(Marie-Louise-Cecile-Emma Lajeunesse). Born
Chambly, Canada East (Quebec) 1847. Died April 3, 1930. World
famous soprano opera singer. She became the 1st Canadian
born artist to distinguish herself in the international world of opera
and concert singing.
© Public Domain
Born Drummondville, Quebec 1928.
Originally this painter and printmaker was interested in simple
shapes but as she matured her work became more austere, with large
geometric forms. She is known for large interior and exterior murals.
(Kathryn Dawn) Born Consort, Alberta 1961. This country singer
has real country roots. She grew up in Consort, Alberta, which
has a population of 700. In 1981 she became a vegetarian. She
has been very outspoken against cattlemen . Her natural joy of country
music is evident in the songs she sings. This multiple Grammy winner
is considered an innovator in her field, she performs from the heart
and is an inspiration to all.
Born Northern Ireland 1974.
She began performing in 1980, at the age of 6, when her family moved
to the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario. The child performer really
took to the stage and has loved it ever since. Her song “Girl Out
of the Ordinary” was #1 in Country Music by a Country Artist.
(née Irse). Born Liverpool, England 1925. Died
March 7, 2003. This author, between 1980 and 1984 won
7 major Canadian awards for literature! In her lifetime she would
publish some 35 books for young people. She is best known for her young adult science fiction, fantasy
and contemporary novels. In 2002 she became a member of the Order
Born St John, New Brunswick 1896.
Died August 20, 1990. A paleontologist, she would rise to associate
director of the Royal Ontario Museum of Paleontology.
For many years she was a geology professor at the University
of Toronto. She was only the second woman in Canada to be elected
to the Royal Society of Canada. Her scientific studies of the Toronto
Area stand as definite works.
Katherine "Kate" Reid.
Born London, England 1930. Died
March 27, 1993. This warm and vulnerable performer thrived
while working live theatre. She also appeared in some 50 movies and
did numerous television productions. She was nominated for Tony and
Emmy Awards and holds many Canadian awards including an A C T R A.
Born Scotia, Lake Erie, Ontario 1872. Died August 19, 1934. She contributed articles
to the Toronto Globe newspaper before joining the staff at that newspaper
where she became editor of the homemaker's department. She published
a novel, Out of the depths. Heart songs in 1890 and
later published several volumes of poetry in 1897, 1906 and 1922.
She retired from journalism and writing in 1925.
(née Crawford) Born Caernarvon, Wales 1834. Died
January 19, 1915. As a young widow she established a school
in Singapore, then in Siam she was teacher at court.
She wrote 2 novels based on her experience and the 2nd
novel would become the basis for the book “Anna and the King of Siam”
which in turn became the base for the 1951 play “The King and I”.
She moved to Halifax in 1976 and was the founding secretary of the
Halifax Council of Women. She
eventually retired to Montreal.
Born Medicine Hat, Alberta 1950. She was taught to shoot by
her father when she was 17 and by 19 she defeated 1300 men at an international
shoot in Nevada! In the 1976 Olympics in Montreal she was the only
woman entered in the trap shooting event. In the 1990 Commonwealth
Games she became the first woman to be entered in a shotgun event.
She has set 4 world records and has been World Champion on 7 occasions.
She is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
Born Lethbridge, Alberta 1939.
She studied for a B.A. in Alberta and took her degree in journalism
from Carleton University in 1961. After working as a journalist
in the Parliamentary Press Gallery she became Legislative Assistant
to Prime Minister Trudeau for 14 years. She was appointed to the Senate
of Canada in 1984. She is very proud to have been inducted into the
Kainai Chieftainship of the Blood Nation and given the name of Morning
Bird Woman. In 1993 she was appointed to the Privy Council of Canada
and was the first woman to be named Leader of the Government in the
Senate and Minister with Special Responsibility for Literacy.
née Brown. Born November 7, 1936 Dutton, Ontario. Audrey became the
1st woman in her family to earn a BA graduating from the
University of Western Ontario. She earned her degree by
correspondence from a mink farm that she and her husband ran north
of London. The Couple have 2 children. She taught at a private
college in Ghana, West Africa from 1964 through 1967 returning home
to attend graduate studies in Social work at the University of
Toronto. After graduating with her MA she worked for the
Metropolitan Toronto Children’s Aid Society. She divorced in 1972
and remained in the work force and by 1975 she was the executive
director of the Canadian Mental Health Association. Moving to
Whitehorse in 1979 she worked as a business consultant and
supervisor of social services. She ran and won a by election in 1987
and became the 1st New Democratic Party MP elected in the
Yukon. She was the 1st woman chair of the Parliamentary
caucus of any federal party in Canada in 1988. On December 2, 1989
she was chosen leader of the NDP, becoming the 1st woman in Canadian history to lead a federal
The 1993 federal election saw a reduction of
support for the NDP and the following year she stepped down as party
leader but remained in parliament to represent the people of the
Yukon until 1997. In 1992 she published her autobiography, A
woman’s Place. In 1996 she was elected president of Socialist
an organization which promotes activities amongst various women's
socialist and labour party organizations. Her efforts toward social
justice saw her inducted into the Order of Canada in 2004.
Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Accessed 2005);
Audrey McLaughlin, Political Heros Online, (Accessed 2009)
(real name Roberta
Joan Anderson). Born
Fort Macleod, Alberta 1943. A pop singer who is famous for her folk
songs of the 1960’s. “The Circle Game” Both Sides Now” She switched
to jazz and in 1969 her album “Clouds” won a Grammy Award.
She is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
This petite (she is only 1.5 meters tall) comedienne emigrated from
Europe and graduated from Montreal's National Theatre School. Although
she began working at the Stratford Theatre it was through her work
on television that she became known to her fans. She worked on such
shows as Bizarre and did some of the voices in Care Bear
features. She became a welcome addition to Air Farce where
she is known for her impersonations of Sheila Copps, Pamela Wallin,
Hanna Gartner, and Queen Elizabeth. She does not like to publish
the year of her birth.
(real name Leila Marie Koeber) Born Cobourg,
Ontario. November 9, 1869(?) Died July 28, 1934) Marie made it
to Broadway in 1892 and became a vaudeville star comedienne headliner
shortly after 1900. She stared in films with such top actors as
Charlie Chaplin . She easily made the move to ‘talkies’ .when many top
silent film heroines did not survive. More homely than beautiful
she was also an over-weight woman. This was an unlikely star material.
However, she was talented and she won the Academy Award in 1930. She
became the first woman to ever appear on the cover of Time
magazine. For information try: http://mdle.com/ClassicFilms/FeaturedStar/dresslra.htm
There is some dispute as to her true birth date with various sources
using 1868, 1869 and her grave using 1871.
Born Montreal, Quebec 1921. A famous soprano singer born
in Montreal she was Winner of the Prix de Musique Calixa-Lavallée
among many awards. Sang at the Metropolitan Opera and help found the
Victoria Opera Company.
Born Nobelton, Ontario 1969. Before entering the Drama program
at Humber College she worked on stage at Canada’s Wonderland theme
park located just outside of Toronto. She has appeared mainly
on Television. Maybe you know her as Francesca on the TV series Due South.
Born 1823. She
was an educator, administrator and a poet. She occupied several positions
in various schools. As preceptress at Wesleyan Academy in Mount Allison,
Sackville, New Brunswick she held the highest office in a school open
to a woman. She would also serve as Ladies Principal of the Ontario
Ladies College in Whitby Ontario.
She was an effective and determined advocate of academic education
Born Bronte-on-the-Lake, Ontario 1875. Died
October 15, 1960. She began her acting career on stage and by 1914
she had made her Broadway debut. She switched to a movie
career in 1930 appearing in the move ”The
Bat Whispers”. She
would in her career of the next 21 years appear in 92 movies. She
retired from acting in 1951.
Born 1922. A novelist she produced seven novels. "The Book of
Eve" was adapted to a stage plan and was produced at the Stratford
Festival in 1977.
Born 1938. She
is recognized internationally for her artistic prints and sculptures.
Since 1974 she has experimented with video as an artistic medium
writing and producing notable works. She is an innovative teacher
and has published her poetry illustrated with her own artwork.
Clara McNaughton (née
Jackson). Born 1879. Died February 3, 1968. She forced the formation
of the women’s section of the Saskatchewan Grain Growers Association
and sparked the formation of the Saskatchewan Equal Franchise League.
In 1919 she became president of the Interprovincial Council of Farm
Women. As a journalist
she wrote the women’s column in the “Western
Born 1907. A public
health nurse she would develop into a leading nursing educator. Dean
of the Faculty of Nursing at the Université de Montréal she was the
1st Canadian woman dean at a French language university.
She served as president of the Canadian Nurses Association and was
the 1st Canadian president of the international Council
Born 1935. She joined the National Film Board in 1956 as an editor
and by 1962 had 115 films to her credit. She became a film editor
and executive producer for the National Film Board of Canada using
film to examine the role of women in society.
name Agnes Nanogak Goose) Born
Baillie Island, Northwest Territories,1925.
Died May 5, 2001. This Inuit artist is known for her energetic
and colourful representations of native myths and legends.
She was the first Inuit to receive an honorary degree from a university
in Canada. You can see her work in the book she illustrated
Tales From the Igloo, a book of Inuit stories.
Barbara Jean McDougall.
Born Toronto, Ontario 1937. After graduating from the University
of Toronto she became an investment manager. She expanded her
career to include being a business journalist in print and television.
In 1984 her interest in politics led to her being elected to the Federal
Parliament. She served as Minister of State for Finance and
Minister of State for Privatization, a portfolio which was expanded
to include women's issues and regulatory affairs. In 1988 she
was appointed Minister of Employment and Immigration and in 1991 she
moved to Secretary of State for External Affairs. In 1993 she
returned to private business.
Born Winnipeg, Manitoba 1961. She enjoyed music as a child
and studied music and theatre at the Banff School of Fine Art and
after making her opera debut in 1982 transferred to the schools opera
program. She launched her career at the San Francisco Opera, made
her European debut in 1987and appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in
1991. She has made several recordings.
Born 1958. This Nepean (Ottawa), Ontario resident has been a member
of the Canadian Cycling Team since 1993. In 1997 she was named
the Canadian Female Road Cyclist of the year and Velo News
named her the North American Female Cyclist of the Year. In 1998 she
placed the in the top ten finalists in all events she entered, including
three first places.
Born Montreal, Quebec 1930. This actress who now heads up the
national Theatre School has acted the classics but also retained an
active interest in new works of our writers and directors.
She has won the Palm d’Or for best actress at the world famous
Cannes film festival. In 1992 she won a Genie for best supporting
actress in “Naked Lunch”. She is
an Officer in the Order of Canada.
Born 1964. At
the age of 19 she had won a bonze medal in the double rowing event
at the Los Angeles Olympics. She would be in the hearts of many
Canadians, when she suffered a severe leg injury in a rowing
accident while practicing for the 1992 Olympics. With little
time remaining until her event, she trained with a special brace on
her leg and, with the perseverance of a real winner, she went
on to win the bronze medal in singles rowing in the 1992 Barcelona
Olympics! She was Canada's Female athlete of the year in 1991 and
1992 and she was also declared Canada's Outstanding Athlete in 1991.
She retired shortly after winning a silver medal in the 1996 Olympics.
She works as a promotional speaker to help people overcome obstacles
in their lives. She is also a devoted mother.
(née Early). Born
Saint John, New Brunswick 1840. Died March 24, 1880.
Her early stories were published in New York and Boston while
she was still in school! She enjoyed writing romance and mystery novels
but as was the fashion of the time her novels would appear as serials
(chapter by chapter in newspapers) before being published as full
books. Her serials were published in New York and London, England!
Mersi Kelesi. Born Victoria,
British Columbia 1969. This tennis player had a form that was so flamboyant
on the courts that she was known as "Hurricane Helen". She
was chosen as Canada's Female Athlete of the Year in 1990. She
began to suffer from headaches and blackouts and was diagnosed with
a brain tumor. She survived several operations and returned to her
sport as a coach with Tennis Canada. She is also a "Colour
News Commentator" for many major tennis events. She is also a
motivational speaker for the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada.
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. 1934. Although trained in
classical ballet, Rachel became one of the most important figures
in Canadian modern dance. She created Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers.
Krall . Born
1964 Nanaimo, British Columbia. One of the world's greatest jazz
performers she began to study piano when she was 4 years old.
Performing in a local restaurant at 15, she was soon studying on
scholarship in Boston, U.S.A. She continued her studies/career in LA
playing with the great jazz performers of the era. Back in Toronto she
released her first album in 1993. Her albums released in 1998 and 1999
won Grammy Awards. Her albums have turned double platinum in Canada,
platinum in Portugal, New Zealand, and Poland and turned gold in
France, Singapore and England. She has won several of Canada's Juno
Awards for her music and in 200 she received the Order of British
Columbia. In the spring of 2004 she received her own star on Canada's
Walk of Fame in Toronto.
Born 1942. In 1950 the
brother and sister pair of Otto and Maria Jelinek decided to figure
skate seriously. In 1962 they won the World’s Pairs figure skating
title. In 1955 they
won the Canadian Pairs title and came second at the senior level in
1956-57-58 and 1960. In 1961 and 62 they were Canadian Champions and
were silver medalists at the worlds.
Born Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1946.
At the age of 15 she became the 1st Canadian to
complete the triple salchow jump in competition. .1965 she won the
Canadian, North American and world championships and was the Canadian
athlete of the year.
Born Ottawa, Ontario 1939. "Peggy" is a poet, novelist,
editor and critic is one of Canada's major contemporary authors. She
has written novels, television scripts, short stories, children's
books many of which have won awards locally, nationally and internationally.
Her works have won the Governor General's Award for Literature, the
Giller Prize, the Los Angeles Times Prize just to name a few! She
has also edited such monumental tomes as the Oxford Book of Canadian
Poetry. She has an active interest in Amnesty International. Recognition
of her career have been way to numerous to list in one paragraph.
The variety of awards runs from MS Magazine Woman of the Year 1986
to being a Companion in the Order of Canada. Check out the online
edition for the Canadian Encyclopedia for complete listings of her
works and her awards.
(née Marjorie Chandler) Born Windsor, Ontario 1926. Died July 21,
1994. This singer had the nick name of "Lucky Strike Girl"
after the cigarette sponsor of a TV show on which she sang. She appeared
on the Canadian television show Your Hit Parade (1950-1957).
She also had her own record label in the 1950's.She worked on setting
up gags on the show Candid Camera. In 1971 she appeared in
a Broadway musical and continued her singing by presenting jazz in
(née Mrazik). Born
Montreal, Quebec 1939. Died 1985. An illustrator and author, Elizabeth
was most concerned with myths and legends. She obtained several awards
for her works including the Frances Howard-Gibbon Award in 1978 and
the International Board on Books for Young People's Hans Christian
Andersen award in 1882. Maybe you have seen her work “The Loon’s
Necklace” or the “The Enchanted Caribou” which is an Inuit
legend illustrated with shadow puppets?
1933. This sculptor has had showings of her works in Toronto,
Los Angeles, Milan (Italy) and Japan. One of her sculptures was chosen
to be installed in the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. She opened
and maintained her own foundry for 14 years. Her works have been recognized
with awards from the Sculptor's Society of Canada and she was the
YMCA Woman of Distinction in 1992. A supporter of the feminist movement
she has contributed articles on art and feminists. She is a founding
member of the Toronto New Feminists and is a passionate speaker on
this subject as well as the subject of art history. While she may
be best known for her rather large cast art works she also had created
some limited edition jewelry.
1958. This writer has many screenwriting credits with the National
Film Board of Canada and CBC TV. She has written for the TV program
"North of 60" and has some 20 produced stage works
to her credit. In 1994-5 she was the playwright in residence at the
National Theatre School of Canada.
Harris. (née Irwin) Born
Newark, New Jersey U.S.A. 1907. Died 2002. This author soon found her true talent
in writing children's' books. Often her stories are told in a Native
setting, teaching the need and respect for balance of nature.
She has been awarded the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians
book of the year award for "Raven's Cry" in 1966
and "Mouse Woman and the Vanished Princesses"
in 1976. The "Trouble with Princesses" in
1980 won the Canada Council's Children's Literature Prize. In
2002 she was awarded the Mr. Christie's Book Award. There is even
a Canadian juvenile literature book award named after her called the
Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Book Prize. She is a Member
of the Order of Canada.
Born 1933. Brought up in an orphanage in Hamilton, Ontario she reigned
as Canada’s champion diver from 1951-1961. She won medals at the 1954
and 1958 Commonwealth Games and in 1956 she won Canada’s first Olympic
diving medal, a bronze. She became a dedicated administrative supporter
to the Canadian Diving fraternity.
She is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame , 1981,
received the Order of British Columbia in 1991, was Female Athlete
of the Year 1958, and won the YWCA Woman of Distinction for sport
in 1998. The Irene MacDonald Fund was established for the support
of children in diving.
Kathleen Page Irwin
Born November 23, 1916 Swanage, Dorset, England. Died January 14,
2010, Victoria, British Columbia. Her family moved to Red Deer,
Alberta in 1919. After graduating from high school P.K. went to
England for a year. She returned to live in Saint John, New
Brunswick. She worked as a shop assistant and several other jobs. In
1941 she relocated to Montreal, Quebec. During World War ll she
became associated a group of Montreal poets. He own poems were
published in various Canadian magazines and journals. In 1944 some
of her writings were included in an anthology, Unit of Five
edited by Ronald Hambleton. That same year, using the pen name
Judith Cape she published a novel The Sun and The Moon. In
1950 she married William Arthur Irwin a Canadian diplomat. In 1954
her work, The Metal and The Flower garnered the
Governor General’s Award for poetry. She lived with her ambassador
husband in Australia, Brazil and Mexico where she learned to paint.
She would have in her lifetime several one man shows of her art.
Some of her paintings are held in Canada’s National Gallery. Her
painting are signed P.K. Irwin. In 1977 she was inducted into the
Order of Canada and in 1998 she was promoted to the level of
Companion of the Order of Canada. In 2003 she was inducted into the
Order of British Columbia. In 2004 she was awarded the 1st
of the British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary
Excellence and that same year she was presented with the Terasen
Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2006 she was named a Fellow in the
Royal Society of Canada. Coal and Roses, her las collection
of poetry was published after her death. The P.K. Page Founders’
Award for Poetry is presented annually in her honor.
Born 1881. Died
1968. A sculptor who preferred to work in her studio, which
was once a church. She was a founding member of the Sculptor's Society
of Canada in 1928. She was the first woman sculptor to become a member
of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. She had a love of nature
that was reflected in her published poems.
Halifax, Nova Scotia 1963. A jazz singer who has produced several
music albums that have made her one of the best-selling jazz artists
ever to emerge from Canada. She is also very well liked in Japan.
Born Edmonton, Alberta 1969.
An actress of several movies, such as "Robocop"
and TV presence on in dramatic roles in "Law
& Order" and
Did you know that she has a twin sister by the name of Jacqueline?
1971. This athlete is a member of the Canadian Olympic Rowing
team. In the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, she won a silver medal.
She had worked her way to the Olympics with participation and recognition
in international regattas, U.S. Championships, World University Games
and World Championships. While participating in her beloved sport
she also was a Canada Scholar 1990-1994 and the winner of the Petro
Canada Olympic Torch Scholarship 1995. She won a bronze medal in the
2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. She pulls her weight with her
medical studies and her sport!
Sheila Maureen Copps.
November 27, 1952 Hamilton, Ontario. Sheila followed her father
Victor Copps, a longtime Mayor of Hamilton, by choosing the
profession of politics. Graduating from the University of Western
Ontario in London with a degree in French and English she has been a
consistent supporter of bilingualism in Canada. She studied for
advanced degrees at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and the
University of Rouen in France. Her 1st jobs were as a
newspaper journalist in Hamilton and Ottawa. In 1981 she was elected
to the Ontario Provincial legislature and in 1984 she successfully
ran as a member of Parliament (Liberal) for the federal Government.
She penned her autobiography entitled Nobody’s Baby in 1986.
She was the 1st sitting member of
Canadian Parliament to give birth in 1987
and made headlines by bringing her baby to
work with her. On November 4, 1993
she became the 1st woman Deputy Prime Minister.
In 1996 she changed cabinet positions to Canadian Heritage. She had
promised during the election to resign if the Liberals failed to
eliminate the controversial Goods and Service Tax (GST) and kept her
word resigning in May 1996 when Prime Minister Paul Martin said the
tax would remain. She was re-elected on June 17, 1997 and was once
again Minister of Canadian Heritage and Deputy Prime Minister. She
was defeated in the March 6, 2004 election and on May14, 2004 she
retired from elected politics in conflict with leader Paul Martin.
After leaving politics her public appearances were on stage in
Kingston Ontario in a dinner theatre production of the play,
Steel Magnolias. In October 2004 she published her second
autobiography Worth Fighting For which caused more controversy with
Liberal Leader Paul Martin. She returned to her 1st
career writing columns for the National Post and the Toronto Sun
which she ceased in December 2007. Sheila also became a broadcaster
with a radio talk show and later on a series for History Television.
On March 23 2006 a gala tribute to her was held by the Liberals to
help heal the controversial wounds. After losing her run for the
president of the Liberal Party of Canada in 2012 Sheila announced
her full retirement from politics. She was appointed to the Order of
Canada on December 30, 2012.
Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online (accessed 2005);
Order of Canada. (Accessed 2013)
Brossard. (married name
Soubliére) Born Montreal, Quebec 1943. In 1965 she published
her first book , La Barre du jour. She concentrated on organizing
the jazz and poetry reading for the Youth Pavilion at Expo '67. She
obtained her Masters degree in 1972 and became a mother in 1975. Motherhood
did not slow her down in 1975 she won the Governor General's Award
for poetry. She would win again in 1984. After founding the feminist
editorial collective Les Tetes de Pioche and touring Europe
she founded her own publishing house.
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan 1932. This educator and author
is a professor at Massey College, Graduate Centre for Study of Drama
and Victoria College at the University of Toronto. Among the many
distinguished recognitions she was presented with were the 1994 YWCA
Toronto Woman of the Year Award and the Order of Canada. Her more
than one dozen published books have been related to drama and English
literature. She is also an accomplished editor and member of several
editorial boards such as Theatre History in Canada/ Histoire du Théatre
Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova.
Born Prague, Czechoslovakia
November 28, 1909. Died July 1990. She studied journalism and political
sciences in Europe and earned her PhD. It was however her first hand view of
the horrors of life in war torn Europe that would affect the rest of her
life. She emigrated to Canada and was founder and a tireless worker of the
USC (Unitarian Service Commission). International she was recognized for her
works with humanitarian awards from France, Korea, Greece, India and her
adopted Canadian homeland with the Order of Canada. People who are presented
with awards often wear a small coloured ribbon signifying their award. Dr
Hitschmanova had five rows of ribbons to wear!!!!
© Famous Canadian
Born Quebec City, Quebec 1950. An actress, playwright, director and
novelist are the career adventures that she has embarked on in her
life so far. She received the Governor General's Award for drama
in 1981. Many of her works have done well translated into
English and her work has often been popular in France. Her themes
emphasize feminist principles.
Lucy Maud Montgomery. (married
Born Clifton, Prince Edward Island 1874. Died April 24, 1942
It is no surprise to know that she was born in Prince Edward Island.
She would use the stories and lessons of growing up in her
world famous novels about a young orphan named Anne. Later there was
also Emily and Jane, new characters to share with the world. Have
you ever read "Anne of
Green Gables?" In
which of the 14 languages the book is translated did you read the