Hélène L. Shingles.
Born August 12, 1917. A retired dentist,
Hélène started to volunteer for Meals-on-Wheels to bring food the people who were
ill or older and unable to cook for themselves. She noticed many meals went uneaten. She found out that his was because of dental problems. She
founded a charitable Dental Health Centre to help out.
Her dedication and service of others has not gone unnoticed. Dental association,
her home city, her home province have honoured her. He is a Member of the Order
of Canada. This polish immigrant has truly honoured her Canadian citizenship.
C. L. Josephine Wells.
Caroline Louise Josephine Wells. Dentist
Irwin Born August 1856. Died March 17, 1939. Josephine married dentist John
Wells on March 9, 1877. The couple had three children. After the death of
her husband the children were sent to live with relatives while Josephine
attended dental school. In 1893 Josephine Wells was the 1st woman
to graduate from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons. She went on to
receive her doctorate degree from the University of Toronto in 1899.
Josephine practiced her profession for 36 years in Toronto. She provided
dental services at provincial mental hospitals in Toronto, Mimico, Hamilton,
Orillia and at the infamous Ontario Mercer Reformatory for Women.
Educator in Medicine
Meridith Belle Marks
24, 1962 Channel Post-au Basques, Newfoundland. Died April 22, 2012,
Ottawa, Ontario. She attended the University of Waterloo, Ontario and
gained a keen interest in medicine. She returned to Newfoundland to
attend Memorial University with a special interest in physical medicine
and rehabilitation. She worked at the Rehabilitation centre in Ottawa
after her June 1989 marriage Peter Bruneau. The couple had one child who
died in infancy. She earned her Masters in Education and taught students
to bring out the best in their profession. Her work was recognized by
multiple care and teaching awards. She worked as Assistant Dean at the
Academy of Innovation in Medical Education that she founded at the
University of Ottawa in 2006.
Death notice. Ottawa Citizen April 23, 2012 and Obituary
Ottawa Citizen May 7, 2012.
Submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa Ontario.
Sinclair. Born November 22, 1898, Shoal Lake, Manitoba. She took her
early education there then attended nurses training in Neepawa General
Hospital, beginning in February 1918. Nursing duties at the time included
milking cows for the patients’ meal trays. She worked at the hospital during
the influenza epidemic of 1918, and was also one of the nurses who
volunteered at private residences in order to contain the illness. She was
also at the hospital for the second outbreak of influenza in April 1919. She
nursed in Russell, Manitoba and Spy Hill, Saskatchewan before settling down
again at the Birtle General Hospital, in Birtle. In November 1922, she
married William R. Adams. She worked with the Red Cross as a Home Nurse and
at blood donor clinics. In 1982 she wrote her autobiography providing a
written legacy of being a nursing student from 1918 though 1921. Sources: Memorable
Manitobans by Angela Graham. Manitoba Historical Society Online
(Accessed December 2011) ; Diary of a nurse by Eva Adams Manitoba History
no. 14, autumn 1987.
Born Toronto, Ontario July 19, 1914. Died
April 14, 2005. Chronic illness as a child made her formal education a
longer process than for most people. However she was not deterred and
at 22 she entered the School for Nursing at the University of Toronto. She
began her working career at the Toronto General Hospital and then
volunteered for service during World War ll. After the war she took
advantage of educational opportunities for veterans and returned to
university studies at U of T to earn a BA and B.Sc in Nursing. She became a
teacher of nursing science at Belleville General Hospital. In 1951 she
returned to teach at the School of Nursing at U of T. She continued her
personal post graduate studies at the University of Washington in Seattle,
U.S.A. Her thesis was on nursing history. It was the beginning of a lifetime
interest in all things historic and nursing. She interviewed nursing sisters
from both world wars. She collected stories, photos, uniforms and all sorts
of memorabilia. In 1987 she and Barbara Keddy of Dalhousie University
inaugurated the Canadian Association for the History of Nursing. She was
also a kingpin of the Ontario Society of the History of Nursing incorporated
in 1993 as the Margaret M. Allemang Centre for History of Nursing.
Sibella Annie Barrington
4, 1867, Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia. Died December 7, 1929, Saint John, New
Brunswick. She was called Bey ( sometimes spelled Bay) from 1901 through
1904 she attended the Aberdeen School of Nursing in New Glasgow, Nova
Scotia.. She followed these studies with post graduate work in Chicago,
Ireland and London England. She volunteered in the recovery during the
Halifax explosion in 1916 and was made a life member in the British Red
Cross. By 1917 she was set up in Halifax in private practice. From 1918-1923
she was superintendent at the Halifax Infant Home. She became an RN when
Nova Scotia opened its registration of nurses in 1922. She was a member and
served as president of the Graduate Nurses Association of Nova Scotia. By
1924 she was working with children through the Red Cross. She was by all
accounts a gifted speaker and lectured about Home Nursing classes linking
support from various organizations throughout the province. By 1928 she was
Port Nurse at Saint John, New Brunswick. She was well remembered for her
skills, service and dedication to her profession.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography Toronto; University of Toronto/Laval
Université, 2005 vol. 15 1921-1930
Born September 1,1916 Arbuthnot, Saskatchewan. Died Winnipeg, Manitoba April
19, 2005. She had worked for two years at St. Joseph’s Hospital in
Gravelbourg before entering the Grey Nuns Order on 5 February 1939. She
graduated as a registered nurse in 1947 from the St. Boniface General
Hospital School of Nursing and, in 1951, as a Laboratory Technologist
specializing in Clinical Chemistry. Named Supervisor of the Laboratory at
St. Boniface Hospital, she served for twelve years until she became
Assistant Administrator of St. Boniface Hospital in 1962. A few years later,
she was appointed administrator of the St. Boniface Sanatorium, later to
become the St. Amant Centre, where she helped the cognitively impaired
children and young adults of Manitoba. After 22 years she retired and
continued until 1994 to serve at the Grey Nuns Provincial House as
coordinator for the visiting residents whose health required medical needs..
She was inducted into the
Order of Canada
in 1985 and the
Manitoba Order of the
Buffalo Hunt the following year.
Winnipeg Free Press,
21 April 2005; Memorable Manitobans Online (Accessed December 2011)
née Grimsley. Born April 1, 1890 London, England. Died April 26, 1990
Daniel’s Harbour, Newfoundland. As a girl she studied nursing and continued
courses as a midwife. During World War l She worked in North London slums.
She was persuaded by Lady Harris, wife of the governor of Newfoundland to
immigrate and on April 13, 1921 she sailed for St. John’s, Newfoundland. She
worked caring for the people of the great northern peninsula, a 200 mile
stretch of isolated coastline in colony. In 1922 she married Angus Bennett,
a former merchant marine. The couple had three children. One her paid
contract ran out Myra worked free lance. She served as nurse, midwife,
dentist veterinarian and educator and was known as the Florence Nightingale
of Newfoundland. She retired in 1953 but still continued to care for folks.
In 1935 she was presented with the King George V Jubilee Medal and in 1937
the coronation Medal of George VI. She was made a member of the Order of the
British Empire and the order of Canada. In 1974 the CBC made a documentary
on her life. In 1991 the province of Newfoundland and Labrador declared her
home in Daniel’s Harbour an Historic Site.
by Merna Forster, Dundurn Press, 2011. ; Heritage Newfoundland
heritage.nf.ca accessed June 12, 2012.
Mary Ellen Birties
Born 1858, Sheffield, England. Died Alexander, Manitoba on June 22, 1943.
She immigrated to Canada with her family in June 1883, settling at Winnipeg.
In 1889, she was one of the first three graduates of the nurse training
program at the Winnipeg General Hospital, established in 1887. . Upon
graduation, she left to work at a small hospital in North Dakota where she
remained a few months. In 1890 she accepted a position as assistant nurse at
a new hospital in Medicine Hat, North West Territories [now Alberta],
staying there two years until a hospital opened at Brandon. She took the
position of senior nurse and remained there a year and a half. Moving to
Calgary in 1894 she was in charge of the new hospital being built there, the
first Matron of the Calgary General Hospital. She attended British
celebrations of the 1887 60th anniversary of the reign of Queen Victoria,
returning to Manitoba the next year to become Matron of the Brandon General
Hospital, where she stayed until her retirement in August 1919. In 1935, she
Order of the British
Manitobans. Profile by Gordon Goldsborough Online (Accessed December
Elizabeth Hazeltine "Bonnie"
née Polson. Born August 22, 1893, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died Gladstone,
Manitoba November 12, 1979. her family moved to Gimli, Manitoba in 1901
where she taught school for five years before taking nursing training at the
Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1916. He nursed privately and
worked for the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) until her marriage in 1922.
She continued to provide nursing support to her community and especially to
residents of the Sandy Bay First Nation, where she was known as “Mrs.
Barney”. In 1969 she was presented a
Award for meritorious service to Manitoba.
Winnipeg Free Press,
17 November 1979, page 28 : Memorable Manitobans Online (Accessed
Donna Margaret Louise Blight
Crosland. Born September 30, 1936 Calgary, Alberta. Died February 5, 2008.
She graduated from the Calgary General Hospital, Queen’s University (BNS)
and University of Manitoba (MA). While nursing in Saskatoon, she met her
husband, William J. Blight. The couple moved to Winnipeg Donna worked
briefly for the VON (Victorian Order of Nurses) prior to raising the
couple’s two sons. She returned to work as a nursing instructor and
registrar at the St. Boniface Hospital School of Nursing and as registrar
with the Manitoba Association of Registered Nurses. She was a longtime
member of the Alpine Club of Canada, and she served as a member of the
Manitoba Environmental Council. She was actively involved with the
University Women’s Club of
Winnipeg and the Provincial Council of Women of Manitoba,
serving on a variety of committees and as president of both organizations.
The latter organization honoured her in 2007 at its first Celebration of
Winnipeg Free Press,
9 February 2008; Memorable Manitobans. Online Accessed December 2011)
Annie Crisp Bond
1854, Warwickshire, England. Died June 11, 1943, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She
trained at Queen’s Hospital
before joining the nursing sisters in the British army. She served in South
Africa Zulu War, as well as in
Egypt, and the Sudan. She was decorated in each campaigns, receiving the
Royal Red Cross Medal in 1884.That same year she moved to Auckland, New Zealand, to establish New
Zealand’s first school of nursing. In
1886 she married
Dr. John Henry Richard
Bond. The couple moved to the U.S.A. to administer the
exhibit at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1896. They eventually settled in
Winnipeg in 1903. She began urging
the foundation of a children’s hospital in 1906, and in 1909 she began one
on Beaconsfield Street whichbecame the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital.
Dictionary of Manitoba
J. M. Bumsted
Manitoba Press, 1999); Memorable Manitobans. Online (Accessed
Born November 15, 1932, Laurier, Manitoba. Died January 20, 2003,
Lexington, Massachusetts, U.S.A. She entered the Grey Nuns novitiate in St.
Boniface, Manitoba, August 1950 and dedicated herself to the service of the
poor in February 1953. Sister Marie received her nursing diploma from the
Regina Grey Nuns School of Nursing,. She also earned her Masters in nursing
and a Doctorate in Education. She was director of the School of Nursing,
Saint Boniface from1960 to 1963. She helped to establish the baccalaureate
degree in nursing at the University of Montreal from1965 to 1972 and 1978
to 1980 she became director of Pastoral Care at Saint Boniface General
Hospital. In 1983, she was inducted into the
Manitoba Order of the
Buffalo Hunt. She served as local superior and provincial
superior of St. Boniface from 1980 to 1986, and was elected assistant
general of the Grey Nuns congregation in 1986. Towards the end of her life,
she did mission work in the USA.
Winnipeg Free Press,
25 January 2003; Memorable Manitobans. Profile by Gordon
Goldsborough. Online (Accessed December 2012.
Beulah Vernon Bourns
28, 1906, Havelock, New Brunswick. Died March 28, 1990, Mordern, Manitoba.
She studied nursing graduation from the Winnipeg General Hospital Nurse
Training program in 1929 and joined the nursing staff at the United Church
Hospital in Hafford, Saskatchewan. In 1931 she spent a year in Toronto
preparing to leave Canada for Missionary work in Korea. In 1932 she took
charge of nurse training in a 50 patient hospital while Superintendent Ada
Sandell went on furlough. In 1933 she was assigned to a small hospital in
Ling Chin Sen, Manchuria and carried out public health work and began her
interest in working with mothers and babied. She moved on to North Korea as
an itinerant, travelling by ox cart, horse and train along the Manchuria
border. While nursing she provided baby clinics, established mother’s club,,
cooking and sewing classes and challenged herself with learning the local
language. During World War ll she and Dr. Florence Murray (1894-1975) were
held under house arrest and worked in an adjacent hospital. She was
repatriated in a Prisoner of War exchange and returned to work in a United
Church Hospital in British Columbia until the end of the war. At the end of
the war she studied Psychiatric Care and went on to work in Matheson,
Ontario before returning once more to Korea, this time to serve by special
request of the Koreans. She was the only Western woman and the only Canadian
not to leave Seoul during the Communist Invasion. During the Korean War she
worked at refugee camps, helping organize evacuation of hundreds of orphans.
In 1959 she was made a Honourary Life Member of WGH Nurses Alumnae
Association and in 1962 she received the Korean Presidential Medal for her
distinguished public service. She retired home to Manitoba in 1974. A chapel
at Severence Hospital in Korea is named in her honour. In 1979 she received
the Jubilee Award from WGH Nurses Alumnae Association. The Koreans called
her their “blue-eyed-angel” and took her ashes to be buried in Yanghwajim
International Cemetery, Seoul, Korea.
Beula Bourns. Winnipeg General Hospital/Health Sciences Centre Nursing
Alumnae Association Archives. Online (Accessed April 2014)
Constance Eleda Brewster
Brantford, Ontario September 27, 1888. Died
July 4, 1988.
After completing her studies at the
Constance taught school in Saskatchewan. She took additional studies in
nursing at the Royal
at McGill University and began working in Hamilton, Ontario in 1925. From
1934 through 1953 she was Director of the
of Nursing at the Hamilton General Hospital. During her career she improved
working conditions, strove for shorter working hours, better accommodations
and fought for a higher rate of pay for the nurses under her charge. She
also served as President of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario
née Buck. Born
April 5, 1988. A talented hospital administrator she took her
early nursing training in the
She became the first Superintendent of the
Hospital in Simcoe, Ontario in 1925 and remained in the position until 1943.
She was an active member national nursing organizations, the I.O.D.E., the
University Women’s Club and the Norfolk Historical Society.
Saskatchewan 1917. Died November 9, 1988. Between 1957-1977 she was the Director of
Nursing at the Princess
Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. She was internationally renowned for
developing nursing strategies for the treatment of cancer patients. She
would pioneer programs to meet physical and emotion needs of the hospital’s
cancer patients. For her contribution to ontological nursing she was
presented with the Civic Award of Merit from the city of Toronto. She
would also serve on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Cancer Society of
Ontario for 2o years. In 1988 she was awarded the Volunteer of the Year
Award from the Canadian Women’s Breast Cancer Foundation.
Ingimundon .Born February 25, 1930.Lundar, Manitoba. Died April 8, 2008.
She trained to be a nurse then worked at Whitehorse, Edmonton and Winnipeg
with the federal government working in Aboriginal and Northern Health and in
Occupational Health. In 1978, she led a national federal nurses’ strike
resulting in salary increases and other benefits for nurses. In the 1980s,
she was instrumental in developing national guidelines for occupational
health nursing certification and she initiated the Nurses-at-Risk program,
the first of its kind in Canada. In 1992 she was awarded the Confederation
Winnipeg Free Press, 10 April
2008.Memorable Manitobans. Online (Accessed December 2011)
Grace Louise Reynolds Calder
Grace trained in Leeds England with the teachings of the Florence
Nightengale system of nursing. In 1884 she immigrated to Winnipeg,
Saskatchewan. In 1890 she became the 1st Matron at the new
Medicine Hat General Hospital which opened June 4, 1890. This hospital was
the 1st such hospital between Winnipeg and British Columbia.
Grace is credited with introducing the Nightingale system of nursing to the
Canadian west. Grace resigned her position on December 14, 1891 and on
January 12, 1892 she married the chief Medical Superintendent of the
hospital Dr. John G. Calder. John served as superintendent from 1881 through
1894. August 1 1894 a training school for nurses opened at the hospital with
Miss Jean Miller as Head Nurse. Perhaps Jean Miller called upon the
expertise of Grace in establishing the student curriculum. The Calders
remained in Medicine hat and john took over his brothers pharmacy in 1911
just a year before his death. There is not much information on Grace and her
son after this date but there is a record of a Mrs J.G. Calder purchasing
160 acres of land in Saskatchewan in 1912.
Saunderson, 200 Remarkable Alberta Women, (Famous Five Foundation,
René M Caisse
Born 1888 Bracebridge, Ontario. Died December 26, 1978 Bracebridge, Ontario.
While nursing in Hailabury Hospital in northern Ontario, René (she
pronounced it Reen) came across an old woman who had survived much longer
with cancer than doctors had projected. The old lady had used a remedy that
she said was an old Indian cure for cancer. The old lady shared the recipe
for this life saving tea and René, whose goal was to control cancer and
alleviate pain, used it to help cancer patients, including her own mother,
who were considered to be incurable. René began to refine the herbal tea.
She joined with Dr R.D. Fisher to study in a makeshift lab and began to
research on mice with the herbal tea and found it to be successful in
treating breast cancer and other cancers. They isolated what they deemed
was the herb responsible for reducing the tumors and called their product
ESSIAC which is René’s surname spelled backwards. In 1926 she was charged
with practising medicine without a license by the Canadian Government. Thus
began a 50 year controversy over this “cure”. From 1928 through 1930 René
worked at the Christie Street Hospital Laboratories, Toronto and even
consulted with Dr. Frederick Banting (discoverer of Insulin) but she always
kept the formula of Essiac to herself. She opened a cancer clinic in
Bracebridge, Ontario where tending patients deemed hopeless by other
doctors. René continued to treat patients in Bracebridge even though her
cure fell out of favour. She married Charles McGaughey, a North Bay Lawyer
and former patient but retained her maiden name. In retirement she took up
oil painting. In 1977 René handed her formula to the Resperin Corporation,
controlled by uranium magnate Stephen Roman of Toronto who paid $250.00
during a test period and promise of a share in future profits. In 1985 a
Dr. Gary Glum purchased the formula for $120,000.00 from one of René’s
former patients and released this formula into public domain in 1988.. He
wrote a book, Calling of an Angel: Essiac Nature’s cure for Cancer.
Mary McPerson who had worked with René in preparing the formula did not want
to die with the controversy over her head so she released the formula , as
she had prepared, to public domain on December 23, 1994. Today several
versions of Essiac are on the market sold as a natural remedy. The Rene M.
Caisse Memorial Theatre was built and named in her honor in her hometown of
Sources: Obituary. Bracebridge Examiner, 1978 : Lisa Wajna. Great
Canadian Women: nineteen portraits of extraordinary women. (Folklore
Margaret Amelia Campbell
Born Vancouver, British Columbia June 27,
1923. Died January 29, 1992. She earned her BA at the University of British
Columbia in 1947 and then earned a second BA Sc in Nursing in 1948.
She would follower her studies with a Masters in Science in Nursing at
Western Reserve University in 1955 and return to again study to earn her
Education Doctorate at Columbia University in 1970. She was the co-developer
of conceptual models for nursing. In 1987 she was recognized for her
research efforts with the Award of Excellence from the Registered Nurses
Association of British Columbia. She was also the recipient of an Award of
Distinction from the nursing division of the Alumni Association of the
University of British Columbia in 1988 and in 1990 a Certificate of Merit.
She was an instructor and professor of nursing at the UBC School of Nursing
from 1955 through 1988.
Kathleen 'Kay' Christie
Born 1911. Died 1994, Toronto, Ontario. 1934. Kay graduated and worked as a
nurse. When World War ll broke out she did not hesitate to sign up with the
Royal Canadian Medical Corps in 1941 as a Lieutenant. She was posted to Hong
Kong. The British military hospital where she served came under heavy
Japanese shelling and the British surrendered on Christmas Day 1941. Kay
spent the next 21 month as a POW (Prisoner of War) in the Far East living
under severely crowed conditions with little food and water loosing some 20
pounds. In September 1943 she and other nurses were part of a prisoner
exchange between the Allies and the Japanese. The conditions on the ship
before the exchange were worse than at the camp. Even after the exchange she
was more than a month before reaching home.
After VE Day,
Kay received a position with a prominent Toronto heart specialist as a
medical nursing secretary. She was granted a discharge from the Royal
Canadian Army Medical Corps on October 30, 1945. After her discharge, she
worked as a medical secretary for a neuropsychiatric specialist until
retirement. She was awarded the Associate Royal Red Cross medal for her
distinguished service, and in ensuing years she was named Honorary Patron of
the National Council of Veterans, Honourary President of the Nursing Sisters
Association of Canada, and in 1995, both she and fellow nurse, Ms. Waters
were honoured by a plaque erected in the Police Academy in Hong Kong in
recognition of their outstanding service.
Women of Courage 1812-2012 Reading and Remembrance. Online (Accessed
March 2015. ; Veterans Affairs Canada. Nursing Sister – Kay Christie.
Online (Accessed March 2015)
Born April 13, 1923 Wilmot Township, Wellington County, Ontario. Died
September11, 2012, New Hamburg, Ontario. Elsie attended Goshen College in
Indiana, and Easter Mennonite College, Virginia, U.S.A. and studied nursing
at St Mary’s Hospital, Kitchener, Ontario. Later in life she took extra
midwifery training in England. As a Mennonite medical missionary from 1953
through to the mid 1970’s she established a number of health clinics in
East Africa. She also established a Leprosarium in Shirati, Tanzania and the
Tom Mboya Memorial Health Centre in Kenya. Elsie was also responsible for
setting up midwifery program at various Canadian Universities such as Mc
Master University, Hamilton, Ontario, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario
and Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario. All of these universities offer
a bachelor degree in midwifery. Her efforts earned her recognition with the
Order of Ontario. She retired from birthing babies in 1998 at 75 years of
age. In 2010 she was the subject of a documentary aired on CTV.
Source: Waterloo Region
Hall of Fame. Online (Accessed July 2014) ; “Elsie Cressman was staunch
advocate of midwifery in Ontario.” The Record, Kitchener/Waterloo
September 13, 2012. Online (Accessed July 2014) ; “Elsie Cressman” .
Global Anabaptist Mennonite Enclcyloedia Online. (Accessed July 2014)
Book: Elsie Cressman: A trailblazing life by Nancy Silcox, 2012
Gladys Elizabeth Matheson Crim
née Matheson. Born September 27, 1892, St Barnabas Mission, Onion Lake,
Died 1968, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Gladys was the daughter of Dr. Elizabeth
who was the 1st woman licensed Doctor in the area. From 1906
through 1909 she attended Kilborn Sister’s School at Dunham Ladies College,
Ottawa, Ontario. She returned home to work at her parent’s mission for 2
years before she began training as a nurse at Memorial Hospital in Prince
Albert, Saskatchewan. Again she returned home to work. She taught at the
mission school for 3 years while helping in her mother’s hospital. In 1914
she went to Winnipeg General Hospital to complete her nurses training. In
1916 both her father and her fiancé died but she continued her studies
graduating in 1917. She worked at Tuxedo Military Hospital in Winnipeg prior
to enlisting on May 25, 1917 for overseas war service as a lieutenant
nursing sister at the Eastborne, England hospital for Canadian soldiers. On
May 6, 1918 she was ordered to serve at no 3 Canadian General Hospital in
Boulogne, France which was a series of huts near the front line of the war.
In May 1919 she was back serving at the Winnipeg Tuxedo Military Hospital.
In 1920 she was worn out and went to Vancouver, British Columbia for 3
months. In 1926 she married U.S. Infantry officer Stirling Crim (1891-1980)
in Hawaii. The couple settled in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.. After the death
of her husband she returned to live in Winnipeg.
Source: The Story behind the Statue, Saskatchewan Registered Nurses
Association. Online (Accessed June 2014)
Sarah Persis Johnson Darrach
Born February 8, 1886, Rosscarberry, Ireland. Died September 4, 1974,
Brandon, Manitoba. Her family emigrated to Canada in September 1898 and
settled at Beresford, Manitoba. In 1908, she was admitted to the nursing
program at Brandon General Hospital and graduated as gold medalist in 1911.
She did her postgraduate work at Chicago, Illinois and returned home to
become Assistant Matron of Brandon General Hospital. She was posted
overseas in 1914. Working as a nurse during the First World War she nursed
in field hospitals in France, and war hospitals in England. She served
Matron of No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. She was awarded the
Royal Red Cross, Second and First Class, the latter being awarded to her by
the Prince of Wales in 1919. Returning home in 1919, she became
Superintendent of Nurses at Brandon Hospital where she worked to improve the
working conditions of nurses and establishing standardized nursing training
programs. In 1920 she married Robert Darrach. The couple set up a fresh-air
camp for disadvantaged kids at Lake Clementi, south of Brandon that accepted
needy children for ten years. In 1934, she was the recipient of the
Order of the British
Empire. In 1936 she became the Dean of Women at
where she retired in 1953. She received the Canada
in 196 . Darrach Hall at Brandon University was named in her honour
as was Darrach Avenue in the City of Brandon.
Source: Memorable Manitobans Online (Accessed February 2014)
Born November 19, 1887, St. John’s, Newfoundland. Died December 14, 1973,
St. John’s, Newfoundland. In 1920 Sybil traveled to Liverpool England to
visit with family and attend Cheltenham Girls School for 2 years. At 16 she
traveled to Germany and studied the violin at the Leipzig Music Academy. By
1909 she was back Newfoundland where she performed at various concerts and
charity events. By December 1916 she was back in England where she joined
and trained with VAD’s. She nursed at the Western Military Hospital
Fozakerley in Liverpool until 1918. Her sister Jill also served at this
hospital. Returning to Newfoundland Sybil married a lawyer, Brian Dunfield
on August 8, 1918. The couple had 3 children. She continued to play violin
at various charity events. In 1949 her husband was knighted and she became
Lady Dunfield. Her wartime correspondence and description of wartime life in
England is on Deposit with the Newfoundland Archives.
Riggs. The Gazette November 13, 1997. Online Accessed March 2016.
Suggestion submitted by Nora Phillips, Newfoundland.
née Miller. Born Truro,
Nova Scotia April 11, 1859. Died April 21, 1949. President of the Victoria
Order of Nurses (1901 - 1946) and the Halifax Council of Women (1906 - 1920)
she mobilized women in World War I for the Red Cross for which she was also
President at the provincial level (1914-1920). She also helped co-ordinate
relief efforts for the Halifax Explosion of 1917. Even with all this work
she found time to raise ten children of her own!
Beverly Whitter Du Gas
Born Vancouver, British Columbia. She studied nursing with a
BA in Nursing in 1945 and earned her masters in 1947 at the University of
Washington in Seattle, U.S.A. Later in life she would return to school for
her PhD in Adult Education in 1969. She began her nursing career at the
Vancouver General Hospital and in 1957 she became acting director and
director in 1960. She introduced students to real people as patients and
wrote a 1st year nursing textbook, the first of many textbooks in
the nursing education field. In 1965 through 1967 she worked for the World
Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations going to India. Back home in
Canada she began working at Health and Welfare Canada and with World Health.
In Barbados she established a program to prepare teachers for the Health
Sciences. In 1982 she joined the faculty of nursing t the University of
Ottawa and became director of the School of Nursing in 1987, retiring in
1989. She continued in nursing with WHO going to Fiji, China, Manila and
India as well as producing more nursing textbooks. In 1999 she was presented
with the Order of British Columbia and in 2001 the Order of Canada.
Source: School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia, Online
accessed November 2012.
née Rennie. Born November 1953, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Wendy earned her BSc(Nursing) at the University of Saskatchewan in 1975. She married Tom
Duggleby and the couple have two children. She furthered her education with
a Master’s in Nursing at the University of Alberta before heading to The
University of Texas Health Sciences Centre, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. to earn
her PhD in 1999. She returned to Saskatoon in 2001to work at the College of
Nursing. Her main efforts in research have been on eldercare. She is the
founder of Living in Hope Program with the mandate to explore and foster
hope in terminally ill health. In 2006 she earned the Distinguished
Researcher Award from the University of Saskatchewan before moving to become
Professor and acting Vice Dean, for the Endowed Nursing Research Chair in
Aging and Quality of Life at the University of Alberta. She is a regular
contributor to medical and scholarly journals on her area of expertise and
she has contributed several chapters to books on this topic as well. In
January 2013 she was presented with the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee
2012: The Canadian Women’s Calendar (Coteau Books, 2011)
Alice M. Gerard.
November 11, 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 first Canadian woman dean at a French language
university. She served as president of the Canadian Nurses Association and
was the first Canadian president of the International Council of Nurses.
Jean Cuthland Goodwill
as a child she was adopted by the Cuthland family of Little Pine Reserve,
Saskatchewan. Her adoptive mother and grandmother were community midwives
and healers. Jean attended high school in Saskatoon. She had Tuberculosis
when she was a student but new drugs helped her survive and while at a
sanatorium she worked as a nurses aid. She studied nursing at Prince Albert
Holy Family Hospital and began her career at Fort Qu’Appelle Indian
Hospital. She married Ken Goodwill in 1965 and the young couple moved to
Ottawa for Ken’s job with the Canadian Government. Jean soon was working as
well. In 1973 she was co-ordinator with the Native Citizen’s Directorate
with the Secretary of State. 1975 was the International year of the woman
and she worked on a book on First Nation and Inuit women while working on a
survey on Aboriginal nurses. Between 1983 and 1990 she was president of the
organization Registered Nurses of Canadian Indian Ancestry (Now Aboriginal
Nurses Association of Canada). While working with the Canadian government
the travelled the country to identify health problems in Aboriginal
communities. In the late 1980’s she was back in Saskatchewan heading the
Indian Health Care Program at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College a
part of the University of Regina.
Irma Elizabeth Hacking
Born September 17, 1917 Aneroid, Saskatchewan. Died November 4, Victoria,
British Columbia. After her nursing training Irma Served with the Royal
Canadian Army Medical Corps during the second World War. She served in field
hospitals on the front lines in Europe where the nursing lieutenant met and
served with Dr. Lawrence Hacking (d 1961) At one point he asked her to cut
her long hair so that he could use the hair for stitching up wounded
soldiers. Romance ensued and the couple were married. Returning from the war
the couple 1st settled in Regina, Saskatchewan and then in 1955
with 3 children they moved to Nanaimo British Columbia. Widowed suddenly,
Irma became a determined single parent. She refreshed her nursing skills and
began working in the admitting department at the Nanaimo Regional General
Hospital. She retired from nursing in 1983 at 66 and began working at a
jeweler store. She enjoyed buying jeweler for herself and her daughters.
Source: ‘Lives Lived: Irma Elizabeth Hacking’, the Globe and Mail
February 13, 2015.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon Ottawa, Ontario
Eliza Parks Hegan
Born 1861 Saint John, New Brunswick. Died February 18, 1917, St John, New
Brunswick. In 1888 she was 1 of 10 women chosen to tale a trial in nursing
training at the Saint John General Public Hospital. All the women remained
for 2 years after their training. After graduation in 1890 she moved to
Fredericton, New Brunswick were she took charge of the 20 bed Victoria
Public Hospital. In 1892 she was back in Saint John as matron at the Saint
John Public Hospital. Here she made changes dividing duties and appointed a
head nurse. She was strict with student nurses as shown when she refused to
sign graduation certificates for 4 students who had broken rules during
training. When the Hospital turned against her decision she left in 1895 and
spent the next 3 years as night supervisor at the New York Polyclinic
Medical School and Hospital. After contracting typhoid fever she returned to
Saint John and opened a private hospital. She played a role in forming in
1903 the 1st society for nurses in the Maritime Provinces. By
1909 the society admitted all nursing graduates in the city and was called
the Saint John Graduate Nurses Association with Eliza serving as its 5th
president. The group was incorporated in 1916 as the New Brunswick
Association of Graduate Nurses and Eliza helped draw up the by-laws.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Born Kingsbridge, Devon, England. Died November 1972. She studied
to be a nurse. She worked at the nursing station at Spence Bay in the
Canadian North. In the seclusion and solitude of the far north, nurses were
forces to also serve as dentists, Public health inspectors and take care of
serious heath cases that had to be flown out to Yellowknife hospital. It was
during such an attempt of evacuation that Judy Hill was killed in an
aeroplane crash. The pilot survived the crash but spent a month in the
wilderness before being located. The incident was surrounded by controversy
as pilot Hartwell decided to use Judy’s body as nourishment to survive. The
controversy forced action. The Spence Bay Nursing Station became a hospital,
communications to the North were investigated and improved. Evacuation of
the extremely ill was written into formal procedures. A foundation in Judy
Hill’s name finances specialized northern nursing training.
Source: Angel of the snow: the story of Judy Hill by Jim McDangall
(London, Frederick Muller Ltd., 1977.
Lenna Mae Jenner
Born November 17, 1889, Brookfields, Nova Scotia. Died December 12, 1918,
North Finchley, Great Britain. In 1901 Lenna and her family moved to Halifax
when her father was hired on as minister at North Baptist Church. About
1910 she attended nursing school, perhaps at the Victoria General Hospital.
Lenna joined the VAD – Volunteer Aid Detachment for service in World War l.
These units were formed to provide medical assistance in time of war. By
April 1917 Lenna was working at a military Hospital in Kentville, Nova
Scotia where nurses were know to work 12 hour days. She went on to work at
the West Cliff Canadian Eye and Ear Hospital in Folkstone, Great Britain. In
October 1918 she complained of lack of strength and was diagnosed with
tubercular peritonitis and she was sent to Clarence House, North Finchley
for an operation where she died of septicemia.
Source Debbie Marshall, War Changes Everything.
Rememberingfirstworldwarnurses.blogspot.ca. (Accessed July 2015)
Born England 1879. Died September 2, 1968. Her family
emigrated to Canada and family friend, Cora Hind, encouraged the girl
to graduate in 1902 from the Winnipeg General Hospital Training School for
Nurses. After working in several provinces and in the U.S. she attended
Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City before returning to
Canada in 1915 as superintendent of the Children's Hospital, Winnipeg. In
1919 she was appointed to the dual position of director of nursing service
and education of the Vancouver General Hospital and coordinator of the newly
established program in Nursing at the University of British Columbia.
In 1925 she left for Europe to work for the Rockefeller Foundation,
establishing training programs and schools of nursing. In 1933 to 1944
she worked as editor and business manager of the Canadian Nurse
magazine. After retirement, she collaborated in writing a history of Johns
Hopkins School of Nursing, a series of health pamphlet and the history of
the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing.
née Rochon. Born April 15,
1939. This nursing teacher was one of the few women of her generation to
achieve senior administrative status with the federal government. She was
appointed to nursing's highest administrative position as principal nursing
officer at Health and Welfare Canada in 1973. She became under secretary of
state in 1988 and Deputy Clerk of Privy Council in 1985.
Ruth Catherine MacAdams
Born July 21, 1880, Sarnia, Ontario. Died December 16, 1959, Calgary,
Alberta. Roberta was a graduate from Macdonald Institute of the Ontario
Agricultural College, Guelph, Ontario (Now University of Guelph.) In 1912
she was hired by the Alberta Government to offer “institute” courses for
rural women across the province. As well the Alberta Department of
Agriculture had her conduct a survey to determine the viability of a
provincial Women’s Institute. Roberta was what was called a new woman
participating in society out of the home in non-traditional ways through
education, employment and civic engagement. In 1914-1916 she worked for the
Edmonton Public School Board creating the 1st Department of
Domestic Economy (Home economics) in Alberta. In 1916 she left her job to
serve as a lieutenant during World War l. She served as a dietitian in the
Canadian Military Hospital in Orpington, England. In 1917 the Alberta
Military Representation Act allowed the 38,000 Alberta soldiers and 75
nurses overseas to elect 2 representative to the Provincial legislature. On
September 17, 1917 Robert Pearson and Roberta MacAdams were elected. Roberta
was the second woman in the Empire after fellow Albertan Louise McKinney to
be elected to office. In 1918 she became the 1st woman in the
British Empire to introduce legislation when she brought forward a bill to
incorporate the War Veterans Next of Kin Association Bill. After the 1st
legislative session she was back in Britain with the Khaki University which
provided women’s staff for continuing education for overseas Canadian
forces. Back in Alberta in 1919 she served as district Director of the
Soldiers Land Settlement Board. After this position Roberts married lawyer
Harvey Price and was less prominent in the public eye.
Source: Our Future, Our Heritage. The Alberta Heritage Digitization
Project. Online (Accessed May 2014) ; Roberta MacAdams and the New Woman.
Alberta’s Women’s Institute. Online (Accessed May 2014).
née Black. Born June 24, 1913, Sturgeon Falls, Ontario. She relocated with
her family to Edmonton, Alberta in the 1920’s. After high school she
courageously enrolled in a 5 year degree program
at the University of Alberta. Isobel was one of just three graduates in
1936. For awhile she was assistant Supervisor for the Victorian Order of
Nurses. From 1944 through 1949 she earned her Master’s degree in Nursing
Administration from Columbia University in New York City, U.S.A. After
graduating she took a position of Director of Nursing and Principal at the
School of Nursing at the Montreal General Hospital in 1953 and remained
until retirement in 1975. At 1st some were skeptical since she
was not a graduate of the School of Nursing. She was the 1st
director who was not a graduate. Sometime later she was presented with a
nursing cap of the Montreal General Hospital and she wore it with pride. The
School of Nursing now provides an annual Isobel MacLeod Award for nursing
assistants. She would oversee 1, 852 graduates during her tenure. In 1953
she also married. Alastair William Thompson MacLeod (d 2004) psychiatrist
and after her retirement from the School of Nursing she worked with him as
his Montreal practice. In the mid 1990’s the couple retired and moved to
retirement living in Ottawa. In 2003 they celebrated their 50th
wedding anniversary. In 2013 she celebrated her 100th birthday.
Source: Sonia Mendes, ‘Nursing Pioneer’s reflections at 101’. The Ottawa
Citizen, June 21, 2014.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Mary Winnifred MacNutt MacRae
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island March 10, 1912. In 1938 she graduated
from the P.E.I. Hospital School of Nursing. As a youth she had been part of
the Girl Guides and she continued her services as an adult for over 50
years. In 1935 she received Their Majesties Silver Jubilee Medal for her
work with the Girl Guides. In 1941 she served with the Royal Canadian
Medical Corps and was sent overseas in 1943 to work in England and Italy.
While working in Newfoundland she received the Royal Red Cross First Class
for deeds during a dynamite explosion in Lewisport. She was the first
Canadian nurse in World War ll to be so honoured. She also received the
Italian Star for her services in that country. Returning to civilian life
she worked in the North West Territories before taking additional nursing
courses at McGill University, Montreal. In 1949 she married Norman MacRae of
P.E.I. She would continue her nursing career through to 1969 also continuing
community service with the Women’s Institute, her church and other community
Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club
of Charlottetown, 1981.
Fergusson. Born 1908, England. Died 1992. Dorothea trained as a nurse in a
British hospital. In Canada she was employed by the Parents’ Information
Bureau, Organized by A.R. Kaufman in Kitchener, Ontario. On September 14,
1936 she was arrested and charged with distributing birth control literature
in Eastview, (now Vanier), Ontario. The Kaufman Rubber Co. paid $25,000.00
for her year long defense in the trial Rex vs. Palmer, commonly known as The
Eastview Birth Control Trial. Dorothea was acquitted on March 17, 1937 on
the grounds that her actions were entirely in the interest of the public
good. The Crown launched an appeal with the Court of Appeal for Ontario
heard on June 1-2, 1937 but the appeal was dismissed. The six-month trial,
the longest in Canadian history to that date, was extremely hard on Palmer.
She was vilified by members of the public, accosted, and her marriage
suffered. After the trial, Dorothea Palmer severed her ties to Kaufman and
Parent’s Information Bureau and faded into obscurity having been a reluctant
heroine for women’s autonomy.
Canadian Encyclopedia Online (accessed September 2015)
Born 1894, Toronto, Ontario. Died December 31, 1918, Surry,
United Kingdom. A trained nurse she worked with the Canadian Imperial
Detachment during World War l. She not only worked at secretarial duties but
as a trained chauffeuse she was a driver to help transfer wounded soldiers.
In 1918 she took a brief break from the war to return to Canada and visit
family in Ottawa. She returned to service in England where she died. Source:
Finding the forty seven: Canadian nurses of the 1st world war.
Online accessed August 2015.
Anna Judson Rossborough Mair
Moosehead, Nova Scotia 1889. Died Prince Edward Island April 10, 1963. The
family moved to Prince Edward Island where Anna grew up. She attended Prince
of Wales College and became a teacher. After several years teaching she
switched careers and in 1923 she graduated from the P.E.I. School of
Nursing. She took additional courses at the Royal Victoria Hospital,
Montreal and in 1926 became Superintendent at the P.E.I. Hospital. This new
position allowed her to use her teaching skills with student nurses. Later
she took courses in Medical Records in Toronto, returning, as always, to
P.E.I. she retired from nursing in 1952. She held various positions in the
Registered Nurses’ Association and in 1931 established and was the first
president of the Nurse’s Alumnae. She received the King George V Medal at
the Jubilee celebration in recognition of services, loyalty and professional
Source: Outstanding women
of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 1981.
Baptised Langres, France
November 12, 1606 Died June 18, 1673. As a young reader she had enjoyed the
Jesuit Relations, published reports of priests in the new world and thus she
became interested in foreign missions, Jeanne joined the Société Notre-Dame
de Montréal. She sailed as the first lay nurse for New France May 9, 1641
and founded a hospital in 1642. The first hospital in New France, the
Hotel-Dieu Hospital of Montreal was completed by 1645. She would return to
France twice , in 1645 and 1657 to attain additional financial support for
her work in Montreal. Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
Première femme blanche à fouler le sol de Ville-Marie (Montréal) Jeanne
s'associe à Maisonneuve pour fonder Montréal. Elle gère le finances de la
colonie et dirige l'H⌂tel-Dieu. Pourtant, quatre sié après sa mort,
l'histoire lui refuse toujours le titre de cofondatrice de la màtropole.
Rena Maude McLean.
Prince Edward Island June 14, 1879. Died June 27, 1918. Her nickname was
'Bird'. She graduated Halifax Ladies College and then studied nursing in the
U.S. She enlisted in the Canadian Medical Corps in 1914. She died in
service at sea in 1918. The FIVE SISTERS window in York Minister England, is
dedicated to the 3,000 women of the Empire who sacrificed their lives in WW
I. Her name is included.
Harriet Tremaine Meiklejohn
Born April 1,
1876, Quebec City, Quebec. Died April 9, 1952, Toronto, Ontario. In 1906 she
graduated in nursing from the Presbyterian Hospital, New York, U.S.A. She
worked as superintendent of Nurses in Montclair, New Jersey, U.S.A. During
World War 1, when she was 40 years old, she travelled to England and on
October 16, 1916 she enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps as a
Nursing Sister. On June 3, 1919, she was awarded the Royal Red Cross for her
distinguished services for showing special devotion in performing her
duties. After the war she returned home to Canada where she took a course in
Public Health at the University of Toronto. Relocating to St. John, New
Brunswick she established the health centre, public clinics and a branch of
the Victorian Order of Nurses. IN 1925 she was Superintendent of Nursing at
St. Catherines General Hospital in Ontario. In 1927 she took a position as
Superintendent at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, a position she
retained until retirement in 1943. The Canadian Nurses Association
established an annual scholarship in her memory.
Women’s College Hospital online (Accessed March 2014) ; Canadian Nurses
Association Memorial Book, Online (Accessed March 2014)
Jessie Annie Middleton
née Lee. Born
December 12, 1912, Murrayville, British Columbia. Jessie studied nursing at
the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminister, British Columbia. After
three years she graduated in September 1939 at the age of 22. She wanted to
join the army to serve in the war but women could not join until they were
25 years old so she worked at the Vancouver General Hospital. She enlisted
in 1942 as a Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Army Nursing Corps. She 1st
served at a military hospital in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and was
sent overseas in March 1943 serving near London, England. In July 1944 she
sailed to serve in Italy in field hospitals. By D-Day June 6, 1944 she was
assigned to Nijmegen, Holland right on the front lines. Back in Canada after
the war she attended nursing courses at McGill University. On December 26,
1947 she married Frederick Turner Middleton of British Columbia. The couple
would have 2 children settling in Abbottsford, British Columbia. In July
2012 she was presented with the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for
service to her country.
Eleanor Florence. Nursing Sisters Healed the Wounds of War. June 17,
2015 on Blog: Wartime Wednesdays (accessed June 2015)
7, 1886 Middlesex County, Ontario. Died 1975, California, U.S.A. She studies
at the Saint Boniface Training school for Nurses in 1906. In 1915 with World
War l raging on the European front she joined the Royal Canadian Army
Medical Corps and was posted to a Canadian Casualty Station No 3 near the
front lines in Boulogne. The Station had 800 beds and was extremely busy.
She watched her 1st patient die a horrible death from the effects
of gas and she never forgot it. Another time serving in the operating room
the surgeon was shot dead as he operated and she had to finish the
operation. After the War she worked with refugees and Canadian soldiers. At
home in Canada once again she became restless and relocated north to Dawson
City to set up the 1st hospital in the Yukon Territory. She later
worked at various executive positions for several tuberculosis societies in
Canada and in the United States. She did not retire until she was 79 years
old when she entered a retirement home in California. Susan Taylor Meehan
penned an novel based on Martha’s life entitled Maggie’s Choice.
Sources: Canada’s Great War Album. Canada’s History. Online (Accessed
July 2015); Library and Archives Canada LAC RG 150 Accession 1992-3/166 Box
Helen K. Mussallem
Born Prince Rupert, British Columbia. She
served as a Lieutenant nursing officer with the Royal Canadian Army Medical
Corps during World War ll. Her post war career began at the Vancouver
Hospital and would take her on some 30 international assignments with the
World Health Organization of the United Nations and the International
Council of Nurses. She was also executive Director of the
Canadian Nurse's Association and president of the Victoria Order of Nurses.
She is author of numerous major publications relating to nursing and health
and the library at the Canadian Nurse's Association is named in her honour.
In 1969 she received the Order of Canada and in 1981 she received one of the
highest awards of the International Red Cross, the Florence Nightingale
Award. At that time she was referred to a "Canada's most distinguished
nurse in her time and generation."
Born 1860, England. Died Alberta. Mary and her husband arrived from England
in 1886. Mary had her nursing training through St John’s House which was
affiliated with the Anglican Church of England. Her training predated the
formal education that was established by Florence Nightingale. In fact St
John’s House provided 6 nursing sisters for Nightingale when she left to
serve in the Crimean War. Mary had been a professor at Queen Charlotte’s
Maternity hospital in London, prior to immigrating. She arrived at
Hermitage, near Edmonton in the summer of 1886, is considered the 1st
lay nurse in Edmonton. She had suffered ill health in England and she came
to Hermitage to recuperate at her brother's mission. There was already a
small log hospital there and Mary recovered her health and went quickly to
work. In 1891, she put an advertisement in the paper saying that she would
do nursing and midwifery in private homes--for ten dollars a week. She is
also credited with introducing lilacs to Alberta.
Source; Kay Saunderson, 200 Remarkable Alberta Women, (Famous Five
(see also Heroines)
February 17, 1901. Died 1976. She pursued life on stage until her mother
became ill. After taking care of her ill mother she turned to nursing as a
profession. In 1938 she married Willem Leonhardt, a Dutch businessman.
During WW ll their home in The Netherlands was used as a refuge by escaping
allied airmen. In 1941 they were arrested and imprisoned in separate
prisons. Reunited after the liberation, Mona nursed Willem returning to
Canada only after his death in 1956. Mona was presented with citations from
General Eisenhower and Air Chief Marshal Tedder of the Royal Air Force for
helping allied airmen evade enemy capture.
Georgina Fane Pope
Prince Edward Island 1862. Died June 6, 1938. She graduated from the
Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing, in
and served in various administrative positions at hospitals in the US. With
the Canadian involvement in the South African War , she volunteered for
nursing services with the British forces in October 1899. In fact she headed
the first group of four Canadian nurses. In 1902 she returned to South
Africa , leading a small nursing force, the third such group, but this time
they were officially the Canadian Army Nursing Service, a part of the
Canadian Army Medical Corp. In 1903 she was the first Canadian to receive
the Royal Red Cross for conspicuous service in the field of battle.
By 1906 she was working with the permanent forces at
Halifax and in 1908 she became the first Matron of the Canadian Army Medical
Corp. She served in World War I in 1917 -1918. In 1983 Canada’s
National Historical Sites and Monument Board declared her a National
Historic Person of Canada.
Born Bouctouche, New Brunswick 1857. Died 1925. Georgea took
her nursing training at the Waltham Training School for nurses in
Massachusetts, graduating in 1895 In 1898 she
headed a group of four nurses headed for Dawson, Yukon. Georgea was
officially the Lady Superintendant of the Victorian Order of Nurses for the
territory of the Yukon. The women arrived in the midst of a
severe outbreak of typhoid fever. Their work garnered national attention and
the support of the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON). Georgea remained in
nursing in Dawson until 1904 when she married North West Mounted Police
Staff Sergeant, George Bates (1858-1908). She remained in western Canada
after the death of her husband and worked as Matron of the Children’s
Shelter, Edmonton, Alberta from 1912-1918. Source: New Brunswick
women’s History online accessed November 2012. ; The Canadian Association
for the History of Nursing Newsletter Vol. 17 No. 2 Fall 2004 , )nline
accessed November 2012.
Dorothy "Dot" Pringle.
Born Hamilton, Ontario. This inspirational nursing leader has
followed a career that took her through nursing research, teaching nursing,
being a senior nursing administrator, locally, provincially and nationally.
She earned at various schools her RN, BScN, MS and PHD in Nursing at the
University of Illinois. Her honours include an outstanding teacher award
form the Ontario Association of University Teachers, Honorary doctoral
degrees, and the Jeanne Mance Award from the Canadian Nursing Association.
She was Director of the School of Nursing at Laurentian University where she
governed and inspired the development of a bilingual nursing program. As
Dean of Nursing at the University of Toronto, she instrumental in launching
the first doctoral program in Nursing in Ontario.
Mary L. Richmond
Born Vancouver, British Columbia 1920. Died November 29,
2002. She studied the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing in
1943 and began her career as a teacher at the school upon graduation.
Beginning in the 1950's she was the Director of Nursing at the Royal
Jubilee Hospital and the Vancouver General hospital. During her tenure as
Director she helped initiate programs in public health, tuberculosis nursing
and psychiatric nursing. She served on committees of the Canadian Nurses
Association and with a budding interest in nursing history she was a
founding member of the History of Nursing Professional Practice Group. She
retired from nursing in 1992 having provided several generations of
professional nurses with a solid definition of what it was to be a nursing
Marshall. Born November 14, 1946, Lindsay, Ontario. Died July 12, 2013,
Vancouver British Columbia. She studied at St Joseph’s School of nursing,
Peterborough, Ontario. After graduating in 1967 she continued her nursing
studies at the University of Alberta. One of her early work postings was in
Kingston, Ontario where she met a military Cadet. In 1968 she and Craig
Riddell were married. The couple had one son. Eventually the family moved
for Craig’s work to British Columbia. In 1983 she began working at St
Paul’s Hospital. Although she knew little of the gay lifestyle she soon
became a hardworking advocate for people suffering with HIV/Aids. She worked
from the early days of the advent of the virus for 30 years devoted to
helping those who suffered. In 1993 her dedication was honoured by the
British Columbia Persons with HIV/Aids with the AccolAids Award. In 1996 she
was written up in the Globe and Mail highlighting her pragmatic approach
with chaos of addicts. It was this same year that she completed her Master’s
degree at the University of British Columbia having written her this on
HIV/Aids patients. In 1997 she organized a special addiction team at St
Paul’s Hospital caring for 30 patients a day. In 2008 she was named one of
British Columbia’s outstanding nurses. In 2011 she was honoured with an
advocacy award from the College of registered Nurses of British Columbia.
Source: “Seeing beyond the stigma…” by Rod Mecklenburg in the Globe and
Mail, September 11, 2013.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon.
Shirley M. Robinson
Born Lucknow, Ontario. In 1953 she graduated in nursing having trained at
Owen Sound General and Marine Hospital. In 1954 she enrolled in the Royal
Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as a Pilot Officer. Her career in the military
would span 30 years. She graduated from the Canadian Forces Command and
Staff College course. With the rank of Lieutenant Colonel she retired in
1984 as Deputy Director of Women Personnel at National Defense Headquarters
in Ottawa. She spent much of her time assuring equality for women serving in
the armed services. In 1985 she was a founding member of the Association for
Women’s Equality in the Canadian Armed Forces (AWECF). She was also active
outside of her military duties serving a President of the Nursing Sisters
Association of Canada and serving as a member of the Council for Canadians,
The Human Rights Institute and the Ontario College of Nurses. In October
1992 she was presented with the Governor General Award in Commemoration of
the Persons Case which honours work that improves the equality of life for
Source: Lt. Col. Shirley M. Robinson, CD (Retired) – Nurse. By
Carolyn Gossage, November 6, 2000 Section15.ca Online (Accessed March 2014)
Margaret Alexandra Shea
née Rendell Born St John's, Newfoundland 1863. Died May 18,
1949. As a young woman of a family of means and an accomplished pianist,
Margaret was in no doubt welcome in the social activities of the day in St
John's. However, she wanted more. Her music teacher had attended the Johns
Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., and this may have
influenced Miss Rendell to do the same in 1895. After her studies and a
short apprenticeship in the United States she returned home to an
appointment as matron of the General Hospital. She was the first
Newfoundland-born woman to become a professional nurse. In 1901 she resigned
her position to marry George Shea. Her husband was a prominent politician in
the province and she was busy providing her support for his position. She
was also one of the first women (maybe even the first) woman in Newfoundland
to receive her drivers license and she was notorious for the speed at which
she conducted her automobile through the streets of the city sending all in
her path for safety.
Mary Agnes Snively
Born St Catherines, Ontario November 12, 1847. Died September
26, 1933. She studied nursing at the Bellevue Training School in New York
State, U.S.A. In 1884 she was appointed as Superintendent of the Training
Schools for Nurses at the Toronto General Hospital. A position she retained
until her retirement in 1910. She would be the main driving force behind the
formation of the Canadian Nurses Association. She was elected first
president of the association in 1911.
Verna Huffman Splane
Born Peterborough, Ontario. She took a School of Nursing
Diploma from the University of Toronto in 1939 as one of several educational
steps she would take throughout her career. She also attended Teachers
College in British Columbia and the University of Michigan in the U.S.A.
Between 1947-1958 she was a Senior Nursing counselor for the Department of
National Health and Welfare. She worked internationally with the World
Health Organization which took her to the Caribbean, South America and
Africa. In 1973 she was the Vice President of the International Council of
Nurses. Among her many awards was the the University of Michigan recognition
as an Outstanding Public Health Nurse, the Queen's Jubilee Medal, the
Canadian Red Cross Distinguished Service Award and in 1982 the National
Award from the Canadian Nurses Association. In 1995 she was awarded the
Order of Canada.
Born Eliza May Stewart
Bathurst, New Brunswick. April 21,1887. Died 1989. In May 1917
with World War l in full swing she enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary
Force. She was part of the Canadian Medical Force serving as a nursing
sister with the rank of Lieutenant. Her war service would take her just
behind the front lines in France where she worked at clearing stations just
a few kilometers from the fighting. By March 1919 she was in England waiting
to sail home. She returned to the west coast of Canada where she would
continue her nursing career at the Shaughnessy Veteran’s Hospital,
Vancouver, British Columbia. According to her family she never talked about
her work in the European war front.
Source: Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective. Herstory 2007: the
Canadian Women’s Calendar (Regina: Couteau Books, 2006) pg. 38
Winnifred Mary Stewart
Born June 26,
Fernie, British Columbia. Died October 26, 1990 Kelona, British Columbia.
Her family moved to Edmonton Alberta in 1911 and it was here that she
attended school. She studied nursing at Edmonton General Hospital and became
a Registered Nurse (RN) in 1929. Winnifred married Duncan Stewart in 1932
and in 1934 they welcomed their son Parker. Parker was diagnosed with Down
Syndrome and Winnifred refused to accept that the limits that were supposed
to happen with developmentally disadvantaged children during this era. This
led her on a journey to experimental research into new teaching methods. In
1953, along with other parents she formed the Winnifred Stewart Association
for the Mentally Handicapped and established the 1st school of its kind to
serve handicapped children. In 1954 she was the 1st woman to
address the Alberta Legislature from the floor of the provincial House of
Commons, The Alberta government in turn provide the 1st financial
support for schools for mentally handicapped children. Between 1954 and 1970
Winnifred organized and funded 19 schools across western Canada. In 1956 her
work was recognized when she became the Most Outstanding Person of the Year
sponsored by the Canadian Mental Health Association. In 1966 she was named
Edmonton’s Citizen of the Year. She als0 inspired the opening of the unique
Western Industrial Research Training Centre in 1968. In 1972 she was
presented with the Order of Canada. She was tireless in her continuing
efforts and in 1979 Crewood Industries was opened as a vocational training
sheltered workshop. In 1985 she was posthumously inducted into the Alberta
Order of Excellence. Winnifred also is known as the Edmontonian of the
Winnifred Mary Stewart (1908-1990) Naming Committee, Honouring People and
Places in Our City. WWW. Edmonton.ca (Accessed May 2015)
Submitted by Dr Kathleen L. Linaker, Centre for Life and Health Services,
Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica, New York, U.S.A.
Mary Margaret Street
Born Toronto, Ontario May 30, 1907 Died December 7, 1993. She
took her original B.A. and teaching certificate in Manitoba but soon decided
to enter nursing and studied at the Royal Victoria in Montreal. She also
obtained a Certificate in teaching and Supervision for Graduate Nurses at
McGill. During her long teaching career she would support her profession by
being elected to posts in registered nurses association in several provinces
where she lived and worked. She was interested in the history of nursing and
published a book on pioneer nursing in western Canada called Watch fires on
the mountain : life of Ethel Johns. (Toronto, 1973) She received the Order
of Canada for her contributions to her country through her profession in
Shirley M Stinson
Born Arelee, Saskatchewan 1929. She trained as a Registered
Nurse, studied for a degree in education and has earned a Doctored in
Science. She has been involved in nursing, research, administration and
teaching. A faculty member at the University of Alberta, now Professor
Emeritus, she had served as the President of the Canadian Nurses Association,
first woman senior National Health Scientist, founding Chair of the Alberta
Foundation for Nursing Research, chair of the 1986 International Nursing
Research Conference and co-Chair of the 1993 First International Conference
on Community Health Nursing Research. The list of the awards she has earned
in long and impressive. The awards list includes the Order of Canada, The
Jeanne Mance Award form the Canadian Nurse's Association, the Sir Frederick
Haultain Prize in the Humanities, the Nursing Hall of Fame and the Ethel
Johns Award for distinguished Services to Nursing Education in Canada. She
is the author of over 100 publications and reports. She is an
internationally sought after lecturer and consultant. She is busy in her
support to raise funds for the Nursing Collection at the Museum of
Civilization, promoting utilization of chronobiological research findings to
prevent strokes and heart attacks in high risk populations, expanding dental
services for needy adults and continuing her work on nursing history.
Madeleine Dion Stoat
25, 1946, Keheiwin First Nation, Alberta. She was given the Cree name
Kéréshwew, meaning “Ancient woman” or “Child with ancient spirit”. She
decided at a young age to become a nurse. She liked nurses from the first
time she met one when she was rushed to the hospital after her appendix
broke when she was seven. In 1968 she had become a registered Nurse., with a
BSc in nursing from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. She married Bob
Stout and the couple had two daughters. In 1993 she had earned a masters
degree in International Affairs from Carleton University in Ottawa and began
working in public health. She also taught at university. She aligned herself
with leadership and advisory roles on research and policy regarding health
of First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and children. In 2008 she was listed
as one of the top 100 nurses in Canada and was recipient of the Centennial
Award from the Canadian Nurses Association. In 2012 she was honoured with
the prestigious Aboriginal Achievement Foundation Award for Health.
Herstory 2012: The Canadian Women’s Calendar. Saskatoon Women’s
Calendar Collective, 2011.
Ethel L. M. Thorp
She served as a nursing sister in World
War ll and has served internationally in England, France, Iraq, India and
China. While in Jamaica in the West Indies she established a training
program for psychiatric nurses. Back home in Canada she is a founding member
of the Canadian Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association. During her
career she has become a member of the Order of the British Empire and in
1981 she received the Florence Nightingale Award, one of the highest awards
from the International Red Cross.
Mona Gordon Wilson
Toronto, Ontario. Died 1981. Mona attended Havergal Ladies College followed
by St. Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing. In 1918 she joined the
Red Cross and served in Serbia and the Balkans. Back in Canada in 1922 she
trained as a Public Health at the University of Toronto. That same year she
began working as Chief Public Health Officer for the Red Cross in Prince
Edward Island. In her second year she visited 110 schools and addressed 148
meetings! In 1931 when Public Health was taken over by the provincial
government she became a superintendent. In 1940 she served in St. John’s ,
Newfoundland on loan to work with Canadian soldiers and merchant marines.
She became known as the Florence Nightingale of St John’s. In 1946, back in
PEI, she worked in Public Health until 1960. An outdoor enthusiast, she
helped established Girl Guides in the province. She was also a founding
member of the Zonta Club. There is a monument dedicated to her in PEI
recognizing her as a person of National Historical Significance.
Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar, 2008. Saskatoon Women’s
Calendar Collective (Coteau Books, 2007) ; 100 more Canadian Heroines
by Merna Forester. : Book; She answered every call: the life of Public
Health Nurse Mona Gordon Wilson by Douglas Baldwin.
Helen Griffith Wylie Watson.
née McArthur. Born July 11,
Alberta. Died December 15, 1974. After nursing the
Peace River Country of Alberta, she joined the Red Cross Society and later
became president of the organization. She would also serve as president of
the Canadian Nurses Association. In 1954 she earned the Florence
Nightingale Award for her work in Korea. She was an officer of the Order of
Dorothy Muriel Wylie
Born August 15, 1929 Toronto, Ontario. Died August 13, 2016. At 18 when she
was considered too young by most schools she enrolled in St Michael’s
Hospital School of Nursing graduating in 1950. As a working nurse she was
known for being blunt and practical, always to the point. She studied for
her Bachelor of Nursing at New York University in the U.S.A. in 1964 and
earned her Master’s degree at Cornell University in New York State, U.S.A.
in 1969. She was an early proponent of patient-centered care. She favoured
hand on training and projects. In the 1970’s she worked at various
leadership roles at Scarborough Centenary Hospital, Sunnybrook and at the
Registered Nurses Association of Ontario. In 1978 she served as
Vice-president of Nursing at Toronto General, the largest Hospital in the
country at that time. Hel helped to launch the Ontario Provincial Nurse
Administrators Interest Group and also the Journal of Nursing
Administration which eventually was renamed the Canadian Journal of
Nursing. She was elected as the president of the College of Nurses of
Ontario. In 1982 she became a Fellow at Ryerson University, Toronto and
taught at the University of and in 1989 she was associate professor at the
University of Toronto. She retired from teaching in 1994. In 1885 she earned
a second master’s degree in human resources development at American
University in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. In 2001 3 women she mentored founded
the Dorothy Wylie Health Leaders Institute that offers leadership education
Source; Obituary Globe and Mail September 9, 2016.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa Ontario.
Nursing Administrators and founders
Lady Elsie Elizabeth Allardyce
Born London, England June 7, 1878. Died
1962. Lady Allardyce was the wife of the Governor of Newfoundland, who
served in office from 1922-1928. She was however not satisfied to serve
simply as chatelaine for the province. She is the founder of the Girl Guide
movement in the province and was a moving force in provincial nursing. She
expanded the Outport Nursing Scheme and organized Home Industrial Centres to
teach Newfoundland women patterns of knitting and weaving. The crafts were
sold to raise funds to pay nurses' salaries. Because of the self-supporting
nature of the program rural Newfoundland was able to retain nurses during
difficult economic times. In 1924 the ONS became the Newfoundland Outport
Nursing and Industrial Association.
Born 1910. Died July 12, 2002. Dorothy highly respected the nurse
who often visited their country home to tend to herself and her brothers and
sisters. In 1932 she graduated from Women’s College School of Nursing in
Toronto. At the outbreak of WW ll she enlisted with the Royal Canadian
Medical Corp, where by the end of the war in 1945 she had achieved the rank
of Major. King George Vl presented her with the Royal Red Cross Medal for
her war services. A skilled nurse, she also had proven herself to have
exceptional administrative skills. In 1946 she began a 29 year appointment
as Superintendent of Woman’s College Hospital. She would oversee the new
construction of the school buildings and introduce a 2 year educator
program. An ardent activist, she led the school to become fully accredited
and part of the University of Toronto graduating program. She came out of
retirement to serve as Executive Director at West Park Hospital for five
years. In 1980 she was appointed to the Order of Canada. In 2001 Sunnybrook
Hospital opened the Dorothy Macham Home, a 10 bed care and research Centre
for veterans suffering from dementia.
Source: Dorothy Macham: Nurse and war veteran by Eilis Quinn.
Toronto Star July 31, 2002.
Medical Researchers Back
Nancy N. Berg
During her career she has been part of a research team
investigating the machinery in cells that defends the body against foreign
agents such as viruses and tumors. She has, through her studies at the
University of Alberta and the University of Toronto, published and lectured
extensively on her area of expertise. Her goal is to aid in the development
of immunotherapy for medical application. Among the awards she has received
is the Alice Wilson Award from the Royal Society of Canada.
Susan M. Bradley
At the beginning of her scientific career she was the 1992
recipient of the Alice Wilson Award presented by the Royal Society of
Canada. Her doctoral research was on the synthesis and characterization of
new types of porous, inorganic crystalline polymers. At he University of
Calgary she synthesized several new materials at high temperatures and
pressures in aqueous solutions and characterized them using a variety of
sophisticated techniques including X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and
nuclear magnetic resonance. She continued her post doctoral studies at the
University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
Barbara Kathleen Buchner
Born June 1, 1927. Galt, Ontario (Now Cambridge) Died October 17, 2011
Cambridge, Ontario. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sciences from
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario in 1948. There were 8 women in her
graduating class. She continued her studies for her Master’s degree in
Virology, 1954. In the early years of her career she was often the only
woman at a conference table. She had a successful career as a virologist and
epidemiologist in Toronto and Ottawa retiring from the Red Cross in 1992.
She authored numerous scientific papers in virology, hepatitis and
radioimmunoassay. Her achievements were recognized when she received the
YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in Science, 1998. She was an active
volunteer in the Canadian Hearing Society of Cambridge and also served as an
elder in her church for many years.
Source: Lives lived: Barbara Kathleen Buchner by Ruth Manchee Kenins. The
Globe and Mail December 20, 2011.
Suggestion submitted by
June Coxon, Ottawa
Donna Arlene Choe
Born Toronto, Ontario March 9, 1940. She carried out
her studies for a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto
and then moved to the University of Manitoba where she earned her PhD. Her
professional pursuits are in the field of immunology. She is a professor in
this subject at the University of Manitoba. A published expert on immunology
she was the YMCA Woman of Distinction in 1992 and was also awarded the
Canada 125 Medal in recognition of her accomplishments.
Sylvia Olga Fedoruk.
Canora, Saskatchewan May 5, 1927. An excellent academic achiever she
established her reputation for achievement in nuclear medical research early
in her career. She was instrumental in the development of the first cobalt
radiation unit which is now in side use as a chemotherapy treatment for
cancer. She was the first woman named to the position of Chancellor at the
University of Saskatchewan. She was also the first woman trustee of the
Society of Nuclear Medicine and in 1973 she was the first woman appointed to
the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada. She was Lieutenant Governor of
Saskatchewan from 1988 to 1994. A balanced achiever she enjoys sports and is
a member of Canada’s Curling Hall of fame. She was appointed to the Order of
Canada in 1986.
Phyllis Jean McAlpine
29, 1941, southern Ontario. Died October 1, 1998. She graduated with a
B.Sc. from the University of Western Ontario, receiving the Gold Medal in
Zoology, an M.A. in Human Genetics , University of Toronto and a Ph.D.
Galton Laboratory, University College, London, England. Phyllis was
appointed as Research Associate in the Section of Genetics, Department of
Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Manitoba in 1972. In 1993 she
was appointed head of the Department of Genetics. She carried out strong
independent research in the mapping of human genes before the Human Genome
Project existed. A successful and highly productive researcher she published
100 papers during her career. She was one of the founding members and
co-chaired the Human Gene Nomenclature Committee from 1977 - 1991. 1992 to
1996, she chaired the committee on nomenclature for the Annual Human Gene
Mapping Chromosome Coordinating Meetings. It was under her that human gene
nomenclature became a single language and not a series of dialects. When she
retired from the Nomenclature Committee in 1996 she was replaced with the
equivalent of three full-time staff. She was particularly committed to
helping women in science, where she felt it was often difficult to get
recognition as a female. She served as President of the Canadian Association
of Women in Science, Manitoba Chapter, 1993-94. She was presented with the
Founders Award in 1998, given by the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists:
Government of Manitoba. Status of Women. Women working for Healthy
Communities by Ada Ducas et all October 2001. Online (Accessed December
Birthrate is recorded as 1942 in some resources.
Frances Gertrude McGill
Minnedosa, Manitoba. Died January 21, 1959 Winnipeg, Manitoba. She taught
school to finance her education. She started to study law but eventually
decided to study medicine. She won the Isbister First Year Scholarship, and
when she graduated in 1915, at the age of thirty-seven, she won the Dean's
Prize, the Hutchison Gold Medal, and the Surgical Case Report Prize. After
graduation, she began her career in the Manitoba Provincial Laboratory and
then accepted the position of Provincial Bacteriologist in the Saskatchewan
Department of Health, later becoming Provincial Pathologist for Saskatchewan
and Laboratory Director. She was appointed Honorary Surgeon at the RCMP
Laboratory in Regina and was a lecturer in forensic medicine at the RCMP
Training Academy. She became one of Canada's best known criminologists
helping to solve hundreds of murder investigations. She was respected and
admired by the male members of the RCMP who thought she was a "real lady"
but also considered her "one of the boys" for the way she was able to endure
the hardships and fatigue of her job. In some cases they traveled thousands
of miles by dog team, snowmobile, and rickety floatplane in order to reach
the most remote parts of the province. The Province of Saskatchewan decided
to honour her memory by officially naming McGill Lake, north of Lake
Athabasca, in her memory. She was inducted into the Science and Technology
Hall of Fame.
Government of Manitoba. Status of Women. Women working for Healthy
Communities by Ada Ducas et all October 2001. Online (Accessed December
2011) ; Canada Science
Museum. Hall of Fame. Online (Accessed December 2011)
Cobalt, Ontario September 19, 1915. Died August 18, 1980. She studied
medicine at the University of Toronto and graduated in 1939. She moved to
the United States where her research gained international attention. While
working at UCLA she published the first case report linking a specific virus
to a specific cancer. In her study of birth control pills and cervical
cancer she later showed that a normal cell goes through 250 distinct stages
before reaching advanced cervical cancer. One of the first specialists in
cytopathology, the study of diseased cell she helped lead to earlier
detection techniques to help save women’s lives. The Encyclopedia
Britannica, included her in their list of “300 women who changed the
world” that was released in 2006.
Norma Ford Walker
Born St Thomas, Ontario September 3, 1893.
Died August 9, 1968. In 1914 she entered the University of Toronto and by
1923 she had earned her PhD. She was an instructor at the University of
Toronto and became a full professor of Human Genetics. After her marriage in
1943 to Dr. Edmond Merton Walker she she remained dedicated to her career.
In 1947 she was the founder and Director of the Department of Genetics a the
Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She forged a research tradition that
served as the basis for further developments in medical genetics in Toronto
and educated a generation of students, many of whom were women, who
went on to populate and then institutionalize the growing science and
practice of medical genetics in Canada. She was a charter member of both the
Genetics Society of Canada and the American Society of Human Genetics.
She was trustee of the Queen Elizabeth Fund for Research in Children's
Diseases. In 1958 she was elected Fellow, Royal Society of Canada.
http://www.science.ca has a
biography of this great Canadian.
née Reichbaum .
Pennsylvania, USA Died
September 5, 2005. A determined mother who “had” to ease her
daughter’s pain she went back to school at 47 earning a bachelor’s and a
masters degree in biology biochemistry, nutritional biochemistry and
cellular biology. She became a hero to hundreds of thousands of people as
she wrote Breaking the Vicious Cycle (1987). This book was the first
to connect intestinal health with died. As a Mom, she could not allow her
youngest child to suffer and through her work with diets, she healed her
daughter’s intestinal problems. She then shared her findings to help others.
The book ran for 10 editions and was translated into 7 different languages.
May 15,1934. 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
Ayako "Irene" Uchida
Born April 4,
1917, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died July 30, 2013, Toronto, Ontario. Her
childhood piano teacher could not pronounce her given name and called her
Irene. The name stuck. She began her studies at the University of British
Columbia. With the onslaught of World War ll and the war against Japan,
Irene was swept up with 20,000 Japanese Canadians and placed in internment
camps. Here she would become the principal of a grade school with 500
students. After the release from the camp and with the help of the United
Church of Canada she studied at the University of Toronto. She had to work
at such jobs as dishwasher to live. She graduated in 1946 and pursued
further studies of the human chromosomes. She graduated with a PhD in
Zoology in 1951. She worked at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children until
1959. After a short fellowship in Wisconsin, U.S.A. she started the 1st
National Cytogenetics Lab in Canada at the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital.
Here in the 1960’s she was the first person to link radiation exposure in
women throughout their lives to Downs Syndrome births of the women’s
children. The practice of medicine was forever changed. By 1970 she was in
the international spotlight. She was awarded the Woman of the Century from
the Manitoba National Council of Jewish Women and the Founder Award from the
Canadian College of Medical Geneticists. She worked briefly as a visiting
scientist at the University of London, England and returned to Canada in
1969 to work at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario for the next twenty
years. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 1993. She retired in 1995 from
Oshawa General Hospital.
Canadian Encyclopedia online; Obituary by Olesia Plokhii, The Globe and
Mail, September 14, 2013: Book, Seeing the invisible: the story of
Dr. Uchida by Terry Watada.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa Ontario.
Born January 7, 1920, Isle of Man, United Kingdom, DIED November 3, 2014,
Toronto, Ontario When she was 6 her family immigrated to Saskatchewan. She
completed Normal School (Teacher’s College) and taught in rural prairie
schools prior to earning her biology degree at the University of
Saskatchewan in 1943. By 1948 she had earned her PhD from the University of
Toronto in zoology specializing in metabolic genetics. She Married James
Jimmy’ Thompson and taught 1st at the University of Western
Ontario before moving to the University of Alberta. While in Alberta she
served on the Alberta Eugenics Board 1960 to 1962, a fact little known even
by closest colleagues. The family with 2 sons relocated Toronto I 1963 where
Peggy worked at the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick
Children. She and James wrote the 1st textbook on human genetics
which would become a standard throughout North America. She was a founding
member of the Genetics Society of Canada and the Canadian College of Medical
Genetics where she served as President in 1983 through 1985. This society
and the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences offer annual trainee
awards in Peggy’s hour. In 1988 she was presented with the Order of Canada.
She was also a member of the American Society of Human Genetics where she
served on the Board of Directors in 1977-78. In 1995 the ASHG presented her
with the 1st award for excellence in Human Genetics Education.
Peggy had a passion for research in Muscular Dystrophy and inspired many
students and researchers in this field.
Sources: Ron Csillag, “Gifted Scientist Margaret Thompson had a lasting
impact on Health Care’, Globe and Mail, December 14, 2014; Lou
Siminovitch and Ron Worton, ‘A tribute to Margaret W. Thompson …1920-2014’,
Globe and Mail November 26, 2014; The Canadian Encyclopedia Online
(Accessed December 2014)
Stella W. Tate
Died 1999. Stella graduated from the University of Toronto with a diploma in
occupational therapy in 1943. Hired as a typist in the Canadian Navy she was
shortly promoted and commissioned as a lieutenant and became the Canadian
Navy’s 1st occupational Therapist. In the 1960’s she established
the Occupational Therapy Program at Toronto’s Hugh MacMillan Rehabilitation
Center. In the 1970’s she helped develop the province of Ontario’s 1st
home care programme which allowed patients to be at home while having
Source: “Builders and Pioneers : Individuals who helped ideas prosper” by
Steve Brearton, University of Toronto Magazine. Spring 2000.
Born Shawinigan, Quebec February 21, 1944.
She studied for her B.A. at Laval University and continued on to earn her B.
Pharm. and her PhD. She began teaching as an assistant professor at Laval in
1974. She would go on to study and research in the estimation of milk to
plasma ratios by an in vitro methodological approach and then the use of
pharmacokinetics during pregnancy and post-partum and also looked at
caffeine, cigarettes and drugs interaction on post natal development. She
became Director m Master Degree Program in Hospital Pharmacy form 1980-1988
and in continued to be a professor and chair of the Pharmacology, School of
Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University. She has written numerous
papers and report in her area of expertise as well as having co-authored
several books and chapters in various specific textbooks. She is author and
editor of Medicaments pendant la grossesse et la lactation.
née Negricz Winnipeg, Manitoba 1900. Died 1938. Marie’s family
believed all their children should have a strong education at a time when
women did not always have a chance for education. After high school she
worked for three years as a pharmacist’s apprentice before att4ending the
University of Manitoba. When she acquired her degree she was
the first Ukrainian-Canadian woman to become a pharmacist. She became a true role model for young immigrants. Her proud
father built the Ideal Drug Store for his daughter in 1926. Shortly after
the store opened Marie married Donald Matheson. Marie was busy at work but
she also found time to be active in the Women’s Auxiliary in the Druggists
of Manitoba organized in 1931 and served as the organizations secretary from
Source: Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective. Herstory 2007: the
Canadian Women’s Calendar (Regina: Couteau
Books, 2006) pg. 72..
Enid Finley Gordon
Born December 17, 1896, Montreal, Quebec. Died January 24, 1974, Toronto,
Ontario. Enid studied, for the beginning of her medical training, Medical
Gymnastics in Heidelberg, Germany. She followed this with studies in
physiotherapy at the Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Institute and School of
Mechanotherapy. She returned to Montreal to work at the Belmont Convalescent
Home for war veterans and taught massage at McGill University. When it
opened in 1918 Enid worked at the Military School of Orthopedic Surgery at
Hart House, University of Toronto. Shortly after it opened, the government,
which saw no need for such a centre, closed it down. By February 1, 1919
Enid was working at the Dominion Orthopedic Hospital for Veterans as
supervisor. In January 1918, Dr. Lawrence Bruce Robertson (1885-1924) was
sent home from the European front to rest and recuperate. He began working
at the same hospital as Enid. On April 17, 1940 the couple were married.
They would have two children. After her marriage Enid returned to efforts
towards the formation of what would become the Canadian Physiotherapy
Association. As a widow by 1924, Enid took the children to Europe, returning
only when they were old enough for school. She worked to establish a two
year diploma program in physiotherapy at the University of Toronto which
opened in 1920. In 1930 she married Dr. Duncan Graham. At the beginning of
World War ll she convinced the Canadian Military to formerly acknowledge the
need for physiotherapists. 138 physiotherapists volunteered for overseas
service with pay and privileges equal to male volunteers of the same rank.
Mary V. Seeman
In 1960 she attended McGill medical school in Montreal specializing in
schizophrenia. She has written over 200 scientific articles and in 1995 she
published Gender and Psychopathology. She served as Psychiatrist in Chief at
Mount Sinai Hospital and Vice Chair of the University of Toronto Department
of Psychiatry. She was the inaugural Tapscott Professor and was chair of
Schizophrenia Studies. In 2001 she received the Gold Award for Advancement
of Psychiatric Research from the Canadian Psychiatric Society. In 2002 she
received the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal. She is Professor Emerita
at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In
2006 she was awarded the Order of Canada.
Source: Order of Canada. Online.
William, (now Thunder Bay) Ontario, 1964. She was raised on the Little Grand
Rapids Reserve in Northern Manitoba. She studied for her Bachelor in Science
and Masters in Science at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. She earned
her Medical Degree at McMaster University in 1993 becoming
Canada’s first female Aboriginal psychiatrist.
May 25, 2006 she married Timothy Joseph. She was previously a Co-Director of
the Indigenous Health Research Development Program and Assistant Professor
in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She
provides psychiatric and consulting services to various mental health and
social service agencies in downtown Toronto, including the new YWCA Elm
Centre, a supportive housing complex for women living with mental health and
addictions issues. She also serves on an advisory group to the Chief Public
Health Officer of the Public Health Agency of Canada. Dr. Wieman received a
National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1998 for her work in improving the
physical and mental health of Aboriginal Peoples.
Source: Canadian Who’s Who, Toronto, University of Toronto Press,
Thérése Gouin Décarie.
Born September 30, 1923 Westmount, Quebec. Dr. Décarie, a Professor at
the Départment de Psychologie at the Université de Montréal and a mother
of four children has maintained a full career in child psychology that
includes being the author of several renowned texts in her field of
research. Her work is acclaimed internationally. She devoted her
professional life to providing understanding of the social, emotional
and intellectual development of babies and young children. She was one
of the 1st to study intelligence and affectivity in children
with birth defects from the drug thalidomide. Her writings have been
published in French, English and Italian and have been awarded
recognition such as the Médaille Inis-Gérin de la Societé Royale du
Canada. She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1977. The
Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS) renamed an award October
8, 2013 which it presents annually in her honour. Sources:
Pioneers in Early Childhood Development, Mrs. Thérèse Gouin-Décarie,
www.excellence-earlychildhood.ca (Accessed 2013)
née Langford. Born July
15, 1918 Manchester, England Brenda studied at Newham College but World
War ll changed the focus of her work to helping select aircrews and
later in the War she worked with radar operators. In 1941 she met her
husband, Peter Milner, who worked on radar research. The married in 1944
and immigrated to Canada and she began teaching at the University of
Montreal from 1944 through 1951. In 1949 she earned her Master’s degree
in experimental psychology and went on to McGill University to earn her
PhD by1952. In 1984 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 2009
she was promoted to Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec. In
2014 she was presented with the Kavli Prize in neuroscience and the Dan
David Prize. In 2016 she earned the Norman A. Aderson Lifetime
Achievement Award and became a Fellow in the Royal Society of London
(England) as well as the Royal Society of Canada. She has received
recognition from more than 20 universities in Canada, U.S.A. and Europe.
Maude Elizabeth Abbott.
St. André Est, Quebec March 18, 1869. Died September 2, 1940. This doctor
wrote a successful medical paper on heart murmurs, but a male friend had to
present her paper since women were not admitted to the hall where the paper
was presented! Later she would specialize on heart disease and eventually
published the “Atlas of Congenital Cardiac Disease" for which she gained a
good deal of respect. She also wrote a history of nursing, a basic text for
Canadian nursing schools. She was even made an honorary member of the
all-male Osler Society
Maria Louisa Angwin
Born Sept 21,
1849, Blackhead, Conception Bay, Newfoundland. Died April 25, 1898, Ashland
Massachusetts. Her family resettled in Nova Scotia in the 1850’s finally
settling in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in 1865. She attended the Mount Allison
Wesleyan Academy in Sackville, New Brunswick graduating in 1866. She
knew that her family could not afford to send her to study medicine like she
wanted so she earned her teacher’s certificate at Normal School in Truro,
Nova Scotia> She taught in Dartmouth for 5 years saving to attend medical
studies in the U.S.A. In June 1882 she graduated from the Women’s Medical
College of the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. She did one year
of internship at the New England Hospital, Boston Massachusetts. She also
did some post graduate courses at the Royal Free Hospital in London,
England. On September 20, 1884 she became the 1st woman licensed
medical doctor in Nova Scotia. She was ahead of her times in many ways not
only in medical studies but in her appearance. She wore her hair cut short.
She was an avid member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and
lectured on the problems of alcohol and tobacco consumption. She also
advocated for advanced education for women and no doubt votes for women.
During a trip to the U.S.A. for ill health, she died unexpectedly from
The Indomitable Women Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto: Clarke &
Irwin, 1974) ; The Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (Accessed
Ida Manning Armstrong
Born 1905 Gladstone, Manitoba. Died 1982. She moved with her family to
Winnipeg in 1915. She earned her Bachelor in Sciences from the University of
Manitoba in 1926. She completed her medical degree at the University of
Manitoba in 1936, studied in England in 1937-38, and entered private
practice in Winnipeg as an obstetrician and gynecologist. She gave radio
lectures for women on medical emergencies during World War Two. She was
active in golf, curling, and bowling.
Sources: Dictionary of
Manitoba Biography by J.M. Bumsted (University of Manitoba, 1999. :
Memorable Manitobans by Gordon Goldsborough. Manitoba Historical Society
Online (Accessed December 2011)
Born 1922 Zagreb, Croatia. Died July 16, 2005 Toronto, Ontario. Mira studied
medicine at the University of Zagreb. She left her home in January 1945
finally settling in Canada in 1959. She became a doctor and during World
War ll she served with the Red Cross. After the War she worked with her
husband, Lord Ashby, in the United Nations to establish hospitals for
refugees. She spoke 8 languages fluently. Mira was the founder of
which opened in 1978. Ashby House was the 1st transitional living program
for adults with brain injuries in North America. This served as a model for
Europe, Australia and Japan. She was the 1st to organize an international
symposium for head injuries, under the name, “New Beginnings” which were
held each year in Canada. She developed the Ashby Memory Method (AMM)
focusing upon those who suffered traumatic brain injury where a portion of
the brain is instantly affected and no longer functions properly. In 1978
she received the Distress Center Award .She received the
Order of Canada
in 1984 for her work on brain injury rehabilitation. She also found time to
volunteer working with young people as a counsellor and group leader at the
YMCA and the Toronto General Hospital Social Services Department. At the
International Institute of Metropolitan Toronto, she was busy teaching
English to new immigrants, and participating in various festivals
celebrating cultural diversity such as the 'Old World Bazaar', the Garden
Party, Folk Festivals and concerts with exhibits of Croatian art, paintings
and handworks. In 2003 she received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.
Elizabeth Catherine Bagshaw.
October 18, 1881 Cannington, Ontario Born Cannington, Ontario October 18,
1881. Died January 5, 1982. One of Canada's first women doctors, she had a
successful 60-year practice. She attended Women’s Medical College in Toronto
and graduated in 1905. She interned in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. but gave it
up for an unpaid preceptorship with a female doctor near her home and closer
to her widowed mother. She settled in Hamilton Ontario in the 1920’s.For 30
years she was the medical director of the Hamilton Ontario Birth Control
Clinic. Keep in mind that it was illegal to provide birth control until 1969
in Canada! She signed more birth certificates than any other doctor in the
area. She became a single parent raising an adopted son, John. In 1954
mother and son had medical practices in the same building. You can just
imagine the forces that this courageous woman had to face while attempting
to present women of her era with information on Birth control. She
reluctantly retired at the age of 95. In 1978 the National Film Board of
Canada released a movie on her life: Doctor Women; The life and times of Dr.
Elizabeth Bagshaw. She earned the Order of Canada and the Governor’s General
Persons Award. In 1970 she Citizen of the year in Hamilton. An elementary
School was named in her honour and in 2007 she was inducted into the
Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
Sources: Canadian Medical Hall of Fame : 100 more Canadian Heroines by Merna
Forster Dundurn Press, 2011.
James Miranda Stuart
Bulkeley [?] Born England 1795. Died 1865. In the day when medicine only
accepted men as students one woman disguised herself as a men and entered
the Edinburgh University in 1809. As a doctor in the British army she served
in the far corners of the British Empire and gained a reputation as an
outstanding surgeon. In 157 Dr. Barry was posted to Canada where he was well
respected for his fight to provide cleaner hospital facilities and better
food for the working soldiers. An odd small “man” with little or no facial
hair Dr. Barry was considered an eccentric. It would not be until death,
when the body was being prepared for burial that it would be discovered that
the renowned doctor was indeed a woman! It must have cause a stir in the
Victorian society to have had the first “woman” doctor in the British
Died June 2, 2008 Toronto, Ontario. In 1982 she earned her medical degree
from the University of Toronto and the following year she took time off to
travel the world. In
1998 she was the 1st Canadian woman of colour to be named
Toronto’s Chief Medical Office of Health.
In 2001 she led the campaign called ‘DineSafe’ which was the 1st
program of its kind in Canada that required restaurants to display health
inspection reports in their windows. By 2004 she was Ontario’s Chief Medical
Officer of Health. At 5 foot tall she was described as a ‘diminutive
dynamo’. She was calm by nature and that lead Toronto to survive the SARS
epidemic calmly in 2003.
Source; Tanya Talaga & Prithi Yelaya. Obituary. The Toronto Star,
June 3, 2008.
Elizabeth Robb Beatty
married at 18 this did not deter her from seeking an education. In 1800 she
was one of the women taking summer medical courses for women at Queen’s
University. In the fall 1881 these courageous women joined in the men’s
courses at Queen’s. Both men and women in the same classes proved to be too
much for the students and the Women’s Medical College was formed. Elizabeth
graduated in 1884 and sailed to India as a medical missionary for the
Presbyterian Church of Canada as the 1st woman medical missionary
in what would turn out to be a long list of dedicated individual women. In
Indore, India she lived in a mud house that also served as a dispensary and
hospital. She learned Hindi, the local language to help tend the people and
even trained Indian women in nursing. She went on to build the 1st
Woman’s Hospital in Central India. Ill health forced her to return to Canada
by the end of the decade. She left behind the strong foundations of medical
missions in India.
Source: The Indomitable Women Doctors, by Carlotta Hacker. (Toronto:
Clarke & Irwin, 1974)
Anna Afanasyevna Bhatjakin
Afanaiyevna. Born Korsunka, Russia. Died September 4, 1999. The daughter of
a once upper class Russian family she found herself in Stalin's Russian rule
of the 1930's working on collective farms and in coal mines. She earned
scholarships to the State University in the Ukraine where she led her
graduating class at the Institute of Medicine. Caught up in the German
invasions of World War ll the family retreated across eastern Europe while
Dr Bratjakin continued to provide care in refugee camps. By 1950, she
opted to bring her young family, including her wounded husband to Montreal.
She worked as a domestic servant supporting her family and learning the
working languages of Canada. She became a specialist in internal
medicine and would earn a reputation as a cardiologist. She had a practice
at Ste-Anne's de Bellevue open late afternoons and evenings and worked at
the hospital during the day. A widow, in 1988 she moved to Ottawa, working
with National Defense Medical Centre and a family clinic in Gatineau. She
had bee a physician of the western world. Although a disinherited Cossack
heiress, she did not want to remain a coal mine worker in Communist Russia.
She had determination to provide a service to humanity.
Elinor Francis Elizabeth Black
*Born 1905 Nelson, British Columbia. Died Winnipeg, Manitoba January 30,
1982. At 12 years old she moved to Winnipeg with her family. She was
educated at the University of Manitoba Medical School, graduating Cum Laude
in 1930. After a year in Britain she set up practice in Winnipeg in 1931. In
1937 she received a six-month appointment as house surgeon at the South
London Hospital for Women, following which she took the examination to
become, in 1938, the first Canadian woman member of
the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In
1950, she opened the Women’s Pavilion at the Winnipeg General Hospital and
in 1951 she was appointed professor of obstetrics and gynecology and chair
of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of
Manitoba. That same year she was declared Winnipeg’s Woman of the Year. In
1961, she was elected the first woman president of the Society of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. She retired from the University
in 1964, although she continued to teach for many years thereafter. Her
research papers are at the
Manitoba Archives and Special Collections.
Manitoba Biography by
J. M. Bumsted
University of Manitoba Press, 1999: Memorable Manitobans Profile by
Gordon Goldsborough. Online (accessed December 2011) :; Government of
Manitoba. Status of Women. Women working for Healthy Communities by Ada
Ducas et all October 2001. Online (Accessed December 2011) Further Reading:
Tell the Driver: A Biography of Elinor
F. E. Black, M.D. by Julie Vandervoort (1992).
Her birthrate is recorded as 1907 in some sources.
Joan M. Boggs.
Born August 18, 1946. When she relaxes she goes hiking and canoeing or can be found gardening.
When she goes to work she is a Senior Scientist at the hospital for Sick Children
and a professor at the University of Toronto. Dr. Boggs is the author/co-author
of more than 85 papers which have appeared in various scientific journals. You
will find her listed in the Canadian Who's Who at your local library.
Born June 19, 1947. This physician has been a
main stay as pediatric oncologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in
Toronto from 1979. She also serves as a professor of pediatrics at the
University of Toronto.
Lillian Alice Chase
Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. Died 1987, Ottawa, Ontario. She attended Acadia
University where she established herself as a capable athlete from
1912-1916. She was active in student government and in literary societies
and was editor of the Aftenaeum , the student newsletter. She
attempted to teach at Port William, Nova Scotia but said she would rather
scrub floors than teach! Her mother encouraged her to study medicine and she
attended the University of Toronto after which she worked at the Banting
Institute for Insulin Research. From 1924 through 1942 she practiced
medicine in Regina and was known for her expertise with Diabetics. During
World War ll she served in the Royal Canadian Medical Corps. After the war
she practiced medicine in Toronto and became affiliated with Women’s College
Hospital. She founded the Canadian Diabetic Association and in 1967 she
became a “senior member” of the Canadian Medical Association. After she
retired she moved to Ottawa to be closer to her family.
Turn out and Cheer! Sports in Wolfville 1970-1950 Acadia University
website Accessed April 2013:
Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006.
Saskatoon: Coteau Books, 2005.
Nancy Rodger Chenoweth
her medical degree at Trinity College in Toronto, Ontario in 1892. She moved
with her Methodist minister husband to the Canadian North-West Territory
(Now Alberta) and practiced medicine where ever they settled. She was for
awhile in Walsh, near Medicine Hat, then Pincher Creek and finally they
moved further west to Michel, British Columbia. After she was widowed in
1911 she studies X-ray technology at the University of Chicago in the
U.S.A.. She settled in Michigan, in the U.S. and it is said the patients
were sent to her from miles around to have special benefits of her machine.
Source :The indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto:
Clarke Irwin, 1974)
British Columbia, 1897. Died South Guangzhou Province, China May 1966. As a
child growing up she taught Sunday School at her Church , joined girls
groups and took music lessons in Chinatown. Her mother was a working nurse
with irregular hours so Victoria boarded at the school where she proclaimed
that she wanted to be a missionary in China. In 1917 the Women’s Missionary
Society offered Victoria a university scholarship. Since British Columbia
prohibited Chinese people from entering any profession, Victoria studied
medicine at the University or Toronto, the only Canadian school to accept
female medical students in Canada, at that time. Graduating in
1922, she was
the first woman of Chinese descent to become a doctor in Canada. The WMS
sent her to Marion Barclay Hospital for women and children in China,
fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a missionary. Her family would
also join her in China. Not only was she a doctor making house calls for the
sick but she also taught at the local nursing school She modernized medical
facilities and even bought an ambulance in 1932. In all she would work 43
years in China. She remained during the Japanese invasion in the 1930 and
later when Communism was introduced into China she again remained to serve
the sick. Her funeral was attended by some 2000 people. There is a three
meter high statue of Victoria in the lobby of Jiangnen Central Hospital in
South Guangzhou Province where she served. On December 8, 2012 the City of
Victoria, British Columbia declared Victoria Chung Day while in China, her
accomplishments were recognized on the 100th anniversary of the
Jiangnen Central Hospital.
From the pages of three ladies: Canadian women missionaries in Republican
China. By Deborah Shulman (MA Thesis, Concordia University, 1996) ;
Victoria Chung: a Legacy of unselfish service by Xiao Kaigang.
Womenofchina.cn accessed January 2012 ; 100 more Canadian Heroines by
Merna Forester (Dundurn, 2011)
Pearl Smith Chute
Born 1872 St. Catherines, Ontario. In 1895 she graduated in medical studies
at the Women’s Hospital, University of Toronto. She became the 1st
woman doctor to intern in Canada when she was at St. Michael’s Hospital,
Toronto. In 1896 she left to begin a career to join her brother Everette
Chute and her finance in India. She married a medical doctor the Rev. Jesse
Chute (1861- )in India where they would raise the five children. Jesse
built his wife the Akidu’s Star of hope Hospital in 1898. It consisted of
three rooms, one room for women, a room for men and an office and dispensary
in the middle. Pearl sent promising students to Vellore to stud medicine and
she soon had qualified Indian staff working with her. She served as the 1st
woman doctor in the Baptist Mission, in a career that covered 40 years of
service. Her small hospital was replaced by a sturdy stone building staffed
by qualified Indian staff. She was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind medal for
outstanding service to India.
Source: The Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker, Clarke
Harriet Faxton Clarke
Faxton. Born Brockville, Ontario. She began her medical studies at the
Toronto Women’s Medical College but after two years she relocated to
Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1892 she was the 1st
woman to graduate from the Manitoba Medical College. After
graduation she marrie Dr Andrew Clarke of Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. In June
1899 she was advertising her medical practice in Billings, Montana, U.S.A.
Sources: Carlotta Hacker, The Indomitable Lady Doctors; Memorable.
Annie MacKenzie Cleland
Chambers. Born Port Elgin, Canada West (Now Ontario) 1859.Died 1919,
Vancouver, British Columbia. Annie graduated medical studies from Trinity
College, Toronto in 1892. She did her post graduate work in London, England,
Edinburgh, Scotland and Vienna, Austria. She settled in British Columbia in
1898 where in1899 she married a lawyer , Hugh Mackenzie Cleland (1859-1903).
She was one of the 1st women doctors to be licensed in British Columbia. In
1906 she travelled around the world and took a position at Lady Kinnaird’s
Memorial Hospital, Lucknow, India. Back in Canada she settled in Victoria.
British Columbia where she opened her own practice.
Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker. (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin Co.
Ltd, 1974) : Obituary, Medical Association Journal Vol. 61 December
Born 1931, Montreal, Quebec. She relocated with her family to grow up in
Toronto. In 1955 May earned her medical degree from the University of
Toronto where she earned a gold medal for academic excellence. May 1st
practiced family medicine in Toronto and then in 1977 joined McMaster
University's Faculty of Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario. May Married Dr.
Gary Cohen and the couple had 3 children. May co-founded the Women's Health
Office at McMaster, the 1st of its kind in Canada and also the Women's
Health InterSchool Curriculum Committee for Ontario's medical schools. From
1991 to 1996 she served the Faculty of Health Sciences as associate dean of
Health Services. Her work has garnered her numerous awards including: the
Federation of Medical Women of Canada Ortho Award for the Promotion of
Women's Health, the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the
Person's Case, the Leadership Development Award from the American
Association of Medical Colleges, the Hamilton Academy of Medicine
Distinguished Service Award and the Hamilton Woman of the Year award in the
field of health, sports and fitness. She has also had a research chair named
after her at the Faculty of Health Sciences. McMaster University, Hamilton,
Ontario. The May Cohen Award for Women Mentors is presented to a woman
physician who had demonstrated outstanding mentoring. The Federation of
Medical Women of Canada offers the May Cohen Award annually to the full
member who best personifies the legacy of Dr. May Cohen. In 2014 she was
inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
Mary Elizabeth Crawford
Born June 2, 1876,Lancashire, England. Died June 6, 1953, Invermere, British
Columbia. After the death of her father she emigrated to Ottawa with her
mother who at one time was the principal of the Presbyterian Ladies College.
Mary originally followed her mother’s footsteps and the accepted career path
of the day and attended the Ottawa Normal School (Teacher’s College). She
attended the University of Toronto and taught school in Ottawa. After the
death of her mother Mary followed her desire to attend medical school in
Toronto. She did her post graduate medical studies in the West Philadelphia
Hospital for Women and Children in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. She relocated to
Winnipeg, Manitoba and practiced medicine for eight years privately. She was
appointed Chief Medical Inspector for the public schools of Winnipeg in
1909. The position of Medical inspector for schools was one of the few
medical positions deemed acceptable for women at this time. Mary was the
only doctor giving medical examinations to school children a job she did
until she was 75 years old retiring only in 1941. Through her interest in
mental retardation she introduced metal testing into the schools and
organized special classes for the mentally handicapped. She was a member of
Association, Alpine Club of Canada, and Women’s Canadian
Club; a founding member and first president of the
University Women’s Club,
and President of the International Association Women Physicians. In 1930-31
she was President of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada. She took an
active part in the interest of women’s suffrage, and was president of
Women’s Equality League. Presbyterian.
Source: The Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker. (Toronto:
Clark Irwin, 1974)
Jean Flatt Davey
16, 1909,Hamilton, Ontario. Died March 31, 1980. After graduation in
Medicine she interned at the Toronto General Hospital and Women’s College
Hospital. Wanting to serve in World War ll in August 1941 she became the
second woman and 1st woman doctor
to in enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Women’s Division.
She held the position of Squadron Leader of the Women’s Division, RCAF, and
was the 1st woman to be granted a commission in the Medical
Branch of any Canadian Armed Forces. May 28, 1943 she was awarded the Order
of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of her service. In 1950 she was
appointed Chief of Medicine at the Women’s College Hospital. 1956 through to
1973 she taught at the University of Toronto where she became Professor in
the Faculty of Medicine. In 1973 she was inducted into the Order of Canada.
Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Co
Ltd, 1974) ; Order of Canada,
www.gg.ca (Accessed February 2014)
Margaret Ellen Douglass
12, 1878,Stanley, New Brunswick Died July 11, 1950, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
She studied medicine at the University of Toronto, and some postgraduate
training in England and the U.S.A. She practiced medicine in Saint John,
N.B. prior to moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1909. In 1914 she organized
the Winnipeg Women's Volunteer Reserve. During WW l she became an officer in
the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and served with the Women's Auxiliary
Army Corps, holding the rank of major. She was awarded the Allies Medal and
the British War Medal for her service. In 1927, she travelled around the
world visiting medical centres in India and China to teach better methods
for caring for women. During her lifetime, she held a number of executive
positions in women's organizations including being president of both the
Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs and the
Winnipeg Women's Canadian Club. She received a life membership in the
University Women's Club in 1950, and was elected Honorary President of the
Federation of Medical Women in 1946. In 1948, she was given the title of
Commander Sister of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem by the St. John's
Ambulance Brigade in recognition of her services.
Sources :Government of Manitoba.
Status of Women. Women working for Healthy Communities by Ada Ducas et all
October 2001. Online (Accessed December 2011) ; Memorable Manitobans.
Online Accessed December 2011.
Jean "Jennie" Isabelle Dow
(Baptized Jane Dow) Born June 25, 1870, Fergus, Ontario. Died January 16,
1927, Peking, China (Now Beijing). By 15 she had earned her teaching
certificate. By 1895 she had graduated in medical studies from Trinity
College, University of Toronto. She became a medical missionary with the
Canadian Presbyterian Mission in chine. She quickly learned the local
Chinese language and in 1897 she opened the 1st women’s hospital
in Honan, China treating 400 patients in her 1st month of
service. In 1900 she was forced to take furlough during the Boxer Rebellion
and used her time away from China to take updating medical courses in New
York City in the U.S.A. She was back in China in April 1902 opening a
women’s hospital in Changte. She was the only woman doctor practicing
medicine in the area for almost 20 years. In 1918 she was joined by Dr.
Isabelle McTavish (1881-1953) and both women worked through the 1920-21
famine. The Chinese government honoured Jean with a medal for her work
during the famine. Jeannie was among the 1st to isolate the
organism which caused a local disease Kola Azar. In 1925 she took another
force furlough during civil unrest but by 1926 she was back in China to open
Sources: The Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Clarke
Irwin, 1974) : The Dictionary of Canadian Biography Vol. XV
(1921-1930. Online (Accessed April 2014)
Mary Lee Edward
September 14, 1885, Petrolia, Ontario. Died September 1980 , New York U.S.A.
In 1902 Mary entered medical school at the University of Toronto. She was
the only woman in her class and was pelted with chalk and assaulted with cat
calls. She persevered graduating in 1908. Although she was offered a study
position at U of T she soon found her mentor had no interest in her work.
Mary set out to work at the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. Here
she was granted a $1,000.00 study program in Vienna, Austria. Unpin her
return to New York she became the chief resident doctor. When the American
male doctors signed up for service in World War l in 1917 Mary became a
surgeon at New York’s Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled. Shortly after she
had gain some surgical experience she also joined an American Medical Unit
overseas. She was in the 1st unit to go overseas. In France many
of the unit returned home when offered to serve with a French unit at the
front lines. Mary and an American colleague Caroline Finley served on the
front lines often accepting patients by the 100’s at a time and often
working 60 hour stretches. The two women were awarded the Croix de Guerre by
the Government of France right on the front lines for their services. Back
at the University of Toronto her name was added to the Role of Service, a
rare honour for someone enrolled in an American Unit and serving on front
lines with a French Unit. Although Mary served at the level of a Lieutenant,
women doctors in WW1 were not accorded any rank. Mary returned to New York
after the war and continued to practiced medicine until she was 85 years
old! She retired to Sudbury, Ontario to be close to family. She is buried in
Sources: Carlotta Hacker; The Indomitable Lady Doctors (Toronto:
Clark Irwin Co., 1974) ; Findagrave.ca.
Suggestion submitted by Mary’s great niece Brenda Edington.
Jean Chamberlain Froese
Born March 27, 1965, St. Thomas, Ontario. Jean received a BSc in
biochemistry and her Medical degree in 1991 from the University of Toronto.
In 1992 she had a Rotating internship at Toronto East General Hospital. She
completed a Royal College Fellowship in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the
University of Western Ontario, London in 1996. In 2000 she worked with
neglected mothers and children in Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Pakistan for 5
years. Since 2005, Dr. Jean became the founding director of Save the
Mothers, a Canadian-based charity in Uganda that trains East African leaders
to improve maternal and child health across that region. An obstetrician and
professor at McMaster University, she is also the founder of McMaster’s
International Women’s Health Program. Dr. Jean married journalist Thomas
Froese and they have 3 children of their own and an adopted an Ugandan
daughter. Together, family lives for 8 months a year in Uganda and from May
to August they return to Hamilton, Ontario. In 2009 she was awarded the
Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award from the Royal College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Canada for her work in improving maternal health around the
world. In 2012 she was awarded the Prix d’excellence for going beyond the
call of duty again from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of
Canada. In 2012 Dr. Jean also joined Serving in MissionCanada, a Christian
mission, as a medical missionary and that same year she was presented with
the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal. She was inducted into the
Hamilton Gallery of Distinction in 2013 and has received the Order of Canada
She was an invited panelist at the Canadian government’s Summit on Maternal,
Newborn and Child Health in 2014 (Toronto, ON).
book Where have All The Mother’s Gone? was updated in a 4th
Mabel Louise Hannington
Born 1875 (?) Saint John, New Brunswick. Died 1966. In 1900 she completed
her medical studies at the University of Toronto. In 1904 she was serving as
a medical missionary in China under the Missionary Society of London,
England. Back in New Brunswick by 1919 she served through to 1935 as
medical inspector of Schools. In 1920 alone she had 8,000 children under her
supervision. In 1927 she organized and served as the corresponding secretary
for the Mental Hygiene Council of New Brunswick. In 1933-1934 she was the
President of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada.
Source: The indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker. 1974.
Marie Daria Haust
Born 1921, Poland. She
earned her first medical degree at the university of Heidelberg, Germany,
1951. Since it was not acceptable for foreigners to practice medicine in
Germany, Daria and her new husband Heinz L. Haust emigrated to Canada and
she began the process of earning the right to practice in Canada. In the
early 1950’s she enjoyed being at home with her tow sons born in 1953 and
1955, while working part time towards her goals of practicing medicine. In
1959-1960 she worked as a post doctoral Fellow in Cincinnati, returning to
Kingston in 1960 to become the first woman on the Medical Faculty at Queen’s
University, Kingston Ontario. In 1965 the family moved to the University of
Western Ontario , London, Ontario. She became a welcome lecturer
internationally and as well as a multitude of medical committees she was
soon on the boards of five prestigious medical journals. Of all her
positions she enjoyed working with her students and is perhaps proudest of
her award as best teacher at UWO. Her list of awards is impressive and long:
The Canada Council Killam prize in Medicine; the Gold Medal Award from the
International Atherosclerosis Society; the Andreas Versalis award,
University of Padua; Distinguished Pathologist Award, US/Canadian Academy of
Pathology(2004) to name a few. In 2007 she received the Order of Canada. She
is still involved with teaching as Professor emeritus at UWO.
(Accessed June 2011); Canadian Who’s Who 2006 Toronto: University of
Toronto Press, 2005.
Rowena Grace Douglas Hume
Galt, Ontario. Died 1966. Rowena studied medicine at Trinity College in
Toronto. She did her postgraduate studies in the U.S.A. and in England. She
returned to Canada to work at the Ontario Medical College from 1902-1906.
She became the 1st woman Chief of Obstetrics at Women’s College
Hospital. She held this position for 20 years. After retiring from the
hospital she opened a private practice. She was a pioneer of planned
parenthood programs and opened Canada’s 1st birth control clinic
in Hamilton, Ontario on March 3, 1932. She was an ardent supporter of the
works of the Salvation Army, Harbour Light Centre and the Fred Victor
Mission in Toronto. At 89 she was murdered by a transient worker. These were
just the people she would take in to do odd jobs about her home. A small
historic plaque dedicated to her is located at her form home 226 Carleton
St. in Cabbagetown, an inner neighborhood of the city of Toronto.
Source: Cabbagetown People: the social history of a Canadian inner city
neighborhood. Online (Accessed March 2014) The indomitable Lady
Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto: Clarke Irwin, 1974)
Octavia Grace England
née Ritchie. Born January 16, 1868, Montreal, Quebec. Died
February 1,1948. She would be the first woman to be valedictorian at McGill
University even though she was originally refused entry because she was a
woman. She was the first woman to graduate from a medical school in Quebec.
Saint John, New Brunswick. Died July 21, Saint John, New Brunswick. It was
not common for all girls to graduate from high school let along a Black
girl. After High School, Anna attended Norman School in Halifax to earn her
teaching certificate. She was only allowed to teach in the Black community.
She returned to school to study at business College. She then tried the
Civil Service examinations and placed third over all those writing the exam.
In 1912 she became the 1st Black Canadian appointed the permanent
federal civil Service. She began with working at the Dominion Lands Branch
of the Department of the Interior. In 1938 she was the principal clerk in
the Immigration Branch of the Department of Mines and Resources. She enjoyed
writing poetry in her time off work. She had her verse published in various
Canadian magazines and she also had an occasional column in the Ottawa
Journal called Citadel which was dedicated to poetry. She retired
from the federal Civil Service in 1945 and returned from Ottawa to Saint
John, New Brunswick where she worked as a stenographer in a law firm and for
awhile worked in Washington D.C. In 1967 she published a chapbook of her
Citadel Columns from the newspaper and this may indeed be the 1st
collection of poems published by an Afro-Canadian woman. She continued her
formal learning after her retirement by taking creative writing courses at
the University of New Brunswick.
Herstory: The Canadian Women's calendar. 2008 (Saskatoon Women's
Calendar Collective / Coteau Books, 2007)
Eva Jeannett Fisher
Born 1862, Halton, Canada West (now Ontario) Originally she taught school but
this was just a means to earn funds to attend and in 1893 graduate from the
Toronto Women’s Medical College. She married Arthur William Fisher and the
couple settled in Arthur, Ontario where Eva maintained a medical practice
for 35 years. She was in charge of the Red Cross Hospital in Tobermory,
Ontario for 4 years.
Source: The Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto:
Clarke, Irwin & Co Ltd, 1974)
Witrofsky. Born January 15, 1932, Lethbridge, Alberta. Died October 23,
2013, Kingston, Ontario. As a young child she went with her mother to live
in Austria. The returned to Canada after a few years and eventually the
family settled in Ottawa after Worlds War ll. Ruth attended Queen’s
University, Kingston, Ontario, on scholarship to study medicine. She was one
of 6 women in her class which would graduate in 1957. In 1954 she married
medical student Peter Galbraith and the couple had 3 children. During her
internship she gave birth but unlike most women of her era who would stay
home to care for her family, Ruth was asked to return to work. The baby
would sleep in the linen closet while she did her medical rounds. In the
1960’s she and other medical women set up their own rotational babysitting
system so that each would spend one day a week babysitting children and
therefore be able to work 4 days a week. Since the women were married they
were paid less than the men doing the same medical research. It was felt
that they were married, after all, and their husbands were bringing money
into the home. The women worked for less and the university saved on its
budget. When her children where in school Ruth started a special infant
clinic at Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston and as well she worked at various
medical jobs in research and teaching. She was mentor to many women when she
pioneered the possibility of working with a family. She never considered
herself a pioneer, rather Ruth felt privileged to be able to work within her
profession even though she had a family. After retirement Ruth continued to
use her energies for her growing family, loving grandchildren, golfing and
gardening. At one point, upon a dare, she wrote a murder mystery which
Source: “Fumbling toward equity” by Sarah Leonard, Queen’s Medical Review.
1/17/2 Online (Accessed April 2014) ; Obituary Online (Accessed April 2014)
Margaret Blair Gordon
14, 1861, London, Canada West (Now Ontario) Died 1928.. She was an active
supporter of the suffrage movement and worked with Dr. Emily Howard Stowe
(1831-1903) and her daughter Dr. Ann Augusta Stowe-Gullen (1857-1943) to
further the movement. She served as Vice President of the Canadian Suffrage
Association and President of the Toronto Suffrage Association. She was also
a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). On September 30,
1885 she married George A. Gordon. In 1889 she became a member of the
College of Physicians and Surgeons and finished her medical training at
Trinity College, Toronto in 1898. She was an executive member of the Peace
and Arbitration Society and in 1912 served as Treasurer of the Local Council
and Women of the Time: A handbook of Canadian Biography…by Henry James
Morgan. (Toronto: Briggs, 1912.) ; The Indomitable Lady Doctors by
Carlotta Hacker (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Co Ltd, 1974)
Jessie Catherine Gray.
August 26, 1910, Augusta, Georgia, U.S.A. Died October 16, 1978. A
distinguished and internationally recognized surgeon, lecturer and
researcher, Dr. Gray has so many “firsts” that “The Canadian Encyclopedia”
calls her Canada’s first lady of surgery. From 1941 until retirement in 1965
she worked with the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, as associate and as
surgeon-in-chief. Here is the list of firsts: 1934, first woman gold
medalist in medicine at the University of Toronto; 1939 first woman to hold
a master of surgery degree; 1941 first woman resident surgeon a the Toronto
General Hospital; 1941 first Canadian woman to become a “fellow” in the
Royal College of Surgeons; first woman member of the Central Surgical
Society of North America; 1966 first woman elected to the Science Council of
Annie Ella Higbee
Born October 11,1864 Port Hope, Canada West) (Ontario). Died April 23,
1965. Graduating in 1893 from the Toronto Women’s Medical College she
practiced in Windsor Ontario for a short time. On January 19, 1897 she
married a teacher, Charles E. Higbee and the couple had one son. They moved
to California, U.S.A. but in 1912 they were back in Canada in the Peace
River District of Alberta. Annie had a shack that served as an office in
Grande Prairie but more often than not she was on the trail to serve her
clients. In summer she rode on horseback and in winter covered the vast area
where clients lived in a one horse sleigh driven by her son. In 1919 the
family moved to Toronto. Her brother, George Carveth (1858- ?) was one of
the founders of Toronto Western Hospital where she served as an anesthetist
on staff for 10 years. At 65 she retired from the Hospital and opened her
own practice in Newcastle, Ontario until 1939.
The Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin
Co. Ltd., 1974) ; “Annie Higbee: Pioneer doctor “ by Dorthea Calverley,
History is where we stand: A history of the Peace Online (Accessed March
2014) ; “Founding Family supports 100 years of Women’s health” in Heart
and Soul, Fall 2011 Online (Accessed March 2014)
F. Marguerite " Peggy" Hill
Born May 24, 1919 Toronto, Ontario Died January 15, 2012 Toronto Ontario.
While still in high school she declared that she wanted to be a medical
doctor. Her family however, did not feel that this was a profession for a
woman. She attended the University of Toronto and obtained a Masters Degree
in Psychology. 1941-1946 she served in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps as a
Captain and as one of the few women in the field of psychology. She returned
to university to earn her medical degree in 1952, standing at the top of her
class. In 1957 she became the first female chief medical resident at the
Toronto General Hospital. She joined the Department of Medicine at Women’s
College Hospital and for 26 years she practiced as a teacher, clinician and
researcher becoming Physician-in-chief of Medicine, the second woman to
achieve this distinction. She was a founding member of the Canadian Society
for Nephrologists and member of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada.
In 1968 she was promoted to full professor at the University of Toronto and
became the first woman ever to be appointed to the Board of the Canadian
Imperial Bank of Commerce. On July 1, 1994 she became a Member of the Order
of Canada. Upon her retirement in 1984 an endowment was established at
Women’s hospital in her name.
Source: Obituary Globe and Mail
January 18, 2012.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Anna Marion Hilliard.
June 17, 1902, Morrisburg, Ontario. Died July 15, 1958. In 1947 this medical doctor helped develop a
simplified Pap test, which is used to detect cancer in adult women. From
1947 to 1957 she was Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Women's College
Hospital in Toronto. She
specialized in a commonsense approach to childbirth problems and authored a
book “A Woman Doctor Looks at Love and Life”. (1957) After her death
a second book “Women and Fatique” was published.
Helen Isabel Huston
September 20, 1927, Innisfail, Alberta. Helen was part of a family of 4 with
a father who was a United Church Minister. At 12 she decided to become a
medical doctor and be a missionary in China. At a Canadian Girls in Training
(CGIT) summer camp in 1945 she was captivated by the stories of Korea from a
visiting missionary Elda Daniels. By 1953 she had completed medical studies
at the University of Alberta and sailed to India where she spent 5 years
working through the United Church of Canada. She took her 1st
year at language school and then was posted to a 35 bed hospital in Dhar as
the only doctor. She also worked at a larger medical center in Indore. In
1955 she found herself in Kathmandu, Nepal. From 1960 through 1992, the year
of her retirement, she worked for the people of remote villages of Nepal. In
1969, thanks to her efforts the small dispensary was replaced with a
hospital. Helen is the 1st foreign doctor to receive an honorary
life membership in the Nepal Medical Association. In 1978 the University of
Alberta Medical Alumnae Association honored her with the Outstanding
Achievement Award and in 1984 an Honorary Doctorate. In 1991 she was the 1st
recipient of the Hillary Foundation’s Award for Humanitarian Service. In
1992 Dr Gerald Hankins wrote Helen’s story in A Heart for Nepal: the Dr
Helen Huston Story (Windflower Communications). In 1994 Helen was
inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence and the Order of Canada.
Source: Lisa Wejna, Great Canadian Women: Nineteen Portraits of
Extraordinary Women. (Folklore Publications, 2005)
Mary Evangeline Jackson
Born December 27,1904 Dudley England. Died May 6 2000. From
the time she was 11 she had wanted to study medicine. Graduating from
Birmingham University in 1927, as best all round student, she answered a
Canadian advertisement for women doctors for the Prairies. Her practice
would cover 560 square kilometers and patients would be reached on
horseback. In spring 1929 her trip to settle in Battle River required a 24
hour train trip,18 hours by boat and an 11 hour 28 kilometers wagon ride to
work in a small cabin with no electricity and no phone. March 10, 1931 she
would marry a persistent suitor, Frank Jackson and move north to Keg River.
Here she settled into home life with two step sons and opened a medical
practice for the local Métis, unsupported financially by the government. She
and Frank would add two children to the family farm. In 1953 the family was
given the Master Farm Award by the province. In 1965 a school was named in
Mary’s honour. More acknowledgements of her work would come in the form of
the Centennial Medal in 1967, The Woman of the year Award from the Voce of
Native Women in 1975.In 1983 she received the Alberta Order of Excellence
followed in 1990 with an Order of Canada. Mary always found her work to be
a gift not a chore and this was felt by her appreciative clients.
Source Rebel Women: Achievements beyond the ordinary by Linda Kupecek.
(Canmore, AB : Altitude Publishing, 2003) pg 83-94. :
Faustina Adelaide Kelly-Cook
September 1895, Sudbury, Ontario. Died May 1979. In 1916 she attended Queens
University, Kingston, Ontario to earn her B.A. and then went on to the
University of Toronto School of Medicine to earn her Medical Degree in 1920.
She interned at Hamilton General Hospital prior to opening her own general
practice and working at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Sudbury. In the 20’s being
a doctor meant long days and nights and visits to patients travelling by
horse and buggy. In July 1935 she married Dr. William John Cook , a pioneer
surgeon in Sudbury. After her husband’s death she became the 1st
president of the Business and Professional Women’s Club and was also a
regent in the Elizabeth Fry Chapter of the Independent Order of the
Daughters of the Empire. She also was President of the St Joseph’s Hospital
Women’s Auxiliary. In 1951 she was elected for a term on Sudbury City
Council along with Grace Hartman>She served on the Board of Governors of the
Laurentian University from 1960-1969 and also earned a Honourary Life
Membership with the University Women’s Club. Working with the board of the
District Red Cross she was recipient of the Distinguished Services Award.
Her personal Canada Centennial Project was to serve as Chair of the
Beautification Section of the Sudbury Centennial Committee. She s served on
the Library Board and was a member of La Federation des femmes Canadiennes
Business and Professional Women of Greater Sudbury Accessed January 2012.
Mary Alfretta "Retta" Gifford Kilborn.
Born 1864 Meford, Upper Canada (Now Ontario) Died December1, 1942, Toronto,
Ontario. She studied medicine at the Women’s Medical College, Toronto,
Ontario graduating 1891. She opened a private practice in Owen Sound Ontario
but soon was called by the Methodist Women’s Missionary Society to go to
China as a medical missionary. She was the 1st medical woman to
serve in the West China Mission. On May 24, 1894 she became the second wife
of Dr. Omar Kilborn. She opened and run a hospital for women and children in
Chingtu, China. She served on the staff of the West China Union University
founded by her husband. She campaigned openly again the Chinese tradition of
binding the feet of infant daughters. And she also campaigned to have women
become medical students as the West China Union University. She retired back
to Canada in 1933.
The Indomitable Lady Doctors, by Carlotta Hacker (Clarke Irwin, 1974)
Born Farmersville (Athens), Upper Canada
(now Ontario). In order to study medicine she had to leave Canada to study at
the University of Michigan Women's Medical College. With the support of the
Women's Foreign Missionary Society she sailed to Shanghai in 1877, the first
Canadian doctor to practice medicine in China. She was 60 years ahead of Dr.
Norman Bethune. Dr King obtained the patronage of Lady Li, wife of the
viceroy of Chilhli province in Tientsin. It was after she had attended Lady
Li that she opened the first Chinese hospital for women and children. In
1884 she married a widowed Scottish missionary, the Reverend Alexander King.
As a married woman she was expected to support the work of her husband, not
work on her own. Lady Li opened a new hospital for Dr King in 1885, a
hospital totally funded by the Chinese. In 1889 the Government of China
recognized the distinguished doctor with the Imperial Chinese Order of the
Double Dragon making her a Mandarin which is a similar to being a knight in
England. In 1909 she organized the Government Medical School for Women so
that Chinese doctors and nurses could be trained. She is a member of the
Canadian Medicine Hall of Fame.
Elizabeth Joan Latimer
Born January 25, 1945. Died April 28, 2012, Hamilton,
Ontario. Elizabeth trained and worked as a nurse prior to becoming a medical
doctor. She began her medical career at McMaster University, Hamilton,
Ontario in 1975 and retired in March 2011 as professor emeritus of the
Department of Family Medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.
In her 39 years as a palliative care physician, Latimer published
extensively on control of chronic cancer pain, delivery of health care to
the terminally ill, and the ethical basis of practice and decision-making
while caring for thousands of patients at Hamilton Health Sciences. She was
also a consultant and lecturer in several countries in South America,
Africa, Europe and Australia. In 1999, Latimer received Canada's highest
palliative care award, the Award of Excellence in Palliative Care from the
Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. The Dr. Elizabeth J. Latimer
Prize is Palliative Care is awarded annually in recognition of excellence
and innovation in palliative care in Hamilton and surrounding area. She was
married to Willem Kamphorst.
1st woman doctor in Quebec
Born January 18, 1878. Died January 22, 1964. Young Irma wanted to
study medicine but no schools in Canada would accept women, so Irma headed
to New York in the U.S.A. to earn her medical education. She returned to
Quebec in 1900 but it would take three years before a private members bill
would pass the legislature allowing her to join the
College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Province of Quebec as
the first woman doctor. She found a lack of knowledge about childhood medical practices
and traveled to Europe to gain more knowledge in 1908. She and Mme De
Gaspé-Beaubien founded Hôpital Sainte-Justine for the care of children. In
1915 she responded to the request of doctors to serve in World War l
returning to New York to work for the Red Cross in the USA. In 1922, using
her won savings, she founded Hôpital de L’Enfant-Jésus. By 1927 she had her
own clinic for handicapped children and also opened a school for disabled
youth. In order to relax from the rigueur of medicine and hospital
administration she worked with her other passion of painting and took
classes at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in the 1920’s becoming an accomplished
artist. In the 1950’s she was celebrated for her 50 years of medical service
by the Circle des femmes universitaires, however, she would die in poverty
largely and unknown pioneer in pediatric medical care. Sources: Irma LeVasseur
http://grandquebec.com/gens-du-pays/irma-levasseur(accessed June 30,
2008) ; Celebrating women’s achievements: Canadian women in science: Irma
http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/ also available in French. (Accessed
June 30, 2008) This
entry suggested by Pat Land.
Bondhead, Canada West (now Ontario). Died February 18, 1943, Toronto, Ontario.
Ida attended Hamilton Ladies College prior to attending and in 1890
graduating the Toronto Medical College. She worked at the Women’s Medical
College and became one of the 1st staff members of the Women’s
Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Co
Born October 23, 1861, Mull, Scotland. Died 1941, Toronto, Ontario.
While still a
toddler Margaret immigrated with her family to Canada, settling in western
Ontario. Her father had been a sea faring man and beguiled his children with
stories of far off lands such as India. In Canada he sailed the great lakes.
She worked as a skilled milliner in Hamilton, Paris, London and Ingersoll
Ontario. However she could not settle and desired to serve as a missionary.
At 22 she realized she need to be educated and returned to grade school to
learn. She worked her way through high school and by 1886 she took exams to
enter Queen’s University. In 1890 she graduated from the Women’s Medical
Collage at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. She left Canada to be a
missionary doctor in India. She worked first at Indore and later at Neemuch
in Central India. Here this pioneer doctor set up the 1st area
hospital. When the Christian Medical College for Women was established in
Ludhiana in the Punjab Margaret served as secretary then as Chairman. During
World War l she was with the Royal Army Medical Corps at the Freeman Thomas
Hospital, Bombay . She was honoured with the Kaiser-i-hind medal for her
years of service in India.
Sources: The Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto:
Clarke & Irwin, 1974) ; Dr Margaret MacKellar: the story of her early
years by Belle Choné Oliver. (Women’s Missionary Society of the
Presbyterian Church of Canada, 1920) Online (Accessed April 2014)
Ann C. Macaulay
Ann graduated medical school in Scotland at the age of 22! From 1993 through
to 2008 she was an Associate Professor for the Department of Family Medicine
at McGill University. In 1995 she joined as a fellow, the College of Family
Physicians. In 2008 the College named Macaulay Family Medicine Researcher of
the Year. She has made significant contributions to the study of prevention
of type 2 diabetes in the aboriginal population in Canada as well as being
an Advisory Board Member for the Institute of Aboriginal People’s Health.
She also served 35 years as a family physician in the Mohawk Community of
Kahnawake. In 2006 she was awarded the Order of Canada.
Source: Order of Canada
Online accessed June 2011.
Born January 7, 1862. Died October 8, 1953.
In 1901 Helen graduated with a medical degree from the University of Toronto
and interned as the 1st woman doctor with the Toronto General
Hospital. She went on to be the 1st
woman doctor to do post graduate studies at Johns Hopkins Hospital in
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. In 1909 she conducted a survey of the
high infant death rated experienced in cities at the turn of the century.
In 1914 she wrote a popular book, A little Talk About Baby. In 1915
she was appointed the inspector of the feeble minded in Ontario. Sadly her
actions to persuade the government that eugenics was the answer to
preventing degenerate babies led to the wrongful sterilization of many
immigrants. Helen was the 1st editor of the Canadian Nurses
Journal. In 1920 she was placed in charge of the federal government’s new
Division of Child Welfare and was responsible for the contents of some of
the government published Blue Books with advice on caring for
children. These little books were published in multiple languages including
Cree. It was in the 1920’s that she made a special study of medical
inspection of schools, child welfare and public health in England and the
United States. In 1934 she was inducted as Commander of the Order of the
British Empire (CBE). In 1949 she was named one of the leading women doctors
in the western world. In 1997 she was declared a Person of National Historic
Elizabeth "Betty" MacRae
1st woman neurosurgeon in
Born 1941, Montreal, Quebec. She originally did her undergraduate studies in
physical education and then switched to continue her studies in medicine at
the University of Toronto In 1982 the young medical doctor moved to Calgary
to practice as Canada’s first woman neurosurgeon. She is know for being
straightforward and “tells it like it is” with all her patients. She is also
an examiner with the Royal College of Physicians. She is married with two
stepchildren and is discovering the joys of being a new grandmother. She
works with the Canadian National Ski Team and enjoys mountain climbing.
Retirement is perhaps on the horizon but for now she is dedicated to the
profession that she says was where she was meant to be even if some men did
not think so!
Suggested source: Herstory: the Canadian Women’s Calendar 2007.
Jane Sproule Manson
Born August 29, 1878, Britton, Ontario. She graduated from
the University of Toronto and did post graduate studies in London, Vienna
and Berlin. She was the first Canadian woman to sit for primary examinations
for the Royal College of Physicians in London England. In 1911 she became a
licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, London England and by 1912
she was appointed to the staff at the University of Toronto. Dr. Manson was
appointed Chief, Nose, Throat and Ear Department, Women's College Hospital
in Toronto in 1924.
Elizabeth Scott Matheson
nee Becket. Born January 6, 1866 Burnbrae Upper Canada. (Now Ontario) Died
January 15,1958, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. . In 1878 The Family
moved to a farm in Morris, Manitoba She took teacher's training in Winnipeg
and taught school in Cook's Creek until 1886. In 1887, she volunteered to
assist at the Marchmont home for orphans in Belleville, Ontario. Ellen Bilbrough of Marchmont, sponsored Elizabeth for a year of studies at the
Women's Medical College at Kingston in 1887-88. She returned to teaching in
Manitoba in order to finance her studies. But found herself on a trip to
India as a missionary from 1888 until 1891when she became ill with malaria. She returned to Manitoba after
contracting malaria and married the Anglican Reverend John Richard
Matheson. The couple settled in Onion Lake, a remote Cree reserve. They
built a school for their nine children, their adopted Aboriginal and Métis
children, and the eighty other children . At her husband's insistence
Elizabeth began her second year at the Manitoba Medical College in September
1895, and she graduated from the Toronto Women's College in 1898. Dr.
Matheson practiced at Onion Lake until 1903 when she applied to the
University of Manitoba Medical School to take her last year as a refresher
course before attempting the licensure examination.
1904 and became the 1st registered
in Saskatchewan. In 1908, her husband
built a three-story log hospital , including four wards and an operating
room. There were also trips to aboriginal homes over muskeg; winter camping
or in the summer heat; She dealt with accident cases, murders and suicides,
handling epidemics, and delivering babies in remote locations. Unlicensed
she was never prosecuted because she practiced in an area outside the
mainstream where deeds were more important than credentials. In 1918, a year
after her husband died, she moved to Winnipeg working as a
Public School medical inspector until retirement in 1948. . In 1948, she received a honourary
medical degree from the University of Toronto where they acknowledged her
fifty years of practice since her first degree.
Manitoba. Status of Women. Women working for Healthy Communities by Ada
Ducas et all October 2001. Online (Accessed December 2011) : The Indomitable
Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker, 1974 : The Encyclopedia of
Saskatchewan Online (Accessed May 2014)
Alice Skimmen McGillivray
She was one
of the original women students who took summer medical courses at Queen’s
University. In October 1881 the women were allowed to take courses in the
regular stream with the men. This did not work out to well . There was a lot
of discrimination towards the women so the Women’s Medical College was
established at Queen’s Upon graduation Alice, a gold medal student, was
immediately appointed to College staff in 1884She earned a promotion to
professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children. In 1889 she and
her husband moved to Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. While in the U.S. her husband
studied medicine. By 1899 the couple were back in Canada, settling in the
Hamilton area where they opened a joint practice. Their relationship
deteriorated and Alice moved into a home of her own but the two still
maintained their joint medical practice.
Source: The Indomitable Women Doctors, by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto:
Clarke & Irwin, 1974)
Margaret Isabelle (Isabel) "Belle"
19, 1881, Minnedosa, Manitoba. Died January 26, 1953, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In
1915 she graduated from the Manitoba Medical College and left for China as a
medical missionary with the Presbyterian Church of Canada. She worked at the
Presbyterian mission in Honan working with Dr. Jean Dow (1870-1927) She
returned home to Canada on furlough during a civil war and lectured to raise
funds to return to China in 1931. During World War ll she was interred as a
prisoner of war until a prisoner of war exchange in 1942. Back in Canada
from 1942-1946 she worked in Alberta at the Bonnyville General Hospital.
After the war she went back to China to re-open the hospital at Changte.
Sources: The Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Clarke
Irwin, 1974) ; Isabelle McTavish Canadian Missionary Doctor 1881-1953
by M. Diane Rogers on Canadian Genealogy and Women’s History
canadiangenealogyblogspot. Accessed April 2014)
Elizabeth Beckett Scott Matheson
Born January 6, 1866 Burnbrae , Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died January 15,
1958, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. In 1883 her family relocated from Ontario
to Morrison, Red River, Manitoba. In 1883 she earned her teacher’s
Certificate in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After teaching for awhile, she became
assistant to Ellen Bilborough at the Marchmount Home for Orphans in
Belleville, Ontario in 1887. Here she was encouraged and supported to enroll
in the Women’s Medical College at Queen’s University. In 1888 she returned
to teaching in Manitoba hoping to earn funding to continue her medical
studies. From 1889 through 1991 she served as a missionary in central India
with the Presbyterian Board of Missions. Returning home to the North-West
Territories in 1891 she married John Matheson (1848-1916), an adventurer and
later ordained minister with the Anglican Church. The couple would raise
nine children. In 1895, while a mother with two toddlers and pregnant with
her third child Elizabeth studied at the Manitoba Medical College for her
second year of medical courses. For the next 2 years she studied at the
Ontario Medical College for Women in Toronto. Since no Canadian hospitals
would accept women as interns she simply returned home and set up her
practice in Onion Lake First Nation where in
1898 she was the 1st woman
doctor in the North-West Territories.She would care for the peoples
of the area often riding alone for long periods to treat patients. In 1901
she was appointed a sanitary inspector during a small pox epidemic. She
still had not been recognized by the North – West Territories College of
Physicians and Surgeons so she re-registered in 4th year medicine
at the Manitoba Medical School earning her second medical degree. After a
couple of additional attempts she was finally licensed in the North-West
Territories. In 1908 she opened a 3 storey hospital at Onion Lake. After the
death of her husband in 1916 she relocated to Winnipeg and served Assistant
Medical Supervisor for Winnipeg Public Schools. She worked 25 years with
inner city children retiring in 1941. In 1948, in recognition of her 50
years of medical service the University of Toronto granted Elizabeth an
honourary medical degree.
Doctor Road Side Saddle by Ruth Matheson Buck (Canadian Plains Research
Center, University of Regina, 2003)
Maud Leonora Menten
20, 1879, Port
Lambton, Ontario. Died July 20,1960 Leamington, Ontario. She
earned her B.A. in 1904 and a master’s degree in 1907. It was in 1907 that
she was appointed a fellow at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research
in New York City, U.S.A. In 1908 she worked as an intern at the New York
Infirmary for women and Children before returning to Canada. A dedicated
and outstanding medical scientist was the
first Canadian woman to receive a medical doctorate in 1911
at the University of Toronto. In 1913, while working in Germany, she
and a colleague Leonora Michaelis developed the Michaelis-Menten equation
which is a basic biochemical concept. In 1918 she joined the School of
Medicine at the University of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. as an
instructor and remained there until she retired in 1950. She had only become
a full professor in 1948. After her retirement she returned to Canada where
she continued working on cancer research at the British Columbia Medical
Research institute for five years until ill health forced her to retire once
again. She continued researching and publishing and made discoveries
relating to blood sugar, hemoglobin and kidney functions. From 1951-1954 she
conducted cancer research in British Columbia. During her life she enjoyed
learning foreign languages and mastered several languages including Russian,
French, German, Italian and one Native-American language. She also enjoyed
music and was an accomplished artist. An Ontario Historical plaque stands
near the Medical Sciences Building at the University of Toronto. Sources:
Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Online. Accessed 2008
née Langford. Born 1918, Manchester, England. She took her
undergraduate studies at the famous Cambridge University, 1939 in England.
By 1952 she had completed her PhD at McGill University, Montreal. She had
immigrated to Canada in 1944 to join the Institut de Psychologie at the
Université de Montréal. She continued her work at the Montreal Neurological
Institute where she became one of the pioneers in neurophysiology. Her
published studies, particularly in epilepsy cases, have added substantially
to the specific understanding of the structure and functioning of the brain.
She was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1984 and is a member of
Canada's Medical Hall of Fame.
Florence Jessie Murray
Pictou Landing, Nova Scotia. Died 1975. Florence graduated in medical
studies from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia in 1919. With the Canadian
Presbyterian Church in Canada she became a medical missionary serving in
Manchuria and then Korea from 1921-1969. She set up hospitals, acted as
Public Health Officer, taught at medical school, trained nurses and inters
and worked among lepers. She was also a writer and left numerous published
articles about her medical work and about World War ll when she was interred
as a prisoner of war. During the time she served at Severance Hospital she
began the Medical Records Department. After an exchange of prisoners with
the Japanese she returned to Canada in 1942 and practiced medicine in
Halifax until the end of the war. After World War ll she served at a leper
hospital in Seoul Korea until the Korean War broke out. She returned again
to Korea in the early 1950’s until her retirement in 1962. She was decorated
by the King of Denmark for her Korean Service.
Source: The Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker ( Clarke
Born Stratford, Ontario. Died 1948, Calgary, Alberta. In 1912 she earned her
medical degree from the University of Toronto. In 1915 she was appointed
medical superintendent of the new 21 bed hospital, The Woman’s College
Hospital and Dispensary, in Toronto. In 1918 she relocated to Calgary ,
Alberta where she was appointed as Medical Inspector with the Calgary Public
Schools. She held regular clinics in all the area schools and at the same
time ran a baby clinic at the Calgary City hall. Little did she know that by
doing her job in visiting school children that she would be a mentor to
future women doctors in the province. In 1935 the School and City Health
Services were combined and Geraldine was appointed Calgary’s Assistant
Medical Health Officer. The Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire
in the Province took to naming their local chapters after prominent Calgary
medical doctors. In 1951 the Dr. Geraldine Oakley Chapter was formed. On
October 6, 1960 the Dr. Oakley School was named in her honour.
Source: The Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker, 1974.
Belle Choné Oliver
Died May 21, 1947, Fort William (Thunder Bay) Ontario. Bell studied medicine
in Toronto graduating in 1900. She sailed to India as a medical Missionary
with the Presbyterian Church of Canada. She worked at the Women’s Hospital
in Indore, Dhar and Neemuch, India. In 1915 she was appointed as the 1st
medical missionary to Banswara. She worked to assure that there was medical
education in India. In 1933 she was appointed Secretary of the Christian
Medical Association of India. Some of her papers are preserved in the United
Church of Canada Archives.
Indomitable Women Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin,
Avonbank, Ontario. Died 1913. She earned a teaching certificate and taught
school in Perth County, Ontario. Deciding to enter into mission work she was
accepted as a candidate with the Women’s Mission Society to be sent to
India. In 1883 she graduated from the Women’s Medical College in Kingston,
Ontario and was valedictorian for her class. In 1886 she became one of the 1st
women to go to India as a medical missionary sailing for India on October 7,
1886. She was stationed at the mission at Indore where the missionaries had
rooms to live right beside the medical dispensary. It was not long before
she was taking weekly trips to Ujjain one of India’s oldest and most sacred
cities. In 1888 she took charge of the Girl’s School in Indore. In 1892 she
was also working at the new Women’s Hospital that was set up in Indore. She
returned home to Canada on furlough and at that time cared for her ill
mother. By 1894 she was once again
back working in India retiring in 1913 and returning home to Canada.
Died December 21, 1997. After Marion earned her medical degree she
went on to earn her Diploma in Public Health at the University of Toronto.
In the 1970’s she assisted in establishing the Bay Centre for Birth Control
which was the first hospital supported street centre to make information
about contraception widely available. From 1980-1990 the Woman’s College
Hospital appointed her as Director of the Bay Centre. By the time of her
retirement in 1990 her efforts had been recognized by the YWCA with the
Woman of Distinction in Health and Education in 1984. She received the 1988
Persons Award from the Canadian Government and in 1990 she was inducted into
the Order of Canada. In 1994 the City of Toronto presented her the Gardina
Award in recognition of her contributions to the development of the
well-being of the city. In 1998, Women’s College Hospital created the Marion
Powell Award in her honour.
Born March 3, 1907, Rockland, Ontario. Died December 8, 1989, Rockland,
Ontario. Annie earned the BA from the University of Ottawa in 1930. She
started teaching and until 1941 she served at Hawkesbury, Ontario. She
decided that the wanted to follow the career paths of her father and
brothers and become a doctor. In 2945 she had received her medical diploma
from the University Laval making her one of the 1st Francophone
women in Ontario to become a doctor. She worked as a rural doctor and often
provided free services for those in need who could not pay. She soon took
over her father’s clients and became the doctor in residence Saint Joseph in
Rockland. Here she established connections with L’hopital Montfort in
Ottawa. At her own expense she often had patients in the hospital and even
made certain that they had TV’s to watch. In 1971 she was Citizen of the
year in Rockland and same year she received the Order of Canada. The medical
library at the Montfort hospital was named in her honour and the town of
Rockland named Le Centre Powers, supported by the Chevaliers de Colomb as a
Source: Dr Annie Powers Biographies des Médecins Hôpital Montfort
Online (accessed August 2015. )
Minerva Ellen Reid
Orangeville, Ontario. Died May 28, 1957, Toronto, Ontario. A bright student
in Public School and High School she obtained a teaching certificate and
moved to be with her brother Dr. John Buchanan Reid (1861-1931) in
Tilsonburg, Ontario. It while living with her brother that she became
interested in medicine. In 1905 she and her sister Hannah Emily Reid
(1876-1955) both graduated from medical school in Toronto, Ontario. Minerva
completed her surgical training in London, England and Dublin, Ireland. Both
Minerva and Hannah served on the 1st Board of Directors of the
Toronto Women’s College Hospital. In 1915 Minerva became the 1st
woman to be chief of Surgery in North America. Minerva also campaigned to
the establishment of Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto to care for wounded
soldiers. She was also active in her community as a member of the Toronto
Women’s Committee. She ran for provincial parliament in 1929 and in 1935 she
ran in the federal election. In 1996 Rose Anthony wrote a one woman play,
The League of Notions, based on Minerva’s life.
Maureen Lorimer Roberts
McWilliams Born January 26, 1915, Peterhead, Scotland. Died 2004, Ottawa,
Ontario. She graduated in medical studies from the University of
Edinborough, Scotland in 1937. In 1939 she earned a diploma in child health
from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. In 1940 she married Dr.
Richard Roberts. In 1944 she left her son in England and served in the
Indian Medical Service. After the World War ll, back in England, the couple
established a medical practice near Canterbury. By 1948 they were
in Halifax, Nova Scotia where Richard joined the Canadian Navy to earn money and continue
in depth medical training while Maureen taught Pediatrics at Dalhousie
University. Reading about Medic Alert bracelets and their success in the
U.S.A., on June 18, 1961 they put up $1,000.00 to begin the Canadian Medic
Alert Foundation which flourished with her efforts and dedication. In 1964
the couple joined a medical expedition and sailed to Easter Island. In 1966,
posted to Ottawa, Maureen set up a genetic counseling service. In 1980 the
retired Dr. Maureen worked with an Ottawa day care center.
Charlotte Grey, ‘Maureen Roberts’ in the Canadian Medical Journal
Vol. 131 November 15, 1984: Valerie Knowles, Capital Lives, Volume 2,
Jane "Jennie" Smillie Robertson
Born February 10, 1878, Hansall, Ontario. Died February 26, 1981. Jane
became a teacher so that she could earn money to attend the Ontario Medical
College, Kingston, Ontario (merged with University of Toronto, 1906). Once
she had earned her medical certificate in 1909 she could not find a Toronto
hospital that would accept her for residency. She took off the U.S.A. to
intern at Philadelphia’s Women’s Medical Collage. She returned to Toronto to
practice medicine and became , perhaps, the 1st woman in Canada
to perform surgery. She operated in a private home because she was still
having problems finding a position in any local hospital which were still
reluctant to accept woman doctors. She was also the 1st woman
doctor in Canada to perform major gynecological surgery. Jennie worked to
establish Women’s College Hospital as well as the Federation of Medical
Women in Canada. At 70 she married her childhood sweetheart, Alex
Sources: “Dr Jennie Smillie Robertson, woman surgeon, was 1st to enter
practice in Canada”, Globe and Mail, March 3, 1981 : Builders and
Pioneers: Individuals who helped ideas prosper by Steve Brearton,
University of Toronto Magazine, Spring 2000.
Charlotte Whithead Ross
Born 1843,Darlington, England Died February 16, 1916 Winnipeg, Manitoba. .
She immigrated to Canada with her family when she was five years old.
Charlotte received her schooling in Clinton, Ontario, and went to finishing
school at the Sacred Heart Convent in Montreal. At eighteen, she married
David Ross, her father's associate in the railway construction business. In
1870 women were not allowed entry into Canadian medical schools. She
enrolled in an U.S. medical school, the Women’s Medical College,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her husband's encouragement. She was
forced to take 2 absences because of a miscarriage and the birth of a
daughter. She graduated in 1875 and set up a successful practice in
Montreal, Quebec, the first woman doctor in the city. In 1878 left
Montreal to join her husband and father who were building the Canadian
Pacific Railway, in Whitemouth, Manitoba Charlotte was the 1st woman to
practice medicine in that province. There are many stories attesting to the
fact that after delivering a baby, she would scrub the floor, do the
washing, and cook enough food for several days so that the new mother would
get a couple of days' rest. She was also known to bring new mothers a
bouquet of white roses that she grew in her garden. She was strict about
antiseptic methods and sterilization which meant she was far ahead of some
of her contemporaries in her practice of medicine. Dr. Ross practiced
medicine for twenty-seven years without a license. She applied for licenses
in both Montreal and Winnipeg, but she was denied because she refused to go
to medical school in Canada and pass the exam by the all-male admissions
board of the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons. She continued to
practice medicine, despite the fact that she knew she could be prosecuted
and jailed. She avoided prosecution in Montreal because she worked under the
patronage of Dr. Hingston, her original mentor, who later became the mayor
of Montreal. She avoided prosecution in Manitoba because her practice was
rural and she was the only physician in Whitemouth. The Charlotte W. Ross
Gold Medal for highest honours in obstetrics is given annually in the
Manitoba Medical College. Dr. Ross finally did get her license posthumously
in November 1993 when Liberal MLA Sharon Carstairs introduced a resolution
to that effect in the Manitoba Legislature.
Government of Manitoba.
Status of Women. Women working for Healthy Communities by Ada Ducas et all
October 2001. Online (Accessed December 2011)
Mary Helen Irwin Rutnam
Born 1873, Elora, Ontario. Died 1962. In 1896 she graduated with a medical
degree from the Women’s Medical College, Trinity College, University of
Toronto. While doing post graduate work in New York, U.S. she met and
married Samuel Christmas Kanaga Rutnam, a Christian Tamil from Ceylon (now
Sri Lanka). The couple would settle in Ceylon and raise 5 children. She was
shunned by the missionaries in Ceylon because of her marriage. She was
denied a permanent position with the Ceylonese government because she only
held a Canadian Medical degree not British credentials. Not deterred she
simply opened her own successful medical practice. On a trip to Canada in
1907 she became interested in the information regarding the founding of the
Women’s Institutes. She returned to Ceylon where she challenged herself with
attempting to install similar institute training for women. After another
visit to Canada in 1931 she returned to Ceylon and successfully established
the Women’s institutes which by 1950 had some 150,000 members. She would go
on to found the Lanka Mahila Samiti training program for rural women in
Ceylon. Active in the political scene through the Women’s Political Union
and the All Ceylon Womens Conference. She authored health textbooks and
taught about women’s bodies and childbirth long before these were accepted
topics for conversation. In 1934-35 she served during a massive malaria
outbreak in the country. In 1958 she was honoured as the only woman to
receive the 1st Ramon Magsaysay Award for her dedication public
Indomitable Lady Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Clarke Irwin, 1974) ;
Dr. Mary Rutnam (1873-1962) a Canadian Pioneer for Sri Lanka Women.
Online (Accessed April 2014)
Helen Elizabeth Ryan
Reynolds. Born June 7, 1860, Mount Forest, Ontario. Died July 9, 1947,
Victoria British Columbia. She attended Queen’s University in the second
class that allowed women students in 1881. Helen would have to withstand
abuse from some of the male students and faculty but she still graduated at
the top of her class in 1885. She opened her first practice in Toronto.
While struggling to establish herself she met and married Thomas John Ryan.
The couple settled in Sudbury, Ontario where he would become elected mayor
(1899 to 1901). She was the first woman doctor
to practice in Northern Ontario. Together they raised a family of
five children. In 1907 the family relocated to British Columbia where
Helen, unable to practice medicine in the province, became active in public
life. She worked for women’s franchise. (right to vote).
She was the 1st woman member of the Canadian
Greater Sudbury 125 1883-2008 the story of our times (Bilingual) ;
South Side Story, January 2005. Additional information provided by
Queen’s University Archives. ; The indomitable Lady Doctors by
Carlotta Hacker (Toronto: Clarke Irwin, 1974)
Ricky Kanee Schachter
Born December 23, 1918, Melville, Saskatchewan. After earning
her BA at the University of Saskatchewan she headed to the University of
Toronto to her her medical degree in 1943. She then did some post graduate
work at Columbia University in New York in dermatology. She returned to her
husband in Toronto where they would raise their three children. In 1946 she
joined the staff of the Woman's College Hospital in Toronto. She has
served as Chief of Dermatology and Director of the Psoriases Education and
Research Centre where she pioneered the idea of treating psoriases patients
on an out-patient basis. it is considered a Centre of Excellence in North
America. In 1978-9 she became the first woman to lead specialists in her
field when she served as President of the Canadian Dermatology association.
She has published numerous papers, reports and articles in her field and is
is demand internationally for seminars and scientific exhibitions. She has
received numerous honours including the Queens Golden Jubilee Medal
née Smith. Born October 26, 1841, Blissville, New Brunswick. Died July 4,
here early schooling Elizabeth earned her teaching Certificate at Normal
School. After teaching for awhile she met and in 1869 married John Secord
(Died 1874). The couple had one son in 1872. Elizabeth attended medical
school in Keeokuk, Michigan and spent her internship at the Women’s Medical
College in Chicago in 1882. Returning home she
registered in June 1883 as the 1st woman doctor in New Brunswick
before leaving for Dublin and London, England for post graduate studies. At
first she opened a practice in Frederick, New Brunswick but moved on to
Norton and finally settled in Farmerston (now Jacksonville) for her 33 years
of practicing medicine. In 1908 at the age of 67 she took in 2 British Home
Children, Herbert Morris and Elsie May Morris. The children were sent to
Canada by caring organizations in England. Elizabeth signed a contract to
care for and educate the children.
Sources: The Indomitable Women Doctors by Carlotta Hacker, (Toronto:
Clarke, Irwin, 1974) : Elizabeth Caroline (Smith) Secord by John
Wood, Online (Accessed March 2014)
Alice Mary Sidgwick
Born December 27, 1922, Gloucestershire, England. Died June 11, 2014,
Toronto, Ontario. Mary was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College and studied
medicine at Cambridge University in England. When she graduated women were
‘not invited’ to graduation ceremonies! In 1947 she married John R.L.
Sidgwick (d. 1973) a musician. The couple immigrated to the Toronto area of
Ontario and had three children. By 1960 Mary had met the qualifications of
study to practice medicine in Canada. In 1964 she and her husband John
founded the Orpheous Choir of Toronto. Mary herself was an accomplished
pianist and choral singer. Mary had her medical practice in North York and
also worked at North York General Hospital until her official retirement in
Source: Obituaries, Globe and Mail June 27, 2014.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon.
Born July 31,
1924, Aurora, Ontario. In 1945/6 she earned her medical degree at the
University of Toronto. She was one of then women in a class of 142 students.
She and her husband opened a general medical practice that would span 40
years. She helped create the College of Family Physicians in order to
promote more interest in family medicine. Bette was a staff member of
Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, with her section becoming the Outpatient
Department and she also served a Chief of the Department of General
Practice. She would be the 1st woman to serve on the Board of
Directors of the Canadian Medical Association and the 1st woman
president of the organization. She was also the 1st woman
president of the Ontario Medical Association. In 1975 she was elected to the
Ontario legislature where on August 18, 1978 she served as the 1st
woman Minister of Education and the 1st woman Minister of
Colleges and Universities. On May 17, 1985 she became Minister of
Finance/treasurer and the 1st woman to serve as Deputy Premier.
She was also a founding member of the Canadian Institute of Advanced
Research. In 1992 she received the Order of Canada and in 1999 the Order of
Ontario. The Dr Bette Stephenson Recognition of Achievement was named in her
Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Online. (Accessed January 2014)
Emily Howard Stowe
Jennings. Born May 1, 1831, Norwich, Upper Canada (now Ontario). 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 in 1868 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.
Anne Augusta Stowe-Gullen.
née Stowe. Born July 27, 1857, Mount Pleasant, (Toronto) Canada West (Now
Ontario) . Died September 25, 1943, Toronto, Ontario. Augusta’s mother and
mentor was Dr. Emily Stowe(1831-1903). Augusta was the 1st woman
to earn a medical degree in Canada. She graduated from Victoria College, (an
affiliate of the University of Toronto) Cobourg, Ontario in
1883. Upon graduation she married Dr. John B.
Gullen, a future founder in 1896 of Toronto Western Hospital. After their
marriage the couple did post graduate coursed in children’s medicine in New
York, U.S.A. Augusta taught at the Ontario Medical College for Women (known
1883-94 as the Woman's Medical College, Toronto) and was on U of T Senate
Both she and her
mother were leading figures in the suffrage movement. Augusta succeeded her
mother as president of the Dominion Women's Enfranchisement Assn in 1903.
She was also a founder of the National Council of women. In 1935 she
received the Order of the British Empire.
Sources: Carla Hacker. The Indomitable Women Doctors. (1974) ; K.
Smith. Dr. Augusta Stowe-Gullen; a pioneer of social conscience in The
Canadian Medical Association Journal, January 15, 1982 ; The Canadian
Encyclopedia. Online (Accessed June 2003)
Lucille Teasdale -Corti
30, 1929, Montreal, Quebec. Died August 1, 1996, Lombardy, Italy. From the
age of 12 she knew just what she wanted to do, she wanted to be a doctor.
She studies at the University of Montreal and in 1955 was the 1st
woman in Quebec to receive a diploma as a surgeon. She attempted to obtain
training abroad but was turned down by American hospitals because she was a
women. During her internship in Montréal Lucille met Piero Corti, a young
Italian doctor studying pediatrics. His dream to establish a world-class
teaching hospital in Africa. He had already heard about a small clinic near
Lacor, a town not far from Gulu, a city in northern Uganda. It was little
more than a dispensary with a few dozen beds, but he saw it as a starting
point. In 1961, she joined forces with Corti, her future husband, and they
worked in Uganda for more than thirty years. Dr. Teasdale would tend to as
many as 300 outpatients each morning and perform surgeries in the afternoon.
Dr. Teasdale performed more the 13,000 surgeries working through Idi
Admin’s dictatorship, civil wars, epidemics and massacres. She received many
awards for her life work including being an Officer of the Order of the
Merit of the Republic of Italy in 1981, inducted as a member of the Order of
Canada 1991, named a Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec 1995, and
awarded the Saskawa Prize with her husband in 1996. This is the most
prestigious distinction awarded by the World Health Organization of the
United Nations. She died from aids which she contracted while operating on
an infected soldier. Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp in her honour
as part of the Millennium series, January 17, 2000. In 2001 she was inducted
into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
Lucille Teasdale. Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Online (Accessed 2005) ;
Lucille Teasdale. The Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Accessed 2005) ; Dawson,
Joanna and Beverly Tallon. “Helping Heroes: Canadians who made a difference
in the world.’ In Canada’s History February- March 2013
Born July 18, 1891, New Westminster, British Columbia. Died July 31, 1972,
West Vancouver, British Columbia . She graduated with her B.A. from McGill
University, Montreal in 1913. During World War l she worked in military
hospitals and earned her MD at McGill in 1927. She also studied in Europe,
before she practiced in Vancouver. Using her own money, set up a centre to
prove the benefits of radiotherapy in 1937. From 1939-1944 she served as
Director, B.C. Cancer Institute. She was the
1st woman president of the B.C. Medical Association in 1946/7 and in 1952
she was the 1st woman president of the National Cancer
Institute of Canada. She was also president of the Federation of
Canadian Medical Women. In 1963 she was awarded a citation from the Canadian
Medical Association for her cancer research. She was inducted into the
Order of Canada in 1968. An art collector, she deeded her home, Klee Wyck,
named for her artist friend Emily Carr, to West Vancouver as an arts centre.
Source: Vancouver Hall of Fame (Accessed December 2012)
Jenny (Jennie) Kidd Trout
née Gowanlock. Born April 21, 1841 Kelso, Scotland. Died November 10, 1921
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Jenny came with her parents to Canada in
1847. The family settled near Stratford, Ontario. Like many young girls of
her generation she earned a teaching certificate and taught school prior to
her marriage. After her marriage in 1865 to Edward Trout the couple settled
in Toronto and Jenny decided to become a medical doctor. She
studied Medicine at the University of Toronto as one of the 1st women
admitted to the Toronto School of Medicine. She completed her medical
studies at the Women's Medical College in Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
March 11,1875, on passing the Ontario registration exam, she became
the 1st Canadian woman licensed to practice medicine in Canada. Dr.
Jenny opened the Therapeutic and Electrical Institute in Toronto and also
ran a free dispensary for the poor from her offices. The Institute would
expand with branches in Brantford and Hamilton, Ontario. Poor health forced
her to retire in 1882 to Palma Sola, Florida, U.S.A. She was instrumental in
establishing the medical school for women at Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario. Prior to her death relocated to California. In 1991
Canada Post issued a postage stamp to commemorate her as the 1st licensed
woman doctor to practice Medicine in Canada.
Agnes Maria Turnbull
Born August 29, 1866, Melrose, Upper Canada (Now Ontario)Died January
5, 1907, Neemuch, India. In the 1880’s her family relocated to Quebec. In
1885 Agnes earned her teacher’s certificated from the McGill Normal School.
By 1887 she was contacting the Women’s Foreign Mission Society of the
Presbyterian Church of Canada. She was encouraged by the Society to complete
medical studies before becoming a missionary. From 1888 to 1982 she studied
at the Women’s Medical College at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.
Upon graduation she took a couple of months post graduate studies in New
Your State, U.S.A. In November 1882 she arrived in India to serve as a
medical missionary. She would serve first at the Women’s Medical Hospital in
Indore and by 1895 she was in Neemuch. Her she also pioneered medical work
at an outstation in Jawad, At the turn of the century she took some leave
back in Canada and returned in 1903 in the midst of an outbreak of the
plague. For her service during the plague she was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind
medal from the Imperial Government which acknowledged service in the
advancement of public interest in India. A local Anglican Church in Indore,
India has a brass plaque tribute to Agnes and her work.
Sources: The Indomitable Women Doctors by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto:
Clarke & Irwin, 1974) : The Dictionary of Canadian Biography vol. Xii
Online (Accessed April 2014)
Gene Anne 'Jan' Turner
née Stewart. Born April
29, 1926, Croydon, England. Died March 11, 2012. Jan earned her medical
degree from the University of Toronto in 1952. She had interned at St.
Paul’s hospital in Vancouver returning to Toronto to marry Ed Turner. The
couple had three children. Jan held a variety of medical positions,
including being Hamilton’s 1st District Health Officer, physician
for the Borough of East York and doctor at the students’ heath clinic at the
University of Toronto. In later career years, after training at the
Institute for Human Relations she turned to administering to her patients’
emotional and mental health needs through psychotherapy .
Source: Obituary Globe and Mail March 15,
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Born 1863, Dundas, Canada West (Ontario). Died December 11, 1953, Barrie,
Ontario. She studied at the Ontario Medical College for Women in Toronto in
1892. From 1892 through 1906 she took charge with Dr. Ida Lynd of the 1st
clinics run by the College for women. The clinics were a dispensary for poor
women which led into the establishment of the Women’s Dispensary which in
turn became Women’s College Hospital by 1911. On May 14, 1909 she married
James Frank Wildman. For most of the 1920’s Jennie was involved with the
free clinics and from 1920 through 1926 she established the Department of
Gynecology at the Women’s College Hospital. In 1928 the couple was settled
in Barrie, Ontario.
Indomitable Lady Doctors
by Carlotta Hacker (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Co Ltd, 1974)
Amelia Yeomans .
Sueur. Born March 29,1842. Died April 11, 1913. In 1878, after the death of
her medical doctor husband, Amelia and her daughter Lillian decided to study
medicine. Since there were no schools in Canada accepting women as students
the two women studied in the U.S. Both specialized in midwifery ( birth of
children) and diseases affecting women and children in the Canadian Midwest.
Soon they were joined by another daughter Charlotte who was a nurse. The
medical trio became champions of woman's suffrage ( votes for women),
temperance ( stopping excess drinking of alcohol) and crusaded against
prostitution and the diseases of prostitution. Amelia had a great speaking
presence and lectured successfully for social equality and improvement of
life. Modern Canadian women owe a lot to these social pioneering women.
née Salter. Born 1913, Glendale, Ohio, U.S.A. Died 1999. Mary and her
family settled in Toronto in 1918 and became Canadian citizens. In 1935 she
earned her BA from the University of Toronto and continued her studies there
earning both a MA and then her PhD in 1939. Originally she worked on staff
at the University but from 1943-1946 she was in the Canadian Women’s Army
Corps. After the war Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario wanted her to
work in the Psychology Department but the university’s Senate would not
ratify the position since they had a policy of not hiring women for such
positions. In 1950 Mary married Leonard Ainsworth and the couple sailed to
England where she worked at the Tavistock Clinic. In 1953 she was working
for the East African Institute of Social Research in Kampala, Uganda. By
1955 she was back in North America working at Johns Hopkins University,
Baltimore Maryland, U.S.A. She also established her own private practice
devoted to working with children. Her salary at John Hopkins was not equal
to male lecturers and this was not rectified for many years. She became a
full professor at Hopkins in 1963. Her specialty was childhood relationships
with family and care givers. At one point she recommended that babies would
be healthier if they were fed when they were hungry and not according to a
rigorous schedule. This recommendation would radically change advice to
young families. In 1975 she moved to the University of Virginia until
retirement in 1984. The American Psychological Foundation presented her with
the Gold Medal for Life Achievement in the Science of Psychology.
Source: Lise Held.(2010) Mary Ainsworth .
Rutherford (Ed.), Psychology's Feminist Voices Multimedia Internet
Archive. Retrieved from http://www.feministvoices.com.
Online (Accessed August 2014)
Born December 22, 1903. Died October 2, 2002, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A. Her
parents were travelling performers and Magda was brought up in the home of
family friend. She took commercial courses to help with her spoken English
and became a bank clerk. In 1939 she earned her B.A. at the University of
Toronto followed in 1940 by her M.A. She married Robert Arnold, a student of
Slavic Languages. The couple would have 3 daughters. While Magda was working
on her post graduate studies her husband left with the children. Magda had
no legal recourse to get her children back so she continued her studies
while suffering the loss of her family. Once she had earned her PhD she
became a lecturer at the University of Toronto, an affiliation that lasted
until the soldiers returning from the war took over the job market. In 1946
through 1947 she worked with Psychological Services at the Canadian Veterans
Affairs. Here she developed scoring for thematic appreciation test (TAT. Her
work became the basis for a book on the subject published in 1962. In 1947
she moved to the U.S.A. working at Wellesley College and then Bryn Mawr
College. By the 1950’s she was working at Barat College at Lake Forest,
Illinois, U.S.A. In 1952 she earned the Helen Putnam Advances Research
Fellowship and worked towards publishing her work: Emotion and Personality
in 1960. in1970 she lectured at Loyola College and then on to Spring Hill
College in Chicago. From 1972 through 1975 she was in Mobile Alabama. A few
years after her retirement she moved to Tucson, Arizona to be closer to one
of her daughters.
Source: Lisa Held.
Magda Arnold (2010) in Psychology’s Feminist Voices. Online (Accessed
Emma Sophia Baker
Born 1856, Milton, (Upper Canada (now Ontario) Died October 26, 1943.
She graduated Albert College, Belleville Ontario and worked there for three
years. Moving to Williamsport Pennsylvania she worked 4 years at what is now
Lycoming College. Returning to Canada she worked at the Presbyterian Ladies
College in Toronto for 6 years. She also spent time learning the French
language at the Sorbonne in Paris and then she took courses at Nottingham
College at Cambridge, England. Just at the turn of the century in
1899 she was an early female student to graduate
with a B.A. from the University of Toronto.
By 1903 she had earned her PhD from the university where she was the
1st woman to receive a PhD in Philosophy (Psychology was covered
by Philosophy at this time.) From 1901, while still working on her PhD
through to 1914 she served at Lady Principal at Mount Allison Ladies College
in Sackville, New Brunswick. She did take a year off from Mount Allison in
1911 to visit the Holy lands and came back to share her knowledge with her
students. In 1914 she moved to the Maryland College for Women in
Lutherville, Maryland, U.S.A.. Retiring in 1928 she moved back to Toronto.
Emma Sophia Baker
Rutherford (Ed.), Psychology's Feminist Voices Multimedia Internet
Archive. Retrieved from
(Accessed August 2014)
Born 1897, Sheffield, England. Died 1995. Katherine earned her Bachelor of
Sciences at the University of Manchester, England. She was the 1st
student to register for the honours programme in psychology. She attended
Cambridge University in England but did not receive a degree as women were
not granted degrees at Cambridge at this time. Moving to Canada she lectured
at the University of Toronto in 1921. In 1924 she married J.W. Bridges and
the couple settled in Montreal where she worked at McGill University. Her
specialty was researching juvenile delinquency. In 1930 she moved over to
the University of Montreal. In
became the 1st woman to earn a PhD from the University of
She became well published in her field including two books one of which was
titled: Pre-school Child Emotional Development in Early Infancy. In 1946 she
relocated to North Carolina working at Duke University. She developed
several rating scales still used today to measure social and motor skills in
children and adults.
Source: Amanda Jenkins: Katherine Banham. Online (Accessed August 2014)
née Gouin. Born September 30, 1923, Montréal Québec. In 1945 she earned her
B.A. from the Université d Montréal from private instruction. She continued
at the Université to earn her M.A., 1947 and her PhD, 1960. She moved to
Paris in 1949 and married Vianney Décarie. In 1956 the couple moved back to
Montréal where they had and raised 4 children. In the 1960’s Thérèse worked
on a project that concluded children of mother’s who had taken the drug,
Thalidomide, during pregnancy often experienced cognitive deficits. She
continued to excel in her work on early childhood education. In 1969 she
became a member of the Royal Society. In 1977 she was inducted into the
Order of Canada and in 1994 the Order of Québec. She was the 1st
woman to earn the Léon-Gérin Prize from Quebec for outstanding research in
the Social Sciences. She is a professor Emerita at the Université de
Source: Jacy L. Young & Zahra Nakhjiri: Thérèse Gouin-Décarie.
In A. Rutherford (Ed.), Psychology's Feminist Voices Multimedia Internet
Archive. Retrieved from
Online (Accessed August 2014)
Leola Ellen Neal
Born 1911, Merlin, Ontario. Died 1995. She completed her B.A. at the
University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario in 1933 and went on to earn
her M.A. in 1935 and a PhD in 1942. During the time she worked on her post
Graduate studies she worked at the University. She interned at the London
Mental Hospital. In 1946 she was appointed Dean of Women at the University
of Western Ontario as well as holding a position of professor with the
Psychology Department. In 1949 she served as the 1st female
President of the Ontario Psychological Association and in 1951 she was the
second woman to serve on the Board of the Canadian Psychological
Source:: Perlin Gull & Jacy L. Young: Leola Ellen Neal.
In A. Rutherford (Ed.), Psychology's
Feminist Voices Multimedia Internet Archive. Retrieved from
Online (Accessed August 2014)
Mary Louise Northway
Born May 28,
1909, Toronto, Ontario. Died 1987. After starting at the University of
Toronto in Ontario in 1927 she was forced to take 1 ½ years from her studies
due to poor health. She returned to the University of Toronto and earned her
B.A. in 1933 and her M.A. the following year. From Toronto she studied at
Cambridge University in England where were allowed to study but not allowed
to receive degrees at this time. She returned once again to the University
of Toronto earning her PhD in 1938. From 1934 through to 1968 she worked her
way up to the position of Assistant Professor and from 1951 to 1968 she was
supervisor of research at the Department of Psychology. She also worked as a
counselor and programme director at Glen Bernard Camp from 1931-1939 and
served as Director of Research and Education for the Ontario Camping
association in the 1930’s and 1940’s. She served as Directory of Northway
Co., the family business founded by her father, from 1948-1960, and
President from 1960-1963 when the company was dissolved. Finances from the
company were used to create the Neathem Trust which financed welfare related
initiatives. In 1969 she co-founded Brora Centre, a nonprofit organization
for child development research. Upon her death she left the largest private
contribution ever received, in her father’s name, to Trent University,
Source: Jacy L. Young. Mary Northway In Psychology’s Feminist Voices.
2011. Online (Accessed August 2014)
Born September 13, 1921, Toronto, Ontario. Died September 15, 2013,
Vancouver. She excelled at school recalling receiving 2 jellybeans for her
reading in grade 1. She earned her B.A. from the University of Toronto in
1943 followed by her M.A. in 1944 and a PhD in 1951. In 1951 she taught for
a year at the University of Saskatchewan. From 1952 through to retirement in
1986 she taught at the University of British Columbia. She was a pioneer in
the area of Children’s group dynamics. She found that children with friends
were more readily accepted at school than those without friends. She
published a book Personality and Sociometric Status while working on
her PhD. She was outspoken on the inequality between women and men who were
professors and waited many years to see the pay become equal. Upon
retirement in 1986 she became Professor Emerita at UBC.
Source: Laurin Joly , Obituary Vancouver Sun, September 18, 2013.
Beatrice Enid Wickett-Nesbitt
Born Alberta 1917. Died Calgary, Alberta September 10, 2010 She studied at
Acadia University with graduate studies at Brown University and a PhD at
McGill University, Montreal. She married John Cameron Wickett and the couple
had three children. During his service in World War ll John was thought to
have been killed but was actually at a German prisoner of war camp. During
the War Bea raised her family as a single mother only to have her husband
home in 1945. She became executive director of the Canadian Mental
Association in 1961 and 1962-63 she was chief psychologist at the Ottawa
Public School Board. A pioneer woman in psychology she forged a mentoring
career path for women. She developed innovative programs for emotionally
disturbed and autistic children. The models of care she established while
working for the Ottawa Board of Education were emulated across Canada. She
was awarded the outstanding professional achievement and the Canadian
Rehabilitation Council’s most innovative program Award. A widow in 1976 she
would marry a second time to H.H.J. Cameron. In 1986 she was inducted into
the Order of Canada. After her retirement she helped establish the Ottawa
Carleton Regional Palliative Care Association. In 2007 the Canadian
Psychological Association awarder her a distinguished lifetime achievement
Source: “A legend in
her own time” by Mohammed Adam. Ottawa Citizen September 29, 2012 ;
Obituary. Calgary Herald September 13, 2012.
Blossom Temkin Wigdor
Born June 13, 1924. In 1945 she earned her B.A. and on May 30 that same year
she married Leon Wigdor. She had applied to medical school at McGill but was
refused entry as she was engaged to be married and there were returning
soldiers needing classroom space over a women who would marry. She studied
for her M.A. at the University of Toronto and then back to McGill for her
PhD in 1952. From 1946 through 1979 she worked with the Canadian Department
of Veterans Affairs. From 1952 through 1979 she was a professor at McGill
University. From 1979 to 2010 she taught at the University of Toronto where
she is now a professor Emerita. 1973-1979 she worked with the Science
Council of Canada. In 1989 she became a member of the Order of Canada. She
was a founding director of the Programme in Gerontology from 1979 through
1989. In 1990 through 1993 she was Chair of the National Advisory Council on
Aging and also the Chair of the Canadian Coalition on Medication use in the
Elderly. She is the author of numerous article, book chapters and books on
aging and gerontology.
Psychology's Feminist Voices Multimedia Internet Archive.
Retrieved from http://www.feministvoices.com.
Online (Accessed August 2014) ; International Who’s Who of Women 2002.
Online (Accessed August 2014)
Mary Jane Wright
Born 1915, Strathroy, Ontario. Died April 23, 2014. In 1939 Mary earned her
B.A. from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario. By 1949 she
had receiver her PhD in Child Psychology from the University of Toronto.
During World War ll she served in the United Kingdom developing care for
evacuated British children. In 1946 she was a professor of Child Psychology
at the University of Western Ontario.
1959 she was the 1st woman director with the Canadian
Psychological Association and in 1960 at UWO she became the 1st
woman in Canada to chair a major psychology Department. In 1968 she served
as President of the Canadian Psychological Association and would earn the
Gold Medal for Lifetime contributions to the profession. She also served as
President of the Ontario Psychological Society where she earned the Award
for distinguished contributions to her profession. She was one of the few
distinguished international persons to be elected a fellow of the American
Psychological Association. She is well published in academic psychology. The
UWO named the University laboratory I her honour. She has also been
presented with the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal. Locally she was on the
Board of the London Meals on Wheels, and the United Way. In 2007 she was the
London YMCA Woman of Excellence. The Town of Strathroy has named a public
School in her honour when she was 98 years of age.
Obituaries. Globe and Mail April 26, 2014; Laura Bell,(2010) Mary
Rutherford (Ed.), Psychology's Feminist Voices Multimedia Internet
Archive. Retrieved from http://www.feministvoices.com.
Online (Accessed August 2014)
submitted by June Coxon.
Lenka J. Husa
Born Czechoslovak February 21, 1942. She
studied for her degree in veterinary medicine in the Czechoslovak Republic.
She and her family emigrated and settled in Newfoundland where she worked as
a research Assistant , at the Animal Care Facility at Memorial University.
She has authored and c-authored numerous articles and reports in her field.
In 1989 she was appointed Director of Animal Care Services at Memorial
University. She won the Award of Excellence from the Canadian Council of
Animal Care and in the President's Award for Exemplary Service from Memorial
University in 1995.
Pioneer Transplant patient
Born Trinidad 1954. Died June 30, 2006. Immigrating to Canada she
worked with Employment Canada. Carol was told by her
doctors that she needed a lung transplant. Since she was
going through a divorce the hospital but off listing her
the needed operation. When told she needed a stress free
support system for after the operation and that a
divorce and having teen children at home was not what
was required. Carol established a strong support team
of women and she got her operation in the spring of
1991. She was one of Ontario’s first recipients of a
single lung transplant. Usually patients can expect an
addition five years but remarkably Carol had 15 years!
She wanted to see her children graduate and she lived
long enough to see her first grandchild. A year or two
after her operation she began to speak to groups about
the importance of organ donation in support of the
Trillium Gift of Life network. She counted each day as a
blessing and never forgot to be thankful to her creator
on a daily basis.
Trotman, 52: Transplant pioneer’ by Catherine Dunphy.
The Toronto Star, August 21, 2006. Online (accessed