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Copyright © 1998-2013 Dawn E. Monroe. All rights reserved

ISBN: 0-9736246-0-4

Activities and Games
Famous Canadian Women's
Famous Firsts
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









































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.
January 1 Florence Lawrence   Born Hamilton, Ontario 1890. Died December 28, 1938. This petite Canadian born actress is universally acknowledged as the world’s first movie star. At age 4 she was performing as “Baby Flo, the Wonder Whistler” on vaudeville. In the pioneer days of filmmaking, credits with the names of actors were not important. She became known simply as the "Biograph Girl". In 1915 she tried to help someone in a studio fire and was badly burned.  She never achieved her former active career.  At the time of her death she had appeared in 250 films! For more information check out http://www.biographcompany.com. or read Florence Lawrence, the Biograph Girl : America's First Movie Star by Kelly R Brown (McFarland, 1999).
  Annie L. Jack(née Hayr)  Born Northampton, England 1839. Died February 15, 1912.  She was Canada’s first professional woman garden writer.  When she moved to Canada, she used her gardening skills to experiment and make a profit.  Her skills became known throughout North America and she was written up in American publications.  While she wrote and published short stories and poems, it is her horticultural articles for which she is remembered.  Her book The Canadian Gardener : A pocket Help of the Amateur  was published in 1903 and set the gardening standard for all of pre World War 1 Canada.  
January 2 Barbara Lally Pentland  Born Winnipeg, Manitoba 1912. Died February 5, 2000. One of the first Canadian composers  to use avant-garde techniques, she has helped introduce 2 generations of young Canadians to modern Music. She was named to the Order of Canada in 1989.
January 3 Ginette Laurin. Born Montreal, Quebec 1955. She began her choreographic career in 1979. She founded her own company in 1984. The company appeared at Expo 86 and won the Jean A. Chalmers Award. Since 1986 the company has returned to appear in Europe, the United States of America, Denmark, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.
  Lititia Youmans. (née Creighton) Born Hamilton Township, Upper Canada (Ontario) 1827. Died July 18, 1896. After visiting a rally of the American Women's Temperance Crusade in 1874, she returned to Canada full of determination.  Her efforts founded the Women's Christian Temperance Union in Canada and she would be the first president.  She would remain, after 1889, its honorary president for the rest of her life. Read more about her determination in her autobiography Campaign Echoes.
January 4Jeanne Le Ber. Born Montreal, Quebec 1662. Died October 3, 1714. As a young girl she had a dowry of 50,000 écrus and was the most eligible girl in New France. However, Jeanne decided to live a secluded life for 5 years. On the 24 of June 1685 she took a vow of perpetual seclusion, chastity, and poverty. Because of her social rank she retained an attendant. She gave large financial assistance to the building of a new church and a three floor apartment directly behind the alter became her living quarters. She has been studied and her life used as a character in a modern mystery novel Death du jour.(1998). 
  Pegi Nicol MacLeod (née Margaret Kathleen Nicol).  Born Listowel, Ontario 1904.  Died February 12, 1949. A painter she was among the first wave of artists of Canadian modernism.  She painted many works of the women’s division of the Armed Forces at the end of World War ll.  She left over 1000 works of art in many media including designs for hooked rugs.
January 5 Myrtle Cook. ( married name McGowan) Born Toronto, Ontario 1902. Died 1985. While she excelled in track, Myrtle was an excellent all around athlete. In the 1928 Olympics (the first Olympic Games to allow women to compete) she was the anchor leg of the gold medal winning 400 m relay.  She also held national and British Empire Games medals. She is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
January 6 Nancy Ruth [Jackman] . Born 1942. Nancy Ruth is Canada's first 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 Canada's largest women's history website www.coolwomen.ca  of The Womens' Legal Education and Action Fund - LEAF/FARJ. ( Be sure check out the teen pages at the site www.LEAF.ca ) and of the Canadian Women's Foundation/Foundation des Femmes Canadiennes, www.women.org who founded among other things the "White Ribbon Campaign". Nancy Ruth holds three honourary degrees and the Order of Canada. In March 2005, Prime Minister Paul Martin appointed her to the Senate of Canada.
January 7 Helen Gregory MacGill  Born Hamilton, Ontario 1864. Died February 27, 1947. She was the first woman to graduate from Trinity College of the University of Toronto. When she settled with her young family in British Columbia she was the first woman of the region to be appointed a judge of the juvenile Court, a post she held for 23 years.
January 8Sarah Polly  Born Toronto, Ontario 1979.  This actress became best known in Canada for her role in “Road to Avonlea”. She had however been working with Disney Studios since she was 4 years old. She is currently making the rare successful change from a child actor to adult actor.  She is pursuing her education and has strong pacifist political views.
January 9Félicité Angers. Born La Malbaie, Quebec 1845. Died June 6, 1924. This was the pen name of Laure Conan, author of nine novels of French Canadian Life. She was a witness to her time. She was the first French Canadian female novelist. All her novels centered on the 3 driving forces of French Canadian life, family, nation, and religion.
  Catherine Parr Traill. (née Strickland) Born London, England 1802. Died August 29, 1899. This pioneer came to Canada with her lieutenant husband in 1832. She wrote of the life around her in what was then "The Canadas" in her book The Backwoods of Canada. She would also note the flora of the region in her Canadian Wild Flowers. Her sister, Susanna Moodie was also a well known Canadian author. 
Public domain
January 10Norah Mary Holland.  Born Collingwood, Ontario 1876. Died 1925.   A cousin to the famous Irish writer, W. B. Yeats, this Canadian novelist toured Ireland on foot in 1904.  She published several of her works and in her own day she was a well-respected poet.
  Ludmilla Chiriaeff (née Otzoup-Goeny). Born Riga, Latvia 1924. Died September 22, 1996. Founder of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens she was a strong force in the development of dance in Quebec and Canada.  
January 11Anne Heggtveit.  Born Ottawa, Ontario 1939. A member of a skiing family, Anne, came to international attention at the age of 15 when she won the 1954 Holmenkollen Giant Slalom event in Norway, the youngest winner in the events’ 50 year history.  At the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics she won an Olympic Gold Medal for Canada. In that same year she won the giant slalom and combined women’s alpine titles the 1st time ever by a non European.
January 12

Helen Vanderburg.  Born Calgary, Alberta  1959.  A synchronized swimmer who won the 1973 Canadian Junior Championship. By 1977 she placed first  at the Pan Pacific Games and swept the Canadian championships with 6 gold medals.  In 1978 she became  the first Canadian to win the world championship with gold medals in the  solo and duet events.  In 1979 she defeated 90 competitors to win the solo title at the world aquatic championships.  She was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1983.

January 13Marie-Geneviève Drapeau (née Noel) Born Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Quebec 1766. Died November 17, 1829. She married Joseph Drapeau in 1782 but became a widow with his death in 1810.  As a wife she had no rights nor power but as a widow she had the same rights as an adult male. This was a law entitled Coutume de Paris. She took over the family businesses and rented out houses, businesses and lands. The monies were invested in real estate. She was a well known and respected business personality of her day. Upon her death her estate was divided evenly among her 6 daughters who ably continued the family businesses. 
  Florence Bayard Bird. (née Rhein) Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.A.1908. Died July 18, 1998. A member of the Canadian Senate, under the pen name of Anne Francis she was also an author.  She was also a pioneer broadcaster and journalist. In 1967 she was appointed Chairperson of the Royal Commission of the Status of Women. She was a Companion of the Order of Canada. 
January 14 Carrie Matilda Derick. Born Clarenceville, Quebec 1862. Died November 10, 1941. She studied for her B.A. at McGill in 1890, took her M.A. in 1896 and would go on to study at the Academy of Science, London England, Harvard University, USA, and Bonn University, Germany. Carrie became the first woman professor at an university in Canada. She was also and activist in women's rights.
  Lucille Wheeler . Born Montreal, Quebec 1935. Lucille first skied when she was two years old! At 12 she was the national junior ski champion and named to the Canadian National Ski Team at 14!. In 1956 she won bronze at the Cortina Olympic Games and became the first ever Canadian Olympic ski Medalist. In 1958 she won both the downhill and giant slalom event at the World Championships. She is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
January 15Victoria Tennant.  Born London, England 1947. This prima ballerina of the National Ballet of Canada won international acclaim for her extraordinary versatility and dramatic power as she danced herself around the world for 25 years.  Retired from dance she turned her talents to writing and producing for television and theatre. She has written books for children and is doing freelance writing for notable Canadian magazines. She volunteers for charity and has bee chairperson for UNICEF.  She has received the Order of Canada. 
  Andrea Martin.  Born Portland, Maine U.S.A. 1947. This mother of two boys is well remembered for her work on Second City TV, Kate and Allie and Sesame Street.  She has had guest appearances since the 1950’s in such series as Maverick, Carol Barnet Show, Superman and doing voices on The Simpson’s. She has won two Emmy awards for her program writing and she won a Tony award for  My favorite year.
  Mazo de la Roche. Born Newmarket, Ontario 1897. Died July 12, 1961.  While studying at the Ontario College of Art in 1902 she would publish her first short story in Munsey's Magazine.  She would go on the write for the Atlantic Monthly, the Canadian Magazine and the Women's home Companion. In 1923 she would publish her first novel followed in 1925 with an one act play. In 1927 she won a $10,000.00 award for her novel Jelna.  This novel would be the first of 16 novels about the Whiteoak family. Even the adoption of two children in 1931 did not deter her writing. In 1954-55 the novels were adopted for television by the British Broadcasting Corporation. There was a renewed interest when the CBC TV produced a Jelna series.  However in current times the novels are not on popular reading lists. 
  Bonnie Burnad.  Born 1945. This mother of three is a teacher and guest lecturer. She has toured South Africa, Sweden, Germany and England. To date, for her short stories, she has been awarded the Commonwealth Best First Book Award (1989),  Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award (1994), the Marian Engel Award (1994) and the Giller Award(1999). 
January 16Octavia Grace England (née Ritchie) Born Montreal, Quebec 1868. Died February 1, 1948. She would be the first woman to be valedictorian  at McGill University even though she was originally refused entry because she was a woman. She was the first woman to graduate from a medical school in Quebec.
January 17Hannah Maynard (née Hatherly).  Born Bude, England 1834.  Died May 15, 1918.  She and her husband, Richard, immigrated to Canada in 1852.  Hannah learned photography and followed her gold prospecting husband to British Columbia where she began her own gallery.  Richard leaned the trade from her and became a landscape photographer.  Hannah was well known for her portraits.
January 18Thérése de Couagne. Born 1697.  Died February 26, 1764. She married Francois Poulin de Francheville in 1718 and was a widow in 1733. She became interested in business after her husband's death.  She would be known as an astute business woman and played an active role in New France economy.  She was the owner of the slave Marie Joseph Angelique. It was this slave who while trying to cover her escape would set fire to the widow's house in 1734 and the fire would get out of control burning much of the settlement. 
  Gwethalyn Graham (real name Gwethalyn Graham Erichse-Brown).  Born Toronto, Ontario. 1913. Died November 25, 1965. This author would use only her first 2 names. The first novel she wrote, she used her own experiences at a Swiss Boarding school as a background. Swiss Sonata (1938) won a Governor General's Award. Her novel Earth and High Heaven was the first Canadian novel to top the American bestseller list (1945). This same novel would win a Governor Generals Award, would sell for movie rights (alas it was never to be a movie) and would be translated into Braille and 18 different languages! She continued to write but always in the shadow that she could never do as well with another novel.  She wrote articles on immigration, anti-semitism and women’s issues. Later in her career, she successfully turned her talents to writing TV Scripts.
  Elizabeth Smith–Shortt. Born Vinemount, Ontario  1859. Died January 14, 1949. One of Canada’s early women doctors she almost single handedly fought fore Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario to become co-educational and accept women as students in medicine.  She was an enthusiastic champion of women’s rights and was elected Vice President of the National Council of Women.
January 19Alison Ruth Gordon.  Born New York, U.S.A. 1943.  As a journalist she worked for CBC Radio and the Toronto Star newspaper. She wrote a book about the Toronto Blue Jays but found her love to be writing mysteries centered on a sportswriter as a main character.  If you like mysteries, visit your own public library and look up these books.
January 20 Marcelle Ferron. Born Louiseville, Quebec 1924. Died November 19, 2001 . A member of a group of artists known as Les Automatistes she has worked in medium such as stained glass. She is primarily known for her dynamic paintings. She uses vibrant colours and fluid forms to cover her canvases.
  Ruth Elizabeth Borson.  Born 1952.  After her education in the U.S. she moved to study at the University of British Columbia. She began publishing her poetry in 1977.  To date she has published 10 collections of her work.
January 21Ilana Miller. Born Toronto, Ontario 1979. This Toronto actress began her career in the 1989 revitalization of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Club.  She has also appeared as Cindy "Mac" MacNamera in the TV series Emerald Cove. Watch for this up and coming talent. 
January 22Peggy Seller.  Born 1904. This Montreal athlete began her interest in sport by competing in track and hold provincial titles in javelin, broad jump and running relays. She also excelled in swimming and diving, holding the national record for the  3 meter diving championship. Perhaps her legacy is better shown in her writings of the rules  of synchronized swimming. 
  Doris Giller.  Born Montreal, Quebec 1931. Died April 25, 1993. She began her working career as a secretary with a supermarket chain. She joined the staff of the Montreal Star newspaper in 1953 and thought persistence and hard work she  never accepted accepted the "Glass ceiling" that kept many women in low positions. She rose to be a reporter and editor at three of Canada's major daily newspapers. Her husband Jack Rabinovitch established the Giller Prize in 1994. It is Canada's premier literary prize for literary fiction.
January 23Dora Ridout Hood. Born Toronto, Ontario 1885. As a young widow with two children Dora supported herself by opening a small reading room in her house. She was one of the first book dealers in Toronto to specialize in 'out-of–print' Canadian books. The Dora Hood Book Room received royal warrant from Buckingham Palace to acquire Canadiana! She developed precise and profitable catalogue of Canadian books. After retiring from the Book Room she became an author herself producing two books.
January 24Phyllis Lambert.  Born Montreal, Quebec 1927.  A trained and accomplished architect she designed the Saidy Bromfman Center in Montreal and served as consultant for the Toronto Dominion Center. She won the National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects for her work in Los Angeles.  She is the founder and director of the Canadian Center for Architecture, a world-class museum and study center in Montreal.  She is an officer in the order of Canada.
January 25 Emoke Jolan Ezsebet Szathmary Born Ungvar, Hungary January 25, 1944. She emigrated to Canada and studied for her BA at the University of Toronto. By 1974 she had received her PhD. That same year she married George Alexander. The couple have two children. Her academic career began at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario and then to McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario. By 1989 she was Dean of Faculty, School of Social Sciences at the University of Western Ontario , London, Ontario where she went on to hold positions of Provost and Vice President (Academic). The family settled in Manitoba in 1996 where Emoke is President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Manitoba. While working full time as a mother and academic administrator she was editor for the Journal of Physical Anthropology (1995-2001) and President of the Canadian Association of Physical Anthology as well as writing numerous published articles and papers. In 2003 she became a member of the Order of Canada. The next year she was named one of Canada’s top 100 most powerful women by the Women’s Executive Network and the Richard Ivy School of Business. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2005. Suggested sources : Canadian Who’s Who 2006 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press)
  Sara Barber Born January 25, 1941 Brantford, Ontario. As a teen she was a member of the Canadian International Swim teams from 1954 through 1962.In 1956 she was one of the youngest team members at the Melbourne Australia Olympic Games.  In 1959 she held the world record for the 100 meter back stroke. And won a silver medal at the Pan Am Games. In 1958 and 1969 she represented Canada at the British Empire Games and won silver and bronze medals. She is married to Donald Jenkins and they have three children. In 1964 she attended McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario for her BA and went on to earn her BNE. She is a member of the group of Olympians who were honoured in 2002 on the Brantford walk of Fame. Suggested source: Who’s who in Canadian Sport by Bob Ferguson.
January 26
January 27Blanche Margaret Meagher.  Born Halifax, Nova Scotia 1911.  Died February 25, 1999. This diplomat was one of 4 pioneering women in the administration of the Canadian federal government where she worked at the Department of External Affairs. She served in Mexico and London and then in 1958 she was the first woman to become appointed as an ambassador for Canada. She served as Canadian ambassador to Israel, Austria Sweden.
 Susan Aglukark. Born Churchill, Manitoba 1967. Her Inuit name is Uuliniq. She is one of six children. She actually worked as a civil servant at the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs in Ottawa for awhile but gave it up to be able to sing. She had produced three albums and two hit singles by 1999. The music video for Searching won best cinematography honors at the 1991 Canadian Music Video Awards. She is a committed family person and does motivational talks to youth advising that "staying in school is cool ."
January 28 Rt. Hon. Ellen Louks Fairclough. Born Hamilton, Ontario 1905. Died November 13, 2004. Her first career was as an accountant. She owned her own firm when she was elected to Hamilton City council in 1946. In 1950 she was elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa. She was the first woman to be appointed to the post of a Cabinet Minister in the Canadian Parliament in 1957. In 1989 she was presented with the Persons Award. In 1992 the Queen invested her with the title "Right Honourable". She was made a Companion in the Order of Canada in 1995. You can read about her remarkable life in her memoirs which were published in 1995 under the title Saturday's Child.
  Anne Montming.  Born 1975.  A member of the national Canadian Diving Team, Anne has won 19 international medals to date.  She won the gold medal in the Junior World Championships and she is the Canadian record holder in Women's Platform Diving. 
  Sarah McLachlan.  Born Halifax, Nova Scotia 1968.  She studied classical guitar, piano and voice as a child.  As a teen she was a member of a new wave band. Since releasing TOUCH in 1988 she has explored her own unique musical interests being indifferent to current trends and fads. Her songs convey a passionate honesty rarely found in today’s music.
January 29 Lois Catherine Marshall.  Born Toronto, Ontario 1924. Died February 17, 1997. Though she suffered from polio as a child it did not stop this opera singer. Her career too her all over the world to sing in the world’s greatest operatic productions and for solo appearances.  She received many acknowledgements for her contributions to Canadian society including the Molson Prize and being a companion in the Order of Canada.
January 30Margot Finlay. Born 1980. Born in London she moved to Vancouver in 1989 and studied with the Vancouver Youth Theatre. She has acted in numerous films including: Misery Harbor, Opposite Sex, In Cold Blood, and The Adventures of Yellow Dog. 
January 31Sylvie Bernier. Born Quebec City, Quebec 1964. Sylvie was the first Canadian to win a medal in Olympic Diving.  She won the gold in the 3-meter springboard diving in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
  Gathie Falk. Born 1928. An artist who works with multimedia. Her home base is in Western Canada, but she has a national reputation.
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