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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.
May 1 Emily Howard Stowe (née Jennings). Born Norwich, Upper Canada (Ontario) 1831. Died April 30, 1903.  A life long champion of women’s rights. With no Canadian institution allowing women to study medicine she studied in the United States and became the first Canadian woman to practice medicine in Canada. It was she who organized the Women’s Medical College in Toronto in 1883. She was also founder and first president of the Dominion Women’s Enfranchisement Association in 1889. Suggested readings: Emily Stowe by Janet Ray (Toronto : Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd. 1978. ISBN 0889022364) : The indomitable lady doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto/Vancouver : Clarke, Irwin & Co., 1974 ISBN0772007233
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May 2 Budge Marjorie Wilson (née Archibald) Born Nova Scotia 1927.Her writings began winning awards with the CBC Fiction Award in 1981.  She has won among some 25 other awards the Atlantic Writing Competition for fiction, the Canadian Library Association Award,  the Mariana Dempster Award, and the Thomas Randall Award. Most of her books, more than 30 titles, have been for youth although she often writes with adults in mind and she does have many adult fans. Her works have been published in 11 countries and 9 different languages.  Perhaps you have read some of her books? The Leaving (1990), The Courtship (1994), Cordelia Clark (1994), Fractures (2002) and Friendships (2006) are a few of the titles she has written. She is also well known for her 5 collections of short stories.  In 2006 she was admitted to the Order of Canada. She was selected to write the 2008 prequel in celebration of 100 years of Anne called Before Green Gables. (Information submitted by Alan Wilson)
May 3 Sarah  L'esperance. (née Allyn)  Born 1692. A daughter of a Massachusetts Puritan family, Sarah was kidnapped from Deerfield by the Indian allies of the French and taken to live in Quebec. She was 12 years old. She trekked through the harsh wilderness of New England and New France and grew strong in her survival of the ordeal. She was baptized as a Catholic in 1705 in Bellevue, Quebec.  At 18 she married Guillaume LaLonde dit L'esperance and they had 10 children. 
  Julia Arthur.  (née Ida Lewis) Born 1869. Died 1950. She chose her stage name for her acting career from her mother's family name.  She had her stage debut at the age of 14 in the United States.  In 1895 she went to act in London, England. She married Benjamin Pearce Cheney and took a few years reprieve from the stage. In 1914 she returned to the stage. In 1924 she had a very successful tour of Canada. She was the star of such movies as Napoleon, The Man of Destiny and Uncle Tom's Cabin.
May 4 Kathy Kreiner.  Born Timmons, Ontario 1957. In 1974 she won the gold medal in the Skiing World Cup giant slalom and two years later at her second Olympics she captured the gold medal in the giant slalom event.  In 1976 she was named Canada’s outstanding female athlete of the year and was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
Kathy Kreiner
Reference source
May 5 Barbara Aileen Wagner.  Born Toronto, Ontario 1938.  She and Robert Wagner formed one of Canada’s most successful figure skating pairs.  They began skating in 1952 and in 1957 won the Canadian, American and World Championships. So spectacular was their gold medal routine at the 1960 Olympics that 7 judges ranked them first place.  This was the first time that the gold had gone to non-European pair skaters.  They are both members of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
May 6 Louise Portal .  Born 1951. This actress has be recognized with nominations for Best Actress Genie Award (1980) and won the Best Supporting Actress Genie Award in 1987. In the film Sous-sol (1996) she won the Guy-L'ecuyer Award for Best Actress. She has also won two Gemini Awards in 1994 and 1996 for her work on TV. As if this was not enough she has written an novel, Jeanne Janvier and has written plays. Composing some 40 songs she has released 4 successful albums. She is a real woman on the go!
May 7 Janina Fialkowska.  Born 1951. This pianist studied in Montreal, Paris, and the Julliard School in New York City. She is celebrated as one of the great interpreters of the music of the composer Liszt.  She also enjoys performing works from Mozart, Chopin, Prokofiev, and Rachmanninoff.  She is known as a pianist of great power who also plays with warmth and tone. 
May 8

Agnes Helen Fogwill Porter. (née Wright) Born St. John’s, Newfoundland 1930. She began her writing career as an adult in 1964. She was already a busy wife and mother of 4 children. She excels in  writing fiction poetry and writing of drama. She won the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Canada Book Award in 1989 and received the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.

May 9 Barbara Ann Scott.  Born Ottawa, Ontario 1928.Died Amelia Island, Florida, U.S.A. September 29, 2012.  One of Canada’s best remembered sports personalities, Barbara Ann  won the gold medal in figure skating in the Olympic Games of 1948 on an outdoor rink in St Moritz, Switzerland. She won the Lou Marsh Trophy in 1945, 1948, 1948 as Canada's top athlete.  She married Thomas Van Dyke King and lived in the U.S.A.. She remained involved in figure skating as a judge promoting her sport and encouraging many others to partake in the sport.  The Barbara Ann Scott doll that came out shortly after the games did not really look too much like the young skater but it is today a very highly prized collectors item.
  Pamela Ann McDougal Born 1925.  A diplomat and public servant she joined the Department of Externals Affaires in 1949.  She served in Germany, Vietnam, India, and Poland.  She headed the Royal Commission on Condition of the Foreign Service in 1981.
May 10 Antonine Maillet. Born 1929. A storyteller supreme, this novelist is most famous for her French language work La Sagouine which is rich in Acadian heritage. This novel has been made into a very popular one-person play. Linda Evangelista.   Born 1965. At 15 while a unsuccessful contestant in a beauty contest she was approached by a modeling agent.  A serious and successful international model she has been on the cover of every major fashion magazine cover around the world.
May 11 Sheila Branford.  Born 1918. An author she is perhaps best known for her novel about animals called the INCREDIBLE JOURNEY. The book was an immediate international best seller and in 1963 it became a Walt Disney movie. It is a great story about 3 friends, a bull terrier, a golden Labrador and a Siamese cat who travel over 300 km through northern Ontario wilderness to return home.  It will be available to borrow from your local library.
  Nancy Greene.  Born Ottawa, Ontario 1943. A skier of determination, Nancy won the 1967 World Cup and dominated the racing scene the next year as well winning a gold medal in the giant slalom and a silver medal in the slalom at the Olympic games as well as her second World Cup.  She was awarded the Order of Canada in 1967 and named Athlete of the year in 1968.  She is a member of the Canadian Sports hall of Fame.
May 12 Anne Ottenbrite.  Born 1966.  She was the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming. She won the medal in 1984 in the 200m-breastroke event. At the same games she won sliver in the 100m breaststroke and played a key role in the 400m-medley relay team that won bronze.  She is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
May 13 Patricia Beatty. Born 1936. Born in Canada, her early dance training was in the United States. She soon brought her talents back to Canada and founded the New Dance Group of Canada.
May 14 Marie-Josephite Corriveau. Born Saint-Vallier, Quebec 1733. Died on the gallows April 18(?) 1763. She has become simply known as La Corriveau.  After two trials she was condemned to death for murdering her second husband Louis Dodier in January 1763. She was, as the law provided, hung and her body exposed in chains. Her body was exposed for about a month in an iron cage, The cage would be found in a graveyard in 1850. Writings over the years drew on the story as a base.  These stories never quite separated facts and fiction. Legends grew and are still recounted as fantastic tales. 
  Solange Chaput-Rolland. Born Montreal, Quebec 1919. A writer, editor broadcaster, and politician she served on the Federal Task Force on Canadian unity and as a member of the legislative Assembly in the province of Quebec. Her books have been written in either English or French. Don't you wish you could write books in both of our Official Languages?
  Catherne McKinnon.  Born 1944. This singer and actress began her career on radio at age 8. By age 12 she had appeared on TV. After studies at college she appeared on the CBC TV series Sing-along Jubilee, Don Messer's Jubilee, and Music Hop. She would also have her own radio show on the CBC called That McKinnon Girl. On stage she excelled in musical productions and often appeared with her actor/comedian husband, Don Herron.
May 15 Julia Levy.  Born 1934.  She enjoyed mathematics in high schools and was inspired by her grade 11 biology teacher.  She earned her Ph.D. and became a professor at the University of British Columbia. Together with some university colleagues, she founded her own drug company dealing with photodynamic Theory. Recognized for her contributions to cancer treatments she is also investigating treatment of diseases such as arthritis, psoriasis ( a skin disease) and multiple sclerosis.  She is also very proud to have two grandchildren. 
  Vivienne Poy. Born 1941. A fashion designer, entrepreneur and author, Vivienne is the first Canadian of Chinese descent to be a member of the Senate of Canada, appointed in 1998.  She was educated in her native Hong Kong and England and holds a B.A., McGill University, a M.A, & a PhD. from the University of Toronto, where she is Chancellor Emeritus.  Her extensive community endeavors include being involved with cultural and philanthropic causes across Canada. She is Honourary Co-Chair for the Campaign for Diversity with the Canadian Centre for Diversity, Honourary Patron of the Ottawa Chinatown Gateway Project, and the International Centre of Winnipeg and remains an active supporter of many other organizations. She was instrumental in having May recognized as Asian Heritage Month in Canada, and serves as Patron for Asian Heritage Month Societies in cities across Canada.  She was named a Trailblazer by Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women (Women’s Executive Network), and received an International Women's Day Award.  In recognition of her international influence, she has received honourary degrees from universities around the world.

Used with Permission
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May 16 Denise Filiatrault. Born 1932. An actress, director and writer, most of her work has been done in the French language. One of her TV series Moi et l'autre was considered the biggest comedy hit in the History of Quebec TV. Her stage productions earned her acclaim and awards. Her first film C't'a ton tour Laura Cadieux was so successful that it required a sequel, Laura is Back or Laura Cadieux...la suite!
May 17 Anna Brownell Jameson. (née Murphy). Born Dublin, Ireland 1794. Died March 17, 1860. A well known author by the time she came to Canada to join her husband she chronicled her 8 month stay in her book “Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada” (1838).
May 18 Rose Sheinin. (née Shuber). Born 1930.  A professor at the department of biology at Concordia University and Continuing Senior Fellow, Massey College, this scholar has had scholarships, fellowships, and been visiting lecturer to numerous international institutions.  She chaired many groups including Women in Scholarship Committee (1989-1994). She was on the National Advisory Board for the Canadian Encyclopedia and was winner of the Woman of Distinction Award in 1988.
May 19 Sue Holloway. Born 1955. Sue was a four time Olympian competing in 1976 in Cross Country Skiing and Kayak, 1980 and Kayak again in 1984 where she took Silver and Bronze medals. Although Canada withdrew from the Moscow Olympics in 1980 she was the appointed Olympic flag bearer. She was the first Canadian woman to ever compete in both winter and summer Olympic Games in the same year. She and her husband, former Olympian Greg Joy, now work together as motivational speakers.
May 20 Eliza Ritchie. Born Halifax, Nova Scotia 1856.  Died September 5, 1935. An educator, feminist and author in 1889 Eliza received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in the United States. She is probably the first Canadian woman to receive her doctor of letters. Her appointment to the Dalhousie University board of governors in 1919 is also a first for Canadian women.
May 21 Linda Bouchard. Born Val D'Or, Quebec May 21. 1957. Linda is a composer and orchestra conductor  was invited by musical director Trevor Pinnock to become the 1st composer in residence for the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa , 1992-1995. She introduced programs to encourage public involvement at the NAC and made great strides in bringing contemporary classical music to the attention of the audiences. Her first CD in 1998 Exquisite Fires: Music of Linda Bouchard was made with the NAC Orchestre. In 1998 she was honoured as Composer of the year , Camseil Québécois de la musique .  Sources: Linda Bouchard web site www.lindabouchard.com ; Women in Ottawa; Mentors and Milestones http://womeninottawa.blogspot.com accessed June 2011.
  Francis Marion Beynon. Born Streetsville, Ontario 1884. Died October 5, 1951.  A journalist, feminist, and social reformer she was a determined individual who wrote of votes for women, marriage and family structure. She was a pacifist and resigned her position at the "Grain Growers Guide", an influential Prairie magazine, over views on World War I.
  Lori-Ann Muenzer Born Toronto, Ontario  1966. Although at 5’10” she is the shortest in her family it was never a drawback. It seems she was always on her bicycle. In 1987 she began Road Racing at the Toronto Cycling Club. In 1994 she embraced Veledrome Racing and became a member of the National Cycling Team. She has accumulated 13 National titles and 11 World Cup medals during her career. She has also earned medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1998 & 2002. She made her debut at the Olympics in 200. At the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 she became the firs Canadian to win a gold medal in Cycling. Selected as the Canada’s Female Athelete of the year in 2004 she was also the 2005 winner of the Lois E. Hole Lifetime Achievement Award from the YWCA. After the 2004 Games she began her own business called Pure Momentum which seeks to find and promote a community of female speakers. She has published her own biography and a documentary both called One Gear, No Breaks. Nomination and Information submitted by Wayne Mackenzie.
May 22 Clara McCandless Thomas.  Born 1919.  She would publish as her first book her, University of Western Ontario, masters thesis on Canadian Novelists 1920-1945. In 1961 she became a member of the teaching faculty at York University where she continued until her retirement in 1984. While teaching she worked on several critical studies and biographical books of Canadian writers. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and in 1989 she was awarded with the Northern Telecom Canadian Studies International Award for distinguished Service. 
May 23 Pauline Julien.  Born 1928. This actress, singer, and songwriter studied drama in Paris.  She recorded her first album in 1962. In 1968 she began to write words for her songs. In 1970 she won the Grand Prix du Disque from France and in 1974 she received the Prix de Musique Callixa-Lavallée.
May 24 Frances Anne Stewart. (née Browne) Born Dublin, Ireland 1794. Died October 24, 1872. She married Thomas Alexander Stewart on December 16, 1816. When Thomas lost his job with a bankrupt company the young couple decided to emigrate to Canada with other family members. They left Ireland on June 1, 1822 spending seven weeks aboard ship for the crossing to Canada! A true pioneer  to Upper Canada, she was a diarist and letter writer.  Her letters to home have left us with a rich insight into early Canadian life of such of her friends as the Strickland family. Her family published her writings after her death. Many of her personal writings are stored in the Archives at Trent University , Peterborough, Ontario.
  Lorna Crozier.  Bon 1948. A poet she has produced 10 collections of poetry. One of her works earned the Governor General’s Award.  Many of her works explore traditional myths and histories.
May 25 Phyllis Fay Gotlieb.  née Bloom. Born May 25, 1926.Toronto, Ontario.  Died July 14, 2009 Toronto, Ontario . She attended Victoria College for her B.A. in 1948 and she earned her M.A. in 1950 from University College, University of Toronto. She married computer scientist Calvin 'Kelly' Gotlieb (1921-2016).  She was a prolific author  including six volumes of poetry, five verse plays and several science fiction stories and 13 full novels in the 1960's,1970’s and 1980’s. Her 1982 novel, A Judgement of Dragons won the Prix Aurora Award for best novel in Science Fiction and Fantasy.  In 2001 the new Starburst Award, given annually for speculative fiction in named in honor of her 1st book, Sunburst published in 1964.  Source Jewish women’s Archive. Personal information for Phyllis Gotlieb <http://jwa.org/archive/jsp/perinfor.jsp?personID=639 (Accessed June 2013) ; The Canadian Encyclopedia online (Accessed March 2013)
  Nicole Luiken.  Born 1971. It was not until the summer between grades seven and eight that she read Guide to Fiction writing and began to take her writing seriously.  She began a regimen of writing regularly, one hour per day that grew to three hours each evening. She pounded out eleven books in four years, two are now in print. One is a great ghost story that may be borrowed through your own library.
May 26 Muriel McQueen Fergusson. Born 1899. Died April 11, 1997. After her husband's death she took over his law practice. She worked to have women recognized as possible appointees to government positions. She was one of the early women senators and is credited with pushing the government o revise the Criminal Code so women could sit on juries in criminal cases. Women could now plead rape charges with women on the jury!
  Teresa Stratas. (née Anastasia Stratakis) Teresa began her singing career by singing Greek pop songs.  By 1958 she had made her debut in Opera. Her beautiful soprano voice has been heard all over the world.  The Canadian Music Council named her artist of the year in 1980.
  Lucille Lessard. Born 1957.  Introduced to the sport of archery by her schoolteachers she became a devoted competitor. She won her first national championship in 1974 and successfully defended her title five times.  In 1974 she became the first Canadian to wing the World Field Archery Championships, she was the youngest world Champion up to this point in time.
May 27 Francess Georgina Halpenny. Born Ottawa, Ontario 1919. She is known as an energetic and courageous editor working as head of the editorial department at the University of Toronto Press.  (1957-1969) She was general editor to the mammoth project of the “Dictionary of Canadian Biography” and at the same time Dean of the Faculty of Library Science, University of Toronto. Her hobbies were acting and writing.  She was awarded the Molson Prize in 1983 and became a companion of the Order of Canada in 1984.
May 28 Beatrice Gladys Lillie. (her birth name is sometimes reported as Constance Sylvia Gladys Munston). Born 1894. Died January 29, 1989. She would become known as the “Funniest woman in the world.” She has a sweet voice and when singing she would add jokes between her songs until she was better known for the jokes than her music.  She won a Tony in 1953,.  She married Sir Robert Peel and became Lady Peel in 1920 and it was her career that gave her strength to continue after his death in 1934.
  Annette, Emilie, Yvonne, Cécile, and Marie Dionne all share the same birthday in Corbeil, Ontario 1934. They were the only known-surviving quintuplets in the world at the time of their birth. Emilie died in August 1954. Marie died February 1970. While they were young they were wards of the provincial government of Ontario. Most of their youth they were exploited. People came from all over to see the tiny tots play in their back yard. They were even taken to Hollywood where they would do commercials for products. In 1965 the remaining four sisters published their story in the book We were five. Three of the sisters would marry but their marriages did not survive and they returned to living with one another in Montreal.                                                                                        
  Lynn Johnston.  Born Collingwood, Ontario 1947.  The creator of the comic strip that appears in newspapers across Canada and around the world called “For Better or Worse” The storyline and the characters lead real lives with friends admitting to being gay and the family dog dies after rescuing a child. Lynn continues to work from her home in Northern Ontario. She became the first woman to win the Reuben Award for outstanding cartoonist of the year in 1985 from the national Cartoonist Society and in 1988 she became the first woman to be president of this society.  She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1992 and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1994.
May 29 Esther Marjorie Hill.  Born Guelph, Ontario 1895. Died 1985. This Canadian architect was the first woman to enter into and graduate (1920) from this profession. This was the era of women's suffrage and it was a tough time for women in male dominated professions. She encountered considerable discrimination both during her studies and while attempting to work as a professional architect. She had problems finding a job and her application to be a registered architect was denied and only accepted after legislative changes forced acceptance.  She survived the depression years with her own resourceful talents by selling handmade gloves and handmade greeting cards.  She would go on to become a prolific and valued member of her chosen profession.
May 30 Ruta Lee.  Born 1936.  Also known as Ruta Kilmonis, this actress began her career in films in 1954 in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.  She has mainly appeared in lesser-known films such as “Pterodactyl Women from Beverly Hills.”
May 31 Sophia Margaretta Hensley. (née Almon.)  Born Bridgetown, Nova Scotia 1866.Died February 10, 1946. This author and lecturer wrote of her interest in women’s issues and social tolerance.  She wrote periodical articles and 10 books under her own name but also under the pen name of Gordon Hart, J. Try Davies, and Almon Hensley.
   
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