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Famous Canadian Women

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The names appearing below are just a fraction of the Canadian women of accomplishment. Check out The Famous Canadian Women 's section ON THE JOB  which contains mini profiles of 3000 Canadian Women of Achievement.

Mary Love Baptized Halifax, Nova Scotia June 25, 1806. Died January 13, 1866. She was educated in England and continued her studies in art. She began drawing in the 1820’s She married Lieutenant Colonel James Frederick Love July 16, 1825 while he was stationed in New Brunswick. It was after her marriage that her interest in art deepened. In 1826 her works were reproduced by lithographs in the U.S.A. She is considered the first Canadian born artist to have works lithographed.(drawn on stone for printing and reproduction)  Her husband was posted to Great Britain and the Mediterranean before returning to settle with his wife in Lower Canada. In 1856 Mary joined her husband in England where he was Knighted for his military career achievements in 1856,and she became Lady Love. Suggested source: The Dictionary of Canadian Biography (Toronto:  The University of Toronto  Press) Vol. lX..

Maria Morris Miller. Born Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1813.  Died 1875. A woman of talent and determination she used her artistic abilities to open a school in Halifax to teach the young refined women the fine art of drawing. Combining her interest in flora and fauna with her drawing she published 146 paintings of Nova Scotia wildflowers in 1840. “Wild Flowers of North America” was published in 1867. Her works were widely accepted with and exposition at the 1867 Paris exhibition. She is considered the first professional woman artist in Nova Scotia. She was able to have financial earnings to support herself and to gain recognition of her work at a time when women were just beginning to come forward as accomplished individuals and not just daughters and wives!!

Charlotte Mount Brock Schreiber. Born Woodham, England 1834. Died 1922. A painter of the Victorian sentimental era she painted landscapes and figures. Her works exhibited In London, England and Paris, France. She was the loan woman charter member of the Royal Canadian Academy. One of the first women book illustrators in Canada, three children’s books were published in Toronto. She was the first woman on the board of the Ontario School of Art and Design.

Mary Augusta Hiester Reid née Hiester. Born Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. 1854. Died  October 4, 1921. While studying art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art in the USA she met her future husband, Canadian artist George A. Reid. There was time to study in Paris before the Reid’s settled in Toronto. She was an elected member of the Ontario Society of Artists, an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy (women were not allowed to be elected to the Academy) in 1896, and was the first woman painter to have a solo show. In 1916 she became the first woman to serve on the executive council of the Ontario Society of Artists.  Her art legacy includes interiors and murals as well as her landscape paintings. Largely forgotten today, her still life and floral paintings were shining examples of art that was considered acceptable for women of the Victorian era. When she died, the Art Gallery of Toronto launched the largest single retrospective show in its history, a memoriam featuring her works. In 2000-2001 a successful showing of her works was called Quiet Harmony.
Katherine Elizabeth Wallis. Born Peterborough, Canada West (Ontario) 1860. Died December 14, 1957. She studied art in Scotland and England as a young woman. It was her that she would come to love sculpting. She moved to Paris and continued her studies. Her art career was interrupted during World War i when she served as a nurse in the Canadian Hospital in Paris. She was honoured and decorated by both the French and British governments for her services. Her first Canadian exhibition of her work was in 1920. She returned to Paris and in 1929 she received her highest recognition as an artist when she was the 1st Canadian to be elected Societaire of the Societé Nationale de Beaux Arts for her sculpture titled "La Lutte pour la Vie". She fled from France at the beginning of World War II and settled in Santa Cruz, California in the United States. Samples of her work are held at the National Gallery in Ottawa. She also enjoyed writing verse and published Chips From the Block: Poems in New York in 1955.
Florence Wyle.  Born November 24, 1881. Died 1968.  A sculptor, she 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 1st 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. 

Isabel McLaughlin.  Born Oshawa, Ontario October 10, 1903.  Died November 26, 2002. An important early modernist painter in Canada she used bright colours in her highly subjective paintings.  In 1939 she was the 1st woman to hold the position of president of the Canadian Group of Painters.

Joyce Wieland.  Born Toronto, Ontario June 30, 1931. Died June 27, 1998. This artist had her first exhibition in 1960. She went to New York City with her husband and experimented with films. She took her inspiration from Canadian history, politics and ecology. Her artistic works covered a multitude of media from canvas, quilting, and embroidery to film. Her works came in all sizes from large murals to a commissioned Canada Post World Health postage stamp. While she exhibited her works all over the world she was the first living Canadian woman artist to have a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada (1971).



Molly Lamb Bobak. Born February 25, 1920 Vancouver, British Columbia. Died March 2, 2014.  Her father was a geologist by profession but he also had a profound interest in the arts and the circle of family friends included many Canadian artists. This family association was no doubt a welcoming atmosphere for a young artist who studied at the Vancouver School of Art. In November 1942 she enlisted in the Canadian Women's Army Corp. Her talents did not go unnoticed and she became the 1st woman to be officially designated as a Canadian war artist.(1940's) During the War in London she met her husband Bruno Bobak. The couple would have two children. After VE-Day she went to Holland to record the devastation of the war. It was during her service years of World War II that she met her future husband. In 1950, with a grant from the French government she painted her impressions of this European country. In She would return often to paint in France. At home in Canada, she is busy at the design department at the Vancouver School of Art, the University of British Columbia and the Art Centre at the University of New Brunswick. She has also used her artistic talents to illustrate several books including her own Wild Flowers of Canada. 1995 she and her artist husband Bruno were inducted with the Order of Canada.  Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online Accessed 2007)

Agnes Nanogak. Born November 12, 1925 Baillie Island Northwest Territories.  (married name Agnes Nanogak Goose)    Died May 5, 2001 Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories.  In 1943 Nanogak married Wallace Goose and the couple had seven children. This Inuit artist is known for her energetic and colourful representations of native myths and legends. Her early drawings were done using graphite pencils but she soon opted to use colourful felt-tip pens. Many of her works on themes of Inuit life were later produced as prints. Nanogak contributed to every print collection by the Homan artists' co-operative beginning in 1967.  In 1985 she was the 1st Inuit artist to receive an honorary degree from a university in Canada. In 2002 the Winnipeg Art Gallery held a solo exhibition of her works. You can see her work in the book she illustrated Tales From the Igloo, a book of Inuit stories., published in 1972 and More Tales From the Igloo published in 1986. Her artwork is found in collections of some 15 institutions across Canada and the United States.

Lynn Johnston.  Born May 28, 1947 Collingwood, Ontario. Lynn grew up in North Vancouver British Columbia and studied at the Vancouver School of art, now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. In 1969 she married and the couple relocated back to Ontario where she worked as a medical artist at the McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.  Pregnant with her 1st child she presented her obstetrician with drawings which he could place on his otherwise boring ceiling. These drawings were the bas of her 1st boo, David We're Pregnant in 1973. After her divorce she published Hi Mom! Hi Dad! in 1975. She then married dentist Rod Johnston and the family relocated to the remote community of Lynn Lake, Manitoba. When she submitted panels for a comic strip to the Universal Press Syndicate she was offered a 20 year contract. For Better For Worse was a Canadian hit and was carried by about 2000 newspapers internationally. The storyline and the characters lead real lives with friends admitting to being gay and the family dog dies after rescuing a child. Lynn continued to work from her home in Corbeil, 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 In 1987 she earned a Gemini Award for Best Cartoon Series and in 1988 she became the 1st woman to be president of the Cartoonist Society. In 1991 she received the National Cartoonist Society Newspaper Comic Strip Award.  She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1992 and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for the story o Lawrence's coming out. in 2001 she was the winner of the Comic of the Year, Editor and Publisher. In 2003 she was honoured with a Star on Canada's Walk of Fame, Toronto.  In 2007 she was inducted into the Order of Manitoba and she and her husband became separated. In 2008 she was inducted into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame and the National Cartoon Museum Hall of Fame. In 2015 she relocated back to North Vancouver. The Library and Archives Canada holds a large collection of her original works. Now semi retired she continues her comic strip in newspapers using a mixture of new and older stories.

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