W. Cudmore. They had one son, Paul. As a youth she helped with the Canadian Girls in Training and later she served in various capacities with the Girl Guides of Canada. She joined the service of the Red Cross on June 2, 1942 and would remain loyal and active for 70 years! She served with the United Way and joined the local Zonta group and became involved the Zonta International. She was responsible in 1945 for organizing the first Red Cross Water Safety Course in Canada that certified Instructors. In 1946 she organized First Aid services throughout PEI. She introduced radio and later television training for water safety. She would host the safety Radio programs for 25 years. Her life was devoted to physical education, health and recreation. The Girl Guides of Canada presented her with life membership and the Beaver Award. She was provided with the Distinguished Service Award from the United Way of Canada. She also received the 1967 Confederation Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal in 1977.  In 1993 she became a member of the Order of Canada. The University of Prince Edward Island offers annually the Evelyn M. Cudmore Memorial Scholarship. Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 1981. (2020)

Claire Culhane

née Elgin. Born September 2, 1918, Montreal, Quebec. Died April 25, 1996, Vancouver, British Columbia. As a youth in the province of Quebec during the depression she had been involved in the relief movement. As a young idealistic woman she joined the Communist Party of Canada. This began a lifelong relationship with the RCMP watching her movements. She strove for the end of the Spanish Civil War. Working as a medical records librarian in Montreal she gained the experience to volunteer as an advisor at a Canadian Government operated Tuberculosis hospital in Quang Ngai City in Viet Nam 1967/1968. She was deeply moved and never forgot the horrors she saw. Returning home to Canada, on September 30,1968 she began a ten day hunger fast on Parliament Hill in protest of Canada’s involvement in Viet Nam. Her efforts were supported by the Voice of Women organization. Later that year she attended the International Stockholm conference on Viet Nam and from there to Paris, France for peace talks. In December 1969 she participated in a Paris conference on War Crimes. On Christmas Eve 1969, back in Canada, she was working on a documentary called Enough/Assez: enough horrors, enough vacillation, and enough complicity. In 1972 she published Why is Canada in Viet Nam?: The truth about our foreign aid. At one point when Parliament was in session she chained herself to a gallery chair in the House of Commons and scattered pamphlets denouncing Canada in Viet Nam. In 1975 she was a woman’s studies instructor at the Lakeside Prison for Women in British Columbia. This began a career advocating prison rights as she became a watchdog for prisoners’ human and legal rights. She was passionate about prison reform and in 1976 she was appointed to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for British Columbia Penitentiaries. Sources: Claire Culhane: Canadian Peace Activist and Humanitarian. online (Accessed December 2011): Farewell to a friend by Liz Elliott Journal of Prisoners on Prisons vol. 8 nos. 1 & 2 1997: Lowe, Mick, One woman Army: the life of Claire Culhane (Toronto: McMillan Canada, 1992) Suggestion submitted by Marion Crow, Cochrane, Ontario. (2020)

Alice Marion Curtis

née Mills. Born 1877, Lambeg, Ireland. Died 1964, Vancouver, British Columbia. Alice arrived in Ontario in 1887 and graduated in 1898 from the Ottawa Normal School. She taught for several years in Ottawa. In 1903 she married James Heines Curtis. The couple would have three children. In 1904 they relocated to Alberta in hopes of having a ranch but by 1905 they lived in Calgary. In 1913-1914 she became the 1st president of the Mothers’ Club at Connaught School. This was the 1st such club in the Canadian west. She was soon organizing other clubs at other schools. Widowed in 1921 she would return to teaching to support her family. In 1926 she helped found the Calgary Home and School Federation. She would go on to serve as secretary treasurer for the national Federation. The Federation gave her a life membership in 1951. She was also active in the United Nations Association of Canada. In 1964 a school in Calgary was named in her honour. (2020)

Dorothy Danzker

née Sternberg. Born Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.  Died April 26, 1988. Dorothy was a community volunteer who worked with over one dozen organizations within her community including the B’Nai B’rith Women’s Organization, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Hadassah-Wizo Organization, the Council of Jewish Women, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Young Women’s Hebrew Association, the Winnipeg United Appeal, the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Winnipeg Hear Fund, the Society of Crippled Children and the Multiple Sclerosis Society to name a few. Her volunteerism behind the scenes was an essential force that runs the organizations and without which such organizations cannot function. (2020)

Francoise David

Born 1948,  Montreal, Quebec. Francoise graduated from the University of Montreal with a degree in Social work and began her career as a public servant until 1987. She worked at a women’s centre and from 1994 though 2001 she served as president of the Fédération des femmes du Québec (Quebec Federation of Women) She was the organizer behind provincial marches on behalf of the advancement of women and women’s issues. She visited Nicaragua, Iraq, and Mali and attended the World Social Forum in India in 2004. She initiated the world march of women against violence in 2002. In 2004 she created Option citoyenne a provincial political party and ran unsuccessfully for election in 2007 and 2008. She also wrote a book and collaborated on other books about social justice. In 2002 she was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec and  in 2004 she was presented with the Governor’s General award for working towards equality between men and women. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012. (2020)

Bridgit Ann Davidson

Born December 30, 1958, Port Hope, Ontario. Died June 30, 2013, St. Catherines, Ontario. Her job was her avocation. She loved to teach. Bridgid is married with two children. While raising her children she earned two university degrees. At 38 she began teaching in Niagara Falls, Ontario. She knew she had found her calling. She would write and perform stories to delight and educate her students. In 2010 she married Michael Davidson. That same year she saw a television program about Mary’s Meals in the United States. Mary’s Meals International feeds children at schools in poor countries around the world. She gathered people around her and established Mary’s Meal’s in Canada. At home she organized “Oatmeal Days” for schools in the Niagara Region to inspire students to held the hungry of the world through Mary’s Meals. She was able to share her desire to help others in need around the world even though she had been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing treatment.  Source: 'Lives Lived', The Globe and Mail, September 24, 2013 : Mary’s Meals website. (Accessed February 2014) Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Vega Dawson

née Gronlund. Born 1894?, New Brunswick. Died January 2, 1988. Vega completed her post secondary studies at Mount Allison University. For her work in Halifax during World War ll she was awarded the Order of the British Empire. She served as the chair of the Regional Advisory Committee of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. In 1945 she organized the National Clothing Collection for Europe to help families suffering from the devastation of World War ll. She was also a member of the executive of the I.O.D.E, the Nova Scotia Tuberculosis Association, and the Halifax Children’s Hospital Auxiliary. She was active with the Mount Allison University Federated Alumni and received a honourary degree from that institution. (2020)

Mary Jo 'M. J.' DeCoteau

Born April 1970, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. M.J.'s  grandmother was a breast cancer survivor but her mother died from the disease. She was disheartened to find little information about prevention of Breast Cancer. After moving to Toronto she established Rethink Breast Cancer to provide public awareness about this leading cause of death amount women under 40. “Rethink” also sponsors fundraising events which support many services across the country. She married Glenn Vogelsang in 1996 and the couple have one daughter. In 2004 Maclean’s Magazine named M. J. as one of the ten Canadians who make a difference and in 2006 Chatelaine listed her as one of the 12 Canadian women who should run for parliamentSource: Herstory: Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012 ,Coteau Books, 2011. (2020)

Coleen Anne Dell

Born Winnipeg, Manitoba. She earned her BA at the University of Winnipeg in 1992 and went on to earn her Masters in Sociology at the University of Manitoba in 1996. By 2001 she had received her PhD from Carleton University, Ottawa., Ontario. She worked as Research Chair in Substance Abuse at the University of Saskatchewan. Her work has had an impact on substance abuse programming across Canada. Source: Herstory; The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2010. (2020)

Anna Maria de Souza/Sousa

Born Brazil.  Died September 2007, Toronto, Ontario. Anna Maria married John Marston, a Canadian importer of orange juice, and arrived in Toronto, Ontario in February 1965 to set up a shop for her family coffee company. In 1966 she founded the Brazilian Carnival Ball in Toronto, in the basement of a Portuguese church. In its history the ball has raised some $50 million for numerous charities in both Toronto and Brazil. The monies in Toronto have gone to York University, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, the Canadian Opera Company and Princess Margaret Hospital. In 1982, Anna married Ivan de Souza and the two worked to improve the funds raised. The tickets to the Brazilian Carnival Ball rose to an astounding $6,200 for businesses in 2007 as the city's glittery bit-ticket even and everybody who was anybody attended. In 2002 the ball raised $2,000,000.00 for France's Louis Pasteur Institute. The ball annual ball continued to raise funds after Ana Maria's death for such groups as the Royal Ontario Museum, the De Souza Institute which runs a training program for nurses in Cancer care, and the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology. The last ball was held in 2012. Source: Anna Marie de Souza: the simmer in the Brazilian Ball by Surya Bhattacharya, Toronto Star, September 21, 2007. (2020)

Velma Demerson

Born 1920, Saint John, New Brunswick. Died May 13, 2019, Vancouver, British Columbia. As a youth and underage, Velma was arrested under the 1893 Ontario Female Refugees Act as incorrigible because she lived and became pregnant with her Chinese fiancé Harry Yip. Her parents had not agreed to her relationship and they went on to report her to the Ontario Government. She was sentenced to 10 months in the infamous Mercer Reformatory for Women. Inside she underwent numerous medical procedures. Out of the reformatory she married Harry and according to the law because of her marriage she assumed the nationality of her husband. Velma was now officially Chinese. Unfortunately she became divorced three years later. Denied Canadian Citizenship because she was “Chinese” and ignored by the Chinese Embassy because she was not ‘Chinese” Velma was stateless. November 13, 1948 she applied to have her Canadian Citizenship returned but was denied. In 1949 she resettled in British Columbia where she received a passport under her maiden name. She knew it was illegal to have this document in her maiden name and lived in fear of having a false application. She and her son went to Hong Kong hoping for a more accepting life. Unable to fit in she sent her son back to Canada to his father. Returning to Canada herself a year later, Velma found out her son was living in care of the province of British Columbia. They were never together again. Her son died when he was 26. In 2002 she sued the Ontario government for pain and suffering during her incarceration in the Mercer Reformatory. She settled out of court receiving an apology and a financial compensation from the provincial government. It would not be until 2004 that Velma would finally be granted recognition as a Canadian Citizen. That year she published a book telling her story: Incorrigible (Wilfrid Laurier University Press) which won the J. S. Woodsworth Prize from the New Democratic Party of Canada for anti-racism Source: Daren Fleet, Lost Canadian Velma Demerson’s tragic Story of love and loss. (2020)

Agnes Dennis


Born April 11, 1859, Truro, Nova Scotia. Died April 21, 1949. President of the Victoria Order of Nurses (1901 - 1946) and the Halifax Council of Women (1906 - 1920) she mobilized women in World War I for the Red Cross for which she was also president at the provincial lever from 1914-1920. She helped co-ordinate relief efforts for the Halifax Explosion of 1917. Even with all this work she found time to raise ten children of her own! (2020)

Carrie Matilda Derick

SEE - Academics  or First Women - Academics

Viola Desmond

Black Activist

Born July 6, 1914, Halifax, Nova Scotia . Died February 7, 1965, New York, U.S.A. Viola was a successful Halifax beautician and businesswoman working with her husband Jack Desmond, who was a barber. She would become embroiled in one of the most publicized incidents of racial discrimination in Canadian history. On November 8, 1946, while visiting New Glasgow, Nova Scotia she attended a movie at the Roseland Theatre. She chose to sit downstairs in the racially segregated theatre instead of upstairs in the balcony where Blacks were forced to sit. She was arrested and thrown into jail overnight. She had refused to pay the once cent amusement tax difference charged to clients sitting downstairs instead of the balcony. She refused to pay more than white customers at the show. At trial, where she had no counsel, she was sentenced to a fine of $20.00. Later she, and newspaper editor Carrie Best would encourage a lobby group to force the Nova Scotia government to finally repeal the law of segregation in 1954. After her trial she closed her shop and moved to Montreal where she enrolled in a business college. In 2000, Desmond and other Canadian civil rights activists were the subject of a National Film Board of Canada documentary Journey to Justice. On April 14, 2010, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Mayann Francis, invoked Royal Prerogative and granted Desmond a posthumous pardon, the 1st such to be granted in Canada. The government of Nova Scotia also apologized to her family. Cape Breton University has a Viola Desmond Chair for Social Justice. In 2018 Viola Desmond Became the 1st non-royal women to appear solo on a Canadian monetary bill, the ten dollar bill.  (2020)

Veronica N. Dewar

Inuit Activist

Born Coral Harbour, Southampton Island, Canadian Arctic. Veronica left home at 16 to continue her education in Churchill, Manitoba and later attended college in Ottawa. Serving as the President of Pauktuutit, the Inuit Women’s Association of Canada where she pushes to bring violence against women to the political for front of the Canadian North. Violence again women has always been kept a private matter but Veronica knows the word must get out so that prevention and healing can take place for the Inuit Peoples. She has also worked to have the traditional amatutit parka design  is protected against global production. In 2002 she travelled to South Africa and the World Summit on Sustainable Development where she presented the problem of protection of the amatutit design. Working with women from Peru and Panama who have been successful in protecting traditional designs Veronica was steadfast in her goal. The Summit organization was successful in halting international production of the Amatutit. Sources: Herstory, the Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006 Coteau Books, 2005 (2020)

Harriet Dick                                3460 née Snetsinger. Born May 1, 1867, Canada West (now Ontario). Died June 23, 1957, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Harriet moved to Manitoba in 1885 and in 1900 she married lumber merchant, John Dick. The couple raised six sons together. She was vice president of the Playgrounds Association of Winnipeg and a member of the Winnipeg Playgrounds Commission which promoted the first public playground in the city in 1908. She was a delegate to the American Playground Congress held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. in 1909. She worked to establish Winnipeg's first Day Nursery which schooled 45 children for working mothers. She was also president of the Mother's Club of Winnipeg. During World War 1 (1914-1918) she was on the Board of the Patriotic Fund. Harriet was also active in the Women's Civic League and the Political Equity League. She ran as a candidate in 1920 for provincial elections and when defeated simply ran for the federal election in 1921 where she was again defeated. She would run once again for provincial legislative seat in 1941 only to be defeated once more. Source: Harriet Dick-A Lady Ahead of Her Time. by Linda McDowell in Manitoba Pageant. 1975. online (accessed 2021)

Marion Margaret Diog

née Hales. Born September 21, 1902, Hartney, Manitoba.  Died June 8, 1961, Brandon, Manitoba. As a child her family moved to Brandon, Manitoba. She became an authority on art  and worked to plan the Alfred Arts Centre. She served on the Brandon School Board from 1948 to 1956. She also served as president of the Teck Chapter, I.O.D.E and the Brandon Red Cross. She was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt (now the Order of Manitoba) for meritorious service to her community. Source: Memorable Manitobans Online (Accessed February 2014) (2021)

Winona Margaret Dixon

née Flett. Born June 10, 1884, South Dumfries Township, Ontario. Died May 16, 1922, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1912 she moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba with her sister Lynn and her mother. It did not take log before she was involved in the community and she joined the Political Equity League in a desire to gain the right to vote for women. She was a gifted and popular speaker at numerous events in the coming years. In May 1914 she spoke up for reform of the Factory Act in places where women and children worked. In July 1914 she was working on the election campaign for liberal Frederick John Dixon. In October 1914 Fred and Winona were married. The couple had three children. They were also committed pacifists and would condemn the future World War l conscription. In August 1914 Winona was in charge of a petition signed by 39,584 women when a group of women present the petition to the provincial legislature. In January 1916 Manitoba became the 1st province in Canada to grant women the right to vote. Winona was one of eight women who were invited to be on the floor of the legislature for the third and final reading of the bill! The couple were arrested after the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 and charged with seditious conspiracy. By June 1920 she campaigned in her husband’s election as labour candidate in the provincial election. (2020)

Margaret Ellen Douglass

Born 1878, Stanley, New Brunswick. Died July 11, 1950, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1905 Margaret graduated with a medical degree from the University of Toronto. She would travel to continue Post Graduate studies in London, England and the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in the United States. She returned to New Brunswick and but 1909 was settled with her own practice. She was also active in various women’s groups such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Women’s Christian Club. With the onset of World War l she decided in December 1914 to put aside her private practice to work with St Johns Ambulance Association when its Commissioner went overseas. She was a great orator and she worked with the association to encourage women to work at home to help the war effort. She taught First Aid to women’s work groups. On January 10, 1915 she created the Woman’s Rifle Club and opened an indoor rifle rant for practice. The Club also taught about security patrols and crowd control and the women worked at local events with these skills. She opened an outdoor rife range that summer. On July 28, 1915 200 women showed up to for the Winnipeg Woman’s Volunteer Reserve to protect the home scene from danger and relive the home boys for duty overseas. This group of women submitted to rigorous training. In May 1917 Margaret became a national deputy commissioner for the St Johns Ambulance Association. In January 1918 she headed out to Europe with the 1st group of 25 volunteer nurses. Margaret served as an officer in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps and then as a Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps. When she returned to Winnipeg in 1919 she began a lecture circuit presenting “Some Phases of Women’s Work in the War”. In the 1920’s Margaret was back in private practice where she also served on the Manitoba Board of Health’s Better Babies conference which was held throughout the province. She continued to be involved with women’s groups such as the Women’s Tribute Memorial, Women’s Club of Winnipeg, the League of Women Voters and the Canadian Women’s Professional and Business Club. She was also involved leading the call to have women sit in the Senate. In 1933 she was unsuccessful in a run for city Council. By the time of World War ll she still spoke to get women in service and ran the Greater Winnipeg Bureau for Volunteer Registration of Women. Source: Christian Cassidy, “This is Manitoba: Local Physician Prepared Women Volunteers Unit for War. Doctor’s Orders.”  Winnipeg Free Press June 14, 2015. (2020)

Elizabeth Miriam Janzen Dreger

Born 1917 or 1918, Kitchener, Ontario. Died 1979. Elizabeth married Roderick Louis Dreger. She was an active member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Kitchener Historical Society, and the K-W Gyrettes, She worked with the Kitchener Young Woman’s Christian Association (YWCA) and became treasurer of the YWCA at the National level. She was also a charter Member of the Ontario Press Council. She served as a member of the Board of Governors at the University of Waterloo from 1972 through 1975 and from 1967 through 1975 she was also on the Board of Governors of Conestoga College. She was a Director of the Pioneer Community Foundation serving as president for three years. She was on the Research Committee of the Pioneer and Builders Section of the Waterloo County Hall of Fame. She served as president of the Western Ontario Progressive Conservative Women’s Association and was chair of the PC Woman’s Advisory Committee for the province of Ontario. In 1956 as president of the PC Women’s Association of Canada she became the 1st woman in Canada to preside at sessions of a national political party convention. She is a member of the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame. Source: Waterloo Region Hall of Fame. Online. (Accessed July 2014) (2020)

Lady Grace Julia Parker Drummond


née Parker. Born December 17, 1860, Montreal, Quebec. Died June 10, 1942. In 1879 she married the Rev. George Hamilton but was widowed at 19. She married a second time on September 11, 1884 to Sir George Alexander Hamilton, a member of the Senate of Canada. Grace Julia had five step sons and two step daughters as well as two sons with George Hamilton. This humanitarian and philanthropist she was the 1st president of the Montreal Council of Women, 1893-1899. She helped found the  Montreal Victorian Order of Nurses (VON). She also served as president of the Montreal Charity Organization Society, which she founded with her husband,  from 1911-1919. She was director of the Women’s Historical Society and she served as an advisor to the Parks and Playgrounds Association of Montreal. During World War she was living in London, England and served as head of the Canadian Red Cross Information Bureau, which she founded to keep Canadian families informed about missing, injured and deceased soldiers. She was presented with the Serbian Red Cross and the British Red Cross for her work and was given the title of Lady of Justice of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. In 1923 the Winnipeg Tribune newspaper named her as one of the 12 Greatest Canadian Women for her Red Cross efforts.  The Drummond family papers are housed in the McCord Museum in Montreal. (2020)

Muriel Helen Duckworth

née Ball. Born October 31,1908, Austin, Quebec. Died August 22, 2009. Graduated from McGill University in 1929 and followed up with graduated studies at the Union Theological Seminary in New York state, U.S.A. In 1920 she returned to Montreal where she married Jack Duckworth (   -1975) and the couple had three children. Muriel involved with the Student Christian Movement and other community organizations. Relocating to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1947 she worked with the provincial Department of Education for 14 years. She was a founding member and a committed member of the Voice Of Women (VOW) which was concerned with world peace. She formed the Halifax branch of the VOW and in 1967 she became national president and represented Canada at the international Conference of Women for Peace in Moscow, Soviet Union. This was the 1st of numerous international conferences for Muriel. She was also a founding member of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) in 1976. She served as national president 1979-1980. In 1981 CRIAW established the Muriel Duckworth Award to be presented annually to a woman making a significant contribution to the advancement of women within Canada. She was also a founding member of the Canadian Conference on Education, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, the Nova Scotia Women’s Action Coalition and the Movement for Citizen’s Voice,and Action, Halifax. In 1974 and 1978 she was a candidate for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Nova Scotia. In 1981 she was given the Governor General’s Award of the Persons’ Case and in 1983 she became a Companion in the Order of Canada. In 1991 she was awarded the Lester B. Pearson Peach Medal. (2020)

Phyllis Anne DuMoulin

Born 1921, Kingston, Ontario. Died September 20, 2010, Victoria, British Columbia. The family relocated to British Columbia when Phyllis was young. Graduating High Scholl in 1939 she earned a BA at the University of British Columbia and went on to receive the degrees of Bachelor of Social Work, 1944 and Masters of Social Work, 1947. On graduation, she was appointed Director of the teenage program at Alexandra Neighbourhood House. In 1949 she was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba’s School of Social Work where she established the group-work sequence and field work placements. She served as Executive Director of the Greater Winnipeg Community Welfare Planning Council from 1952 to 1970, where she initiated the social planning program and process, developed an interdisciplinary staff and volunteer approach to social problems, launched Indian-Métis consultative mechanisms, set up neighborhood houses, led the country’s 1st and most comprehensive study of problems and opportunities for the aging population, and supervised a review of social services in Manitoba. In 1966 she was elected president of the Canadian Association of Social Workers. She initiated the transition from the Community Chest to the United Way and was elected as its 1st woman Board Chair in 1976. She served the Board of the Vanier Institute of the Family, and the Board of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet from 1961 to 1976 serving as Executive Vice-President  in 1975/76. She was a founding member of the Board of the Health Sciences Centre, a member of the Board of the Manitoba Medical Research Centre and the Manitoba Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. She was the 1st Chair of the Prairie Regional Committee for the Explorations program of the Canada Council. She was also active in the Girl Guides for many years as a leader and member of the Manitoba Council of the Girl Guides, and the National Council of the Girl Guides of Canada. In 1970, she was inducted into the Order of the Buffalo Hunt (Now Order of Manitoba). In 1967 she was awarded the Canada Centennial Medal. She also received the McArton Prestige Award for her work in the profession of social work, Guiding’s Order of the Beaver for service to youth across Canada, the City of Winnipeg Community Service Award, and the University of Manitoba’s Distinguished Service Award. (2020)

Harriet Irene Dunlop-Prenter

née Dunlop. Born April 7, 1866, Eurkva, Russia. Died ???? On September 8, 1992 she married Hector Henry Weir Prenter (1860-1945) She believed in peace and followed her beliefs when she by became secretary of the Canadian section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and which became the Women’s Peace Party founded in the U.S. in January 1915. Many women did not like the pacifist movement and chose instead to support the war. Harriet was also a strong suffragette and a member of the Political Equality League in Toronto. Harriet wrote about her beliefs and her stands in the Canadian Forward, the White Ribbon Bulletin and Women’s Century. In 1918 she and Lucy MacGregor formed the Women's Labour League in TorontoIn 1920 she started a woman’s page in the Industrial Banner where she discussed money value of women’s work in the home and paid wages. After Canadian women gained the right to vote in 1917 Harriet remained interested in politics and the advancement of equality for women. She joined the Independent Labour Party and in December 6, 1921 federal election she was a candidate for Toronto West. Although Unlike fellow candidate Agnes MacPhail (1890-1954) Harriet was unsuccessful in the election it still stands that she was one of the 1st women to run as a candidate in a Canadian federal election. In 1922 she became a member of the Worker’s Party of Canada and helped with communist campaigns. In 1924 she was with the Women’s Labour League celebrating the 1st Canadian International Women’s Day. (2020) 

Nora Ellen Dunwoody

née Bell. Born 1899, Dublin Ireland. Died May 17, 1988. She attended the University of Manitoba and as a young woman she and her sport partner Art Snell, won the Canadian mixed doubles Badminton Championship. She settled down to a married life which included dedication to volunteering. She would pioneer the establishment of hospital gift shops through out Ontario. The idea of the hospital gift shop was for hospital auxiliaries to raise needed funding. She was the founder of the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. And became dedicated to the provincial organization as vice president of the Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario. She travelled extensively throughout the province encouraging fund raising with the help of the Gift Shop.  (2020)

Henrietta Louise Edwards

Born  December 18, 1849, Montreal, Quebec. Died November 10, 1931, Fort Macleod, Alberta. As a young woman she studied art in New York. Her works were acknowledged in showing by the Royal Canadian Academy and her miniature portraits included Sir Wilfrid Laurier. She Married Dr. Oliver Cromwell Edwards in 1876 and they had a family of three children. She continued her social activities all her life working for un-enfranchised women, public library support and equal rights. At eighty she went to a tea in Edmonton and became one of the “Famous Five” women who took the Person case to England and had Canadian women declared” persons” under the law. Women, as 'non-persons' had no rights to own land, serve in government and had very few legal rights prior to 1929. (2020)

Dorothy Dworkin

née Goldstick. Born 1889, Windau, Latvia. Died August 13, 1976, Toronto, Ontario. In 1904 she and her family immigrated to Canada. By 1907 she was training and working with a Dr. S. J.  Kaufman at a free Jewish Dispensary as a maternity nurse.. Dr. Kaufman encouraged Dorothy to study in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. In 1909 she earned a diploma from the Medical State Board of Ohio. In 1911 she married Henry Dworkin, a successful businessman from Toronto who helped Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe to immigrate and settle in Canada. The couple had one daughter. Dorothy opened a free Jewish Dispensary in Toronto. By 1922 she helped establish the Toronto Jewish Convalescent and Maternity Hospital so that kosher food could be provided for patients. This institution would later be renamed Mount Sinai Hospital where she was 1st president of the Hospital Woman’s Auxiliary.  Widowed in 1928 she successfully took over the family businesses. By the mid 1930’s she was serving as the secretary of the Jewish Labour Committee. She was also active in the Canadian Jewish Congress, ORT and Pioneer Women. On Jul7 6, 2009 the Canadian Government declared Dorothy Dworkin a National Historic Person. Sources: Dorothy Dworkin. Backgrounder. Parks Canada. Online (Accessed July 2014) :Toronto’s 1st Jewish nurse writes of early Toronto. April 15, 2013 (Accessed July 2014) (2020)

Julia Salter Earle née Salter. Born September 20, 1878, St John's, Newfoundland. Died May 10, 1945, St John's, Newfoundland. As a student Julia studied at the Methodist College, In 1903 she married Arthur Edward Earle, a jeweler. The couple had six children. She worked as a clerk for the Newfoundland legislature transcribing laws passed by the government. She was an active member of the Ladies Reading Room and Current Events Club where she read and listened to visiting lecturers of the early 1920's. In 1918 she was a founding member and president of the Ladies Branch of the Newfoundland Industrial Workers Association. This union represented women working in the clothing, cordage, and shoe factories seeking better wages and working conditions. Once women  received the rigth to vote March 25 th Julia became one of three women where were candidates for the newly formed Women's Party in the 1925 St John's municipal elections. All three women were unsuccessful in the election and Julia lost by only 11 votes. She attempted to gain a seat on the town council again in the 1940's. Source: D C B
Elizabeth 'Bessie' Maud Egan née Bates. Born June 17, 1859? Windsor, Nova Scotia. Died September 4, 1937, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Bessie was fostered by a family in Halifax, Nova Scotia and did domestic jobs. As a young woman she became a member of the Halifax Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1881. After her marriage on October 1, 1884 to James F. Egan she worked as a matron at the WCTU shelter and visited the poor of her Anglican parish. In 1900 she was appointed honourary inspector of children with the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty investigating cruelty to animals and children. She also worked to help female immigrants and found employment for destitute women. She became separated from her husband in 1904 and began working as a 'Bible-woman' with the provincial Bible Society working with immigrants and tenement dwellers, and Prisoners. She also became an agent for the Halifax Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor. She enforced the  1906 Children's Protection Act of Nova Scotia placing children from unstable homes in foster care. In 1905 she had joined and became active with the Local Council of Women. She was a supporter of the new children's hospital in 1910 and constantly stood up for the immigrant women, the underprivileged, and the neglected including residents of the Black neighbourhood of Africville. She worked with Catholic sisters supporting reformatories, orphanages, and refuges. With World War l came the modernization of social services and the appearance of professional social workers led Bessie to become insecure in her practical work. In 1918 she gained employment as a regular on the Halifax Police Force waling a beat for 17 years in uniform. She was paid less than male counterparts and upon her retirement in 1934, when she was in her 70's, she was denied a pension. Bessie had used her own funds to help the poor and friends worked to gain her a monthly allowance. Source: D C B  (2020)
Dawn Elliot      3554
Born 1955. Died 2005, Scarborough, Ontario. Dawn was involved with the early development of Lupus Canada and served as president of Ability On Line which was a charity network for children with disabilities. She also worked with Cliffcrest Community Services, West Hill Community Services and the Emily Stowe Shelter. She was a founding mother of the Canadian Women's Foundation along with Rosemary Brown and Senator Nancy Ruth.. In 2002 she was presented with the Queen Elizabeth ll Golden Jubilee Medal and was the Y W C A Woman of Distinction.
Constance  Eyolfson                    3461

Rainbow Woman
Métis Activist
née Thomas. Born May 10, 1936, Traverse Bay, Manitoba. Died December 8. 2002, Selkirk, Manitoba. In 1954 Constance joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. While serving in the air force she met and in 1957 married Gerald Eyolfson. Together raised nine children. Connie earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba. Her working career saw her working for the Children's Home of Winnipeg, the Manitoba Métis Federation, the Alcoholism Foundation of Manitoba, Anishinabe School and the federal government at the Secretary of State Department. In 'retirement' she established the Strong Earth Woman Lodge in 1992 offering individuals, families and even communities find their own path to healing their spirits. Source: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, December 11, 2002 online (accessed 2021)
Clementina Fessenden

née Trenholme. Born May 4, 1843, Kingsley Township, Lower Canada (now Quebec). Died September 14, 1918, Hamilton, Ontario. On January 4, 1865 she married Elisha Joseph Fessenden (died 1896) and together they had four sons. Clementina enjoyed dressing as Queen Victoria and was pleased when people noticed a resemblance to the Queen. She joined the League of the Empire, the Brome County Historical Society in Quebec and the Wentworth Historical Society. After the death of her husband she relocated to Hamilton, Ontario and in the following year, 1897, she began a public campaign for the establishment of an empire day in Canada's schools. May 24, 1898 Empire Day was first observed in Dundas, Ontario. She turned her loyalty for the British Empire into her work as organizing secretary of the Hamilton chapter of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E.) now known as the Fessenden Chapter.   She wrote about this holiday in a pamphlet entitled. Our Union Jack: the genesis of Empire Day in 1898.  She worked to have Dundurn Castle, the mansion of Sir Allan Napier MacNab preserved as a museum and in 1900 she became the cuator. She was a member of the Women's Institute and the National of Women of Canada. During World War 1 she worked on the city's Belgian Relief Committee. It was largely due to her letter campaigns and even direct confrontation that May 24, originally celebrated as EMPIRE DAY, was established as a holiday in Canada. For several years after her death the I O D E held Empire Day services at her grave side at St John's Anglican Church Ancaster, Ontario and in 1928 a commemorative plaque was installed there. Empire Day in now celebrated as the Victoria Day long weekend in Canada. (2021)

Florence Fernet-Martel

Born July 25, 1892, Woonsocket, Rhode Island, U.S.A.. Died February 5, 1986. She studied French literature at the Universite Laval earning a Bachelor degree. She became a teacher of English for the Montreal Catholic School Commission and later worked as a secretary and translator for an insurance company. She supported and fought for women’s rights with Therese Casgrain. She went on to study social sciences at Universite de Montreal. She would provide shelter for Montreal students for some 40 years. She wrote for several magazines in her adopted French language including Chatelaine, La Reforme and Le Canada. She also hosted the Radio Canada program Femina from 1933-1939.  In 1940 she worked for the Canadian Unemployment Insurance Commission and from 1946 through 1972 she served as a arbitrator for the commission in Montreal. She also served on the Quebec censor board for Cinema from 1961-1966. In 1975 she was inducted into the Order of Canada for her service to the community. In 1981 she received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case for advancing Equality. (2019) 

Emma Sophia Fiske

née Skinner. Born October 23, 1832, Saint John, New Brunswick. Died October 29, 1914, Saint John, New Brunswick. Emma was an accomplished linguist who taught English Literature at a local high school. On June 15, 1875 she married John Mackenzie Campbell Fiske(- 1877). She was an active member of the Saint John Art Club, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Natural History Society, the Associated Charities of Saint John, the Women’s Temperance Union, and the Red Cross Society. By 1900 she was president of the local Suffrage Club. 1904-05 she was a member of the Government Factory Commission gathering evidence on working conditions in the area. In 1905 the New Brunswick Factories Act regulated Child labour and working conditions in the province. She was a founding member and the driving force in the Women’s Enfranchisement Association. In 1894 she was Vice President for the Maritimes of the Dominion Women’s Enfranchisement Association. She worked with such activists as Flora Macdonald Denison and British suffragist Sylvia Pankhurst. It is unfortunate that she did not live to see the right to vote for women come to New Brunswick in 1919. The Women’s Enfranchise Association established a Memorial Fund in her name that helped to distribute clothing to Saint John’s needy children. Source: The Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Online. (accessed 2002) (2920). 

Aida Maud Boyer McAnn Flemming

née Ada McAnn. Born March 7, 1896. Died January 25, 1994. Aida changed the spelling of her name after the Verdi opera Aida. Her mother died just a few months old. The family lived in British Columbia until the death of her father when she was just eleven. Aida returned to New Brunswick to live with her uncle. Aida earned her Bachelor of Arts from Mount Allison, University, and then earned her Certificate in Education at the University of Toronto. She would later earn her Master' of Arts from Columbia University, New York City, New York, U.S.A. She taught at Mount Allison University and then at a private secondary school in New York City. She then worked as a freelance writer of advertising copy in New York before she returned home to New Brunswick to work as a writer for the Department of Tourism. In 1938 she published The New Brunswick Cookbook. She also directed a cooking program on local radio. By 1944 she was working as a reporter for the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. On August 20 1946 she married Hugh John Flemming (1899-1982), a business man and future premier of New Brunswick and future Member of Canadian Parliament. After her marriage Aida became active volunteering for the local Red Cross and helped establish the local school library. In Fredericton from 1952-1960 as the wife of the Premier, she continued to support libraries serving as the patron of Young Canada Book Week in 1953 and helping to establish the Fredericton Public Library. She served on the Library Board from 1955-1958. She was appointed to the Board of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and was also on the board of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Children's Aid. In 1959 she founded the Kindness Club to teach children to love and be kind to animals. The Kindness club would grow with chapters throughout North America and England. In 1962  and again in 1976 the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce named her as their Atlantic Woman of the Year. In 1964 she the Humane Society of the United States named her Humanitarian of the Year. By 1978 she had been made a member of the Order of Canada. In her will she left property near Woodstock, New Brunswick to create a wildlife sanctuary. (2020) 

Grace Sarah Hall Fletcher née Thompson. Born 1850? Brock Township, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died August 3, 1907, Saskatoon Saskatchewan. By 1879 Grace had married Joseph Fletcher. The couple had four children. Originally living in Alliston, Ontario she and her children followed Joseph to Saskatoon in the Canadian Midwest. The early years were a real struggle and Grace became a general merchant in the late 188's. She travelled half the year on trading trips. By 1890 he railroad had arrived and Grace also took part in shipping Buffalo bones. She ran a livery stable and took an interest in real estate sales. With a fast growing population in the town and local farm lands , newcomers provided Grace with a steady and profitable business making her a wealthy woman by 1907. She was also active in her community as a Sunday school teacher and lobbying for women to have the vote in church affairs. In 1910 the local Methodist Church, now names Grace Westminster Church, was named in her honour. An avid temperance person she was active in the local Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) where she financed speakers for meetings and pushed for the right of women to vote. She als fought for married women's rights to owning property. Grace's husband had become an alcoholic and Grace boldly stood against such deadbeat husbands squandering a family's land. Source: DCB (2020)
Jean Folster                                   3462

Aboriginal Activist, Chief & magistrate
née York. Born 1922, Norway House Cree Nation, Manitoba. Died December 26, 1994, Norway House, Manitoba.  In 1941 Jean married Billy Folster and the couple raised a family of eight children. After the death of her husband in 1954 Jean financed her family through sewing.  In the late 1960's she founded the first local child and family services agency in a First Nations community. In 1967 she became an elected member of the Norway House Band Council and served as social assistance officer. In 1971 she was elected Chief of Norway House Cree Nation. In 1973 through 1980 she was appointed the first female treaty Indian to be appointed a magistrate in the province of Manitoba. Source: Memorable Manitobans. online (accessed 2021)
Cynthia Adelaide ' Addie' Foster

née Davis. Born April 14, 1844, Hamilton, Ontario. Died September 19, 1919. Cynthia's 1st marriage to a man who became the Mayor of Hamilton and a Member of Parliament ended when he deserted her. She moved to Ottawa where, while running a boarding house, she met and married George E. Foster, a temperance advocate and Conservative Member of Parliament. She was also a devoted temperance worker as was president of the Ontario Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) from 1882-1888 and publisher of the WCTU Women's Journal for the Ottawa area. A devoted and hard worker for the causes she embraced she was 1st president of the Ottawa district board of management of the Victoria Order of Nurses. During the second world war she worked with the Women's Canadian Club of Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley Branch of the Canadian Red Cross. When she had spare time she enjoyed membership in the Humane Society, the Women's Historical Society, was president of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire. There is no doubt that she also put energies into the political career of her husband who was Knighted in 1914 giving her the title of Lady Foster. (2020)

Agnes Fontaine

Aboriginal Activist

Born June 29, 1912. Died August 10, 1988, Fort Alexander, Manitoba. Agnes married young and became a busy mother of 15 children. She somehow always found time to serve her community as an elected band counselor and as a counselor at Camp Neecheewan. In 1953 she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Coronation Medal of service to her community. (2020)

Lily Frank

Born Shanghai. As a youth she joined the Betar youth movement. In 1949 she immigrated to Israel. In 1956 she served as secretary-general of World WIZO (Woman’s International Zionist Organization). In 1965 she was invited to work for Canada Hadassah-WIZO, it was the beginning of a 40 year career that began in Montreal. In 1978 she was appointed nation executive vice-president.  Lily attended the United Nations Decade for Women conferences in Copenhagen, 1980 and Nairobi, 1985. Retiring from Hadassah-WIZO she began working as regional director of the Canadian Friends of Bar-Ilan University for Eastern Canada. She has been awarded the Rebecca Sieff Award from Hadassah-WIZO.  (2020) 

Margaret Franssen

Born March 21, 1952, The Netherlands. By 1979 Margaret had immigrated to Canada and had earned her B.A. at York University, Toronto. In 1h2 1990’s she convinced the Body Shop , a company of natural and ethical beauty products, that she was the person to head up their Canadian branch of the company. The company would garner numerous accolades including being listed as one of the 100 best companies to work for in Canada and the recognition from the Financial Post as one of the best 50 best managed companies in Canada. In 1995 she was a guest speaker at the World Conference of Women in Beijing, China and presented a million signature petition calling for women’s rights to be human rights around the world. She has served on numerous boards including being chair for 6 years of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. She served on the board for the CBIC bank for 15 years and on the World Wildlife Fund, the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Toronto Family Services Association, The York University Foundation, the Women’s College Hospital and the Women’s Funding Network. From 1991 through 2003 she served on the Board of Governors at York University. She was also co-chair of the Women Funding Millions. Over the years she has received over 50 awards for her efforts supporting women’s justice. In 2002 she was inducted as an Officer in the Order of Canada and received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. She has been recognized by the United Nations with the UN Grand Award for addressing violence against women and the UN Development Fund for Women Canada Award in 2004. In 2008 she received the Yorkton Family Services Humanitarian Award. MicroSkills has established the Margaret Franssen Leadership Award in her honour.  (2020)

Lillian Freiman

née Bilsky.  Born 1885, Mattawa, Ontario. Died 1940 Ottawa, Ontario. Lilian was the daughter of one of the founding Jewish families in Ottawa. At 18 she married Archibald Jacob Freiman (1880-1944). He would found Freiman’s Department Store in Ottawa. The couple had 3 children and adopted a Ukrainian war Orphan named Gladys Rozovsky.  Lillian would among her numerous activities head the Canadian Hadassah-WIZO, the women’s Zionist Organization from 1919 though 1940. The Red Cross Sewing Circle which she started in her home as a war effort became a Disraeli Chapter of the Daughters of the Empire. She would lead Ottawa’s efforts to battle the influenza epidemic in 1918. She served on the executive of the Ottawa Welfare Bureau and helps with the Ottawa Women’s Canadian Club, the Institute Jeanne d’Arc for Catholic girls, the Protestant Infants Home and many more. In 1921 she led the campaign to bring 150 Jewish war orphans from the Ukraine to settle in good Canadian homes. She was granted honourary membership in the Canadian Legion veteran’s organization, the first woman to be so honoured. In 1934 she became the first Canadian Jew to be awarded the Order of the British Empire. Source: Brown , Michael Lillian Freiman Jewish women: a Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. March 1, 2009 Jewish Women’s Archive Accessed August 2011; Knowles, Valerie Capital Lives. (2020)

Thais Frémont

Born Montréal, Quebec October 18, 1886. Died April 6, 1963. A welfare worker by profession she was a social activist by avocation. She founded the Ste Justine Children's Hospital in Montreal in 1907. In 1926 she founded the Conservative Women's Association for Quebec City. She was appointed a Canadian delegate to the League of Nations Assembly in 1932. From 1933 to 1936 she was the vice president of the League of Nations Society of Canada. In 1943 she was a member of the Women's National Advisory Committee on Problems of Post-war Rehabilitation. In 1947 she was still active in working with the Joint Committee on the legal status of married women in the Province of Quebec. (2020)

Eira 'Babs' Friesin

née Charles. Born April 1, 1917, Wales, United Kingdom. Died December 11, 2008 Winnipeg, Manitoba. Babs attend the University of Manitoba earning her Bachelor of Science in 1939. February 11, 1944 she married Rhinehart Friesen who was in the armed forces at the time. The couple would have four children. Once life settled after World War ll Babs was able to devote herself to her children and her community. She was a tireless worker with the Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA) in Winnipeg. In 1973 she inaugurated a Women’s Resource Centre at the Winnipeg YWCA which served as a template for other centres. She was also an active member of MATCH International, Girl Guides, and the Provincial Council of Women of Manitoba. She would attend the 1985 International Women’s Conference in Nairobi, Kenya and the Five Year After” follow-up to the conference. In 1995 she attended the Beijing, China Women’s International Conference. Here community efforts did not go unnoticed. She received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002, The Premier’s Volunteer Service Award, the Girl Guide Medal of Merit, the Paul Lejeune Volunteer Service Award from the Manitoba Council for International Co-operation as well as the 50th Anniversary United Nations (UN) Global Citizen Award. In 2003 she was inducted into the Order of Canada and that same year was honoured with the Governor’s General Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. The Winnipeg YWCA now offers the Eira “Babs” Friesen Award for Lifetime Achievement. Source: Eira “Babs” Friesen Award, Winnipeg YW/YMCA online (Accessed February 2014) (2020)

Katherine Loewen Friesen  3462 née Loewen. Born August 12, 1918, Russia. Died November 1, 2015,  Winnipeg, Manitoba. When Katherine was just four the family immigrated to live in Saskatchewan and Ontario before finally settling in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She earned her education degree from United College. In 1943 she married David Friesen and the couple raised four children together. The couple created the David and Katherine Friesen Family Foundation and the Menno Simons College, Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary School and the Menno Simons Christian School in Calgary, Alberta. Source: Memorable Manitobans. online (accessed 2021)

Lisa Goddard Frothingham-Molson

née Frothingham. Born April 15, 1827, Montreal, Quebec. Died August 20, 1910, Montreal, Quebec. Lisa was just 18 she joined the management committee of the Montreal Protestant Orphan Asylum which cared for some 1,000 orphans. She remained active with the establishment for 64 years. She visited the home regularly, organized Christmas parties. She also worked with Protestant Infants’ Home in Montreal and was a life governor of the Montreal Maternity Hospital. Lisa served on the board of management of the Protestant Hospital for the Insane and was second president of the Montreal Ladies’ Educational Association for 1873 through 1875 helping contribute to the cause of education for women. As a member of wealthy elite of the city of Montreal she contributed handsomely to many charitable institutions helping single parent families, orphans, local hospitals. and educational institutions such as McGill University. After the death of her mother, when Louisa was just 16, she devoted her life to caring for her father. After her father’s death in 1870 she married John Henry Robson Molson (1826-1897)  the son of brewery founder Thomas Molson (1791-1863). (2020)

Marion Fulton

née Tye. Born March 5, 1921, South Kirby, Yorkshire, England. Died November 4, 2013. In February 1943 she earned her Registered Nurse papers from York County Hospital, England. October 16, 1943 she married Victor Fulton, a flight lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Air Force. She arrived in Canada with her fist son in her arms as a War Bride. The family settled 1st in Winnipeg and then Birtle Manitoba. Two more sons rounded out the family. Marion worked at the Birtle Hospital while raising her children and she also became a Brownie leader, a Sunday School Teacher and joined the local Women’s Institute. She became provincial president of the Womens Institute (W I) and later National President of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada and moved on to become vice-president of the International Council of Associated Country Women of the World. In 1978 she was inducted as a Member into the Order of Canada. In 1988 the was inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame. Source: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press. November 7, 2013; Order of Canada Online (accessed April 2014) (2020)

E. Margaret Fulton




Born September 8, 1922, near Birtle, Manitoba. Died January 22, 2014, Victoria, British Columbia. After graduating from High School in 1942 she taught in a rural school in Western Manitoba. During World War ll she spent her summers working on the family farm to help keep things running while her brothers served in the War. After her brothers returned home in 1945 she she taught in Fort William Vocational School in Ontario. She studied at the University of Toronto and showed her feminist tendencies in 1963 when Masses Collect opened. She protested the lack of female Fellows outside the college doors. From 1967 through 1974 she taught at Waterloo Lutheran University, now Wilfrid Laurier University. She often rebelled against the dominance of male academics and stood for equal opportunity for all. In 1974 through 1978 she served as Dean of Women at the University of British Columbia. In 1978 she became President of Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Here she worked to make education more accessible to women. In 1985 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. By 1985 she was once again at the University of British Columbia as adjunct professor and consultant. She also served as Scholar–in-Residence at the new feminist university in Loten, Norway. In 1996 she retired from the university scene but continue to lecture and campaign for feminist issues. During her career she was presented with 15 honorary degrees. Source: “Margaret Fulton…Advocate Fought for Women’s Education…” by Allison Lawlor, the Globe and Mail , January 2014. Book: Transformations: the Life of Margaret Fulton, Canadian feminist, educator and social activist by James Doyle. (2020)

Corinne Gallant

Born 1922, Moncton, New Brunswick. Died July 24, 2018, Moncton, New Brunswick. Corrine originally joined the Sisters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and served in the order for 26 before deciding to become a lay person in 1970. Corrine was one of the 1st Acadian women to earn a PhD. She taught philosophy at the Université de Moncton and became Director of the Philosophy programme and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts. She also created the 1st women's coursed in Canada.  Some of her students formed La Fédération des dames d'Acadie. In 1984 she published La Philosophie au Feminists.  She served on the board of Crossroad for Women, a woman's shelter from 1985 through 1988. In 1989, she co-chaired a working committee that led to the creation of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women and remained an active member until 1994. She also chaired the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW).  In 1988 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. In 1992 she was honoured with the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal. She retired in 1994 becoming a professor Emeritus.   In 2002 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2012 she was presented with the Governor General's Award for the Advancement of Women's Equality and received the Order of Moncton. Her biography Corinne Gallant: A Pioneer of Feminism in Acadia was published in 2012 as the 1st volume in a series of biographies about Acadians of achievement. In 2014 she received the New Brunswick Human Rights Award. (2020) 

Laure Gaudreault

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.(2020)

Bella Hall Gauld

Born December 31, 1878. A political and social activist she worked with immigrants, founded the Labour College (1920-1924) , and the Woman’s Labour League which sponsored camps for poor children.  In the desperate 1930’s she operated a soup kitchen and played piano at fundraisers for various ethnic communities. During World War II she was a frequent soloist at navy league concerts for servicemen.  She became interested in the political beliefs of Communism, these beliefs she would retain all of her live. (2020)

Huberte Gautreau

Born 1935?, New Brunswick. In her 20's she travelled to South America to learn Spanish but ended up working in Peru following an earthquake. Huberte studied to be a nurse and then went on to teach in the health field. She has spent most of her life working for the rights of women and disadvantaged groups. She has helped families living in violence with the establishment of Carrefour pour femmes, a shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. She has reached out to guide men inclined to violence and is co-founder of Groupe Option that helps these men. A sexual and gender harassment counselor she has worked as an international solidarity education coordinator at the University of Moncton in New Brunswick. She also serves as spokesperson for the Concerned Citizens Committee for Peace / Comité pour la paix. She has received the 1996 New Brunswick Human Rights Award. She was the driving force behind the New Brunswick women in the World March of women in 2000. She was co-chair of the provincial committee to rally some 150 New Brunswick women travelling to the United Nations headquarters in the U.S.A. to denounce poverty and violence against women. Additionally she presided over the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity 2001-2003 and 2008-2009. She founded the Fondation Marichette, a charitable organization with the mission to increase access to education for women through scholarships.  In 2004 the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person Case. She has also received the YMCA Peace Medal and the Order of Moncton. (2020)

Sylvia Gelber

Born Toronto, Ontario 1910. Died December 9, 2003. Sylvia attended Havergal Ladies College in Toronto. From 1932 through 1948 Sylvia spent 15 years as a medical social worker in Palestine where she was professionally involved in the fields of labour and welfare. She returned to Canada an in 1989 she wrote No Balm in Gilead (McGill-Queens Press) reporting on her time in this service. Back in Canada she became a Federal Government consultant and became Director, Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labour. She also served as Canadian representative on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women from 1970-1974. And as a UN Canadian delegate for the General Assembly from 1976-1978. Her dedication to service earned her the Canadian Centennial Medal in 1967 and the Order of Canada in 1975. Sylvia also has a passion for music and visual arts. Her desire to help talented youth to reach their potential she formed the Sylvia Gelber Foundation for help youth. Sources: Sylvia Gelber Music Foundation Award  Online (Accessed August 2011). Feminist tore down Barriers Globe and Mail January 31 2004. : Information from family members (2020)

Mary  Gilliland

née Hart. Born March 1940, Wisconsin, U.S.A. Died April 2010, Saskatchewan. In 1960 Mary married her college sweetheart, Marshall Gilliland. The couple soon moved to Saskatchewan and Mary taught English at the University of Saskatchewan. She was an active member of the Saskatchewan Women’s Calendar Collective, producing an annual Canadian Women’s calendar featuring sketches of Canadian women in history for 25 years. She was also a member of the Saskatchewan Natural History Society where she was the 1st woman to be President of the Canadian Nature FederationSource: Herstory: Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012 ,Coteau Books, 2011. (2020)

Emma Goldman Born June 27, 1869, Russian Empire (now Lithuania) Died May 14, 1940, Toronto, Ontario. Emma  immigrated with her sister to the U.S.A. in 1885 and settled in Rochester, New York. In 1887 there was a short lived marriage to a Jacob Kershner. She left this home and relocated to NYC where she met her soon to be lover Alexander Berkman (1870-1936). After the 1886 Chicago Haymarket labour demonstrations she wrote articles and became an acclaimed and welcome lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women's rights, free love and other social issues. Her lover was arrested and jailed after a failed assassination attempt in 1892 against industrialist Henry Clay Frisk. In 1901 she was even implicated in the assassination of President William McKinley. Emmer herself spent time in jail for riots and distribution of literature on birth control. In 1906 she founded the journal Mother Earth. In 1910 she published her first book: Anarchism and Other Essays. In 1917, together with he lover Alexander she was in jail for stopping people from enlisting in the draft. The couple were deported back to Russia where Emma became disenchanted with what she saw. Living in England and Canada and France she published in 1923 My Disillusionment With Russia. She published her autobiography in 1931, Living My life. (2020)

Edythe Elizabeth Goodridge

née Ryan. Born March 3, 1937, St John’s, Newfoundland. Died June 4, 2014, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was educated in England before attending St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. She also attended the Ontario College of Art, the Académie Julian, and L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, and the Reil Cercle Artistic de Barcelona, Spain. She started her career as a freelance journalist with the Halifax Daily News and the CBC. In 1968 she was Memorial University developing programs in communication, visual and performing arts. In 1972 she was in Ottawa. Widowed with the death of her husband Norman in 1973 she channeled her energies into her work. She worked with the National Capital Commission in Ottawa as director of visual arts with the Canada Council. 1st Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council  (NLAC) in 1980 she opened eyes to local artistic talent. She supported and mentored creative curators and encouraged Aboriginal curators to come forward. She got people to believe in themselves, a rare and valuable talent. She was the central energy of festival and celebrations. She was an active member of the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization and the Canadian Museums Association and the Atlantic Provinces Art Gallery Association as well as the founding president of the Newfoundland Historic Trust. In 1990 she was inducted into the NLAC Hall of Honour. Source: Joan Sullivan, “Edythe Goodridge Cultural Maven, 77: Curator called ‘Mother of Newfoundland’”. Globe and Mail, July 7, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.  (2020)

Sarah Gotlieb

Born January 1, 1900, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. In 1912 her family immigrated to Canada and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She married David P. Gotlieb and the couple raised two children.  In 1923 she became a member of the Ezra chapter of Hadassah where she served as secretary and president. In 1932 she was elected President of the Winnipeg Hadassah Council and in 1934 she was elected Western Vice President where she served until 1951when she became National President from 1951-1955. After at trip to Moscow, Poland and Germany she  became one of the founders of the Youth Aliyah movement in Canada which is devoted to the rescue and resettlement of children from Europe. She served as the 1st chair in 1942. From 1957-1961 she served as National Chair for the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She was also the 1st National Chairman of the Women’s Division of the Israel Bond Organization of Canada, 1955-1963. In 1971 she was made Honorary President for Life for her distinguished Service to Canadian Hadassah-WIZO. Source: Jewish Women’s Archive. Personal Information for Sarah Gotlieb Online (Accessed June 2013) 

Mildred Amanda Gottfriedson

Aboriginal Activist

Born April 20, 1918, Kamloops Indian Reserve. Died November 18, 1989.  Mildred was a leading member of the Kamloops Indian Reserve who helped with revival of dances, legends, songs and crafts of her people and encouraged others to follow her lead.  In 1963 she helped start the Secwepemc Dance Troupe which would travel to perform even arriving on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. She was a founding member in 1968 and former president of the British Columbia Native Women’s Society. This group fought against the Indian Act which discriminated against status aboriginal women who lost their status and that of their children if they married non-status men. She married Gus Gottfriedson and raised 13 children and fostered over 30 additional children and was awarded Mother of the year in 1963 by British Columbia and the following year she became Canadian Mother of the year. She was a founding member in 1968 and former president of the British Columbia Native Women’s Society. This group fought against the Indian Act which discriminated against status aboriginal women who lost their status and that of their children if they married non-status men. She was also an experience horseman and marksman but she never bragged or showed off. She was the 1st First Nations individual to be awarded the Order of Canada on July 11, 1977. (2020)

Bernelda Winona Sakinasikwe Gordon

Aboriginal Activist

née Pratt. Born April 8, 1937, Muskopetung First Nations, Saskatchewan. Died September 10, 2005,Regina, Saskatchewan. In the 1940's she and her family relocated to Churchill, Manitoba. Here she was forced to attend residential school separated from her family while being physically and emotionally abused. A survivor she, at 1, became a DJ on the CBC radio in Churchill, Manitoba. She wanted to be a doctor but settled on nursing. After a brief time as a nurse she earned a job at Port Alberni, British Columbia on the radio. She also freelanced to the CBC. By 1972 she was back in Manitoba hosting and producing the CBC radio show Our Native Land. She was a single mother who often took her children to interviews. Her son, Jordan, remembers travelling with his mom when she became a writer for television shows such as North of 60. By 1982 she was freelancing as a journalist, newspaper columnist, author, and activist. She helped found the National Association of Friendship Centres and was a member of Grannies for Justice. As an author she wrote several books for children. She also enjoyed acting on stage and in movies. In 2002 she was Citizen of the Year for the Saskatchewan Indian Nations. In 2005 she earned the Rebel with a Cause Award from the Elizabeth Fry Society. That same year she earned a lifetime Achievement Award from the AnsKohk Aboriginal Literature Festival. Source: Herstory 2008: The Canadian Women’s Calendar (Coteau Books, 2007) : “Bernelda Wheeler : a Trailblazer Throughout life” by Cheryl Petten in Windspeaker Vol. 23 No. 7 2005. (2020)

Mary Gordon

Born October 13, 1947, Newfoundland. After studying three years at Memorial University in Newfoundland Mary relocated to Toronto where she met her husband. The couple have two children. She began her career teaching kindergarten and in 1981 founded Canada’s 1st school based Parenting and Family Literacy Centers. In 1996 she founded Roots of Empathy (ROE), a classroom based program for elementary school children with the mission to build caring peaceful and civil societies through the development of empathy in children and adults. ROE strives to break the intergeneration cycle of violence and poor parenting. In 2005 she founded Seeds of Empathy, a program for three to five year old children in child care programs. In 2005 her book: Roots of empathy, Changing the World Child by Child rose to the top 100 books  of the year. Her ROE programs are supported by First Nations Schools across the country. Internationally ROE has sparked interest for use in schools in New Zealand, the U.S.A., the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland. Her program has garnered her the Distinguished Canadian Educator Award, and in 2002 she became the 1st woman to become Canadian Fellow in the Ashoka Foundation, an international organization supporting social entrepreneurs. In 2004 she received the Ontario Teacher’s Federation Lifetime Fellowship Award. October 6, 2006 she was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada. In July 2009 she received the Public Education Advocacy Award from the Canadian(2020)

Helen Mary 'MarieGrant

née Smith.  Born 1843, Maitland, Nova Scotia. Died 1907, Victoria, British Columbia. While she attended school and trained as a teacher Marie did not teach long. In those days married women could not be teachers and she left teaching Captain William Grant in 1873. She was not the type of wife that stayed at home, rather she sailed the world with her husband coming on shore only to give birth to her children. In 1886 the family settled in British Columbia. In 1884 women became eligible to vote for school board members if there were mothers. In 1889 women were even allowed to run for school board positions. In March 1895 Marie was elected as the 1st school board trustee, a position she held for 6 years. Maria was also active in the Women’s Temperance Union and helped founding the Victoria Local Council of women in 1894. Such local women’s groups worked towards women’s suffrage. In 1901 she was presented to the Duke of York (later King George V as the 1st and only women school trustee in Canada. Sadly Marie did not live to see gain the right to vote which did not come to British Columbia until 1917. In 1987 the Victoria Council of Women presented a plaque to the provincial legislature honouring Maria Grant and Cecilia Spofford, who had both worked over 30 years for women’s suffrage. Sources: Merna Foster, 100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces (Dundurn Press, 2004); Victoria Council of Women, online (accessed May 2015) (2020)

Maria Heathfield Grant.

née Pollard. Born September 15, 1854, Quebec City, Quebec. Died March 30, 1937, Victoria, British Columbia. In 1871 the family moved west to British Columbia. On July 30, 1874 Maria married a marine engineer, Gordon Fraser Munro Grant (d. 1908), and the couple had nine children. Maria and her mother formed the Local Victoria Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and her mother became president of the provincial organization. In 1885 she helped circulate the 1st petition for women’s right to vote and present it to the British Columbia Legislature. Not successful the petition simply hardened the determination of women such as Maria. In 1894 she helped organize the Victoria Local Council of Women with Lady Aberdeen attending the inaugural meeting. In 1895 women were allowed to vote for school trustees and in March 1885 Maria became the 1st woman elected as a school trustee in British Columbia. In 1897 she was elected as secretary for the National Prohibition Federation of Temperance Associations. From 1900 through 1905 she served as president of the WCTU of British Columbia. In 1901 she helped set up the Children’s Aid Society in Victoria. In 1910 she became the 1st president of the Political Equality League (P.E.L.) of Victoria and by May 1911 she was serving as President of the provincial P.E.L. By 1912 the organization had 36 local branches. A women’s franchise bill was put forth in the British Columbia Legislature in 1916 but an amendment called for a referendum to see whether the Act would come into Legal force. The women opposed the referendum since only men could vote! On May 15/16, 1916, as president of the P E. L. she appealed to the premier but the bill was defeated. The referendum was held on the date of the election and in a vote of 2-1 women earned the right to vote. However there were allegations of irregularities with respect to votes from service men and these votes were set aside and the referendum was defeated. In April 5, 1917 the New Liberal government gave women the franchise. Source: DCB vol. 16, (2020)

Marie Gérin-Lajoie

née Lacoste. Born October 19, 1867, Montreal, Quebec  Died November 1, 1945. As a youth she read her father’s law books and developed a concern for women’s rights. She combined her religion and family life with reform work bringing together Canadian Francophone women. She worked closely with branches of the national Council of Women of Canada. She would give strong testimony before the Dorion Commission that recommended change to Quebec law. (2020)

Ruth Miriam Goldbloom

née Schwartz. Born December 5, 1923, New Waterford, Nova Scotia. Died August 29, 2012. As a child she loved the customs and history of Cape Breton and enjoyed tap dancing. She attended Mount Allison University and did graduate studies at McGill University in Montreal. She married Richard Goldbloom and the couple had a family of three children. She was a tireless volunteer in Montreal and continued her charity works when the family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was the 1st woman chair of the Halifax United Way and the 1st Jewish chair of the Board of Mount Saint Vincent University. She participated whole heartedly in the creation in 1990 and the acceptance of Pier 21, an national immigration museum. The Women’s Exchange Network designated her one of the 100 most powerful women in Canada. She was presented with the Human Relations Award  from the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, the Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian Award and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012.  Source;” N .S. community leader steered Pier 21 toward museum status. Obituary. Globe and Mail, August 30, 2012. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Dorothy Goldman

Born July 24, 1904, New York City, New York, U.S.A. Died  February 16, 1996, Regina, Saskatchewan.  She married Leon Goldman, a businessman, in 1926 and the couple settled in Saskatchewan. She became a Red Cross volunteer during World War II and continued to serve on the executive for forty-two years. For twenty-three years she was area captain for the United Way. Dorothy’s work in the Jewish community—locally, regionally, and nationally—was honoured by the Hadassah Organization of Canada. She was the 1st  woman to receive the Good Servant Award from the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. She was also president and Life Member of the Women’s Canadian Club of Regina. A patron of the arts, she supported the Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery, Dominion Drama Festival, Regina Little Theatre, Regina Musical Club, Regina Opera Guild, and Regina Symphony Orchestra. She sponsored various scholarships at the University of Regina for the Conservatory of Music, Journalism Program, and English Department. Her many honours included the Rotary Club’s Heritage Award in 1989.   Source: Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan Online (Accessed February 2014)  (2020)

Alix Goolden


Born Alexandria Anne Goolden. 1897, Vancouver British Columbia. Died August 1988.  Alix was the founder and honorary president of the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Music and theatre were driving forces in her life and she was an avid supporter of theatre and of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. In 1977 she was honoured with the Order of Canada for her lifelong support of the arts in her beloved Victoria, British Columbia. The Victoria Conservatory named the 800 seat Alix Goolden Performance Hall (formerly a church sanctuary purchased with the efforts of Alix) in appreciation of her work.  Source: The Canadian Obituary Record 1988 by Robert M. Stamp. (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1989) p. 65. (2020)

Harriett Armine Gosling

née Nutting. Born 1861, Waterloo, Canada East (Now Quebec). Died December 15, 1942, Bermuda. Like many of her era when few professions were open to young women Armine attended Normal School (Teacher’s College). In 1882 she relocated to St. John’s Newfoundland to work as principal at the Church of England Girls School (now Bishop Spencer College. In 1885 she resigned to spend time in Bermuda and Ottawa. It was during this time that Armine met a Bermuda business man William Gilbert Gosling (1863-1888). They married on January 2, 1888, settled in St. John’s and had six children, four of whom lived to adulthood. Armine became involved in the community working with the Society for the Protection of Animals and the Child Welfare Association. In 1904-5 while staying in England she became exposed to the activities of the suffragist movement. In 1908 she founded in her home the Ladies Reading Room (LRR) which originally organized in response to a ban on women attending lectures at an all-male club. Out of this group also came the Current Events Club which was suffragist in spirit. During World War l she served as honorary secretary of the Women’s patriotic Association (WPA) which grew to some 15,000 members. This group would provide a strong base for working towards suffrage in the colony. In 1920 Armine founded and was president of the Women’s Franchise League and later she served as president of the Woman’s Party, a political party that had candidates in the 1925 St. John’s municipal Elections. 1925 was the year that women gained the right to vote and the right to run for political office. In 1927 the Goslings retired to live in Bermuda. (2020)

Rosalie Alma Gower




née Cheeseman. Born October 5, 1931, Calgary, Alberta. Died October 13, 2013, British Columbia. Rosalie studied nursing and earned her nursing certificate in British Columbia. In 1954 she married architect Terry Gower and the couple settled in Vernon, British Columbia. She raised her family while working as a night nurse. She taught her sons how to cook and sew so they could look after themselves and not be dependant on a partner to keep house. She served a year as alderman and her name was put forward at Canadian Radio and Television Commissioner (CRTC). She hired herself a housekeeper to keep up the home. In 1980 she was appointed to the CRTC full time. She was a strong believer in Canadian content in broadcasting and she pushed for gender neutral terminology and recognition. Her husband left Ottawa were the family had relocated for Rosalie to work. It seems he did not like being “Mr. Rosalie Gower” and their marriage ended. In 1992 she retired and moved back to British Columbia. In retirement she pursued world travel, community service and participated in local theatre. Source: “Women’s rights advocate started at home.” By Susan Smith, The Globe and Mail, December 23, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Hilda Gregory

Born August 19, 1936, Liverpool, England. Died November 16, 2014 Vancouver, British Columbia. Hilda immigrated to Canada August 23, 1962 and taught at the Jericho School for the Deaf in Vancouver, British Columbia. Responding to the requests of parents looking for pre-school programs for their hard of hearing and deaf children she founded the Vancouver Oral Care Centre for Deaf Children in 1963. She served as principal of the school for more than three decades. She was committed to her community recognizing the needs of the homeless, she and five other volunteers founded the 127 Society for Housing to meet needs of low income housing in Vancouver. Also under her guidance a community worker program was established to help the Society’s tenants in building which were opened in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Suffering from Kidney problems in the late 90’s did not slow her down and she became an ardent spokesperson for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. In 1990, 1995, and again in 2006 she was the YMCA’s Woman of Distinction. In 1998 she was inducted into the Order of British Columbia and in 1999 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 2002 she was presented with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2012 she was invested in the Order of New Westminster and was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. The teaching techniques developed in her school are now used in similar programs across North America. (2020)

Mary Ellen 'Bellelle' Guerin          3451 Born September 24, 1849, Montreal, Canada East  (now Quebec). Died January 28, 1929, Montreal, Quebec. Bellelle was educated a boarding school where she studied French, music, art, elocution, and cooking.  She is described as an accomplished poet and author of historical works but sadly none of her writings have survived. After the death of her sister-in-law she brought up her brother's two children and when her brother became mayor of Montreal she served as his hostess. In 1911 she published a biography of John Easton Mills, a former mayor of Montreal. She served as president of the Catholic Women's Club in 1917 where she worked to bring together English speaking Catholic Women. She also served as the first president of the local chapter of the Catholic Women's League (C W L). She also worked with the Canadian Red Cross Society, the Canadian Patriotic Fund and edited L'Aide à la France in June 1918 raising funds for soldiers and refugees in France and Belgium. In Jun 1920 she became first national president of the C W L of Canada. She also wrote English lyrics O Canada but her translation did not become accepted as the norm. In 1922 she became the first Canadian woman to receive La Croce pro ecclesia et Pontifice from the Roman Catholic papacy. She became honourary life president of the C W L in 1923. After her death the Montreal branch of the C W L established a scholarship in her honour at Marianopolis College. Source D C B (2021)

May Gutteridge

Born 1917, Gosport, England. Died February 2002, Vancouver, British Columbia. She preferred to be called a parish worker. She had come to Canada in 1955. She and her husband settled 1st in Saskatchewan and moved to British Columbia in 1958.. Here May began her social work  by starting a small Dollar Club. Each member was encouraged to donate $1.00 a month. It was a little idea that was extremely successful! A women's centre would be build where neighborhood women could use tools such as steam irons and sewing machines and even typewriters! For some 40 years May worked her talents lobbying and advocating help for the needy to give them the resources to advance themselves by their own work from the shackles of poverty. Although encourage to take her energies to work in the houses of politics she preferred to keep her work "Hands on". Her efforts on behalf of her community were recognized not only in the bettered lives of the people who used the facilities she pushed to be established but also with the Pioneer Award from Vancouver City, the Silver Eagle Award for her contributions to Aboriginal people and the Order of Canada. In the early 1990s, Vancouver’s first free-standing hospice, a six-bedroom facility in the downtown eastside, was named the May Gutteridge Community Home. It came to be known simply as May’s Place. (2020)

Helena Rose Gutteridge

Born London, England, 1879?*- Died October 3, 1960. Helena immigrated to British Columbia in 1911. A ardent feminist she organized the British Columbia Women's Suffrage League. She had a sincere concern and interest in the lives and well being of working class women and was a proponent of trade unionism. She would be a leading personality of the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council. She was a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F) political party and in March 1937 she became the 1st woman member elected to the Vancouver City Council.  * Her birth is sometimes reported as 1880. (2020)

Florence Sarah Hall née Hussey. Born October 15, 1864, Newland, England. Died October 10, 1917, North Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1898 Florence married  a Methodist Minister, William Lashley Hall, (died 1947) in Vancouver and raised two stepchildren. The family moved often throughout British Columbia as William to jobs at various churches. She would articles of their life for the Western Methodist Reporter. She was a member of the executive of the provincial Women's Christian  Temperance Union  (WCTU). She would attend a WCTU convention in California in 1908. That year the family home in Fernie, British Columbia was completely destroyed by fire . While an new church and home were being built the pair preached from a tent.  In 1912 she wrote an article about the ideal Christian man and woman. Around the same time Florence became interested in supporting votes for women through the WCTU and the British Columbia Political Equality League.  Some of her writings appeared in the League's publication, The Champion. In travelled to establish local Leagues and promoted women's suffrage petitions. By 1913 the family was living in Revelstoke,  and Florence began a column in the Western Methodist Journal on women's suffrage. By 1915 they were in North Vancouver where she served as president of the Women's Missionary Society and the Political Equity League. Despite being ill she continued to write her columns and attend conventions. In pursuit of female equality she also called for ordination of women in the church well ahead of her time.  Source: D C B. (2020)

Jessie Columbia Hall



née Greer. Born 1872, Jack-of-Clubs Creek, British Columbia. Died June 22, 1949. She was the 1st white child born in the Caribou region. In 1893 she married James Z. Hall, Vancouver’s 1st notary public and 1st volunteer soldier. In 1908 the family build Kitslano’s Killarney mansion and entertained the high society circuit. As was want for women of means in this era she gave willingly of her time and support for charity. She was a volunteer with the Children’s Aid Society, the Vancouver Welfare Society, and was very active in the Women’s Auxiliary of Christ Church. She became the first woman to serve on a jury in Vancouver. She was President in 1931 of the Burrard Women’s Conservative Club and worked with the Victoria Order of Nurses. She was also the first Grand Factor of Post no. 1 of the Native Daughters of British Columbia. In 1934 sh4e was honoured with the Vancouver’s Good Citizen Award. Source: The History of Metropolitan Vancouver – Hall of Fame. Online (Accessed June 2009) (2020)

Aldyen Irene Hamber



née Hendry. Born April 16, 1885, New Westminster, British Columbia  Died October 3, 1988. The daughter of one of British Columbia’s prominent families she married Eric W. Hamber in 1912. She served as first lady, wife of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia from May 1, 1936 though 1941. It was though her general donation of one million dollars that the Hamber Foundation was founder to serve the youth and population of the province. She served as governor of the foundation from 1968 to 1971 when she resigned leaving the business of the Foundation to a volunteer Board of Governors. After her death in 1988 numerous charities benefited from her will including the Hamber Foundation. The Foundation is well known for it’s support of various activities including the Aldyen Irene Hamber Special Collection Reading Room is located at the New Vancouver Public Library. Source The Hamber Foundation web site (ACCESSED JUNE 2009)  (2020) 

Hilwie Jomha Hamdon   Born August 10, 1905, Lala, Lebanon. Died December 14, 1988, Edmonton, Alberta. Hilwie married Ali Hamdon and the couple immigrated in 1923 to Canada settling in Alberta. The couple ran a fur trading business in Fort Chipewyan. The couple raised six children together The family moved to Edmonton in 1933 where there were well established schools for the children. By 1971 there were 700 Muslims living in Canada but there was only one mosque in all of North America in Ross, North Dakota, U.S.A. Hilwie  organized support and raised funding to build the first mosque in Canada, the Al-Rashid Mosque opened December 12, 1938.  1938. Hilwie was active and well known in her home community. She raised funds from peoples of various religions to make her dream come true. By 1998 the mosque had been moved and reopened in Edmonton's Historic Village.  In 2016 the City of Edmonton named a public grade school in her honour. Source: Canadian Encyclopedia.

Christine Hamilton

Born 1921, Scotland. Died 1987, Hamilton, Ontario. Christine immigrated to Canada and settled in Hamilton, Ontario after serving thirteen years in the Women’s Royal Army Corps. In 1957 she began work at Hamilton’s Y.W.C.A. as business manager and programmer director for children’s day camps. When the Y.W.C.A. and the City of Hamilton began joint operation of the 1st Senior Citizens’ Centre, Christine was named Director, a post she held until her retirement in 1986. During Christine’s early years at the Senior Citizen’s Centre, the idea for the now famous “Geritol Follies” began. Not only are the follies part of the Hamilton scene but they have performed at centres in the United States and Toronto. Christine was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction in 1987. (2020)

Martha Jane Hample                     3465 née Richards. Born 1859, Shropshire, England. Died December 9, 1927, Long Beach, California, U.S.A. Martha and her father immigrated together to Canada. In 1888 she married Adolph Gideon Hample (1859-1899) and the couple had two children. Martha established a very successful catering and confectionary business that allowed her to eventually built the Hample Building on Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was the first commercial building in the city to be owned by a woman. In 1907 the Knowles Home for Boys for orphaned boys.  In 1911 she build an new home where, as a member of the Political Equity League, she would hold meetings to lobby the Manitoba government for female suffrage along with Nellie McClung (1873-1951), Lillian Baynon Thomas (1874-1961)and Cora Hind (1861-1942). In 1917 she was elected to the Winnipeg School Board as one of the first women to serve.  In 1922 she ran unsuccessfully as a Progressive candidate for a seat in the Manitoba legislature. In 1923 she relocated to Long Beach, California, U.S.A. Source: Memorable Manitobans. online (accessed 2021)

Mae Harman

Born 1921?  Died February 2005. She was the 1st member of her family to graduate from university. Early in her career she began a successful career as supervisor at University Settlement House at the University of Windsor in Ontario. However it is not her career in the work force for which she will be remembered. She came into her own power when she retired and took on the causes of seniors. Being a social activist had its roots in her teens when she had written Prime Minister Mackenzie King about an economic situation. He acknowledged her letter. She renewed her letter writing skills and was the author of numerous submissions on behalf of senior's organizations such as the Canadian Pensioners Concerned. She could be sincere in her demands and could have a sharp edge to her tongue as the occasion demanded. In 2004 the Ontario Society of Senior Citizens Organizations honoured her with the Dan Benedict Award for her continued efforts on behalf of seniors in Canadian society. 

Ella Bertha Marvin Hatheway

née Marvin. Born January 4, 1853, Saint John, New Brunswick. Died 1931, Saint John, New Brunswick. February 19, 1883 Ella married Warren Franklin Hatheway, a grocer and importer and a labour leader in Saint John. The couple had two daughters. In March 1894 Ella was a member of a group of women who belonged to the Women's Christian Temperance Union (W C T U) who formed the local chapter of the Dominion Women's Enfranchise Association (W E A) in Saint John.  Ella would serve as secretary-treasurer and later as corresponding secretary to the new group. She and three other women Emma Sophia Skinner Fiske (1852-1914), Mabel Priscilla Penery, and Clara McGivern repeatedly petitioned the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly for women's suffrage. In 1914 it was Ella who presented the case for women's suffrage to the Trades and Labour Congress when they met in Saint John. The Congress passed a resolution in favour of women's suffrage. The W E A not only fought for women's suffrage it also worked for improvement of labour conditions better heal care and improvement of the lives of children. Ella may have worked on a committee with her husband to establish kindergarten in Saint John. (2020)

Grace Hartman

née Fulcher. Born July 14, 1918, Toronto, Ontario. Died December 18, 1993, Toronto, Ontario. She became a member of the National Union of Public Employees when she served as secretary for the Township of North York, Ontario. She served in several union positions including being elected as President from 1959 through 1967.  In 1965 she chaired the Ontario Federation of Labour's Women's Committee as a prominent feminist and strong supporter for gender pay equity. In 1968 she was appointed to the Advisory Council for the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. She was the 1st woman to hold the top position in a Canadian Union. In 1975 she was elected to the national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (C U P E). In 1985 she earned the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. (2018) 

Margaret Harris   3556

Aboriginal Social Activist
Born March 1, 1931, Northern Manitoba.  Died July 15, 2020, British Columbia. Margaret made it her life calling to share traditional knowledge and wisdom  as a performing arts instructor. Margaret married Chief Kenneth Harris and together they founded the Haw Yaw Hawni Naw Annual Salmon Festival in 1967 in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Their work was recognized with the presentation of the Canada 1967 Centennial Medal. from Queen Elizabeth ll.  It was in Prince Rupert that the owned and operated the LaHaine Arts and Crafts store and studio for ten years From 1973 through 1977 she was instrumental in the revitalization of Coastal dance in the communities of Metlakatla, Alaska and Port Simpson, British Columbia through the First Nations Dance Revival Initiatives. From 1992 through 2015 she worked with the Traditional Mothers Dance Group in Vancouver.  From 1994 to 2003 she worked with the Institute of Indigenous Government in Vancouver, British Columbia. In was in 2003 that she received the Queen Elizabeth 11 Golden Jubilee Medal.  Her work was recognized with the raising of a pole in her honour at the Metlaktla Indian Community Founders Day Celebrations in 2003.  She was instrumental to the Dancers of Damelahamid. Along with her dedication of preserving native heritage Margaret  and Ken raised five children together and Margaret was a foster parent for over 50 Indigenous Children. In 2019 the couple were inducted into the National Dance Collection Danse Hall of Fame. Source: Obituary (accessed 2021) 

Phyllis Haslam

Born May 24, 1913. Died August 23, 1991. Phyllis began competitive swimming in 1931 placing 2nd in a Saskatchewan Provincial Mile Championship. At the 1934 British Empire Games trials, Hamilton, Ontario Phyllis set a new world record for the 100-yard breastroke and also set a British Empire record in the 200 yard breastroke. That same year she graduated with a Bachelor degree in Science from the University of Saskatchewan. At the 1934 British Empire Games themselves, London, England she placed second in the 200 meter event and won gold in the 3 X 100 Yard medley relay event. Phyllis Haslam served as the executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society, Toronto from 1953 until 1978 with her administration seeing considerable growth in the organization. In 1974 she was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. In 1978 she was made an Officer in the Order of Canada. In recognition of a life devoted to the cause of criminal welfare at home and abroad. Elizabeth Fry Toronto sponsors the Phyllis Haslam Residential Program, a residential program providing women who are on parole from provincial or federal prisons with a place to call home. (2020)

Alice Mildred Heap

née Boomhour. Born July 20, 1925. Died March 24, 2012, Toronto, Ontario. After high school Alice attended the United Church Training School, Toronto, before heading to McGill University, Montreal, where she began attending the Anglican Church. She was a member of the Student Christian Movement at University and in 1948 she attended the founding meeting of the Canadian Peace Congress. She would work for Church Peace Mission, the Easter Peace Marches in the 1960’s, and even in 2009 she worked with the White Poppy campaign for Peace. In 1951 she married  Daniel (Dan) Heap (1925-2014) and the couple would have seven children. Dan became an Anglican Priest and was a councilor in Toronto and a New Democratic Member of Parliament from Toronto. Alice practiced all her life what could only be termed radical hospitality with war resisters, civil right activists, farm workers. In 1965 while her husband was with Martin Luther King in the U.S.A. marching for Black civil rights, Alice and the children participated at a sit in support of the March in Toronto. Alice also worked with the Canadian council for Refugees and the Christian Peacemakers Teams. In 2000 she received the Bishop’s Award for Faithful Service at her Holy Trinity Church. Source: Lois M. Wilson I Want to Be in that Number: Cool Saints I Have Known. (Self published, 2014)  ; Obituary from funeral bulletin Online (Accessed May 2014). (2020)

Twyla Elizabeth "Tees" Hendry

Born 1928, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died August 11, 1997, Cambridge, Ontario. Tees, moved to Galt, Ontario in 1954. She was elected president of the Eventide Home Ladies Auxiliary, a Salvation Army home. She enjoyed playing Mrs. Santa Claus for over 30 years at the home. She was elected to the Galt Board of Education in 1964 working at various positions and serving as chair in 1967. She served two terms on the Waterloo County Board of Education 1969-1974 and again in 1981 through 1991 having served as chair in 1984. She served as director of the Canadian School Trustees Association as well as serving at the provincial level. In 1991 she earned the Harry Paikin Award from the Ontario Public School Boards Association. She served as a director of the Ontario Housing Corporation 1973-1980. In the newly formed area of Cambridge she served at the YMCA and at the in 1988 Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Big Sisters Association, Cambridge Fall Fair Board and the Oktoberfest Committee for which she was In 1989 Woman of the Year. In the following year she was Political Woman of the Year in  Kitchener-Waterloo. Source: Hall of Fame, City of Cambridge, Ontario Online Accessed March 2013. (2020)

Catherine G. Hennessey

Born September 1933, Prince Edward Island. Catherine thought of becoming an architect but was advised that it was not a woman’s profession. She attended school and became a dental hygienist working all over the island. In the mid 1960’s she opened an antique shore but was totally dismayed by the number of historic artifacts leaving the province. She entered politics and was elected as a city councilor where she furthered heritage preservation. She created the Prince Edward Heritage Foundation in the early 1970’s and served as the 1st executive director. She became involved and was appointed a board member of Heritage Canada and the Canadian Housing Design Council. In 1988 she received the Lieutenant-Governor Medal from Heritage Canada. On May 31, 2001 she was invested with the Order of Canada.The PEI Museum and Heritage Foundations presents The Catherine G. Hennessey Award, their highest award annually. Source: Herstory 2012: The Canadian Women’s Calendar. Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective, 2011. (2020)

Fran Herman

Music Therapist

née Korson. Born 1927, Cobalt, Ontario. A pioneer of Music Therapy Fran used her work to teach and encourage children and adults with severe disabilities to explore and express themselves through the use of music. In 1955 a doctor, head of the Canadian Medical Association, asked Fran to work with his son who was disabled with muscular dystrophy. She soon worked with groups of people who had been abandoned by schools. She developed programs that incorporated singing, dancing and puppetry to bring children out of their cocoon. She created a wheelchair ballet of Prokofiev’s famous Cinderella. A group called the Wheelchair Players which lasted from 1956-1964 was the first group music therapy project in Canada. In 1964  she and her daughter Eve became involved with a rehabilitation centre and founded and directed Creative Arts Therapy Department. She worked her wonders here until she formally retired in 1992. Her works were written in two books and in 2001, with sponsorship from the Sony Corporation she spearheaded the opening of the Music Therapy Centre in Toronto. She has brought together Music Therapy workers by arranging Canadian conferences and has encouraged the establishment of the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund. In 2016 Fran was presented with the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) by the Governor General of Canada. Source: A Woman’s Agenda 2003: Celebrating Movers and Shakers by Helen Wolfe. Second Story Press, 2002 ; Personal correspondence. (2020)

Marjorie 'Maggie' Hodgson

Aboriginal Activist

A member of the Carrier First Nation she is a residential school survivor. Maggie is a healing and wellness activist, educator and author. She began working in the offices of the Native Council ling Services of Alberta and then became a community developer and paralegal with Moose Jaw Legal Services. She went on to become the C.E.O. of the Nechi Training which is part of the curriculum at dozens of universities around the world, She was a Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada, the department responsible for dealing with the legacy of the residential schools and former residents’ claims for compensation. She is a cofounder of the May 26 National Day of Healing and Reconciliation, which acknowledges the abuse and cultural annihilation suffered at residential schools. She has received countless awards including the United Nations Community Development Award and two honorary doctorates from universities. A tree has been planted in her name in the Peace Park in Israel in honour of the work she has done. In 2005 she was a member of the 100 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize Project. Source: Profiles of Peaceful Women by Sierra Bacquie. (2020)

Adelaide Sophia Hoodless

née Hunter. Born February 27, 1857, St George, Canada West (now Ontario). Died February 26, 1910, Toronto, Ontario. Young Addie  attended the Ladies College at Brantford, Ontario where she med John Hoodless. On September 14, 1881 the couple were married and settled in Hamilton, Ontario. The couple had four children. On August 10, 1889 her youngest son died at 14 months of age from  meningitis. It was a time when dairy practices where questionable and pasteurization was not common leaving milk often tainted and was not refrigerated. Contaminated milk for a baby would have increased. It was after the child's death that Adelaide began to participate in public life his suffering. to help spread knowledge and prevent baby deaths. She served as president of the Hamilton Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and worked to establish domestic science education  She is one of the founder of the Canadian National Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA) in 1895. In 1989 she published a book Public School Domestic Science. February 12, 1897 while speaking at the Farmer's Institute Ladies Night she suggested forming a social group to broaden the knowledge of domestic science and agriculture. A week later a group of 100 women became the 1st branch of the Women's Institute (WI). with Adelaide as honorary president. The Women's Institute would grow into an international organization. With Lady Aberdeen (1857-1939), she helped found the National Council of Women, the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON). In 1902 she approached the wealthy Sir William MacDonald, a tobacco merchant, to fund Domestic Science Programmes in Guelph, Ontario and Quebec at the college level. In 1907 the Women's Institutes for their 10 anniversary commissioned a portrait of Adelaide. The University of Guelph recognizes her contribution to education by hanging her portrait in what was once called MacDonald Institute. Several Ontario schools have been named in her honor. In 1937 a cairn near St George, Ontario is dedicated to her. In 1960 Adelaide was declared a Person of National Significance by the Canadian Historic Sites and Monuments Board. In 1975 the Adelaide Hoodless Rose was developed and in 1993 Canada Post issued the Adelaide Hoodless commemorative postage Stamp. In 2003 to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of MacDonald Institute in Guelph the Hoodless Garden was dedicated beside MacDonald Hall. A large aluminum portrait is mounted on the wall by the garden allowing light to cast a shadow image of Adelaide. The Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead is a National Historic Site. (2020) 

Waneek Horn-Miller

Aboriginal Activist and sport personality

Born November 30, 1975, Montreal, Quebec. Waneek began competitive swimming when she was seven years of and was the winner of numerous competitions and gold medals. She continued in her chosen sport until 1997. At 14 she was involved in the OKA demonstrations at the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory near Montreal. She worked hard to combat the anger that she had arising from this standoff against the Canadian Government who brought in the army to block the demonstrations. In 1989, while in High School I Ottawa, she was introduced to the sport of water polo. In 1999 the Canadian Water Polo team won gold medals. That same year Waneek graduated from Carleton University where she was three times the Female Athlete of the Year and is a member of the Carleton Ravens Hall of Fame. In 2000 she co-captain to the Canadian Women’s Water Polo team at the Sydney, Australia Olympics. In 2001 the team won gold at the FINA World Championships.. Waneek is proud to be a role model for Indigenous girls and takes her role seriously. She has worked part time as a television host with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). In 2017 she was appointed Director of Community Engagement for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (2020)

Nadine Hunt

Born 1926, Kingston, Ontario. Died August 6, 1993, Regina, Saskatchewan. In 1964 Nadine became a widow left to bring up her three children.  Nadine began working as a secretary at the Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan (Now Regina University). Having an interest in union activities Nadine attended the Labour College of Canada and graduated in 1971. She went on to work on the executive of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. In 1978 she was the 1st woman to lead a labour federation in Canada when she was elected president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. She held this post until 1988. She helped establish the Labour Studies Program at the University of Saskatchewan. She has served as a representative at the International Labour Organization where she served on a committee to establish international standards for the treatment of workers with family responsibilities. The University of Saskatchewan has a memorial scholarship named in her honour. Source: Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan (accessed 2020)

Ethel Hurlbatt        3504 Born July 1, 1866, London, England. Died March 22, 1934, Tours, France. Ethel attended Oxford University, England, on scholarship and graduated with honours in modern history, but as the university did not yet grant degrees at this time, she would not receive recognition for her Bachelor and Master's Degrees until 1905 when they were granted from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. She worked as principal of women's residences at University College at Cardiff University in Wales, United Kingdom. She would serve on the executive of the Association for Promoting the Education of Girls in Wales. From 1898 to 1906 she worked at Bedford College, the oldest women's college in England. By 1907 she had sailed to Canada to accept a position of warden of Royal Victoria College, McGill University, Montreal. She was to be a moral and intellectual role model for female students at McGill. She helped female students not accepted for medical studies at McGill to find institutions in England. For the young women studying sciences at McGill she encouraged that they pursue post graduate studies. She served on the Comité France-Amérique de Montreal and was a member of the board of directors of Alliance Française. In 1918 France named her an Officier de d'Instruction Publique for her promotion of the French language at McGill. She was a member of the Monterigioan Club, the Montreal Womens' Canadian Club, where she served a term as president, and the Art Association of Montreal.  She helped found the University Settlement of Montreal in 1910. She was also a strong advocate of women's suffrage. During World War 1 she was responsible for the Woman's War Register in Montreal and received the Cross of Mercy from Serbia for her war efforts. Her health had never been strong and in the mid 1920's she took health leave from McGill. By the end of the decade she spent a year in hospital with her large hospital bill being paid by some ladies of Montreal. She would spend summers in Montreal and winters in England and the continent after retirement. Recognizing her life having been dedicated to the promotion of women's education the McGill Alumnae named their first scholarship in her honour. Source: D B C (2021)

Maisie Amy Hurley

Social activist & newspaper editor

née Campbell-Johnston. Born November 27, 1887, 1888, Swansea, Wales. Died October 3, 1964 North Vancouver, British Columbia.. Maisie moved to Canada with her family when her father was given a mining engineering job. As a young woman Maisie attempted to eloped a minister. She was sent o England to be educated and in 1909 she married J. R. Armitage-Moore but the marriage did not last long. Being Catholic she could not obtain a divorce and live common law with Martin Murphy. While in the U.S.A. would manage a group of boxers who provided entertainment in the lumber camps of the Pacific northwest. It is said that she was taught to ride a horse by the infamous Canadian train robber, Bill Miner. She worked with the union known as the IWW- International Workers of the World. She had a sincere desire to better working conditions for families. She left Washington state and returned to Canada with her family of five children after a dangerous union riot. She met a lawyer Tom Hurley and the couple would marry in 1951 after the death of her 1st husband. Tom was well known for his pro bono (free) work for Aboriginal clients. In 1944 she became the 1st woman associate life member of the Native Brotherhood of British Columbia. Maisie served her husband's legal secretary. In 1946 she founded and edited the 1st native newspaper in Canada called The Native Voice. She was a strong advocate of Native rights and was actually jailed at one point for her support of clients rights. Her second husband Tom Hurley was a lawyer working with the Native community. She also became a noted collector of aboriginal art and artifacts. Her collection is now housed in the North Vancouver Museum and Archives Association. Source: Canadian Encyclopedia (2020)

Maria 'Mary' Nazarena Dolores Ierullo

née Massina. Born 1920, Calabria, Italy. Died July 19, 2005, Ottawa, Ontario. In 1928 she immigrated to Canada with her mother, uncle, and grandmother settling in Ottawa, Ontario. As a young girl Mary always wanted to help people. She married Vincenzo Ierullo when she was 31 and the couple had three children. In the 1950’s she was helping young pregnant woman alone in their new country. She became a friend, and surrogate mother holding their hands at birth. In 1952 she was asked to become the 1st woman interpreter for the local courts. When her husband was no longer able to work because of a series accidents she took up real estate, the 1st woman in Ottawa to pass her realtor’s exams. She is considered the 1st Italian women real estate broker in Canada.  She opened her own business in 1953 helping new Canadians to have their own houses. Most of her agents were women, many of whom spoke other languages. In the 1960’s working with Ottawa Mayor Charlotte Whitton (1896-1975) she fought for independent appraisers who would give home owners a better deal. She was the was the founder of the Independent Realtor’s Association. In February 2003 her work was recognized by the Italian-Canadian Women of the Village, the 1st of two women to receive this annual award. Her story was included in an exhibit on Italian-Canadians by the Canadian Museum of Civilization. (2020) 

Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman

née Rowell. Born January 7, 1904, Toronto, Ontario. Died July 11, 1994, Toronto, Ontario. Daughter of a prominent lawyer, Newton Rowell who among many things had worked on the famous “Persons” case, Mary attended private schools and travelled extensively as a youngster. She graduated in 1925 from the University of Toronto and later attended the London School of Economics. In 1930 she married Henry Rutherford Jackman (1900-1979) a Toronto lawyer and financier. Mary worked to establish the Bond Street Nursery School to serve children in an impoverished area. Active in the Metropolitan United Church, she worked in a WW ll Service unit and numerous women’s groups as well as being co-author of the church history. The couple had four children including Hal Jackman, 25th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and a Nancy Ruth, Member of the Senate of Canada. Mary was a volunteer at the Clark Institute of Psychiatry, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Ontario Society of Artists, and at Victoria college where she served on the Senate, the Board of Regents, the Board of Management and the Art Committee. He youthful love of travel was crowned with a round the world tour in 1954. She retained and active lifestyle with continued interests in her charity work and politics until the end of the 1980’s. In 1988 she was the YWCA Woman of Distinction and she received honorary degrees from Victoria College and the University of Toronto. In 1993 she was nominated of the Order of Canada. Source: Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman (1904-1994) Victoria University Library Special Collections Fonds 29 : Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman 1904 - : The beginnings of a biography. 1st edition 1994. Copy provided by Senator Nancy Ruth. (2020)

Jane Jacobs

née Butzer. Born May 4, 1916, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. . Died April 25, 2006, Toronto, Ontario. Jane's original career was that of a writer and this brought her to New York City, U.S.A. where she met and married architect Robert Hyde Jacobs in 1944. The couple would have three children. Her 1st book: The Death and Life of Great American Cities  appeared in 1961 and recognized the need to rethink urban planning to create health community life. This book would become a basic text book of the future. While she never completed formal education and had no professional training she become the foremost expert in city planning and moral philosophy producing books reflecting one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century. In 1968, not believing the war effort in Vietnam the family emigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto, Ontario. The city would honour her in many ways. In 1997 the conference, Jane Jacobs Ideas, was held in the city. As a citizen of repute she was awarded the Order of Canada. Sources: Obituary by Veronica Horwell The Guardian, April 28, 2006. Online Accessed June 2011. (2020)

Alice Jane Jamieson

née Jukes. Born July 14, 1860, New York City, New York, U.S.A. Died June 4, 1949, Calgary, Alberta. Shortly after her birth the family moved to Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. On March 8 1882, she married Reuben Rupert Jamieson in Springfield, Ohio. The couple would have five children, four of whom survived infancy. They settled 1st in Toronto and the Canadian Pacific Railroad posted Reuben to Smith Falls, Ontario prior to sending him in 1902, as general superintendent of the Western Division of the CPR, to Calgary, Alberta. He became interested in local politics and served as Mayor of Calgary in 1909/10. After his death in 1911 Alice became deeply involved in local women’s groups. She was a founding member of the Calgary Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA), and supported such women’s demands such as the right to vote. In 1914 she was appointed as a judge to juvenile Court, the 1st woman in the British Empire to hold such a position. In December 1916 she became magistrate of the Calgary Women’s Court. In 1917 she won a Supreme Court case which questioned if a woman could serve in the office of Magistrate. This was quite contentious as women were still not considered ‘persons’ at this time. She was the 1st president and the driving force behind the Local Council of Women, as well she was active in the Women’s Musical Club and the General Hospital Auxiliary. The Alice Jamieson Girl’s Academy is the only single gender school in the Calgary School Board. Sources: Kay Sanderson, 200 Remarkable Alberta Women, (Famous 5 Foundation, 1999) online (accessed July 2015). (2020)

Rebecca Jamieson

Aboriginal leader





Born Michigan, U.S.A. as a member of the Eel Clan of Tuscorora People. At the age of two her family relocated to the Six Nations of Grand River Ontario. As a child she was taken from her family to attend school at the Mohawk Institute Residential School where she felt the history of Aboriginals was ignored. She earned a Native Social Counselor Certificate at the University of Toronto and then she earned her teacher's certificate at the Ontario Teachers Education College, Hamilton, Ontario. Still eager to learn she received her bachelor degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario and then a Master's in Education for the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto, in 1976. After graduation she worked as a post secondary student counselor and teacher with Six Nations. In 1993 she helped found the Grand River Polytechnic Institute (now the Six Nations Polytechnic (S N P). In 2007 she was presented with the Order of Ontario. In 2009 she was appointed as CEO and president of SNP. In 2015 she became a Distinguished Fellow of Mohawk College, Hamilton. In 2017 Six National Polytechnic became the 1st Indigenous institution to confer its own accredited degree. It was the world's 1st degree program in Indigenous language.  Rebecca has served on the Board of Governors for several Ontario universities. In 2017 she and SNP hosted the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Indigenous Education with 3,000 attendees. In 2018 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada. (2020) 

Susan Gertrude Jasper

née Robson. Born 1902, Ontario. Died 2000, Deleau District, Manitoba. In 1911 her family moved to Deleau District of Manitoba. In 1922 she married Norman Jasper and the couple raised three children. At 18 she started working as secretary for the United Farmers of Manitoba, a position she held for 19 years. Later she served on the Board of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture where she lobbied governments for legislation to improve quality of rural life. In her home community she founded a school for mentally impaired children. She served on the Hartney Chamber of Commerce and founded the local museum. Many in the area remember her as their music teacher and as organist for local churches. She arranged award winning gardens about her home and served 15 years as district director of the Manitoba Horticulture Society. She was also a director of the International Peace Garden that joins the U.S. – Canadian Border, for 15 years. In 2002 she was inducted into the Manitoba Agriculture Hall of Fame. Source: Herstory : A Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006 (Coteau Books 2005) (2020)

Margaret Fox Jenkins née Townsend. Born August 4, 1843, Neath, Wales, United Kingdom. Died June 6, 1923, Victoria, British Columbia. At 14 Margaret was indentured as a student teacher. After teaching for a year she went to South America to join her fiancé, Mr. Fox (died 1876) where she married in December 1866 in Chile. Margaret taught English in a school she opened. The couple had four children. She married for a second time in 1879 to David Jenkins (died 1904) and became step mother to his children while having three more children. In April 1882 the family sailed to Canada to tale up farming on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. The following year they settled in Victoria on Vancouver Island. Margaret immersed herself in community activities in her Methodist Church, the Women's Conservative Club, the Home Nursing Society, and the ladies auxiliary of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). At he Women's Canadian Club she served as president from 1912 through 1921. She was active in the Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) serving on the executive at the local and provincial levels. In 1897, after women had gained the vote in municipal elections she made a bid to be elected  to  Victoria's School Board and served as a school trustee in 1897, 1898, 1902 through 1919. Special need children were given special classes, domestic science classes were established during her terms. The Margaret Jenkins School was named in her honour in 1914. After her retirement from public duties in 1921 she visited war veterans in hospitals. She died at 80 having embraced the new 20th century role for women. Source: D C B (2020)

Susan 'Sue' Johanson

née Powell. Born March 16, 1930, Toronto, Ontario. Sue is the great niece of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts. Sue studied at the St Boniface Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Shortly after graduating as a nurse she married Ejnor Johanson and the couple had three children. A mother, grandmother and by training a nurse, Sue is extremely concerned about unplanned pregnancies, babies having babies, sexually transmitted disease and kids being used and abused. In 1972 she opened in Don Mills Birth Control Clinic, the 1st such clinic in a high school in North America. She continued her education at the Toronto Institute of Human Relations, the University of Toronto and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, U.S.A. She was soon a popular speaker providing advice on sex at school and university across the country. She had no idea that her forthright talk approach about sex would lead to the “Sunday Night Sex Show” on W television reaching audiences across North America. In 2004 she entered the American market on Oxygen Network with four million viewers. She has also penned three books on sex. Sue retired from television in 2008 but retained a weekly column in the Health Section of the Toronto Star newspaper. She is a member of the Order of Canada as of 2001. In March 2004 the National Post newspaper named her one of Canada’s Most Influential Women. In 2010 she received the Bonham Centre Award from the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies for her contributions to the advancement and education of issues around sexual identification. (2020)

Mary John Sr

Aboriginal Language activist

Born June 15, 1913, Prince George, British Columbia. Died September 30, 2004, Vanderhoof, British Columbia. Mary was a member of the Tachek Clan. She was called Mary John Sr to distinguish between herself and one of her daughter-in-laws. Mary Sr was a leader of the Carrier people of central interior of British Columbia. At the age of eight she was taken from her family to attend residential school 1st at Fort St James and then Lejac Residential School. She married Lazare John and the couple had 12 children. In 1942 Mary Sr helped found her local British Columbia Homemakers Association and she served as the 1st president. She went on to become president of the District Association. In 1950's she worked with Welfare Committee helping to place Aboriginal children into Aboriginal foster homes. In the 1970's she taught the Carrier language, the language of her childhood, in Vanderhoof. She was one of the founders of Yinka Dent Language Institute. In 1978 she became the 1st Aboriginal woman to be Citizen of the Year in Vanderhoof. In the 1980's Mary Sr worked with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in her region on the Aboriginal Advisory Committee. In 1997 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2002 Mary Sr. received the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Award. In 2008 the local Vanderhoof Public Library dedicated the Mary John Collection of Books. (2020) 

Dorothy Charlotte Johnson

née Dodds. Born Clute, Ontario October 5, 1925. Died January 8, 2016, Cochrane, Ontario. Raised on a farm in northern Ontario she would marry Raymond ‘Bud” Johnson and the couple would raise their five children on their farm. During the World War II teacher shortage she taught school on a letter of permit and continued to work in local schools as a supply teacher and in the school library. In winter she often snow shoed to school to light the fire early so the students would come to a warm class.  Later in life she was also elected to the Board of Education for North Eastern Ontario. An active member of her church, she has always enjoyed being a member of the choir, serves as a counselor and worked on writing a constitution for the newly formed Unified Council of her local church. In 1947 Charlotte married 'Bud' Johnson. She has had a long standing interest in the Federated Women’s Institutes enjoying membership and all the activities. In 1982 she received a volunteer award from the Town of Cochrane, Ontario. In 1985 she received the Bicentennial Medal for Community Volunteerism. In 1987 she brought the 90th Anniversary of the WI to North Bay., Ontario. She has also performed administrative positions form local and area president, 1983-1986 president of the Federated Women’s Institute of Ontario and in July 1991 she became president elect of the national Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada. She was responsible for a written presentation to the Associated Country Women of the World for their revised constitution.  She would be one of the women chosen to represent Canada at the world Conference on Women in Beijing, China. November 2, 2006 Charlotte was the recipient of an Honorary Fellowship from Huntington University, Sudbury, Ontario. Sources: Personal interview with Charlotte Johnson; Federation of Women’s Institutes of Ontario Online. (accessed December 2008); Huntington University (Accessed January 2009). Obituary, ; Personal acquaintance. (2020).

Lillie Johnson

Black nurse & Health Advocate

Born 1922, Jamaica. Lillie trained as a nurse in Jamaica and Scotland prior to completing her studies in Toronto, Ontario after immigrating in 1960. She worked at an outlying Red Cross posting before settling to work at the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. She taught courses in Child and Maternal Health at Humber College and also served as a consultant for the Ontario Ministry of Health before becoming Director of Nursing Services at Leeds Granville and Lanark Heal Unit in Eastern Ontario. By 1981 she founded the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario. In 19189 she returned to Jamaica as a volunteer for C U S O International. In 2005 she was successful in realizing the universal newborn screening for sickle cell disease (SCD). In 2009 she received the Bloomberg Award from the Bloomberg School of Nursing at the University of Toronto and the Toronto Public Health Companion Award. In 2010 she  was inducted into the Order of Ontario. SCD affects mainly people of colour from Africa and the Middle East. In September 2014 Lillie was presented with the Legacy Award for her lifelong, extraordinary commitment to advancing the health and well being of the Black community at the Inaugural Black Health Alliance Awards. In 2015 Lillie was honored at the Sickle Cell Advocacy Gala in Ottawa, Ontario. That same year she published her memoir My Dream and was an honoured torch bearer for the Toronto Pan Am Games. She has also received the Viola Desmond Award from Ryerson University, Toronto. (2020)

Pearl Keenan

Aboriginal Elder of Canadian northwest

née Geddes. Born 1920, Near Teslin, Northwest Territories. Died January 29, 2020, Whitehorse, Yukon. Pearl grew up on the family mink ranch near Teslin and taught herself mathematics, English and how to write. In 1947 she married Hugh Keenan (died 1999) and the couple had three children. She has always been involved in serving her community and is involved with helping the youth and helping preserve the environment. In the 1980’s she was a member of the newly formed Yukon Human Rights Commission. In British Columbia she worked as a First Nations counsellor in provincial prisons. She also ran the Nishito Friendship Centre in New Westminster, British Columbia. She has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.A. and at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan. In 2007 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. She continues to work with her community on the Counsel of Yukon First Nations (C Y F N’s) elders advisory council and environmental board, and serves as an elder for Behaviour Health Foundation of St Norbert Manitoba. She also serves as a board member of the Selkirk Healing Centre in Manitoba. In 1986 she received the Commissioner’s Award for the Public Services and that same year she was a Commissioner for the Yukon Pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver, British Columbia. From 1993 through 200 she was chancellor of Yukon College. In 2006 she was inducted into the Order of Canada in recognition of her work to preserve and teach the Tlingit language and culture. (2020)

Virginia K. Copping Norton Kemp

Lady Kemp

née Norton. Born February 22, 1895, Forest City, Arkansas, U.S.A. Died June 26, 1957, Toronto, Ontario. Virginia studied piano in both the U.S.A. and Canada and was considered an accomplished pianist. Her 1st marriage was to Norman Judson Copping  on February 28, 1914 in Arkansas, and the couple had two children. Norman Cooping died in 1921. Her in-laws had both died with the sinking of the ship Lusitania and it was through an organization to remember those who died Virginia met  Sir Albert Edward Kemp (1858-1929) who had lost his grandson on the ship. The couple married on March 3, 1925 and they would have one daughter. She was a true patron of the arts providing the famous Canadian pianist, Glen Gould, with a starting scholarship and served as Benefactor Member of the Toronto Art Gallery. Lady Kemp was a member of the executive committee Canadian Troops in Training  supporting the Canadian Forces throughout World War ll. She was patron of the Canadian Institute for the Blind and was the elected president of the CNIB in 1954 to 1957. She would donate Baker Hall for blind veterans. (2020)

Cathy Kerr

Born 1951(?) Died October 22, 2004. She had a quick mind and by the mid 1970's when she was 23 she was the youngest person to be head of the correspondence section in the Prime Minister's Office. By 1988 she was Director of operations c-ordination for the Winter Olympics in Calgary. While campaign manager for John Manley she was in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. She was confined to a wheel chair but the chair did not confine her spirit, determination nor her energies. She became a tireless worker for the disabled and was a board member of the Disabled Persons Coalition and the Ottawa Rehabilitation Centre. In 2000 she received the Rick Hansen Award in recognition of her efforts. In 2001 it was the United Way Community Builder Award and in 2004 it was the Ottawa Civic Appreciation Award. (2020)

Emily Spencer Kirby née Spencer. Born March 26, 1860, Toronto, Canada West (now Ontario). Died October 3, 1938, Calgary Alberta. Emily was raised in Paris, Canada East by her mother. She taught in Paris after graduating from Toronto Normal School (teacher's college). On October 11, 1888 she married a Methodist minister, Rev. George William Kirby (died 1944). The couple had two children. The family moved to to various towns following George's church postings in Hamilton, St Catharines, Brampton, Montreal and Toronto. By July 1903, after George had been on tour in the U.S.A. the family settled in Calgary, Alberta. Emily wrote lobbing for the ordination of women in the newly formed United Church of Canada founded in 1925. She used several pen names, Constance Lynd, Elizabeth Barclay, Elizabeth Jones, Nell Adaire, Nell Netherby, Western Woman and Zeta. Her writings appeared in the Woman's Century, The New Outlook, The Christian Guardian, and the Calgary Herald newspaper. On October 17, 1907 she organized the 1st meeting of the Calgary Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) which opened in November of that year. She served as the 1st honourary president and was an ardent fundraiser. Emily led the Men's Bible Class at the Mount Royal College and she she and George were joint principals in the 1910's. Emily formed the Mount Royal Educational Club for Women. That same fall she was a founding member of the Local Council of Women where she was elected as vice-president. As convener of the Council's Immigration Committee for ten years she was cautious of foreigners. The Council worked towards higher education for women, birth control, labour reformation, and more issues of the day. Emily was also head of the Votes For Women Committee. Alberta gave women voting rights in April 1916 and Emily worked for National suffrage which came in 1918. During World War l she was active in the Red Cross. In 1921 Emily was elected as vice-president of the National Council of women which was concerned with having women in the Canadian Senate. That same year she and George were founding members of the local Canadian Author's Association. Source: DCB (2020)

Naomi Klein

Born Montreal, Quebec May 8, 1970. The daughter of social activists Bonnie Sherr-Klein and Dr. Michael Klein, Naomi grew up in Montreal. She attended the University of Toronto where she became editor of the University newspaper and went on to intern at the Globe and Mail before working for This Magazine. She married Avi Lewis and, a current affairs show host. They enjoy editing each other’s works. Naomi’s first book No logo: taking aim a the Brand Bullies (1999) appeared in over 25 different languages and had a special 10th anniversary re-publishing. The anti-globalization there garnered attention for the inspiring activist. Her second book the Shock Doctrine , 2007 again appeared in multiple languages and appeared on lists of must read books of the year. Naomi has also written such documents at the Take in 2004 winning the Best Documentary Jury Prize at the American Film Institute Festival in Los Angeles. Her work as a contributing editor and reporter has appeared in Harper’s, Rolling StoneThe Nation, the Guardian, the Washington Post and is syndicated through the New York Times. She has won the James Aronson Award for social Justice Journalism, in 2004. She was the Miliband Fellow as the London School of Economics. Sources: A woman’s agenda 2003: Celebrating movers and Shakers by Helen Wolfe. Second Story Press, 2002; About Naomi Klein Online (accessed June 2011). (2020)

Kathy Knowles

Lay Librarian

Born 1955, Toronto, Ontario. Kathy studied nursing at Queen’s University Kingston, Ontario earning her BSc (Nursing). She worked in various pediatrics hospitals including a year in Moose Factory, in Northern Ontario. She married John Knowles and the couple had four children. In 1989 the family relocated to Accra, Ghana, west Africa, where John worked for a Canadian gold mining company. Kathy loved to read books to her children and she soon found that she accumulated many more eager listeners to her stories told under a tree in her back yard.  Soon she had converted the family garage into a lending library and was lobbying Canadian friends and all who could help to send books. In 1993 the family returned to Canada and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Before she left Ghana Kathy made sure her library would remain open and trained local staff. She founded the O S U Children’s Library Fund, a registered charity in both Canada and Ghana. 8 libraries have been established in the greater Accra area and over 200 more libraries across Africa. Through the Osu Children’s Library Fund Kathy has authored and published almost 30 books of easy learning, stories and tales of Ghana for children. In 2002 Kathy was awarded the Lewis Perinbam Award for International Development, the 1st of many awards she has received for her continued efforts for literacy in Africa. She has been recognized in both Canada and Ghana. She is an honorary fellow of the Ghana Library Association and has received in 2010 the International Board on Books for Young People (I B B Y) the Asahi Reading Promotion Award. In 2013 the American Library Association presented her with the Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects. At home in Winnipeg she was the YWCA Woman of Distinction, has been inducted into the Order of Manitoba and in 2010 she was recognized as one of Canada’s 25 Transformational Canadians. The Governor General of Canada presented her with an Award of Meritorious Service in 2001. In 2013 she received from the Winnipeg YM/WCA Peace Medallion. Perhaps the best award she has received is watching the children read to her when she visits libraries in Africa. Book: Cowley, Deborah. The Library Tree. Sources: Dawson, Joanna and Beverly Tallon. “Helping Heroes: Canadians who made a difference in the world.’ In Canada’s History February- March 2013; Kathy Knowles, Bio Osu Library Fund Online (Accessed September 2014) (2020)

Julia Koschitzky

née Plodlski. Born Cardiff, Wales. The family had fled German in 1939 and left for Canada in 1949 finally settling in Toronto, Ontario in 1956. In 1963 Julia married Businessman Henry Koschitzky. She has always had a strong presence in her community. She began when some of her four children were in school becoming president of the Parents’ Association of the Associated Hebrew Schools in Toronto. In 1985 she chaired the Toronto United Jewish Appeal, Women’s Division Campaign and in 1988-1989 she co-chaired the general Toronto UJA Campaign. She served for eight years as an officer of the U J A Federation of Greater Toronto and then from 1990-1992 as president of the United Israel Appeal/Federations Canada. In 1998 she chaired the Toronto celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Israeli statehood. In 2003 she was chair of the UJA Federation’s Israel Advocacy program and serving on the executive committee of Israel Now. Her work and dedication has garnered her numerous awards including the Woman of Valour Award of Toronto’s UJA Business and Professional Women’s Division in 1990. In 1994 she received the 125 Canadian Confederation Medal. There was also the Jerusalem Award of the Canadian Zionist Federation in 1994 and the Ben Sadowski Award for outstanding dedication to the Toronto, Jewish Community in 1997 which was followed by the Volunteer award of the Province of Ontario in 1999. Source: Jewish Women: A comprehensive historical encyclopedia  Jewish Women’s Archive.  online (Accessed August 2011) (2020)

Rosemarie Ester Kuptana

Inuit Activist

Born during winter seal hunt 1954, Price of Wales Strait, Canada. Rosemarie grew up leaning the traditional role of Inuit women. However she was whisked away to residential school where she was to learn the ways of the 'white man'. She was not allowed to speak her own language for ten years! In 1979 she began working as a radio broadcaster with the CBC Northern Services. In 1983 she was president of Inuit Broadcasting Corporation setting policy and standards. From 1986-1989 she was Vice President of Inuit Circumpolar Conference, an organization addressing common consensus of Inuit in Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia. In 1991 she took over leadership of Tapirisat of Canada in Ottawa. This organization allowed Inuit communities to work together to control their own futures. She was a part of the Canadian Constitutional talks of 1992 in Charlottetown where recognition of Canada’s aboriginal was guaranteed.  Her work garnered her the Confederation Medal. In 1994 she was honoured with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award and in 1999 she was invested as an Officer in the Order of Canada. She is very proud of her family of two sons. Sources: Honour Song: A tribute by Barbara Hagan Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 1996; Native Leaders of Canada Online (Accessed November 2011) (2020)

Anne Lacquette

Born Ebb and Flow, Manitoba. Anne has lived in Mallard, Manitoba for over 50 years and has served as a town counselor, deputy mayor and then as mayor of the town. She has also served on the board of the Parkland Regional Health Authority. as Chair of Northern Association of Community Councils Western Region and a is a member of the Cancer Care Aboriginal Board. She was past Chair of the Provincial Aboriginal Advisory Committee and has served on the Parkland Regional Health Authority Board. She married Norman Lacquette and the couple had Seven children. 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. (2020)

Marguerite Lulu Thibaudeau Lamonthe Born March 6, 1853, Montreal, Quebec. Died ???? On December 9, 1873 she married Joseph Rosaire Lamonthe (1837-1909) a well known businessman. Lulu was a member of the founding committee which met on November 7, 1904 to establish the School of Household Science in Montreal. She was founder and served as president of the Notre Dame Hospital Women's Association and helped raise $50,000.00 for the institution. She also served with the National Council of Women, the Women's Historical Society, and the Parks and Playgrounds Association of Montreal. She was founder of the Ladies Branch of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society. During the first world war she was president of the France-American War Grandmothers. (2020)

Michele Landsberg-Lewis

SEE - Writers - Journalists

Rebecca 'Rivka' Fox Landsberg

Born December 21, 1863, Biebrusk, Russia. Died February 20, 1917, Toronto, Ontario. After her marriage to Abraham Landsberg in 1880 she and her husband immigrated to England where two of their six children were born. In 1894 the family immigrated to Canada settling in Toronto, Ontario. She became involved helping improving living conditions of immigrant European Jews. She was one of the founders in 1899 of the Toronto Hebrew Ladies’ Aid Society which was the 1st formal charitable organization for East European Jewish families. She served as principal inspector for the investigating committee formed in 1903 helping destitute families. She made sure food and fuel was delivered anonymously and she often went door to door asking for funding to which her real estate holding allowed her to contribute personally. In 1909 she helped found the Jewish Day Nursery with the Hebrew Ladies Aid Society as well as establishing an orphanage, the Jewish Children’s Home. She visited the home daily playing wit the children and serving as Vice-president of the organization. Source: D C B (2020)

Gertrude M. Laing

Born February 13, 1905, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England. Died December 18, 2005, Calgary, Alberta. Gertrude graduated from the University of Manitoba with her Bachelor of Arts in 1925. She went on to study French at the Sorbonne in France for two years. On June 16, 1930 she married Stanley Bradshaw Laing and the couple had two sons. Living at first in Winnipeg she  taught at the Riverbend School for Girls for a couple of years. She volunteered locally at the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) where she served as president from 1941 through 1943. When the family relocated to Calgary she was on the Social Planning Council in the city 1957-1959. In 1974 at the United Nations (UN) she served on the Canadian Committee for UNESCO and was a member of the Canadian Delegation UNESCO General Assembly. She served as a member of the Canada Council and was Chair from 1975-1978. She went on to lecture in French at the University of Manitoba from 1945 through 1950. She also served as executive Secretary for the War Services Board and the Central Winnipeg Volunteer Bureau of Winnipeg. In 1963 she was appointed to the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. For her volunteer and service to her national community Gertrude was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1972 and received the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and in 2002 the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal. (2020)

Joy Langan

née Pollard. Born January 23, 1943, Rossland, British Columbia. Died July 20, 2009, Port Moody, British Columbia. Joy dropped out of school in grade ten but she was known to quip that she had a PhD in being a working woman. Her 1st child was put up for adoption but not forgotten and they were reunited years later. In 1966 she had a brief marriage to Gary Langan and the couple had one daughter. When she was bringing up her daughter she worked tirelessly to obtain day care for people working shift work. In 1972 she was the 1st woman journeyman printer at a company called Pacific Press. They felt they had to hire the person who had obtained the highest results in their mechanical aptitude testing. In 1979 she met a fellow printer Doug Schop who became her life partner. She worked with labour organizations and became the 1st woman Vice-President of the British Columbia Federation of Labour. From this position she continued to battle for equal rights for women. In 1988 she ran successfully for the New Democratic Party and became a Member of the Canadian Parliament. She continued her hard working feminist tendencies and introduced a private members bill to ban the sale of the dangerous silicone breast implants. After she left parliament in 1993 she worked for the Communications, Energy and Pipe workers Union. In 1999 she was arrested when she laid down under the tires of a truck during a legal strike. In 2008 she retired from her union job only to become  a working President of the British Columbia Federation of Retired Union Members. Here she took on the role as advocate for seniors rights. Source: “Activist liked to say she had a PhD in being a working woman” by Noreen Shanahan, The Globe and Mail, August 17, 2009. (2020)

Jeannette Vivian Lavell

Aboriginal Activist

née Corbiere. Born June 21, 1942, Wikwemikong First Nation, Ontario. Growing up she learned English from her mother and Ojibwe from her father. She attended business college in North Bay, Ontario and worked for the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. In 1965 she was named Indian Princess of Canada. Since in  1970 she married a non-Indigenous mane, David Lavell she was no longer considered to be an 'Indian' according to the Canadian Indian Act. Jeannette went on to become a person dedicated to the causes of native women for more than a quarter of a century. This courageous women fought to improve their plight and proved that one person's voice can make a difference. In 1971 she challenged the Indian Act  and her failure fueled her energies to a 1974 successful challenge which permitted reinstatement of First Nations women and children to regain their 'Indian' status.  She served as president of the Native Women's Association of Canada and founded the Ontario Native Women's Association. She also served as a cabinet appointee for the Commission on the Native Justice System and was president of Anduhyaun Inc a residence for Native women in Toronto. She earned a teaching degree from the University of Western Ontario, London and worked as as a teacher and school principal, living on Manitoulin Island, Ontario  In 2009 to 2012 she became president of the Native Women's Association of Canada. In 2009 she received the Governor General's Person's Case Award. In 2012 she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2018 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. (2020)

Emma Lazenby-Spencer SEE - Miscellaneous  (2021)

Gertrude 'Trudi' Le Caine

née Janowski. Born 1911, Passau, Bavaria. Died September 5, 1999, Ottawa, Ontario. Trudi moved as a youth to Berlin, Germany to live with her father. They would relocated to Spain after the Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 they fled to France she Trudi studied and the Sorbonne, Paris. By 1942 she had settled in Ottawa Ontario. It was here in 1946 tha she helped establish the Ottawa Children's Concerts. She became involved with Le Groupe de la Place Royale, Opera Lyra and the Council for the Arts in Ottawa. She was well known in the community and when she suggested to the National Capital Commission to use the Rideau Canal as a public skating rink they took her idea up and ran with it. The Rideau Canal is considered the longest skating rink in the world and brings thousands of tourists to Ottawa each year. Trudi has bee presented with the Lescarbot Award, the Victor Tolgesy Arts Award and in 1991 she was appointed as Member of the Order of Canada. (2020) 

Mary Jo Leddy

Born February 1 1946. Mary Jo earned her doctorate in philosophy from the University of Toronto. She has served as a Board member of PEN Canada. In 1987 she received the Human Relations Award from the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. In 1993 she was presented with an Ontario Citizenship Award. In 1996 she was named as a Member of the Order of Canada. After 30 years being a member of the Roman Catholic Sister of Our Lady of Sion she left the congregation in 1994. She is the founder of Romero House  a shelter for refugees established in 1991.  She spends the summer taking refugees on a discovery adventure to Manitoulin Island. Her latest book Why Are We Here is a meditation on Canada where we need, as Canadians, to see Canada Constantly becoming something new. (2020) 

Janet Chisholm Lee

Born January 4, 1862, Woodstock, Upper Canada. (now Ontario). Died August 24, 1940, Stoney Creek, Ontario. Like many women of her era, Janet attended Normal School (Teachers College) and earned a Kindergarten certificate in 1887. She would create the 1st kindergarten program in the City of Hamilton, Ontario. She married Erland Lee (1864-1929) farmer, teacher and civil servant, The couple would have five children. She worked with Adelaide Hoodless (1858-1910) to found the Women’s Institutes which would offer programs to rural women. On February 25, 1893 Janet is credited with writing the original Woman’s Institute constitution on her dining room table. In 1987, a primary school in Stoney Creek was named in her honour. The Lee family home, Edgemont, was taken over by the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada in 1970 and in 1972 was opened as the Erland Lee Museum. (2020)

Kathleen 'Kay' Livingstone

Black activist for women

Born October 13, 1919, London, Ontario. Died July 25, 1975, Toronto, Ontario. Kay studied music at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Ontario and the Ottawa College of Music. During World War ll she worked for the Canadian government at the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Ottawa, Ontario. In 1942 she married George Livingstone and the couple had 5 children.  While in Ottawa she became host of her own radio program, The Kay Livingstone Show. Moving to Toronto she hosted radio shows for various radio stations. In 1951 she joined the Dilentantes, soon renamed as the Canadian Negro Women’s Club (now Canadian Negro Women’s Association). She served as the groups 1st president from 1951-1953. The group is the force behind the Calypso Carnival which developed into the famous Caribana. She enjoyed acting as an amateur and professional stage productions and television series becoming known as one of Canada’s leading Black actresses. She served as president of the United Nations Association in Canada and as regional chair of the National Black Coalition. She was moderator for Heritage Ontario and served as a member of the Appeal Board of Legal Aid. She is credited with being the 1st person to use the term ‘Visible Minority’. After her death the Kay Livingstone Visible Minority Women’s Society was formed. The Kay Livingstone Award is presented to Black women I Canada encouraging them to improve lives of women of colour. In 2011 she became a Person of National Historic Significance. In 2017 a national historic plaque was erected near her home in Toronto. In February 2018 Canada Post issued a stamp with her image to honour Black History Month. (2020)

Gwen Lord

Pioneer Black activist



Born Montreal. Completing high school Gwen began working in the garment industry in Montreal to earn money to continue her education. The garment industry was one of the few places a Black citizen could easily find a job. Her brother who had been originally offered a scholarship at McGill  only to have it taken back and given to another white athlete was attending an American university made sure Gwen became registered at university. After graduating with a Bachelor in Science on the Dean's List and with a science prize Gwen was set back when she applied to become a teacher. The Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal in 1961 informed Gwen during an interview that she had to have a teaching certificate. Gwen knew that the P S B G M had previously hired teachers right after their high school graduation. She attended Macdonald College and earned her teaching certificate but she and other Black applicants were not hired by the P S B G M. The class protested and Gwen was finally hired. In 1977 she became the 1st Black Principal of a school in the P S B G M (now the English Montreal School Board. Gwen went on to become a senior board administrator. The bitter pill of refusal on her 1st application sill stings her. She was a true role model and trail blazer. She would also serve as President of the Black Community Resource Centre in Montreal. (2020) 

Jean Bessie Lumb

née Wong. Born 1919, Nanaimo, British Columbia. Died July 18, 2002, Toronto, Ontario. The daughter of a Chinese coal miner, Jean grew up not understanding why Chinese people and women in general were not accepted! At 16 in 1935 she moved to Toronto to work for her sister. The next year she opened a fruit store which gave he funds to bring the rest of her family to Toronto. In April 1939 she married. Doyle Jennings Lumb. She and her husband raised 6 children while working in their Toronto fruit store. In 1959 they opened the Kwong Chow Restaurant. Jean became a community lobbyist in order to effect changes in immigration. From 1923 until 1947 federal regulations kept families in China from joining their husbands and fathers who were in Canada. In 1940 she was president of the Women’s Association in the Chinese Community where she lobbied to changes to reunite Chinese families in Canada. In 1957 when Ellen Fairclough was Minister of Immigration, Jean was a force behind sending a group to Ottawa to fight for family re-unification for immigrants. She was also a central force in the preservation of Toronto Chinatown. In the 1960’s she headed the “Save Chinatown Committee which was formed to save the area from developers. She formed and worked with the Chinese Dance troop with her work recognized when she was presented to Queen Elizabeth. In 1976 she became the 1st Chinese Canadian to become a member of the Order of Canada. Source: Chinese Canadians: Voices from a community by Evelyn Huong with Lawrence Jeffery. (Vancouver: Douglas McIntyre (2020)

Roberta Catherine MacAdams

Born July 21, 1880, Sarnia, Ontario. Died December 16, 1959, Calgary, Alberta. Roberta was a graduate from Macdonald Institute of the Ontario Agricultural College, Guelph, Ontario (Now University of Guelph.. In 1912 she was hired by the Alberta Government to offer “institute” courses for rural women across the province. As well the Alberta Department of Agriculture had her conduct a survey to determine the viability of a provincial Women’s Institute. Roberta was what was called a new woman participating in society out of the home in non-traditional ways through education, employment and civic engagement. In 1914-1916 she worked for the Edmonton Public School Board creating the 1st Department of Domestic Economy (Home economics) in Alberta. In 1916 she left her job to serve as a lieutenant during World War l. She served as a dietitian in the Canadian Military Hospital in Orpington, England. In 1917 the Alberta Military Representation Act allowed the 38,000 Alberta soldiers and 75 nurses overseas to elect 2 representative to the Provincial legislature. On September 17, 1917 Robert Pearson and Roberta MacAdams were elected. Roberta was the second woman in the Empire after fellow Albertan Louise McKinney to be elected to office. In 1918 she became the 1st woman in the British Empire to introduce legislation when she brought forward a bill to incorporate the War Veterans Next of Kin Association Bill. After the 1st legislative session she was back in Britain with the Khaki University which provided women’s staff for continuing education for overseas Canadian forces. Back in Alberta in 1919 she served as district Director of the Soldiers Land Settlement Board. After this position Roberts married lawyer Harvey Price and was less prominent in the public eye. Source: Our Future, Our Heritage. The Alberta Heritage Digitization Project. Online (Accessed May 2014) ; Roberta MacAdams and the New Woman. Alberta’s Women’s Institute. Online (Accessed May 2014). (2020)

Margaret MacGee         3555 née Born December 30, 1930, Brampton, Ontario. Died April 12, 2018, London, Ontario. By 1949 Margaret was working for the Bell Telephone Company. In 1954 she med her husband John MacGee and in 1961 she became a fulltime homemaker. The couple had one daughter. Margaret was an active member of her home community. she was the founder of the Ontario Block Parent Association and served as president of the london area Council of Women from 1979-1982.  For the next two years she was the editor and president of the provincial Council of Women becoming national president in 1992. For her services she received the Therese Casgrain Volunteer Medal for social commitment. (2021)

Heather B.S. MacGregor

née Reynolds. Born June 6, 1921, Pietermarlizberg, South Africa. Died January 5, 2013, Cobourg, Ontario. While still a child Heather moved with her family to England where she trained as a classical ballet dancer and teacher. During World War ll she was chosen to be an officer in the Royal Air Force, one of the few women officers, and was posted in Palestine. In Cairo in 1944 she married Canadian Flight Leader Winston Walker (died 1958) and came to Canada as a War Bride. She taught and danced in Edmonton meeting many dancers and pioneers in the Canadian Ballet ensemble. In 1963 she married Colin MacGregor (died 1987) and the couple lived in various cities before settling in Cobourg, Ontario. She was active in her Anglican Church and was a committed volunteer, being president of the Toronto Hospital Auxiliary from 1997-1999. Source: Obituary, Globe and Mail January 19, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Anne Elizabeth Macdonald

Born March 18, 1930, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died July 10, 1993, North Vancouver. Anne established North Vancouver's Presentation House Arts Centre. She worked to save the historic Church of St. John the Evangelist with the building becoming a recital hall renamed in her honour the Anne Macdonald Hall in 1977. She founded the Arts and Crafts Fair as well as the North Vancouver Community Arts Council. As the council’s first executive director of she established the Assembly of B.C. Arts Councils. In addition she sat on many boards and commissions including University of British Columbia's senate, North Vancouver School District and Canadian Conference of the Arts. In 1990 she received YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Community Service. She was also inducted as a Member of  Order of British Columbia. Source: The Vancouver Hall of Fame online (Accessed November 2012) (2020)

Annie Caroline Macdonald

Born Wingham, Ontario October 15, 1874. Died July 17, 1931, London, Ontario. Annie graduated in mathematics from the University of Toronto in 1901. She would turn to on of the opening professions for respectable young ladies of the day. She became one of the first professional secretaries of the Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA). By 1904 she was on her way to Japan to establish the YWCA in that country. She became immersed in her new job and new home. She became fluent in the Japanese language and became a staunch advocate of penal reform in Japan. Among other things she established a settlement house in the city of Tokyo to provide support services for families of prison inmates, ex-prisoners and juvenile delinquents (dare we call it Macdonald House?) In 1924 her social work was recognized by the Emperor of Japan. In 1925 she returned to Canada and was the first woman to receive an LLD (Doctor of Law) from the University of Toronto. (2020)

Elizabeth 'Dibbie' Lee Macdonald

née Owen. Born May 11, 1835, Cardigan River, Prince Edward Island. Died July 12, 1901, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Elizabeth's family was a well established family on the Island. The family moved to Charlottetown in 1842 when her father was appointed to the position of Postmaster General. On November 25, 1863, she set the social society buzzing when she married a Catholic shipping magnate, Andrew Archibald Macdonald. While she remained loyal to her Anglican roots her four sons were brought up as Catholics. Her husband became well situated after their marriage and as a politician was the youngest among the Fathers of Confederation who attended both the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences. Dibbie, as she was known to family and friends, was active in working for her church and served as president of the Sewing Society of St Peter’s Cathedral where she organized fundraising events. In 1884 she became the 1st lady of PEI when her husband served as Lieutenant Governor. In 1891 she was appointed to the senate. Using only her initials E. L. M. was the manner of women authors of the day, she wrote of local history. This was a popular topic for magazines and papers from 1867 through 1920. From October 1900 through June 190 she wrote a nine part series entitled Charlottetown Fifty years Ago in the Prince Edward Island Magazine. Her articles included much of her memories and emphasized women’s contributions to the making of the provincial society. She died suddenly from complications with Diabetes. Sources: DCB  (accessed June 30, 2015); Carolyn Harris, Elizabeth Lee Macdonald. Canadian Encyclopedia online (accessed June 2015) (2020)

Jennie Phelan Hutchinson MacMichael née Hutchinson. Born ???? Died December 14, 1902, Saint John, New Brunswick. Jennie married Charles Edward Hill MacMichael on June 20,1878 in Saint John. She was a driving force working with the New Brunswick Order of the King's Daughters serving as the 1st president in 1881. The group established a Guild to teach girls domestic science, typing and dressmaking. They were soon also helping immigrant girls. Jennie oversaw the purchase of their new 3 storey headquarters building in 1899. Jennie was a founding member of the provincial branch of the Dominion Women's Enfranchise association in 1894. This was the 1st and only provincial organization devoted to gaining voting rights for women. The group pursued petitions which they sent to the New Brunswick Legislature and succeeded in having women the right to be elected as local school board trustees. Jennie was also acive in the local Womens Christian temperance Union (WCTU) as well as supporting the women's groups in Methodist Church such as the Womens Missionary Society. Source: DCB (2020)
Mary Ellen Macnab née Braden. Born December 14, 1854, Middle Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia. Died December 15, 1939, Halifax, Nova Scotia. In July 1870 this farmer's daughter had her firs-class teaching certificate. She taught for eight years before leaving her career to Mary William Macnab June 25, 1878. becoming step mother to her two children. The family would grow to have four more children. The family lived in Halifax where Mary became an active member of the Presbyterian Womens Missionary Society. She became editor of the society's maritime magazine, The Message, in 1907 and held this post for 30 years. She was also the long serving president of the Young Womens Christian Association (YMCA), secretary-treasurer  of the Ladies Musical Club of Halifax, and a member of the local Womens Christian Temperance Union  (WCTU), and the local Council of Women. She worked to promote playgrounds for children and to have women added to the municipal police force. During World War l she opened her home to servicemen. She would be a co-founder of the Nova Scotia Equal Franchise League in 1917 where she served as corresponding secretary. She was a staunch activist against the union that formed the United Church of Canada in 1925 and maintained her membership ia a separate Presbyterian church in Canada. With all her activism she also found time to write poetry which was published in the newspapers and magazines of the day. She was a founding member of the Nova Scotia Branch of the Canadian Authors Association. Source: DCB (2020)

Isabel Janet Macneill / MacNeill

Born June 4, 1908, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Died August 18,1990, Mill Village, Nova Scotia. Isabel attended Halifax Ladies College, Mount Saint Vincent Academy followed by attending the Nova Scotia College of Art and graduating in 1928. She wanted a career in scenic design but soon found herself working as a counselor. In 1942 she joined the Wrens and in March 1943 she was promoted to 1st Officer. Two months later in June 1943 she became commanding officer of HMCS Conestoga,  the 1st woman in the British Commonwealth to hold a command. In June1944 she was awarded the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her training Canadian Wrens. In April 1945 she was promoted to the rank of Commander. After World War 11 in 1946 she was employed by the Ontario Government as Director of Special Services for Wayward Girls and she headed the Training School for Delinquents in Coburg and then in Galt. She believed that the girls should achieve self confidence to re-enter successfully life in society. In 1954 she returned to duty in the Canadian Navy to help establish a small permanent force of Wrens. She retired from the Canadian Navy in June. In 1960 she became the 1st woman prison warden when she was appointed to head the Prison for Women (P4W), Kingston, Ontario. Here, as she had done for the Girls Training School she encouraged development of the women to encourage change. When her beliefs became contrary to prison regulations in 1966 she resigned her post. She became a life member of the Elizabeth Fry Society and continued to promote prison reform. . She was also a charter member of Veterans Against Nuclear Arms. She was a recipient of the Queen’s Coronation Medal in 1953 and in 1971 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. Source: Herstory 2006: The Canadian Women’s Calendar. Coteau Books, 2005) ; Macneill, Isabel 1908-1990. Fonds. Memory Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Public Archives. Online (Accessed October 2014) (2020)

Adaline Augusta 'Ada' Marean-Hughes

née Marean. Born January 9, 1848, Broome County, New York, U.S.A.  Died December 24, 1929, Toronto, Ontario. Ada operated a private kindergarten in St John New Brunswick and in Toronto, Ontario in 1878. In the 1880’s she was hired by the Toronto Board of Education to teach in its 1st kindergarten at Louisa Street School. In 1885 she married James Laughlin Hughes (1847-1935) the Chief Inspector of Education in Toronto. While she continued on as director of kindergartens for several years she no longer received a salary for her work. Together she and her husband and together they became the most important exponents of the idea of kindergarten education. In the later 1880’s the spearheaded the formation of a provincial kindergarten association and Ada was accepted as a member of the organization in the Ontario Educational Association (OEA) in 1890. Ada became the 1st woman president of the OEA in 1900. She was later president of the International Kindergarten Union in the United States. The couple was paramount in the establishment of the international kindergarten movement and the Association for Childhood Education International. Ada served as the sixth president of the association from 1906-1908. In 1885 the Ontario provincial government accepted kindergarten as part of the public school system. Newspapers sided against the couple pleading that this was an interruption to family life. The school Board wanted families who participated to pay for supplies used. In 1892 three women were elected as Board of Education members and the idea of fees was overrun. By 1893 there were 66 kindergartens in the province teaching 6,375 children. Ada was also active the suffragette movement and in the Toronto Local Council of Women where she helped organize the Education Committee. (2020)

Maria Marrelli

née Di Grandis. Born May 18, 1915Montreal, Quebec. Died June 21, 2012, Montreal, Quebec. As a teen Maria saw a need and created a charity, Loggia Elisabetta Di Silvestro, to help young Italian women who were on welfare.  She married Guiseppe Marrelli in 1936 and learned that she cold no have her own bank account legally in Quebec. Thus began  her desire to work even harder for women’s rights. She was in the front lines fighting for the right to vote that came to Quebec in 1944. She also worked tirelessly for the Italian community. She was principal of Patromato ItaloCanadese Algi Immigrah, a private school that taught Italian as a language on Saturdays. She wrote a column for The Suburban in Montreal and in 1972 she was the only woman founding member of the Quebec Congress Italian Canadians that safe guarded the interest of the Italian Community. From 1977 -1981 she served as a Canadian Citizenship judge. She received Italy’s Order of Merit and a medal from the National Congress of Italian Canadians for her efforts. Source: Obituaries by Alan Hustak, The Globe and Mail June 26, 2012. Suggested by June Coxon, Ottawa Ontario. (2020)

Elizabeth "Betsy"  Carroll Martin


Born March 14, 1959, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. Died June 4, 2013, Ottawa, Ontario. Betsey worked for CitiCorp Mortgage Corporation but was much more interested in the company charity activities. In 1992 she became director of Public Affairs for Saint. Louis University, Missouri, U.S.A. She earned her master’s degree from the Kennedy School at Harvard University. On August 5, 1995 she married Canadian businessman, Corey Copeland, and the couple settled in Ottawa. They had one daughter. She joined the Community Foundations of Canada as Director of Programs, happy to once again to be involved in charity work. In 1999 she launched a campaign to celebrate the new millennium that engaged more than 6 million Canadians in giving gifts to their communities. Her work garnered her the Innovations Award from the CDC. Source: Obituary by Nora Ryell, the Globe and Mail, July 22, 2013. (2020)

Laura Blanche McCain

née Perley. Born October 3, 1891, Maugerville, New Brunswick. Died March 11, 1982, Florenceville, New Brunswick. In 1909 Laura earned her education certificate and taught in Alberta for a few years before moving back to New Brunswick. In 1914 she took a one year course for teaching household science at Mount Allison Ladies College, Sackville, New Brunswick. In 1915 School Board Chairman Andrew D. McCain hired Laura to teach household sciences. Andrew Davis McCain married  Laura Blanche Perley, October 2, 1918 at St. Anne’s Anglican Church, Fredericton. The couple had six children. She was instrumental in organizing and establishing some 20 local Women’s Institutes in New Brunswick. During World War ll the Women’s Institutes in New Brunswick put together a Victory Cook Book. Although Laura’s name does not appear as a contributor it was widely known that she was the organizer behind the book. The 1st edition of the book earned $40,000.00 which was used to purchase two ambulances for the Canadian forces. After the death of her husband in 1953 she took over as manager and president of the McCain Produce business. On December 6, 1974 she was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada. Source with sincere thanks to the Andrew and Laura McCain Public Library, New Brunswick. (2020)

Ellen Signe McLean Born 1926. Died 2012. Ellen served on the Canadian Council of Rural Development, the Canadian Centenary Council and the Canadian Citizenship. A life long supporter of the Women's Institute she served as President of the Women's Institute of Nova Scotia and President of the Associated Country Women of the World. In 1966 she received the Bank of Montreal Farm Leadership Award. She was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1967. She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1980 and was the 1st recipient of the Hunter Hoodless woman of the Year Award. She is also inducted into the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame. In 2002 she was presented with the Queen's Jubilee Medal. (2020)

Margaret L. McLeod

Died June 19, 1993. Marg was a volunteer teacher for the Ontario Crippled Children's Centre, Toronto, Ontario (Now the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital). She visited England to see Cheshire Homes which provided housing for adults with disabilities. The trip inspired her to found in 1970 the Cheshire Homes in Canada which provided housing for people with disabilities. The 1st Canadian Cheshire Home opened in 1972 and was called McLeod House in her honour. her. She also founded the Clarendon Foundation. She was also a co-founder of the Ontario Federation for the Physically Handicapped. In 1978 she earned the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship. In 1979 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. In 1983 she entered the Hall of Fame of the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons. In 1993 she was inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame. (2020) 

Anne 'Annie' Elizabeth McClung

née Meharry. Born April 3, 1849, Durham, Ontario. Died ???  Annie married a Methodist minister, James Adam McClung (1837-1916?) in 1870. The couple had six children. Annie herself was an active member of her local Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and while in Manitou, Manitoba she shared her views with her daughter-in-law, Nellie McClung(1873-1951). She also saw Nellie’s talent for the written word and encouraged Nellie to enter a magazine writing contest. Annie took over doing things like the laundry and sewing, things she called frivolous so that Nellie could have time to write. When Nellie published her 1st book, Annie made sure Nellie was a guest speaker at events so that the book could be promoted and helped take care of Nellie's children giving Nellie time to write. (2020)

Nellie Helen Letitia McClung née Mooney. Born October 20, 1873 Chatsworth, Ontario. Died September 1, 1951, Victoria, British Columbia. At 16 Nellie attended Normal School (teacher’s college) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. While teaching, she was introduced to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) by her future mother-in-law. Marrying Wes McClung in 1896 they raised five children. As an accomplished writer, she joined the Canadian Women’s Press Club. In 1912, a founding member of the Political Equity League, she helped female wage earners. She imitated Manitoba Provincial Premier Roblin in the 1914 “Women’s Parliament” mocking the idea of giving votes to men! She was the only woman delegate at the Canadian War Conference of 1918 and was a Methodist delegate to the world ecumenical Congress of 1921, where she advocated women as clergy. She represented her ideas as a member of Alberta’s legislature 1921-1925 and in 1927 she was one of the “Famous Five”, who forced the courts to recognize women as “Persons” in 1929. The 1st woman to be appointed to the Board of Directors, Canadian Broadcasting Network in 1936 she was also a Canadian representative to the League of Nations, 1938. A popular author, she wrote newspaper and magazine articles, columns, short stories and published 16 books and 2 autobiographies. In 1954 Nellie was named as a Person of National Historic Significance. In October 2009, the Senate of Canada voted to name Nellie McClung and the rest of the Famous Five Canada's 1st 'honorary senators'. (2020)

Anne Jean McWilliam McDonald

née Beleaney Born 1877, Waterside, Ayrshire, Scotland.  Died  August 15, 1969, Calgary, Alberta. By the time Jean was 11 she was an orphan working as a domestic servant and a milkmaid. She married William McWilliams and although the couple had five children only tow lived to adulthood. The family immigrated to originally to Ontario, Canada to work on a farm  but soon William headed to Alberta. In 1907 while traveling with the children to Alberta by train Jean was sexually assaulted by a railway sleeping car attendant. . Arriving in Alberta, Jean became good friends with the head of the Red Cross Mary Wagoner in Calgary, and strongly encouraged the Red Cross to place matrons aboard trains for accompanying female immigrants for keeping them safe en-route. In order to gain a better education for her children Jean left the family farm with the children and settled in Calgary. She worked as a domestic servant to support her family. She went on to become Calgary’s 1st police matron for female prisoners. By 1912 she had purchased her own home taking in boarders to help with finances. She took in destitute single women who needed help. She was a staunch supporter of women’s rights. She was a suffragette who wanted to make sure women would have the right to vote in elections. She worked with other women in the province including the members of the “Famous Five”, Nellie McClung (1873-19510, Irene Parlby (1868-1965), Emily Murphy (1868-1933), Henrietta Muir Edwards (1849-1931) and Louise McKinney (1868-1931). Her husband, During World War One Jean and started the Next of Kin organization for petitioning the Canadian Government to grant more money for soldiers wives while their husbands were away fighting in France.  Her husband, William was shrapneled at Vimy Ridge Easter Monday 1917.  After returning to Alberta he again fell ill and returned to Scotland and died. Jean later remarried Andrew William ‘Mac’ MacDonald during 1936. Family was important to Jean and she in her latter years raised one of her  granddaughters (Jean McWilliam/Fraser) who had been very badly treated and emotionally abused by her stepmother. Jean McWilliam MacDonald was Child Welfare Convener in Calgary for 35 years and enjoyed a large turnout at Palliser Hotel 1952 acknowledging her contributions to Calgary's Society.  She was later referred to by journalists as being the champion of the Underdog and ultimately the Voice of Calgary's Conscience.  Source: Family member (2020)

Jessie Turnbull McEwen

Born December 1845, Montreal?, Quebec. Died June 1, 1920, Brandon, Manitoba. After attending college Jessie toured Ontario under the aegis of Egerton Ryerson, superintendent of education, lecturing on the need for daughters to be educated. Married April 30, 1868 to Donald McEwan. The couple settled 1st in Toronto and then Montreal and once again in Toronto. The couple had four children.   Jessie became involved in 1877 in the Toronto Woman’s Literary Club which in 1883 became the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association with Jessie as President. She was also secretary and trustee of the committee which organized the Woman’s Medical College in 1883 and was among the group instrumental in obtaining entrance for women into the University of Toronto that same year. In 1884 the family relocated to Manitoba. They named their mansion in Elton Tullichewen. In 1895 after a visit with Lady Aberdeen Jessie became president the local Council of Women, a position she held till 1916 and she was National vice-president in 1900. She was also president of the local Aberdeen Association bringing classes in domestic sciences to the Brandon schools. She furnished and equipped a ward in the Brandon General Hospital and was instrumental in establishing and financially supporting the Shoal Lake Hospital.  In 1900 she organized the 1st active branch of the Red Cross Society in Manitoba and in 1907 she led the formation of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). An active Presbyterian she was a founder in 1886 of the auxiliary of the Women’s Foreign Mission Society in Brandon and  its 1st regional organization of the society in Western Canada. Source: DCB. (2020)

Lillian McGregor

Aboriginal Nurse and Activist

Born 1924 Birch Island (Whitefish River First Nations), Ontario. Died Newmarket, Ontario April 20, 2012. Lillian and her cousin Florence were the 1st native children to graduate grade eight on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. She moved to Toronto at 15 to avoid a possible arranged marriage. She became a nanny with the condition from her employer that she continue her education. She finished high school and attended nursing college. During WW ll she worked at a munitions plant in eastern Toronto and packed parachutes. In 1949 she worked for the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) and at a west end nursing home until her retirement in 1990. She raised three sons. She was a founding member of the Native Canadian Centre and a national leader in the Friendship Centres. She was on the board of the Native child an And Family Services Nishnawbe Homes, the original Advisory Council and Ontario’s Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy. In 1994 she became the 1st Elder in residence at the University of Toronto and lectured on the seven sacred teachings of the elders: wisdom, courage, truth, honesty, love, humility and respect. She was the 1st native woman awarded an honorary doctorate of law from the University of Toronto. In 1996 the university established a scholarship in her name. She received the City of Toronto’s Civic Award and the outstanding achievement Award from the province as well as receiving the Order of Ontario. She was also instrumental in founding the Ontario Aboriginal Diabetes Institute. She had tea with the Queen, offered a first nations prayer to open the provincial legislature and travelled to Russia with a group representing Toronto’s bid for the Olympics. She carried the 2010 Olympic torch through part of Toronto. Source: “She helped natives survive the city.” By Noreen Shanahan. The Globe and Mail May 22, 2012. Suggested by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Helen May McKercher Born 1911. Died 1985, Ontario. Helen studied at the Ontario Agricultural College (now University of Guelph). She worked as chief Consumer Education for the Canadian Department of Fisheries. She was director of the Home Economic Branch of the Ontario Department of Agriculture and Food. These jobs allowed her to have a profound influence on the lives of women and young 4-H Club girls. She would encourage the Women's Institute to set up a $50,000.00 scholarship and use the interest to train women from developing countries to become village leaders. She would serve as honorary president of the Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario and was a life member of the Associated Country Women of the World. In 1976 the Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario established  the Helen M. McKercher International Scholarship to assist students doing post-graduate studied in family and consumer studies. In 1978 she became an Alumnus of Honour of the University of Guelph. (2020)

Margaret 'Peggy' Louise Wilton McKercher

née Wilton. Born April 17, 1929, Manitoba. Peggy Graduated from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) in 1950. While at university she had been on various champion sports teams including basketball, track and field and the swim team. She also served a year as president of the Women's Athletic Board. In 1950 she was awarded the University of Saskatchewan Major Athletics Award. In 1952 she married a University of Saskatchewan student, Robert Hamilton McKercher and the couple had two children. Peggy supported her student husband while he earned his Master's at Harvard Law School, Cambridge Massacheutts, U.S.A. At one point the family lived in Ottawa where Peggy served on the Canadian Water Resources Board, the National Capital Commission's Canadiana Fund and the Governor General's Board for the Meritorious Service Decorations. The family eventually settled in Saskatchewan. In 1984 Peggy was inducted into the U of S Hall of Fame. Her interest in sports continued as she served with the Jeux Canada Games Board of Directors and the ParticipACTION Board of Directors. The U of S presents an academic and athletic scholarship in her honour each year. She was the 1st woman to serve as counsellor in Corman Park, Saskatchewan where she also served as Deputy Mayor. She was a founding member of the Meewasin Valley Authority and served as chair from 1979 through 1995. In 1989 she was the Saskatoon Citizen of the Year. In 1992 she received the Canada 125 medal. She was also on the Board of the Wanuskewin Heritage Park from 1992 through 1997. She has also served  on the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Trans Canada Trail Foundation Advisory Board, the Saskatchewan Medical Research Foundation  and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit Advisory Committee. In 1995 she was invested into the Order of Canada and received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. From 1995 through 2001 she served as the U of S Chancellor. (2020)

Mary Jane McQuesten

née Baker. Born October 10, 1849, Brantford, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died December 7, 1934, Hamilton, Ontario. Mary Jane's  father was Thomas Baker, a Calvinist minister who strongly defended women’s rights. After attending grammar school she attended Mrs. Burns’ ladies collegiate in Toronto. On June 18, 1873 she married Isaac Baldwin McQuesten (1847-1888) a young lawyer. The couple would have seven children. The couple would inherit a very large house which Mary called Whitehern in Hamilton. At one point poor family investments caused a reversal of finances and Isaac turned to drink and began to exhibit traits of mental illness. Mary Jane herself sought treatment for a mental breakdown in 1897. Widowed in 1888 Mary was left with children from two to 14 years of age and a mountain of debt. Through the years the children helped support the family. Her daughter Ruby took a teaching position in Ottawa and sent home money so her brother Thomas could attend university. Thomas would go on to become a member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Even with all her personal responsibilities she found time to volunteer at her Presbyterian church and for 50 years was active in the Women’s Foreign Mission Society (WFMS) in the Hamilton area. In 1906 she traveled throughout Ontario and the Canadian west establishing WFMS auxiliaries. She helped to found the Young Women’s Christian Association in Hamilton and she belonged to the National Council of women. In 1923 she lectured publically against church union and the formation of the United Church of Canada. Her own local church remained Presbyterian. None of her children married and upon the death of Calvin, her youngest son their home, Whitehern was bequeathed to the City of Hamilton and became a museum in 1971. More than 3,000 letters attributed to Mary and her family are preserved at Whitehern Historic House and Gardens. The letters provide a detailed look into the personal lives of an upper-middle class family of the late Victorian and Edwardian era in Canada. A biography on Mary has been published in 2004 and two plays have been written based on family life. (2020)

Kate / Katie McVicar

Union leader
Born 1856? Hamilton, Canada West (Now Ontario). Died June 18, 1886, Hamilton, Ontario. Kate was a worker in a shoe factory to help with the family finances. In 1882 a union called the Knights of Labor was actively approaching women to join their ranks. Kate, using the pseudonym, A Canadian Girl' wrote  wrote a series of letters in the Palladium of Labor expressing  the need to organize factory women.  Secret meetings allowed the women to avoid public notoriety and protect their modesty. January 1884 saw Katie lead female workers to form local assembly 3040. Women textile workers, shoe workers joined the group. By April the women shoe workers formed their own Excelsior Assembly (local 3179) as the 1st local in Canada consisting exclusively of women. Katie was the director. After her death a brother Knight from a local shoemakers assembly would lead Local assembly 3179.

Emilia 'Mary' Maria  Majka


Naturalist & Activist




née Adler Born March 9, 1923, Poland. Died February 12, 2014, Moncton, New Brunswick. As a child Mary was separated from her family and sent to a forced Labour Camp in Austria during World War ll. After the war she was located and reunited with her mother. She studied Medicine in Innsbruck, Austria. In 1948 she married Dr Mieczyslaw 'Mike' Majka (d 2007). The couple had two sons and one adopted daughter. August 22, 1951 the family landed at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They began their life in Canada in Hamilton, Ontario but when Mike began to practice medicine they settled in Moncton, New Brunswick. From 1967-1974 Mary headed a Television program on nature for youth called Have You Seen? In 1968 she studied nature in the U.S.A. at Maine’s Audubon Camp. In 1972 she was working with the New Brunswick Field Naturalists making countless contributions to wildlife preservation and to heritage trusts. Mary and Mike also founded the Moncton Naturalists Club. In 1996 she received the Gulf of Maine Council Visionary Award. She holds the Order of New Brunswick and in 2006 Volunteer of the Year from the Tourist Industry Association of Canada.  In 2007 was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 2012 she received the Lieutenant-Governor's Award for Excellence in Lad Conservation Sources: (accessed November 2011) Sources:  Sanctuary: the story of naturalist Mary Majka by Deborah Carr (Goose Lane Editions); Obituary. (2020)

Mary Helen McKean Malcolmson Born 1864, Ireland. Died July 7, 1935, St Catherines, Ontario. Mary and her family immigrated to Ontario settling first in Almonte prior to living in St Catherines. Mary attended the famous scouting Crystal Palace Rally in England in 1909 and became enthused by the movement. Mary organized the 1st official registered Girl Guide Company. The 1st St Catharines Girl Guide Company began meeting November 1909 and was registered November 1, 1910. The official certificate of registration of the this Girl Guide Company was signed by Agnes Baden Powell, sister of Lord Baden Powell and 1st World Guider. A tree near the place where the 1st St Catherines Company met bears a plaque honouring Mary Malcolmson.  Mary was elected as the 1st president of the St Catharines Council of Women in 1918. She was also an active member of the local Women's Canadian Club, and the Local Victoria Order of Nurses (VON). The City of St Catherines named a park in Mary's honour. In 1935 she was presented with a Silver Jubilee Medal from the Canadian Girl Guides.  The park is maintained by the 'Friends of Malcolmson'.  (2020)

Adeline Augusta 'Ada' Marean-Hughes

née Marean. Born January 9, 1848, Broome County, New York, U.S.A.  Died December 24, 1929, Toronto, Ontario. Ada operated a private kindergarten in St John New Brunswick and in Toronto, Ontario in 1878. In the 1880’s she was hired by the Toronto Board of Education to teach in its 1st kindergarten at Louisa Street School. In 1885 she married James Laughlin Hughes (1847-1935) the Chief Inspector of Education in Toronto. While she continued on as director of kindergartens for several years she no longer received a salary for her work. Together she and her husband and together they became the most important exponents of the idea of kindergarten education. In the later 1880’s the spearheaded the formation of a provincial kindergarten association and Ada was accepted as a member of the organization in the Ontario Educational Association (OEA) in 1890. Ada became the 1st woman president of the OEA in 1900. She was later president of the International Kindergarten Union in the United States. The couple was paramount in the establishment of the international kindergarten movement and the Association for Childhood Education International. Ada served as the sixth president of the association from 1906-1908. In 1885 the Ontario provincial government accepted kindergarten as part of the public school system. Newspapers sided against the couple pleading that this was an interruption to family life. The school Board wanted families who participated to pay for supplies used. In 1892 three women were elected as Board of Education members and the idea of fees was overrun. By 1893 there were 66 kindergartens in the province teaching 6,375 children. Ada was also active the suffragette movement and in the Toronto Local Council of Women where she helped organize the Education Committee. (2020)

Ada/Aida Maud Boyer McAnn Flemming

née McAnn. Born March 7, 1896, Victoria Corner, New Brunswick. Died January 25, 1994. Aida taught English and history at Mount Allison University and later at a private school in New York City, U.S.A. Before returning home to New Brunswick she worked as a freelance writer. Once home she worked in the provincial Department of Tourism from 1932 to 1941. In 1938 she published a The New Brunswick Cook Book. As well she taught cooking through a radio station in Saint John, New Brunswick. In 1944 she became a reporter of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. On August 20, 1946 Aida married Hugh John Flemming (1899-1982) who was Premier of New Brunswick from 1952-1960 and member of the Canadian House of Commons from 1960 to 1972. Aida was active in her home community organizing the local branch of the Canadian Red Cross, a patron of the Young Canada Book week and helped established the Fredericton Public Library in 1955. She served on the board of governors of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery the Fredericton SPCA and the Fredericton Children’s Aid Society. In 1959 she founded he Kindness Club, a humane education organization for children between the ages of 5 and 13. In 1962 she was named Atlantic Woman lf the Year and In 1964 she was the Humanitarian of the Year for the Humane Society of the United States. In 1976 she received  the Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award from Fredericton Chamber of Commerce. In 1978 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada. (2020)

Rosemary McCarney

Born October 5, 1953 Toronto, Ontario. She studied law so she could change policies and laws to help the poor of the poor. While earning her law degree at the University of Western Ontario, London she headed the Student Legal Aid Society which would become the Community Legal Services. She went on to earn her Masters in Business Administration at Case Law at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, U.S.A. It was here that she met and married fellow lawyer Barry Fisher. While traveling to Nairobi, Kenya in 1984 to visit her sister, she took to backpacking around the country and she decided to work in international development. She has worked in more than 1000 projects in a multitude of countries as a development consultant. She has served as President and Chief Executive Officer for Plan Canada, championing children in developing countries. Under her leadership annual donation went from $50 million a year to $162 million a year! She was a key mover behind the “Because I am a Girl” movement which promotes rights and opportunities for girls. She pushed the Canadian United Nations delegation to foreword October 11, as the International Day of the Girl which was established in 2011She had continued to write a series of children's books on social and rights issues affecting children around the world. She has served on the advisory boards of the Canada-United States Law Institute and the Public Policy Committee of Imagine Canada.  In 2015 she was appointed to the position of Canadian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland. (2020) 

Beverly McCloskey

Union worker for women's equal rights

Born January 1, 1929. Died November 14, 2014, Oshawa, Ontario. In 1949 Bev began working at the General Motors plant in Oshawa. She Married Patrick McCloskey and they had one daughter. The year she began working there was a strike at the auto plant and she learned from it. She became a pioneer for woman's rights. In the 1950's she was elected to Local 222 of the Canadian Auto Workers Union. She took the position on the union board as recording secretary as at that time it was the only position open to women. In 1968 she chaired the 1st local union women's committee and they fought hard for women's rights and equality. The group was a strong force, even marching to thee Ontario provincial legislation for changes to the Ontario Human Rights code removing gender and marital status discrimination in the work force. In 1983, the year before she retired, she lobbied General Motors to have inappropriate photos removed from work benches. Stickers were placed on the photos stating "This Insults Women". Retirement did not slow Bev down. She had long worked outside of the GM plan in her community being a founding member of the Durham Region Unemployment Centre. She worked with the Friends of the Second Marsh cleaning up the city waterfront. She organized bussed to take retirees to events, she taught Tai Chi and worked to create Sunrise Senior Place, and supported Oasis Animal Rescue. In 2011 she was presented with the Agnes MacPhail Award by the Women's Committee of the National Democratic Party of Canada. The following years  she was names as Outstanding Retired Member of the Year for Local 222. In 2013 her name was added to the Ontario Federation Honour Roll and a scholarship was named in her honour. (2020) 

Jessie McEwen née Turnbull. Born December 1845, Montreal ?, Quebec. Died June 1, 1920, Brandon, Manitoba. After college Jessie had a job visiting small Ontario towns with the educator Egerton Ryerson (1803-1992) expounding the value of education for girls. On April 30, 1868 she married Donald McEwen. The couple had four children. The family lived in Toronto, Ontario before relocating to Montreal, Quebec. Back in Toronto again Jessie was a member of the Toronto Women's Literary Club supporting temperance, education for women, and social welfare. This group in 1882 managed to persuade the Ontario legislature to to allow qualified women to vote on municipal bylaws. In March 1883 the club reorganized as the Canadian Womens Suffrage Society, the 1st such club in Canada. Jessie served as president. She served on the executive of the committee that established the Women's Medical college in 1883. She worked as well to get female students accepted at the University of Toronto that year. Moving the family to Brandon, Manitoba Jessie founded and was the president of the local Council of Women in November 1885. The group established the Travelers Aid Association and equipped a ward at the Brandon General Hospital. During the Boer War in 1900 she established the Red Cross Society in Manitoba. By 1907 she had established the Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA).  In 1919 she left the family farm and settled in the town of Brandon.  Source: DCB (2020)

Catherine McLellan

née Morton. Born Penobsquis, New Brunswick, 1837. Died August 18, 1892. She married Alexander McLellan, a self directed railroad entrepreneur, who took her to British Columbia in 1865. During the early years with her husband she traveled throughout the British Columbia Interior and as far as Southern California. By the 1880's she was more settled and played an active role in church missionary societies and other women's activist groups such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) established in Victoria , British Columbia, 1883. During her executive tenure there was support for the Crosby Girls' Home in Port Simpson, the Orienta Rescue Home in Victoria and several hospitals. (2020) 

Violet Clara McNaughton

née Jackson. Born November 11, 1879, Borden, United Kingdom. Died February 2, 1968, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Violet was a teacher before immigrating to Saskatchewan in 1909 to join her father and brother. In 1910 she married John McNaughton (1876-1965). Joining the Saskatchewan Grain Growers Association (SGGA) in 1912. The following year she forced the formation of the women’s section of the group where she served as secretary eventually forming the the Women Grain Growers (WWG) where she served as president for the 1st three years. The WWG facilitated the training of midwives, nurses and doctors for rural areas. She also sparked the formation of the Saskatchewan Equal Franchise League in 1915 serving at the 1st president. Saskatchewan would give women the vote in 1916. In 1919 she became president of the Interprovincial Council of Farm Women. A pacifist she wrote for the Saturday Press and Farmer during World War l. In 1919 she was president of the Interprovincial Council of Farm Women. Continuing in journalism  she was the 1st woman editor in the Western Producer and was a founding member the Saskatchewan branch Canadian Women's Press Club. In 1935 she was inducted in the Order of the British Empire. In 1998 the Canadian Historic Sites and Monuments Board declared Violet a Person of National Historic Interest. Source: Canadaian Women Early Writers Online. (2020)

Fannie/Fanny McNeil née Knowling. Born March 14, 1869 St John's Newfoundland. Died February 23, 1928 St. John's, Newfoundland. Fannie's family finances allowed for her to have some education in England where she may have gained an interest in painting. Fannie was a co-founder inFannie McNeil, ca. 1910 1925 of the Newfoundland Society of Art serving as the 1st president. March14, 1869 she married Hector McNeil and the couple had two surviving children. She had come from an enlightened family and she became as supporter of child welfare and health services. She was a member of the Ladies Reading Room and Current Events Club, later known as the Old Colony Club that was founded in 1909. By 1920 there emerged from this club the Women's Franchise League which fought for the vote for women and Fannie was the Secretary and organized rallies and the collection of 20,000 signatures on an island wide petition. On March 9, 1925, women over 25 gained the right to vote for and stand as candidates in general elections. Fannie McNeil and May Kennedy ran for the new Women's Party while Julia Salter ran as a Labour candidate in the St John's municipal election but none of the women were successful. The 1st general election in which woman could vote would take place in 1928.(2020)
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections (William Knowling, Collection MF-276), Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL.

Margaret May McWilliams

née Stovel. Born 1875, Toronto, Ontario. Died April 12, 1952. Margaret graduated with her B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1898 and shortly after, 1903 married Roland Fairbairn McWilliams.  The couple would move west to Manitoba. Like her husband, who would become the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, she enjoyed politics, but she was not content to just be chatelaine to her province and would serve four consecutive terms as an alderman in Winnipeg. in the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's. She would publish several books, many historical in nature such as Manitoba Milestones (Toronto, 1928) and many concerning women such as, Women of Red River ( 1923). Margaret was a member of the Canadian Womens Press Club. She also was adamant about social reforms and wrote Blueprint for Canadian Social and Economic Reform (1931). She was a Canadian Delegated to the League of Nations. Perhaps her longest lasting legacy is that she was the founder and 1st president of the Canadian Federation of University Women. She also provided the inspiration for and was a charter member of the International Federation of University Women founded in 1920. Both organizations have successfully celebrated their Centennial and are enthusiastic about entering another century of service. Sources: Canadian Federation of University Women. Online (accessed 2020)

Marion Ironquill Meadmore

Aboriginal Activist

Born 1936 Peepeekisis First Nation Reserve, Saskatchewan. Like many of her generation she was forced to leave home and attend residential School. In 1954 she married Ronald Hector Meadmore (1933-2013). She attended the University of Manitoba and in 1977 she became the 1st indigenous woman lawyer in Canada. She is the founder of several aboriginal organizations including the Canadian Indian Lawyer Association (Now Indigenous Bar Association), National Indian Brotherhood, the Indian and Métis Friendship Center, the Kinew Housing, and the National Indigenous Council of Elders (NICE). In 1985 She was inducted into the Order of Canada. Since 2011 she has been actively involved on the National Council of Indigenous Elders for the Creation of Wealth Forum. 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. In 2015 the University of Manitoba presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Source: Don Marks, “What is the Use in Spending so Much Time Studying Failure’ May 14, 2015; Matt Preprost, “Gala recognizes accomplishments”.  Winnipeg Free Press June 18, 2010 Page A13. (2020)

Marguerite Michaud

Born 1903, Bauctouche, New Brunswick. Died 1982. At the are of 13 she received the Lieutenant’s Governor Medal in recognition of her outstanding academic abilities. She studied at the New Brunswick Teachers College and wit a Carnegie Scholarship she attended St Francis Xavier University graduating with distinction in 1923. She was the 1st Acadian woman to receive a university degree. Continuing her studies she obtained a diploma en française from the Sorbonne in France and also did a graduate studies at Columbia University in New York City and Université de Montréal where she earned her PhD in history. She was one of three Canadians to attend the United Nations Conference on Teaching Human Rights in Schools. She was the founder of the 1st Acadian parent teacher association and she helped organize the Association des enseignants francophones du Nouveau Brunswick in 1961. Marguerite was the 1st woman vice-principal at the provincial normal school working to improve opportunities for francophones. She was also a respected volunteer working as vice president of the  New Brunswick UNICEF and the Beaverbrook Foundation. She received the order of Canada, the Medaille de l’ Alliance Français, and  the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Medal. Several schools in Acadian area of New Brunswick are named in her honourSource: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012. (2020)

Joanna Elizabeth Miller

née Green. Born May 18, 1926, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died March 21, 2012, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Graduating from the University of British Columbia in 1948, she met and married Leonard Miller in June 25, 1949. The couple had of four children with Joanna a stay at home mom. The family moved to Saskatchewan in 1961 and Joanna had a babysitter one day a week which allowed her time for her active interest in international issues. She helped with UNICEF card sales and began to serve on the national boards of UNICEF and the United Nations. By the end of the 1970’s she was national president. Of the United Nations Association. In 1983 she was named Saskatoon Woman of the Year for Community Service. While working with the Project Ploughshares she was named to the Canadian Institute for Peace and Security by the Government of Canada as well as being special advisor on disarmament to the Canadian Delegation to the United Nations. 1985 she received the Muriel Duckworth Award from the Canadian Advancement of Women Organization. In 1994 she receive a Peace Plaque from the Canadian Research and Education Association. In 2002 she worked for the Saskatoon first Peace Conference as a member of the Saskatoon Peace Coalition. In 2001 she was presented the Global Citizens Award form the Saskatchewan Council for International Co-operation. In 2006 she was presented with the YMCA Peace Medal. In 2013 Project Ploughshares Saskatoon and Joanna's family funded a grant in her memory focusing local, national or international peace issues. Sources: Canadian Who’s Who (University of Toronto, 2005) ; Herstory : an Exhibition. Women’s Issues. University of Saskatchewan (Accessed October 2011) (2021)

Geraldine 'Geri' Migicovsky

née Shnier. Born 1921, Winnipeg Manitoba. Died May 27, 2014, Toronto, Ontario. Geri married Bert Migicovsky and the couple settled in Ottawa where they had two children. She stared  in The Lives and Loves of Dr Susan which was the 1st soap opera on CBC Radio, and continued her acting career on radio and television. After retirement from acting she turned her energies to being a social activist in Ottawa where she spearheaded the movement to have “911” emergency call service brought to Ottawa. She was also active in the Canadian Israel Cultural Foundation, the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, and the Ottawa Heart Institute. Source: Obituary. Globe and Mail May 29, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa. (2020)

Karen Rochelle Mock

Born 1945, Toronto, Ontario. Karen graduated from the University of Toronto with a PhD in Applied Psychology in 1975. In 1974 she married dentist Dr. David Mock and the couple have two sons. As a certified teacher and registered educational psychologist, she specialized in human rights, hate crime, diversity issues, and multicultural/anti-racist education. She has published widely in her field, and conducts many training programs in the public and private sectors. She has taught at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University and is a past president of the Canadian Friends of Haifa University. She has served as President of the Ontario Multicultural Association and has been on the board of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and chair of the Canadian Multicultural Advisory Committee. In 1999 she received the International Woman's Day Award from the Women's Intercultural Network. In 2001 she served as a member of the official Canadian Delegation to the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR). Karen Mock is an active founding member of the Antiracist Multiculturalism Network of Ontario (AMENO), the Women's Intercultural Network (WIN), the Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims (CAJM), and the Canadian Arab/Jewish Leadership Dialogue. In 2002, she received the Excellence in Race Relations Award from the Human Rights Council of the Ahmadiyya Movement of Islam in Canada and  was the 2004 recipient of the Sikh Centennial Foundation Award for Civil Liberties AdvocacyIn 2006 she was appointed chair of the Ontario Hate Crimes Community Working Group. She was named an Eminent Woman of Peace in 2008 by the Department of Peace Initiative and Voices of Women in Ottawa. In 2011 she ran unsuccessfully for a position as a Member of Parliament. In 2012 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal. (2020)

Simonne Monet-Chartrand

née Monet. Born November 4, 1919, Montreal, Quebec. Died January 18, 1993, Richelieu, Quebec. Simonne attended the Université de Montreal to study Canadian literature and history. During her student years she supported the fight for women's votes in the province of Quebec. In 1942 she married Michael Chartrand (1916-2010) a militant unionist. The couple would have seven children. In 1942 during World War ll she joined the Bloc populaire canadien supporting the removal of a ban on conscription for overseas service. In 1949 she was an advocate for the asbestos strikers.  She was also co-founder of the Fédération des femmes du Québec, the pacifist Voix des femmes and the Movement for Nuclear Disarmament. In 1962 she was an organizer with the Train de la paix, and was a member of a delegation of the movement which made demands on the federal government. In 1963 she attended a Moscow conference of the International Democratic Federation of Women calling on the United Nations to devote a year to peace and international cooperation. In 1978 when she attended Concordia University in Montreal she was co-founder for the Simone de Beauvoir Institute which is dedicated to feminist studies. She was a writer and researcher for Radio-Canada and she authored 2 books: L'éspoir et le défi de la paix published 1980 and a four volume autobiography published in 1992. She also worked as head of the public relations for the Syndicat des enseignants de Champlain and later as assistant director for the Human Rights League. (2020)

Patricia 'Trish' Ann Monture-Angus

Indigenous Rights Activist
née Monture. Born September 24, 1958, London, Ontario. Died November 17, 2010, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.Image result for Trish anne Monture-Angus She was orphaned at the age of nine and by the time she was a teenager in high school she had been victim of rape and knew life on the streets. Taking some university courses, she surprised herself when she scored well and realized that she was not just a ‘stupid Indian.’ She earned her B.A. from the University of Western Ontario, London in 1983 and followed it with a law degree from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. By 1998 she had completed her studies in law at Osgood Hall, Toronto. Right out of school she proved to be a strong willed fighter for people’s rights when she filed action against the Attorney General of Ontario to avoid taking the oath of allegiance to the Queen. It was nothing personal she insisted but she was a member of a Soverign people, the Mohawk Nation. By 1992 the oath became optional. Trish went on to teach law first at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and later at Ottawa University in Ontario before settling at the University of Saskatchewan in the Department of Native Studies. She married Denis Angus of Thunderchild First Nation Cree Nation of Treaty 6. The couple had three sons and adopted 4 children to round out their family. In 2004 Trish switched to a full professorship in the Department of Sociology at U of S. She wrote two books and co-edited a third book on aboriginal women. She served on numerous boards and committees including the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples 1993-1994 and the Federal Task Force on Administrative segregation which made recommendations on the use of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons. She played a key role in which Canadian prisons agreed to accept aboriginal ceremonies and healing circles. In 2007 she was presented with the Sarah Shorten Award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers in recognition of her work for the advancement of women at universities. Her Mohawk name was Aywahande – the one who starts things with words. Source: Csillag, Ron, ‘Aboriginal , indigenous, native? She preferred Haudenosaunee or people of the Longhouse.’ In Globe and Mail, December 2, 2010. Suggestion submitted by Marian Crow, Cochrane, Ontario

Joy Salmon Moon

Born Welland, Ontario January 28, 1938. After business school Joy tried working in a bank but she hated the job. In Toronto, she worked with Oxford University Press where she made her way from secretary to Children's Book Editor. She Married George Moon and the couple would raise two children. Concerned about toddler's safety in cars she researched safety features for her own son. She pressured newspapers to publish her concerns. Committees were set up by other concerned mothers and eventually by 1986 all provinces in Canada had new legislation in this area. Her son enjoyed long distance running and Joy turned her energies to coaching and establishing the Tom Longboat Club. She traveled across North America to world cross country events and commonwealth games. Her latest interest is in genealogy and her family. Sources: Cottage Country, Introducing Joy Salmon Moon (Accessed June 2011): Herstory: The Canadian Women's Calendar 2007. Coteau Books, 2006 Page 26. (2020)

Eliza Ritchie  Born May 20, 1856. Halifax, Nova Scotia. Died September 5, 1935, Halifax, Nova Scotia. An educator, feminist and author in 1889 Eliza received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in the United States after graduating with a Bachelor degree from Dalhousie University, Halifax. After receiving her doctorate she continued her studies in Germany and then Oxford, England. She returned to Canada in 1899 and was a lecturer at Dalhousie University. She is probably the first Canadian woman to have received a doctor of letters.  She served on the executive of the local Council of Women and worked to further the cause of woman's right to vote. She also served on the Board of the Victoria Art School. She was the author of two published books, The Problem of Personality in 1889 and Songs of the Maritimes in 1931. She was president of the Dalhousie Alumnae Association and her appointment to the Dalhousie University board of governors in 1919 is also a first for Canadian women. Eliza Ritchie Hall at Dalhousie University was named in her honour. There is also a stained glass window at St. Paul's Church, Halifax dedicated to her and her sisters. (2021)

Ruth Rittenhouse Morris

Prison reform / abolishment activist

Born December 12, 1933. Died September 17, 2001. In 1956 she earned her BA in Music and Sociology from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, U.S.A. Moving to the University of Illinois, U.S.A. she earned a Master's Degree in 1958. At he University of Michigan, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. in 1959 she earned her her second post graduate degree, a Master's in Social Work. By 1963 she had received her PhD (doctorate degree) from the University of Michigan. Ruth was an active member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). She taught at the Graduate School of Theology, University of Toronto, York University in Toronto and the American University, Washington D. C. , U.S.A. Ruth also spoke about penal abolition and justice across North America, New Zealand, Mexico, Costa Rica and Argentina. From 1975 to 1978 she was the Coordinator for the Canadian Friends' Service Committee, Toronto. She also was active with the Quaker Committee on Jails and Justice.  She was considered one of the world's leading spokespersons for prison abolition and transformative justice. The Canadian Quakers were the 1st religious body in the world to endorse prison abolition. She was a founder of the International Conference on Prison Abolition. had a hand in establishing many groups and networks, including: My Brother’s Place (a halfway house), Toronto Justice Council, St. Stephen’s Conflict Resolution Service, the Corner (drop-in center for street people), Toronto Bail Program, the Coalition Against Neighborhoodism, and the Black Creek Anti-Drug Focus Coalition. In 1987 she was named Prison Volunteer of the Year. That same year her book, Street People Speak was published followed two years later by Crumbling Walls: Why Prisons Fail. Along side of her books she published a prolific number of articles for various North American magazines and journals. From 1995 through 2001 she  Education Director at Rittenhouse and was coordinator of the Black Creek Anti-Drug Focus Community Coalition. 1987 to 1990 she was the Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Metro Toronto.  She earned the Governor General's Award for her community work in 1993. In 1995 she earned a community building award from the Addiction Research Foundation  and in 1998 she earned the YMCA Peace Medallion. In 2000 she earned the Ron Wiebe Restorative Justice Award and the J. S. Woodsworth Award for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. That same year she published Stories of Transformative Justice and Penal Abolition: The Practical Choice. In 2001 she was inducted into the Order of Canada.(2020) 

Leilani Marietta Muir

Born July 15, 1944, Calgary, Alberta. Died March 4, 2016, Devon, Alberta. When she was 10 she thought she was going to an orphanage where she could meet friends and have food. In reality her mother had placed her in the Provincial Training School for Mental Defects, the Michener Centre, in Red Deer Alberta. He mother also signed consent for compulsory sterilization! As a teen she had an operation for appendicitis and the sterilization was done at the same time. She was not told of the second part of the procedure. In 1965 Leilani left the school without authorization. She learned of her sterilization during her marriage. During her second marriage the couple were denied adoption because Leilani had been in the Provincial Training School. After her second divorce, while receiving help from a psychiatrist, she was found to be of normal intelligence. She sued the Alberta Government for wrongful sterilization and in a milestone settlement she received almost $750,000.00 plus legal fees for her “pain and suffering”. National uproar followed the attempt by the Alberta Government to cap the payout in similar cases which followed. Leilani continued to tell her story throughout North America and Europe. She wanted to fight for rights of individuals in society. In 1996 a film of her story was produced by the National Film Board of CanadaSource: Eugenics in Alberta online (accessed August 2011): Herstory; The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2000 (Silver Anniversary edition) Coteau Books, 1999 page 72. (2020)

Margaret Smith Murray

née Polson. Born Paisley, Scotland June 1, 1844. Died January 27, 1927. The oldest of seven children she did not have time for education outside of the home where she was expected to help care for her brothers and sisters. In 1821 she married John Clark Murray and she emigrated to Kingston, Ontario with her professor husband. They soon moved to Montreal where she applied her considerable energies to helping other women established the Young Woman's Christian Association (YWCA). In 1891 she was a known writer and she founded the publication Young Canadian to help instill patriotism in Canadian youth. She returned from an 1899 trip to England with the embryo of an idea to form a patriotic organization of women. On January 13, 1900 she sent telegrams to the mayors of major Canadian cities entreating them to encourage women to organize and become part of a federation of Daughters of the Empire. February 13, 1900 the National organization of the Federation of the Daughters of the Empire was formed. At the height of the setting up of the organization she would send cables, postcards and as many as 500 letters a day to seek patrons and members. The International Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE) celebrated its centennial in 2000. (2020)

Evelyn Myrie

Born Jamaica. Evelyn has worked with the United Way of Burlington-Hamilton, the Social Planning and Research Council, the Hamilton Arts Advisory Committee, the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, and the Hamilton Historical Society. She is a founding member of Elect More Women - Hamilton and worked for Status of Women Canada for two decades. She founded and is Principal of EMpower Strategy Group - a boutique leadership development organization specializing in creating strategies to foster empowering leadership at work, at home, and in the community. She was also the founding Director of Peel Newcomer Strategy Group. She also founded the Rev. John C. Holland Awards to recognize Black achievement in Hamilton. She was appointed executive director of the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion in April 2011. She also has written numerous articles for the Hamilton Spectator newspaper which instill pride in the community and its history as well as instilling leadership. Her home community has recognized her accomplishments with several awards for leadership, including Woman of the Year in Public Affairs, the Phenomenal Woman Award, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012. She was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction in 2011. (2020)


SEE - Catherine Sutton

Josefina Napravilova

Born January 21, 1914, Plzen, Czechoslovakia. Died February 20, 2014, Tabor, Czechoslovakia. When she was still an infant her father left to fight in World War l and he did not return. She was brought up by her mother who instilled in Josefina humanitarian valued and strong nationalism. She began studies in law but was interrupted with the outbreak of World War ll and Nazi occupation of her homeland. She met and married Karel Napravil and the couple first lived in Prague. At the end of the War Josefina set out to find Czechoslovakian children who had been scattered throughout Europe by the Nazi invasion. In May 1945 she joined the Prague uprising serving to care for wounded during the fight to liberate the city from the Germans. She joined the Red Cross handing out food and supplies to people freed from the concentration camps. It was at this time that Josefina heard about Czech children taken during the war. Hitler’s Nazi soldiers murdered adults in Czech villages and took the children to live with German families. While many of the children ended up in consecration camps and were murdered some of the children were given German names so that they could be assimilated as Germans. Josefina wanted to being the children home to Czechoslovakia. She traveled by any means she could and slept on benches at train stations if necessary. She followed clues and hunches using her deceive instinct and located 40 children. Josefina and Karel never had any children of their own and she loved to see the joy in the faces of the children she managed to help. After the death of her husband in 1948 she joined the International Refugee Organization which caused her to be stripped of her citizenship. She emigrated arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 6, 1949. She settled in British Columbia and worked in a bank. She retired in 1979 to Guelph, Ontario. A tireless volunteer in 1956 she helped Hungarians arriving in Canada and in 1968 she helped Czech refugees to Canada. Josephina was awarded the Masaryk Medal for her war efforts and in 1994 she returned to her beloved Czechoslovakia to live. In 2013 a book : Dreams and Memories by Josefina Napravilova was published. Source: Josefina Navratilova …second mother reunited Czech families by Katerina Cizek in the Globe and Mail March 8, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Rosalinda 'Linda' Linsangan Natividad-Cantiveros






Born November 3, 1946. Gapan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Died March 4, 2008, Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Linda studied for her BA in psychology and education at St. Theresa’s College (Manila) and a masters degree at the University of Santo Tomas. She and her husband emigrated to Canada in July 1974. She continued her studies with a degree in English and history from the University of Manitoba then worked in a variety of jobs, involving teaching in the Department of Indian Affairs; in the Winnipeg School Division No. 1; language training consultant at Manitoba Education Training; ESL and open door education program; an independent interpreter and translator in Immigration and Appeal Board of Winnipeg School Division No. 1; and became examiner in Filipino Language Proficiency Test, GED coordinator. She was founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Filipino Journal and Filipino Bride and Groom news magazine and a contributor for the Manitoba Encyclopedia. She served as a volunteer for several citizens and human rights groups and worked with the Philippine Heritage Council, the Gawad Kilinga, Pangarat Foundation and was a founding member of the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba as well as several bridging Canada-Philippine groups she was a member of the University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association. She  was also the founder of MAFTI Rondalla, National Songfest (Manitoba). She was named one of the twenty outstanding Filipinos in North America (Washington, DC) and in Canada (Toronto); one of the 100 outstanding Filipinos in Canada. In 1995 she ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Manitoba Legislature. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, March 11, 2008. (2020)

Hanna Newcombe

Peace Activist

née  Hammerschlag. Born February 5, 1922 Prague, Chechia. Died April 10, 2011 Hamilton, Ontario. Hanna and her parents fled to Canada in 1939 when the Nazis invaded Prague. The family had a fruit farm near Grimsby, Ontario. At the end of World War ll the family relocated to Toronto. Hanna earned a Bachelor of Science from McMaster Univeristy, Hamilton, Ontario in 1945. She would meet her husband, George Newcombe while at university and the couple both earned doctorates in chemistry from the University of Toronto. She then worked at being a new mother to their two children. In 1955 the young family relocated to Hamilton where their third child was born. Busy with home life Hanna did some occasional teaching and translating of scientific articles. In 1962 she taught high school but did not take to working with the teenagers at school. She took a position at the Canadian Peace Research Institute and Hanna and George founded the Peace Research Institute in Dundas, Ontario in the late 1970's. They would found and publish two scholarly journals; Peace Research Abstracts and Peace Research Reviews. They also organized summer institutes on Grindstone Island in the Rideau Lakes area. Hanna was active in the World Federalist Movement, the Canadian Voice of Women and the Canadian Friends Service Committee of the Quakers. In 1997 Hanna was the recipient of the Pearson Medal for Peace. IN 2007 she was named a Member of the Order of Canada for her work in peace research and international relations. The Newcombe Prize in Peace Studies is offered annually at McMaster University, Hamilton. (2020) 

Joyce Nsubuga

Activist and Medical doctor

Born 1947, near Kampala, Uganda. Died May 4, 2006. Second of 12 children she was fortunate that her father believed both his sons and daughters deserved equal education. After she graduated university with a degree in medicine, Dr. Joyce set up a clinic and would become a district medical officer of health. She married a school headmaster who was a budding businessman. In 1983 revolution was in the air and her husband was kidnapped and killed. Joyce quickly moved her family and went into hiding in Kenya. She remarried and she and her new blended family moved to start a new life in Canada. She took a job with the Ontario Ministry of health and after working hours devoted her life to her family of 10 (the last child was born in Canada). She also worked for the Toronto Uganda community founding the Uganda Martyrs Church and prepared reports on wife assault in the Canadian African Community. She promoted AIDS awareness among young immigrants and mentored many newcomers setting up a system helping single African women access to Social Services. To her, she was never able to provide enough help. When she died she had almost accomplished the establishment of a Community Learning Centre in Uganda with the help of her Canadian church). The Centre has now been completed. Source: “Joyce Nsubuga, 59: Met Uganda’s needs.” By Catherine Dunphy. The Toronto Star July 14, 2006. (2020)

Samantha Nutt

Born October 1969, Scarborough, Ontario. Samantha lived near Durban, South Africa as a young child and in her teens the family went to work in Brazil.  Samantha earned her BA and her medical degree from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. Her Master’s Degree was earned in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the University of London, England. She holds a Fellowship in Community Medicine from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She has completed a sub specialization in women’s health through the University of Toronto as a Woman’s Health scholar. She is a staff physician at Woman’s College Hospital, Toronto and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto and is on the board of the David Suzuki Foundation. She is an author and founder and executive Director of War Child Canada and War Child U.S.A. in 1999. The mission of the organization is to provide humanitarian aid to children affected by war. She has written articles for Maclean’s Magazine and the Globe and Mail concerning human rights, foreign policy and war-related issues. She is a sought after commentator on human rights for radio and television. In 2010 she received the Order of Ontario. In 2011 she was inducted into the Order of Canada for her contributions to improving the plight of your people in war zones around the world. He has been named as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 by the Globe and Mail newspaper, Toronto. Time magazine labeled her as one of Canada’s five leading Activists. The World Economic Forum chose her as one of the 200 young global leaders. In 2012 she was presented the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal.(2020

Helen Frances Okuloski

Born 1912, Black Lake, Quebec. Died 1993. The family eventually settled in Hamilton, Ontario. She studied law and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1935. Helen set up her law practice in Hamilton as one of the city’s first women lawyers. She would be joined by her brother, Edward once he was called to the bar. Her offices were opened for 50 years. The daughter of Polish immigrants,  her office served the large ethnic clientele because of her understanding of their needs and background. She was also very protective of her female clientele whom she felt were “handicapped by being women”. The firm was also known and the only local firm that in 1953 would hire a young black lawyer, Lincoln Alexander (1922-2012) who would go on to become Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Helen was appointed Queen’s Council in 1955. She was a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and an honorary member of the Hamilton Law Association. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online. (2020)

Alethea Pearleen Borden Oliver

Black Activist

née Borden. Born 1917, Cooks Cove, Nova Scotia. Died July 28, 2008, Nova Scotia. 1936 – 1st Black person to graduate from New Glasgow High School. She married W.P. Oliver, a Baptist Minister, and the couple had five sons.1945 she helped found the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. In 1947 she worked to have Black women gain entrance into nurse’s training in Canada. Active in her church she served as choir director, played the organ and organized the Canadian Girls in Training and Explorers programs. She ran girls’ summer camps, established women’s groups and initiated continuing education classes in Black communities. Authored several books including A Brief History of the Colored Baptists of Nova Scotia 1782-1953. She went on to found the African United Baptist Association Women’s Institute in 1953. Served as the 1st woman Moderator of the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia in 1976. As a board member of the Maritime Religious Education Council and the Nova Scotia Training School for Girls she affected many young women with her positive message. She was honored with the 1992 125 Anniversary of Confederation Medal. In 1994 she wrote Song of the Spirit for the 150th anniversary of the Beechville Church. She received the 1st YWCA Community Award and the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia President’s Award and became a honorary life member of the Society. In 2002 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Jubilee Medal and has a place on the Nova Scotia Ebony Wall of Fame. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2010. (2020)

Eliza Olson

née Kiss. Born September 1938, Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. Eliza considers herself a late bloomer. She married and had two daughters and her divorce found her seeking a profession. At 30 she enrolled at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. By 1987 she was working as a teacher in Surrey, British Columbia. A proposal to dredge the Burns Bog, a 3,000 hectares of peat bog with divers wild life shocked her into action. She ran for municipal council and sought attention of renowned environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki. The Burns Bog was saved and a conservation Society was formed with Eliza as president, continuing to fight for environmental conservation in the area. She has been awarded several awards for her work: The Canada 125 Medal, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, the Canadian Geographic Society Silver Award for conservation, the Human Rights Award for Environmental Stewardship and the Yves Rocher Foundation Women of the Earth Award. She was also a finalist on the 2011 CBC’s Champions of Challenge earning 10,000.00 for conservation projectsSource: Herstory: Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012 ,Coteau Books, 2011. (2020)

Ratma Omidvar

Born November 5, 1949, Amristar, India. Ratma earned her Bachelor’s degree and left for Germany on scholarship. While in Europe she met her Iranian husband. Living in Tehran was uncomfortable during the Islamic revolution and the couple fled to Germany and then in 1981 immigrated to Canada. It was several years before the Educated Ratma could obtain steady employment. Employment was a common problem for educated immigrants. In 2003 she was cofounder of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. She also runs her own Maytree Foundation of Toronto which promotes diversity, fights poverty, and assists immigrants to settle and find work. She is director of the Toronto City Summit Alliance. She has created mentorship, networking and career – bridge programs that have assisted by 2010 over 500 skilled immigrants who face lack of experience in Canada. Politicians and executives seek her advice with respect to immigration and integration. In 2006 she was appointed to the Order of Ontario. In 2010 the Globe and Mail newspaper named her as its Nation Builder of the Decade for Citizenship. In 2011 she published her 1st book: Five Good Ideas: practical strategies for non-profit success (Coach House Press, 2011). In 2015 she co-authored Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada and was named on of the Top 10 Diversity Champions world wide by The Economist magazine. April 2016 she was appointed to the Senate of Canada and that same year she received Lifetime Achievement Awards from CivicAction and the Canadian Urban Institute. Senator Omidvar served as a Councillor on the World Refugee Council and is also a director at the Environics Institute, and Samara Canada and is the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s Chair Emerita. She was formerly the Co-Chair of the Global Future Council on Migration hosted by the World Economic Forum and the Chair of Lifeline Syria. (2020) 

Maureen O'Neil

Maureen studied Sociology earning her BA from Carleton University, Ottawa. She has served in 1997 as President of the International Development Research Centre, interim president of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, president of the North-South Institute, and deputy minister of citizenship, Government of Ontario. She is also a former Chair of the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development from 2011 through 2017. She has chaired the Board of Governors of Carleton University and has also represented Canada on the UN Commission on the Status of Women. In 2008 she joined the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement where she served as President. President. In 2011 Maureen was named and Officer in the Order of Canada. (2020) 

Ethel Ostry

Born January 1, 1904, Elizabethgrad, Russia. Died December 31, 1976, Vancouver, British Columbia. She immigrated to Canada with her family who settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She earned her B.A. at the University of Manitoba in 1924 and for awhile taught in rural schools before moving back to Winnipeg to work as a social worker.  In the 1920’s she relocated to Montreal, Quebec where she worked as director of the Baron de Hirsch Institute. She then traveled and worked in Palestine. During World War ll she worked as a psychiatric social worker in hospitals in Toronto. After the War she volunteered to serve with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA) in Europe where she was director and principal welfare officer in several displaced persons camps in France and Germany. She went on to work for the Canadian Jewish Congress settling 1200 youth Holocaust survivors in homes across Canada. Her final career was that of a family and marriage counselor in her own private practice in Toronto and later in Vancouver. Source: Jewish Women’s Archive.  Personal Information for Ethel Ostry. Online. (Accessed June 2013) (2020)

Marnie Paikin

Born Toronto, Ontario.  Marnie graduated from the University of Western Ontario with an Honours degree in Psychology in 1958. She settled in Hamilton and became involved in the community as a founding member of the Philharmonic Children of Hamilton, founding member and 2nd president of the Anna Herskwitz Chapter of Hadassah, Director and President of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and member and Director of the Hamilton and Regional Arts Council Task Force. She has served as a Trustee of the Royal Ontario Museum, Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Toronto, and Member and Chairman of the Ontario Council on University Affairs. She served as a member of the Committee to Study the Future Role of Universities in Ontario, for the Premier and Minister of Colleges and Universities. Marnie has also been a member of the Canadian Educational Standards Institute, and Chairman of the Evaluation Council. She received an honorary Law degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1988, and from the University of Toronto in 1981 Marnie has also received in 1980 the Outstanding Woman Award from the Province of Ontario Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1978, Citizen of the Year 1980 from the Jewish National Fund.  Human Relations Award, Canadian Council of Christians and Jews in 1985 and Woman of the Year for Community Service by the Hamilton Status of Women in 1990. Marnie was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction in 1996. (2020)

Debbie Palmer

Born 1955. In 1957, at the age of two, Debbie was taken by her father to the newly found settlement of Bountiful, British Columbia. Bountiful is polygamous Mormon fundamentalist community. At 15 Debbie was given to a 55 year old man to live as his wife. After her 1st man died in 1974 she was ‘reassigned’ to another man who already had five ‘wives’. This man was abusive to his ‘wives’. In 1979 she was released from her ‘marriage’ and given to a 3rd man. By 1988, she wanted ‘out’ of the community and managed to escape with her eight children. She has been a voice of dissention to the polygamous community of Bountiful ever since she left. She has appeared numerous times on all three Canadian national television networks and a clip from the television show, The Fifth Estate, was even aired on the Oprah television program. Debbie has written a book with Dave Perrin: Keep Sweet: Children of Polygamy. In 1992 three Bountiful men were convicted of sexual abuse mainly though Debbie’s efforts. (2020)

Madeleine Parent

Born November 11, 1918, Montreal, Quebec. Died March 12, 2012, Montreal, Quebec. Madeleine earned her Bachelor of Arts at McGill University, Montreal and worked teaching English to French speaking garment workers. She married in 1941 to Val Bjaranson and carried on with her activities for equality for workers. She worked as the secretary with the Montreal Trades and Labour Council and soon became pre-occupied with union activity. She helped labour organizer Lia Robach organize workers in the Montreal textile mills. In 1946 she took part in strikes at the mills which lead to the 1st collective agreement with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Her determination to Unionize saw her arrested five times and in 1948 she was convicted of seditious conspiracy. She became wrongly labeled as a Communist for her labour involvement. In 1954 a new trial saw her acquitted of all charges.  During this time around 1952 she and fellow activist Kent Rowley formed the Confederation of Canadian Unions. Relocating to Ontario in 1968 she married Kent Rowley (died 1978) in 1969 she campaigned for pay equity for women and fought against the U.S.A. dominated labour unions in Canada. She was a member of the Steering Committee of Ontario Status of Women and made national contributions as well. In her 80’s she protested the North American Free Trade Agreement in 2001. 

Elizabeth Fulton Parker

Born December 19, 1856, Colchester County, Nova Scotia. Died October 26, 1944, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Elizabeth’s mother dies when she was a toddler and it was here step mother who would influence most of her life. At 18 she married Henry John Parker (1853-1920). The couple would have 4 children. The family settled in Winnipeg in 1892. January 13, 1904 was a pivot point in her life. She went to the Manitoba Free Press to complain about coverage of an literary even and ended up writing a column that would appear for the next 36 years under the pen name of  “The Bookman” During a period of ill health she visited Banff, Alberta to take in the health mountain air and she fell in love with the mountains. When the idea of a Canadian Branch of the American Alpine Club surfaced, Elizabeth rebelled and using her journalistic skills demanded a Canadian Alpine Club. The Club was established in 1906 and it would become the 1st mountaineer club to allow women as members. She and her family would enjoy the Club’s summer camps until her health prevented her attendance. A hut close to Lake O’Hara in the Canadian Rockies was dedicated to her in 1931. Sources: Women Explorers: the hundred years of courage and audacity by Helen Y. Rolfe (Altitude Publishing Canada, 2003) (2020)

Mary Irene Parlby

Member of the 'Famous Five'

née Marryat. Born January 9 , 1868, London, England. Died July 12, 1965, Red Deer, Alberta. Irene came to Canada in 1896 and shortly after met and married Walter Parlby. The couple would have one son. In 1916-1919 she was elected president of the United Farm Women of Alberta and destined to become actively involved in the agrarian movement. In 1921 she was elected to the Alberta government as member for Lacombe. She served as Minister without Portfolio with the responsibility for issues surrounding women and children. However she had no budget to go with her mandate. Ahead of her time perhaps in 1925 she introduced a Community of Property Bill that served the legal recognition of women’s domestic work. It failed to pass. She was a popular member of the provincial legislature with the electorate who put her back in office in 1926 and again in 1930-35. She was a member of the Canadian delegation to the organization of the League of nations, the forerunner of the United Nations. As a member of the Famous Five women who championed the famous Persons Case to have women declared “person” in a legal sense in 1927 she has left a lasting legacy to the women of Canada. In 1966 she was declared a Person of National Historic Significance by the Canadian Historic Sites Monuments Board. The Famous Five have been pictured on the Back of the Canadian fifty dollar bill. Source: Online; Famous 5  Foundation  (2020)

Kim Pate


Born November 10, 1959. Kim graduated in 1984 from Dalhousie Law School, Halifax Nova Scotia. Kim's post graduated studies were in forensic mental health. Kim is the proud mother of a son and a daughter. She began her career working with the Calgary John Howard Society and later at the national office. She has taught prison law, human rights and social justice,  and defending battered women on trial at the faculties of Law at the University of Ottawa, Dalhousie University and the University of Saskatchewan.  Kim was appointed the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies i992. The Elizabeth Fry Society works in coalition with Aboriginal women, women with mental health issues and other disabling conditions, visible minorities, immigrant women, poor women, as well as those isolated and otherwise deprived of potential sources of support. In 2014 she was named as a Member of the Order of Canada. She also occupied the Sallows Chair in Human Rights at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law in 2014 and 2015. She has received the Governor General's Award for the Commemoration of the Persons Case and the Bertha Wilson Touchtone Award from the Canadian  Bar Association. In 2016 she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the Senate of Canada to sit as an independent. (2020) 

Lise Payette SEE - Politicians

Landon Pearson



Senator and child health and children's right advocate

née Mackenzie. Born November 16, 1930 Toronto, Ontario. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Masters degree in Education  in 1951. That same year she married Geoffrey Pearson, son of Prime Minister L.B. Pearson, and a Canadian Foreign Service Officer.  The couple would have a family of five children, and live in France, Mexico, India and the Soviet Union. In each country, Landon not only was concerned for her own children but observed and marveled at each of the country’s children’s survival skills. Turning  concern into action she served on various commissions, organizations and committees dealing with the welfare and rights of children. In 1974 she founded Children Learning for Living. In 1979 she was vice chair of the Canadian Commission for the International Year of the Child. The committee report has had many of its recommendations accomplished with the help of her activities including abused children and women’s safety, income tax deductions for child care costs and regulations for infant car seats. Appointed to the Senate of Canada (1994-2005) she carried on her efforts for children around the world. She co-founded the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children and the monies from a book published in 2003 were given to Street Kids International. In 2005 she was designated by the Nobel Prize group as one of the 1000 Women of Peace Project. In 2006 she opened the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights.  In 2008 she was inducted an Officer in the Order of Canada. Source: Fiery God Mother by Thom Barker Ottawa City June/July 2004 P. 44-48 : 1000 Peace Women Across the Globe. Online ( accessed June 2008) (2020)

Mary Peck

Born October 9, 1904, Ampthill, England. Died May 11, 1992, Vancouver, British Columbia. Mary was a grade school teacher who was asked to work with children who could not leave home for classes. She was driven from home to home to teach individual children many of who suffered from arthritis. She established the British Columbia Spastic Society to help out and bring together those who suffered. Soon it became the British Columbia Arthritis Society. An editor friend sent out an appeal from Mary seeking news of others who suffered from across the country. In 1948 the new national organization had its roots. In 1953 Mary Peck  was given the Queen’s Coronation Medal. By 1956 her efforts earned her the British Columbia Good Citizen Award. She has also been inducted into the Order f Canada. There is a Mary Peck Arthritis Program which provides treatment services for children and adults who suffer from the disease. Soon research was working to  catch suffering before it became totally disabling and soon, thanks to Mary’s efforts less and less children had to be kept at home because of the disease. In 1990 the Mary Peck Arthritis Society Chair in Rheumatology was established at the University of British Columbia. Always humble, Mary felt that each acknowledgement of her work should be shared with the numerous volunteers who worked towards the establishment of the Canadian Arthritis Society. Source: The history of Metropolitan Vancouver Hall of Fame online (Accessed November 2012) :Pioneers every one by E. Blanche Norcross (Burns and MacEachern Ltd, 1979) (2020)

Marie Catherine Pélissier Sales Laterière

née Delezenne. Born March 26, 1755. Died 1831. As a young woman she was forced to marry a man more than twice her age, Christophe Pélissier, in 1775. During her arranged marriage she continued her affair with the man she really loved, Sale de Laterière.  The lovers eventually signed a marriage contract for which she was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. In 1779 Laterière was imprisoned for treason. Marie visited him in prison until his release in 1782. They became legally married in 1799 with the death of Pélissier. She is perhaps a true symbol of one who fought for the rights of individuals.  (2020)

Tshaukuesh 'Elizabeth' Penashue Elizabeth has bee a life long advocate for Innu rights in her home area of Labrador. In 1963 she married Francis Penashue and the couple attempted to go back to the old way of life on the land. The couple had nine children. In the late 1980's and 1990's she was arrested while defending her land from the harms of the NATO low-level flying exercises and Voisey Bay hydro project. These events dimished the capacity of the land to recover itself. The National Film Board documentary, Hunters and Bombers, highlighted the problem. She was an outspoken critic of the Muskrat Falls hydro project which she feels threatens the water on which the Innu and wildlife depend. Since 1996 Elizabeth has made an annual trek to Nutshimit, a 150 mile snowshoe trek, walking to show the love of the land and traditions of Innu peoples. In the summer she guides a month long canoe trip on the Churchill River. She is a respected Innu elder from Sheshatshiu First Nation who takes this three week journey into the Labrador backcountry to highlight the importance of maintaining the traditional ways of the Innu, and or preserving Innu culture and identity. Elizabeth invites anyone to join her on her trek and is especially pleased when she is joined by Innu youth including her grandchildren. She is a hands on teacher showing the young how not to get lost in the north. People have been known to returned from their life in the south to make a trek with Elizabeth. Elizabeth has published her story and her teachings in her 2019 book, Nitinikiau Innusi I keep the Land Alive. (2020)
Edith Perrin Died 1909, England. In 1883 Edith accompanied her brother, Rev. William Wilcox Perrine, a bishop of the Anglican Church to work in British Columbia. He was appointed to the position by Queen Victoria.  In 1884 the Victoria and Vancouver Island local Council of Women was formed with Edith as chair from 1895-1899 and president until 1903. The group was concerned about conditions of working class women and children. They lobbied for female school trustees and women matrons in prisons. In 1886/7 she was the provincial representative to the National Council of women and she attended the International Council of Women in England as a Canadian delegate. Appreciation for her services was recognized with local and national life memberships to the Council of Women. Edith also served on the local executive of the Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) Refuge Home for Prostitutes and Unwed mothers lobbying for new accommodations for these women. She was als involved in the formation of the Victoria Children's Aid Society in 1901 serving as the 1st president. When her brother the bishop decided to  marry and her services in serving his household were no longer required to returned to live in England.  Source: DCB

Aaju Peter

Inuk Lawyer

Born 1960, Arkisserniaq, Greenland. In 1981 she and her family settled in Iqaluit, Nunivut. Aaju has travelled across Canada, Greenland, and throughout Europe introducing people to the traditions of the Inuit peoples. She speaks about sustainability and resources and their impact on the traditional way of life in the Canadian Arctic. She also well known for her designs of sealskin fashions. She graduated from Akitsiraq Law School, Iqaluit, Nunivut in 2005 and was called to the bar in Nunavut in 2007. She became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011. In 2013 she was featured in the documentary Arctic Defenders and in the 2016 documentary Angry Inuk. (2020) 

Lilian Marietta 'Minnie' Phelps Born June 1, 1859, Merritton (now St Catherines) Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died January 13, 1920, St Catharines, Ontario. As a student Minnie showed promise as a speaker and graduated from the Philadelphia School of Oratory, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Back home in Canada she was a founding member of the Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1877 and served as recording secretary until 1881. She was a popular lecturer in the WCTU for two decades. She helped found local WCTU groups in South West Ontario and served a President in St Catharines several times up to 1900. In 1893 she was named a Dominion Commissioner of the Columbia Exposition in Chicago  and in 1895 she was a representative at the world even in London England. She was a superintendant of the WCTU Press Department and from 1891-1894 she was Superintendant of the Department of Parliamentary Urges. She founded and served as Superintendant of the Department of Work Amound Blacks but starving Black's consumption was an insurmountable task for the WCTU. In 1883 she served with the Canadian Women's Suffrage Association pursuing equality in pay and voting rights for women. She also became a welcome and well known lecturer in the U.S.A. Source: DCB (2020)

Margaret Alberta Phillips

Born April 12, 1931. Died November 4, 2015, Thunder Bay, Ontario. In 1957 Margaret was the 1st woman in Canada to be hired as an arena manager. She worked 3 years in Iroquois Falls, Ontario. From 1960-1967 she was Recreational Director in Kenora, Ontario. In 1965 she became the 1st woman president of the Society of Municipal Recreation of Ontario. In 1971 for ten years she was Executive Director of Lakehead Social Planning Council dealing with regional day care services, co-op housing and regional transit. She helped found the Thunder Bay Women’s Center. 1982-1992 she was a member of the Northern Women’s Journal Collective. In 1984 she co-founded with Anna McColl the Northern Woman’s Bookstore. From the mid 1980’s through to 1997 she worked with Inner Pares, a non-government organization working on social justice. She was also a Board member of the Canadian Council on Social Development and the Ontario Welfare Council. (2020)

Mary Pellatt

Lady Pellatt

née Dodgson. Born April 16, 1858, Toronto, Ontario. Died April 24, 1924, Toronto, Ontario. Mary marries Henry Pellatt on June 15, 1982. Henry was knighted in 1905 by King Edward Vll providing the couple with the titles Lord and Lady Pellatt.  The 1st Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada, Lady Pellatt lived in a Castle! Lady Mary often invited Girl Guides to have rallies at Casa Loma in Toronto. She was warranted as Commissioner of the Dominion of Canada Girl Guides on July 24, 1912. When she was too ill to attend events she enjoyed watching the girls from her bedroom window. Resigning her position in 1921 she was awarded the guiding Silver Fish Award in 1922.When Lady Pellatt died in April 1924. She was buried in her Girl Guide uniform and the Girl Guides formed a Guard of Honour at the funeral service. The Pellatt home, Casa Loma, is now a museum which includes a display dedicated to Guiding. (2020)

Betty Peterson






née Faber. Born November 27, 1917, Reading, Pennsylvania. U.S.A. Died February 24 2018, Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1039 Betty graduated from Syracuse University, New York, U.S.A. She taught music and married Gunnar Peterson (d1976). The couple would have three children. Betty and Gunnar where conscientious objectors to World War ll and after the dropping of the atomic bombs in Japan the couple vowed to devote their lives to peace. In 1950 the family lived in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. and participated in the 1960's sit-ins and civil disobedience demonstrations. Betty became a community educator and organizer for voting equality. In Protests of the U S involvement in the war in Vietnam the couple settled in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in 1975. After the death of Gunnar Betty relocated to Halifax. Betty became an activist with the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace. in 1982 she marched in New York, U.S.A. against nuclear weapons as a representative of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. It was one of the largest peace demonstrations in History. It would be in the 1980's that Betty delivered the Women's International Peace Petition with tens of thousands of Canadian signatures to the United Nations special session on disarmament. Betty had strong organization skills she was involved for 35 years in organizing non-violent campaigns for peace and social justice. In the late 1980's she worked for justice of Indigenous peoples across the country. She camped out near the airport in Goose Bay Labrador to pretest low flying NATO planes that disturbed live. In 1995 she brought a group together to protest at the G7 meeting of world leaders in Halifax.  She became a member of the Raging Grannies who used street theatre to put their points across. (2020)

Jean Anne Pinkham

née Drever. Born 1849, Lower Fort Garry, Manitoba. Died January 3, 1940, Calgary, Alberta. As were many young girls, Jean was well educated and had learned to play music. On December 29, 1868 she married an Anglican Clergyman, William Cyprian Pinkham  (1844-1928). The couple had 8 children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood. In Winnipeg Jean was the 1st organist at Holy trinity Anglican Church and a driving force that helped found the Winnipeg General Hospital. In 1887 her husband became Archbishop of Saskatchewan and Calgary and the family relocated to Calgary. She was not only busy with bringing up her family but took over many duties of her husband who traveled a great deal for his work.  Jean chaired the 1st meeting of the Local Council of women, helped to establish Calgary’s 1st general hospital and organized the Women’s Hospital Aid Society to help keep the hospital funded. She helped to establish the Victoria Order of Nurses (VON) in Calgary as well as the 1st chapter of the IODE (Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire). Sources: Sanderson, Kay. 200 Remarkable Women of Alberta. (s.l., s.d.) online (Accessed September 2014) (2020)

Mary Isabel Ross Pinkham

Born 1878 Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died 1964. During World War l Mary organized Red Cross branches in her province. She is credited as being the founder of the Alberta Division of the Canadian Red Cross. She was active in the Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE) and was a member of the Women’s Hospital Aid Society. She served as Bursar of St. Hilda’s College for Girls one of the 1st private school for girls. She was the recipient of the Royal Jubilee Medal and in 1935 she received the Order of the British Empire. (2020)

Maria Heathfield Pollard-Grant

née Pollard Born September 15, 1854, Quebec City, Lower Canada (Quebec). Died March 30, 1937, Victoria, British Columbia. In 1871 Maria’s family relocated to Victoria, British Columbia where her Methodist minister father was offered a position. July 30, 1874 she married Gordon Fraser/Frazar Munro Grant (   -1908). The couple had seven children who survived infancy. Maria and her mother were founding members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of British Columbia and both would serve on the executive. In 1885 Maria together with other WCTU members traveled the province with a petition for women’s voting rights and took the 1st petition for female suffrage to the provincial legislature. She was also the key organizer of the Local Council of Women in Victoria in 1894. In January 1895 this group of determined women got the provincial government to allow women to serve as school trustees. In March 1895 she becomes the 1st woman to be a school trustee in British Columbia and the 1st woman to be elected to a municipal position in the province. She was elected secretary to the Nation Prohibition Federation of Temperance Societies of Canada. In 1900 she became President of the provincial WCTU. In 1904 she co-supervised construction of a Refuge Home for unwed mothers. In 1910 she was the 1st President of Victoria’s Political Equity League (PEL) and helped form the British Columbia PEL the following year. She also helped to create a local Day nursery. In 1904 she helped establish the Children’s Aid Society of Victoria where she became an employee. In 1918 she formed the Women’s Independent Political Association to support female candidates in civic elections. Source: DCB. (2020)

Harriet Irene Dunlop Prenter 

 SEE - Dunlop Prenter.

Louise Profelt-LeBlanc

Social Activist for Aboriginal rights

Born Whitehorse, Yukon. Louise is a member of the Nacho-N’Yak Dun (People of the Big River) First Nation, Yukon. As the Aboriginal Arts Coordinator for the Canada Council Louise works to ensure Aboriginal Arts receive the attention they deserve. She has also worked in the area of mental health, specifically suicide prevention. In 1996 she co-founded the Yukon Storytelling Festival. She encourages people to tell their story adding strength to any story. (2020)

Mary Clark Pyne

Born 1924, Saskatchewan. Died November 11, 2014. She was trained as a nurse and attended the United Church Training School in 1950 and became a medical missionary with the United Church of Canada. Her1st post was to the frontier town of Cold Lake, Alberta. She was one who makes friends wherever she worked. She studied Portuguese in Portugal before heading in 1956 to Angola where she learned the local language of Umbundu. At home In Canada, she upgraded her nursing skills earning a BSc from the University of Saskatchewan, learned French, and then was off to the Congo and Zaire. She was forced to return to Canada after contacting tuberculosis and malaria. Once recuperated she returned to Northern Canada where she earned her pilot’s license so that she could have easier access to northern communities. After retiring in Canada she worked with Canadian University Services in Nicaragua. She found time to be married to Des Pyne, in 1978, while doing her travels. She enjoyed being step mother to his three daughters and numerous grandchildren.  She earned her Bachelor of Education in 1989 so she could be better at teaching. Leaving the work in remote global areas to younger people she retired in 1994 allowing herself time to earn a degree in modern language and to express herself in writing poetry and her memoirs. Source: Herstory: a Canadian women’s calendar 2007; In Memoriam, Diakonia of the United Church of Canada, Online (accessed 2020)

Olga Rains

née Trestorff. Born the Netherlands.  Olga met Lloyd Rains three weeks after the Dutch Liberation in May 1945. The couple were married on Christmas Eve, 1945 in Haarlem, The Netherlands. Olga would join her solder husband to live in Canada becoming what is known as a war Bride. In 1980 the couple founded Project Roots to help children left in Europe after the war find their Canadian soldier fathers. Olga wrote stories of the Dutch war brides in her 1984 book We Became Canadians. She has also written Children of the Liberation and The Summer of 46. In April 1997 Olga was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands for work with Project Roots. In 2006 she published Voices of the Left Behind: Project Roots and the Canadian War Children of World War ll, telling the stories of children who were fathered by Canadian soldiers during the war and who were left behind when the soldiers returned home to Canada.  Source: Project Roots Online (accessed July 2000). (2020)

Alice Ravenhill Born 1859, Snaresbrook, Essex, England. Died May 27, 1954, Victoria, British Columbia. Alice would study public health , child development, and home economics. In 1893 she was an educator working in Bedforshire and Lincolnshire. The next couple of year she was secretary to the Royal British Nurses Association. She then worked as a lecturer for the Co-operative Society and Women's Co-operative Guild. By the early 1900's she was lecturing in Social and Household Science at the University of London. This job took her to the U.S.A. to study and teach. By this time she had already published numerous article and several books on public health and domestic science which no doubt helped her to be the 1st woman elected a Fellow of the Royal Sanitary Institute. In 1910 she immigrated to Canada, originally just for a short time but would remain here for the rest of her life. She helped organize branches of the Women's Institute (WI) and was offered the position of Director of Home Economics, State College, Logan Utah where she stayed until 1919. Back in British Columbia she was researching Indigenous designs for rugs for the WI. As her research continued she began to have a deep interest in indigenous rights. In 1938 she published Native Tribes of British Columbia. In 1940 she was co-founder of the Society for the Furtherance of Indian Arts and Crafts in British Columbia. where she was the 1st secretary. In 1944 she wrote A Cornerstone of Canadian Culture: An Outline of the Arts and Crafts of the Indian Tribes of British Columbia. She even wrote books for Aboriginal children. In 1951 her autobiography, Memoirs of an Educational Pioneer was published. In 2008 she was named a Person of National Historic Significance by the Canadian Government. (2020)
Katherine Ross Queen née Ross. Born February 14, 1885, Black Isle, Scotland. Died September 10, 1934, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Katherine would move with her family to Inverness and then to Glasgow. It was here she first gained an interest in the labour movement and met John Queen. The tow were married June 25, 1908 after immigrating to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Katherine was soon a member of the Social Democratic Party. In 1916 John was elected as a city alderman. During World War l she joined the Winnipeg Woman's Labour League fighting for a minimum wedge for working women and opposed conscription for war service. After the war she supported the ideal of a Co-operative Commonwealth and became president of the Labour Women of Greater Winnipeg standing for birth control clinics and medical insurance programs. She also pushed for sterilization of the 'unfit'. She established youth groups and taught Sunday school. In order to help poor widows she started a Mother's Allowance Auxiliary. Source D C B (2020)

Judy Rebick

Born Reno, Nevada, U.S.A. 1945. A well known journalist she is an established social activist for women's issues. She honed her skills as President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women from 1990-1993. She is perhaps one of Canada's best known political commentators. She has hosted shows on the CBC such as Face-off and From the Hip, a women's discussion show on CBC Newsworld. She has co-authored a book Politically speaking with Ken Roach (Toronto,1996) and published in the traditional manner two books, Imagine democracy (Toronto, 200) and Ten thousand roses: the making of a feminist revolution (Toronto, 2005). She contributes on a regular basis to various Canadian newspapers and magazines and is one of the founders of a virtual publication that is a lively forum of critical politics meant to be an alternative to mainstream media. She lectures across the country and is on staff in women's studies at the University of Toronto as well as being the GINDIN Chair in social justice and democracy at Ryerson University in Toronto. (2020)

Flavia Elliott Redelmeier

née Elliott. Born March 9, 1926. Flavia received her BA in 1948 from the University of Toronto, on the same day as her mother received her degree. On December 29, 1950 she married Ernest Redelmeier (died 2009) and the couple would have two sons. Her wedding dress was the adapted gown from her grandmother's wedding in 1897. By 1951 she had graduated with a Masters degree. This volunteer has donated her life time to such organizations as the Girl Guides of Canada where she was an executive member and camping commissioner for Canada. She has served on hospital and museum boards including as a board member at the Canadian Museum of Nature.  May 8, 2013 Flavia was honoured by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) with the  Distinguished Service Award for the incredible impact and support for the ROM. (2020)

Eliza Arden Redfern née Robinson. Born 1852?, England. Died March 19, 1966, Victoria, British Columbia. Eliza arrived in British Columbia in 1875. On October 5, 1877 she married a prominent businessman, Charles Edward Redfern. The couple had nine children. Charles would serve several terms as mayor of Victoria in the 1890's. Eliza supported the British Columbia Protestant Orphans Home and  The Friendly Help Society, which helped local destitute families. Her main efforts were with the Children's Aid Society of Victoria (CAS) which as formed in 1901. She found home for many homeless children. In 1904 through 1906 she became vice president of the CAS. In recognition of her service flags in Victoria were flown at half staff upon her death. Source D C B (2020)
Eliza Anne McIntosh Reid née McIntosh. Born October 30, 1841, Montreal, Quebec. Died January 8, 1926, Montreal, Quebec. On September 12, 1867 Eliza married businessman Robert Reid. The couple had one daughter. In 1892 she founded the Montreal Women's Club which is considered to be the 1st women's association in Canada. The group was concerned about the lack of women on school and hospital boards as well as the lack of women teaching at university. The ladies organized lectures and circulated petitions which were sent o provincial politicians. In 1893 the Montreal Women's Association became affiliated with the newly formed National Council of Women becoming the Montreal local chapter with Eliza as vice-president. At the national level Eliza served on a committee that studied the legal protection of women and children. Eliza and her daughter Helen (1869-1941) served with the Victorian Order of Nurses promoting health hygiene and recognition of nurses as professionals. In Montreal itself Eliza worked to improve housing for the poor, development of public parks, public transportation, public playgrounds and public baths. She also worked to improve the lot of those in prisons and of alcoholics. Source D C B (2020)
Helen Richmond Young Reid Born December 11, 1869, Montreal, Quebec. Died June 8, 1941. Helen's early education was at the Montreal School for Girls. She applied to McGill University even though she knew the university did not accept women as students. Her mother Eliza Reid (1841-1926) convinced the president of the university, Donald A. Smith to have an endowment to cover the cost of separate classes for women. Helen was one of the 'Donaldas' in 1889. She pursued additional studies at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Back in Montreal, Helen and some of her Donald classmates opened a settlement house for immigrant women. In 1895 they opened the 1st children's library in Montreal. Helen served on the Montreal Council of Women and helped establish the City's chapter of the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON). During World War l she was director of Montreal Chapter of the Canadian Patriotic Fund. For her war efforts she was recognized by Kink George V, as well and the French and Italian governments. After the war she helped establish the School of Nursing and the School of Social Work at McGill University. She would serve for 15 years as director of the School of Social Work. For the 1900 International Exposition in Paris France she edited the book: Women of Canada: Their Life and Work. In 1917 she had authored the boo, War Relief in Canada followed in 1920 with A Social Study Along Health Lines. She continued to write books on Ukrainian, Canadians and Japanese Canadians with Charles H. Young in the 1930's. She also served in various local and national agencies. In 1935 she became a Commander of the order of the British Empire. McGill University offers a scholarship in her name. Her personal library was donated to McGill University. Source: DCB (2020)

Dorothy Reitman



Born October 13, 1932, Montreal, Quebec. Dorothy was educated at McGill University. May 26, 1952 she married Cyril Reitman (born 1928) son of the Reitman Clothing entrepreneurs. The couple have one son. Dorothy was a founding member of the Portage Program for Drug Dependency, the Council of Canadian Unity and Auberge Shalom for Battered Women as well as being instrumental in establishing Kosher Meals on Wheels in Montreal. She was also a founding member of the Match Centre which was established in the UN Year of the Woman in 1975 to enable women from Canada to share their experience and expertise with women from developing countries. Dorothy was particularly interested on Kenya. At the 1985 Match International conference she was part of the Jewish coalition fighting the UN Declaration on Zionism as racism. She has served as honorary chair of the McGill University Centre for Research and Teaching for Women, co-chaired the Canadian Conference of Christians and Jews and chaired the Commonwealth Jewish Foundation of Canada. She was the first woman elected as president from 1986-1989 of the Canadian Jewish Congress.  Her endeavors have been marked with the Montreal Jewish Community Young leadership award in 1965, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1967, the Commonwealth Jewish Council Annual Award in 1989 and the Governor’s Generals Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case in 1992. On October 22, 1997 she was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada. Sources: Canadian Who’s Who, University of Toronto 2006 : Brown, Michael “Dorothy Reitman. Jewish Women: A Commemorative Historical Encyclopedia. 1 March 2008. Jewish Women’s Archive. (Accessed August 2011) (2020)

Nancy Riche

Born October 14, 1944, St. John’s Newfoundland. Died October 1, 2011, St. John’s Newfoundland . Nancy graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland and during her career held various career in Labour organizations. She was secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress from 1984 through till retirement in 2002. She served as Vice-president of the Brussels based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (I C F T U) and chair of its women’s committee from 1993-2002. After retirement she returned to her beloved Newfoundland and was President of the Newfoundland and Labrador New Democratic Party from 2003-2008. She received both the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) Woman of Courage Award and the Governor’s General Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case in 2002. The AFL-CIO presented her with the Meary-Lane Human Rights Award. In 2004 she became an Officer in the Order of CanadaIn 2009 she received the Elijah Barayi Award from the Congress of South African Trade Unions for her struggle against apartheid.  Sources:  Women of Ottawa: Mentors and Milestones (accessed October 2011.) (2020)

Eliza Ritchie

Born May 20, 1856 Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Died September 5, 1935. In 1982, a year after women were allowed to attend Dalhousie University in Halifax Eliza began her undergraduate studies. She studied for three years in the general program which did not provide a degree. She switched in 1886 for a fourth year to obtain a Bachelor of Letters with first-class honours. By 1889 she had completed a doctorate (PhD) at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A. An educator, feminist and author in 1889 Eliza received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in the United States. She is probably the 1st Canadian woman to have received a doctor of letters. She remained in the United States teaching for near a decade. She then continued her studies in Leipzig, Germany and at Oxford University in England. She wrote numerous articles for learned journals and even published book reviews on philosophical tests that were written in Italian, German and French. She volunteered at the Victoria School of Art and Design in Halifax and in 1917 she became a member of the Board of Directors of the school. In 1908 she was a founder member of the Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Arts and in the late 1920's served as Vice-President.  She was also a strong supporter of libraries and especially children's departments in libraries. She was also suffragette and an active member of the local Local Council of Women and the National Council of Women. She served as President of the Nova Scotia Suffrage league which was also known a the Nova Scotia Equal Franchie League. In 1911 she became President of the Dalhousie Alumnae Association where she worked to establish the university's 1st womens residence, Forest Hall where she served warden in 1912/1913. Her appointment to the Dalhousie University Board of Governors in 1919 is also a 1st for Canadian women. She served two three year terms on the Board. She was a member of the founding editorial board for the Dalhousie Review in 1921. Eliza was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Dalhousie. As part of the celebrations marking 100 years since the graduation of the first woman from Dalhousie University (Halifax) in 1985, the Eliza Ritchie Doctoral Scholarship for Women was established, and it was fittingly awarded for the first time in 1987, the centenary of Eliza Ritchie’s graduation and the 60th anniversary of her honorary degree. In the same year, a small university residence named for her was opened. (2020)

Margaret 'Madge' Robertson Watt née Robertson. Born June 5, 1868, Collingwood, Ontario. Died 1948, Montreal, Quebec. Madge earned her Bachelor and Master's Degrees from the University of Toronto. She became a journalist writing in New York, U.S.A. She also sold stories , articles and poems for publication. In 1894 she married Dr. Alfred Watt (died 1913). The couple settled in Metchosin, British Columbia in 1897 and had  two children. Madge served as secretary to the advisory board of the Womens Institute and was a member of the University of British Columbia  senate. She continued writing and served as president of the Vancouver Island Press Association. After the death of her husband she relocated to England where she founded the 1st Womens Institute in Great Britain on September 15, 1916 in Llanfairpwll-on-Anglesey, Wales, with Queen Mary as honourary president. Madge was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her wok with the Womens Institute and the work this group did during World War l. She organized and served as president to the Associated Countrywomen of the World. he traveled to Austria, Sweden, U.S.A., Holland, France, Belgium and Italy. Her work garnered her the Agriculture Order of Merit from France and Belgium. Albert Watt Rd in Metchosin is named in the couple's honour. Source: Alfred Watt Road, British Columbia Womens Institute. Online (Accessed 2020)
Huldah S. McMullen Rockwell née McMullen. Born November 22, 1854, Picton, Upper Canada (now Ontario) Died December 24, 1904, Duluth, Michigan, U.S.A. Huldah attended Hamilton Ladies College in Ontario. As a young woman she was a traveling companion to the social activists Letitia Youmans (1827-1896) a proponent of the Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). On February 5, 1879 married John Rockwell. The couple settled in Kingston, Ontario and had three children. Huldah continued to work with the WCTU gathering temperance pledges and  lobbing government support for temperance and prohibition. The women decided that in order to gain momentum for their goals that they needed to be able to vote and Huldah was the ramrod for this goal. By 1884 widows, women property owners, and unmarried women could vote in Ontario municipal election. In 1893 the Rockwell family had relocated to Toronto where Huldah became active protesting streetcars funning on Sunday. By 1901 the family had moved once again, this time to Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.A. where Huldah became an active member of the Twentieth Century Club. Shorltly after this she was diagnosed with cancer. Source: DCB.  (2020)

Lily Rosebush

née Houghton. Born May 28, 1924, Toronto, Ontario. Died June 14, 2013. Her family struggled financially and she worked in a General Electric factory giving half of her $9.00 weekly pay to her mother. She married Thomas Joseph Rosebush and the couple had 5 children. She founded Brownies and Girl Guide units in their home town of Warsaw, Ontario. Selling the family garage in 1969 they eventually settled in Peterborough. In 1973 she left her husband and worked at several sales clerking jobs to keep her family going. In October 1980 her son, Ralph, was killed by an impaired driver. She became a pioneer in the North American Movement against drunk driving. In 1985-1884 she served as president of the Peterborough Against Impaired Driving (PAID) which she helped to create. She has received the Ontario Crime Prevention Award, the Addiction Research Foundation Community Achievement Award, and the City of Peterborough Award for Outstanding Contribution. The Lily Rosebush Award, named in her honour is given to outstanding contributors to lives in crisis. She had a simple goal, to fix things going wrong in the world and make the world a better placeSource: “Feminist before her time” by Danielle Adams, The Globe and Mail, July 9, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Bertha Rosenthal

née Lehman. Born August 2, 1849 Berlin, Germany. Died December 10, 1922, Ottawa Ontario. On March 27, 1867 she married Aaron Rosenthal whom she met on a visit to Austria. The couple had five sons. After their marriage they lived a short time in England before emigrating to Canada in 1874 and finally settling in Ottawa. Here Aaron opened a jewelry shop and they became one of the founding families of the Ottawa Jewish community. Bertha became a leader of the Ladies Auxiliary Society of the Adath Jeshurun congregation. She organized events for all special celebrations. She was also a strong help to incoming immigrants to the growing community through her Ottawa Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society. She founded the organization in 1898 and served as president until her death. Funds were raised through publications like the Economical Cook Book (Ottawa, 1915) which was the 1st such collection of Jewish recipes in Canada. She was also honorary president of the Ottawa Ladies Sewing Circle which grew out of the Red Cross effort of her friend Mrs. Freiman. She gave her time and talents to other groups as well such as the Perley Home for Incurables, the war effort in support of the Ottawa General Hospital and services to veterans returning home. Source: The Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Online (Accessed November 2011) (2020)

Betty Ross

Aboriginal Activist

Born Cross Lake First Nation, Manitoba. As a child she was removed from her home by the Government of Canada to attend an Indian Residential School. Betty was a true survivor and despite being discouraged at school to let go of her cultural heritage she found a way to learn about her culture, to embrace it and to share it with others eager to learn. Betty is a social worker, counselor and interpreter. 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. In 2012, David Robertson wrote an e-book called Sugar Falls: A residential School Story (Toronto: Portage and Main Press) a novel for young readers which is based on Betty’s own school experiences. Sources; Matt Preprost, “Gala recognizes accomplishments”.  Winnipeg Free Press June 18, 2010 Page; David Robertson, Sugar Falls: A residential school story.   (2020)

Sandra Rotman

née Frieberg. Born May 10, 1938 Toronto, Ontario. Sandra earned her teaching certificate from the Toronto Teachers College in 1958. Sandra  married in 1959 to  lawyer Joseph Rotman. The couple had two children. In 1960-1961 she studied fine arts at Barnard College, New York City, U.S.A. She returned home to Canada and earned at Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in 1975.  Over a period of 20 years the couple served on numerous boards including the Ontario Heritage Foundation, The University Health Network, the Art Gallery of Ontario from 2004 through 2019, Canadian Friends for the Israel Museum, and the Toronto International Film Festival. They donated more than $90 million. In 2006 she was induced into the Order of Ontario. The couple were proud torch bearers for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. In 2009 the couple received the Outstanding Philanthropists Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In 2010 they received the Beth Sholom Brotherhood Humanitarian Award. In 2013 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. (2020) 

Nellie Langford Rowell

Born December 16, 1874. Died 1968. In 1896 Nellie graded from Victoria College, Toronto. She was one of 14 women who dared entered the halls of learning with 265 male freshmen. She joined the Victoria College Women’s Literary Society and soon became Vice President. She was also V-P, and the only women on the executive of the Victoria College Missionary Society. A year after graduation she completed her teacher training course. After teaching for awhile in 1901 she married Newton Wesley Rowell, a brilliant young lawyer who was destined to leave his own mark in Canadian legal history circles. In 1906 Nellie continued her lifelong relationship with Victoria College when she joined the Board of Management of Annesley Hall, a women’s residence. In 1910 she became an active member of the YWCA National executive and in 1913 was president of the Dominion Council. In 1927 she was appointed to the World Committee of the YWCA. She would remain committed and active with the YWCA until she resigned in 1934. In 1913 she founded the Toronto’s Women’s Liberal Association for which she served as President and later, 22 years as honorary President. By 1919 she was President of the Ontario Women’s Liberal Association. She also served a lifetime of services with the university Women’s Club and her local Women’s Missionary Society. In 1969  the Toronto New Feminists set up a library. In the 1980’s the library was the bases for the Nellie Langford Rowell Library at York University.  Sources: Re-examining history: bringing a name to life, Nellie Langford Rowell by Maria Carney. Toronto: Nellie Langford Rowell Women’s Studies Library, 1987. (Accessed June 2011). (2020)

Nancy Ruth (Jackman)

Member of Senate of Canada

Born January 6, 1942. Nancy Ruth is Canada's 1st feminist philanthropist. With less that 5% of funding from private foundations and corporations going to women and girls her philosophy remains: "If women don't give to women and girls, who will?" As an activist, Nancy Ruth was part of the 1981 push for the inclusion of the equity clauses (15 & 28) in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She is a founding mother of one of Canada's largest original women's history website, Cool Women and of The Womens' Legal Education and Action Fund - LEAF/FARJ. (Be sure check out the teen pages at the site ) and of the Canadian Women's Foundation/Foundation des Femmes Canadiennes, who founded among other things the "White Ribbon Campaign". Nancy Ruth holds three honourary degrees and the Order of Canada. In 2005 Prime Minister Paul Martin appointed her to the Senate of Canada. (2020)

Idola Saint-Jean




Born May 19, 1879, Montreal, Quebec. Died April 6, 1945, Montreal, Quebec. Idola studied in Montreal and became a teacher of the French language. However it would be her dedication to the fight for women's rights, specifically the right to vote in her home province of Quebec, for which she would be best remembered. Quebec would be the last province in Canada to grant the vote to women and the battle was won by the direct efforts of women like Idola Saint-Jean. She founded the Alliance canadienne pour le vote des femmes du Quebec. Rue Idola Saint-Jean can be found in Sherbrooke, Quebec and Montreal has named a park in her honour. In March 1981 Canada Post issued a stamp depicting Idola St-Jean. In 1991 the Federation des femmes du Québec (FFQ) instituted Le Prix Idola Saint-Jean. In 1997 the Canadian Historic Sites and Monuments Board declared Idola Saint Jean an Person of National Historic Interest. In 2020 the Premier of Quebec Pauline Marois unveiled a statue of three Quebec female social activists, Idola Saint Jean, Therese Casgrain and Marie Claire Kirkland. (2020)

Norma Scarborough

Born 1918. Died April 2, 2009. During World War ll Norma served in the Canadian Women’s Army Corp. Norma was married and had 5 children. She worked as a secretary for the Scarborough Township (near Toronto) School Board. On November 19, 1974 she was a founder of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League/Association comedienne pour le droit d’avortement (CARAL/ACDA) (2020) 

Lauren Donna 'Becca' Scholfield

Born 1999, Moncton, New Brunswick. Died February 17, 2018, Riverside, New Brunswick. In December of 2016 Becca learned that she had a brain tumor. She called her tumor ‘Butterscotch’. She posted a letter on Facebook asking people to cross an item off her bucket list by performing random acts of kindness using the hash tag #BrendaToldMeto. The request went viral. The social media campaign inspired altruistic acts not only in her home town but around the world Her home province gave her a day of honour in September and she even got the attention of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In November 2017 a second tumor was found. The family requested Christmas cards and they were overwhelmed with the mail. With the announcement of her death porch lights across North America were lit in her memory. Supporters have pledged to carry out her last wish to continue sharing random acts of good deeds. (2020)

Margaret Ruttan Scott         3518 née Boucher. Born July 28, 1855/56 Colborne, Upper Canada. Died August 1, 1931, Winnipeg, Manitoba. After the death of her father in 1868 Margaret was brought up by her aunts in Campbellford. In the early 1870's she married William Hepburn Scott who died within three years of their marriage leaving her to work for her own support. She worked in the office of the Midland Railwy of Canada, Peterborough, Ontario and later was transferred to the Montreal Office of the Grand Trunck Railway where she supervised 50 women. By 1886, on advice of doctors, she relocated to Winnipeg finding work at the Dominion Lands Office  and later at a local law firm. She also volunteered for office work at Holy Trinity Anglican Church. By 1897 she was living in a small room, at the Winnipeg Lodging and Coffee House owned by the church. She would devote the rest of her life to charities and social reform. She established a weekly mothers' meeting group and sought to help the needy at police court. She helped immigrants donating and delivering donated food and clothing and eventually worked with a trained nurse obtaining private financing and city help to pay the nurse. She herself did not accept any pay for her work. In 1904 a group of prominent women founded the Margaret Scott Nursing Mission where by 1907 Margaret would live.  She worked to bring needs of working class and immigrants to the attention of the local government. She worked to set up the Associated Charities in Winnipeg in 1908.She would also help developed home nursing programs which employed eight nurses in 1915. She established a child hygiene service and helped mothers of newborns and set up the Little Nurses league teaching children. By 1913 the Winnipeg School Board took on the responsibility for the league. The Margaret Scott School was opened in September 1920. She became known as the 'Angel of Poverty Row' and Winnipeg's Angel of Mercy'. Upon her death city flags flew at half staff. In 1932 the Cosmopolitan Club honoured her posthumously. In 1943 a hospital ward was named in her memory and the Margaret Scott Nursing Mission Scholarship was established in 1945 to assist post graduate nurses. Source: D C B

Anna Selick-Raginsky

née Kanen. Born November 2, 1891, Rochester, New York. U.S.A. Died February 9, 1981, Montreal, Quebec. Anna was twice married 1st to Joseph Selick with who she had one child and then to Abraham Raginsky (died 1941). Anna had been 1st vice president of the Toronto Zionist Council. In 1918 she was appointed as one of the few woman Notary Publics. In 1917 the Hadassah-WIZO organization was founded in Canada to work on behalf of Zionism. In 1921 Anna was elected as national vice-president at the 1st Hadassah-WIZO convention serving as president from 1941-1947. She also served as an officer of the Montreal Council of Women, the National Council of Women, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Maternity Aid Society of Toronto, the Women’s Canadian Club, the Daughters of the Empire and was honourary president of the Jewish National Fund of Canada. (2020) 

Ida Lewis Siegel

née Lewis. Born 1885, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Died 1962, Toronto, Ontario. Ida arrived in Canada with her family in 1893. She married Isadore Hirsch Siegel (1877-1953) a travelling salesman and store owner in Cochrane, Ontario. The couple had six children. Ida formed sewing circles like the 1912 Jewish Endeavour Sewing School of Girls, Saturday afternoon story hours and other youth activities. In 1899 she formed the Daughters of Zion, the 1st Zionist group in Canada and Ida was the 1st woman to be president of the Zionist Organization of Canada. In 1909 she helped organize the Jewish Dispensary to provide medical care to immigrants and later became the Mount Sinai Hospital. In 1915 she was a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She worked with the Hebrew Ladies Maternity Aid and Child Welfare Society and was a member of the Toronto School Board in the 1930’s and involved in establishing the foundation for the Home and School Association. A feminist she was active in the Women’s Electors of Toronto. She was also a member of the Daughters of Canada, a group developing a distinct Canadian identity. This group even went so far as to design a new Canadian flag! Source: Multiple Loyalties by Rabbi Gail Labovitz in Canadian Women Studies Vol. 16. No. 4 1996 (2020

Janina 'Janka' Stykolt Seydegart

Born August 3, 1920, Poland. Died July 30, 2008. Janka studied international law in Switzerland but with the beginning of World War ll in 1939 her family was forced to find safety and immigrated to Toronto, Ontario. Although she did not speak English she studied for her B.A. at Victoria College, University of Toronto and went on to earn a Masters of Social Work at Columbia University, New York City, New York, U.S.A. After the war she married Stanislaw Seydegart and the couple had two daughters. While her children were still in school she took the unusual step of returning to a job. She worked at the Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto assisting women with unplanned pregnancies. She became an instructor with the University Of Toronto School Of Social Work. In 1979 she became a founding member of the Feminist Party of Canada. Upon retirement she volunteered with the YWCA and with the Board of the Victoria Daycare Center helping to establish subsidized daycare. A graduate scholarship in feminist studies was established in her name at the University of Toronto. Source: Herstory; The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2010. (2020)

 Edna May Williston Sexton

née Best. Born June 25, 1880, Shédiac, New Brunswick. Died December 4, 1923, Halifax, Nova Scotia. When her father and step-mother died prematurely she went to live with family in Boston Massachusetts. In 1902 she graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She worked for a year at General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York, U.S.A. before marrying a colleague Frederic Sexton. The young couple moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia where Frederic had a job at Dalhousie University. The couple had two children. May was restless at home and soon sought outlet for her energies through various women’s organizations in Halifax. Here her abilities in organization were put to good use. She campaigned for children’s playgrounds, placing women on School boards and votes for women. On August 5, 1914, in direct response to the war effort a Central Red Cross and Relief Committee was established. May was soon organizing women from all walks of life, even crossing the colour line to create assembly line teams working for the war effort. She herself led a financial campaign with patriotic lectures being a part of the $1,000,000.00 campaign for the war effort. In 1916 a 25 bed convalescent Home was established, the 1st such facility to provide vocational training in Canada. She swept into organizational mode for relief after the 1916 devastating Halifax explosion. In 1918 she was replacement of Red Cross Hospital Committee and introduced new British standards, established libraries and sun parlours for returning wounded troops. That same year she suffered from broken health and retired from public work but still continued as a consultant for various projects. Source: D C B; (2020)

Jacqueline 'Jackie' Lorraine Shepherd

née Le Drew. Born August 16 1932, St John’s, Newfoundland. Died January 27, 2006. In the 1960’s, Jackie was a consumer advocate to be reckoned with and an activist to whom people listened. In 1967 she formed the Consumer Housewives Union and convinced members to picket food warehouses. A strong supporter of the New Democratic Party in politics she was an unsuccessful NDP federal candidate for York West in 1968. She spearheaded a fight for better housing for low-income residents and helped convince the government of the day to pass legislation that banned landlords from refusing to rent to people with children. (2020)

Bonnie Sherr-Klein

Born April 1, 1941, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.  After high school she attended Akiba Hebrew Academy where she was introduced to the social justice concept to make the world more tolerant. A concept that would remain with her and guide her life. She earned her BA at Bernard College and a teaching certificate from Temple University in Philadelphia. At Stanford University she studied  theatre. She and her physician husband Michael immigrated to Canada in 1967 in protest to the war in Viet Nam. Bonnie worked for the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal in the late 1960’s. By the 1980’s she had made dozens of movies in the NFB’s famous women’s STUDIO D while raising her two children. Perhaps the best known work was Not a Love Story: a film about pornography / C’est surtout pas de l’amour: un film sur la pronographie. In 1987 she survived two debilitating brain-stem strokes that resulted in her becoming a quadriplegic and requiring a respirator to breathe. She spent three years in full time rehabilitation. During this time she kept writing and taped her journals . From these notes she produced an award winning movie about coping with disabilities.  She became co-founder of the Society for Disability Arts and Culture and was producer of the pioneering Kickstart Festival of Disability Arts and Culture for whom she made a movie of the  same name in 2003. In 2004 she was presented with the Governor’s General Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case recognizing outstanding contributions to quality of life for women in Canada. Source. Library and Archives Canada. Bonnie Sherr Klein: Canadian women in film. Celebrating Women’s Achievements.  (accessed June 2006) This site includes an extensive bibliography. (2020)

Anastasia Marie Shkilnyk

Born August 22, 1945, Wasserberg, Germany. Died May 13, 2014. The family immigrated to Canada and settled in Winnipeg. She attended the University of Toronto graduating in 1966 and then went to Yale University in the U.S.A. to earn her Master’s in 1968 and on to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a PhD IN Urban Planning, While completing her studies she worked with the Ford Foundation in Santiago, Chile helping to direct scholarships to the most deserving students. She also worked in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula helping with the resettlement along the Suez Canal in the 1970’s. From time working on her thesis at the Grassy Narrows Reservation on the English-WABIGOON River system in Ontario she was inspired to write a book: A poison Stronger Than Love , 1st published 1985. She established and funded The Light of Justice Award recognizing moral leaders in the Ukraine. Although diagnosed with cancer she continued to raise funds to support child refugees of the conflict in Syria. Source: Obituary, Globe and Mail, May 17, 2014. Suggestion Submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Jacqueline Shumlatcher


Community volunteer

Born 1923, Venin-le-Viel, Pas de Calais, France. In 1927 she immigrated to Saskatchewan and worked as a teacher. She married Morris Shumiatcher (   -2004) in 1955. After her marriage she founded her own management business in Regina, to support her husband’s law practice. A tireless community volunteer she worked with the Canadian Club, the Dominion Drama Festival, Regina Council of Women, France-Canada Association, Women’s Business and Professional Association, Saskatchewan Center of the arts, Saskatchewan Veterinary College and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. The couple were founders and supporters of the Shumiatcher Sculpture Gallery at the Mackenzie Art Gallery, the Shu-Box Theatre at the University of Regina, as well as the Shumiatcher Scholarship at the University of Saskatchewan which provides funding for two students. She was recognized with many awards including: 1996, the YWCA Woman of Distinction, 1999, B'Nai Brith named her Citizen of the year, in 2000 she was awarded the Canadian Woman Mentor Award and the Mayor’s Community Volunteer Award for the Arts, 2001 she was inducted into the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and in 2004 she was named Regina’s Citizen of the year. Source: City of Regina. Heritage & History Online. (Accessed January 2012) (2020) 

Virginia "Ginny" Dobson Shrivastava

Born 1942, Amherst, New Brunswick. Ginny and her family relocated to Burlington, Ontario when she was a child. In 1963 she earned her B.A. at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. Right after graduating she spent a year in Indonesia. In 1970 she married Om Shrivastava whom she had met at the University of Toronto when they were studying for their master’s degrees in education. The couple settled in Rajasthan, India. In 1986 they helped to found ASTHA, an organization to help the poor with “faith in people”. ASTHA supports collective efforts of villagers to help them solve their own defined problems. Ginny is also a founder of Ekai Nari Shakti Sangathan (Association of Strong Women Alone, ASWA) informing widows, separated woman, and those abandoned of their rights. They work for women to gain ownership of lands, increasing widows pensions and similar projects. In 2005 her work gained her a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in the project of 1000 woman of Peace. Source: Herstory 2008: The Canadian Women’s Calendar. (Coteau Books, 2007) (2020)

Mary-Woo Sims

Born Hong Kong. Mary-Woo came to Canada as an exchange student in 1970 and stayed to earn her Canadian Citizenship in 1978. She became a community activist in both Toronto and Vancouver. She was a founding member of the Women Against Violence Women or WAVAW Rape crisis Centre in Vancouver and she participated in the British Columbia Federation of Labour's Women's Right Committee in the Mid 1970's. For a short period she worked at the British Columbia Telephone Company, also known as TELUS, and was an active member of the Telecommunications Worker's Union. She relocated to Winnipeg, Manitoba to work with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and shortly thereafter relocated to Toronto, Ontario, where she became president of her local in the Union of Solicitor General Employees. In 1993 she won the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto's Honouring Our Heroes Award in 1993 and also received awards from the Gay Asians of Toronto as well as an award from The Chinese Canadian National Council. In 1996 she moved back to Vancouver as the Chief Human Rights Commissioner for the province of British Columbia. She has also served as a board member of Vancouver Co-op Radio, the Women's Education and Action Fund, and Canadian for Equal Marriage. She writes an opinion column with the Tri-City News which covers Port Moody, Coquitliam, and Port Coquitliam in British Columbia. She travels to Australia at times to look after her father. She ran under the New Democratic ticket for provincial election in 2006. She is also writing a book. (2020)

Wilhelmina 'Minnie' Smith

née Gordon. Born February 5, 1849, Pictou, Nova Scotia. Died July 16, 1925, St Andrews, New Brunswick. On October 29, 1879 Minnie married a New Brunswick ship broker, George Frederick Smith (d 1894), and the couple settled in Saint John, New Brunswick. They had three children. Minnie was very active in their local Anglican Church with various groups including the Ladies’ Society of Church Women where she served as President in 1891. After the death of her husband she raised her daughters as a single parent. Fortunately the family estate was enough so that the family was relatively well off allowing her time to volunteer in the community. In 1899 she was a founding member and vice president for the local Victorian Order of Nurses (V O N). 1905-1911 she was the VON representative on the local Council of Women. In the 1920 she was involved with the establishment of a training school for nurses. In February 1918 she was a member of an elite group of women who attended a national conference called in Ottawa by the federal War Committee. She was a Board member and 1st vice-president of the Women’s Auxiliary to the Missionary Society of the Church of England and in 1925 became president. Source: Peter J. Mitham, “GORDON, WILHELMINA (Minnie) (Smith),” in EN:UNDEF:public-citation-publication, vol. 15, online, (accessed February 10, 2016,) (2020) 

Elizabeth Smith-Shortt

Born January 18, 1859,  Vinemount, Canada West (now Ontario). Died January 14, 1949, Ottawa, Ontario. One of Canada’s early women doctors, the third to earn a medical degree in Canada, she almost single handedly fought for Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario to become co-educational and accept women as students in medicine. As a student at Queens she had been expelled by medical school at Queen's following a hostile backlash from male students and staff who did not want female students on campus. Elizabeth completed her medical training at the Women's College Medical School, which was established in Kingston so these expelled women could continue their studies. Elizabeth opened her own medical practice in Hamilton, Ontario in 1884. In December 1886 Elizabeth married Adam Short (1859-1931), an economic historian at Queen's. The couple had three children. In 1887 she was lecturing at the Kingston Women's Medical School at Queen's University and by 1908 she had relocated to Ottawa where she campaigned on public health matters. She championed the cause for mothers' allowances and in 1913 wrote a report for the National Council of Women on this matter which let to a petition which in turn went on to fore the Mothers' Allowance Act in parliament. Her pamphlet The Social Aspects of Tuberculosis aided in the eventual establishment of the Canadian Tuberculosis Society. In 1911 she served as president of the Ottawa Local Council of Women. In 1914 she was elected as vice president of the Provincial Council of women She was an enthusiastic champion of women’s rights and was elected vice president of the National Council of Women. Elizabeth maintained a diary and to collection of her diaries have been published. The 1st publication covered her experiences at medical school and the second covered her travels in Europe in 1911. (2020)

Jean Spears

War Bride

née Tubbs. Born 1921, Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, England. Died September 15, 2017, Ottawa, Ontario. Jean met a young Canadian Serviceman, George Spear (1920-2017) a sergeant with the 1st Field Survey Co,  Royal Canadian Engineers in England during World War ll. They fell in love and were married in August of 1942. In 1944 Jean came to Canada December 23, 1944 as a war bride to join her husband. She stepped of the train into a foot of snow in Ottawa to meet her husband.  The couple would raise a family of two children. She had been in the early groups of war brides who would follow their hearts to Canada. In 1945 she formed a war brides club the ESWIC: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Canada Club. She was named a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2006. Jean and George died within hours of one another without either of them knowing the other had died. They had danced at their 75 wedding anniversary with Jean wearing a red dress just as she had when they met at a dance in England. (2020)

Mary Barrett Speechly

Born 1873, London, England. Died 1968.  Her father was not satisfied with the education provided for girls and in 1884 Mary was the only girl with 80 boys in the school where her father was headmaster, Mostyn Hall. She earned her B.A. on scholarship at University College, Liverpool, England in 1892. She also studied at Cambridge University but did not receive a degree as women were not granted degrees from Cambridge at this time. In 1895 she earned her M.A. from University College.  She married Henry Speechly in 1895 and joined him in Pilot Mound Manitoba in 1902. The couple would have 3 children. Prior to joining her husband in Canada she followed his advice and studied photography so she could earn money once she arrived in Manitoba.  In the beginning Mary did not take to the hard work and loneliness, but acclimatize she did.  Mary became president of the Pilot Mound Home Economics Society in 1912 and was active in the home economics societies of the time, becoming a major advocate of home economics and domestic science. She was also a member of the Agricultural Women’s Association and the Women’s Institute. She moved to Winnipeg in 1916, became a prominent proponent of the birth control movement and became the first president of the Winnipeg Birth Control Society in 1934. That same year she wrote a Short History of the Women’s Institutes of Manitoba. She was appointed to the council of the Manitoba Agricultural College in 1924 and to the board of governors of the University of Manitoba in 1933, where she served until retirement in 1946. She also helped found the Family Planning Association of Manitoba. Speechly The Mary Speechly student residence at the University of Manitoba was named in her honor. Source: Mary Speechly: A Life of Service” by Angela Davis, The Beaver, 74, no. 5 (October/November 1994): 35-39 ; Memorable Manitobans. Online (Accessed August 2014) (2020)

Doreen Spence

Born Alberta. In 1959 she studied and earned her Practical Nursing Certificate at Edmonton University Hospital in Alberta. Almost from the beginning she became involved with volunteer work with the police, school systems, and hospitals to preserve aboriginal traditions and ensure a promising future. From 1980 through 1993 she was president of Plains Indian Cultural Survival School in Calgary. A Cree Nation Elder her efforts have earned her the Alberta Human Rights Award and she has been inducted into the Thunder Bay (Ontario) Elder’s Circle. In 1994 she represented Canada on a United Nations working group on world indigenous populations. In 1996 she founded and is currently executive Director of the Canadian Indigenous Women’s Resource Institute which has a mandate to keep traditional teachings alive in Calgary. In 2005 she was awarded the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Heritage and Spirituality. That same year she was nominated of the Nobel Peace Prize 1000 Women of Peace Project. Source: Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective. Herstory 2007: The Canadian Women’s Calendar (Regina: Couteau Books, 2006)  pg. 36 (2020)

Anne Cecelia Spofford née McNaughton/MacNaughton. Born December 4, 1859, Sydney, Nova Scotia. Died February 18, 1938, Sydney, Nova Scotia.  The McNaughton family traveled west in 1877 to settle in Victoria. British Columbia. After secondary school she passed her teacher's exams and taught in the Gulf Islands. By 1883 she was serving on the executive of the Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of British Columbia working for prohibition and female suffrage. That same year she married William Henry Spofford (died 1937), a carpenter. In 1885 she was president of the provincial WCTU and afterwards served in various executive positions until she was once again president in 1893 to 1896. In 1894 she established the local Council of Women of Victoria and Vancouver Island. From 1899 through 1901 she served as Matron of the WCTU Refuge Home. In 1905 she became the 1st paid provincial organizer of the WCTU. in 1907 Cecelia was elected president, a position she held for 12 years. The following year she was also president of British Columbia's Local Option League. Her fight for women's voting rights continued. Just before World War l she and her husband became managers of the home run by the Victoria Children's Aid and she carried on in the position as manager when her husband was called to war service. In 1918 she ran unsuccessfully for t he position of Police Commissioner. In January 1919 she was elected as  the only woman school trustee. In 1920 she was appointed chair to oversee the Mother's Pension Act. She also tried her hand at a nomination for the provincial legislature loosing to male candidates. in 1923 she penned The Busy Woman's Handbook on Civics and Laws. The couple spent two years in California and upon return to Victoria she was elected president of the Women's Canadian Club. In 1930 she served as the 1st women president of the British Columbia Baptist Convention. As honourary president of the British Columbia Baptist Missionary Society she authored the group history. She was president 1933 through 1936. She would also serve as the president of the Local Council of Women. In April 1937, at 77, she was president of the Provincial Council of Women. Source: D C B  (2020)

Annie Charlotte Starkey

née Stairs. Born November 15, 1910, Halifax , Nova Scotia. Died May 19, 2012, Knowlton, Quebec. As a teen Charlotte became manager of the family home during the illness of her mother and later after her mother’s death. She brought up her sibling, was hostess for her father’s business parties and generally ran the household. In 1935 she married Hugh Starkey, a medical doctor and micro-biologist at the Royal Montreal Hospital. The couple had four children. For more than 55 years she maintained a relationship with Girl Guides. The organization, founded the year of her birth, enrolled her as a member when she was 11 years old. She enjoyed many years as a company leader and volunteered as District Commissioner. From 1964 through 1970 she served as Commissioner of Girl Guides for the province of Quebec and travelled across Canada. In 1967 she was awarded the highest honour from Girl Guides and also received the Canadian Centennial Medal. Sources: “Charlotte Starkey” by Fred Langan, The Globe and Mail June 9, 2012. : “Happy 100th birthday to Charlotte Starkey”, Tempo (Brome Lake, Quebec) vol. 30. No. 5 June 2010 online (Accessed November 2012.) Suggestion from June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Pearl Steen

née Soper. Born 1893, Victoria, British Columbia. Died 1988, Vancouver, British Columbia. Joined Canadian Federation of Professional and Business Women's Club and served as president in 1935. President, Point Grey Conservative Association (1936-37). Spent six years on Vancouver School Board (1947-52); elected chair in 1950. In 1958 she served as a member of the, British Columbia Centennial Committee. In 1960 she was the only Canadian woman delegate to United Nations (UN) General Assembly and from 1960 through 1968 she was the only woman director of the Pacific Northwest Exhibition. She was president of the Vancouver Council of Women and president of the Vancouver Women's Canadian Club and the president of National Council of Women 1964 through 1967. She also served as a member, British C0olumbia Human Rights Council. In 1967 she was presented with Vancouver's Good Citizen Award. Source: Vancouver Hall of Fame Online (accessed November 2012. (2020)

Dorothy 'Dot' Gretchen Steeves

née Biersteker. Born May 26, 1895, Amsterdam, Holland. Died May 9, 1978, Vancouver, British Columbia. Dot graduated in Law from Leiden University, the Netherlands. During World War she served as legal advisor to the government of The Netherlands. In 1918 she married Rufus Palmer Steeves (1892-1960) a Canadian officer and former prisoner of war. The young couple settled in Vancouver in 1919. Dot was a founding member of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and attended the Regina Convention in 1933. She was elected in a by election as C.C.F MLA for North Vancouver, in 1934 and won the elections again in 1937 and 1941. In May 1948 she was  elected C.C.F president for British Columbia /Yukon. She also worked with the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament, the International League for Peace and freedom and the Association to Protect Fur Bearing Animals. Source: Dorothy Gretchen Steeves Collection Inventory, Special Collections, Library of the University of British Columbia. Online (accessed November 2012) (2020)

Emma M. Stirling

Born Scotland. Died Pennsylvania, U.S.A. In 1877 she founded the Edinburgh and Leith Children’s Aid and Refugee Society which she funded with her own monies. Like several other organizations at this era the Society worked with homeless children often sending them to Canada in the hopes of providing them with a better life. In 1893 Emma felt she would serve the program better is she established a home in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia to accepting the children from Scotland. She would write two volumes about her work under the title of Our Children of Old Scotland and Nova Scotia. The 1st volume covered her work in Scotland and the second volume covered a history of her work in Nova Scotia. In the late 1890’s she retired to Pennsylvania in the U.S.A. (2020)

Marion Stirling

née Fairweather. Born October 14, 1846, Bowmanville, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died February 28,1923, San Leandro California, U.S.A. In 1869 she received her teaching certificate from McGill Normal School, Montreal, Quebec. Teaching in Bowmanville gave her time to reach out to the Foreign Mission Committee of the Presbyterian Church. She accepted to work with the American Presbyterians in India in 1873. By 1877 Canada had its 1st Presbyterian Mission in Indore, central India with Marion as one of the original workers. However the strong woman was recalled in 1879 among rumors of suspected impropriety. She had gone beyond the expected behavior of a meek Victorian woman. She began to channel her energies into nursing and by 1885 she had graduated as a medical doctor from the Woman’s Medical College of Chicago. Gathering financial aid for supplies she returned to India in January 1887. In Agra she began a medical school. On September 25, 1888 she married fellow physician Charles Stirling. They remained serving in India until Charles poor health caused they to return to the United States. By 1914 they had practices in Oakland, California, U.S.A. Source: DCB  vol. 15 1921-1930. (2020)

Eileen Tallman Sufrin

Born 1913, Montreal, Quebec. Died 1999, White Rock, British Columbia. She relocated with her family to Toronto where she was the leading all-around student in her Vaugh Road Collegiate. After high school she went looking for work and was dismayed by the working conditions she observed. Women worked not only for lower wages then me but there was less opportunities for women to obtain jobs as well. She joined with other unemployed youth the Canadian Commonwealth Youth Movement (C C Y M). She learned to speak on street corners and to organize and motivate people. She also liked to tell stories how she won a contest as Canada’s fastest typist and how she won contests for dancing the Tango. In 1941 she led the 1st strike of bank employees in Montreal. Later in the 1940’s she attempted to unionize employees of the Eaton’s Department stores in Toronto. Though her determination and perseverance she was able to organize 9,000 of the 30,000 Eaton’s workers between 1948 and 1952. Though her efforts did not gain a fully unionized Eaton’s work place her work forced Eaton’s administration to take measures to stop the unwanted unionization and salaries were increased, pensions provided and welfare packages were provided to staff. Eileen published her story of the attempted unionization leaving a detailed account of her work. Eileen moved about and organized wherever she went. In the early 1960’s she was working in a finance office of the government of Saskatchewan. She met and married in 1962 Bert Sufrin, a fellow C.C.F worker. The couple moved to Ottawa in 1964 where Eileen worked with the Women’s Bureau of the Canadian Department of Labour. In 1972 the couple moved to White Rock, British Columbia for retirement. However Eileen still campaigned for the New Democratic Party and founded the local Choice of Dying Society. In 1979 Eileen was one of seven women who were awarded the Governor’s General Award for the 50th Anniversary of the Persons Case. In 2016 Canada’s History Magazine listed Eileen as one of 30 women in Canada’s Great Women. Source: Anne Farrell, Eileen Tallman Sufrin. July 13, 2001, (accessed February 2016 ) (2020)

Catherine Sutton





née Sonego. Born 1824, Port Credit River Mission, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died September 26, 1865, Sarawak Township, Canada West (now Ontario). In 1825 she was baptized as Catherine Bunch (her father was Bunch Sonego) and later book the name Catherine Brown. She grew up in the home of her Uncle Rev. Peter Jones and his wife Eliza. They took Catherine to England in 1837 where Peter, as Chief of the Mississaugas, petitioned the crown to acquire title deeds and ownership of their lands to prevent more European settlement on the Credit River. On January 9, 1839 her Uncle, Rev. Peter Jones, performed her marriage to an Englishman William Sutton. The couple would have 7 children. They eventually settled in Sarawak, where Catharine was given land by the Nawash band. The couple cleared land and build a home but ill health and poor weather made life unsuitable. William as a lay minister in 1852 relocated his family to Garden River near Sault Ste Marie and then to Michigan in the U.S.A. before returning in 1857 to Sarawak. Here they found their lands up for auction by the authorities. Catherine attempted to purchase her lands back but the Indian representatives held the view that Indians could not won the land and then said she had no rights anyhow since she had married a white man. The couple attempted to obtain recompense for the clearing of the land and building of a home. They took their demands to the government in Toronto with no results. Catherine, as envoy for the Nawash people and their land concerns traveled to New York, U.S.A. where with the help of Quaker supporters toured and lectured on Indian Rights and earned enough funding to travel to England.  On June 19 1860 she was granted an audience with Queen Victoria. Catherine was allowed to buy back her own land but nothing was ever done for others who had land disputes. Back in Canada Catherine continued to be outspoken on the mistreatment of justice against her people. Source: Donald B. Smith, “NAHNEBAHWEQUAY,”  D C B vol. 9, Online (accessed February 3, 2016) (2020)

Margaret Vallance Taylor


Lady  Taylor

née Vallance. Born April 1, 1840, Hamilton Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died December 26, 1922, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1864 Margaret graduated from Toronto Normal School (teachers college) and taught in the Hamilton area. On October 20, 1864 she married lawyer Thomas Wardlaw Taylor (1833-1917). The couple settled in Toronto where Margaret raised two stepchildren and seven more children from this marriage. Even with her large family she worked with the Womens Foreign Missionary Society (WFMS) of her Presbyterian Church. In 1883 the family relocated to Winnipeg, Manitoba where Margaret formed the local WMFS, the 1st in western Canada. Margaret became vice President of the provincial WFMS in 1889. She was also a member of the Christian Women's Union of Winnipeg serving as president and vice-president of the group. This group established in 1895 the Children's Home of Winnipeg and became a member of the Board of Management. The group was successful in establishing positions of police matrons and improving conditions of female prisoners. A Girl's Home of Welcome was opened in 1997 to help female immigrants. That same year her husband was knighted affording her the title of Lady Taylor. In 1899 the family returned to Ontario and Margaret worked with the National Aberdeen Association. She would also serve as president of the National Council of Women from 1899 to 1902 and again in in 1910/11/ During her 2nd term she conducted a National Survey of Canadian Women to assess need and concerns. In 1903 she served on the Board of the Women's Home Missionary Society. During world War ll she immersed herself in the work of the Red Cross until ill health forcer her to withdraw. Source: D C B

Sunera Thobani

Born 1957, Tanzania. Sunera left Africa to attend Middlesex University, England graduating in 1986, she spent a year volunteering in Palestine.  She went on to study at the University of Colorado, USA to earn a Master’s degree. While in Colorado Sunera became involved in anti-nuclear, peace and Palestinian solidarity movements. For awhile she lectured at Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington, USA  and then in 1989 Sunera immigrated to Canada, where at the Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, she earned her PhD in 1998. She became involved with the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) which was then the largest feminist organization in Canada. In 1993-1996 she was elected the 1st woman of colour to be President of NAC. While at Simon Fraser University from 1996 through 2000 she taught women’s studies at the university. In 2000 she relocated to teach at the University of British Columbia. From 2008 through 2012 she served as the Director for the Centre for Race, Autobiography, Gender and Age (RAGA) focusing on the importance of autobiography and oral histories. She co-founded Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equality/Equity (R. A. C. E.) a non-profit  collaborative coalition of First Nations, Inuit, Métis, Non-status Indians, people of colour and white allies which is engaged in the production of critical academic and activist knowledges. R.A.C.E. is committed to anti-racist, anti-colonial and feminist scholarship. After 9/11 in the U.S.A. she made a speech which many deemed as anti-American and she was charged with a hate crime and she endured severe harassment. She stood her freedom of speech and since 2004 her speech has been considered a great Canadian speech. She is the author of several books on Canadian women’s history and Canadian race relations as well as innumerable journal articles. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her community engagements, including the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce Human Rights Award; the Vancouver Status of Women Honouring Women Award; Spice Radio's Hands Against Racism Award; and the Action to End Racism, Vagina Warrior and Just Desserts Awards of the UBC-Alma Mater Society. Sunera  has also received the Canadian Association of University Teachers Sarah Shorten Award in 2017 for outstanding achievements in the promotion of the advancement of women in Canadian universities and colleges. (2020)

Dorothy Thomas

née Mikos. Born 1838, Toronto, Ontario. Died May 9, 2005. She stated studies at the University of Toronto but opted instead to a more practical training in on-the-job journalism at the Toronto Star. She married a fell journalist, Ralph Thomas and became a stay at home Mom. She used her excess energies working for resident group and from these she entered local politics. She was elected to two terms on Toronto City Council from 1972-1976 and again from 1981 to 1985. An excellent politician she worked hard for her constituents initiating Toronto's "poop and scoop" program, establishing the City of Toronto's Persons Day Award and heading the mayor's Task Force on the Status of Women. During all of this time she made sure she was home every night to have dinner with her son. She maintained a reputation as a serious hostess and shared her talents talents for auction with local charities. After moving to Port Hope, Ontario she became immersed in her community again with the development of the Port Hope Ecology Garden. (2020)

Verna Irene States Thomas

Born 1935, Denson, Nova Scotia. Died 2005. As a Black Canadian woman there were few jobs open to her. She tried domestic jobs but she did not like the “slave” like mentality of her employers so she quit. In 1956 she married John E. Thomas and the couple had Six children. She was an avid volunteer serving as president of the Women’s Missionary Society of her church, the Preston Area Learning Skills Center and served as charter president of Nova Scotia’s Black United Front. She was national vice president of the National Anti-poverty Organization for which she travelled across CanadaSource: Herstory: The Canadian Women's calendar. 2008  (Saskatoon Women's Calendar Collective / Coteau Books, 2007) (2020)

Louisa Anne Thomson née Donald. Baptized February 27, 1844, Huntly, Scotland. Died May 25, 1915, Saint John, New Brunswick. Louisa immigrated with her family to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1849. On October 22, 1870 she married businessman Robert Thomson (died 1914). The couple had four children. Louisa served as a director of the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), on th board of the Home for Ages Females, on the Ladies Committee of the Local orphanage, on the Red Cross Society, as a director of the local Association of Charities, , and as a member of the Tuberculosis Society. As if her involvement in these groups was not enough she was als a member of the Women's Enfranchise Association and active in her own Presbyterian church. In 1898 to 1902 she held the presidency of the Saint John Local Council of Women  endorsing a petition of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) to appoint a municipal jail matron. In 1899 she led her group to found a relief and help programme for immigrant Doukhobor families from Russia. For this effort her Local Council of Women received a commendation from the National Council of Women. She lobbied through her groups for a cleaner water supply for the city. IN 1902 through 1906 she became president of the National Council of Women and then served until 1914 as vice-president. She represented Canadian women at the 1904 International Council of Women. Source: D C B (2020)
Lucinda 'Lucy' Thurman  3476

Black Activist in the U.S.A.
née Smith. Born October 22,1849, Oshawa, Canada West (now Ontario). Died March 29, 1918, Jackson, Michigan, U.S.A. Lucy The family relocated to Bowmanville, Canada west where Lucy grew up. In 1877 at 17 she left home and met Frederick Douglass and Dr. William Wells Brown in Rochester, New York, U.S.A.  She began her working career as a teacher in Maryland, U.S.A. In 1869 she married Henry William Simpson and settled in Jackson Michigan, U.S.A. In 1873 she began advocating the development of temperance work for Black people with the Women's Temperance Crusade and became the only Black founding member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W C T U). She became a widow and married Frank Thurman in 1883. That same year she convinced the W C T U to established a National Department of Coloured work. Ten years later she was the national superintendent of Coloured Work at the W C T U.  In 1898 she co-founded the Michigan Association of Coloured Women's Clubs and served as the first president. In 1906 she became president of the National Association of Coloured Women's Clubs. The Young Women's Christian Association building in Detroit bears her name. The building became a state historical building in 1993. In 1992 Lucy was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. Source: Michigan Women's Historical Centre and Hall of Fame. online (accessed 2021)

Frances 'Frankie' Tillman

née Montgomery. Born December 5, 1916. Died October 8, 2003, Vancouver, British Columbia. Frankie attended the University of British Columbia where she was active in the Student Christian Movement. She married Robert “Bob” Tillman, a university administrator and the couple had three children. Frankie taught scripture at Balmoral private school for girls in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She was non-judgmental and supported lesbians well before it was the accepted thing to do. While living in Vancouver, British Columbia she worked with street women of the city’s east side. In the 1970’s she travelled to Africa on behalf of the International YWCA. She was the Vancouver YWCA Woman of Distinction. Source: Lois M. Wilson, I Want To Be In That Number: Cool Saints I Have Known. (Self published, 2014) (2020)

Alice Star Tilley

Lady Tilley

née Chipman. Born December 10, 1844, St Stephen, New Brunswick. Died May 1921. On October 22 1867 she married widower Samuel Leonard Tilley (1818-1896), a brewer and a politician. She became stepmother to eight children and the couple would have two more children. She was a founding member of the National Council of Women and served as the President of the St John Local Council of Women. Both husband and wife were activists in the temperance movement. Alice was a founder of the Victoria College Hospital, Fredericton, New Brunswick and aided in founding the Industrial Schools for Boys, the Nurse’s Home, The Seamen’s Mission and the Home for Consumptives. 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. Source: Henry James Morgan, Types of Canadian Women and Women Who are or Have Been Connected With Canada (Toronto, 1903) (2020)


SEE - Gladys Evelyn Taylor Cook

Lillian Frances Treble

née Massey. Born March 2,1854, Newcastle Ontario. Died November 3, 1915 Santa Barbara, California. Lillian was the daughter of Hart Massey (1823-1896) the Canadian farm implement businessman and philanthropist. She became interested in mission work with the Women’s Aid Society of the Methodist Church when she was young. In 188 she became interested in “inner City work supporting the Toronto City Missionary Society and in 1894 she helped to establish the Fred Victor Mission where in 1896 she started the Kitchen Garden along with sewing and cooking classes for youth from the surrounding slums. She married only as a mature woman on January 26, 1897 to widower John Mill Treble (  -1909). John was a men’s wear dealer and a father of children from a previous marriage.  In 1902 she founded the Lillian Massey School of Household Science and art. The methods used at this sis school were soon picked up at Canadian Universities from coast to coast. This school let to the 1st degree program in Household Sciences at the University of Toronto. In 1913 she donated a building to the university. A hypochondriac,  she was always over concerned with her health and moved to California for her healthSource: DCB. Online (Accessed January 2013) (2020)

Roberta Elizabeth Tilton

née Odell. Born September 20, 1837, Whiting, Maine, U.S.A. Died May 28, 1925, Ottawa, Ontario. On November 11, 1858 she married a Canadian businessman, John Tilton (d 1914). The couple would adopt one son. 10 years after their marriage the couple relocated to Ottawa where John began working in the Civil Service. Roberta lost no time in getting involved in her new home community. In 1868 she was the Vice- President of the Ontario Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and in 1871 she founded the Ottawa chapter of the WCTU serving as president. In 1892 she was treasurer for the National WCTU. 1895 -1897 she was Superintendent of the Soldiers’ and Volunteer Camps and then was Auditor for the National WCTU. In April 1889 she founded the Ottawa Branch of the Girls’ Friendly Society of Canada and helped outfit a room at the Ottawa Children’s Hospital.  She was also a board member of the Orphans Home of the City of Ottawa. She was also a founding member of the National Council of Women of Canada. She was a member of the Anglican Church of Canada and was founder of the Woman’s Auxiliary to the Missionary Society of the Church of England in Canada. She served as secretary for the Ontario area of the organization and 1891-1901 she served as President of the Dominion Auxiliary 1902-1908. In 1925 an memorial house which would serve as the headquarters of the organization was named in her honor. Source: D C B (accessed February 10, 2016) (2020)

Alice Ashworth Townley née  Ashworth. Born November 26, 1860, Quebec City, Quebec. Died January 6, 1941, Vancouver, British Columbia. Alice as an adult lived in Toronto . It is reported that she wrote a column for the Mail and Empire and had articles published in Canadian and American magazines. She also published a book for children , Just a Little Boy in 1897. Relocating in 1903 to Vancouver. A year later she married Charles Robert Townley (1860-1925) of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1907 she again published a book for children. Just a Little Girl. She founded the Vancouver chapter of the Canadian Women's Press Club in 1910. After suffering a still birth in 1914 she turned her energies into working in her community. In 1915 she did a presentation Our Flag and Empire to raise funds for the war effort. She was active in the Child Welfare Association, the Local Council of Women, and the British Columbia Political Equity League where she serviced as the local Vancouver president. In 1912 she founded the British Columbia Equal Franchise Association and served as president in 1917/1918 and again in 1932.She also held memberships in the Vancouver Horticultural Society, the Vancouver Women's Canadian Club, the Vancouver Women's Institute the Women's Musical club and the Women's Auxiliary to Disabled Veterans. In 1929 she was the first female elected as commissioner of the Vancouver Parks Board. She was the only woman in Canada to hold such an office. In 1991 the Vancouver Parks Board created the Alice Townley Park in her honour. Source: ECWW online. (2020)

Nycole Turmel

Union leader & Member of Parliament

Born September 1, 1942, Sainte-Marie, Quebec. Nicole married when she was 18 and the couple settled in Alma, Quebec. The couple had three children before Nycole became a single mother. She worked for the federal government at the Canada Employment Centre and was a an active member in the Canadian Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU), part of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). In 1990 she and her children moved to Gatineau, Quebec for her to take a job with the union. . In 1991 she was elected to the PSAC executive as forth Executive Vice President. and by 1997 she was responsible for women's equity issues with the PSAC. That year she was elected as National Executive Vice President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). On May 5, 2000 she became President of the PSAC, the 1st woman and the 1st francophone to hold this position. In 2003 she was elected for a 2nd three year term. In 2006 she was the recipient of the Michael Sharp Award for Meritorious Service for her continuing support for the Government of Canada United Way  Campaign. In October 2010 she became treasurer of the Canadian Research institute for the Advancement of women. On July 28, 2011 she was elected to the House of Commons representing the New Democratic Party of Canada. When leader Jack Layton (1950-2011) to leave from office due to his failing health Nycole became the Interim Leader of the NDP . Upon the death of Jack Layton on August 22, 2011 she became the 2nd woman to serve as Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons until the new leader of the NDP Thomas Mulcair took over on March 24, 2012. On October 19, 2015 she lost her bid to be re-elected as a Member of Parliament. (2020)

Ernestine van Merle

née van Griethuysen. Born 1929, The Netherlands. Died June 22, 2006. Ernestine was educated in Belgium. Her family was actually forced to leave Holland when they were found to be harboring Jewish families during World War ll. She joined the navy after high school and after the war she worked in the Belgian Red Cross with freed concentration camp survivors and liberated Russians. She married and the young couple who would have two children, immigrated to Canada in 1951. When John took a job with NATO the family moved to Italy where Ernestine published a handbook for new NATO scientists and their families. In 1971 they were living in Etobicoke, Ontario and Ernestine asked for space to set up a table and a chair in a mall to distribute information for her Rexdale. Community Information Directory. In 1977 she began a legal clinic to help advise immigrants and even though she did not have a law degree she served as director of the clinic for many years. This would grow into the Rexdale Community Information and Legal Services offices. Ernestine’s Women Shelter in Rexdale was named for her in 1983. She was so honoured that she took a seat on the Board. She also founded the Federation of Community Information Centres and the Association of Community Information Centres in Ontario as well as championing the Jean Tweed Centre for Addicted women. Source: Ernestine van Merle, 80: The Heart of Rexdale’….by Catherine Dunphy, The Toronto Starr September 5, 2006. (2020)

Lorna van Mossel

née McNeilly. Born October 31, 1923, Shelburne, Ontario. Died June 21, 2014, Kitchener, Ontario. In 1946 Lorna graduated as a Registered Nurse from the Toronto General Hospital. The following year she married Bert van Mossel (d 1986) a Presbyterian Minister. The couple lived in Boissevain, British Columbia, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan before settling in Kitchener, Ontario. The couple had 6 children. Together they found Friendship Families matching area families with new immigrants to help them learn the new culture. After working for immigrant settlement programs with the Kitchener Waterloo Multicultural Centre she was appointed as a Citizenship Judge in 1884 and served until 1992. Lorna testified at the Ontario Human Rights Commission supporting the Gay community and was very proud of this service. In 2012 Lorna was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. Source: Catherine van Mossel, Lives Lived Lorna (McNeilly) van Mossel. The Globe and Mail, December 14, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Muriel Stanley Venne

Métis Activist

Born Lamont, Alberta. As a child she was forced to leave high School when she endured two episodes of tuberculosis She survived two marriages and became a mother to two children. She did not give up on her education but took correspondent courses to earn a diploma. In 1973 she became a member of the Alberta Human Rights Commission. She also served on numerous boards including the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and was a lifetime member of the Canadian Native Friendship Centres. In 1996 she spearheaded the production of a publication on Aboriginal human rights and wrote a booklet aimed at Aboriginal youth. In 1998, the 25th anniversary Award from the Alberta Human Rights Commission was presented to her. She has also earned the Bowden Native Brotherhood Award., The Canadian Merit Award and in 2002 she received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.  In 2004 she earned the National Aboriginal Achievement Award and a lifetime Achievement Award from the YWCA. She founded the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. She also established the Social Justice Award to honour those who have done outstanding work for Aboriginal women. In 2005 she received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case and was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 2007 the Toronto Globe and Mail recognized her as a Woman of Vision and in September 2008 she was elected as Vice-President of the Métis Nation. On October 25, 2017 she became the 1st Aboriginal woman to have an Alberta Provincial government building, a multi –purpose government centre in Edmonton named in her honour. (2020)

Marie Amable Viger          3552 née Fortier.  Born August2, 1778, Montreal, Quebec. Died July 22, 1854, Montreal, Quebec. After the death of her mother when Marie Amable was just five years old, she and her four sisters were brought up by her step mother. On November 21, 1808 she married Denis-Benjamin Viger (1774-1861), a lawyer. From 1831-1834 she managed the family lands while her husband was in England. She sought to help the poor through the Association Des Dames de la Charieté, heoping orphans, young ladies in trouble, the infirm and the aged. She helped to petition the government for the incorporation of charitable institutions for female penitents in 1833 and served as presiding of the association for ten years 1836-1846. She also donated land to the group. By 1841 she was president of the Association Des Dames de la Charieté as well as being president of a home for orphans and solicited help for her husband to have an orphanage incorporated. She also served on the executive on the executive of the Association de Dames Bienveillantes se Saint-Jacques.

Edith Virginia Vuchnick

née Myers. Born Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. Died February 1, 2012, Toronto, Ontario. Edith grew up and attended Ohio State University where she met and married Michael “Mickey” Vuchnick. The couple married in South Africa and then settled in Toronto. A lifelong volunteer Edith became a member and President of the Toronto Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA) and went on to become national President of the organization. She was a member of the Y world council. She also volunteered with the Rotary Club, the United Way Campaigns and the American Women’s Club. Her efforts were recognized when she received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award and the Ohio State University Alumni Citizenship AwardSource: Birth and Death Notices, Globe and Mail, February 5, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Harriet 'Hattie' Walker

née Anderson. Born February 13, 1868, New York City, U.S.A.  Died September 24, 1943, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Hattie was a child actor and became a Broadway musical comedy star appearing with such colleagues as Marie Dressler. She married Corlis Powers Walker in the early 1890’s and moved to Fargo North Dakota when he was manager of the local Opera House. C. P. Walker established theatres in the Winnipeg Red River Area and Hattie was totally involved. From 1898 through 1913 she wrote the Matinee Girl column in the Winnipeg Town Topics. She was a charter member of the Canadian Women’s Press Club of Winnipeg and a staunch suffragette. On February 28, 1914 she arranged the famous Mock Parliament at the Winnipeg Walker Theatre, where women debated giving males the vote! In 1911 her opera production the Chimes of Normandy, won the Earl Gray Musical Trophy. She became the driving force behind the University of Manitoba Dramatic Society. In 1917 she founded the American Women’s Club to help raise funds for the Canadian War effort.  Source: the Canadian Encyclopedia online Accessed January 22, 2004. (2020)

Almanda Walker-Marchand

Born November 16, 1868, Quebec City. Died January 4, 1949, Ottawa, Ontario. Almanda married businessman Paul-Eugène Marchand and the couple settled in Ottawa in 1890. They would raise a family of 9 children. During World War l Almanda organized a group of French Canadian women who raised funds to charter a hospital ship for the war effort. On August 16, 1918 the Federation des femmes-française was officially founded and she would serve as president until 1946. The organization worked to expand participation of French Canadian women in education, economics, culture and policies becoming national in scope. With the coming of World War ll the group raised funds to purchase ambulances to serve the Canadian Army in England. Source: ‘Almanda Marchand (1868-1949)’, Ottawa Raconte-moi Online (Accessed July 2015) (2020)

Gail Walsh

Born Northern New Brunswick.  Gail completed courses at Mt. St. Vincent University, Dalhousie University, Université de Moncton, Université Laval, University of New Brunswick and Hebrew University. Her 1st profession was that as a social worker and she has been a supervisor of child abuse and inclusion where she was a pioneer in the provinces introduction of inclusion in the schools system She advocated the inclusion program as a school board member. She is active in the New Brunswick Association for Community Living. She has been an activist and leader in the women’s movement and as Director of an Addictions Center, helped lead the government to provide more services for women in that area. She has also worked in the areas of violence against women, helping to co-found the 1st association of sexual assault centres across Canada. She has served on the executive of the National Action Committee of the Status of Women. In 1978, she was the 1st woman in her province to be elected as president of a political party and continues to push for more women in politics. Her work in computer science is equally well known and she has lectured around the world. Her research area is biotechnology but she also is writing a book on the history of programming languages, believing people must be taught several languages at once and not in the traditional method of one language as was once the norm. She was the only woman of the four founding members of the Irish Canadian Cultural Association of New Brunswick, a group that led a renaissance of all things Irish in that province. (2020)

Frances Jane Wasserlein

LGBTQ Activist

Born June 14, 1946, San Francisco, California, U.S.A. Died August 23, 2015, Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia.  At 14 she relocated with her family to Vancouver, British Columbia. She worked as a secretary at the University of British Columbia and enrolled as a student earning her BA after which she  worked with the Women’s Office at the university. She worked as a volunteer in her community becoming executive producer of the annual folk music festival at Jericho Beach as well as at the Vancouver International Writer’s Festival and the Vancouver East Cultural Center. She did research and wrote for the Women’s Research Center, a nonprofit society for the advancement of women. She also worked with the Coalition Against Discrimination. She was the co-founder of Women Against Violence Against Women in Vancouver. In 1983 she led a coalition called Women Against the Budget. In July of that year she addressed 20,000 protestors saying ‘we will not be silences’ by the government. In the mid 1980’s she earned her Master’s Degree from Simon Fraser University. She put herself forward as a candidate three times for the Vancouver City Council. In 2003, after same sex marriage became legal she married Marguerite Kotwitz, who she met on the internet. The couple ran a Bed and Breakfast on the British Columbia coast. Source: Tom Hawthorne, Obituary, Globe and Mail, October 1, 2015. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. (2020)

Dora Wasserman

née Goldfarb. Born June 30, 1919, Jetomir, Ukraine. Died December 15, 2003, Montreal, Quebec. Dora was one of five children and she was often referred to as the “showoff”. She studied at the Moscow Yiddish Art Theatre and enjoyed her profession. However, with the dangers of World War II she fled to Kazakhstan where she performed at the State Theatre. It was here that she also met her husband Shura (Sam) Wasserman. The rest of the Wasserman family were killed during the war so Dora and Sam took their two daughters and entered Canada as refugees in 1950. Dora soon was working at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal and dramatic presentations soon followed. In 1956 she founded the Yiddish Dram Group which became the Yiddish Theatre in 1967. The Theatre kept the culture and language alive as Dora provided works and translations for plays. The theatre company itself has performed in both the U.S.A and Europe to great reviews. In 1992 she was recognized for her efforts with the Order of Canada and in 1993 the Order of Quebec. She was also the recipient of the Masques Award for lifetime achievement in theatre. After a stroke made it difficult for her to continue her work her daughter took over the theatre to assure its continence. Sources: Herstory: the Canadian women’s calendar, 2007 ; obituary, Le Devoir, Décembre 18, 2003. (2020)

Rebecca Belle Watson

Born 1911(?) Kitsilano, British Columbia. Died April 7, 1976, Vancouver, British Columbia. Rebecca began her career by teaching  in the Caribou region of the province and then she trained as a nurse at Vancouver General Hospital. In 1958, she was  spokesperson for Save Our Parklands Association, and rescued the Shaughnessy Golf Course from development. She became interested in politics and ran unsuccessfully as independent alderman in Vancouver in1961,and 1962. In 1968 she was elected to Vancouver park board. She became president, Progressive Conservative Party of B.C. in 1971. A West End resident, of Vancouver  she was active in its community associations. She was named to the City of Vancouver Civic Merit Board of Honor. Source: Vancouver Hall of Fame online (Accessed December 2012 ) (2020)

Margaret 'Madge' Rose Robertson Watt

Born June 4, 1888, Collingwood, Ontario. Died November 29, 1948, Montreal, Quebec. In 1890 she graduated from the University of Toronto with a Masters of Arts. From 1890 through 1907 she was able to make a living as a writer, editor, and reviewer under the name of Madge Robertson. Her writing appeared in The Varsity, the Ladies Pictoral Weekly, the Toronto Globe, and later after moving to British Columbia, the Victoria Times. She married Alfred Tennyson Watt, M. D. on December 7, 1893 and the couple would have two sons. In 1909 she joined the Metchosin, British Columbia, Women’s Institute. While in British Columbia she wrote pamphlets on womens issues and was a member of the Senate of the University of British Columbia. In 1913 she became a widow and she moved to England so that her sons could complete their education. During World War l she offered the ideas of organizing British country women in the manner of the Canadian Woman’s Institutes. Her efforts were funded by the Agricultural Organizations Society and the 1st Women’s Institute was set up in Wales in 1915. A good speaker, Madge took the WI message throughout Britain. She helped organize 100 Institutes and was Chief Organizer under the Board of Agriculture. She developed and presented the 1st WI school in Sussex in 1918. In 1919 King George V appointed Mrs. Alfred Watt to the Order of the British Empire. She also received the Order of Agriculture Merit from the governments of France and Belgium. She was also a strong proponent of an international organization of country women. In 1933, in Stockholm, Sweden the Associated Countrywomen of the World was founded. Madge would serve as 1st President until she retired in 1947. She lived in Victoria, British Columbia during World War ll and moved to Montreal, Quebec later to be with her son Sholto. In 1958 an Ontario Historic Plaque was placed at her home in Collingwood. Today the plaque is located near the Collingwood Museum. In 2007 she was declared a Person of National Historic Significance. A memorial picnic shelter is named in her honour at the International Peace Gardens on the border between Manitoba and the U.S.A.  Book: A great Rural Sisterhood; Madge Robertson Watt and the Associated Countrywomen of the World by Linda Ambrose( University Press) (2020)

Sheila Watt Cloutier

Inuit Activist

Born December 2, 1953, Kuujiuaq, Quebec. Sheila's mother was a well known healer and no doubt taught her daughter about living with the environment. Her brother, Charlie, is a Canadian member of the Senate, and no doubt accounts for some of her interest in politics. She was sent at 10 years of age, to Nova Scotia and then Churchill Manitoba for her education. She continued studies at McGill University, Montreal. A mother of two children she has been a life long social activist who has gained international clout. She is recognized for her all out efforts on behalf of the Aortic indigenous peoples world wide. She is a contemporary champion against persistent organic pollutants (POP’s) and has served as president of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (Canada) In 2005 she was awarded the generous and coveted SOPHIE Award from Norway for her efforts to draw the world’s attention to the devastating effects of climate change and of emissions of toxic chemicals. In 2015 she published, The Right to Be Cold, about the effects of climate change on Inuit communities. (2020)

Rhea Hildegarde Whitehead

née Menzel. Born January 22, 1936, St Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. Died June 14, 2011, Toronto, Ontario. Rhea attended Elmhurst College in the state of Illinois where she earned her B.A. She went on to earn her M.A. in education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. In 1957 she Married Raymond Whitehead. The young couple studied Cantonese at York University before moving to Hong Kong in 1961. They would have three children. In 1976 the settled in Toronto where Rhea worked with the Joint Centre on Modern East Asia associated with the University of Toronto and York University. She would also work as Asia Area Administrator for the Anglican Church and the United Church of Canada. In 1984 she worked with the World Council of Churches consultation on the Peace and Justice In Northeast Asia. She was able to bring both North and South Korea together for the 1st time since World War ll while working on this peace imitative. In 1992 she was the General Secretary of the Division of World Outreach for the United Church of Canada. After she retired she taught at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, china and at Silliman University in the Philippines. Sources: Lois M. Wilson, I want To Be In That Number: Cool Saints I Have Known. (Self published, 2014) ; Obituary, Globe and Mail, June 17, 2011. (2020)

Megan Whitfield

Black unionist



Born 1968, St Elizabeth, Jamaica. Megan immigrated to Canada in 1972. She attended Humber College, Toronto earning a diploma in Law, and Security Administration. After working a few years she took time off work to have her three sons. Megan returned to school studying microcomputer at George Brown College in 1975. Taking a temporary position at first with Canada Post she never looked back. She joined the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (C U P W) and became a shop steward. She would hold executive positions at both the C U P W and  the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (Ontario). She would serves as the 1st Black president of the CUPW, Toronto Chapter the largest Canadian C U P W local. She also served as vice president representing workers of colour for the Ontario Federation of Labour. She was honoured as one of the 100 Accomplished Canadian Black Women. (2020)

Doreen Wicks

Born Mary Curtis Bristol, 1935, England. Died March 1, 2004. Doreen was in training as a nurse when she met and married Ben Wicks. The young couple emigrated to Calgary, Alberta in 1957 with the grand sum of $25.00 in their pockets. By 1963 the young family with three children moved to Toronto where Ben could pursue his promising career as a cartoonist, author and international journalist. Doreen worked at Sunnybrook Hospital as a nurse. On a visit to Haiti Doreen was overcome by the sight of poverty suffering and disease of young mothers and children. She quit her job and founded Global Education Medical Supplies …GEMS of Hope. She recycled medical equipment and pleaded for donations of drugs for the impoverished in 50 third world countries around the globe. She travelled the globe on her own often entering war torn countries. In 1987-1988 she was appointed by the federal government as a Citizenship Judge. In 1989 her dedication of service was recognized by her appointment to the Order of Canada. Ben Wicks had received the Order of Canada in 1986 and they become the 1st husband and wife to have received the Order of Canada.  Source: Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective. Herstory 2007: the Canadian Women’s Calendar (Regina: Couteau Books, 2006)  pg. 86..  (2020)

Jane B. Wisdom

Social Worker

Born 1884. Died 1975. She apprenticed in social work in New York State, U.S.A. in the early 1910’s and is considered one of Canada’s 1st professional social workers. She returned from New York in 1916 when she was asked to become head of the Halifax Bureau of Social Service and also work with the Halifax Relief Commission which was set up after the Great Halifax explosion in December 1917. In 1921 she helped write a report out of Nova Scotia recommending the creation of a provincial mother’s allowance scheme. This reform would not be implemented by 1930. By the early 1920’s she had relocated to Montreal to complete her studies and lecture in social work. In the shadow of the 1920’s and 1930’s Montreal she worked with young single mothers and headed Montreal’s Women’s Directory. By 1939 she had once again settled in Nova Scotia. In 1941 Jane became the 1st welfare officer in Glace Bay making her the 1st municipal welfare officer in Nova Scotia. She retired from this position in 1952. Her biography has been written by Suzanne Morton, Wisdom Justice and Charity:  A Canadian Social Welfare through the Life of Jane B. Wisdom, published by the University of Toronto Press in 2014. (2020)

Blanche Wiesenthal

Born January 1, 1919, Sydney, Nova Scotia. Blanche married and the couple moved to Montreal. Her family had long been active in the Zionist Movement and she was the founder of the Herman Abranowitz Chapter of the Canadian Hadassah-W.I.Z.O. in Montreal serving as 1st president from 1946-1951. She held several positions at all levels of the organization including being national president, 1968-1972. She was responsible for introducing such projects as fashion shows and Israel trade promotion. She wrote scripts and directed two films on Israel. She was also Chairperson of the 1964 National Convention in Montreal and represented the Zionist Organization of Canada at the 24th World Zionist Congress.  Source: Library and Archives Canada Online (Accessed June 2013.)  (2020)

Mary Wong

Born Hamilton, Ontario. In 1943 Mary and her husband opened a family restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario. She soon became involved with her home community as principal of the National Chinese School and as an interpreter of the Chinese language in the city courts. She served as a member of the Canadian Consultative Council on Multiculturalism. In 1977 Mary Wong was the first Canadian of Chinese descent to be appointed as a Citizenship Court Judge. She retired from the "bench" ( as a Citizenship Judge) in 1985. She is an appointee to the Hamilton [Ontario] Gallery of Distinction. (2020)

Frances Wright

Born South Africa. In the 1950’s Frances and her family immigrated to Canada. By 1968 she earned her BA from the University of Calgary, Alberta. In 1996 she was a founder and president of the Famous Five Foundation founded to acknowledge the democratic champions and the nation builders and their achievements and to bring the stories of Nellie McClung (1873-1951) , Emily Murphy (1868-1933) Irene Parlby (1868-1965), Henrietta Edwards (1849-1931), and Louise McKinney (1868-1931)  to the forefront of Canadian history. She worked to have larger than life statues erected in Calgary and Ottawa’s Parliament Hill. The women have been recognized by appearing on the back of the Canadian $50.00 bill. She spearheaded an education guide, textbook and recognition with Canadian stamps of the women. Frances also campaigned to have the Canadian National anthem be inclusive by changing the words to ‘True patriot love, in all of us command’. She was the founder and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse and served as co-chair fundraiser for the Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. As a businesswoman she owned Ports International Clothing Stores. She was a part of Wright and Associates which specialized in communications research and funding strategies. She is a founding member of the Calgary and Alberta Status of Women Action Committee. In 2002 she was presented with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Alberta Centennial Medal.  In 2003 she was presented with the Rotary Club Integrity Award and was recognized by the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women. . In 2004 she earned the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. (2020)

Wanda Lefurgey Wyatt



Born 1895, Prince Edward Island. Died 1998. She earned her B.A. at McGill University, Montreal and then went on to complete graduate studies at Chicago University. She was the first woman in Prince Edward Island to be admitted to study law. She joined the I.O.D.E. (Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire) in 1915 and served on numerous positions. She became the first Islander to be awarded life membership in the I.O.D.E. She also enjoyed Little Theatre and was involved in efforts on their behalf. She purchased the Grandfather’s historic house imitating the founding of the Lefurgey Cultural Centre. She was an active member of the Heritage Foundation and on the Board of Governors of the Prince of Wales College. She would serve her home province as a volunteer for 78 years. Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 1981. (2020)

Anna Yonker

née Humeniloyyck. Born February 5, 1890, Ukraine. Died May 6, 1944, Winnipeg, Manitoba. As a teen she moved with her family to Winnipeg following the Canadian Government promise of a good life for immigrants.  Life in the Canadian west proved harsh, even in cities, low paying jobs were the only avenue for immigrants. Her first marriage left her with two small children to raise. She worked as a housekeeper for Dr. Henry Yonker who moved to Winnipeg from the United States in 1905. The two were soon in love and married and a son, Zenon was added to the family. Anna worked to improve the plight of Ukrainian immigrants and soon became a leader of women’s organizations a philanthropist and pioneer welfare worker. She personally contacted Senator Cairine Wilson and Lady Ishbel Aberdeen, the activist wife of the Governor General of Canada, to ensure the plight of immigrant women was in the limelight. She urged the Canadian Council of Women to pursue international peace. Serving on the executive of Lesia Ukrayenka Women’s organization she formulated fund raisers such as concerts, book fairs, plays, dinners and dances. Upon her death she left not only a family but a grieving community. It was estimated that 1600 people attended her funeral. In 1962, on the 25th anniversary of her death a memorial dinner was held in her honour. Well known Ukrainian-Canadian author, Iryna Knych, wrote Patriotyzm Anny Ionker (the Patriotism of Anna Yonker) Winnipeg: [sn], 1964,  text in Ukrainian with a resume in English, as a tribute to the pioneering spiritSources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, May 8, 1936 page 7: Herstory; The Canadian women’s calendar 2007 Coteau Books, 2006. Page 62. (2020)

Letitia Youmans

née Creighton. Born January 3, 1827, Hamilton Township, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died July 18, 1896, Toronto, Ontario. Letitia swore a pledge of total abstinence from alcohol while in elementary school.  She went on to attended Cobourg Ladies' Seminary when she was 16 and continued her studies at the Burlington Academy, Hamilton Ontario where she taught for two years after graduation. She moved to teach at the Picton Academy and it was there that she met Arthur Youmans, a widower with eight children. On August 29, 1850 the two were married. She would run a school in her home to educate her stepchildren. After visiting a rally of the American Women's Temperance Crusade in 1874, Letitia returned to Canada full of determination. She encouraged the local women in her cause  and by 1877 she was forming the Ontario WCTU and served as 1st president. She became a popular speaker throughout North America, as well as Britain and Europe. In 1882, after the death of her husband she relocated to Toronto.  In 1883 the Dominion WCTU was formed and she again served as the 1st president. She would remain, after 1889, as honorary president for the rest of her life. She was forced to retire from her activities due to severe rheumatism. Read more about her determination in her autobiography Campaign Echoes. (2020)

Grace Ledoux Zoldy

Métis Activist

Born December 13, 1933, Camperville, Manitoba. Grace has been a lifelong active member of the Manitoba Métis Federation where she became A spokeswoman of Métis Women in Manitoba. She married Gaspar Zoldy and the couple has 3 children. Grace worked for 7 years at the Sanatorium at The Pas in the kitchen and dining room.  After two years of training she became a Home Advisor for Northern Affairs, a job she held for ten years. She also a passionate and advocates for the preservation of the Michif language and is active in the Manitoba Métis Federation’s Michif Language Program. With Heritage Canada she has participated in language focus groups in national heritage languages as well as being an active member of the National Michif Speakers’ group that was founded in 2006. Grace visited California to learn from Native people who were actually delivering the a language  program which  is a complete immersion program where the speakers, usually elders, commit to teaching the language on a one-on-one basis in the home and in the community. The California program is a community-centered approach that allows speakers to effectively pass on their language to learners without classrooms, books or language experts.  She has been paramount in introducing this program in the teaching of the Michif language. She published in 2003 Li Liivr Oche Michif Ayamiiawina: The Book of Michif Prayers. 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. Sources; Matt Preprost, “Gala recognizes accomplishments”.  Winnipeg Free Press June 18, 2010 Page A13; Lawrence Barkwell, Grace Ledoux Zoldy, Métis Museum, Online (accessed September 2015) (2020)

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