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Copyright © 1998-2016 Dawn E. Monroe. All rights reserved

ISBN: 0-9736246-0-4

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Famous Canadian Women's
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Famous Canadian Women's
Historical Timeline
Famous Canadian Women
on Canadian Postage Stamps
On the Job
Over 1,000 Names
Quotes from
Famous Canadian Women
 


 

 

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Use your mouse pointer to touch a date on the
calendar to the left and see which Famous
Canadian Woman has a birthday on that date.
December 1 Allyn Ann McLerie. Born Grand Mere, Quebec 1926. Allyn  become an actress having made films from the 1940's through to the 1980's. A listing of her TV appearances is like a listing of the classics, Bonanza, The Waltons and Dynasty to name a few of the shows in which she appeared. She retired from acting in 1993.
  Sylvie Daigle Born Sherbrooke, Quebec 1962.  She began speed skating when she was 8 years old.. She would go on in her sport to win an Olympic gold medal at the Calgary games 1988 in the 1500m event and sliver medals in the 1000m and 3000m events. In the  Albertville Olympic Games it was gold again, this time as part of the short track relay event. The Lillehammer Olympics would be a silver medal again in the relay.  She is also a student in medicine at l'Université de Montréal.
December 2 Jennifer Lee Robinson. Born Goderich, Ontario 1976. Figure skating is her first love. Her heroine was skater Elizabeth Manly. She won the Canadian Junior Championship in 1994. In 1996 she won her first Canadian Senior Championship title. She has been Canadian ladies figure skating champion 6 times. Check out her official web site: http://skatinginc.com/Skaters/Robinson/
December 3 Mary Alloway. (née Wilson) Born 1848. Died 1919. She was the author of Famous Firesides of French Canada which was published in Montreal in 1899 and the novel, Crossed Swords, which was published in Toronto in 1912. 
December 4 Deanna Durbin.  Born Winnipeg, Manitoba 1921.  Known as 'Winnipeg’s Sweetheart', this glamour actress of the 1930’s and 1940’s had a real star status in Hollywood. She began her career in 1926 and had 23 credits behind her by 1948. Then she simply dropped out of the Hollywood life.  She has not given an interview of any kind since she “dropped acting” To this day fan mail is still sent to the reclusive actress.
  Barbara Amiel . Born Hertfordshire, England. A writer, journalist, and editor, Barbara was editor for the Toronto Sun newspaper.  She has won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best face crime book and was the “Woman of Distinction” in 1989. She is married to Conrad Black, a noted newspaper entrepreneur.
  Anna McGarrigle.  Born Montreal, Quebec 1944.  Along with her sister and partner, Kate, she began singing in coffee houses in Montreal in the 1960's.  In 1976 they produced a record album together.  Other albums followed including an all French album in 1982. The McGarrigles were named to the Order of Canada in 1994.
Roberta Lynn Bondar. Born Sault Ste Marie, Ontario 1945. Canada’s first woman astronaut had flair. She took her favourite food, Girl Guide cookies, into space with her.  She brought from space a real sense of just how delicate our small blue planet really is and is now using her photography to help show and save our earth’s environment.  She has several university degrees.  Check out how many schools she went to in the Canadian Who’s Who at your library. Check out Dr. Bondar's web page: http://www.robertabondar.ca/


© Famous Canadian
Women

December 5 Pearl Calhasen . Born 1952. After studies for her Masters in Education she worked to develop Cree language for elementary and adult education. She was the first woman to teach at a minimum security prison in Alberta. Her desire to improve education and social policy have led her to political positions such as Alberta Human Rights Commissioner, Member of the World Congress on Education , the Métis Nation of Alberta and Alberta Minister Without Portfolio, Responsible for Children's Services. Her political achievements have earned her the privilege of being addressed as the Honourable Pearl Calhasen.
  Julie Khaner. Born Montreal, Quebec 1957. This accomplished actor played Alana on Street Legal (CBC series) and Emily on Jake and the Kid ( Global TV Series). She is also a regular on the CBC series Newsroom. Her TV guest roles have included Aderly, Night Heat, My Secret Identity and many more. She also enjoys live stage work and has played various roles at the famous Stratford Festival located in Ontario.
December 6 Susanna Moodie (née Strickland). Born Bungay, England 1803.  Susanna was a settler in Upper Canada and she wrote about her adventures in a famous book called Roughing it in the Bush. She was also an early Canadian journalist writing for the best of the Canadian literary journals of the day. She was very suspicious of the “Yankee” (American) influence on early Canada. Her sister, Catherine Parr Trail was also a famous Canadian author.


Public domain

  Mabel Frances Timlin. . Born Forest Junction, Wisconsin U.S.A.  1891. Died 1976.  "Timmie" moved to Saskatchewan from the United States in 1917.  She worked as a secretary while studying at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1940 she earned a PhD at the University of Washington and returned to the University of Saskatchewan to teach economics. She would go on to write some of the basic Canadian economic works of the 1950's and 1960's. She would become the first woman to be elected to the executive committee of the American Economics Association from 1957-1960. Among her many awards were the Canada Centennial Medal 1976 and the Order of Canada.
December 7 Margaret Ruth Pringle Carse. Born Edmonton, Alberta 1916. Died November 14, 1999. This ballet dancer was a true pioneer of her profession in Western Canada. She founded the Alberta Ballet Company and it's associated school of dance.  She studied with several leading institutions including the National Ballet of Canada and in New York City. An injury in 1954 forced her to retire from the stage.  She turned her talents to teaching the youth of Western Canada. She was winner of the Dance Canada Award in 1989 and she holds the Order of Canada. 
December 8 Haley Wickenheiser  Born Shaunavon, Saskatchewan 1978. Team sports are her favourite. She played in competition in the World Junior Softball Championships in 1995. Then it was hockey. She played with a gold medal team at the 1997-99 World hockey Championships and the silver medal team at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. She was invited to play with the Philadelphia Flyers training camp which she found a great opportunity to learn at the NHL level. She has done studies science and the University of Calgary and is currently the first woman to have accepted a contract to play hockey on a men's team. She plays her sport of hockey in Finland.
December 9 Annie Buller.  (married name Guralnick)  Born Ukraine,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. 
December 10 Ibola Szalai Grossman.  Born 1916.  "Ibi" is a self-described “ordinary woman”. She is also a survivor.  She survived the physical and mental horrors of the Hungarian Holocaust. She survived to escape to the west. She survived the obstacles of being a European immigrant Jew. She survived the change to a new and foreign culture and way of life in immigrating to Canada.  She did all of this after her husband, her mother, father, and her sisters died in the death camps.  She survived to raise her son alone in Canada. She survived to write her story in the hopes that the horrors will not happen again.
  Jessica Steen. Born Toronto, Ontario 1965. There was a lot of time to practice acting in Jessica's house.  There was always an annual Christmas skit, and trips to the theater with her director father. She had her first TV role at the age of  8.  In the mid 1960's she appeared in a TV movie with Lindsay Wagner and schoolmate Keanu Reeves.  Lately she has had roles in Touched by an Angel; The Outer Limits; ER;  and Due South. If her busy schedule between TV and movies allows it, she enjoys kayaking and rock climbing.  She is also a volunteer with environmentalist David Suzuki. Check out her web page:  http://www.jessicasteen.com 
December 11 Pauline Jewett.  Born St Catherines, Ontario 1922.  Died July 5, 1992. She would use her own educational background at Queen’s, Radcliff, Harvard, Oxford and London School of Economics as a background for being a politician, educator and professor of political science.  She was an elected member of parliament in the 1960's and again in the 1980's. She was appointed president of Simon Fraser University in 1974, the first woman to be head of a major co-educational university in Canada. She was appointed Chancellor of Carleton University in Ottawa in 1990, a position she held until her death. In 1992 Carleton University renamed its women's studies program to become the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women's Studies. She was also an Officer in the Order of Canada.
  Carolyn Waldo. Born Montreal, Quebec 1964. After nearly drowning at the age of 3 years she took 7 years to overcome her fear of the water. In the 1984 Olympics she captured a silver medal in synchronized swimming! At the World Aquatic Championships she and partner Michelle Cameron won gold and Carolyn also took gold in the solo event.  In the 1988 Olympics she won gold in solo and again with Michelle won gold in duet.  She became the first Canadian woman to win 2 gold medals at one Olympics. She currently perusing a career in sports broadcasting.
December 12 Mina Suingai Shum. Born Hong Kong 1965.  Mina studied for a degree in Theatre and then Film and TV Production at the University of British Columbia. She is a writer and producer of films and is perhaps best known for her work in short films. In 1993 her work Me, Mom and Mona, won a special Jury Citation for Best Canadian Short Film. She has won a Genie Award for Best Actress and Best Editing and she has been nominated for seven Genies in the categories of Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Screenplay.
December 13 Emily Carr. Born Victoria, British Columbia 1871. Died March 2,1945. Emily is perhaps one of the most famous women painters in Canada.  Her works bring alive the beautiful West Coast scenes with vibrant and distinct images. The swirling stokes of her brush created unique images of her paintings. Her canvases hang in many art galleries including the National Gallery in Ottawa. Totem poles of West Coast native peoples were also one of her favourite studies. Did you know she also wrote books? You will find books showing her art and the books she wrote at your local public library.
Public domain
   
December 14 Blanche van Ginkel (née Lemco). Born London, England 1923.  Blanche and her husband are Architects and urban planners.  They have worked on plans for old city of Montreal, new Montreal, New York City, Calgary, and even development sites for the Canadian Arctic.  She was Dean of Architecture at the University of Toronto, 1977-1982.
December 15 Ida Haendel.  Born Chelm, Poland 1924.  This violinist is known for her flawless technique and beauty of tone when she plays.  She had a long international career beginning as a child prodigy in Poland, playing for British servicemen in World War II England. She is a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She immigrated to Canada in 1952.
Chantal Peticlerc.  Born Saint-Marc-des Carriéres, Quebec  1969. This television host for Lotto Quebec has become the first woman Canadian star in the sport of wheelchair athletics. In the summer of 1995 she won 5 gold medals at the world championships for wheel chair athletics, and in 1996 she brought home 5 medal from the Paralympics.  Go ahead find out more about Chantal and other paralympians on the Internet.
© Famous Canadian
Women
December 16 Karleen Bradford . Born 1936. This writer enjoys producing books for young adult readers. She is a working mother of three children who also found time to contribute to her profession by holding positions at organizations such as the Writers Union of Canada, the Canadian Authors' Association and the Public Lending Rights Commission. Her own books have won awards such as; The Max and Greta Ebel Award 1990 ( Windward Island ) and the Young Adult Canadian Book Award of the Canadian Library Association in 1993. The titles of some of her other books include: The Nine Days Queen, The Haunting at Cliff House, There Will Be Wolves, Animal Heroes, Shadows on a Sword. Check the shelves of your local public Library for these exciting titles.
December 17 Frances Dafoe.  Born 1929 This 1948 Canadian Junior ladies figure skating champion became paired with Norris Bowden the 1947 men’s singles champion to compete in the 1952 Olympics. By 1954 they were the first Canadians to be World Pairs Champions. At the 1955 Olympics they won the silver medal. Frances retired to a successful fashion deign career specializing in figure skating costumes and continues to be an international skating judge.  She is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
December 18 Henrietta Louise Edwards Born Montreal, Quebec December 18, 1849. Died Fort Macleod, Alberta November 10, 1931. 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. Why not read about the "Persons Case" at the web site for the National Archives of Canada. Http://www.archives.ca/05/0530_e.html
December 19 Joanne Gard Marshall. Born 1945. Dr. Marshall is a librarian and professor at the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto. She also holds cross appointments with the Department of Health Administration at the Centre for Health Promotion and Institute for Human Development, Life Course and Aging. While librarians are often seen as holding a special contributive role in a community, Dr. Marshall has earned special recognition within her profession. She is the recipient of several awards including the Eliot Prize from the Medical Library Association and the Award of Outstanding Achievement from the Canadian Health Library Association.
December 20 Judy Verlyn LaMarsh. Born December 20, 1924 Chatham, Ontario. Died October 27, 1980. Like many women of her generation Judy attended Normal School to train as a teacher. Instead of teaching she joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps and served from 1943-1946. After her military service Judy attended the University of Toronto for her B.A. and then attended Osgoode Hall and was called to the bar as a lawyer in 1950. As a politician she was elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa in a by-election in the fall of 1960. In 1963 she became the second woman to be appointed to a Cabinet position in the Canadian government. This colourful, flamboyant woman, as Minister of Health and Welfare, introduced the Canada Pension Plan and supervised the drafting of what became Canada’s Medicare system. She became the 1st official in the western world government to oppose tobacco smoking publicly. As Secretary of State for Canada she presided over the 1967 Centennial Year celebrations for Canada with great flair.  She also established the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. She left politics after Canada’s Centennial Year using her time in retirement to author 3 books including her autobiography, Memoirs of a Bird in a Gilded Cage in 1969. She became a broadcaster and hosted own weekday radio program on CBC Radio. She returned to work as a lawyer and in 1974 defended the Brunswick Four in a prominent LGBT Case. In April 1975 she headed the Ontario Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications Industry.  Ill with pancreatic cancer she was inducted into the Order of Canada from her hospital bed on July 22, 1980. The Government of Canada Building in Chatham, Ontario is known as the Judy LaMarsh Building. Sources: Judy LaMarsh, Making Medicare: the history of health care in Canada 1914-2007, www.historymuseum.ca (Accessed 2007); Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Accessed 2004)
 
December 21 Marie Madeleine Maufils dit de St Louis. Baptized 1671. She was one of the religious Hospitallers at the Hôtel-Dieu. She was known as Mother Maufils. She was a talented painter and artist who is credited with some of the artistic panels in the Chapel of the Hôpital Générale in Quebec city. 
December 22 Myriam Bedard.  Born 1969.  While with cadets she took up biathlon and entered her first competition on rented skis. In 1991 she was the first Canadian to win a World Cup in Biathlon. She won a bronze medal in the Olympic games in 1992 when women's biathlon was a demonstration sport  The next year it was a  a gold at the World Championship. She went n to win gold for the 7.5 km inaugural event, and a gold in the 15 km event at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.  She was the first non-European to win gold in Biathlon.  She received the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s outstanding athlete in 1994. She is a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
December 23 Catriona LeMay Doan.  Born 1970.  This young skater from the Canadian prairies is a member of the national long track speed skating team.  She won 2 medals in the Olympics in Nagano, Japan.  In 1997-8 she was the fastest woman on ice!  She lost only one 500m race all year! She is actively involved in public speaking where she is challenging and motivating people to achieve their full potential. 
  Miriam Waddington (née Dworkin) Born Winnipeg, Manitoba December 23, 1917.Died March 3, 2004 Vancouver, British Columbia. She had a traditional  Jewish upbringing and found it somewhat of a shock when her family moved to Ottawa and she attended Public High School. She earned her BA at the university of Toronto in 1939 and that same year married Patrick Waddington. She e earned a diploma in Social work at the University of Toronto and went on to earn her Masters in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania in 1949. She was a social worker in Toronto and later in Montreal but her love of poetry would soon lead her life in a different direction.  She wrote poetry and short fiction with 11 published works to her credit. Miriam's book Driving Home won the J. I. Segal Award in 1972 and she was 2 times the winner of Senior Writing Fellowships from the Canada Council. She won the Boreston Mountain Awards for best poetry in 1963, 1966 and again in 1974.   She was a specialist on the subject of A.M. Klein. In 1998 she was the Canada Council exchange poet in Wales. She served as Writer in Residence at Windsor Public Library and later at the University of Ottawa. Her poem Jacques Cartier In Toronto is featured on the Back of the Canadian $100.00 Bill issued in 2004. Source: Menkis, Richard "Miriam Dworkin Waddington" Jewish Women: A Cojmprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. Accessed June 30, 2013.
December 24 Marie Elmina Anger.  Born 1844.  Educated as a teenager with the Sisters of the Good Shepard in Quebec City, she entered the order and took vows and became Sister Marie de Jésus. While she became a good teacher herself she was better known for her talents in painting. She was particularly good as a portrait artist and would, in her lifetime, produce some 50 portraits of religious colleagues of her day. People who would sit for portraits included Elisabeth Bryière, Archbishop Baillagon, Cardinal Tachereau and Vicar General Cazeau. Through her own canvases and her teachings, Sister Marie de Jésus left a rich cultural and religious heritage to Quebec.
December 25 Isabella Valancy Crawford.   Born 1850. Died 1887.  Isabella emigrated with her family from Ireland around 1947. After the death of her father in 1875 she began publishing popular verse and serialized novels in publications in Toronto and New York City. She would be the first important woman poet in Canada. A complete collection of her works was published posthumously.)
  Alannah Myles  Born 1958.  This rock singer began playing the guitar at age 11.  By 15 she was writing  songs.  She was unable to gain the attention of Canadian companies so she released her records through a New York company.  She won a Grammy for her first album. An album in 1995 was simply called Alannah.
December 26 Elizabeth Russell.  Born 1754. Died 1822.  After the death of her father she moved to the Canada's with her older half brother, Peter. Peter was an administrator in the colony. She became an able entertainer on behalf of her brother and his position in York (Toronto), socializing with the elite society of the day. In her letters and diary she has left a detailed picture of one woman's life in early Upper Canada. 
December 27 Mary Evangeline Percy Jackson. Born Dudley England December 27, 1904 Died May 6 2000.  From the time she was 11 she had wanted to study medicine. Graduating from Birmingham University in 1927, as best all round student, she answered a Canadian advertisement for women doctors for the Prairies. Her practice would cover 560 square kilometers and patients would be reached on horseback. In spring 1929 her trip to settle in Battle River required a 24 hour train trip,18 hours by boat and an 11 hour 28 kilometers wagon ride to work in a small cabin with no electricity and no phone. March 10, 1931 she would marry a persistent suitor, Frank Jackson and move north to Keg River. Here she settled into home life with two step sons and opened a medical practice for the local Métis, unsupported financially by the government. She and Frank would add two children to the family farm. In 1953 the family was given the Master Farm Award by the province. In 1965 a school was named in Mary’s honour. More acknowledgements of her work would come in the form of the Centennial Medal in 1967, The Woman of the year Award from the Voce of Native Women in 1975.In 1983 she received the Alberta Order of Excellence followed in 1990 with an Order of Canada.  Mary always found her work to be a gift not a chore and this was felt by her appreciative clients. Source  Rebel Women: Achievements beyond the ordinary by Linda Kupecek. (Canmore, AB : Altitude Publishing, 2003) pg 83-94. :  Http://www.drmaryjackson.com
December 28 Fanny “Bobbie” Rosenfeld. Born 1903. In 1950 she was declared Canada’s woman athlete of the half century.  She was a member of the 1928 Olympic team. These were the first Olympic games to allow women to compete. She brought home a silver and gold medal for Canada!
© Canada Post Corporation
  Michelle Cameron.  Born 1962. From 1981 for the next 7 years she would be on the synchronized swimming team that would win 6 of 8 national championships. She was a member of the team that demonstrated the new sport to the International Olympic Committee to have the Games accept the sport. She was on the gold medal team in the 1988 Olympics. She is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
December 29 Sarah Debbois. Born 1733. She married successful merchant, George Debbois and raised a family. As loyalists or people who had left the colonies in the United States because they were still loyal to the British monarchy, her family relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia. When her husband died in 1799 she assumed supervision of his business. She was somewhat of a novelty in Halifax society and the business survived difficult times. She provided a solid foundation for the business which continued as a family business into the 19th century.
  Lisa Savigarvi.  Born 1963.  She first learned to ski at 14 months! She was a national competitor at 14 years. In 1985 she was overall alpine Canadian Champion.  She was forced out of competition in 1987-88 season after shattering her knee and injuring her back while in World Cup training. 
December 30 Sondra Gotlieb.  Born 1936.  An author, who has one the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, she has also authored two Canadian cookbooks.  She writes articles for such notable publications as Saturday Night, Maclean’s, and the New York Times.
  Linda Thom.  Born Hamilton, Ontario December 30, 1943. She is a strong and highly motivated Olympic medalist. She first became interested in shooting as a child, when she learned the basics of the sport from her shooting enthusiast father. She successfully entered pistol competitions in 1969. By the mid 1970's she concentrated on her career as a chef and on family life. She took up the challenge of shooting again when it was announced that women would compete in this event in the Olympic Games.  Her pistol individual gold medal in the 1984 Los Angeles games was the first for a Canadian women and the first gold medal for a Canadian woman since 1928. Linda felt that the Gold Medal belonged to all the people of Canada, and she carried it with here wherever she went so that people could see and touch the medal for themselves. Linda is the first pistol shooter included into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. She is also a member of the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Amateur Sports Hall of Fame. In 1985 she received the Order of Canada.
December 31 Bella Hall Gauld. Born 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.
  Elizabeth Arden  (Real name Florence Nightengale Graham).  Born Woodbridge, Ontario 1884 Died 1966.  She left Woodbridge Ontario for the bright lights of New York City when she was 25 years old.   After working as secretary at a cosmetic firm she decided that she would work in the cosmetic business herself. The rest is history.  Along with her rival, Helena Rubenstein, she made make-up acceptable to the average North American woman. You can see for yourself all the various products her company makes at most large department stores cosmetic sections.
 

Ethel Smith. Born 1907.  She teamed with Bobbie Rosenfeld, Myrtle Cook and Jane Bell to win the gold medal in the 400m relay at the 1928 Olympic games, the fist games that allowed women to compete. She also won the bronze medal in the 100m sprint at the same games. A natural athlete she excelled at basketball and softball as well as track and field.  She is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

   
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ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF NAMES