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The names appearing below are just a fraction of the Canadian
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section ON THE JOB which contains mini profiles of 3000
Canadian Women of Achievement.
(Magella or MaGeila?) Is she real? Only the undiscovered foggy history of
Newfoundland knows for sure. As oral history tells it, she may have been
an O’Connor, the daughter of a claimant to the Irish Throne of
Connaught. Oral traditions abound in tales of Newfoundland’s early Irish
Princess. She is reputed to have come to Newfoundland in the early
1600’s and married one Gilbert Pike. The couple became planters and
small business people in nearby Carbonnear Island in
Were they indeed
1st European couple to settle Newfoundland’s shores???
Check out The Beaver,
February / March 2005 pages 44-45 at your Public Library.
Pioneer --- Francoise Marie Jacqueline de la
the 1st European woman to make a home in Acadia.
Pioneer --- Mrs. Sargeant, wife of the Governor of
the Hudson Bay Company, her companion, Mrs. Maurice, and a maidservant are
the 1st English women to come to James Bay in
Pioneer --- Marie Rollet.
Born France, circ 1580. Died May 27, 1649. In 1617 she arrived in
New France with her husband and young children. Her husband would be
known as Canada’s
first farmer. He was also an apothecary and Marie befriended the local
natives to whom her husband administered.
Canada’s 1st farmer’s wife. Their farm was on
Cape Diamond which is
located in the heart of the modern city of
She may also be considered
Canada’s 1st teacher as records show she enjoyed teaching the
local native population. After the death of her husband in 1627 she remained in her new homeland.
She would marry a second time to a settler by the name of Hubot and they
would raise an adopted native daughter.
Born approximately 1718. She was the 1st
person of the Jewish faith to set foot in
Disguised as a boy and using the name of Jacques La Farque she sailed to
Quebec in 1738. Once her disguise was discovered she told a tale of having
been the only family member to have survived a shipwreck and having
survived as a cabin boy and baker’s boy in a Christian community. She was
unwilling to accept the Catholic teachings of the Nuns of Quebec and after
being deported back to France she disappears from written history.
Boston (?) USA. She moved from Boston to Halifax with her father in the
In 1751 he set up Canada’s 1st printing shop. Little is known
about Elizabeth’s life but there is some documentation that indicates that
she worked in the print shop from 1752 until the death of her father in
1761. On March 23, 1752 John Bushell, with the help of his daughter,
The press and Elizabeth were responsible for printing of government
documents as well as print jobs for local businesses.
She shares a place
with her father in our history as establishing the 1st printing office
and the first newspaper in Canada.
She may have returned to the United States after the death of her father.
It is known that her brother ran a printing business in Boston until his
death in 1797. She may have worked with her brother.
Frederika Charlotte Louise Riedesel
née von Massow. Born
July 11, 1746 Brandenberg, Germany. Died March 29, 1808 Berlin,
Germany. She married Friedrich Adolph Riedesel (died 1780) an officer
in the Prussian military. She would have 9 children. Her husband was in
charge of a German contingent hired by Britain to fight revolutionaries
in the United States. Charlotte decided to travel with her three young
daughters, the youngest just 10 weeks old, to join her husband in North
America. She set sail from England to Canada in April 1777. She joined
her husband after Burgoyne campaign. She was often in attendance
helping with the war wounded. The family moved to Boston and then New
York City in 1779 and a daughter born in New York, U.S.A. was named
America in 1780. In 1781 they traveled
to Quebec and were assigned to the town of Sorel where that Christmas
they erected, according to their German tradition, a Christmas tree, the
1st in Canada. Another daughter would be born,
this time she was named Canada. In 1780 her husband became heir to his
family title in Germany. Charlotte had kept a journal of her life in
North America. The journals were published after the death of her
Born Maskinongé, Quebec August 2, 1780. Died December 14, 1875. Marie-Anne
traveled with her fur trading husband and in 1806
was one of the
1st white women to visit such outposts as
Red River and
Fort Edmonton. Her
daughter, Reine, was the first legitimate white child to be born in the
Canadian west in 1807. Marie-Anne was also the grandmother of Louis Riel.
|Pioneer --- Frances
Ramsay Simpson. Born London, England March 28,
1812. Died March 21, 1853.
She married her cousin, George Simpson, February 24
1830. His career a Governor with the Hudson Bay Company would bring
her to Canada. She
and her companion, Catherine Turner, wife of another HBC employee, were
the 1st white women to travel to remote Hudson Bay Company areas.
After a visit to Rainey Lake (
in modern Ontario) the settlement was named Fort Frances in her honour.
Living in Red River she became homesick and lonely and remained semi
invalided after the birth and death of her first child. Eventually the
family settled permanently in Lachine Quebec in 1845 where they raised
their five Canadian born Children. Her diaries of her life traveling in
the Canadian west with her husband have left a written testament of her
(née Boyd) Born Grey County Canada West (Ontario), 1853. Died
March 31, 1941. As the
wife of a Methodist missionary husband she accompanied her husband to his
postings. She took the trek across the early plains to become
the 1st white woman in the
Alberta foothills. For some 25 years she and her husband worked to share their
faith at the Stoney reserve. She managed to travel with her husband by all
of the traditional conveyance of the time including canoe, wagon and dog
sled. She would raise her six children in the foothills. In 1898 she
retired to Calgary
where she became president of the Southern Alberta Pioneer Women and Old
Timer’s Association. She held the strong belief that it was the presence
of the frontier women who allowed the frontier families to survive. She
pointed out the large number of bachelors who found it necessary to leave
prairie life when they did not have the emotional and physical support in
their work from a loving, energetic and sympathetic woman.
née Shishido. Born 1864 Kanagawa, Japan. Died 1914 Vancouver, British
Columbia. At the age of 23 she married Washiji Oya and the couple
headed for Canada. Landing in Vancouver, British Columbia in
1887, Yoko was the 1st Japanese woman to immigrate to Canada.
The couple settled in an area called Little Tokyo and opened the 1st
general store in the community. In 1889 Yoko gave birth to the 1st
Canadian Japanese child, a son. The couple would have two sons both of
whom were educated in Japan before returning home to take over the
family business. The business was vandalized in September 7, 1907 during
the racist riots.
Josephine Herélle-Henriette Marchand-Dandurand
Marchand. Born December 5 1861, Saint Jean sur Richelieu, Lower Canada
(Now Québec). Died March 2, 1925, Montreal, Quebec. Josephine was
educated in a convent school where she enjoyed education in both French
and English. She began to write short stories, tales and plays when she
was young. From 17 she kept a secret diary sometimes with entries
sometimes in English. On January 12, 1886 she married Raul Dandurand, a
lawyer and later appointed to the senate of Canada. The couple would
have one daughter. From 1893
through December 1896 she founded the monthly magazine Le coin du feu
which was the 1st French
language periodical in Canada to be edited by a woman. She
wrote much of the articles and columns in the monthly production using
such pen names as Mme Danderand or Marie Vieutemps. After ceasing her
own magazine she wrote for Le Monde illustré, Le journal de Francoise
and La Revue moderne. In 1894 she became a lecturer in English as was
called ‘the female Laurier’ which was a reference comparing her to the
eloquent Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier. In 1898 she
founded the Euvre des livres Gratuits to provide reading materials to
students and teachers in remote areas. The Government of France awarded
her with the title of Officier d’Académie in recognition of her
championing the French language in Canada. In 1900 she represented
Canada as a commissioner of the Government at the International Congress
of Women and the Paris World Fair. She was a member of the Montreal
local Council of Women and went on to serve as the Vice President of the
Council of Women of Canada. In 1902 she founded the women’s section of
the Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montreal which provided another outlet for
her strong feminist views. In 1924 she published a book of her
journalistic writings. In 2015 the city of Ottawa announced that it
would name a street after Josephine Marchand-Danderand as part of a
special project to rename 12 streets after Canadian women of
Achievement. Sources: Line
Gosselin, MARCHAND, JOSÉPHINE (Dandurand), Dictionary of Canadian
Biography vol. 15, Toronto: University of Toronto/Université Laval,
2005; Erin McCracken Names of trailblazing Canadian Women may be coming
to a street near you. Ottawa South News, November 5, 2015.
Fortin) . Born Saint-Joseph-d’Alma, Quebec January 4, 1872. Died
Victoria, British Columbia April 22, 1949. She moved with her family as
a teen to Cohoes, New York, U.S.A. December 11, 1893 she married a miner
from the Canadian Yukon Pierre-Nolasque Tremblay. He would take his
bride across country to access trails to the north. In
1894 she was the
1st white woman to climb the famous and traitorous Chilkoot
trail. She learned to cook on the trail and also learned English to
converse with the miners they met. The couple lived in a small log cabin
and opened their doors that first Christmas with Emilie cooing a full
course Christmas meal for one and all. During a trip home to New Your,
gold was discovered in the Klondike and the northern live changed with a
flood of hopeful fortune seekers. The Tremblay’s returned home to the
north laden with supplies to sell to the miners at Bonanza Creek located
close to the new Dawson City. In 1906 the couple travelled to Europe in
style and visited relatives in Quebec on the way home. The couple
adopted one of Emilie’s nieces to return home with them. In the family
settled in Dawson City where Emilie opened a dry goods business known
simply as Mrs. Tremblay’s Store. Emilie was active in charity work with
her church. She knit 263 pairs of socks for soldiers in World War l. She
founded the Society of the Ladies of the Golden North in 1922 and in
1927 she was president of the Yukon Order of Pioneers. In 1937 she
received the King George IV Medal. In 1940, now a widow she married
Louis Langois and once again, of their own choice, the couple lived in a
small northern cabin. In 1946 she attended the annual Convention of
Alaska and Yukon Pioneers in San Francisco. The following year the aging
couple sought comfort living in Victoria, British Columbia.
Pioneers every one by E. Blanche Norcross (Burns and MacEachern
Ltd, 1979) : Emilie Tremblay. The great names of the French
Canadian Community Online (Accessed November 2012)
Jessie Tarbox Beals.
née Tarbox. Born 1870 Hamilton, Ontario. Died
May 30 1942 New York City, New York, U.S.A. At 18 Jessie left Canada to
teach in Williamsburg, Massacheutts, U.S.A. where she settled for ten years.
in 1897 she married Alfred Beals and in 1902
the couple worked as itinerate
photographers with Jessie taking the photographs and Alfred processing the
photos in the dark room. When some of her photographs were published in a
Vermont newspaper she earned the title as 1st woman photo journalist in
North America. She is perhaps best known for her work at the 1904 World's
Fair in St Louis, Missouri and as the official photographer of Greenwich
Village in New York City. The couple settled in New York City in 1905. By
1917 they were divorces but Jessie carried on with her profession and
bringing up their daughter. She took photographs of the homes and gardens of
the wealthy which were published in garden magazines. She struggled during
the Great Depression and died in poverty. (2019)
Armour Born September 16, 1856 Cobourg, Ontario. Died September 18, 1928
London, England. On a trip to New York City, USA Kate met her 1st
husband, an American lawyer, Grosvenor Porter Lowery. The couple had two
children. After her husband’s death she returned with her children to
Ottawa where she shortly married a former fiancé Hayter Reed(1847-1936)
on June 16, 1889. The couple had one child. While in served as an early
governor of the Victorian Order of Nurses. Kate was also a founding
member of the Aberdeen Association (Now the National Association of
Women of Canada) By 1900 Kate, with the family now living in Quebec
City, began to help decorate the Chateau Frontenac Hotel of which her
husband was in control. A connoisseur of antiques and paintings her
efforts were noticed by the powers at be of the Canadian Pacific hotels
and by 1905 when her husband was manager
and Chief of the CP Hotel department Kate was using her skills to do
interior décor with the architects of the hotels across the country
becoming perhaps the 1st professional woman in interior
design. She also
encouraged the exhibiting of works of Canadian female artists. After her
husband retired from CP hotels she helped with hotels owned by Canadian
Steamship lines. Her personal papers including her journals are retained
at the McCord Museum in Montreal.
Kathleen "Kate" Rice.
December 20, 1883, St. Mary’s Ontario. Died 1963 Minnedosa, Manitoba.
Kate came from a well to do family and was well educated having earned a
degree in mathematics at the University of Toronto in 1906. For a while
she taught in St. Catharines, Ontario and at Albert College, Bellville,
Ontario before heading to the Canadian west and teaching in 1908 in
Tees, Alberta. By 1912 she had landed in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. She
spent 2 years in The Pas where she spent her summers as a prospector.
She enjoyed prospecting and taught to earn enough money to earn
provisions for mining. In 1911 she set out for Flin Flon. By 1914 she
decided to take on a business partner, Dick Woolsey. She latterly split
her cabin in half with a rope with each to their own side, it was a
business partnership! Kate wrote scientific papers on the northern
lights and dabbled in journalism writing for the Toronto Star.
She even designed a hydro electric project with which she hoped to power
one of her own mines. She knew well the Aboriginal population in the
areas of northern Manitoba, learning how to trap and live off the land
as well as learning to speak their language. They simply called her
Mooniasquao, meaning white woman. She is
considered the 1st woman prospector and is
responsible for the beginning of the gold mining community in Manitoba.
After Dick’s death in 1940 she remained in the backwoods for 2 more
decades. She eventually returned to settled areas only to find herself
in a mental institution. She was eventually ejected for not being
mentally ill but being just a tough old miner. She died in an nursing
home in Minnedosa. Although she is buried in an unmarked grave, the
owner of the Snow Lake Manitoba newspaper erected tombstones for both
miners. Kate’s tombstone reads “Extraordinary woman of the wilds”. In
2014 Kate was inducted into the Canadian Miners Hall of Fame.
Sources: “Not Crazy, just a female prospector: Kate Rice honoured for
mining first” by Chris Purdy, Canadian Press, January 15, 2014 Online
(Accessed February 2014) ; Canadians All: Six portraits of our People
by Terry Angus et all. (Methuen, 1986)
Dorthea Mitchell. Born June 1, 1877, England.
Died February 2, 1976 Victoria, British Columbia. Dorothea was brought
up in India where her British father was a railway engineer. Family
fortuned wained and Dorothea and her sister worked as governesses in
1897 after their father's death. Soon Dorothea left England for Canada
arriving in 1904. Living at first in Toronto and Montreal she took jo as
a companion in Silver Mountain, near Fort William/Port Arthur (now
Thunder Bay) in Northern Ontario. Here she became a post master and
railway stationmaster. In 1911 she petitioned
the Ontario Provincial government for some crown land and she became the
1st single woman in Ontario to be granted a homestead. She
ran a sawmill and lumber company on her newly acquired land. She earned
respect of the lumber barons for her fairness and treatment of
immigrants and became known as 'Lady Lumberjack'. She retired to Port
Arthur (now Thunder Bay) in 1921. It was at this time that she began her
connections to theater setting up the Port Arthur Amateur Cinema
Society. She wrote a script based on her lumbering career: A Race for
Ties which went on to become the 1st feature length amateur film in
Canada premiering May 31, 1929 in Port Arthur. In 1930 her script
entitled Fatal Flower, a crime story was produced by the Port Arthur
Amateur Film Society. It was one of the last silent films to be made.
Sadly the Great Depression interrupted the finishing of the film. During
World War ll she worked with the Canadian Red Cross but at 63 she was
deemed to old to go oversees which was her initial desire. She relocated
to British Columbia for a better health and she became involved in the
Victoria Branch of the Canadian Author's Association where she served as
secretary for the 1960's. While in Victoria she published several short
stories. In 1967 she published Lady Lumberjack when she was 90
Frances Marion Beynon.
Born 1884 Streetsville, Ontario, Died Winnipeg, Manitoba October 5,
1951. She moved with her family to Manitoba in 1889, settling in the
Hartney district on a family farm. Like her siblings, Beynon earned a
teaching certificate. She taught near Carman before moving to Winnipeg
in 1908 to work in the T. Eaton Company’s advertising department. She
was an active member of the Quill Club. In
1912 she became the 1st full-time women’s editor of the
Growers’ Guide, holding the post until 1917. She
and her sister Lillian fought for a variety of women’s issues, including
suffrage, dower legislation, and homesteading rights for women, but she
lost much public credibility when she began to criticize the war. She
left Manitoba in 1917 for the United States, where she wrote a
Day, and continued her journalistic work.
Beynon: The Forgotten Suffragist by Brie McManus
Manitoba History, Number 28, Autumn 1994 : Who’s Who in Western
Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of
Western Canada, Volume 1, 1911. C. W. Parker, editor. Canadian
Press Association, Vancouver. :
Manitoba Biography, by
J. M. Bumsted
(University of Manitoba Press, 1999)
Flora Ann Campbell.
Born 1883. Died 1961. Flora worked as a probation officer and
superintendent at a women’s hostel in Ottawa. On
December 31, 1913 she became the 1st
woman to be hired to serve on the Ottawa Police Force. She
never wore a badge or a uniform nor did she ever carry a weapon. Her
main role was to deal with women who were charged and had to appear in
court. Many offenders who were acquitted of charges had Flora to help
them find employment. (2018)
Born Port of Spain, Trinidad Died 1983. In 1908 the family emigrated to
a farm in Salmon Arm, British Columbia where Mona and her sister Agnes
grew up with a love of the outdoors. Unable to secure jobs as guides in
Jasper Park they originally accepted “women’s work” of camps and did
cooking and cleaning. In
1928 Mona and Agnes stood firm and because of their acquired knowledge
of the area and the fact that Fred Brewster though women clients might
prefer a woman guide, the girls became the 1st women guides in Canada
National Parks working in Jasper Park, Alberta.
Their trips soon became in
demand but they were still forced to tend animals and cook as no men
world work the trips with them! The girls worked successfully on
separate trails. On New Years Eve 1930 Mona married Charlie Matheson, a
Park Warden. The couple opened and operated an outfitters and riding
stable in Jasper in 1937. By 1940 they operated their own guest ranch
until they retired in 1952.
The sisters’ stories were told by Cyndi Smith in her book Off the
beaten track: women adventurers and mountaineers in Western Canada.
Coyote Lake Louise, 1993.
Source: Harrigan Sisters by Frances Rooney Section15.ca accessed
Yvonne, Cécile, and Marie Dionne
all share the same
birthday in Corbeil,
May 28, 1934.
were the only known-surviving quintuplets in the world at the time of
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.
Eleanor 'Ella' Johnson.
Born 1875. Died 1950. She worked as a reporter of ladies fashion. She
donned men’s clothing posing to prove she could do a news story as well
as any man. She worked reporting on the waterfront docks for the
Vancouver World. She also reported on life in Chinatown and City
Hall. She became Financial and Marine editor for the Vancouver Sun.
Tired of being a reporter she became
the 1st woman taxi driver in British Columbia working in
prior to World War l. She also worked as a logger and even tried real
estate. A handy carpenter she built her own house in Burnaby, British
Columbia and then ran her own cement construction company winning
contracts to build the 1st sewers in Burnaby and for a
roundhouse for the Canadian Pacific railway. In 1933 she took an
interest in provincial politics and ran unsuccessfully as a candidate
for the Liberal Party. She ran in 1937 as an independent but was once
again unsuccessful. In 1941 she left Vancouver and some people saw her
on a Mexican newsreel. In 1951 she was found dead in a hotel room in
Arizona under the name Edna Jepson.
Source: Canadian Girls Who Rocked the World by Tanya Lloyd Kyi.
Walrus Books 2001.
Born Alma, New Brunswick February 23, 1916. She would learn and take
to the ways of the sea from her father. She learned quickly and could
repair an engine, run the winch, handle the lines and set sails as well as
cook and sew canvas! She was a woman who became accomplished in a man's
profession with courage and tenacity. She received a telegram on
April 19, 1939 from Navigation School...she passed.
the 1st registered woman sea captain in North America and second ( to a
woman in Russia) in the world! She would sail as a Sea Captain
for five years before she married in 1944 and while she enjoyed sailing
for pleasure she never worked for pay at sea again.
Margaret "Margery" Brooker Teacher.
Born 1901 Dumfries, Scotland. Died 1955, Winnipeg, Manitoba. , she
received a Master of Arts from Glasgow University, and studied languages
at Rouen, the Sorbonne in France as well as the University of Hamburg,
Germany. She immigrated to Canada in 1929, and worked as a teacher at
Cecil Rhodes School,
Winnipeg. She was the supervisor of French Instruction for the Manitoba
Department of Education until 1938, at the same time she taught at
Winnipeg Normal School
1941 she was appointed School Inspector for the Virden District, the
1st woman in Canada to be appointed in such a position.
worked fourteen years inspecting rural schools. In 1946 she accepted two
fellowships to travel abroad and study languages; the Humbolt Siftung
Resident Fellowship from the Berlin Research Institute, and the Carnegie
fellowship from the Institute of Education at the University of London.
Upon her return to Canada in 1948 she was appointed school inspector in
the Winnipeg School District.
Source: Memorable Manitobans Profile by Gordon Goldsborough.
Online (Accessed December 2011)
Joan (Joane) Elizabeth Humphrey (professional name J.J. McColl)
December 24, 1936, Vancouver British Columbia. Died September 23, 2008
White Rock, British Columbia. While in high school she enjoyed working
on the school newspaper and being in the Drama group. She choose the
professional name of J.J. McColl and began her radio career as
Vancouver’s 1st woman D.J. hosting her own show
on CJOR and later on CBC Radio. She worked with James Cavell
the author and with James Beard as his CTV show in the 1960’s. She also
created radio documentaries and authored an award winning 10 part drama
called Mothering in the 1990’s. After a visit to Ireland she wrote a
musical about a group of 50-something women at a high school reunion but
the show never took off. In 2001 she dappled in drama again by acting in
small roles such as being the real estate agent in Sean Penn’s The
Pledge in 2001. At 65 years of age on June 22, 2002 she married Frank
Broadcaster and writer… by Moira Dann, The Globe and Mail,
October 20, 2008; Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012.
Viola Rita MacMillan
Huggard. Born April 23, 1903 Dee Bank, Ontario. Died August 26, 1993.
She worked as a maid and a telephone operator in order to pay for
school. In 1923 she married George Macmillan. She worked part time as a
stenographer and in the good weather she and George were prospecting for
gold in northern Ontario. She would strike it rich in Hislop Township
near Timmons, Ontario. She was now a prospector and a mine manager.
During World War ll she became the
president of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.
She would hold this position for twenty years . During her time as
president the association grew from a membership of 100 to 4,000. By the
Mid 1960’s the mines were slowing in production, some to a point of
closing. Cobalt with its sliver, Kirkland Lake and Timmins with their
gold were experiencing what might be called “tired mine” syndrome.
However Aerial surveying pinpointed huge deposits of copper, zinc and
other base metals and groups like Texas Gulf lead the new rush of
mining. Texas Gulf is in 2013 known as Kidd Creek Mine and is still an
active mine site. The mid 1960’s mining rush also brought trouble for
Viola as she held back a report on one of her mine sites and let the
excitement and the rumor mill create an increase in cost for her mining
shares. Once released the report proved to be negative and Viola was
arrested and charged with wash trading. In 19677 the Queen Bee, as she
was called was acquitted of fraud charges after serving only 6 weeks of
her nine month prison sentence. Viols returned to tramping in the bush
prospecting and promoting mining continuing well into her eighties. In
1991 she was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame and in 1993
she received the Order of Canada. The Viola R. MacMillan Award is given
tor company or mine development.
Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Online Accessed January 2013; Great
Northern Characters by Michael Barnes (General Store Publishing
Jeanne Brault Laurin.
1923, Beauharnois, Quebec. Died September 11, 2012, Beauharnois, Quebec.
Even at the early age of 9 Jeanne was interested in all things about
cars and trucks. Her father was a mechanic and she spent many hours of
you youth helping him at the family garage.
In 1943 she became the 1st
official woman mechanic in Canada.
In 1945 Jeanne married Rolland Laurin (d. 2001) and the couple had three
children. Her biography has been written with the help of her oldest
daughter Jocelyn: Ma Vie Pleine de Vie. (2012)
Source: Elles du Nord online.
(Accessed August 2014)
Suggestion submitted by Jeannine Ouellette, Elles du Nord.
Carmen Elizabeth Clarke
1911, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died July 1960, Vancouver, British Columbia.
As a child she enjoyed music but it was not to be her career. She
studied to become a nurse and worked with Children at the Vancouver
Hospital for Children. In 1947 she wrote a poem “There’s a Bluebird on
your windowsill for one of her small patients and later added music to
her lyrics. She was encouraged by friends and colleagues to perform the
son on the local radio. The song would published by Empire Music and it
was performed locally in British Columbia by the Rhythm Tones and
nationally by Don Murphy. American singers Doris Day and Tex Williams
made the song a hit in 1949. Elizabeth became
the 1st woman to write a song that sold over 1, 000,000 copies!
She donated all royalties to Canadian hospitals for sick
children. In 2010 the song was inducted into the Canadian Song Writers
Hall of Fame.
The Canadian Encyclopedia online (Accessed January 2013) ; The
History of Metropolitan Vancouver Online Accessed December 2012)
'Dodi' Elizabeth Robb.
1920? Died February 17, 2012 Collingwood, Ontario.
A pioneer worker with CBC television in 1952
she went on to become the 1st head both daytime and
children’s programming for CBC TV. Dodi wrote and published
five musicals for children’s theatre and collaborated with Pat Patterson
who wrote music. Dodi created award winning shows for CBC, TVO and CFTO
in Toronto. She continued to work as an on air commentator for Vision
television after she had retired from the CBC in 1985. In 1994 she was
presented with the Governor General’s Award for the Persons case which
recognized her efforts to improve career opportunities for women.
Muppet “Dodi” an elderly female bush pilot who flies across Canada who
was introduced for the Canadian version of Sesame Street in 1996 known
as Sesame Park was styled after Dodi Robb.
her greatest contribution to Canadian television culture was the
creation of the Kids of Degrassi Street which eventually became
Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. The Globe and Mail
newspaper calld Dodi Canada’s Queen of Children’s Television.
Obituary Globe and Mail February 25, 2012.
Born July 6, 1920, Toronto, Ontario. Died October 16, 2015) Toronto,
Ontario. Ruth graduated with her B.A. from the
University of Toronto and attended the Ontario College of Education in 1944.
She taught for a couple of years before becoming a reporter and Women’s
Editor at the Toronto Star newspaper from 1946-1950. On October 7
1950 she married her 1st husband David Wall Bunting (D. 1988) and
the couple had 2 children.
As a member of Canada’s first newspaper Guild at The Toronto Star, Ruth was
among the 1st women to speak out in the interests of achieving significant
gains in terms of employee salaries, rights, and working conditions in the
newsrooms of the day. In 1951 she established Ruth Hammond Public Relations
and had a successful career in this field. Among her 1st clients was Kate
Aitken, then one of Canada’s foremost journalists. Ruth took over the public
relations program for the Women’s Division of the Canadian National
Exhibition. In 1956, Ruth Hammond joined the Canadian Public Relations
Society, one of the 1st women public relations consultants to participate
in Society activities. She established, with colleagues, public relations
courses at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University), York
University, and the University of Toronto.
In 1968 she became the 1st
woman accredited by the Canadian Public Relations Society. From 1966/67 she
served as the President of the Canadian Women’s Press Club in Toronto. She
served as a director of the Canadian Public Relations Society in Toronto
from 1969-1974 and was the force behind the professional accreditation for
the Society. In 1985 she received a Certificate of Achievement, Public
Relations and Education, Government of Ontario, and was the YWCA Woman of
Distinction for the Year. This was followed in 1986 by the Award of
Excellence in Communications from Ontario Community Colleges. In 1989 she
became a Life Member of the Canadian Public Relations Society and was
inducted into the Society College of Fellows in 2001.
Membourquette. Born 1928 Lower Ardoise, Nova Scotia. Died March 11,
2009. Theresa married Burt and was the busy stay at home mom to the
couple ‘s 17 children. When Burt died suddenly in
there were still 7 children under the age of 10 at home.
Theresa was hired by Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, as High
Sherriff. She was the 1st woman in Canada to hold
such a position. She inspired all of the people around her
including her children who would in time become teachers, public
Servants, police officers, small business owners even a Nova Scotia
Member of Parliament. She was also a tireless volunteer who worked in
and for her community until she became ill to deliver Meals on wheels.
In 1992 she received the Canada 125 Medal and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal
in 2002. In 2005 she was named to the Order of Nova Scotia.
Source: Protocol Office, Order of Nova Scotia http://gov.ns.ca/prot/2005
recipients (Accessed August 12, 2008. )
September 22, 1954, Laval, Quebec. She was the 1st woman to earn her
diploma in correctional studies at College Ahuntsic in 1975. Police
recruitment officers had no jobs to offer the graduate providing any
excuse they could think of to turn down her enquiries of work.
Eventually La Sureté du Québec (Quebec provincial police) and the police
of the City of Sainte Foy expressed and interest. It was on June 19,
1975, the International Year of the
Women, she began her internship with La Sureté du Quebec à Parthenais
working for the 1st few months making photocopies in their
office, mainly because they had no uniform for a woman. She took a
position with the police of Shawinigan becoming
the 1st policewoman in Quebec.
Pionnières Québecoise accessed June 2013.
Marie Rauter Forester
Marie was the 1st woman to graduate
in forestry from the University of Toronto.
She went on to earn
her Masters in forestry genetics. She began her career with the Ministry
of Natural Resources in Ontario. In the 1970’s she served a Supervisor
of the Tree and Seed and Forest Genetics Unit. In 1984,
Marie convinced the forest industries of
the Province of Ontario that they should actively participate in the
tree improvement program, which resulted in 1985, in the formation of
the Ontario Tree Improvement Council. She
chaired a working group in the International Union
of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). She has presented
papers throughout North America and abroad and has been an invitational
participant in events such as the world forest policy forum in
Indonesia. In 1992, she became the President and CEO of the
Ontario Forest Industries Association, a position
she held until 2000. Marie lead the development of Ontario
Industry Codes of Forest Practice and been
involved in many regional, provincial, national and international
discussions on behalf of Ontario forest industries. She is an active
member of several committees and associations including the board of the
Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, the
National Roundtable of the Economy and Environment, the Environment
Forestry Task Force to the Biodiversity Advisory
Committee for Environment Canada and External Affairs, and she
was prominent in developing Canada's position at the
Rio Conference. She served on numerous
boards including the Advisory Committee of the Faculty of Forestry at
the University of British Columbia and the Ontario Board of the Canadian
Jean Bannerman, Leading Ladies of Canada (Belleville, Mika
Christine Bertram Silverberg .
Born Brampton, Ontario. 1949. Graduating from York University in
Toronto, Ontario in 1971, she Married Dr. Ben Silverberg in and applied
to work with the police force in Mississauga, Ontario. Women were not
allowed on uniform patrol. She was assigned to the youth bureau where
she became involved in youth and child abuse investigations that
included undercover work as part of the criminal investigations. Take
courses she earned a MA in Criminology at the University of Toronto in
1983. She continued her studies at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario,
with courses in executive development and public relations. In 1990 she
took a position in the Ontario provincial Ministry of the Solicitor
General. She soon returned to police services as deputy chief of the
Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police in Ontario.
October 1995 she became the 1st woman to be appointed to the
position of Chief of Police of a major Canadian metropolitan centre.
She has been honoured by the Piegan Nation with the name “Bluebird
Lady”. She has also earned a Platinum Podium Award from Toastmaster’s
International for leadership. She has also been involved in community
and professional organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, and the
National Coordinating Committee on Organized Crime and the International
Association of Chiefs of Police. Leaving police services in 2000 she
returned to university to accomplish her original career dream of
becoming a lawyer. She graduated law from the University of Calgary in
2004. That same year she was names as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful
Women. She articled at a national law firm and made partner in January
Source: Silverberg realizes long-held dream by Valerie Berenyi,
Calgary Herald February 16, 2009 online. Accessed July 2011.
Beverly 'Bev' Ann Busson. Born August 23,
1951 Halifax Nova Scotia. Bev joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
(RCMP) in the 1st class of women in1974 after graduating Teacher's
Certificate from Nova Scotia Teachers' College. Later she would
return to earn a law degree from the University of British Columbia. She
would become the 1st female commissioned officer and
the 1st female
Criminal Operations Officer. She worked in Salmon Arm, Vancouver, Ottawa
before becoming the 1st female Assistant Commissioner and then the 1st
female Commanding Officer of a province as Commanding Officer of the
RCMP in Saskatchewan. For a
year in 1999-2000 she took leave to head the British Columbia Organized
Crime Agency. From there she served as Deputy Commissioner for the RCMP
Pacific Region from 2000 to 2006. In 2004 she became a Commander of the
Order of Merit of the Police Forces and two years later she became a
Member of the Order of British Columbia. In 2006 she was named one of
Canada's Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network. Bev is
the 1st woman to be appointed Commissioner of
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police December 16, 2006.
She held the position until July 16, 2007. After her retirement from the
RCMP she served as a member of the RCMP Reform Implementation Council
and as an advisor to the Government on National Security. As a Volunteer
volunteered on a number of endeavors including serving as a director of
the Justice Institute of British Columbia, and the Okanagan College
Foundation, and participating in the Women's Executive Network
Mentorship Program. On September 24, 2018 she was appointed to the
Senate of Canada representing the province of British Columbia.
Born October 21, 1989, Enoch, Alberta. She enjoyed various forms of
dance including tap and ballet. Her talents were put to use when she was
ten and she won all of Enoch’s Princess crowns. She went on to win a
place in a Hudson Bay Company commercial and appeared a TV mini series
as well as doing some stage work. In June 2010 she was 2nd
runner-up in the Miss Universe Canada Pageant, the 1st member
of the Cree Nation to achieve such a position. She was the youth
representative for the Stollery Children’s Hospital. In September 2010
she won Miss Canada to represent Canada in Miss Friendship International
Pageant in Hubei, China. She also represented Canada at the Queen of the
World Final in Germany. In October 2016 she was the representative from
Canada at the Miss Humanity International pageant in Barbados. In 2012
she took top honours at the Miss World Canada. She is a student at
university and is often a motivational speaker at various venues
including Harvard University in the U.S.A. Ashley feels that the beauty
contests are more about providing a platform to let the world learn
about subjects and causes about which she is passionate. In 2011 she
earned the Role Model Award at the Dreamcatchers Gala, Calgary, Alberta.
As a model she posed for the cover poster for the ‘Fight the Violence’
advertisement to stop abuse in the home. In 2014 she worked the Catch
the Dream with Actor Adam Beech.
August 29, 2015 she earned the title Miss Universe the 1st
First Canadian and 1st First Nations woman to win this title.
In 2016 Ashley was attending law school.
Catherine Beaulieu Bouvier Lamoureaux.
Beaulieu. Born 1836 Salt River Region, North West Territories. Died 1918
Fort Providence, Northwest Territories. Catherine was baptized in the
Roman Catholic Church at Portage la Loche, Saskatchewan. Between 1848
and 1852 she attended the Grey Nuns’ school in St. Boniface, Red River.
At 16 in 1852 she married Joseph Bouvier (d1877) and the couple had 5
children. She was known for driving her dog team 150 miles along her own
trail to old Fort Rae to visit family members and deliver mail. The
Mackenzie Highway now follows her travel route. She also snowshoes out
in spring to gather birch sap to make
her Birch syrup. In 1879 she married Jean-Baptiste Lamoureaux (d 1918)
While they lived in Fort Providence, Northwest Territories she help
established the Sacred Heart Hospital and worked with the Grey Nuns to
establish a school. She was a strong believer of preserving her Métis
culture and language. She was known as Kukum Baie which meant
grandmother of us all, one who gives and sustains life.
In 2011 the Canadian Sites and Monuments
Board declared her a Historical Person, the 1st Métis woman
of the Northwest Territories to receive this distinction.
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