Social Activists

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Social Activists and Community workers          
Mary Eileen Abbott

Community Volunteer

née Bulman. Born July 5, 1896, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died August 9, 1980 , Winnipeg, Manitoba. She attended the University of Manitoba (BA, BSc), and Columbia University, New York City. She served as the President of the University of Manitoba Students Association (precursor of the modern UMSU) from 1918 to 1919. On 2 January 1925, she was married to A. C. Abbott. She was an active member of the Winnipeg Winter Club, the Canadian Figure Skating Association, and President (1972) of Women’s Canadian Club of Winnipeg. Source: Manitoba Historical Society. Memorable Manitobans . by Gordon Goldsborough  online. (accessed December 2011)
 

Anne Abrametz née Beck. Born December 22, 1916, Wroxton, Saskatchewan. Died January 10, 2015 Saltcoats, Saskatchewan. Anne remembers family life on the farm during the depression years with fondness as the family of 14 children did not go hungry what with a home garden and a milk cow. At 15 in 1921 she went to work as a nurse’s aide at the Queen Victoria in Yorkton, Saskatchewan where she had room and board and $12.00 a month in pay. In 1939 she left her job to marry a farmer Stephen Abrametz (d 1984) and the couple raised 6 children. She held positions on the Yorkton Housing Authority and the Yorkton arts council and was deeply involved with the Ukrainian community. She organized Ukrainian kindergarten and adult language classes. She also loved to paint in watercolours and oils. Some of her works were exhibited in the province and at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  In 1975 the Ukrainian Canadian Committee elected her as Woman of the Year. The Saskatchewan division of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress gave her an award recognizing her volunteer work and cultural contributions. Source Lives Lived, Anne Abrametz, Globe and Mail June 18, 2015.
 
Eva  Abremovich nee Finkelstein . Born June 10,1877, Radishevka, Volhynia Province, Russia. Died  December 18, 1953, Sarnia, Ontario .  She arrived in Canada in 1883 with her mother and sister to join their father who had immigrated to Winnipeg the year before.  She attended Carlton and Victoria schools then, in 1897 she graduated from Manitoba College, the first Jewish person to do so. In 1902 she married Manuel Hirsch Abremovich (1875-1958), an electrical engineer, in Winnipeg. They resided in New York City for a few years before returning to Winnipeg where she was a member of the University Women’s Club and the Women’s Canadian Club. During each of the world wars, she worked for the Red Cross. In 1948, she and her husband retired Vancouver, British Columbia. Source: Manitoba Historical Society. Memorable Manitobans . by Gordon Goldsborough  online. (accessed December 2011)  : City woman dies on visit to Sarnia” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 December 1953.
Zanana L. Akande

Born 1937, Toronto, Ontario. She holds a B.A. and  M Ed from the University of Toronto. In the 1960’s at an early teaching position she was asked by colleagues to eat her lunch in the basement, away from regular staff. Although her complaint to the school Board on racism was heard and adjustments made she never had lunch on site at the school again, preferring to eat off school grounds. She was co-founder of the Tiger Lily, a newspaper for visible minorities.  She ran and was elected for Provincial parliament in the riding of St. Andrew/St.Patrick, Toronto. She was appointed Minister of Community and Social Services, the Black woman to hold a cabinet position in a provincial government in Canada. She resigned amidst political controversy  concerning property holdings in 1991. At this time she was also mourning the death of her husband Isaac Akande. . She became assistant to Premier Bob Rae and established the Jobs Ontario Youth Programme that ran from 1991 through 1994. A disillusioned politician she retired from politics, even resigning from her New Democratic Party. After leaving politics she designed and coordinated programs for students with special needs, including gifted children and immigrant children. Many community based endeavors also gained from her services including the Urban Alliance, The United Way of Greater Toronto; the Elizabeth Fry Society and the Toronto Child Abuse Center. Among her many recognitions for her work is the African Canadian Achievement Award for Education, and the Award of Distinction from the Congress of Black Women. Sources: Zanana Akande, first Black woman in Ontario Legislature. Section15.ca accessed 2009. : Sway online http://swaymag.ca September 17, 2010 accessed June 2011.
 

Bertha Allen née Moses. Born 1934 Old Crow, Yukon Territory. Died May 7, 2010  She was raised in the traditional life style of her peoples. She married Victor Allen and together they raised a family of 6 children in both traditional and modern cultures. She was president of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women of the Northwest Territories and founding president of Native Women’s Association of the NWT. She became President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada working for the improved health in her area through the Territorial Hospital Insurance Services Boars and the Inuvik Medical Transient Centre. In 2001 she was appointed to the Council of Grandmothers. She was the only woman of the Commission for Constitutional Development , and the Northwest Territories Judicial Appointment Committee. She also served on the National Aboriginal Committee to advise the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 2007 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. Source: “Bertha Allen” by Denise M. Kurszewski in Arctic Vol. 63. No. 4 December 2010 page 4078.
 
Leanne Allison

 

 

Environmentalist & Filmmaker

Born 1969. At ten she was named “Camper of the week” and she was hooked. As a teen she was a camp councilor. Learning of the Outdoor pursuits program at the University of Calgary, Alberta she participated in mountaineering, back packing, skiing and paddling. In 1993 she was part of a 4 woman tem, the 1st all woman team to reach the east summit of Mount Logan. After her she met like minded Kaisten Heuer who was studying the urban and tourist encroachment on wildlife of the Bow Valley in Banff National Park and soon the couple found themselves on a trip along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. In 2003 the young couple endured following the migration of the Caribou across the Arctic’s remote tundra. They were studying the effect of oil and gas development on the migration. Out of their escapade came the film Being Caribou. In 2009 they packed up the family dog and their two year old son to follow the wilderness treks of Farley Mowat and met the famous author at his home in Nova Scotia. The film of the family escapade was called Finding Farley. Allison has also created a 3d film in the Arctic. Sources: Various online sites accessed 2014
 
Margaret Grant Andrew Born March 19, 1912, Kingston, Ontario. Died July 30, 1982. She earned her B.A. in economics and political Science from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, in 1933. When the CBC began in 1936 she joined the staff. Settling in Vancouver she was active on the civic scene . She was a Vancouver School Board trustee, 1975-76 and chair of the Board from 1977-1979. A popular figure in the artistic and academic community, she was active in  B.C. Arts in Education Council, she served at the Vanier Institute of the Family. The Vancouver Art Gallery, The Family Service Association and the University Women’s Club. Source. www.vancouverhistory.cawhoswho_A (accessed June 19, 2009)
Anna Mae Aquash née Pictou. Born March 27, 1945, Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. Died 1976(?) . She grew up in sever poverty living with her family in an abandoned army house without electricity or running water. When her parents left the family the children went to live with their older sister but there were too many mouths to feed. Anna Mae dropped out of school in grade nine and joined the annual job hunting migration from Canada to the state of Maine in the United States. She picked berries, and harvested potatoes before finding a promotion to factory work in Boston. The mother of two children by the time she was twenty she married and settled to Boston suburban life. Divorce allowed her to consider herself and the meaning of her life and she began to have a deepened interest in her native culture. She wanted to help her people. She organized the Boston Indian Council and began to help aboriginal peoples find meaningful employment. In 1973 she joined in the now famous protest at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. She became more involved in AIM (American Indian Movement) and represented the group at functions across North America. She organized fundraising benefits with stars like Kris Kristoferson and Buffy Saint Marie. In 1974 she was at the occupation of Anicinabe Park, Kenora, Ontario. The tortured body of this courageous Canadian activist was found in February 1976.
 
Edith Jessie Archibald née Archibald. Born April 15, 1854, St John's , Newfoundland. Died 1936. As a young woman she was educated in London and New York. She married Charles Archibald, vice-president of the Bank of Nova Scotia and they had a family of four children. She would use her social position to advantage and become an influential leader in the Canadian Women's movement. She worked with various organizations at the local, regional and national levels.  She was the Maritime Superintendent of the Parlor Meetings Department which orchestrated tea parties that organized temperance activities and discussed how to educate other women. She worked with the National Council of Women, the Red Cross and the Victoria Order of Nurses. She was a fighter for woman's suffrage that was finally granted in her home province in 1918 , largely due to her efforts. She would also find time to write the history of the Red Cross, a novel a three act play and the Life and Letters of Sir Edward Mortimer Archibald (1924), the biography of her father. The Canadian Historic Sites and Monuments Board recognized her as a national historic person in 1997.
Helen Armstrong née Jury Born 1875,Torono, Ontario. Died 1947, California, U.S.A. Working as a seamstress at her father’s tailor shop in Toronto, she met and married in 1897 the politically minded George Armstrong. They would have four children. The couple originally settled in Butte , Montana, U.S.A. but moved numerous times following the job market for George. In New York City Helen became active in the National Women’s Suffrage Association. In Washington, D.C. she was jailed for chaining herself to the White House fence during a demonstration for votes for women. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1905 they were forced to take in borders to make ends meet. Preferring  peace they denounced Canada’s involvement in WW l. She became a women’s labour rights leader and served as President of the Women’s Labour League in Winnipeg and also served on the Mother’s Allowance Board. She let women to strike at Woolworth’s Department Store in 1917, successfully winning a $2.00 a week raise. She was arrested 4 times during the notorious 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. The family home was raided by the RCMP. On Bloody Saturday, June 21, 1919 she suggested women use their hat pins (some of these pins were a good 6 inches long!) as weapons. She was arrested of inciting violence. Her husband would serve a jail term for his role in the Winnipeg Strike but she was acquitted. After the strike she toured eastern Canada on a lecture tour to raise legal funds for those men still in jail. She ran twice for a city alderman in Winnipeg. Finally with no jobs available for George the family moved to Chicago in 1924 where Helen worked with the Nobel Prize winning suffragist Jane Adams. In 2001 a documentary film was based on her life and courage.  Source: 100 more Canadian Heroines: Famous and forgotten faces by Merna Forester (Dundurn Press, 2011)
 
Sally Wishart Armstrong Born July 16, 1943, Montreal , Quebec. Sally earned her Bachelor of Education at McGill University, Montreal in 1966. In 2001 she would return to university to earn her Master’s at the University of Toronto. She started working as a physical education teacher but soon found herself involved in journalism where she became editor in chief for Homemakers magazine from 1988 through 1999. Along with numerous magazine articles she has published several books including Mila, the biography of Mila Mulroney, wife of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1982. Her works have brought the political and cultural struggles of women around the world to her readers. She has highlighted strife of women in Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda and Afghanistan. She has chronicled lives of women who have opposed efforts of the Taliban to subjugate women. Her writings have earned her the Amnesty International’s Media Award in both 200 and again in 2002. She has also produced award winning documentaries for the CBC spotlighting international struggles for women’s rights. She is a founder of WILLOW a resource for Breast Cancer in Canada. As well she serves on the Council of Advisors for the Canadian Women’s Foundation. She has been granted numerous honourary degrees from universities and in 1998 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 2002 she was UNICEF’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and in 2008 she received the Canadian Journalism Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. Source: ‘Sally Armstrong’ by Dana Schwab New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia 2009. Online (Accessed May 2014)
 
Iphigenie Arsenault Born September 17, 1908, Summerside, Prince Edward Island. Died July 13, 1996. She attended Price of Wales College and Union Commercial College. In 1927 she joined the local Red Cross and continued served for 70 years! In 1967 she was the only woman Red Cross Commissioner in Canada. She also served the young women of the Island while serving in the Girl Guides at various levels including Deputy Commissioner of PEI. Girl Guides presented her with their Medal of Merit. She also held various offices in the Catholic Women’s League from 1938 through 1970.. She worked as National Spiritual Convener, National Convener of Education and Scholarships . Working her way up from 3rd Vice President she became National President from 1970-1972. A love of the stage nourished her active participation in the Charlottetown Little Theatre. She was a charter member and president of the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs of PEI. In 1967 she received the Canada Centennial Medal and in 1977 became a member of the Order of Canada. In 1978 she received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 1981.
 
Gail Asper Born May 28, 1960, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She was brought up with a love of music  and enjoyed playing the piano and performing on stage. Law became her focus at University where she took a B.A. in 1981 and followed this with a Bachelor in Law in 1984 from the University of Manitoba. She articled and worked in Nova Scotia at first but in 1989 returned home to Winnipeg. She worked as General Council and Corporate Secretary of CanWest Global Communications. In 2003 she became President of the Charitable Asper Foundation. She initiated multiple fundraising campaigns including the CanWest Raise-a-Reader and the CanWest National Spelling Bee. She was an inspiration and tireless worker for the establishment of the Canadian Museum of Human Right located in Winnipeg. In 2005 she was awarded the Governor General Ramon Jon Hnatyshyn Award for volunteerism in the Performing Arts followed in 2007 with the Order of Manitoba. In 2008 she had received the University of Ottawa’s Distinguished Canadian Leadership Award and she also received the Hadassah-Wizo’s Rebecca Sieff Award.  In 2009 she was given the Order of Canada. Source: Herstory 2012: The Canadian Women’s Calendar. Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective, 2011.
 
Isabelle Atkinson Born July 22, 1891, Bramley, England. Died Saskatoon, Saskatchewan August 11, 1968. She and her widowed mother immigrated to Waterbury Connecticut, U.S.A. as a teenager. She became a factory worker and found herself a women’s rights supporter. She moved to her brother’s farm near Strasbourg, Saskatchewan in 1914. By 1919 she moved to Kerrobert and worked as a bookkeeper. She worked to found the local library and pursued her own studies in Social issues. After her mother’s death in the early 1920’s she traveled abroad to continue her studies in commonwealth countries. She reported her experiences back to Canada and they were published in the Star Phoenix and other newspapers. It was the Winnipeg Free Press that would later publish a booklet of some of her articles. She was active in the Consumers Association of Canada serving as provincial president in 1954 and then as national President from 1956-1960 in Ottawa. She was also active in the Saskatoon Council of Women and took interest in the Liberal Party of Canada. Source: The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Online (Accessed January 2012) Suggestion submitted by June Coxon.
 
Grace Bagnato. Born 1891. Died 1950. Born in the United States her Italian immigrant family moved to Toronto Canada when Grace was about 5 or 6 years old. It was in this city in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s that Grace would become known to many immigrant Canadians who needed help. She learned their languages in order to help them and to communicate with them. She went to court with them to help them get the best justice their new home could offer. She was the first woman to be appointed as court interpreter. During World War II when Canadians who had immigrated to Canada were all suspect simply because they were aliens, Grace worked hardest making sure their needs were understood. She was a mother of 13 children who worked hard for all the immigrants of Ward area in Toronto. Grace St. is a part of the acknowledged Italian district of Toronto. Learn more about Grace Bagnato in the video recording “An Act of Grace” (A scattering of seeds series) White Pine Pictures. You can borrow it from your own library or through interlibrary loan.
 
Denise Marie Baillargeon Born February 17, 1946, Edam, Saskatchewan. Died October 8, 2013. She attended teachers College in Quebec and later attended the University of Manitoba. In June 1973 she married John West. The couple had 4 children. From 1989 until she retired in 2001 Denise was a French language interpreter for the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Returning home from a trip to Paris in 2001 she met Sister Delphine Nebi and the two women became friends with Denise becoming a dedicated supporter of Sister Delphine’s work in West Africa. Together they worked helping abused women and girls in Burkima, Faso. Denise travelled 5 times to Africa, creating Rescuing Our Africa Daughters (ROAD). ROAD runs a school and women’s centre helping over 200 women and girls escape forced marriage, mutilation and abuse. Source: Obituary, Globe and Mail, October 9, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario
 
Clara Balinsky Born January 1, 1924, Khrakov, Ukraine. She immigrated with her family to Canada and settled in Montreal, Quebec. She studied at the McGill Conservatory of Music graduating in 1939. In 1941 she married Charles Balinsky. A officer the Canadian Hadassah Wizo Organization of Canada she served as National President from 1976-1980. She was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University and was made an Honorary Fellow in 1976; National Honorary Vice-President of the Canadian Zionist Federation, Member of the Administrative Board of the Canada-Israel Committee; member of the National Board of the United Israel Appeal; member of the Board of the Canadian Friends of Weizman Institute Science; member of the World Assembly of Jewish Agency. She has been a delegate at the Brussels Conference of Soviet Jewry, 1971; delegate to the Prime Minister's Conference 1975, and a delegate to the World Zionist Congress 1972, 1978, 1983. In 1980 the Clara Balinsky Day Care Centre at the Asaf Harofe Hospital, Montreal, Quebec was named in her honour by Canadian Hadassah-Wizo. Source: Library and Archives Canada, Clara Balinsky Fonds. Online. (Accessed April 2014)
 
June Elizabeth Bantjes Born April 24, 1930, England. Died December 2006. In 1952 she moved from England to South Africa where she met and married Dennis Bantjes. The couple would have 3 children. In 1959 she moved to Canada and after her divorce she settled in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She attended the University of Saskatchewan and earned a M.A. in sociology in 1995. She was a founding member of Saskatoon’s Women’s Calendar Collective which publishes Canada’s Women’s calendar annually. She became active with woman and drug use, Women for Childcare Action, and worked for the Saskatoon Environmental Society. She joined the Saskatoon Heritage Society and worked with the New Democratic Party both in the front lines and behind the scenes. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women's calendar. 2008  (Saskatoon Women's Calendar Collective / Coteau Books, 2007)
Maude Victoria Barlow Born 1947, Toronto, Ontario. She can perhaps be best described as a "loyal opposition" citizen. She was brought up with being exposed to the idea of speaking out against what you saw as wrong. As a young woman she was immersed in the Women's movement. After a failed attempt to become and elected member of the government of Canada she turned her energies to working to build something non-partisan. She has become Canada's best known voice of dissent. She is an ardent opponent of Free Trade as not be good to Canada. She has put her talks into some five books to give Canadians a chance to see another point of view to what the government is doing or sometimes not doing. She is co-founder of the Blue Planet project, which works to stop commoditization of the world's water. In 2005 she was nominated for the 1000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize. She has been appointed the first senior advisor on water issues by Miguel d"Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63 rd session of the United Nations, 2008. She has received by 2010 6 honorary doctorates from Canadian Universities. Sources: Women in Ottawa: Mentors and Milestones http://womeninottawa.blogspot.com Accessed June 2011.
 
Annie McDermot Bannatyne Born  1830 ?, Fort Garry, Manitoba. Died 1908 , Saskatchewan  She was the daughter of Andrew McDermot, the pioneer free trader of Rupert’s Land. She married A. G. B. Bannatyne, prominent in business and politics in the Red River Settlement. The couple had  had three children. Along with caring for her family Annie devoted much of her time to charitable works. One of her interests was the Winnipeg General Hospital which had been built on land donated by her father, Andrew McDermot, and her husband. A feisty individual, there is a story that in February 1869 she horsewhipped Charles Mair over slurs Mair had published about mixed-blood women in Red River. Sources: Some Manitoba Women Who Did First Things by Lillian Beynon Thomas. Manitoba Historical Transactions, Series 3, No. 4, 1947-48; Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba (Manitoba Library Association, 1971) ; Memorable Manitobans: online (Accessed December 2011.
 
Ada Youlton Barnes Born December 18, 1906, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died March 5, 1998, Victoria , British Columbia. On  November 5, 1927, she married Kenneth Dudley Barnes at Winnipeg. They had three children. She volunteered for more than 30 years with the Manitoba Branch of the Canadian Red Cross Society. In April 1966, she was elected the first female president of the Branch. Three years later, she was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt, the first woman named Captain of the Hunt. Soon after, she and her husband retired to Victoria, British Columbia. Sources: Memorable Manitobans  profile by Gordon Goldsborough. Online (Accessed December 2011)
 
Katherine Bawlf née Madden Born January 9, 1855, Almonte, Ontario Died Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. November 26, 1918. Educated at Almonte, and married Nicholas Bawlf (1849-1914) February 6, 1877. The couple moved to Manitoba the next year. They had nine children. Nicholas became a pioneer grain merchant who brought Winnipeg into the forefront of grain business in western Canada. The family enjoyed living in the prosperous business community. Active in local philanthropy, Katherine was a member of the board for the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), and was President of the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Society. She was a member of the Women’s Musical Club, the Western Art Association, and the Roman Catholic Church. Sources: Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, 1911. C. W. Parker, editor. Canadian Press Association, Vancouver : “Mrs. N. Bawlf dies suddenly”, Manitoba Free Press, 27 November 1918, page 9 : Memorable Manitobans , Profile by Gordon Goldsborough Online (Accessed December 2011)
 
Mary Elizabeth Bayer Born February 10, 1925 Alberta. Died  September 7, 2005. She was raised and educated in Manitoba. She served as Executive Director of the Volunteer Bureau and the Manitoba Centennial Corporation, founding Executive Director of the Manitoba Arts Council, founding Chair of Heritage Winnipeg, and founding member of the Assembly of Arts Administrators. She pioneered adult daytime television programming and served as the provincial government’s first woman Assistant Deputy Minister. At the national level, she was President of Heritage Canada, member of the National Executive of the Girl Guides of Canada, member of Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre for the Arts, and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. She also served on the selection committees for the Rhodes Scholarships and the Royal Bank Award. Retiring to Victoria, British Columbia in 1980, she served as Chair of the Greater Victoria Library Board, founding member of the Greater Victoria Arts Commission, Executive member of the Provincial Capital Commission, member of the Honorary Board of the Victoria Foundation, Chair of the British Columbia Heritage Society, and founding Chair of the province-wide arts and heritage advocacy group, Culture Acts Now. She was presented with the Girl Guides of Canada Merit Award, and the Manitoba Historical Society Centennial Medal (1970). In 1994 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada and in 2000 she was named an Honorary Citizen of Victoria. She was the 2004 recipient of the Woman of Distinction Award for Lifetime Achievement and in June 2005 received the British Columbia Heritage Award. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 15 September 2005 : Memorable Manitobans . Profile by Gordon Goldsborough Online (Accessed December 2011) ; Order of Canada, Online (Accessed December 2011)
 
Elsie Bear

née Hourie. Born December 13, 1921 Grand Marais, Manitoba. At 18 Elsie worked as a cook at fishing camps .  At one of the camps she met and fell in love with Sam Bear. The couple had five children. When the children became old enough to attend school the family moved to Selkirk, Manitoba. While her family was growing up Elsie volunteered for 20 years at the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre and the Manitoba Métis Federation. The couple loved children and they opened their heats to 40 children who needed a home. Christmas was always special as all the family gathered and the door was opened to needed families for Christmas dinner. Up to 100 guests would come on any given Christmas Day. In 1972 the Christmas dinner celebration was moved to the Métis Friendship Centre where Elsie and Sam would welcome 300 people . After Sam’s death Elsie carried on the tradition. In 1987 Elsie was Woman of the Year. Her name is also on the Wall of Honour at the Winnipeg Indian and Métis Friendship Center. She was honoured to be a Senator of the Manitoba Métis Federation and in 1992 she was inducted into the “Order of the Buffalo”, the highest honour given by the province of Manitoba. : Hall of Fame, History of Metropolitan Vancouver web site Accessed April 2013.
 

Ruth Marion Bell née Cooper. Born November 29, 1919 Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. Died December 16, 2015 Ottawa, Ontario. In 1929, after her father committed suicide her mother her mother brought her home to Toronto to be close to family. After school and without a scholarship to university Ruth worked at the American consulate in Toronto. It was here she met her 1st husband William Kirby Rolph. The couple married in 1945. They moved internationally to keep up with his teaching career and she began taking university courses at various universities on 2 continents. Dr. Rolph died in Australia in 1953 and Ruth returned to Canada. She completed her BA graduating in 1955 from the University of Toronto. She would earn her MA from Carleton University, Ottawa in 1965.  She worked at 1st for the Progressive Party of Canada in Ottawa. While working for a food processing company in Montreal she was invited to an evening with senior officers but reused to dance when asked. She was fired because she did not know her place! She then worked and a research economist at the Bank of Montreal and was hired as a lecturer with the University of Waterloo where she had to fight her way into the mail dominated engineering school. In 1963 she attended the annual Progressive Conservative party meeting in Ottawa reconnection with Robert Bell whom she met when she 1st returned to Canada. They married that year and settled in Nepean outside of Ottawa. As a volunteer she worked with more than 50 local, national and international organizations including being the 1st chair of UNESCO’s Sub-Commission on the Status of Women. Some of the organizations she worked with were Match International, the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of women, the Forum for Young Canadians, the Canadian commission for International Year of the Child, the National and Ottawa Council of Women, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the YM-YWCA. She was the longest serving director of TVOntario and a director of the Canadian Adult Education Association.  She penned her autobiography, Be a Nice Girl…A Woman’s Journey in the 20th Century.  In 1981 she was named to the Order of Canada followed in 1982 with the City of Nepean Distinguished Citizen Award and in 2000 the Nepean Millennium Medal.  In 2002 she received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and in 2005 she received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case and the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award.   In 2007 she established the Dick and Ruth Bell Chair for the Study of Canadian Parliamentary Democracy at Carleton University, Ottawa and received the Scotiabank Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 2008 she received the Founders Award from the University. The Bell’s historical home, Fairfields, was donated to the City of Nepean. Sources: Obituary, Ottawa Citizen December 19, 2016; Lisa Fitterman, ‘She Refused to be a ‘nice girl’. Toronto Globe and Mail January 18, 2016. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario
 
Agnes Benidickson née McCaushland. Born August19,1920, Chaffeys Lock, Ontario. Died March 23, 2007, Ottawa, Ontario. Although she was raised in Winnipeg she decided to attend Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario where her father had served as chancellor. She earned a BA in 1941 and would return a while later in 1979 to earn a degree in Law. During World War ll she began working and serving with the Canadian Red Cross. In 1947 she married William Moore Benidickson (1911-1985) who would be an Member of Parliament and Senator of Canada. The couple had three children. From 1972-1974 she served as president of the Canadian Council on Social Development and from 1974 through 1983 she was President of the National Association of Canadian Clubs. 1980- 1996 she served as the 1st woman chancellor of Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. In 1987 she was inducted as an Officer into the Order of Canada and in 1998 was promoted to Champion of the Order of Canada. In 1991 she was inducted into the Order of Ontario. Queen’s University named a beautiful gardened area the Agnes Benidickson Field in her honour. Sources: Agnes McCausland Benidickson, Queen’s Encyclopedia, Online Accessed May 2013.
 
Akua Benjamin

Born Lorna Benjamin, Trinidad. She emigrated to Canada in 1969. In the 1970’s she took an African name Akua meaning a girl born on Wednesday. She earned her PhD at the University of Toronto in Social work. By 1988 she was teaching at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her personal social work included outreach in over 1 dozen women of colour communities. She was President of the Congress of Black Women in Toronto and a founding member of the Coalition of Visible Minority Women and the National Coalition of Visible Minority Women. She aim is addressing poverty, oppression and discrimination. In 1986 she was the winner of the Constance E. Hamilton Award which recognizes efforts in equitable treatment for women from the City of Toronto. In 2001 she participated in the United Nations Conference on Racism. She is currently the Director of the School of Social Work at Ryerson University. In 2005 she was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 1000 Women of Peace Project. Source: Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective. Herstory 2007: the Canadian Women’s Calendar (Regina: Couteau Books, 2006)  pg. 72..
 

Corinne Bernard née L’Heureux. Born 1898 Norman, Ontario. Died Winnipeg 1939.  she was the daughter  prominent Manitoba pioneers. She was an active member of many French-Canadian organizations including the Federation of French-Canadian Women of Canada and the Society of Ladies of St. Anne. She was also very active with her parish of Sacred Heart church. Source: Memorable Manitobans Profile by Kris Keen. Online (accessed December 2011)
 
Dorothy Betz née Nepinak.  Born June 26, 1929 Pine Creek Reserve, Manitoba. Died  Winnipeg, Manitoba September 9, 2007.Her parents died when she was a child, and was raised by her grandparents. She attended Pine Creek Residential School until the age of 18 and worked in various places before moving to Winnipeg in 1948. She married Elmer Betz on 2 December 1950. Together they raised a family of six children. Dorothy was moved by the hardship suffered by native people which led to a lifelong career in aboriginal law and community service. She pioneered the first Native Court Communicators Program with the Province of Manitoba, where she used her Ojibway language to help aboriginal people to understand the law. She was appointed as the Canadian delegate to the Fifth United Nations Congress in Geneva, Switzerland and spoke on the topics of women, youth and aboriginal people. She was a board member, worker, or volunteer for such organizations as the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre, Manitoba Society of Criminology, Manitoba Correctional Institutions, Native Clan Organization, Juvenile Review Board, Juvenile Corrections Child Welfare Government Board, Main Street Project, Police Natives Committee, Aboriginal Health Wellness Centre, Aboriginal Centre, Human Rights Committee, Native Alcoholism Council, Kekinan Centre (Aboriginal Seniors Residence), RCMP Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Pathway Children’s Home, Marymound School, Manitoba Association of Rights Liberties, Ma Mawi Chi Itata Centre, Native Women’s Transition Centre, Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development, and Keteyatsak Elders and Seniors. In recognition of her contributions, she was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt, received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, Women of the Year Award, the Manitoba Good Citizenship Award (1977), and the Joe Zuken Award for citizen activist. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 12 September 2007; Memorable Manitobans Profile by Gordon Goldsborough (Accessed December 2011)
 
Ester Binder

 

Community Volunteer

Born 1910, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died  Winnipeg, Manitoba, February 16, 2007. She grew up in Roblin, Manitoba , and like many youth she learned to play the piano. Moving to Winnipeg in 1929, she studied and became a secretary. She married Benny Binder in 1932.  The couple had two daughters, Gloria and Carole. The family moved to Rainy River, Ontario where they ran the general store for over twenty years. Returning to Winnipeg after the death of her husband in 1966, she began a 30 year career as a volunteer piano player for residents at Deer Lodge Hospital, later performing at several other nursing homes and seniors’ centers. She was made a member of the Order of the Buffalo Hunt in 1977. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 21 February 21,  2007; Memorable Manitobans, Profile by Gordon Goldsborough. Online (Accessed December 2011)
 
Elsie Marion Eaton Bishop

Born 1909, India. Died 2003.  As a student at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia she was an award winning multi sport athlete. She went on to Normal School (Teacher’s College) and began a career teaching Home Economics.  She worked with the Women’s Institute extension program under the federal Department of Agriculture. In 1941 she married Alonzo Bishop just prior to him leaving to server in the war effort overseas. Most working women left the work place once they married but Elsie refused to quite work, after all her husband was overseas. After Al returned from the war the couple had two children. The family moved about the country with Al’s military postings. Elsie became involved with the Girl Guide movement wherever they lived. This association with the guiding movement would garner her an award for her 27 years of Service. In 1991 she was inducted into the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame. In 1992 she received the New Brunswick Day Merit Award and in 1995 she was honoured by both local and Provincial governments. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women's calendar. 2008  (Saskatoon Women's Calendar Collective / Coteau Books, 2007)
 

Marjorie Blankstein née Rady. Born Winnipeg, Manitoba. Marjory graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba. She did he post graduate Master of Social Work in 1952. That same year she married Morley Blankstein, and architect. The couple had 5 children. She was active in her community serving on various boards including the Rady Jewish Community Center and the Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice. She was an active member of the Capital Campaign Advisory Council for Friends of the Ralph Connor House and honorary Co-chair of the Words and Deeds Leadership Award Dinner in 2007. In 2008 she was honored at the Spirit of Leadership Awards, Winnipeg. In 1982 she was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada. She was the 1st to receive the Sol Kanee Distinguished Community Service Medal from the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council. She has received the 125 Anniversary of Confederation Commemorative Medal and in 1977 the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal. In 2003 she received a Distinguished Service Award form the University of Manitoba.
 
Adeline Ruth Boswell née MacGregor. Born February 23, 1896,  New London, Prince Edward Island. Died December 15, 1979, Prince Edward Island. She loved music all her life. The completed lessons with care and determination. At 15, she was the local church organist. She attended Price of Wales College and began teaching school but also continued in her musical studies. After World War I she married Keith Boswell. She initiated the Music Festival in Prince County, PEI and began a career as a traveling music teacher. She retired only at 75 years of age. She was presented with an honourary life membership of the PEI Music Festival for her musical contribution to her home province. She also had an active interest in local history. She was the prime activist in the restoration of the Boswell Home. It had been empty from 1947 thorough 1976 bus is now a prime location for community social events. She was the prime researcher for the history of Victoria-By –The- Sea which is a highly prized Tweedsmuir History. Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 1981.
 
Beryl Bouvette née Knott. Born Grand Marais, Manitoba. As a child she loved to watch her fisherman father at work. She herself learned to make his fishing nets and kept him supplied. Later in life she and her brother in law made special presentations to the Canadian History Museum of Man and Nature (Now Canadian History Museum) about the construction of theses fish nets.  Beryl married musician Red Bouvette (died 1992) and the couple enjoyed playing country music. Beryl has also been a judge for many contests for fiddle square dancing and jigging competitions within the Manitoba. Joining up with her sister and brother the family band known as the Why Not Band was born and played at many socials and senior homes in the province. They also released two CD’s of Gospel music. She also volunteers for several agencies, including the Indian & Métis Friendship Centre and the Aboriginal Senior Resources Centre. She has been the Entertainment Chairperson for Folklorama for the Métis People’s Pavilion for a number of years. In 2010 she was honoured at the Keeping the Fires Burning aboriginal awards celebrating female leaders for preserving First Nations culture and serving as role models for younger generations. Sources; Matt Preprost, “Gala recognizes accomplishments”.  Winnipeg Free Press June 18, 2010 Page A13; Lawrence Barkwell, Beryl Bouvette, Métis Museum. Online (Accessed October 2015)
 
Judith Brady Born 1931, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. Died May 5, 2013, Toronto, Ontario. Judith was the daughter of a father who believed in communism. She married briefly in her early 20’s. In 1957 she joined a group of Americans who wanted to travel to communist China. The members of the group were warned by the government of the United States that they could be criminally prosecuted for such a journey. However the group felt that they should have the freedom to travel where they wanted. They were met with great hospitality in China but when they returned to toe U.S. they were prosecuted and Judith lost her passport for a year. In San Francisco she met and married Trent Brady and they protested together in peace rallies against nuclear testing in the atmosphere.  They moved to become citizens in Canada bringing up their two adopted children. Judith rallied people to oppose the Spedina Expressway which would have cut Toronto down the middle. The expressway was abandoned in 1971. She also helped found the Karma Food Co-op to provide for the needy. She earned a Masters degree in Library Science from the University of Toronto and authored an annotated bibliography of the works of Michael Ondaatje. She worked at the Sanderson Branch of the Toronto Public Library until she retired to care for her ill husband. She wrote poetry and volunteered for Out f the Cold, a program providing emergency care for the homeless. Source: “Spurned by her homeland, she followed her conscience to Canada” by Susan Ferrier Mackay, The Globe and Mail, May 31, 2013.
 
Maria Cordis Brennan

Born Guelph Ontario. Died 2002, Hamilton Ontario. Maria moved to Hamilton, Ontario with her family in 1919. In 1926 she attended Hamilton Normal School graduating as a teacher. With no teaching positions available at the time, Maria worked at Westinghouse in the draughtsman's office. In 1927 she began teaching at St. Ann’s School in Hamilton then moved to Hespeler (now Cambridge) Ontario for 6 years. In 1934 she decided on a religious life and entered St. Joseph’s Convent. Sister Maria 1908, became music supervisor for Hamilton's separate schools and taught music for 23 years to children in 25 elementary schools retiring in 1973.  She served as president with the Canadian Pensioners Concerne. She ran a weekly drop-in centre for seniors at Hamilton's Sons of Italy Hall. She leads the YWCA Fun Choir for seniors, plays the organ every day at mass and sits on the board of the Boris Brott Summer Music Festival. In 1988, she received the Ontario Senior Achievement Award for outstanding contributions of individual senior citizens to their communities and the quality of life in Ontario.

Allison Brewer

She earned her BA at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Following a career as a journalist and communications professional,  she worked as a gay rights activist and established a national reputation. She and her partner are mothers of three children. Their son has Downs Syndrome and Allison became a forceful advocate for people with disabilities. In 1994 she worked to establish the Morgentaler Abortion Clinic in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In 1995 she represented Canadian women in the Beijing United Nations World Conference expanding her support for gays and lesbians everywhere. Moving to Nunavut in 200o she worked as the vice President of Quilliit-Nunavut Status of Women. She was a founder of the Iqaluit Pride and Friends of Pride and was a driving force behind exclusion of sexual orientation in the Nunavut Human Rights Act. In 2004 she was recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. In the fall of 2005 she began a year long leadership for the New Brunswick New Democratic Party She continues to be an activist while raising her teenagers. Suggested sources: Herstory: a Canadian women’s calendar 2007.
 

Andrea Brett Bronfman

née Morrison. Born London, England 1945. Died January 23, 2006. She married David Cohen and settled in Montreal and raised three children. In 1982 she married Charles Bronfman and became active in several philanthropic causes in North America and Israel. After 9/11 she created a program, the Gift of New York. She was also involved in Birthright Israel and the Association of Israel’s Decorative arts.
 

Annie Gardner (Gardiner) Brown

née Bar. Born July 29, 1864, Norwich, Upper Canada (Now Ontario). Died June 29, 1921, Regina, Saskatchewan.   She graduated from Brantford Young Ladies College in 1883 and continued studies in art at Alma Ladies College, St Thomas, Ontario. On October 10, 1895 she married an up and coming lawyer and future Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan George William Brown (died 1919). The couple settled in Regina and brought up their two children. She was an admired hostess for her aspiring husband and an active volunteer in women’s groups in Regina. She worked with the Methodist Church women, the Local Council of Women, the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E) , and the Aberdeen Association. She was also active in the Women’s Educational Club associated with Regina College. She worked with a small group called the Kanata Club which advocated women’s rights. She was recognized by the Red Cross and the government for her work during and after World War l with the Saskatchewan Siberian Relief Committee.  Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Toronto; University of Toronto/Laval Université, 2005 vol. 15 1921-1930
 

Bernice R. Brown

 

 

née Dickhoff. Born San Francisco, California, U.S.A. April 11, 1905. Died West Vancouver, December 15, 1971. A journalist with the San Francisco News  she came to Canada when she married in 1930. She continued her career as an editor of the Jewish Western Bulletin. In 1939 she organized Jewish women to do war work.  The group organized shipments of supplies overseas and resettled refugees. Many of the group opened their own homes to service men of all faiths. In 1946 she received the Canadian Red Cross Distinguished Service Award. An active member of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs she pressured Parliament to change immigration policy and accept orphaned Holocaust survivors. Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 1981.
 
Raymonde 'Ray' Brown née Chevalier  Born July 18, 1919 Senneville, Quebec. Died September 24, 2016 Ormestown, Quebec. In 1930 Ray was part of a group that made amateur dramatic films. She became a member of the Montreal Civil Liberties Union. During World War ll she was an active volunteer at the home from. In 1940 she married Desmond Farrel (   -1944) and the couple had one son. In 1945 she married George Roy, a bomber pilot. The couple had 3 daughters. After the war she worked as a real estate agent in Montreal. Ray was one of the founders of the Quebec branch of the Voice of Women (VOW). She worked for peace during the Cold War as well as for the political and economic rights of women. She help found the Federation des femmes du Quebec. In 1962 VOW organized a peace train that brought 300 members to present petitions to the Canadian government in Ottawa. In March 1962 she and her cousin, Therese Casgrain  (1896-1981), went to Switzerland to voice support for nuclear disarmament at a 17 nation conference. Ray married William Bowen (   -1998) and in 1982 she sold her home on the family estate in Senneville and moved to Elgin, Quebec. Source: Fred Langan, Obituary, Globe and Mail October 18, 2016. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa.
 
Sandra "Sandy" Brown

née Tanzman. Born 1941 Saint John, New Brunswick. In 1965 she earned her B.Sc in pharmacology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the next two years she studied and earned her Masters in Social Work from McGill University, Montreal and in 1963 she married Melvin Brown. The couple have three daughters. She started her working career with the Family Services Association of Toronto. As a volunteer she has served as a “foot soldier”, board member and executive member for numerous associations including: The United Way, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Kidney Foundation, The Salvation Army, the Senior Care for the Jewish Elderly, the Heart Fund, the United Jewish Appeal, the Forest Hill Nursery School, the National council of Jewish Women, the Jewish Volunteer Services, the National Educational Conferences of. the Canadian Zionist Federation, the Toronto Board of Jewish Education, the Educational Planning and Allocations Committee of Toronto Jewish Congress…She was the first woman to be appointed President of the Jewish Federation of Toronto from 1995-1996. There is no doubt why she was selected in 1991 and again in 1995 by the Ontario Government to be presented with the Volunteer Service Award. Source: Brown, Michael, “Sandra Brown”, Jewish Women: a Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 1 march 2009. Jewish Women’s Archives Accessed August 2011 http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/brown-sandra.
 

Mary Bryant

Born March 3, 1919, Ardath, Saskatchewan. Died April 4, 2011, Ottawa, Ontario. Mary went to a one room school house until the depression of the dustbowl made it economically not possible for her to continue at school. She finished her grade school a home and at 16 attended high school for 90 days before successfully passing her final exams with honours.  With financial assistance fro an older sister she enrolled in Normal School (Teachers college) and graduated and in August 1936 she was teaching .  She worked at a number of one room schools, an Indian Residential School at Lac L Rouge, Saskatchewan and from 1944-1948 at the Anglican Mission School at Aklavik, North West Territories. While in Aklavik, Mary wrote her own primer called Our Book for her students. Mary had a great interest in botany and enrolled in Biology at the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1951. It was while at the university she met and married Joe Bryant and the couple moved to Manitoba, then Aklavik, N.W.T. The couple had two children. After moving several times, including time in Scotland, the family settled in Ottawa in 1967. Mary received many awards for her community service, including the Ottawa Mayor’s Award for Community Service; the Ontario Horticultural Service Award; The Rehabilitation Centre Achievement Award; the Woman of Distinction Award for Lifetime Achievement. Through the 1970’s and 1980’s Mary Taught Mathematics and English in the adult re-entry program at Algonquin College, Ottawa. Perhaps more than the awards she prized the contacts of her students who tracked her down to tell her how much difference she made in their lives. Later in her life she would published a book Four Years – and then some (2007) documenting her early teaching experiences. The proceeds from her books were donated to the Rehabilitation Centre of the Ottawa Hospital. Source: Mary Bryant…a life travelled by Carl Dow True North Perspective. (Accessed March 2012) Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.

Jane Buchan Born 1837 Paris, Upper Canada (Ontario) Died November 21, 1904. As a young girl Jane committee herself to Christian service and was baptized into membership of the Baptist Church. In 1873 Jane included in her benevolent works help in founding the YWCA /Young Women’s Christian Association of Toronto. She would serve for 20 years as Secretary of the YWCA. In 1876 Jane and her sisters Margaret and Erskine became leaders in the movement to create the Women’s Baptist Foreign Missionary Society of Ontario West. Jane and Margaret launched a private periodical, the Canadian Missionary Link with Jane as its first business manager. Soon their publication bloomed with 5000 subscribers. Within a year of the establishment of the Society it had grown to 30 Circles. In 1886 the women’s missionary society appointed Jane as corresponding secretary/foreign secretary,. She would hold this position until her death. Source: The Dictionary of Canadian Biography
 
Bessie Portigal Buchwald Born 1901 Russia. Died June 15, 1989 Winnipeg, Manitoba.  She immigrated to Canada at the age of five. She married Frank Buchwald and the couple had three children. A lifelong Zionist she was active in many community organizations. She was the first Manitoba Regional Vice-President of Hadassah-WIZO and a founding member with her husband of the Winnipeg chapter of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University. She was also a chairperson for the sale of State of Israel Bonds, a member of the Women’s Division of the Jewish Welfare Fund, a member of the National Council for Jewish Women and of the Zaarey Zedek Sisterhood. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem awarded her its ‘Torch of Learning’ award for lifelong service in 1980. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, Monday, 19 June 1989, page 31 ; Memorable Manitobans. Profile by Kris Keen. Online (Accessed December 2011)
 
Rebecca 'Becky' Buhay Born February 11, 1896, London, England. Died December 16, 1953. She was a union organizer for the garment industry in Montreal. She became involved in politics and lectured and toured across the country. Political friends knew her as a great communicator of radical ideas and for her loyalty.
 
Annie Buller  (married name Guralnick)  Born Ukraine December 9, 1895. Died January 19, 1973. She immigrated to Montreal from the Ukraine with her parents when she was a child.  She studied Marxism at school and joined the Workers' (Communist) Party of Canada in 1922.  She devoted herself to the politics of the her party.  She would help workers of all trades, from mining to dressmaking, form unions to better their working conditions.  She retired in the late 1950's but continued to lend her experiences to the Party organization until her death. While Communism never gained a strong foothold in Canada, her devotion to the betterment of workers lives and the bravado she displayed in her beliefs is a strong legacy for all Canadian women. 
 
Audrey Burger

Born 1912, India. Died January 15, 1988. Educated in England she began her working career as a teacher of languages in Germany until the Nazi regime forced her to relocate. She eventually settled in Canada in 1959. She became president of the Association of Women Electors in the 1960’s and was an active member of the Metropolitan Toronto Social Planning Council. She also served as a member of the Metro Toronto Housing C. Ltd. Which acted as the city’s public housing agency.
 

Marie Rosalie Cadron

Sister Marie de la Nativité

Born January 27,179, .Lower Canada (now Quebec)  Died  April 5, 1864. She married at 17 years of age to Jean-Marie Jetté , October 7, 1811. The two would have eleven children. As a widow she opened her home to care for unwed mothers. In 1895 she became an nun and took the name  Sister Marie de la Nativité with the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy where she continued her efforts to help young pregnant girls. Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Vol. lX pg. 111-112
 

Friselda Caisse née Potvin. Born 1858, Quebec. Died 1948, Bracebridge, Ontario. Her family moved from La Prairie Quebec to resettle in Peterborough, Ontario. Friselda was a seamstress and milner. She married Joseph Caisse (1855-1916) and the couple settled in Bracebridge, Ontario where they raised their 11 children. She served as president of the Local Women’s Institute> Her work for the Red Cross in both world wars garnered her a honorary Life Membership. She was also active in her community church where a church window at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is dedicated to her. At the age of 72 she suffered from breast cancer and was given little hope of more than days to live. Her daughter René Caisse, a nurse who worked to establish a breast cancer cure called Essiac, used the herbal tea in caring for her mother and Friselda lived for another 18 years. Source: René Caisse. in the Bracebridge Examiner January 1979. Online (Accessed June 2015)
 
Marion Coutts Carson Born 1861. Died 1950. On May 18, 1887 she married William Carson and the couple had 6 children. In 1898 the family settled in Calgary, Alberta.  In 1911 she formed the Tuberculosis (TB) Association and in 1912 the 1st TB hospital in Alberta opened in Calgary. She also volunteered for the Calgary Library Board. From 1920 through 1924 she served as a trustee for the Calgary Public School Board  and she was a member of the Alberta Council of Child Welfare for 27 years. She worked to establish free medical clinics and distribution of milk to needy families. In 1935 she received the King George V medal for her services to the province. In the mid 1940’s she was Calgary’s Citizen of the Year. The Marion Carson School was named in her honour. Source: Kay Sanderson, 200 Remarkable Alberta Women. Famous Five Foundation, 1999.
 
June Callwood Born June 2, 1924 Chatham, Ontario.  Died April 14, 2007. June enjoyed being a writer when she worked on her High School newspaper. She began her working career with her hometown Brantford Expositor until 1942 when she relocated to Toronto to work at the Globe and Mail. In 1944 she married journalist Trent Frayne (1918-2012). She retained her maiden name as at this time the Globe and Mail did not hire married women. The couple had 4 children. She earned her pilot’s license in the 1940’s and retained it all her life. She also published 12 books of her own.  She became a freelance journalist and wrote books ghost-writing close to 10 autobiographies for noted North Americans. In 1954/5 she and her husband hosted a CBC television program called the Fraynes.   She became a television journalist with the CBC television series In Touch from 1975-1976. She also hosted 2 series, National Treasure and Caregiving with June Callwood for Vision TV. She became one of Canada’s most famous justice activist for such social causes as homeless youth and drug addicts.  She founded Casey House, a Toronto hospice for people with Aids and Jessie’s: the June Callwood Centre for Young Women. She was also a founder of PEN Canada, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Feminists Against Censorship. She became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1978 and in 1986 she became an Officer of the Order which was upgraded to Companion in 2000. In 2004 she went public about her struggle with Cancer, refusing treatment she continued to be active until she was overtaken by the disease. She last appeared on TV April 2, 2007. A biography, written by Anne Dublin, June Callwood: A Life of Action, was published in March 2007. There is a street and a city park named in her honor in Toronto and in 2004 she was named Toronto Humanist of the Year by the Humanist Association of Toronto. In 2008 Ontario Premier Dalton McGinty declared June 2 of every year to be June Callwood Day. Her papers are deposited with the National Archives of Canada. Source: Canadian Encyclopedia Online. Accessed 2009.
 
Maria Campbell. Born April 6,1940 Athlone, Edmonton, Alberta.  In Edmonton she assisted in founding a halfway house for women and a women's emergency shelter. She began writing because she was upset that so few people knew about historic and contemporary Native Cultures. She has written screenplays and books. She is fluent in four languages: Cree, Michif, Saulteaux, and English.  Her 1st book Halfbreed came out in 1973 but continued to inspire generations of indigenous women. Four of her works have been published in eight countries and have been translated into German, Chinese, French and Italian. Her plays have been performed across Canada and abroad. From 1985 through 1997 she owned and operated a production company, Gabriel Productions. She has also directed and written films produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). She is a well known activist for Aboriginal Rights. She has set up food and housing cooperatives, facilitated women's circles, advocated for the hiring and recognition of Native people in the arts and mentored many indigenous artists.  She has been honoured with numerous awards for her works including 1979 the Vanier Award, 1985 the order of the Sash from the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, the Dora Mavor Award, Chalmers Award for Best new play in 1986, The Gabriel Dumont Medal of Merit from the Gabriel Dumont Institute in 1992, the Saskatchewan Achievement Award from the government of Saskatchewan in 1994, The National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1995, The Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2006, the Distinguished Canadian Award in 2006, and the Order of Canada in 2008. She has taught as an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan, at Brandon College she was a Stanley Knowles Distinguished Visiting Professor, and is an Aboriginal scholar and lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan. She has been writer-in residence at universities and public libraries since 1979.
 
Minnie Julia Beatrice Campbell Born  June 18, 1862, Palermo, Ontario. Died November 3, 1952 ,Port Arthur [now Thunder Bay], Ontario. After high school in 1880 she attended the Wesleyan Female College (Hamilton, Ontario) and made her debut at Government House at Toronto in 1878. She taught at the Ottawa Ladies’ Presbyterian College from 1881 to 1882 prior to her marriage, on 16 July 1884, to Colin H. Campbell. The couple had two children. She was active in many social activities throughout Canada. She organized, promoted and was Chairman of many war societies; served on the Board of the YWCA; was Vice-President of the National YWCA; was Honorary President of the Womans’ Auxiliary of the Anti-Tuberculosis Society; was a member of the Women’s Music Club, Empire Club (England), Western Art Association; Councilor of the Winnipeg Red Cross Society; and secretary of the First Provincial and local Red Cross Society. She was especially active with the Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E),  as Regent of its Fort Garry Chapter, President of the Provincial Chapter, Councilor of the National I.O.D.E, and Life Member of the National I.O.D.E. In 1935 she was inducted into the Order of the British Empire. She was the only Canadian woman to be awarded the Golden Cross of Merit by Poland for her war relief service. She received the coronation medals of Edward VIII, George V, George VI, and the Silver Jubilee Medal of George V. Sources: Memorable Manitobans. Biography by Gordon Goldsborough (Accessed March 2012)
 
Sharon Capeling-Alakija

Helping people of the world

Born Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Died November 4, 2003, Bonn, Germany. She taught school in Saskatoon for a year after receiving her B.A. and her Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan. In 1967 she was working with Canadian Universities Services Overseas. Returning to Canada she began working with the head office of CUSO in Ottawa. Back in the field in Togo, Africa she met and married Robin Alakija but unfortunately was soon widowed.  In 1982 she was the Director of Cuso’s West African Region . She was concerned for the women who had to walk miles to obtain drinking water and worked to provide small areas with safe wells with a man and a woman in charge of each well. In 1989 she was working with the United Nations. From 1989 through 1994 she was Directory of the UN Office of Evaluation and Strategic Planning. In 1998 she became Executive Coordinator of the UN Volunteer program and would lead the UN through the 2001 Year of the Volunteer. In 2003 she was appointed an Officer in the Order of Canada which recognized her efforts to better the lives of peoples of the world. Sources: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2000 ( Silver Anniversary year) Coteau Books, 1999 pg. 22 ; The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan online accessed July 2011.
 

Pat Capponi Born 1949. Abused as a child and committed to a mental institution are all part of the life of Pat. She turned her experiences into books and became a major voice for mental health and poverty.  From 1992 to 2008 she published 7 books advocating for mental health issues and poverty issues in Canada.  Pat has served as a board member at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto as a member or the Advocacy Commission in Ontario She is the co-facilitator of the "From Surviving To Advising" initiative undertaken by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The effort brings together consumer-survivors with psychiatry residents to allow those with lived experience to work with residents to understand new perspectives of recovery She hold the Order of Ontario and has been awarded the C.M. Hincks Award from the Canadian Mental Health Association. In 2015 she was named as a Member of the Order of Canada.
 
Bonnie Cappuccino Born 1934, St Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A. She trained as a registered nurse. She married and had two children and then her family grew even more with 19 adopted children. In 1985 she founded and became director of Child Haven International which is a non-profit charitable organization. The organization helps destitute children and women throughout the world. They maintain three children's homes in India and one in Nepal and are affiliated with others. Bonnie travels to each of the children's homes four times a years. For her efforts she has been awarded the Ontario Citizenship Medal in 1985, the Canada Volunteer Award in 1986 the UNESCO Prize for teaching of Human Rights in 1998. She and her husband Fred were the first Canadians to win this award. In 1996 they both received the Order of Canada.
 
Judith 'Judy' Feld Carr Born 1938 Montreal, Quebec. Judy earned her Bachelor of Music in musicology at the University of Toronto. She taught high school music in Toronto for several years and also taught musicology at the University of Toronto.  She was a visiting lecturer at Yeshiva University, New York City, U.S.A., The Hebrew University, Jerusalem and Youngstown University, Ohio, U.S.A. In 1973 she established the Fund for Jews in Arab Lands in 1973. The funds were used to negotiate ransom for release of Syrian Jews from prison and to smuggle other Jews across Syrian boarders to safety. Her work covered a period of 28 years and was conducted in complete secrecy in order to protect lives of Jews Muslims and Christians in danger. Over 3,200 Syrian Jews escaped to safety, She served as chair of the Canadian Jewish Congress’s National Task Force for Syrian Jewry, publicizing the plight of Syrian Jews and approached the Canadian government to admit Syrian Jews temporarily to Canada. Her story is told in the book by Harold Troper: The Ransomed of God: the Remarkable Story of One Woman’s Role in the Rescue of Syrian Jews. June 2012 she received the Presidential Award of Distinction of the State of Israel. She has also been inducted into the order of Canada. In 2002 she received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and in 2012 the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal. She was the Abram Sachar Medal’s Woman of the year at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, U.S.A. She has also received the Saul Hayes Human Rights Award from the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Simon Wiesenthal Award for Tolerance, Justice and Human Rights and the University of Haifa Humanitarian Award of Merit.
 
Emilie Leblanc Carrier Born 1863, Memramcook, New Brunswick. She taught school for a number of years in Nova Scotia before returning to New Brunswick with her husband. Between 1895 and 1898, using the pseudonym “Marichette”, she wrote a series of letters on women’s issues to the French-language newspaper, L’Évangéline. The 1st letter championed women’s right to vote, claiming that women were “aching with the desire” to get into the polling booths. This is believed to be the 1st and last suffrage (i.e., the right to vote in political elections) letter by an Acadian woman to appear in a major Acadian newspaper. It was many years later, on April 15, 1919, that the New Brunswick legislature granted all New Brunswick women the right to vote in provincial elections. Source: New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Celebrating Achievers; Behind Every Successful Woman Are All the Women Who Came Before Her., September 2002. Online (accessed January 2016)
 
Alice Katrina Loewen Chambers Born June 11,1937 , Elkhorn, Manitoba. Died December 13, 1999, Pinawa, Manitoba. She attended the University of Manitoba and by the early 1960s had completed an Honours Bachelor of Science in microbiology and was working in Ottawa at the National Research Council. In 1968, she and her husband Keith moved to Pinawa, Manitoba from Leeds, England with their infant daughter Anna. They would add two boys to the family. An active community volunteer, she served 14 years on the local school board, was a founding member of the recycling committee, worked in the public and school libraries, and volunteered as a Guide leader. In May 1992, her career as an environmental activist took shape when Alice noticed an ad in the Winnipeg Free Press regarding an environmental license for an old pulp mill downstream from where she lived. Discovering that the mill was discharging 38 million litres of lethal effluent every day was her wake-up call to the true state of “environmental protection” in Manitoba.. She was well known (and sometimes feared) for her vast knowledge of environmental issues and the supporting science behind them. Her opinion was valued by many local, regional and international organizations. She was appointed to a number of advisory boards such the Manitoba Environmental Council. Her husband died suddenly in 1993, and three years later, she contracted cancer Source: biographical profile by Roger Turenne, with revisions by the Chambers family.Memorable Manitobans Online. (Accessed November 2012)
 
Charlotte M. Ayotte Chaput

Born Aylmer, Quebec. Died Winnipeg, Manitoba February 14, 2002. In 1942, her husband joined the Air Force, Charlotte launched on a long career of volunteerism, working for the Red Cross during the war. She was active in the 1950s in the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, serving as President of the CWL in Peace River, Alberta, Dawson Creek and Prince Rupert, BC and later as the CWL Provincial Treasurer in BC. She was also the President of Home and School of Notre Dame in Dawson Creek, and in 1964, she helped organize the Regina Newcomers Club. Moving to Winnipeg in 1971, her volunteer efforts turned to the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation. Joining St. Agnes Guild, she served as President for two years and chaired the Children’s Hospital Annual Appeal for two years. She was later honoured by being named Vice President of the Board of the Research Foundation for three years. She was active in the Rotary Inner Wheel Club and served as its President. Sources: Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday, 16 February 2002, page 52.
 

Gertrude Childs

Born November 1881. Died  Winnipeg, Manitoba  June 15, 1957. She was active in social welfare work for the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba.  She started working with the city social welfare commission in 1920. Later appointed supervisor of the city welfare commission, and she became supervisor of Mothers Allowances. In recognition of her work, she was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1934. She retired in 1948. After her death, the Gertrude Childs Scholarship was established to recognize second year students in the school of social work at the University of Manitoba. Sources:  “Noted social worker dies at age of 75” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 June 1957, page 53 : Memorable Manitobans Online (Accessed November 2012)
 

Ada Borradaile Chipman

Born June 11 1860 (?) Brussels, Belgium Died London, England, October 26, 1913. Wife of Clarence Campbell Chipman,(1856-1924), a Canadian civil servant who in 1891 was  appointed Commissioner of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The couple were married April 25, 1882 and lived first in Ottawa and then  Winnipeg, Manitoba from 1890 to 1910. They had a family of seven children.  After her husband ‘s retirement the couple returned to England. Ada was the organizing president of a women’s art association ,Western Art Association in1907. She organized the Rupert’s Land diocesan branch of the Mothers’ Union in 1909, supported anti-tuberculosis campaigns, and aided patients at Ninette Sanitarium. Source: Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba (Manitoba Library Association, 1971) : Legacyfamilytree.ca  (Accessed November 2012)
 

Bertha Clark née Houle. Born November 6, 1922 Clear Hills, Alberta. Died October 21, 2014. At 18 she joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. She became angry because as a woman she could not have a land grant like males who served in World War ll. She began to fight for the rights of Metis women like herself. She married George Clark a farmer and the couple had 6 children. In the 1960’s after a fire took their farm house in Fort McMurray she worked as a hair dresser, receptionist, and school bus driver and telephone operator to help support her family. She helped establish the local aboriginal Friendship Center. In 1968 she founded the Voice of Alberta Native Women’s Society. She went on to become the 1st president of the National Women’s Association of Canada. She was presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award and the Golden Jubilee Award and was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2011 along with her husband. She also received the University of Toronto Arbor Award, the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews Human Relations Award and Scopus Award from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
 
Julia Jane Murray Clark

Born November 1, 1857 Selkirk Settlement, Manitoba.  Died Winnipeg, Manitoba, August 8, 1919. She married fur trader William Clark. She was active in promoting the work of child welfare agencies such as the Children’s Home of Winnipeg, on whose Board she served for 12 years, seven as its President. In 1918 a two storey school was built and named in her honour and it was declared an historic site in 1997. Sources: Memorable Manitobans Online Accessed November 2012.

Janet Cochrane nee Williams. Born March 1, 1912 Fisher Bay, Manitoba. Died December 6, 1994 Winnipeg, Manitoba. The family changed their name from Papaniakuse to Williams after emigrating to Canada. Janet married Arthur Cochrane (   -1954) who relinquished all treaty rights to work with his father-in-law off the reserve. The couple had 8 children. Sadly four of the children died in infancy. Arthur became blind in 1955 and the family relocated for better medical care to Winnipeg. In 1956 Janet and her friend Amy Clements founded the Friendship Centre concept where First Nation peoples and their family could gather across Canada. The 1st Friendship Centre was incorporated in Winnipeg. The two good friends helped First Nation and Metis families relocated in urban areas. She served her organization for over 35 years, fundraising and doing hands on work for any group or project that helped First Nations people. In 1984 she and her daughter Frances applied for a grand at the Core Area initiative to do a study for First Nation Elders Housing Complex. The Kekinan Inc. was founded with the grant and the housing complex was completed in Winnipeg. On April 20, 1989 Janet became a Member of the Order of Canada. Janet was also been acknowledged for her work from the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre. The centre has named a hall after her, and had several portraits painted of her. She has been a long-time member of the Native Women's Group and was the President of the Indian and Métis Senior Citizen's Group of Winnipeg.
 
Martha Ruth Cohen nee Block. Born October 14, 1920 Calgary, Alberta. Died February 26, 2015 Calgary, Alberta. Martha married Dr. Harry Cohen (1912 -1990) and the couple had four children.  Martha earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta in 1940 and a Master Diploma of Social Work from the University of Toronto in 1945.  Martha was a driving force behind the creation of many social and cultural institutions including Jewish Family Service Calgary, Mount Royal College, and the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts. In 1970 she earned the Prime Minister Medal from the State of Israel Bonds. She received the Alberta Achievement Award in 1975 and that same year was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 1977 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Silver Jubilee Medal and a Sesquicentennial Year Plaque from the University of Toronto. In 1979 she was made Calgary Citizen of the Year. In 1984 she received the Boy Scouts of Canada Medal and the Variety Club International Lifeliner Medal.  From 1980-1985 she was a Councilor, of the Alberta Order of Excellence. In 1983 Harry Cohen donated $1 million to have a theatre named at the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts to honor Martha’s birthday. In the 1990’s she received the Scopus Award from the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Distinguished Citizen Award from Mont Royal College, the Angel Award from the International Society for the Performing Arts. In 2005 she received an Alberta Centennial Medal followed the next year by the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Calgary Board of Education. In 2008-2009 she received the Best of Alberta Award from the Calgary Herald and the Global News Woman of Vision. In 2012 she received the Western Legacy Award as one of the 100 Outstanding Albertans from the Calgary Stampede. The couple established a foundation in their name which provided grants primarily to Calgary based charities. On May 4, 2015, the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) announced that it would name a new Middle School (located in New Brighton/Copperfield) after Martha. In April, 2017, the CBE formally opened the Dr. Martha Cohen School at 1750 New Brighton Drive S.E. It will provide educational programming for approximately 900 students from Grades 5 to 9.
 
Nina Cohen née Fried. Born January 1, 1907, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Died December 31, 1991.  She studied music and art at Mount Allison Ladies College and went on to Rutgers’s University in New Jersey, U.S.A. In 1928 she married Aharon Mordechai Cohen (1899-1978)  During World War ll she served as chair of the hospital visiting committee and as publicity chair of the Canadian red Cross in Sidney, Nova Scotia. After the War she was active in the War Orphan Placement Service of the Canadian Jewish Congress. In 1955 she was a Negev Dinner Honoree in Sidney. She was an active Zionist serving as National President of Canadian Hadassah-Wizo from 1960-1964 after which she was proclaimed President for Life. She received the Canadian Red Cross Medal of Merit, and Woman of the Century 1867-1967 for the province of Nova Scotia and for the National Council of Jewish Women. Source: Jewish Women’s Archive.  Personal Information for Nina Fried Cohen. Online (Accessed June 2013)
 
Elizabeth Comper née Webster. Born November 6, 1945 Etobicoke, Ontario. Died June 22, 2014 Toronto, Ontario. After high school Elizabeth attended Toronto Teacher’s College and began teaching elementary school students. In 1971 she married banker Anthony (Tony) Comper and the newly weds settled in Montreal, Quebec. While Elizabeth continued to teach she attended night classes and earned her BA from Concordia University. She followed this with studies in librarianship receiving her MLS from McGill University. The family moved to wherever the bank sent Tony including time in England before finally settling in Toronto. In 1989 Elizabeth helped raise funds for the 1st Yee Hong Center for Geriatric Cancer and she was honoured to receive the Dragon Ball in 2000 and 2001 for her work. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Tarragon Theatre serving 2 years as President. She was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Conservatory of Music. Aware of disturbances in Montreal against the Jewish community she formed Fighting Anti-Semitism Together (FAST), a coalition of non-Jewish businesses and citizens who provided free educational materials to 2 million primary grade children. Personally she helped aboriginal single mothers to enter university. She helped Reach for the Skye Program for child cancer research, the March for Remembrance and Hope and Smile Theater Company. She has received the Arbor Award from the University of Toronto, the Human Relations Award from the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, the Human Relations Award from the Canadian Center for Diversity and the Scopus Award from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2011 she and Tony were inducted into the Order of Canada. Source: Elizabeth Comper, Obituaries, The Globe and Mail, June 25, 2014.  Suggestion submitted by June Coxon Ottawa, Ontario
 
Bertha Cook née Houle. Born November 6, 1922 Clear Hills, Alberta. Died  October 21, 2014. At 18 the young Métis joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and worked her way to being a corporal. After the war in 1945 she was incensed by the fact that she could not have a land grant like the men who had served in World War ll. Women were not allowed the grants of land. During the war she had met a young Australian serviceman who returned to Australia after the war. Bertha gave birth to a baby girl but was forced to give her up for adoption. It would be 50 years before the two would find one another again. Meanwhile Bertha married George Clark, a farmer, and eventually the couple had 6 children. In the 1960’s they lost their farm to fire and the family moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta. Bertha worked at various jobs to help keep the family together including being a hairdresser, a receptionist, a school bus driver and a telephone operator.  During this time she was also and active volunteer in the community. She helped establish and aboriginal Friendship Center. In 1968 she founded the Voice of Alberta Native Women’s Society. She became the 1st president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. All the time she was working towards making a better existence for aboriginal women. She has received both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal. She has also been inducted into the Order of Canada. Source: Alicja Siekierska ‘Métis activist galvanized by injustice’. The Globe and Mail, January 31, 2015. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon Ottawa, Ontario.
 
Joan E. Coolican née Campbell. Born 1918. Died July 20, 2010 Ottawa, Ontario. She married Denis Coolican and the couple had four As the daughter of a British Diplomat Jean was well travelled. She was born in Ethiopia and lived in England, U.S.A. and finally Ottawa where she met he husband. After raising the children Jean went to Carleton University and earned a BA in religious studies when she was 53 years old. She was co-founder of the Canadian Save the Children Fund and was a long time volunteer. In 1999 she was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award. Source: Births and Deaths, The Ottawa Citizen July 23, 2010.
 
Léa Cousineau

In 1974 the Montreal Citizens Movement (MCM) / Rassemblement des citoyens et citoyennes de Montréal (RMC) was formed and Léa was right there. She would become the first woman to be elected president of a municipal political party in Quebec. She was instrumental in changes to the Montréal Police Service, leading to the hiring of more women police officers and more transparent and community-friendly approach to policing. She was elected as a city councilor from 1986 through 1994. Léa was also a member of the Status of Women Council and Associated Deputy Minister responsible for the status of women in Quebec. She was a strong force in the establishment of a programme analyzing differentials between genders and a grant programme enabling Quebec women to maintain involvement in regional development. In 2004 she was a recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person Case. Suggested sources: 2004 recipients of the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Person Case Online (Accessed November 2008)
 

Linda Dorothy Crabtree Born St Catherines, Ontario April 16, 1942. From 1970 through 1982 she was a journalist for the St Catherines Standard newspaper. in 1986 she developed It's OK! a magazine which publishes information on sexuality, self-esteem and disability. In 1984 she established and became president of the Charcot-MarieTooth (CMT) International. CMT is a progressively debilitating neuromuscular syndrome. Having the disease herself, she is an active role model. She earned her BA from Brock University, St Catherines in 1987. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CARD). She became a member of the Order of Canada in 1994 and that same year was recipient of the YMCA Peace medal. She also received the Toronto Sun's Women on the Move Award. She also received the Canada 125 Medal, the Order of Ontario and the Ontario Medal for Citizenship.
 
Marion Elizabeth Crerar

 

Philanthropist

née Stinson. Born September 8, 1859 Hamilton, Upper Canada (Ontario) Died Hamilton, Ontario May 20, 1919.  She married Cuthbert John Ottaway on August 19, 1877 but he died before their daughter was born. She married a second time to Peter Duncan Crerar on June 9, 1884. The couple would have three sons and a daughter. Marion was trained as a singer and raised funds for the local philharmonic orchestra. She founded the Hamilton branch of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire in 1900 and served as regent from 1902-1913. She also worked for the battle against tuberculosis, which had claimed the life of her first husband. In 1906 she was a founding member of the Ladies” Auxiliary Board of the Hamilton Health Association. In WW l Marion directed her energies to the war effort. In September 1915 she donated her home for the use of a convalescent hospital for returned soldiers. She organized the Woman’s Auxiliary of the 11th Battery, Canadian Filed Artillery, her son’s unit. She also was a tireless worker with the Canadian Red Cross.  Source: Canadian Dictionary of Biography Online (Accessed 2002)
 
Sophie Crestohl née Wolofsky. Born June 18, 1902, Montreal, Quebec. Died October 27, 2002. Sophie Married Leon David Crestohl (1900-1963) on June 18, 1025. He was an up and coming Lawyer who would become a Liberal Member of the Canadian Parliament.  After World War ll Sophie made more than 25 trips to war torn Europe in her work for rehabilitation. She visited Poland, Italy, France, Czechoslovakia and Germany on fact finding missions, visiting displaced people and concentration camps. Her work involved Liaison with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and the International Refugee Organization. In Turkey and Greece she worked with the Marshall Plan to raise money for more rehabilitation. In 1948 she founded the Canadian Women’s Overseas Office of Rehabilitation and Retraining (ORT) and served as the 1st president of the organization. Sources: Canadian Women of Note % 185 page 203.   Prepared by the Canadian Women’s Press Club through York University.
 
Elizabeth Mary Crowe née Holmes. Born March 31, 1856, Clifton, Nova Scotia. Died November 6, 1918, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In 1875, she married grain merchant George Reading Crowe (1852-1924). The couple settled in Winnipeg in 1881.  They had three children. Elizabeth became active in their new community where she served as Vice-President for Manitoba of the YWCA Dominion Council, President of the Winnipeg YWCA, President of the Westminster Presbyterian Church Ladies’ Society, President and Secretary of the Women’s Missionary Society, and President of the Women’s Canadian Club of Winnipeg. She was also a  member of the Daughters of the Empire, and the Victorian Order of Nurses.
Source: Memorable Manitobans. Online. (Accessed February 2014)
 
Evelyn Cudmore née MacEwen. Born MacEwen’s Mills Bristol, Prince Edward Island. Died May 25, 1892.  She was born a member of the fourth generation Scottish Immigrant of the Island. She attended Prince of Wales College before marring Harry. W. Cudmore. They had one son, Paul. As a youth she helped with the Canadian Girls in Training and later she served in various capacities with the Girl Guides of Canada. She joined the service of the Red Cross on June 2, 1942 and would remain loyal and active for 70 years! She served with the United Way and joined the local Zonta group and became involved the Zonta International. She was responsible in 1945 for organizing the first Red Cross Water Safety Course in Canada that certified Instructors. In 1946 she organized First Aid services throughout PEI. She introduced radio and later television training for water safety. She would host the safety Radio programs for 25 years. Her life was devoted to physical education, health and recreation. The Girl Guides of Canada presented her with life membership and the Beaver Award. She was provided with the Distinguished Service Award from the United Way of Canada. She also received the 1967 Confederation Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal in 1977.  In 1993 she became a member of the Order of Canada. The University of Prince Edward Island offers annually the Evelyn M. Cudmore Memorial Scholarship. Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 1981.
 
Claire Culhane née Elgin. Born September 2, 1918 Montreal, Quebec. Died April 25, 1996 Vancouver, British Columbia. As a youth in the province of Quebec during the depression she had been involved in the relief movement. As a young idealistic woman she joined the Communist Party of Canada. This began a lifelong relationship with the RCMP watching her movements. She strove for the end of the Spanish Civil War. Working as a medical records librarian in Montreal she gained the experience to volunteer as an advisor at a Canadian Government operated Tuberculosis hospital in Quang Ngai City in Viet Nam 1967/1968. She was deeply moved and never forgot the horrors she saw. Returning home to Canada, on September 30,1968 she began a ten day hunger fast on Parliament Hill in protest of Canada’s involvement in Viet Nam. Her efforts were supported by the Voice of Women organization. Later that year she attended the International Stockholm conference on Viet Nam and from there to Paris, France for peace talks. In December 1969 she participated in a Paris conference on War Crimes. On Christmas Eve 1969, back in Canada, she was working on a documentary called Enough/Assez: enough horrors, enough vacillation and enough complicity. In 1972 she published Why is Canada in Viet Nam? : The truth about our foreign aid. At one point when Parliament was in session she chained herself to a gallery chair in the House of Commons and scattered pamphlets denouncing Canada in Viet Nam. In 1975 she was a woman’s studies instructor at the Lakeside Prison for Women in British Columbia. This began a career advocating prison rights as she became a watchdog for prisoners’ human and legal rights. She was passionate about prison reform and in 1976 she was appointed to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for British Columbia Penitentiaries. Sources: Claire Culhane: Canadian Peace Activist and Humanitarian. http://pw20c.mcmaster.ca (Accessed December 2011) : Farewell to a friend by Liz Elliott Journal of Prisoners on Prisons vol. 8 nos. 1 & 2 1997. : Lowe, Mick, One woman Army: the life of Claire Culhane (Toronto: McMillan Canada, 1992) Suggestion submitted by Marion Crow, Cochrane, Ontario.
 
Alice Marion Curtis née Mills. Born 1877, Lambeg, Ireland. Died 1964, Vancouver, British Columbia. Alice arrived in Ontario in 1887 and graduated in 1898 from the Ottawa Normal School. She taught for several years in Ottawa. In 1903 she married James Heines Curtis. The couple would have 3 children. In 1904 they relocated to Alberta in hopes of having a ranch but by 1905 they lived in Calgary. In 1913-1914 she became the 1st president of the Mothers’ Club at Connaught School. This was the 1st such club in the Canadian west. She was soon organizing other clubs at other schools. Widowed in 1921 she would return to teaching to support her family. In 1926 she helped found the Calgary Home and School Federation. She would go on to serve as secretary treasurer for the national Federation. The Federation gave her a life membership in 1951. She was als active in the United Nations Association of Canada. In 1964 a school in Calgary was named in her honour.
 
Dorothy Danzker

née Sternberg. Born Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA Died April 26, 1988. She was a community volunteer who worked with over one dozen organizations within her community including the B’Nai B’rith Women’s Organization, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Hadassah-Wizo Organization, the Council of Jewish Women, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Young Women’s Hebrew Association, the Winnipeg United Appeal, the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Winnipeg Hear Fund, the Society of Crippled Children and the Multiple Sclerosis Society to name a few. Her volunteerism behind the scenes was an essential force that runs the organizations and without which such organizations cannot function.
 

Francoise David Born 1948  Montreal, Quebec. She graduated from the University of Montreal with a degree in Social work and began her career as a public servant until 1987. She worked at a women’s centre and from 1994 though 2001 she served as president of the Fédération des femmes du Québec (Quebec Federation of Women) She was the organizer behind provincial marches on behalf of the advancement of women and women’s issues. She visited Nicaragua, Iraq and Mali and attended the World Social Forum in India in 2004. She initiated the world march of women against violence in 2002. In 2004 she created Option citoyenne a provincial political party and ran unsuccessfully for election in 2007 and 2008. She also wrote a book and collaborated on other books about social justice. In 2002 she was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec and  in 2004 she was presented with the Governor’s General award for working towards equality between men and women. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012.
 
Bridgit Ann Davidson

Born December 30, 1958, Port Hope, Ontario. Died June 30, 2013, St. Catherines, Ontario. Her job was her avocation. She loved to teach. Bridgid is married with two children. While raising her children she earned two university degrees. At 38 she began teaching in Niagara Falls, Ontario. She knew she had found her calling. She would write and perform stories to delight and educate her students. In 2010 she married Michael Davidson. That same year she saw a television program about Mary’s Meals in the United States. Mary’s Meals International feeds children at schools in poor countries around the world. She gathered people around her and established Mary’s Meal’s in Canada. At home she organized “Oatmeal Days” for schools in the Niagara Region to inspire students to held the hungry of the world through Mary’s Meals. She was able to share her desire to help others in need around the world even though she had been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing treatment.  Source: Lives Lived, The Globe and Mail, September 24, 2013 : Mary’s Meals website. (Accessed February 2014) Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 

Vega Dawson

née Gronlund. Born New Brunswick 1894 (?) Died January 2, 1988. She completed her post secondary studies at Mount Allison University. For her work in Halifax during World War ll she was awarded the Order of the British Empire. She served as the chair of the Regional Advisory Committee of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. In 1945 she organized the National Clothing Collection for Europe to help families suffering from the devastation of World War ll. She was also a member of the executive of the I.O.D.E, the Nova Scotia Tuberculosis Association and the Halifax Children’s Hospital Auxiliary. She was active with the Mount Allison University Federated Alumni and received a honourary degree from that institution.
 

Mary Jo "M.J." DeCoteau

Born April 1970, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her grandmother was a breast cancer survivor but her mother died from the disease. She was disheartened to find little information about prevention of Breast Cancer. After moving to Toronto she established Rethink Breast Cancer to provide public awareness about this leading cause of death amount women under 40. “Rethink” also sponsors fundraising events which support many services across the country. She Married Glenn Vogelsang in 1996 and the couple have one daughter. In 2004 Maclean’s Magazine named M J as one of the ten Canadians who make a difference and in 2006 Chatelaine listed her as one of the 12 Canadian women who should run for parliament. Source: Herstory: Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012 ,Coteau Books, 2011.
 

Coleen Anne Dell Born Winnipeg, Manitoba. She earned her BA at the University of Winnipeg in 1992 and went on to earn her Masters in Sociology at the University of Manitoba in 1996. By 2001 she had received her PhD from Carleton University, Ottawa., Ontario. She worked as Research Chair in Substance Abuse at the University of Saskatchewan. Her work has had an impact on substance abuse programming across Canada. Source: Herstory; The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2010.
 
Anna Maria de Sousa

Born Brazil Died Toronto September 2007. She arrived in Toronto, Ontario in February 1965 to set up a shop for her family coffee company. In 1966 she founded the Brazilian Carnival Ball in Toronto, in the basement of a Portuguese church. In its history the ball has raised some $50 million for numerous charities in both Toronto and Brazil. The monies in Toronto have gone to York University, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, the Canadian Opera Company and Princess Margaret Hospital. In 1982, Anna married Ivan de Souza and the two worked to improve the funds raised. The tickets to the Brazilian Carnival Ball rose to an astounding $6,200 for businesses in 2007. Source: Anna Marie de Souza: the simmer in the Brazilian Ball by Surya Bhattacharya, Toronto Star, September 21, 2007.
 

Velma Demerson Born 1920 in Ontario. As a youth and underage, Velma was arrested under the 1893 Ontario Female Refugees Act as incorrigible because she lived and became pregnant with her Chinese fiancé Harry Yip. Her parents had not agreed to her relationship and they went on to report her to the Ontario Government. She was sentenced to 10 months in the infamous Mercer Reformatory for Women. Inside she underwent numerous medical procedures. Out of the reformatory she married Harry and according to the law because of her marriage she assumed the nationality of her husband. Velma was now officially Chinese. Unfortunately she became divorced three years later. Denied Canadian Citizenship because she was “Chinese” and ignored by the Chinese Embassy because she was not ‘Chinese” Velma was stateless. November 13, 1948 she applied to have her Canadian Citizenship returned but was denied. In 1949 she resettled in British Columbia where she received a passport under her maiden name. She knew it was illegal to have this document in her maiden name and lived in fear of having a false application. She and her son went to Hong Kong hoping for a more accepting life. Unable to fit in she sent her son back to Canada to his father. Returning to Canada herself a year later, Velma found out her son was living in care of the province of British Columbia. They were never together again. Her son died when he was 26. In 2002 she sued the Ontario government for pain and suffering during her incarceration in the Mercer Reformatory. She settled out of court receiving an apology and a financial compensation from the provincial government.   It would not be until 2004 that Velma would finally be granted recognition as a Canadian Citizen. That year she published a book telling her story : Incorrigible (Wilfrid Laurier University Press) which won the J.S. Woodsworth Prize from the New Democratic Party of Canada for anti-racism Source: Daren Fleet, Lost Canadian Velma Demerson’s tragic Story of love and loss.
 
Agnes Dennis 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 lever (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!
 
Viola Desmond Born Halifax, Nova Scotia July 6, 1914. Died February 7, 1965. New York, U.S.A. Viola was a successful Halifax beautician and businesswoman working with her husband Jack Desmond, who was a barber. She would become embroiled in one of the most publicized incidents of racial discrimination in Canadian history. On November 8, 1946, while visiting New Glasgow, Nova Scotia she attended a movie at the Roseland Theatre. She chose to sit downstairs in the racially segregated theatre instead of upstairs in the balcony where Blacks were forced to sit. She was arrested and thrown into jail overnight. She had refused to pay the once cent amusement tax difference charged to clients sitting downstairs instead of the balcony. She refused to pay more than white customers at the show. At trial, where she had no counsel, she was sentenced to a fine of $20.00. Later she, and newspaper editor Carrie Best would encourage a lobby group to force the Nova Scotia government to finally repeal the law of segregation in 1954. After her trial she closed her shop and moved to Montreal where she enrolled in a business college. In 2000, Desmond and other Canadian civil rights activists were the subject of a National Film Board of Canada documentary Journey to Justice. On April 14, 2010, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Maryann Francis, invoked Royal Prerogative and granted Desmond a posthumous pardon, the 1st such to be granted in Canada. The government of Nova Scotia also apologized to her family.  Cape Breton University has a Viola Desmond Chair for Social Justice.  Source: Black History Canada, Viola Desmond Online : The Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Accessed January 2000)
 
Veronica N. Dewar

Born Coral Harbour, Southampton Island, Canadian Arctic. She left home at 16 to continue her education in Churchill, Manitoba and later attended college in Ottawa. She is the President of Pauktuutit, the Inuit Women’s Association of Canada where she pushes to bring violence against women to the political for front of the Canadian North. Violence again women has always been kept a private matter but Veronica knows the word must get out so that prevention and healing can take place for the Inuit Peoples. She has also worked to have the traditional amatutit parka design  is protected against global production. In 2002 she travelled to South Africa and the World Summit on Sustainable Development where she presented the problem of protection of the amatutit design. Working with women from Peru and Panama who have been successful in protecting traditional designs Veronica was steadfast in her goal. The Summit organization was successful in halting international production of the Amatutit. Sources: Herstory, the Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006 Coteau Books, 2005
 

Marion Margaret Diog née Hales. Born September 21, 1902, Hartney, Manitoba.  Died June 8, 1961, Brandon, Manitoba. As a child her family moved to Brandon, Manitoba.  She became an authority on art  and worked to plan the Alfred Arts Centre. She served on the Brandon School Board from 1948 to 1956. She also served as President of the Teck Chapter, I.O.D.E and the Brandon Red Cross. She was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt (now the Order of Manitoba) for meritorious service to her community. Source: Memorable Manitobans Online (Accessed February 2014)
 
Winona Margaret Dixon née Flett. Born June 10, 1884, South Dumfries Township, Ontario. Died May 16, 1922, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1912 she moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba with her sister Lynn and her mother. It did not take log before she was involved in the community and she joined the Political Equity League in a desire to gain the right to vote for women. She was a gifted and popular speaker at numerous events in the coming years. In May 1914 she spoke up for reform of the Factory Act in places where women and children worked. In July 1914 she was working on the election campaign for liberal Frederick John Dixon. In October 1914 Fred and Winona were married. The couple would have 3 children. They were also committed pacifists and would condemn the future World War l conscription. In August 1914 Winona was in charge of a petition signed by 39,584 women when a group of women present the petition to the provincial legislature. In January 1916 Manitoba became the 1st province in Canada to grant women the right to vote. Winona was one of 8 women who were invited to be on the floor of the legislature for the 3rd and final reading of the bill! The couple were arrested after the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 and charged with seditious conspiracy. By June 1920 she campaigned in her husband’s election as labour candidate in the provincial election.
 
Margaret Ellen Douglass Born  1878 Stanley, New Brunswick. Died July 11, 1950, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1905 she graduated with a medical degree from the University of Toronto. She would travel to continue Post Graduate studies in London, England and the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in the United States. She returned to New Brunswick but by 1909 was settled with her own practice in 1909. She was also active in various women’s groups such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Women’s Christian Club. With the onset of World War l she decided in December 1914 to put aside her private practice to work with St Johns Ambulance Association when its Commissioner went overseas. She was a great orator and she worked with the association to encourage women to work at home to help the war effort. She taught First Aid to women’s work groups. On January 10 1915 she created the Woman’s Rifle Club and opened an indoor rifle rant for practice. The Club also taught about security patrols and crowd control and the women worked at local events with these skills. She opened an outdoor rife range that summer. On July 28 1915 200 women showed up to for the Winnipeg Woman’s Volunteer Reserve to protect the home scene from danger and relive the home boys for duty overseas. This group of women submitted to rigorous training. In May 1917 Margaret became a national deputy commissioner for the St Johns Ambulance Association. In January 1918 she headed out to Europe with the 1st group of 25 volunteer nurses. Margaret served as an officer in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps and then as a Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps. When she returned to Winnipeg in 1919 she began a lecture circuit presenting “Some Phases of Women’s Work in the War”. In the 1920’s Margaret was back in private practice where she also served on the Manitoba Board of Health’s Better Babies conference which was held throughout the province. She continued to be involved with women’s groups such as the Women’s Tribute Memorial, Women’s Club of Winnipeg, the League of Women Voters and the Canadian Women’s Professional and Business Club. She was also involved leading the call to have women sit in the Senate. In 1933 she was unsuccessful in a run for city Council. By the time of World War ll she still spoke to get women in service and ran the Greater Winnipeg Bureau for Volunteer Registration of Women. Source: Christian Cassidy, “This is Manitoba: Local Physician Prepared Women Volunteers Unit for War. Doctor’s Orders.”  In the Winnipeg Free Press June 14, 2015.
 
Elizabeth Miriam Janzen Dreger Born 1917 or 1918 Kitchener, Ontario. Died 1979. She married Roderick Louis Dreger. She was an active member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Kitchener Historical Society, the K-W Gyrettes, She worked with the Kitchener Young Woman’s Christian Association (YWCA) and became treasurer of the YWCA at the National level. She was also a charter Member of the Ontario Press Council. She served as a member of the Board of Governors at the University of Waterloo from 1972 through 1975 and from 1967 through 1975 she was also on the Board of Governors of Conestoga College.  She was  a Director of the Pioneer Community Foundation serving as President for 3 years. She was on the Research Committee of the Pioneer and Builders Section of the Waterloo County Hall of Fame.  She served as President of the Western Ontario Progressive Conservative Women’s Association and was chair of the PC Woman’s Advisory Committee for the province of Ontario. In 1956 as President of the PC Women’s Association of Canada she became the 1st woman in Canada to preside at sessions of a national political party convention. She is a member of the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame. Source: Waterloo Region Hall of Fame. Online. (Accessed July 2014)
 
Lady Grace Julia Parker Drummond née Parker. Born December 17, 1860 Montreal, Quebec. Died June 10, 1942. In 1879 she married the Rev. George Hamilton but was widowed at 19. She married a second time  on September 11, 1884 to Sir George Alexander Hamilton, a member of the Senate of Canada. Grace Julia had five step sons and two step daughters as well as two sons with George Hamilton. This humanitarian, and philanthropist she  was the 1st president of the Montreal Council of Women, 1893-1899. She helped found the  Montreal Victorian Order of nurses. She also served as president of the Montreal Charity Organization Society, which she founded with her husband,  from 1911-1919. She was director of the Women’s Historical Society and she served as an advisor to the Parks and Playgrounds Association of Montreal. During World War she was living in London, England and served as head of the Canadian Red Cross Information Bureau, which she founded to keep Canadian families informed about missing, injured and deceased soldiers. . She was presented with the Serbian Red Cross and the British Red Cross for her work and was given the title of Lady of Justice of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.  In 1923 the Winnipeg Tribune newspaper named her as one of the 12 Greatest Canadian Women for her Red Cross efforts.  The Drummond family papers are housed in the McCord Museum in Montreal. .
 
Muriel Helen Duckworth née Ball. Born October 31,1908 Austin, Quebec. Died August 22, 2009.Graduated from McGill University in 1929 and followed up with graduated studies at the Union Theological Seminary in New York state, U.S.A. In 1920 she returned to Montreal where she married Jack Duckworth  (   -1975) and the couple had three children. Muriel involved with the Student Christian Movement and other community organizations. Relocating to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1947 she worked with the provincial Department of Education for 14 years. She was a founding member and a committed member of the Voice Of Women (VOW) which was concerned with world peace. She formed the Halifax branch of the VOW  and in 1967 she became national president and represented Canada at the international Conference of Women for Peace in Moscow, Soviet Union. This was the 1st of numerous international conferences for Muriel. She was also a founding member of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) in 1976. She served as National President 1979-1980. In 1981 CRIAW established the Muriel Duckworth Award to be presented annually to a woman making a significant contribution to the advancement of women within Canada. She was also a founding member of the Canadian Conference on Education, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, the Nova Scotia Women’s Action Coalition and the Movement for Citizen’s Voice and Action, Halifax. In 1974 and 1978 she was a candidate for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Nova Scotia. In 1981 she was given the Governor General’s Award of the Persons’ Case and in 1983 she became a Companion in the Order of Canada. In 1991 she was awarded the Lester B. Pearson Peach Medal. 
 
Phyllis Anne DuMoulin Born 1921,  Kingston, Ontario. Died September 20, 2010, Victoria, British Columbia. The family relocated to British Columbia when Phyllis was young. Graduating High Scholl in 1939 she earned a BA at the University of British Columbia and went on to receive the degrees of Bachelor of Social Work, 1944 and Masters of Social Work,  1947. On graduation, she was appointed Director of the teenage program at Alexandra Neighbourhood House. In 1949 she was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba’s School of Social Work where she established the group-work sequence and field work placements. She served as Executive Director of the Greater Winnipeg Community Welfare Planning Council from 1952 to 1970, where she initiated the social planning program and process, developed an interdisciplinary staff and volunteer approach to social problems, launched Indian-Métis consultative mechanisms, set up neighborhood houses, led the country’s first and most comprehensive study of problems and opportunities for the aging population, and supervised a review of social services in Manitoba. In 1966 she was elected President of the Canadian Association of Social Workers.  She initiated the transition from the Community Chest to the United Way and was elected as its 1st woman Board Chair in 1976. She served the Board of the Vanier Institute of the Family, and the Board of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet from 1961 to 1976 serving as Executive Vice-President  in (1975/76. She was a founding member of the Board of the Health Sciences Centre, a member of the Board of the Manitoba Medical Research Centre and the Manitoba Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. She was the 1st Chair of the Prairie Regional Committee for the Explorations program of the Canada Council. She was also active in the Girl Guides for many years as a leader and member of the Manitoba Council of the Girl Guides, and the National Council of the Girl Guides of Canada. In 1970, she was inducted into the Order of the Buffalo Hunt (Now the Order of Manitoba). In 1967 she was awarded the Canada Centennial Medal. She also received the McArton Prestige Award for her work in the profession of social work, Guiding’s Order of the Beaver for service to youth across Canada, the City of Winnipeg Community Service Award, and the University of Manitoba’s Distinguished Service Award.
 
Harriet Irene Dunlop Prenter née Dunlop. Born April 7, 1866 Eurkva, Russia. Died ???? . On September 8, 1992 she married Hector Henry Weir Prenter (1860-1945) She believed in peace and followed her beliefs when she by became secretary of the Canadian section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and which became the Women’s Peace Party founded in the U.S. in January 1915. Many women did not like the pacifist movement and chose instead to support the war. Harriet was also a strong suffragette and a member of the Political Equality League in Toronto. Harriet wrote about her beliefs and her stands in the Canadian Forward, the White Ribbon Bulletin and Women’s Century. In 1920 she started a woman’s page in the Industrial Banner where she discussed money value of women’s work in the home and paid wages. After Canadian women gained the right to vote in 1917 Harriet remained interested in politics and the advancement of equality for women. She joined the Independent Labour Party and in December 6, 1921 federal election she was a candidate for Toronto West. Although Unlike fellow candidate Agnes MacPhail (1890-1954) Harriet was unsuccessful in the election it still stands that she was one of the 1st women to run as a candidate in a Canadian federal election. In 1922 she became a member of the Worker’s Party of Canada and helped with communist campaigns. In 1924 she was with the Women’s Labour League celebrating the 1st Canadian International Women’s Day. Sources: Hector Prenter, MyHeritage Family Trees Online (Accessed September 2014)
 
Nora Ellen Dunwoody

née Bell. Born Dublin Ireland 1899. Died May 17, 1988. She attended the University of Manitoba and as a young woman she and her sport partner Art Snell, won the Canadian mixed doubles Badminton Championship. She settled down to a married life which included dedication to volunteering. She would pioneer the establishment of hospital gift shops through out Ontario. The idea of the hospital gift shop was for hospital auxiliaries to raise needed funding. She was the founder of the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. And became dedicated to the provincial organization as Vice President of the Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario. She travelled extensively throughout the province encouraging fund raising with the help of the Gift Shop. 
 

Dorothy Dworkin née Goldstick. Born 1889, Windau, Latvia. Died August 13, 1976, Toronto, Ontario. In 1904 she and her family immigrated to Canada. By 1907 she was training and working with a Dr. S. J.  Kaufman at a free Jewish Dispensary as a maternity nurse.. Dr. Kaufman encouraged Dorothy to study in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. In 1909 she earned a diploma from the Medical State Board of Ohio. In 1911 she married Henry Dworkin, a successful businessman from Toronto who helped Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe to immigrate and settle in Canada. The couple had one daughter. Dorothy opened a free Jewish Dispensary in Toronto. By 1922 she helped establish the Toronto Jewish Convalescent and Maternity Hospital so that kosher food could be provided for patients. This institution would later be renamed Mount Sinai Hospital where she was 1st president of the Hospital Woman’s Auxiliary.  Widowed in 1928 she successfully took over the family businesses. By the mid 1930’s she was serving as the secretary of the Jewish Labour Committee. She was also active in the Canadian Jewish Congress, ORT and Pioneer Women. On Jul7 6, 2009 the Canadian Government declared Dorothy Dworkin a National Historic Person. Sources: Dorothy Dworkin. Backgrounder. Parks Canada. Online (Accessed July 2014) :Toronto’s 1st Jewish nurse writes of early Toronto. April 15, 2013 www.billgladstone.ca (Accessed July 2014)
 
Henrietta Louise Edwards Born Montreal, Quebec December 18, 1849. Died Fort Macleod, Alberta November 10, 1931. As a young woman she studied art in New York. Her works were acknowledged in showing by the Royal Canadian Academy and her miniature portraits included Sir Wilfrid Laurier. She Married Dr. Oliver Cromwell Edwards in 1876 and they had a family of three children. She continued her social activities all her life working for un-enfranchised women, public library support and equal rights. At eighty she went to a tea in Edmonton and became one of the “Famous Five” women who took the Person case to England and had Canadian women declared” persons” under the law. Women, as 'non-persons' had no rights to own land, serve in government and had very few legal rights prior to 1929. Why not read about the "Persons Case" at the web site for the National Archives of Canada. Http://www.archives.ca/05/0530_e.html 
 
Florence Fernet-Martel Born July 25, 1892 Woonsocket, Rhode Island, U.S.A.. Died February 5, 1986. She studied French literature at the Universite Laval earning a Bachelor degree. She became a teacher of English for the Montreal Catholic School Commission and later worked as a secretary and translator for an insurance company. She supported and fought for women’s rights with Therese Casgrain. She went on to study social sciences at Universite de Montreal. She would provide shelter for Montreal students for some 40 years. She wrote for several magazines in her adopted French language including Chatelaine, La Reforme and Le Canada. She also hosted the Radio Canada program Femina from 1933-1939.  In 1940 she worked for the Canadian Unemployment Insurance Commission and from 1946 through 1972 she served as a arbitrator for the commission in Montreal. She also served on the Quebec censor board for Cinema from 1961-1966. In 1975 she was inducted into the Order of Canada for her service to the community. In 1981 she received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case for advancing Equality.
 
Emma Sophia Fiske née Skinner. Born October 23, 1832, Saint John, New Brunswick. Died October 29, 1914 Saint John, New Brunswick. Emma was an accomplished linguist who taught English Literature at a local high school. On June 15, 1875 she married John Mackenzie Campbell Fiske(- 1877). She was an active member of the Saint John Art Club, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Natural History Society, the Associated Charities of Saint John, the Women’s Temperance Union, and the Red Cross Society. By 1900 she was president of the local Suffrage Club. 1904-05 she was a member of the Government Factory Commission gathering evidence on working conditions in the area. In 1905 the New Brunswick Factories Act regulated Child labour and working conditions in the province. She was a founding member and the driving force in the Women’s Enfranchisement Association. In 1894 she was Vice President for the Maritimes of the Dominion Women’s Enfranchisement Association. She worked with such activists as Flora Macdonald Denison and British suffragist Sylvia Pankhurst. It is unfortunate that she did not live to see the right to vote for women come to New Brunswick in 1919. The Women’s Enfranchise Association established a Memorial Fund in her name that helped to distribute clothing to Saint John’s needy children. Source: The Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Online. Accessed 2002.
 
Agnes Fontaine

Born Fort Alexander, Manitoba  June 29, 1912. Died August 10, 1988. She married young and became a busy mother of 15 children. She somehow always found time to serve her community as an elected band counselor and as a counselor at Camp Neecheewan. In 1953 she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Coronation Medal of service to her community.
 

Margaret Franssen Born March 21, 1952, The Netherlands. By 1979 Margaret had immigrated to Canada and had earned her B.A. at York University, Toronto. In 1h2 1990’s she convinced the Body Shop , a company of natural and ethical beauty products, that she was the person to head up their Canadian branch of the company. The company would garner numerous accolades including being listed as one of the 100 best companies to work for in Canada and the recognition from the Financial Post as one of the best 50 best managed companies in Canada. In 1995 she was a guest speaker at the World Conference of Women in Beijing, China and presented a million signature petition calling for women’s rights to be human rights around the world. She has served on numerous boards including being chair for 6 years of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. She served on the board for the CBIC bank for 15 years and on the World wildlife Fund, the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Toronto Family Services Association, The York University Foundation, the Women’s College Hospital and the Women’s Funding Network. From 1991 through 2003 she served on the Board of Governors at York University. She was also co-chair of the Women Funding Millions. Over the years she has received over 50 awards for her efforts supporting women’s justice. In 2002 she was inducted as an Officer in the Order of Canada and received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. She has been recognized by the United Nations with the UN Grand Award for addressing violence against women and the UN Development Fund for Women Canada Award in 2004. In 2008 she received the Yorkton Family Services Humanitarian Award. MicroSkills has established the Margaret Franssen Leadership Award in her honour.  
 
Lillian Freiman

née Bilsky.  Born Mattawa, Ontario 1885. Died 1940 Ottawa, Ontario .  She was the daughter of one of the founding Jewish families in Ottawa. At 18 she married Archibald Jacob Freiman (1880-1944). He would found Freiman’s Department Store in Ottawa. The couple had 3 children and adopted a Ukrainian war Orphan named Gladys Rozovsky.  Lillian would among her numerous activities head the Canadian Hadassah-WIZO, the women’s Zionist Organization from 1919 though 1940. The Red Cross Sewing Circle which she started in her home as a war effort became a Disraeli Chapter of the Daughters of the Empire. She would lead Ottawa’s efforts to battle the influenza epidemic in 1918. She served on the executive of the Ottawa Welfare Bureau and helps with the Ottawa Women’s Canadian Club, the Institute Jeanne d’Arc for Catholic girls, the Protestant Infants Home and many more. In 1921 she led the campaign to bring 150 Jewish war orphans from the Ukraine to settle in good Canadian homes. She was granted honourary membership in the Canadian Legion veteran’s organization, the first woman to be so honoured. In 1934 she became the first Canadian Jew to be awarded the Order of the British Empire. Source: Brown , Michael Lillian Freiman Jewish women: a Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. March 1, 2009 Jewish Women’s Archive Accessed August 2011. ; Knowles, Valerie Capital Lives.
 

Thais Frémont Born Montréal, Quebec October 18, 1886. Died April 6, 1963. A welfare worker by profession she was a social activist by avocation. She founded the Ste Justine Children's Hospital in Montreal in 1907. In 1926 she founded the Conservative Women's Association for Quebec City. She was appointed a Canadian delegate to the League of Nations Assembly in 1932. From 1933 to 1936 she was the Vice President of the League of Nations Society of Canada. In 1943 she was a member of the Women's National Advisory Committee on Problems of Post-war Rehabilitation. In 1947 she was still active in working with the Joint Committee on the legal status of married women in the Province of Quebec.
 
Eira "Babs" Friesin née Charles. Born April 1, 1917, Wales, United Kingdom. Died December 11, 2008 Winnipeg, Manitoba. Babs attend the University of Manitoba earning her Bachelor of Science in 1939. February 11, 1944 she married Rhinehart Friesen who was in the armed forces at the time. The couple would have 4 children. Once life settled after World War ll Babs was able to devote herself to her children and her community. She was a tireless worker with the YWCA in Winnipeg. In 1973 she inaugurated a Women’s Resource Centre at the Winnipeg YWCA which served as a template for other centres. She was also an active member of MATCH International, Girl Guides and the Provincial Council of Women of Manitoba. She would attend the 1985 International Women’s Conference in Nairobi, Kenya and the Five Year After” follow-up to the conference. In 1995 she attended the Beijing, China Women’s International Conference. Here community efforts did not go unnoticed. She received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, The Premier’s Volunteer Service Award, the Girl Guide Medal of Merit, the Paul Lejeune Volunteer Service Award from the Manitoba Council for International Co-operation as well as the 50th Anniversary UN Global Citizen Award. In 2003 she was inducted into the Order of Canada and that same year was honoured with the Governor’s General Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. The Winnipeg YWCA now offers the Eira “Babs” Friesen Award for lifetime achievement. Source: Eira “Babs” Friesen Award, Winnipeg YW/YMCA online (Accessed February 2014)
 
Marion Fulton née Tye. Born March 5, 1921, 1South Kirby, Yorkshire, England. Died November 4, 2013. In February 1943 she earned her Registered Nurse papers from York County Hospital, England. October 16, 1943 she married Victor Fulton, a flight lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Air Force. She arrived in Canada with her fist son in her arms as a War Bride. The family settled 1st in Winnipeg and then Birtle Manitoba. Two more sons rounded out the family. Marion worked at the Birtle Hospital while raising her children and she also became a Brownie leader, a Sunday School Teacher and joined the local Women’s Institute. She became Provincial President of the WI and later National President of the Federalted Women’s Institutes of Canada and moved on to become Vice-President of the International Council of Associated Country Women of the World. In 1978 she was inducted as a Member into the Order of Canada. In 1988 the was inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame. Source: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press. November 7, 2013; Order of Canada Online (Accessed April 2014)
 
E. Margaret Fulton

 

 

Feminist

Born September 8, 1922 near Birtle, Manitoba. Died January 22, 2014, Victoria, British Columbia. After graduating from High School in 1942 she taught in a rural school in Western Manitoba. During World War ll she spent her summers working on the family farm to help keep things running while her brothers served in the War. After her brothers returned home in 1945 she she taught in Fort William Vocational School in Ontario. She studied at the University of Toronto and showed her feminist tendencies in 1963 when Masses Collect opened. She protested the lack of female Fellows outside the college doors. From 1967 through 1974 she taught at Waterloo Lutheran University, now Wilfrid Laurier University. She often rebelled against the dominance of male academics and stood for equal opportunity for all. In 1974 through 1978 she served as Dean of Women at the University of British Columbia. In 1978 she became President of Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Here she worked to make education more accessible to women. In 1985 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. By 1985 she was once again at the University of British Columbia as adjunct professor and consultant. She also served as Scholar–in-Residence at the new feminist university in Loten, Norway. In 1996 she retired from the university scene but continue to lecture and campaign for feminist issues. During her career she was presented with 15 honorary degrees. Source: “Margaret Fulton…Advocate Fought for Women’s Education…” by Allison Lawlor, the Globe and Mail , January 2014. Book: Transformations: the Life of Margaret Fulton, Canadian feminist, educator and social activist by James Doyle.
 
Laure Gaudreault

Born 1888? ,Canada. She was described as a half-Breed. One legal form lists her as a wife so she may have been married. Her alias was Waters. Her recorded narrative begins on May 17, 1917. She was broke, without a place to sleep and ended up spending a few nights in the home of John James Ryan who subsequently, had her arrested and charged with vagrancy. At her trial the next day her defense lawyer, John McKinley Cameron (1879-1943), appealed her conviction on the grounds that the female magistrate, Alice Jamieson,  who made the ruling did not have the legal authority to act as a judge because, as a woman, she was not a person under the British North America Act. The Alberta Court of Appeal struck down the appeal in November 1917, a decision later overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Persons Case eventually came before the British Privy Council, which asserted October 18, 1929, that women were in fact persons under constitutional law.
 

Bella Hall Gauld. Born December 31, 1878.  A political and social activist she worked with immigrants, founded the Labour College (1920-1924) , and the Woman’s Labour League which sponsored camps for poor children.  In the desperate 1930’s she operated a soup kitchen and played piano at fundraisers for various ethnic communities. During World War II she was a frequent soloist at navy league concerts for servicemen.  She became interested in the political beliefs of Communism, these beliefs she would retain all of her live.
 
Huberte Gautreau

She studied to be a nurse and then went on to teach in the health field. She has spent most of her life working for the rights of women and disadvantaged groups. She has helped families living in violence with the establishment of Carrefour por femmes, a shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. She has reached out to guide men inclined to violence and is co-founder of Groupe Option that helps these men. A sexual and gender harassment counselor she has worked as an international solidarity education coordinator at the University of Moncton in New Brunswick. She chaired the Pay Equity Coalition in New Brunswick and established the New Brunswick Committee for the World March of Women.  She also serves as spokesperson for the Concerned Citizens Committee for Peace / Comité pour la paix. She received the 1996 New Brunswick Human Rights Award and in 2004 the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person Case. Suggested sources: Recipients of the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Person Case. Online (accessed November 2008)
 

Sylvia Gelber

Born Toronto, Ontario 1910. Died December 9, 2003. She attended Havergal Ladies College in Toronto. From 1932 through 1948 Sylvia spent 15 years as a medical social worker in Palestine where she was professionally involved in the fields of labour and welfare. She returned to Canada an in 1989 she wrote No Balm in Gilead (McGill-Queens Press) reporting on her time in this service. Back in Canada she became a Federal Government consultant and became Director, Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labour. She also served as Canadian representative on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women from 1970-1974. And as a UN Canadian delegate for the General Assembly from 1976-1978. Her dedication to service earned her the Canadian Centennial Medal in 1967 and the Order of Canada in 1975. Sylvia also has a passion for music and visual arts. Her desire to help talented youth to reach their potential she formed the Sylvia Gelber Foundation for help youth. Sources: Sylvia Gelber Music Foundation Award  Online (Accessed August 2011). Feminist tore down Barriers Globe and Mail January 31 2004. : Information from family members.
 

Mary  Gilliland

née Hart Born March 1940, Wisconsin, U.S.A. Died April 2010 Saskatchewan. In 1960 she married her college sweetheart Marshall Gilliland. The couple soon moved to Saskatchewan and Mary taught English at the University of Saskatchewan. She was an active member of the Saskatchewan Women’s Calendar Collective, producing an annual Canadian Women’s calendar featuring sketches of Canadian women in history for 25 years. She was also a member of the Saskatchewan Natural History Society where she was the 1st woman to be President of the Canadian Nature Federation. Source: Herstory: Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012 ,Coteau Books, 2011.
 

Edythe Elizabeth Goodridge née Ryan Born March 3, 1937 S John’s, Newfoundland. Died June 4, 1915, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was educated in England before attending St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. She also the Ontario College of Art, the Académie Julian and L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Reil Cercle Artistic de Barcelona, Spain. She started her career as a freelance journalist with the Halifax Daily News and the CBC. In 1968 she was Memorial University developing programs in communication, visual and performing arts. In 1972 she was in Ottawa. Widowed with the death of her husband Norman in 1973 she channeled her energies into her work.  She worked with the National Capital Commission in Ottawa as director of visual arts with the Canada Council. 1st Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council in 1980 she opened eyes to local artistic talent. She supported and mentored creative curators and encouraged Aboriginal curators to come forward. She got people to believe in themselves, a rare and valuable talent. She was the central energy of festival and celebrations. She was an active member of the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization and the Canadian Museums Association and the Atlantic Provinces Art Gallery Association as well as the founding president of the Newfoundland Historic Trust. In 1990 she was inducted into the NLAC Hall of Honour. Source: Joan Sullivan, “Edythe Goodridge Cultural Maven, 77: Curator called ‘Mother of Newfoundland’”. Globe and Mail, July 7, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario. 
 
Sarah Gotlieb Born January 1, 1900 ,Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. In 1912 her family immigrated to Canada and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She married David P. Gotlieb and the couple raised two children.  In 1923 she became a member of the Ezra chapter of Hadassah where she served as secretary and president. In 1932 she was elected President of the Winnipeg Hadassah Council and in 1934 she was elected Western Vice President where she served until 1951when she became National President from 1951-1955. After at trip to Moscow, Poland and Germany she  became one of the founders of the Youth Aliyah movement in Canada which is devoted to the rescue and resettlement of children from Europe. She served as the 1st chair in 1942. From 1957—1961 she served as National Chair for the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She was also the first National Chairman of the Women’s Division of the Israel Bond Organization of Canada, 1955-1963. In 1971 she was made Honorary President for Life for her distinguished Service to Canadian Hadassah-WIZO. Source: Jewish Women’s Archive. Personal Information for Sarah Gotlieb Online (Accessed June 2013)
 
Mildred Amanda Gottfriedson Born April 20,  1918 Kamloops Indian Reserve. Died November 18, 1989.  She was a leading member of the Kamloops Indian Reserve who helped with revival of dances, legends, songs and crafts of her people and encouraged others to follow her lead.  In 1963 she helped start the Secwepemc Dance Troupe which would travel to perform even arriving on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. She was a founding member in 1968 and former president of the British Columbia Native Women’s Society. This group fought against the Indian Act which discriminated against status aboriginal women who lost their status and that of their children if they married non-status men. She married Gus Gottfriedson and raised 13 children and fostered over 30 additional children and was awarded Mother of the year in 1963 by British Columbia and the following year she became Canadian Mother of the year.  She was a founding member in 1968 and former president of the British Columbia Native Women’s Society. This group fought against the Indian Act which discriminated against status aboriginal women who lost their status and that of their children if they married non-status men. She was also an experience horseman and marksman but she never bragged or showed off. She was the 1st First Nations individual to be awarded the Order of Canada on July 11, 1977.
 
Bernelda Winona Sakinasikwe Gordon née Pratt. Born April 8, 1937, Muskopetung First Nations, Saskatchewan. Died September 10, 2005. She was the 1st member of her family to complete high School. At 17 she became a DJ on the CBC radio in Churchill, Manitoba. She wanted to be a doctor but settled on nursing. After a brief time as a nurse she earned a job at Port Alberni, British Columbia on the radio. She also freelanced to the CBC. By 1972 she was back in Manitoba hosting and producing the CBC radio show “Our Native Land”. She was a single mother who often took her children to interviews. Her son, Jordan, remembers travelling with his mom when she became a writer for television shows such as North of 60. By 1982 she was freelancing as a journalist, newspaper columnist, author and activist. She helped found the National Association of Friendship Centres and was a member of Grannies for Justice. As an author she wrote several books for children. She also enjoyed acting on stage and in movies. In 2002 she was Citizen of the Year for the Saskatchewan Indian Nations. In 2005 she earned the Rebel with a Cause Award from the Elizabeth Fry Society. That same year she earned a lifetime Achievement Award from the AnsKohk Aboriginal Literature Festival. Source: Herstory 2008: The Canadian Women’s Calendar (Coteau Books, 2007) : “Bernelda Wheeler : a Trailblazer Throughout life” by Cheryl Petten in Windspeaker Vo. 23 No. 7 2005.
 
Mary Gordon Born October 13, 1947, Newfoundland. After studying three years at Memorial University in Newfoundland Mary relocated to Toronto where she met her husband. The couple have two children. She began her career teaching kindergarten and in 1981 founded Canada’s 1st school based Parenting and Family Literacy Centers. In 1996 she founded Roots of Empathy (ROE), a classroom based program for elementary school children with the mission to build caring peaceful and civil societies through the development of empathy in children and adults. ROE strives to break the intergeneration cycle of violence and poor parenting. In 2005 she founded Seeds of Empathy, a program for three to five year old children in child care programs. In 2005 her book: Roots of empathy, Changing the World Child by Child rose to the top 100 books  of the year. Her ROE programs are supported by First Nations Schools across the country. Internationally ROE has sparked interest for use in schools in New Zealand, the U.S.A., the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland. Her program has garnered her the Distinguished Canadian Educator Award, and in 2002 she became the 1st woman to become Canadian Fellow in the Ashoka Foundation, an international organization supporting social entrepreneurs. In 2004 she received the Ontario Teacher’s Federation Lifetime Fellowship Award. October 6, 2006 she was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada. In July 2009 she received the Public Education Advocacy Award from the Canadian
 
Helen Mary 'Marie' Grant née Smith Born 1843, Maitland , Nova Scotia. Died 1907, Victoria, British Columbia. While she attended school and trained as a teacher she did not teach long. In those days married women could not be teachers and she left teaching Captain William Grant in 1873. She was not the type of wife that stayed at home, rather she sailed the world with her husband coming on shore only to give birth to her children. In 1886 the family settled in British Columbia. In 1884 women became eligible to vote for school board members if there were mothers. In 1889 women were even allowed to run for school board positions. In March 1895 Marie was elected as the 1st school board trustee, a position she held for 6 years. Maria was also active in the Women’s Temperance Union and helped founding the Victoria Local Council of women in 1894. Such local women’s groups worked towards women’s suffrage.  In 1901 she was presented to the Duke of York (later King George V as the 1st and only women school trustee in Canada. Sadly Marie did not live to see gain the right to vote which did not come to British Columbia until 1917. In 1987 the Victoria Council of Women presented a plaque to the provincial legislature honouring Maria Grant and Cecilia Spofford, who had both worked over 30 years for women’s suffrage. Sources: Merna Foster, 100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces (Dundurn Press, 2004) ; Victoria Council of Women, Victoria.bc.ca/community/vcw/ online (accessed May 2015)
 
Maria Heathfield Pollard Grant. née Pollard. Born September 15, 1854, Quebec City, Quebec. Died March 30, 1937, Victoria, British Columbia. In 1871 the family moved west to British Columbia. On July 30, 1874 she married a marine engineer, Gordon Fraser Munro Grant (d. 1908) and the couple had 9 children. Maria and her mother formed the Local Victoria Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and her mother became president of the Provincial organization. In 1885 she helped circulate the 1st petition for women’s right to vote and present it to the British Columbia Legislature. Not successful the petition simply hardened the determination of women such as Maria. In 1894 she helped organize the Victoria Local Council of Women with Lady Aberdeen attending the inaugural meeting. In 1895 women were allowed to vote for school trustees and in March 1885 Maria became the 1st woman elected as a school trustee in British Columbia. In 1897 she was elected as secretary for the National Prohibition Federation of Temperance Associations. From 1900 through 1905 she served as president of the WCTU of British Columbia. In 1901 she helped set up the Children’s Aid Society in Victoria. In 1910 she became the 1st president of the Political Equality League (P.E.L.) of Victoria and by May 1911 she was serving as President of the provincial P.E.L. By 1912 the organization had 36 local branches. A women’s franchise bill was put forth in the British Columbia Legislature in 1916 but an amendment called for a referendum to see whether the Act would come into Legal force. The women opposed the referendum since only men could vote! On May 15/16, 1916, as president of the P E.L. she appealed to the premier but the bill was defeated. The referendum was held on the date of the election and in a vote of 2-1 women earned the right to vote. However there were allegations of irregularities with respect to votes from service men and these votes were set aside and the referendum was defeated. In April 5, 1917 the New Liberal government gave women the franchise. Source: Lyn Gough, “POLLARD, MARIA HEATHFIELD (baptized Maria) (Grant),” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 16, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, Online accessed January 31, 2016,
 
Marie Gérin-Lajoie née Lacoste. Born Montreal, Quebec October 19, 1867. Died November 1, 1945. As a youth she read her father’s law books and developed a concern for women’s rights. She combined her religion and family life with reform work bringing together Canadian Francophone women. She worked closely with branches of the national Council of Women of Canada. She would give strong testimony before the Dorion Commission that recommended change to Quebec law.
 
Ruth Miriam Goldbloom

née Schwartz. Born December 5, 1923 New Waterford, Nova Scotia. Died August 29, 2012. As a child she loved the customs and history of Cape Breton and enjoyed tap dancing. She attended Mount Allison University and did graduate studies at McGill University in Montreal. She married Richard Goldbloom and the couple had a family of three children. She was a tireless volunteer in Montreal and continued her charity works when the family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was the 1st woman chair of the Halifax United Way and the 1st Jewish chair of the Board of Mount Saint Vincent University. She participate whole heartedly in the creation in 1990 and the acceptance of Pier 21 , an national immigration museum. The Women’s exchange Net work designated her one of the 100 most powerful women in Canada. She was presented with the Human Relations Award  from the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, the Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian Award and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012.  Source;” N.S. community leader steered Pier 21 toward museum status. Obituary.” The Globe and Mail, August 30, 2012. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon Ottawa, Ontario.
 

Dorothy Goldman Born July 24, 1904, New York City, New York, U.S.A. Died  February 16, 1996, Regina, Saskatchewan.  She married Leon Goldman, a businessman, in 1926. And the couple settled in Saskatchewan.  She became a Red Cross volunteer during World War II and continued to serve on the executive for forty-two years. For twenty-three years she was area captain for the United Way. Dorothy’s work in the Jewish community—locally, regionally, and nationally—was honoured by the Hadassah Organization of Canada. She was the 1st  woman to receive the Good Servant Award from the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. She was also president and Life Member of the Women’s Canadian Club of Regina. A patron of the arts, she supported the Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery, Dominion Drama Festival, Regina Little Theatre, Regina Musical Club, Regina Opera Guild, and Regina Symphony Orchestra. She sponsored various scholarships at the University of Regina for the Conservatory of Music, Journalism Program, and English Department. Her many honours included the Rotary Club’s Heritage Award in 1989.   Source: Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan Online (Accessed February 2014)
 
Alix Goolden

Philanthropist

Born Alexandria Anne Goolden. 1897, Vancouver British Columbia. Died August 1988.  Alix was the founder and honorary President of the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Music and theatre were driving forces in her life and she was an avid supporter of theatre and of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. In 1977 she was honoured with the Order of Canada for her lifelong support of the arts in her beloved Victoria, British Columbia. The Victoria Conservatory named the 800 seat Alix Goolden Performance Hall (formerly a church sanctuary purchased with the efforts of Alix) in appreciation of her work.  Source: The Canadian Obituary Record 1988 by Robert M. Stamp. (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1989) p. 65.
 
Harriett Armine Gosling née Nutting. Born 1861, Waterloo, Canada East (Now Quebec). Died December 15, 1942. Like many of her era when few professions were open to young women Armine attended Normal School (Teacher’s College). In 1882 she relocated to St. John’s Newfoundland to work as principal at the Church of England Girls School (now Bishop Spencer College. In 1885 she resigned to spend time in Bermuda and Ottawa. It was during this time that Armine met a Bermuda business man William Gilbert Gosling (1863-1888). They Married on January 2, 1888, settled in St. John’s and had 6 children, 4 of whom lived to adulthood.  Armine became involved in the community working with the Society for the Protection of Animals and the Child Welfare Association. In 1904-5 while staying in England she became exposed to the activities of the suffragist movement. In 1908 she founded in her home the Ladies Reading Room (LRR) which originally organized in response to a ban on women attending lectures at an all-male club. Out of this group also came the Current Events Club which was suffragist in spirit. During World War l she served as honorary secretary of the Women’s patriotic Association (WPA) which grew to some 15,000 members. This group would provide a strong base for working towards suffrage in the colony. In 1920 Armine founded and was president of the Women’s Franchise League and later she served as president of the Woman’s Party, a political party that had candidates in the 1925 St. John’s municipal Elections. 1925 was the year that women gained the right to vote and the right to run for political office. In 1927 the Goslings retired to live in Bermuda
 
Rosalie Alma Gower

née Cheeseman. Born October 5, 1931, Calgary, Alberta. Died October 13, 2013, British Columbia. Rosalie studied nursing and earned her nursing certificate in British Columbia. In 1954 she married architect Terry Gower and the couple settled in Vernon, British Columbia. She raised her family while working as a night nurse. She taught her sons how to cook and sew so they could look after themselves and not be dependant on a partner to keep house. She served a year as alderman and her name was put forward at Canadian Radio and Television Commissioner (CRTC). She hired herself a housekeeper to keep up the home. In 1980 she was appointed to the CRTC full time. She was a strong believer in Canadian content in broadcasting and she pushed for gender neutral terminology and recognition. Her husband left Ottawa were the family had relocated for Rosalie to work. It seems he did not like being “Mr. Rosalie Gower” and their marriage ended. In 1992 she retired and moved back to British Columbia. In retirement she pursued world travel, community service and participated in local theatre. Source: “Women’s rights advocate started at home.” By Susan Smith, The Globe and Mail, December 23, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 

May Gutterage Born England 1917. Died February 2002. She preferred to be called a parish worker. She had come to Canada in 1955. She and her Anglican minister husband settled on Canada's west coast. Here May began her work as a mother and minister's wife by starting a small Dollar Club. Each member was encouraged to donate $1.00 a month. It was a little idea that was extremely successful! A women's centre would be build where neighborhood women could use tools such as steam irons and sewing machines and even typewriters! For some 40 years May worked her talents lobbying and advocating help for the needy to give them the resources to advance themselves by their own work from the shackles of poverty. Although encourage to take her energies to work in the houses of politics she preferred to keep her work "Hands on". Her efforts on behalf of her community were recognized not only in the bettered lives of the people who used the facilities she pushed to be established but also with an honourary degree from Simon Fraser University and the Order of Canada.
 
Helena Rose Gutteridge Born London, England 1879?*- Died October 3, 1960. She immigrated to British Columbia in 1911. A ardent feminist she organized the British Columbia Women's Suffrage League. She had a sincere concern and interest in the lives and well being of working class women and was a proponent of trade unionism. She would be a leading personality of the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council. She was a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F) political party and in March 1937 she became the first woman member elected to the Vancouver City Council.  * Her birth is sometimes reported as 1880.
 
Jessie Columbia Hall

 

Philanthropist

née Greer. Born Jack-of-Clubs Creek, British Columbia 1872. Died June 22, 1949. She was the first white child born in the Caribou region. In 1893 she married James Z. Hall, Vancouver’s first notary public and first volunteer soldier. In 1908 the family build Kitslano’s Killarney mansion and entertained the high society circuit. As was want for women of means in this era she gave willingly of her time and support for charity. She was a volunteer with the Children’s aid Society, the Vancouver Welfare Society and was very active in the Women’s Auxiliary of Christ Church. She became the first woman to serve on a jury in Vancouver. She was President in 1931 of the Burrard Women’s Conservative Club and worked with the Victoria Order of Nurses. She was also the first Grand Factor of Post no. 1 of the Native Daughters of British Columbia. In 1934 sh4e was honoured with the Vancouver’s Good Citizen Award. Source: The History of Metropolitan Vancouver – Hall of Fame. Http://www.vancouverhistory.cawhoswho_H.htm (Accessed June 2009)
 
Aldyen Irene Hamber

 

Philanthropist

née Hendry. Born New Westminster, British Columbia April 16, 1885 Died October 3, 1988. The daughter of one of British Columbia’s prominent families she married Eric W. Hamber in 1912. She served as first lady, wife of the Lieutenant Governor, of British Columbia from May 1 1936 though 1941.  It was though her general donation of one million dollars that the Hamber Foundation was founder to serve the youth and population of the province. She served as governor of the foundation from 1968 to 1971 when she resigned leaving the business of the Foundation to a volunteer Board of Governors. After her death in 1988 numerous charities benefited from her will including the Hamber Foundation. The Foundation is well known for it’s support of various activities including the Aldyen Irene Hamber Special Collection Reading Room is located at the New Vancouver Public Library. Source The Hamber Foundation web site (ACCESSED June 2009)  
 
Christine Hamilton Born 1921, Scotland. Died 1987. Christine immigrated to Canada and settled in Hamilton, Ontario after serving thirteen years in the Women’s Royal Army Corps. In 1957 she began work at Hamilton’s Y.W.C.A. as business manager and programmer director for children’s day camps. When the Y.W.C.A. and the City of Hamilton began joint operation of the 1st Senior Citizens’ Centre, Christine was named Director, a post she held until her retirement in 1986. During Christine’s early years at the Senior Citizen’s Centre, the idea for the now famous “Geritol Follies” began. Not only are the follies part of the Hamilton scene but they have performed at centres in the United States and Toronto. Christine was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction in 1987.
 
Mae Harman Born 1921 ? . Died February 2005. She was the first member of her family to graduate from university. Early in her career she began a successful career as supervisor at University Settlement House at the University of Windsor. However it is not her career in the work force for which she will be remembered. She came into her own power when she retired and took on the causes of seniors. Being a social activist had its roots in her teens when she had written Prime Minister Mackenzie King about an economic situation. He acknowledged her letter. She renewed her letter writing skills and was the author of numerous submissions on behalf of senior's organizations such as the Canadian Pensioners Concerned. She could be sincere in her demands and could have a sharp edge to her tongue as the occasion demanded. In 2004 the Ontario Society of Senior Citizens Organizations honoured her with the Dan Benedict Award for her continued efforts on behalf of seniors in Canadian society.
 
Grace Hartman. Born Toronto, Ontario July 14,1918. Died December 18, 1993. She was the first woman to hold the top position in a Canadian Union. In 1975 she was elected to the national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). She was elected as Vice President as early as 1963 when this union was firs formed from the merger of two previous unions.
 
Phyllis Haslam Born May 24, 1913. Died August 23, 1991. Phyllis began competitive swimming in 1931 placing 2nd in a Saskatchewan Provincial Mile Championship. At the 1934 British Empire Games trials, Hamilton, Ontario Phyllis set a new world record for the 100-yard breastroke and also set a British Empire record in the 200 yard breastroke. That same year she graduated with a Bachelor degree in Science from the University of Saskatchewan. At the 1934 British Empire Games themselves, London, England she placed second in the 200 meter event and won gold in the 3 X 100 Yard medley relay event.  Phyllis Haslam served as the executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society, Toronto from 1953 until 1978 with her administration seeing considerable growth in the organization. In 1974 she was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. In 1978 she was made an Officer in the Order of Canada. In recognition of a life devoted to the cause of criminal welfare at home and abroad.   Elizabeth Fry Toronto sponsors the Phyllis Haslam Residential Program, a residential program providing women who are on parole from provincial or federal prisons with a place to call home.
 
Alice Mildred Heap née Boomhour. Born July 20, 1925. Died March 24, 2012, Toronto, Ontario. After high School Alice attended the United Church Training School in Toronto before heading to McGill University where she began attending the Anglican Church. She was a member of the Student Christian Movement at University and in 1948 she attended the founding meeting of the Canadian Peace Congress. She would work for Church Peace Mission, the Easter Peace Marches in the 1960’s and even in 2009 she worked with the White Poppy campaign for Peace. In 1951 she married  Daniel (Dan) Heap (1925-2014) and the couple would have 7 children. Dan became an Anglican Priest and was a councilor in Toronto and a New Democratic Member of Parliament from Toronto. Alice practiced all her life what could only be termed radical hospitality with war resisters, civil right activists, farm workers. In 1965 while her husband was with Martin Luther King marching, Alice and the children participated at a sit in support of the March in Toronto. Alice also worked with the Canadian council for Refugees and the Christian Peacemakers Teams. In 2000 she received the Bishop’s Award for Faithful Service at her Holy Trinity Church. Source: Lois M. Wilson I Want to Be in that Number: Cool Saints I Have Known. (Self published, 2014)  ; Obituary from funeral bulletin Online (Accessed May 2014).
 
Twyla Elizabeth "Tees" Hendry

Born 1928 Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died August 11, 1997, Cambridge, Ontario. She moved to Galt, Ontario in 1954. She was elected president of the Eventide Home Ladies Auxiliary, a Salvation Army home. She enjoyed playing Mrs. Santa Claus for over 30 years at the home . She was elected to the Galt Board of Education in 1964 working at various positions and serving as chair in 1967. She served two terms on the Waterloo County Board of Education 1969-1974 and again in 1981 through 1991 having served as chair in 1984. She served as director of the Canadian School Trustees Association as well as serving at the provincial level. In 1991 she earned the Harry Paikin Award from the Ontario Public School Boards Association. She served as a director of the Ontario Housing Corporation 1973-1980. In the newly formed area of Cambridge she served at the YMCA and at the in 1988 Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Big Sisters Association, Cambridge Fall Fair Board and the Oktoberfest Committee for which she was In 1989 Woman of the Year. In the following year she was Political Woman of the Year in  Kitchener-Waterloo. Source: Hall of Fame, City of Cambridge, Ontario Online Accessed March 2013.
 

Catherine G. Hennessey Born September 1933, Prince Edward Island. She thought of becoming an architect but was advised that it was not a woman’s profession. She attended school and became a dental hygienist working all over the island. In the mid 1960’s she opened an antique shore but was totally dismayed by the number of historic artifacts leaving the province. She entered politics and was elected as a city councillor where she furthered heritage preservation. She created the Prince Edward Heritage Foundation in the early 1970’s and served as the first executive director. She became involved and was appointed a board member of Heritage Canada and the Canadian Housing Design Council. In 1988 she received the Lieutenant-Governor Medal from Heritage Canada . ON May 31, 2001 she was invested with the Order of Canada. Source: Herstory 2012: The Canadian Women’s Calendar. Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective, 2011.
 
Fran Herman

Music Therapist

(née Korson) Born 1927 Cobalt, Ontario. A pioneer of Music Therapy she used her work to teach and encourage children and adults with severe disabilities to explore and express themselves through the use of music. In 1955 a doctor, head of the Canadian Medical Association, asked Fran to work with his son who was disabled with muscular dystrophy. She soon worked with groups of people who had been abandoned by schools. She developed programs that incorporated singing, dancing and puppetry to bring children out of their cocoon. She created a wheelchair ballet of Prokofiev’s famous Cinderella. A group called the Wheelchair Players which lasted from 1956-1964 was the first group music therapy project in Canada. In 1964  she and her daughter Eve became involved with a rehabilitation centre and founded and directed Creative Arts Therapy Department. She worked her wonders here until she formally retired in 1992. Her works were written in two books and in 2001, with sponsorship from the Sony Corporation she spearheaded the opening of the Music Therapy Centre in Toronto. She has brought together Music Therapy workers by arranging Canadian conferences and has encouraged the establishment of the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund. Source: A Woman’s Agenda 2003: Celebrating Movers and Shakers by Helen Wolfe. Second Story Press, 2002. ; Personal correspondence.
 

Marjorie "Maggie" Hodgson A member of the Carrier First Nation she is a residential school survivor. She is a healing and wellness activist, educator and author. She began working in the offices of the Native Council ling Services of Alberta and then became a community developer and paralegal with Moose Jaw Legal Services. She went on to become the C.E.O. of the Nechi Training which is part of the curriculum at dozens of universities around the world, She was a Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada, the department responsible for dealing with the legacy of the residential schools and former residents’ claims for compensation. She is a cofounder of the May 26 National Day of Healing and Reconciliation, which acknowledges the abuse and cultural annihilation suffered at residential schools. She has received countless awards including the United Nations Community Development Award and two honorary doctorates from universities. A tree has been planted in her name in the Peace Park in Israel in honour of the work she has done. In 2005 she was a member of the 100 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize Project.   Source: Profiles of Peaceful Women by Sierra Bacquie.
 
Adelaide Sophia Hoodless. (née Hunter)  Born St George, Canada West (Ontario) February 27, 1857. Died February 26, 1910. She was an educational reformer who was the founder of the international women’s organization known as the Women’s Institutes. When her infant son died in 1889 from drinking impure milk she devoted herself to the betterment of education for new mothers. With Lady Aberdeen, she helped found the National Council of Women, the Victorian Order of Nurses and the national YWCA (Young Woman’s Christian Association). The University of Guelph recognizes her contribution to education by hanging her portrait in what was once called MacDonald Institute. ** Note the date of her birth is sometimes reported as February 26
 
Waneek Horn-Miller Born November 30, 1975 Montreal, Quebec. She began competitive swimming when she was 7 years of and was the winner of numerous competitions and gold medals. She continued in her chosen sport until 1997. At 14 she was involved in the OKA demonstrations at the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory near Montreal. She worked hard to combat the anger that she had arising from this standoff against the Canadian Government who brought in the army to block the demonstrations. In 1989, while in High School I Ottawa, she was introduced to the sport of water Polo. In 1999 the Canadian Water Polo team won gold medals. That same year Waneek graduated from Carleton University where she was 3 times the Female Athlete of the Year and is a member of the Carleton Ravens Hall of Fame. In 200 she co-captain to the Canadian Women’s Water Polo team at the Sydney, Australia Olympics. In 2001 the team won gold at the FINA World Championships.. Waneek is proud to be a role model for Indigenous girls and takes her role seriously. She has worked part time as a television host with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). In 2017 she was appointed Director of Community Engagement for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
 
Nadine Hunt. Born Kingston, Ontario. Nadine attended the Labour College of Canada and graduated in 1971. She went on to work on the executive of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. In 1978 she was the first woman to lead a labour federation in Canada when she was elected president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. She held this post until 1988. She helped establish the Labour Studies Program at the University of Saskatchewan. She has served as a representative at the International Labour Organization where she served on a committee to establish international standards for the treatment of workers with family responsibilities. The University of Saskatchewan has a memorial scholarship named in her honour.
 
Maisie Hurley Born Swansea, Wales 1888. Died October 3, 1964. As a young woman she eloped with Martin Murphy, a lumberjack and boxer. She would manage a group of boxers who provided entertainment in the lumber camps of the Pacific northwest. It is said that she was taught to ride a horse by the infamous train robber, Bill Miner. While in Washington state she worked with the union known as the IWW- International Workers of the World. She had a sincere desire to better working conditions for families. She left Washington state and returned to Canada with her family of five children after a dangerous union riot. In 1946 she founded and edited the first native newspaper in the area called The Native Voice. She was a strong advocate of Native rights and was actually jailed at one point for her support of clients rights. Her second husband Tom Hurley was a lawyer working with the Native community. She also became a noted collector of Native art and artifacts. Her collection is now housed in the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. née Messina Born Italy 1920. She arrived in Canada as a child with her widowed mother in 1929. They settled in downtown Ottawa and she has become a cornerstone of Ottawa’s Italian Village. For 45 years from 1952-1997 she was a freelance court interpreter making certain that new immigrants were understood and could themselves understand. In the 1950’s she stepped up to help her family of three children when her husband suffered a series of work injuries. She studied and opened her own real estate business becoming the first Italian Canadian woman in Canada in the profession. She and her staff of 16 worked advising new immigrants on how to buy modest homes with affordable down payments. She was the founder of the Independent Realtor’s Association. She is proud that none of the families she helped never lost their homes to mortgage problems.
 
Mary Nazarena Dolores Lerullo

(née Messina) Born Italy 1920. She arrived in Canada as a child with her widowed mother in 1929. They settled in downtown Ottawa and she has become a cornerstone of Ottawa’s Italian Village. For 45 years from 1952-1997 she was a freelance court interpreter making certain that new immigrants were understood and could themselves understand. In the 1950’s she stepped up to help her family of three children when her husband suffered a series of work injuries. She studied and opened her own real estate business becoming the first Italian Canadian woman in Canada in the profession. She and her staff of 16 worked advising new immigrants on how to buy modest homes with affordable down payments. She was the founder of the Independent Realtor’s Association. She is proud that none of the families she helped never lost their homes to mortgage problems.
 

Jean Bessie Lumb

née Wong. Born 1919 Nanaimo, British Columbia. Died July 18, 2002, Toronto, Ontario. The daughter of a Chinese coal miner Jean grew up not understanding why Chinese people and women in general were not accepted! At 16 in 1935 she moved to Toronto to work for her sister. The next year she opened a fruit store which gave he funds to bring the rest of her family to Toronto. In April 1939 she married. Doyle Jennings Lumb. She and her husband raised 6 children while working in their Toronto fruit store. In 1959 they opened the Kwong Chow Restaurant. Jean became a community lobbyist in order to effect changes in immigration. From 1923 until 1947 federal regulations kept families in China from joining their husbands and fathers who were in Canada. In 1940 she was president of the Women’s Association in the Chinese Community where she lobbied to changes to reunite Chinese families in Canada. In 1957 when Ellen Fairclough was Minister of Immigration , Jean was a force behind sending a group to Ottawa to fight for family re-unification for immigrants. She was also a central force in the preservation of Toronto Chinatown. In the 1960’s she headed the “Save Chinatown Committee which was formed to save the area from developers.  She formed and worked with the Chinese Dance troop with her work recognized when she was presented to Queen Elizabeth. In 1976 she became the 1st Chinese Canadian to become a member of the Order of Canada. Source: Chinese Canadians: Voices from a community by Evelyn Huong with Lawrence Jeffery. (Vancouver: Douglas McIntyre, ; www.wongswhowho.com. 1992)
 

Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman (ée Rowell. Born January 7, 1904. Died 1994. Daughter of a prominent lawyer, Newton Rowell who among many things had worked on the famous “Persons” case, Mary attended private schools and travelled extensively as a youngster. She graduated in 1925 from the University of Toronto and later attended the London School of Economics. In 1930 she married Henry Rutherford Jackman (1900-1979) a Toronto Lawyer and financier. Mary worked to establish the Bond Street Nursery School to serve children in an impoverished area. Active in the Metropolitan United Church, she worked in a WW ii Service unit and numerous women’s groups as well as being co-author of the church history. The couple had four children including Hal Jackman, 25th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and a Nancy Ruth, Member of the Senate of Canada. Mary was a volunteer at the Clark Institute of Psychiatry, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Ontario Society of Artists, and at Victoria college where she served on the Senate, the Board of Regents, the Board of Management and the Art Committee. He youthful love of travel was crowned with a round the world tour in 1954. She retained and active lifestyle with continued interests in her charity work and politics until the end of the 1980’s. In 1988 she was the YWCA Woman of Distinction and she received honorary degrees from Victoria College and the University of Toronto. In 1993 she was nominated of the Order of Canada. Source: Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman (1904-1994) Victoria University Library Special Collections Fonds 29 : Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman 1904 - : The beginnings of a biography. 1st edition 1994. Copy provided by Senator Nancy Ruth.
 
Jane Jacobs

née Butzer. Born Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. May 4, 1916. Died Toronto, Ontario April 25, 2006. Ger original career was that of a writer and this brought her to New York City where she met and married architect Robert Hyde Jacobs in 1944. The couple would have 3 children. Her first book: The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) recognized the need to rethink urban planning to create health community life. This book would become a basic text book of the future. While she never completed formal education and had no professional training she become the foremost expert in city planning and moral philosophy producing books reflecting one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century. In 1968, not believing the war effort in Vietnam the family emigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto, Ontario. The city would honour her in many ways. In 1997 the conference , Jane Jacobs Ideas , was held in the city. As a citizen of repute she was awarded the Order of Canada. Sources: Obituary by Veronica Horwell The Guardian, April 28, 2006. Online Accessed June 2011.
 

Alice Jane Jamieson née Jukes. Born July 14, 1860, New York City, New York, U.S.A. Died June 4, 1949, Calgary, Alberta. Shortly after her birth the family moved to Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. ON March 8 1882, she married Reuben Rupert Jamieson in Springfield, Ohio. The couple would have five children, four of whom survived infancy. The settled 1st in Toronto and the Canadian Pacific Railroad posted Reuben to Smith Fall, Ontario prior to sending him in 1902 as general superintendent of the Western Division of the CPR to Calgary. He became interested in local politics and served as Mayor of Calgary in 1909/10. After his death in 1911 Alice became deeply involved in local women’s groups. She was a founding member of the Calgary YWCA, and supported such women’s demands such as the right to vote. In 1914 she was appointed as a judge to juvenile Court, the 1st woman in the British Empire to hold such a position. In December 1916 she became magistrate of the Calgary Women’s Court. In 1917 she won a Supreme Court case which questioned if a woman could serve in the office of Magistrate. This was quite contentious as women were still not considered ‘persons’ at this time. She was the 1st president and the driving force behind the Local council of Women, as well she was active in the Women’s Musical Club and the General Hospital Auxiliary. The Alice Jamieson Girl’s Academy is the only single gender school in the Calgary School Board. Sources: Kay Sanderson, 200 Remarkable Alberta Women, (Famous 5 Foundation, 1999) online (accessed July 2015); Alice Jamieson alicejamieson.yolaste.com (accessed July 2015)
 
Susan Gertrude Jasper (née Robson) Born 1902, Ontario. Died 2000, Deleau District, Manitoba. In 1911 her family moved to Deleau District of Manitoba. In 1922 she married Norman Jasper and the couple raised three children. At 18 she started working as secretary for the United Farmers of Manitoba, a position she held for 19 years. Later she served on the Board of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture where she lobbied governments for legislation to improve quality of rural life. In her home community she founded a school for mentally impaired children. She served on the Hartney Chamber of Commerce and founded the local museum. Many in the area remember her as their music teacher and as organist for local churches. She arranged award winning gardens about her home and served 15 years as district director of the Manitoba Horticulture Society. She was also a director of the International Peace Garden that joins the U.S. – Canadian Border, for 15 years. In 2002 she was inducted into the Manitoba Agriculture Hall of Fame. Source: Herstory : A Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006 (Coteau Books 2005)
 
Dorothy Charlotte Johnson

née Dodds. Born Clute, Ontario October 5, 1925. Died January 8, 2016, Cochrane, Ontario. Raised on a farm in northern Ontario she would marry Raymond ‘Bud” Johnson and the couple would raise their five children on their farm. During the World War II teacher shortage she taught school on a letter of permit and continued to work in local schools as a supply teacher and in the school library. In winter she often snow shoed to school to light the fire early so the students would come to a warm class.  Later in life she was also elected to the Board of Education for North Eastern Ontario. An active member of her church, she has always enjoyed being a member of the choir, serves as a counselor and worked on writing a constitution for the newly formed Unified Council of her local church. She has had a long standing interest in the Federated Women’s Institutes enjoying membership and all the activities. She has also performed administrative positions form local and area president, 1983-1986 President of the Federated Women’s Institute of Ontario and in July 1991 she became president elect of the national Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada. She was responsible for a written presentation to the Associated Country Women of the World for their revised constitution.  She would be one of the women chosen to represent Canada at the world Conference on Women in Beijing, China.   November 2, 2006 Charlotte was the recipient of an Honorary Fellowship from Huntington University, Sudbury, Ontario. Sources: Personal interview with Charlotte Johnson; Federation of Women’s Institutes of Ontario Http://fwio.on.ca/contribute/about/Mrs R.B. Johnson (accessed December 2008); Huntington University Http://huntington.laurentian.ca (Accessed January 2009). Obituary, Cochrane Times Post.
 

Lillie Johnson

Born Jamaica. Lillie trained as a nurse in Jamaica and Scotland prior to completing her studies in Toronto, Ontario. She worked at an outlying Red Cross posting before settling to work at the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. By 1981 she founded the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario. In 2005 she was successful in realizing the universal newborn screening for sickle cell disease (SCD). SDC affects mainly people of colour from Africa and the Middle East. In 2015 Lillie was honored at the Sickle Cell Advocacy Gala in Ottawa, Ontario.
 

Sue Johanson. A mother, grandmother and by training a nurse, Sue is extremely concerned about unplanned pregnancies, babies having babies, sexually transmitted disease and kids being used and abused. In 1970 she opened in Don Mills Birth Control Clinic, the first such clinic in a High school in North America. She had no idea that her forthright talk approach about sex would lead to the “Sunday Night Sex Show” on W television! In 2004 she entered the American market on Oxygen Network with 4 million viewers. She is a member of the Order of Canada. In March 2004 the National Post newspaper named her one of Canada’s most influential women.
 
Virginia K. Copping Norton Kemp

née Norton. Born February 22, 1895 Forest City, Arkansas, U.S.A. Died June 26, 1957 Toronto, Ontario. She studied piano in both the U.S.A. and Canada and was considered an accomplished pianist. Her first marriage was to Norman Judson Copping  on February 28, 1914 in Arkansas, and the couple had two children. Norman Cooping died in 1921. Her in-laws had both died with the sinking of the ship Lusitania and it was through an organization to remember those who died Virginia met  Sir Albert Edward Kemp (1858-1929)  who had lost his grandson on the ship. The couple married on March 3, 1925 and they would have one daughter. She was a true patron of the arts providing Glen Gould with a starting scholarship and served as Benefactor Member of the Toronto Art Gallery. Lady Kemp was a member of the executive committee Canadian Troops in Training  supporting the Canadian Forces throughout World War ll.  She was patron of the Canadian Institute for the Blind and was the elected president of the CNIB in 1954 to 1957. She would donate Baker Hall for blind veterans.
 

Cathy Kerr Born 1951(?) Died October 22, 2004. She had a quick mind and by the mid 1970's when she was 23 she was the youngest person to be head of the correspondence section in the Prime Minister's Office. By 1988 she was Director of operations c-ordination for the Winter Olympics in Calgary. While campaign manager for John Manley she was in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. She was confined to a wheel chair but the chair did not confine her spirit, determination nor her energies. She became a tireless worker for the disabled and was a board member of the Disabled Persons Coalition and the Ottawa Rehabilitation Centre. in 200 she received the Rick Hansen Award in recognition of her efforts. In 2001 it was the United Way Community Builder Award and in 2004 it was the Ottawa Civic Appreciation Award.
 
Naomi Klein

Born Montreal, Quebec May 8, 1970. The daughter of social activists Bonnie Sherr-Klein and Dr. Michael Klein, Naomi grew up in Montreal. She attended the University of Toronto where she became editor of the University newspaper and went on to intern at the Globe and Mail before working for This Magazine. She married Avi Lewis and, a current affairs show host. They enjoy editing each other’s works. Naomi’s first book No logo: taking aim a the Brand Bullies (1999) appeared in over 25 different languages and had a special 10th anniversary re-publishing. The anti-globalization there garnered attention for the inspiring activist. Her second book the Shock Doctrine , 2007 again appeared in multiple languages and appeared on lists of must read books of the year. Naomi has also written such documents at the Take in 2004 winning the Best Documentary Jury Prize at the American Film Institute Festival in Los Angeles. Her work as a contributing editor and reporter has appeared in Harper’s, Rolling Stone, The Nation, the Guardian, the Washington Post and is syndicated through the New York Times. She has won the James Aronson Award for social Justice Journalism, in 2004. She was the Miliband Fellow as the London School of Economics. . Sources: A woman’s agenda 2003: Celebrating movers and shakers by Helen Wolfe. Second Story Press, 2002. ; About Naomi Klein http://www.naomiklein.org accessed June 2011. The book won the 2001 National Business Award.
 

Kathy Knowles

Lay Librarian
Born 1955, Toronto, Ontario. Kathy studied nursing at Queen’s University Kingston, Ontario earning her BSc (nursing). She worked in various pediatrics hospitals including a year in Moose Factory, in Northern Ontario. She married John Knowles and the couple have four children. In 1989 the family relocated to Accra, Ghana in west Africa where John worked for a Canadian gold mining company. Kathy loved to read books to her children and she soon found that she accumulated many more eager listeners to her stories told under a tree in her back yard.  Soon she had converted the family garage into a lending library and was lobbying Canadian friends and all who could help to send books. In 1993 the family returned to Canada and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Before she left Ghana Kathy made sure her library would remain open and trained local staff. She founded the Osu Children’s Library Fund, a registered charity in both Canada and Ghana. 8 libraries have been established in the greater Accra area and over 200 more libraries across Africa. Through the Osu Children’s Library Fund Kathy has authored and published almost 30 books of easy learning, stories and tales of Ghana for children. In 2002 Kathy was awarded the Lewis Perinbam Award for International Development, the 1st of many awards she has received for her continued efforts for literacy in Africa. She has been recognized in both Canada and Ghana. She is an honorary fellow of the Ghana Library Association and has received in 2010 the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) the Asahi Reading Promotion Award. In 2013 the American Library Association presented her with the Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects. At home in Winnipeg she was the YWCA Woman of Distinction, has been inducted into the Order of Manitoba and in 2010 she was recognized as one of Canada’s 25 Transformational Canadians. The Governor General of Canada presented her with an Award of Meritorious Service in 2001. In 2013 she received from the Winnipeg YM/WCA Peace Medallion. Perhaps the best award she has received is watching the children read to her when she visits libraries in Africa. Book: Cowley, Deborah. The Library Tree. Sources: Dawson, Joanna and Beverly Tallon. “Helping Heroes: Canadians who made a difference in the world.’ In Canada’s History February- March 2013  ; Kathy Knowles, Bio Osu Library Fund www.osuchildrenslibraryfund.ca (Accessed September 2014)
 
Julia Koschitzky

née Plodlski. Born Cardiff, Wales. The family had fled German in 1939 and left fro Canada in 1949 finally settling in Toronto, Ontario in 1956. In 1963 Julia married Businessman Henry Koschitzky. She has always had a strong presence in her community. She began when some of her four  children were in school becoming president of the Parents’ Association of the Associated Hebrew Schools in Toronto. In 1985 she chaired the Toronto United Jewish Appeal, Women’s Division Campaign and in 1988-1989 she co-chaired the general Toronto UJA Campaign. She served for 8 years as an officer of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and then from 1990-1992 as president of the United Israel Appeal/Federations Canada. In 1998 she chaired the Toronto celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Israeli statehood. In 2003 she was chair of the UJA Federation’s Israel Advocacy program and serving on the executive committee of Israel Now. Her work and dedication has garnered her numerous awards including the Woman of Valour Award of Toronto’s UJA Business and Professional Women’s Division in 1990. In 1994 she received the 125 Canadian Confederation Medal. There was also the Jerusalem Award of the Canadian Zionist Federation in 1994 and the Ben Sadowski Award for outstanding dedication to the Toronto, Jewish Community in 1997 which was followed by the Volunteer award of the Province of Ontario in 1999. Source: Brown, Michael “Julia Koschitzky” Jewish Women: A comprehensive historical encyclopedia  Jewish Women’s Archive.  online (Accessed August 2011)
 

Rosemarie Ester Kuptana

Born  during winter seal hunt 1954, Price of Wales Strait. She grew up leaning the traditional role of Inuit women. However she was whisked away to residential school where she was to learn the ways of the “white man”. She was not allowed to speak her own language for 10 years! In 1979 she began working as a radio broadcaster with the CBC Northern Services. In 1983 she was President of Inuit Broadcasting Corporation setting policy and standards. From 1986-1989 she was Vice President of Inuit Circumpolar Conference, an organization addressing common consensus of Inuit in Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia. In 1991 she took over leadership of Tapirisat of Canada in Ottawa . This organization allowed Inuit communities to work together to control their own futures. She was a part of the Canadian Constitutional talks of 1992 in Charlottetown where recognition of Canada’s aboriginal was guaranteed.  Her work garnered her the Confederation Medal. In 1994 she was honoured with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award and in 199 she was invested as an Officer in the Order of Canada. She is very proud of her family of two sons. Sources: Honour Song: A tribute by Barbara Hagan Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 1996  ; Native Leaders of Canada Online (Accessed November 2011)
 

Anne Lacquette Born in Ebb and Flow, Manitoba. She has lived in Mallard, Manitoba for over 50 years and has served as a town counselor, deputy mayor and as mayor of the town. She has also served on the board of the Parkland Regional Health Authority. as Chair of Northern Association of Community Councils Western Region and a is a member of the Cancer Care Aboriginal Board. She was past Chair of the Provincial Aboriginal Advisory Committee and has served on the Parkland Regional Health Authority Board. She married Norman Lacquette and the couple had 7 children. In 2010 she was honoured at the Keeping the Fires Burning aboriginal awards celebrating female leaders for preserving First Nations culture and serving as role models for younger generations. Source; Matt Preprost, “Gala recognizes accomplishments”.  Winnipeg Free Press June 18, 2010 Page A13.
 
Joy Langan née Pollard. Born January 23, 1943, Rossland, British Columbia. Died July 20, 2009, Port Moody, British Columbia. She dropped out of school in grade ten but she was known to quip that she had a PhD in being a working woman. Her first child was put up for adoption but not forgotten and they were reunited years later. In 1966 she had a brief marriage to Gary Langan and the couple had one daughter. When she was bringing up her daughter she worked tirelessly to obtain day care for people working shift work. In 1972 she was the 1st woman journeyman printer at a company called Pacific Press. They felt they had to hire the person who had obtained the highest results in their mechanical aptitude testing. In 1979 she met a fellow printer Doug Schop who became her life partner. She worked with labour organizations and became the 1st woman Vice-President of the British Columbia Federation of Labour. From this position she continued to battle for equal rights for women. In 1988 she ran successfully for the New Democratic Party and became a Member of the Canadian Parliament. She continued her hard working feminist tendencies and introduced a private members bill to ban the sale of the dangerous silicone breast implants. After she left parliament in 1993 she worked for the Communications, Energy and Pipe workers Union. In 1999 she was arrested when she laid down under the tires of a truck during a legal strike. In 2008 she retired from her union job only to become  a working President of the British Columbia Federation of Retired Union Members. Here she took on the role as advocate for seniors rights. Source: “Activist liked to say she had a PhD in being a working woman” by Noreen Shanahan, The Globe and Mail, August 17, 2009.
 
Jeannette Vivian Lavell née Corbiere. Born Wikwemikong, Ontario June 21, 1942. A person "dedicated to the causes of native women for more than a quarter of a century, ...she is a courageous woman who fought to improve their plight and proved that one person's voice can make a difference" You can read about her fight for native women to retain their birth right of legal Native Status on the web site "Celebrating Women's Achievements" from the National Library of Canada.
 
Janet Chisholm Lee

Born January 4, 1862, Woodstock, Upper Canada. (Ontario). Died August 24, 1940, Stoney Creek, Ontario. Like many women of her era, Janet attended Normal School (Teachers College) and earned a Kindergarten certificate in 1887. She would create the 1st kindergarten program in the City of Hamilton, Ontario. She married Erland Lee (1864-1929) farmer, teacher and civil servant, The couple would have five children. She worked with Adelaide Hoodless (1858-1910) to found the Women’s Institutes which would offer programs to rural women. On February 25, 1893 Janet is credited with writing the original Woman’s Institute constitution on her dining room table. In 1987, a primary school in Stoney Creek was named in her honour. The Lee family home, Edgemont, was taken over by the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada in 1970 and in 1972 was opened as the Erland Lee Museum.
 

Jean Bessie Lumb Born 1919 Nanaimo, British Columbia. Died July 18, 2002, Toronto, Ontario. In April 1939 she married. She and her husband raised 6 children while working in their Toronto fruit store. In 1959 they opened the Kwong Chow Restaurant. Jean became a community lobbyist in order to effect changes in immigration. In 1940 she was president of the Women’s Association in the Chinese Community. In 1957 when Ellen Fairclough was Minister of Immigration  Jean was a force behind sending a group to Ottawa to fight for family re-unification for immigrants. She was also a central force in the preservation of Toronto Chinatown. She formed and worked with the Chinese Dance troop with her work recognized when she was presented to Queen Elizabeth. In 1976 she became a member of the Order of Canada. Source: Chinese Canadians: Voices from a community by Evelyn Huong with Lawrence Jeffery. (Vancouver: Douglas McIntyre, 1992)
 
Roberta 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.
 
Heather B.S. MacGregor née Reynolds. Born June 6, 1921, Pietermarlizberg, South Africa. Died January 5, 2013, Cobourg, Ontario. While still a child she moved with her family to England where she trained as a classical ballet dancer and teacher. During World War ll she was chosen to be an officer in the Royal Air Force, one of the few women officers, and was posted in Palestine. In Cairo in 1944 she married Canadian Flight Leader Winston Walker (died 1958) and came to Canada as a War Bride. She taught and danced in Edmonton meeting many dancers and pioneers in the Canadian Ballet ensemble. In 1963 she married Colin MacGregor (died 1987) and the couple lived in various cities before settling in Cobourg, Ontario. She was active in her Anglican Church and was a committed volunteer, being president of the Toronto Hospital Auxiliary from 1997-1999. Source: Obituary, Globe and Mail January 19, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 
Anne Elizabeth Macdonald

Born March 18, 1930, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died July 10, 1993, North Vancouver. Established North Vancouver's Presentation House Arts Centre. She worked to save the historic Church of St. John the Evangelist with the building becoming  a recital hall renamed in her honour the Anne Macdonald Hall in 1977. She founded the Arts and Crafts Fair as well as the  North Vancouver Community Arts Council .. As the council’s first executive director of she established the Assembly of B.C. Arts Councils. In addition she sat on many boards and commissions including University of British Columbia's senate, North Vancouver School District and Canadian Conference of the Arts. In 1990 she received YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Community Service. She was also inducted as a Member of  Order of British Columbia. Source: The Vancouver Hall of Fame online (Accessed November 2012)
 

Elizabeth Lee Macdonald née Owen. Born May 11, 1835, Cardigan River, Prince Edward Island. Died July 12, 1901, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Her family was a well established family on the Island. The family moved to Charlottetown in 1842 when her father was appointed to the position of Postmaster General. On November 25, 1863 she set the social society buzzing when she married a catholic shipping magnate Andrew Archibald Macdonald.  While she remained loyal to her Anglican roots her four sons were brought up as Catholics. Her husband became well situated after their marriage and as a politician was the youngest among the Fathers of Confederation who attended both the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences. Dibbie, as she was known to family and friends, was active in working for her church and served as president of the Sewing Society of St Peter’s Cathedral where she organized fundraising events. In 1884 she became the 1st lady of PEI when her husband served as Lieutenant Governor. In 1891 she was appointed to the senate. Using only her initials E.L.M. was the manner of women authors of the day, she wrote of local history. This was a popular topic for magazines and papers from 1867 through 1920. From October 1900 through June 190 she wrote a nine part series entitled Charlottetown Fifty years Ago in the Prince Edward Island Magazine. Her articles included much of her memories and emphasized women’s contributions to the making of the provincial society. She died suddenly from complications with Diabetes. Sources: Evelyn MacLeod, “OWEN, ELIZABETH LEE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 13, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 30, 2015, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/owen_elizabeth_lee_13E.html.  (accessed June 2015) ; Carolyn Harris, Elizabeth Lee Macdonald. Canadian Encyclopedia online (accessed June 2015)
 
Isabel Janet Macneill / MacNeill Born June 4, 1908, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Died August 18,1990. Isabel attended Halifax Ladies College, Mount Saint Vincent Academy followed by attending the Nova Scotia College of Art and graduating in 1928. She wanted a career in scenic design but soon found herself working as a counselor.  In 1942 she joined the Wrens and in March 1943 she was promoted to 1st Officer. Two months later in June 1943 she became commanding officer of HMCS Conestoga,  the 1st woman in the British Commonwealth to hold a command. In June1944 she was awarded the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her training Canadian Wrens. In April 1945 she was promoted to the rank of Commander. After World War 11 in 1946 she was employed by the Ontario Government as Director of Special Services for Wayward Girls and she headed the Training School for Delinquents in Coburg and then in Galt. She believed that the girls should achieve self confidence to re-enter successfully life in society. In 1954 she returned to duty in the Canadian Navy to help establish a small permanent force of Wrens. She retired from the Canadian Navy in June.  In 1960 she became the 1st woman prison warden when she was appointed to head the Prison for Women (P4W), Kingston, Ontario. Here, as she had done for the Girls Training School she encouraged  development of the women to encourage change. When her beliefs became contrary to prison regulations in 1966 she resigned her post.  She became a life member of the Elizabeth Fry Society and continued to promote prison reform. . She was also a charter member of Veterans Against Nuclear Arms. She was a recipient of the Queen’s Coronation Medal in 1953 and in 1971 she was inducted into the Order of Canada. Source: Herstory 2006: The Canadian Women’s Calendar. Coteau Books, 2005) ; Macneill, Isabel 1908-1990. Fonds. Memory Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Public Archives. Online (Accessed October 2014)
 
Maria Marrelli née Di Grandis. Born Montreal, Quebec May 18, 1915. Died Montreal, Quebec, June 21, 2012. As a teen she saw a need and created a charity, Loggia Elisabetta Di Silvestro, to help young Italian women who were on welfare.  She married Guiseppe Marrelli in 1936 and learned that she cold no have her own bank account legally in Quebec. Thus began  her desire to work even harder for women’s rights. She was in the front lines fighting for the right to vote that came to Quebec in 1944. She also worked tirelessly for the Italian community. She was principal of Patromato ItaloCanadese Algi Immigrah, a private school that taught Italian as a language on Saturdays. She wrote a column for The Suburban in Montreal and in 1972 she was the only woman founding member of the Quebec Congress Italian Canadians that safe guarded the interest of the Italian Community. From 1977 -1981 she served as a Canadian Citizenship judge. She received Italy’s Order of Merit and a medal from the National Congress of Italian Canadians for her efforts. Source: Obituaries by Alan Hustak, The Globe and Mail June 26, 2012. Suggested by June Coxon, Ottawa Ontario.
 
Elizabeth "Betsy"  Carroll Martin

Philanthropist

Born March 14, 1959, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. Died June 4, 2013, Ottawa, Ontario.  She worked for CitcCorp Mortgage Corporation but was much more interested in the company charity activities. In 1992 she became director of Public Affairs for St. Louis University. She earned her master’s degree from the Kennedy School at Harvard University. On August 5, 1995 she married Canadian businessman Corey Copeland and the couple settled in Ottawa. They had one daughter. She joined the Community Foundations of Canada as Director of Programs, happy to once again to be involved in charity work. In 1999 she launched a campaign to celebrate the new millennium that engaged more than 6 million Canadians in giving gifts to their communities. Her work garnered her the Innovations Award from the CDC. Source: Obituary by Nora Ryell, the Globe and Mail, July 22, 2013.
 
Laura Blanche McCain née Perley. Born October 3, 1891 Maugerville, New Brunswick Died March 11, 1982,  Florenceville, New Brunswick. In 1909 she earned her education certificate and taught in Alberta for a few years before moving back to New Brunswick. In 1914 she took a one year course for teaching household science at Mount Allison Ladies College, Sackville, New Brunswick. In 1915 School Board Chairman Andrew D. McCain hired Laura to teach household sciences. Andrew Davis McCain married  Laura Blanche Perley, October 2, 1918 at St. Anne’s Anglican Church, Fredericton, York Co. The couple had 6 children. She was instrumental in organizing and establishing some 20 local Women’s Institutes in New Brunswick.  During World War ii the Women’s Institutes in New Brunswick put together a Victory Cook Book. Although Laura’s name does not appear as a contributor it was widely known that she was the organizer behind the book. The first edition of the book earned $40,000.00 which was used to purchase 2 ambulances for the Canadian forces. After the death of her husband in 1953 she took over as manager and President of the McCain Produce business. On December 6, 1974 she was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada. Source with sincere thanks to the Andrew and Laura McCain Public Library, New Brunswick.
 
Anne "Annie' Elizabeth McClung née Meharry. Born April 3, 1849, Durham, Ontario. Annie Married a Methodist minister, James Adam McClung (d. 1916) in 1870. The couple had 6 children. Annie herself was an active member of her local Womens Christian Temperance Movement and while in Manitou, Manitoba she shared her views with her daughter-in-law Nellie McClung. She also saw Nellie’s talent for the written word and encouraged Nellie to enter a magazine writing contest. Annie took over doing things like the laundry and sewing, things she called frivolous so that Nellie could have time to write. When Nellie published her 1st book, Annie made sure Nellie was a guest speaker at events so that the book could be promoted.
 
Jessie Turnbull McEwen Born December 1845, Montreal?, Quebec. Died June 1, 1920, Brandon, Manitoba. After attending college she toured Ontario under the aegis of Egerton Ryerson, superintendent of education, lecturing on the need for daughters to be educated. Married April 30, 1868 to Donald McEwan. The couple settled 1st in Toronto and then Montreal and once again in Toronto. The couple had 4 children.   Jessie became involved in 1877 in the Toronto Woman’s Literary Club which in 1883 became the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association with Jessie as President. She was also secretary and trustee of the committee which organized the Woman’s Medical College in 1883 and was among the group instrumental in obtaining entrance for women into the University of Toronto that same year. In 1884 the family relocated to Manitoba. They named their mansion in Elton Tullichewen. In 1895 after a visit with Lady Aberdeen Jessie became president the local Council of Women, a position she held till 1916 and she was National vice-president in 1900. She was also president of the local Aberdeen Association bringing classes in domestic sciences to the Brandon schools. She furnished and equipped a ward in the Brandon General Hospital and was instrumental in establishing and financially supporting the Shoal Lake Hospital.  In 1900 she organized the 1st active branch of the Red Cross Society in Manitoba and in 1907 she led the formation of the Young Women’s Christian Association. An active Presbyterian she was a founder in 1886 of the auxiliary of the Women’s Foreign Mission Society in Brandon and  its 1st regional organization of the society in Western Canada. Source Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
 
Lillian McGregor Born Birch Island (Whitefish River First Nations, Ontario 1924. Died Newmarket, Ontario April 20, 2012. She and her cousin Florence were the first native children to graduate grade 8 on Manotoulin Island, Ontario. She moved to Toronto at 15 to avoid a possible arranged marriage. She became a nanny with the condition from her employer that she continue her education. She finished high school and attended nursing college. During WW ll she worked at a munitions plant in eastern Toronto and packed parachutes. In 1949 she worked for the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) and at a west end nursing home until her retirement in 1990. She raised three sons. She was a founding member of the Native Canadian Centre and a national leader in the Friendship Centres. She was on the board of the Native child an And Family Services Nishnawbe Homes, the original Advisory Council and Ontario’s Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy. In 1994 she became the 1st Elder in residence at the University of Toronto and lectured on the seven sacred teachings of the elders: wisdom, courage, truth, honesty, love, humility and respect. She was the 1st native woman awarded an honorary doctorate of law from the University of Toronto. In 1996 the university established a scholarship in her name. She received the City of Toronto’s Civic Award and the outstanding achievement Award from the province as well as receiving the Order of Ontario. She was also instrumental in founding the Ontario Aboriginal Diabetes Institute. She had tea with the Queen, offered a first nations prayer to open the provincial legislature and travelled to Russia with a group representing Toronto’s bid for the Olympics. She carried the 2010 Olympic torch through part of Toronto. Source: “She helped natives survive the city.” By Noreen Shanahan. The Globe and Mail May 22, 2012. Suggested by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 
Mary Jane McQuesten née Baker. Born October 10, 1849, Brantford, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died December 7, 1934, Hamilton, Ontario. Her father was Thomas Baker a Calvinist minister who strongly defended women’s rights. After attending grammar school she attended Mrs. Burns’ ladies collegiate in Toronto. On June 18, 1873 she married Isaac Baldwin McQuesten (1847-1888) a young lawyer. The couple would have 7 children. The couple would inherit a very large house which Mary caller Whitehern in Hamilton. At one point poor family investments caused a reversal of finances and Isaac turned to drink and began to exhibit traits of mental illness. Mary herself sought treatment for a mental breakdown in 1897. Widowed in 1888 Mary was left with children from 2 to 14 years of age and a mountain of debt. Through the years the children helped support the family. Her daughter Ruby took a teaching position in Ottawa and sent home money so her brother Thomas could attend university. Thomas would go on to become a member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Even with all her personal responsibilities she found time to volunteer at her Presbyterian church and for 50 years was active in the Women’s Foreign Mission Society (WFMS) in the Hamilton area. In 1906 she traveled throughout Ontario and the Canadian west establishing WFMS auxiliaries. She helped to found the Young Women’s Christian Association in Hamilton and she belonged to the National Council of women. In 1923 she lectured publically against church union and the formation of the United Church of Canada. Her own local church remained Presbyterian. None of her children married and upon the death of Calvin, her youngest son their home, Whitehern was bequeathed to the City of Hamilton and became a museum in 1971. More than 3,000 letters attributed to Mary and her family are preserved at Whitehern Historic House and Gardens. The letters provide a detailed look into the personal lives of an upper-middle class family of the late Victorian and Edwardian era in Canada. A biography on Mary has been published in 2004 and 2 plays have been written based on family life.
 
Anne Jean McWilliam McDonald née Beleaney Born 1877 Waterside, Ayrshire, Scotland.  Died  August 15, 1969 Calgary, Alberta. By the time she was 11 she was an orphan working as a domestic servant and a milkmaid. She married William McWilliams and although the couple had 5 children only 2 lived to adulthood. The family immigrated to originally to Ontario, Canada to work on a farm  but soon William headed to Alberta. In 1907 while travelling with the children to Alberta by train Jean was sexually assaulted by a railway sleeping car attendant. . Arriving in Alberta, Jean became good friends with the head of the Red Cross Mary Wagoner in Calgary, and strongly encouraged the Red Cross to place matrons aboard trains for accompanying female immigrants for keeping them safe en-route. In order to gain a better education for her children Jean left the family farm with the children and settled in Calgary. She worked as a domestic servant to support her family. She went on to become Calgary’s 1st police matron for female prisoners. By 1912 she had purchased her own home taking in boarders to help with finances. She took in destitute single women who needed help. She was a staunch supporter of women’s rights. She was a suffragette who wanted to make sure women would have the right to vote in elections. She worked with other women in the province including the members of the “Famous Five”, Nellie McClung (1873-19510, Irene Parlby (1868-1965), Emily Murphy (1868-1933), Henrietta Muir Edwards (1849-1931) and Louise McKinney (1868-1931). Her husband, During World War One Jean and started the Next of Kin organization for petitioning the Canadian Government to grant more money for soldiers wives while their husbands were away fighting in France.  Her husband, William was shrapneled at Vimy Ridge Easter Monday 1917.  After returning to Alberta he again fell ill and returned to Scotland and died. Jean later remarried Andrew William ‘Mac’ MacDonald during 1936. Family was important to Jean and she in her latter years raised one of her  granddaughters (Jean McWilliam/Fraser) who had been very badly treated and emotionally abused by her stepmother. Jean McWilliam MacDonald was Child Welfare Convener in Calgary for 35 years and enjoyed a large turnout at Palliser Hotel 1952 acknowledging her contributions to Calgary's Society.  She was later referred to by journalists as being the champion of the Underdog and ultimately the Voice of Calgary's Conscience.  Source: Family member
 
Marion Ironquil Meadmore

Aboriginal social activist
Born 1936 Peepeekisis First Nation Reserve, Saskatchewan. Like many of her generation she was forced to leave home and attend residential School. In 1954 she married Ronald Hector Meadmore (1933-2013). She attended the University of Manitoba and in 1977 she became the 1st indigenous woman lawyer in Canada. She is the founder of several aboriginal organizations including the Canadian Indian Lawyer Association (Now Indigenous Bar Association), National Indian Brotherhood, the Indian and Métis Friendship Center, the Kinew Housing, and the National Indigenous Council of Elders (NICE). In 1985 She was inducted into the Order of Canada. Since 2011 she has been actively involved on the National Council of Indigenous Elders for the Creation of Wealth Forum. In 2010 she was honoured at the Keeping the Fires Burning aboriginal awards celebrating female leaders for preserving First Nations culture and serving as role models for younger generations.  In 2015 the University of Manitoba presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Source: Don Marks, “What is the Use in Spending so Much Time Studying Failure’ CBC.ca May 14, 2015; Matt Preprost, “Gala recognizes accomplishments”.  Winnipeg Free Press June 18, 2010 Page A13.
 
Geraldine 'Geri' Migicovsky née Shnier. Born 1921, Winnipeg Manitoba. Died May 27, 2014, Toronto, Ontario. She married Bert Migicovsky ad the couple settled in Ottawa where they had two children. She stared  in “The lives and loves of Dr Susan” which was the 1st soap opera on CBC Radio, and continued her acting career on radio and television. After retirement from acting she turned her energies to being a social activist in Ottawa where she spearheaded the movement to have “911” emergency call service brought to Ottawa. She was also active in the Canadian Israel Cultural Foundation, the Ottawa Hospital Foundation and the Ottawa Heart Institute. Source: Obituary. Globe and Mail May 29, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa.
 
Joanna Elizabeth Miller

née Green. Born Vancouver, British Columbia May 1926. Graduating from  the University of British Columbia in 1948, she met and married Leonard Miller in June 25, 1949. The couple had of four children with Joanna a stay at home mom.  The family moved to Saskatchewan in 1961 and Joanna had a babysitter one day a week which allowed her time for her active interest in international issues. She helped with UNICEF card sales and began to serve on the national boards of UNICEF and the United Nations. By the end of the 1970’s she was national president. Of the United Nations Association. In 1983 she was named Saskatoon Woman of the Year for Community Service. While working with the Project Ploughshares she was named to the Canadian Institute for Peace and Security by the Government of Canada as well as being special advisor on disarmament to the Canadian Delegation to the United Nations. 1985 she received the Muriel Duckworth Award from the Canadian Advancement of Women Organization. In 1994 she receive a Peace Plaque from the Canadian Research and Education Association. In 2002 she worked for the Saskatoon first Peace Conference as a member of the Saskatoon Peace Coalition.  In 2001 she was presented the Global Citizens Award form the Saskatchewan Council for International Co-operation. In 2006 she was presented with the YMCA Peace Medal. Sources: Canadian Who’s Who (University of Toronto, 2005) ; Herstory : an Exhibition. Women’s Issues. http://Library.usask.ca (Accessed October 2011)
 

Patricia 'Trish' Anne Monture-Angus née Monture. Born September 24, 1958, London, Ontario. Died November 17, 2010 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She was orphaned at 9 and by the time she was a teenager in high school she had been victim of rape and knew life on the streets. Taking some university courses, she surprised herself when she scored well and realized that she was not just a ‘stupid Indian.’ She earned her B.A. from the University of Western Ontario, London in 1983 and followed it with a law degree from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. By 1998 she had completed her studies in law at Osgood Hall, Toronto. Right out of school she proved to be a strong willed fighter for people’s rights when she filed action against the Attorney General of Ontario to avoid taking the oath of allegiance to the Queen. It was nothing personal she insisted but she was a member of a Soverign people, the Mohawk Nation. By 1992 the oath became optional. Trish went on to teach law first at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and later at Ottawa University in Ontario before settling at the University of Saskatchewan in the Department of Native Studies. She married Denis Angus of Thunderchild 1st Nation Cree Nation of Treaty 6. The couple had three sons and adopted 4 children to round out their family. In 2004 Trish switched to a full professorship in the Department of Sociology at U of S. She wrote two books and co-edited a third book on aboriginal women. She served on numerous boards and committees including the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples 1993-1994 and the Federal Task Force on Administrative segregation which made recommendations on the use of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons. She played a key role in which Canadian prisons agreed to accept aboriginal ceremonies and healing circles. In 2007 she was presented with the Sarah Shorten Award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers in recognition of her work for the advancement of women at universities. Her Mohawk name was Aywahande – the one who starts things with words. Source: Csillag, Ron ‘Aboriginal , indigenous, native? She preferred Haudenosaunee or people of the Longhouse.’ In Globe and Mail, December 2, 2010. Suggestion submitted by Marian Crow, Cochrane, Ontario
 
Joy Salmon Moon Born Welland, Ontario January 28, 1938. After business school she tried working in a bank but she hated the job. In Toronto, she worked with Oxford University Press where she made her way from secretary to Children's Book Editor. She Married George Moon and the couple would raise two children. Concerned about toddler's safety in cars she researched safety features for her own son. She pressured newspapers to publish her concerns. Committees were set up by other concerned mothers and eventually by 1986 all provinces in Canada had new legislation  in this area. Her son enjoyed long distance running and Joy turned her energies to coaching and establishing the Tom Longboat Club. She traveled across North America to world cross country events and commonwealth games. Her latest interest is in genealogy and her family. Sources: Cottage Country Now.ca Introducing Joy Salmon Moon Accessed June 2011. : Herstory: The Canadian Women's Calendar 2007. Coteau Books, 2006 Page 26.
 
Leilani Marietta Muir

Born July 15, 1944, Calgary, Alberta. Died March 4, 2016, Devon, Alberta. When she was 10 she thought she was going to an orphanage where she could meet friends and have food. In reality her mother had placed her in the Provincial Training School for Mental Defects, the Michener Centre in Red Deer Alberta. He mother also signed consent for compulsory sterilization! As a teen she had an operation for appendicitis and the sterilization was done at the same time. She was not told of the second part of the procedure. In 1965 Leilani left the school without authorization. She learned of her sterilization during her marriage. During her second marriage the couple were denied adoption because Leilani had been in the Provincial Training School. After her second divorce, while receiving help from a psychiatrist, she was found to be of normal intelligence. She sued the Alberta Government for wrongful sterilization and in a milestone settlement she received almost $750,000.00 plus legal fees for her “pain and suffering”. National uproar followed the attempt by the Alberta Government to cap the payout in similar cases which followed. Leilani continues to tell her story throughout North America and Europe. She wants to fight for rights of individuals in society. In 1996 a film of her story was produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Source: Eugenics in Alberta http//abheritage.ca accessed August 2011. : Herstory; The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2000 (Silver Anniversary edition) Coteau Books, 1999 page 72.
 

Evelyn Myrie Born Jamaica. Evelyn has worked with the United Way of Burlington-Hamilton, the Social Planning and Research Council, the Hamilton Arts Advisory Committee, the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre and the Hamilton Historical Society. She is a founding member of Elect More Women - Hamilton and worked for Status of Women Canada for two decades. She founded and is Principal of EMpower Strategy Group - a boutique leadership development organization specializing in creating strategies to foster empowering leadership at work, at home, and in the community. She was also the founding Director of Peel Newcomer Strategy Group. She also founded the Rev. John C. Holland Awards to recognize Black achievement in Hamilton.Myrie was appointed executive director of the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion in April 2011. She also has written numerous articles for the Hamilton Spectator which instill pride in the community and its history as well as instilling leadership. Her home community has recognized her accomplishments with several awards for leadership, including Woman of the Year in Public Affairs, the Phenomenal Woman Award, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal. She was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction in 2011.
 
Josefina Napravilova Born January 21, 1914, Plzen, Czechoslovakia. Died February 20, 2014, Tabor, Czechoslovakia. When she was still an infant her father left to fight in World War l and he did not return. She was brought up by her mother who instilled in Josefina humanitarian valued and strong nationalism. She began studies in law but was interrupted with the outbreak of World War ll and Nazi occupation of her homeland. She met and married Karel Napravil and the couple first lived in Prague. At the end of the War Josefina set out to find Czechoslovakian children who had been scattered throughout Europe by the Nazi invasion. In May 1945 she joined the Prague uprising serving to care for wounded during the fight to liberate the city from the Germans. She joined the Red Cross handing out food and supplies to people freed from the concentration camps. It was at this time that Josefina heard about Czech children taken during the war. Hitler’s Nazi soldiers murdered adults in Czech villages and took the children to live with German families. While many of the children ended up in consecration camps and were murdered some of the children were given German names so that they could be assimilated as Germans. Josefina wanted to being the children home to Czechoslovakia. . She travelled by any means she could and slept on benches at train stations if necessary. She followed clues and hunches using her deceive instinct and located 40 children. Josefina and Karel never had any children of their own and she loved to see the joy in the faces of the children she managed to help. After the death of her husband in 1948 she joined the International Refugee Organization which caused her to be stripped of her citizenship. She emigrated arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 6, 1949. She settled in British Columbia and worked in a bank. She retired in 1979 to Guelph, Ontario. A tireless volunteer in 1956 she helped Hungarians arriving in Canada and in 1968 she helped Czech refugees to Canada. Josephina was awarded the Masaryk Medal for her war efforts and in 1994 she returned to her beloved Czechoslovakia to live. In 2013 a book : Dreams and Memories by Josefina Napravilova was published. Source: Josefina Navratilova …second mother reunited Czech families by Katerina Cizek in the Globe and Mail March 8, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 
Rosalinda "Linda" Linsangan Natividad-Cantiveros

 

Born November 3, 1946. Gapan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Died March 4, 2008, Winnipeg Manitoba. Studied for her BA in psychology and education at St. Theresa’s College (Manila) and a masters degree at the University of Santo Tomas. She and her husband emigrated to Canada in July 1974. She continued her studies with a degree in English and history from the University of Manitoba then worked in a variety of jobs, involving teaching in the Department of Indian Affairs; in the Winnipeg School Division No. 1; language training consultant at Manitoba Education Training; ESL and open door education program; an independent interpreter and translator in Immigration and Appeal Board of Winnipeg School Division No. 1. ; and became examiner in Filipino Language Proficiency Test, GED coordinator. She was founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Filipino Journal and Filipino Bride and Groom news magazine and a contributor for the Manitoba Encyclopedia. She served as a volunteer for several citizens and human rights groups and worked with the Philippine Heritage Council, the Gawad Kilinga, Pangarat Foundation and was a founding member of the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba as well as several bridging Canada-Philippine groups she was a member of the University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association. She  was also the founder of MAFTI Rondalla, National Songfest (Manitoba). She was named one of the twenty outstanding Filipinos in North America (Washington, DC) and in Canada (Toronto); one of the 100 outstanding Filipinos in Canada. In 1995 she ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Manitoba Legislature. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, March 11, 2008.
 
Alethea Pearleen Borden Oliver. nee Borden.  Born 1917 Cooks Cove, Nova Scotia. Died July 28, 2008. Nova Scotia. 1936 – 1st Black person to graduate from New Glasgow High School. She married W.P. Oliver a Baptist Minister and the couple had 5 sons. 1945 she helped found the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. In 1947 she worked to have Black women gain entrance into nurse’s training in Canada. Active in her church she served as choir director, played the organ and organized the Canadian Girls in Training and Explorers programs. She ran girls’ summer camps, established women’s groups and initiated continuing education classes in Black communities. Authored several books including A Brief History of the Colored Baptists of Nova Scotia 1782-1953. She went on to found the African United Baptist Association Women’s Institute in 1953. Served as the 1st woman Moderator of the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia in 1976. As a board member of the Maritime Religious Education Council and the Nova Scotia Training School for Girls she affected many young women with her positive message. She was honored with the 1992 125 Anniversary of Confederation Medal. In 1994 she wrote Song of the Spirit for the 150th anniversary of the Beechville Church.  She received the 1st YWCA Community Award and the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia President’s Award and became a honorary life member of the Society.   In 2002 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Jubilee Medal and has a place on the Nova Scotia Ebony Wall of Fame. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2010.
 
Marnie Paikin Born Toronto, Ontario.  Marnie graduated from the University of Western Ontario with an Honours degree in Psychology in 1958. She settled in Hamilton and became involved in the community as a founding member of the Philharmonic Children of Hamilton, founding member and 2nd president of the Anna Herskwitz Chapter of Hadassah, Director and President of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and member and Director of the Hamilton and Regional Arts Council Task Force. She has served as a Trustee of the Royal Ontario Museum, Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Toronto, and Member and Chairman of the Ontario Council on University Affairs. She served as a member of the Committee to Study the Future Role of Universities in Ontario, for the Premier and Minister of Colleges and Universities. She has also been a member of the Canadian Educational Standards Institute, and Chairman of the Evaluation Council. She received an honorary Law degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1988, and from the University of Toronto in 1981 Marnie has also received in 1980 the Outstanding Woman Award from the Province of Ontario Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1978, Citizen of the Year 1980 from the Jewish National Fund.  Human Relations Award, Canadian Council of Christians and Jews in 1985 and Woman of the Year for Community Service by the Hamilton Status of Women in 1990. Marnie was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction in 1996.
 
Maria Heathfield Pollard Grant née Pollard Born September 15, 1854 Quebec City, Lower Canada (Quebec). Died March 30, 1937 Victoria, British Columbia. In 1871 Maria’s family relocated to Victoria, British Columbia where her Methodist minister father was offered a position. July 30, 1874 she married Gordon Fraser/Frazar Munro Grant (   -1908). The couple had 7 children who survived infancy. Maria and her mother were founding members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of British Columbia and both would serve on the executive. In 1885 Maria together with other WCTU members traveled the province with a petition for women’s voting rights and took the 1st petition for female suffrage to the provincial legislature. She was also the key organizer of the Local Council of Women in Victoria in 1894. In January 1895 this group of determined women got the provincial government to allow women to serve as school trustees. In March 1895 she becomes the 1st woman to be a school trustee in British Columbia and the 1st woman to be elected to a municipal position in the province. She was elected secretary to the Nation Prohibition Federation of Temperance Societies of Canada. In 1900 she became President of the provincial WCTU. In 1904 she co-supervised construction of a Refuge Home for unwed mothers. In 1910 she was the 1st President of Victoria’s Political Equity League (PEL) and helped form the British Columbia PEL the following year. She also helped to create a local Day nursery. In 1904 she helped establish the Children’s Aid Society of Victoria where she became an employee. In 1918 she formed the Women’s Independent Political Association to support female candidates in civic elections. Source: DCB.
 
Margaret Alberta Phillips Born April 12, 1931. Died November 4, 2015, Thunder Bay, Ontario. In 1957 Margaret was the 1st woman in Canada to be hired as an arena manager. She worked 3 years in Iroquois Falls, Ontario. From 1960-1967 she was Recreational Director in Kemora, Ontario. In 1965 she became the 1st woman president of the Society of Municipal Recreation of Ontario. In 1971 for ten years she was Executive Director of Lakehead Social Planning Council dealing with regional day care services, co-op housing and regional transit. She helped found the Thunder Bay Women’s Center. 1982-1992 she was a member of the Northern Women’s Journal Collective. In 1984 she co-founded with Anna McColl the Northern Woman’s Bookstore. From the mid 1980’s through to 1997 she worked with Inner Pares, a non-government organization working on social justice. She was also a Board member of the Canadian Council on Social Development and the Ontario Welfare Council.
 
Jean Anne Pinkham née Drever. Born 1849, Lower Fort Garry, Manitoba. Died January 3, 1940, Calgary, Alberta. As were many young girls, Jean was well educated and had learned to play music. On December 29, 1868 she married an Anglican Clergyman, William Cyprian Pinkham  (1844-1928). The couple had 8 children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood. In Winnipeg Jean was the 1st organist at Holy trinity Anglican Church and a driving force that helped found the Winnipeg General Hospital. In 1887 her husband became Archbishop of Saskatchewan and Calgary and the family relocated to Calgary. She was not only busy with bringing up her family but took over many duties of her husband who travelled a great deal for his work.  Jean chaired the 1st meeting of the Local Council of women, helped to establish Calgary’s 1st general hospital and organized the Women’s Hospital Aid Society to help keep the hospital funded. She helped to establish the Victoria Order of Nurses (VON) in Calgary as well as the 1st chapter of the I.O.D.E. (Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire). Sources: Sanderson, Kay. 200 Remarkable Women of Alberta. (s.l., s.d.) online (Accessed September 2014)
 
Louise Profelt-LeBlanc
Social Activist for Aboriginal rights.
Born Whitehorse, Yukon. Louise is a member of the Nacho-N’Yak Dun (People of the Big River) First Nation, Yukon. As the Aboriginal Arts Coordinator for the Canada Council Louise works to ensure Aboriginal Arts receive the attention they deserve. She has also worked in the area of mental health, specifically suicide prevention. In 1996 she co-founded the Yukon Storytelling Festival. She encourages people to tell their story adding strength to any story.
Helen Frances Okuloski

Born Black Lake, Quebec 1912. Died 1993. The family eventually settled in Hamilton, Ontario. She studied law and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1935. She set up her law practice in Hamilton as one of the city’s first women lawyers. She would be joined by her brother, Edward once he was called to the bar. Her offices were opened for 50 years. The daughter of Polish immigrants,  her office served the large ethnic clientele because of her understanding of their needs and background. She was also very protective of her female clientele whom she felt were “Handicapped by being women”. The firm was also known and the only local firm that in 1953 would hire a young black lawyer, Lincoln Alexander (1922-2012) who would go on to become Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.  Helen was appointed Queen’s Council in 1955. She was a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and an honorary member of the Hamilton Law Association. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online
 

Alethea Pearleen Borden Oliver nee Borden.  Born 1917 Cooks Cove, Nova Scotia. Died July 28, 2008. Nova Scotia. 1936 – 1st Black person to graduate from New Glasgow High School. She married W.P. Oliver a Baptist Minister and the couple had 5 sons. 1945 she helped found the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. In 1947 she worked to have Black women gain entrance into nurse’s training in Canada. Active in her church she served as choir director, played the organ and organized the Canadian Girls in Training and Explorers programs. She ran girls’ summer camps, established women’s groups and initiated continuing education classes in Black communities. Authored several books including A Brief History of the Colored Baptists of Nova Scotia 1782-1953. She went on to found the African United Baptist Association Women’s Institute in 1953. Served as the 1st woman Moderator of the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia in 1976. As a board member of the Maritime Religious Education Council and the Nova Scotia Training School for Girls she affected many young women with her positive message. She was honored with the 1992 125 Anniversary of Confederation Medal. In 1994 she wrote Song of the Spirit for the 150th anniversary of the Beechville Church.  She received the 1st YWCA Community Award and the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia President’s Award and became a honorary life member of the Society.   In 2002 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Jubilee Medal and has a place on the Nova Scotia Ebony Wall of Fame. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2010.
 
Ratma Omidar Born Amristar, India. Ratma earned her Bachelor’s degree and left for Germany on scholarship. While in Europe she met her Iranian husband. Living in Tehran was uncomfortable during the Islamic revolution and the couple fled to Germany and then in 1981 immigrated to Canada. It was several years before the Educated Ratma could obtain steady employment. Employment was a common problem for educated immigrants. In 2003 she was cofounder of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. She also runs her own Maytree Foundation of Toronto which promotes diversity, fights poverty, and assists immigrants to settle and find work. She is director of the Toronto City Summit Alliance. She has created mentorship, networking and career – bridge programs that have assisted by 2010 over 500 skilled immigrants who face lack of experience in Canada. Politicians and executives seek her advice with respect to immigration and integration. In 2006 she was appointed to the Order of Ontario. In 2011 she published her 1st book: Five Good Ideas: practical strategies for non-profit success (Coach House Press, 2011). Source: Ratma Omidar by Joe Friesen. Globe and Mail. January 1, 2010 online. (Accessed January 2011)
 
Debbie Palmer Born 1955. In 1957 at the age of 2, Debbie was taken by her father to the newly found settlement of Bountiful, British Columbia. Bountiful is polygamous Mormon fundamentalist community. At 15 Debbie was given to a 55 year old man to live as his wife. After her 1st man died in 1974 she was ‘reassigned’ to another man who already had 5 ‘wives’. This man was abusive to his ‘wives’. In 1979 she was released from her ‘marriage’ and giver to a 3rd man. By 1988, she wanted ‘out’ of the community and managed to escape with her 8 children. She has been a voice of dissention to the polygamous community of Bountiful ever since she left. She has appeared numerous times on all 3 Canadian national television networks and a clip from the television show The Fifth Estate was even aired on the Oprah television program. Debbie has written a book with Dave Perrin: Keep Sweet: Children of Polygamy. In 1992 3 Bountiful men were convicted of sexual abuse mainly though Debbie’s efforts.
 
Elizabeth Fulton Parker Born December 19, 1856, Colchester County, Nova Scotia. Died October 26, 1944, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Elizabeth’s mother dies when she was a toddler and it was here step mother who would influence most of her life. At 18 she married Henry John Parker (1853-1920). The couple would have 4 children. The family settled in Winnipeg in 1892. January 13, 1904 was a pivot point in her life. She went to the Manitoba Free Press to complain about coverage of an literary even and ended up writing a column that would appear for the next 36 years under the pen name of  “The Bookman” During a period of ill health she visited Banff, Alberta to take in the health mountain air and she fell in love with the mountains. When the idea of a Canadian Branch of the American Alpine Club surfaced, Elizabeth rebelled and using her journalistic skills demanded a Canadian Alpine Club. The Club was established in 1906 and it would become the 1st mountaineer club to allow women as members. She and her family would enjoy the Club’s summer camps until her health prevented her attendance. A hut close to Lake O’Hara in the Canadian Rockies was dedicated to her in 1931. Sources: Women Explorers: the hundred years of courage and audacity by Helen Y. Rolfe (Altitude Publishing Canada, 2003)
 
Mary Irene Parleby

née Marryat. Born London, England January 9 , 1868. Died July 12, 1965.  Irene came to Canada in 1896 and shortly after met and married Walter Parleby. The couple would have one son. In 1916- 1919 she was elected president of the United Farm Women of Alberta and destined to become actively involved in the agrarian movement. In 1921 she was elected to the Alberta government as member for Lacombe. She was a Minister without Portfolio with the responsibility for issues surrounding women and children. However she had no budget to go with her mandate. Ahead of her time perhaps in 1925 she introduced a Community of Property Bill that served the legal recognition of women’s domestic work. It failed to pass. She was a popular member of the provincial legislature with the electorate who put her back in office in 1926 and again in 1930-35. She was a member of the Canadian delegation to the organization of the League of nations, the forerunner of the United Nations. As a member of the Famous Five women who championed the famous Persons Case to have women declared “person” in a legal sense in 1927 she has left a lasting legacy to the women of Canada. The Famous Five are pictured on the Back of the Canadian fifty dollar bill. Suggested resources: Irene Marryat Parleby – Celebrating Women’s Achievements/ Women in Canadian Legislatures. Library and Archives Canada. On Line; Famous 5  Foundation www.famous5.ca.
 

Mary Peck Born October 9, 1904 Ampthill, England. Died May 11, 1992 Vancouver, British Columbia. She was a grade school teacher who was asked to work with children who could not leave home for classes. She was driven from home to home to teach individual children many of who suffered from arthritis. She established the British Columbia Spastic Society to help out and bring together those who suffered. Soon it became the British Columbia Arthritis Society. An editor friend sent out an appeal from Mary seeking news of others who suffered from across the country. In 1948 the new national organization had its roots. In 1953 Mary Peck  was given the Queen’s Coronation Medal. By 1956 her efforts earned her the British Columbia Good Citizen Award. She has also been inducted into the Order f Canada. There is a Mary Peck Arthritis Program which provides treatment services for children and adults who suffer from the disease. Soon research was working to  catch suffering before it became totally disabling and soon, thanks to Mary’s efforts less and less children had to be kept at home because of the disease. In 1990 the Mary Peck Arthritis Society Chair in Rheumatology was established at the University of British Columbia. Always humble, Mary felt that each acknowledgement of her work should be shared with the numerous volunteers who worked towards the establishment of the Canadian Arthritis Society. Source: The history of Metropolitan Vancouver Hall of Fame online (Accessed November 2012) :Pioneers every one by E. Blanche Norcross (Burns and MacEachern Ltd, 1979)
 
Marie Catherine Pélissier Sales Laterière née Delezenne. Born March 26, 1755. Died 1831. As a young woman she was forced to marry a man more than twice her age, Christophe Pélissier, in 1775. During her arranged marriage she continued her affair with the man she really loved, Sale de Laterière.  The lovers eventually signed a marriage contract for which she was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. In 1779 Laterière was imprisoned for treason. Marie visited him in prison until his release in 1782. They became legally married in 1799 with the death of Pélissier. She is perhaps a true symbol of one who fought for the rights of individuals. 
 
Mary Isabel Ross Pinkham Born 1878 Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died 1964. During World War l Mary organized Red Cross branches in her province. She is credited as being the founder of the Alberta Division of the Canadian Red Cross. She was active in the Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire and was a member of the Women’s Hospital Aid Society. She served as Bursar of St. Hilda’s College for Girls one of the 1st private school for girls. She was the recipient of the Royal Jubilee medal and in 1935 she received the Order of the British Empire.
 
Mary Clark Pyne

Born Saskatchewan 1924. She was trained as a nurse and became a medical missionary with the United Church of Canada. She is one who makes friends wherever she works. She studied Portuguese in Portugal before heading to Angola where she learned the local language of Umbundu. At home In Canada, she upgraded her nursing skills and learned French and then off to the Congo and Zaire. She was forced to return to Canada after contacting Tuberculosis and malaria. Once recuperated she returned to Northern Canada where she earned her pilot’s license so that she could have easier access to northern communities. She found time to be married in 1978 while doing her travels. She also  worked with Canadian University Services in Nicaragua. Leaving the work in remote global areas to younger people she retired in 1994 allowing herself time to earn a degree in modern language and to express herself in writing poetry and her memoirs. Suggested sources: Herstory: a Canadian women’s calendar 2007.
 

Annie Caroline Macdonald. Born Wingham, Ontario October 15, 1874. Died July 17, 1931. She graduated in mathematics from the University of Toronto in 1901. She would turn to on of the opening professions for respectable young ladies of the day. She became one of the first professional secretaries of the Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA). By 1904 she was on her way to Japan to establish the YWCA in that country. She became immersed in her new job and new home. She became fluent in the Japanese language and became a staunch advocate of penal reform in Japan. Among other things she established a settlement house in the city of Tokyo to provide support services for families of prison inmates, ex-prisoners and juvenile delinquents (dare we call it Macdonald House?) In 1924 her social work was recognized by the Emperor of Japan. In 1925 she returned to Canada and was the first woman to receive an LLD (Doctor of Law) from the University of Toronto.
 
Mary Majka

 

 

Naturalist

Born 1925, Poland. As a child she was separated from her family and sent to a forced Labour Camp during World War ll. After the war she was located and reunited with her mother. She studied Medicine in Innsbruck, Austria. In 1948 she married Mika Majka. The couple have 2 sons and one adopted daughter. August 22, 1951 the family landed at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They began their life in Canada in Hamilton, Ontario but when Mike began to practice medicine they settled in Moncton, New Brunswick. From 1967-1974 Mary headed a Television program on nature for youth called Have You Seen? In 1968 she studied nature in the U.S.A. at Maine’s Audubon Camp. In 1972 she was working with the New Brunswick Field Naturalists making countless contributions to wildlife preservation and to heritage trusts. Mary and Mike also founded the Moncton Naturalists association. In 1996 she received the Gulf of Maine Council Visionary Award. She holds the order of New Brunswick and in 2007 was inducted into the Order of Canada. Sources: Pier21.ca (accessed November 2011) Resource: Sanctuary: the story of naturalist Mary Majka by Deborah Carr (Goose Lane Editions)
 
Rosemary McCarnay

Born Toronto, Ontario. She studied law so she could change policies and laws to help the poor of the poor. While earning her law degree at the University of Western Ontario, London she headed the Student Legal Aid Society which would become the Community Legal Services. She went on to earn her Masters in Business Administration at Case Law at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, U.S.A. It was here that she met and married fellow lawyer Barry Fisher. While travelling to Nairobi, Kenya in 1984 to visit her sister she took to backpacking around the country and she decided to work in international development. She has worked in more than 1000 projects in a multitude of countries as a development consultant. She has served as President and Chief Executive Officer for Plan Canada, championing children in developing countries. Under her leadership annual donation went from $50 million a year to $162 million a year! She was a key mover behind the “Because I am a Girl” movement which promotes rights and opportunities for girls. She pushed the Canadian United Nations delegation to foreword October 11, as the International Day of the Girl which was established in 2011 Source: “Advocating Girls on World Stage”.  Sheldon Gordon in Alumni Gazette, University of Western Ontario Fall 2013.
 

Catherine McLellan née Morton.  Born Penobsquis, New Brunswick 1837. Died August 18, 1892. She married Alexander McLellan , a self directed railroad entrepreneur, who took her to British Columbia in 1865. During the early years with her husband she traveled throughout the British Columbia Interior and as far as Southern California. By the 1880's she was more settled and played an active role in church missionary societies and other women's activist groups such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union established in Victoria , British Columbia, 1883. During her executive tenure there was support for the Crosby Girls' Home in Port Simpson, the Orienta Rescue Home in Victoria and several hospitals.
 
Violet Clara McNaughton née Jackson. Born November 11, 1879. Died February 3, 1968.  She forced the formation of the women’s section of the Saskatchewan Grain Growers Association and sparked the formation of the Saskatchewan Equal Franchise League. In 1919 she became president of the Interprovincial Council of Farm Women.  As a journalist she wrote the women’s column in the “Western Producer”.
 
Margaret May McWilliams née Stovel. Born Toronto, Ontario 1875. Died April 12, 1952. She graduated with her B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1898 and shortly after , 1903 marry d Roland Fairbairn McWilliams and the couple would move west to Manitoba. Like her husband , who would become the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, she enjoyed politics, but she was not content to just be chatelaine to her province. and would serve 4 consecutive terms as an alderman in Winnipeg. in the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's she would publish several books, many historical in nature such as Manitoba Milestones (Toronto, 1928) and many concerning women such as  Women of Red River ( 1923). She also was adamant about social reforms and wrote Blueprint for Canadian Social and Economic Reform (1931). She was a Canadian Delegated to the League of Nations. Perhaps her longest lasting legacy is that she was the founder and first president of the Canadian Federation of University Women. She also provided the inspiration for and was a charter member of the International Federation of University Women founded in 1920. Both organizations have successfully celebrated their Centennial and are enthusiastic about entering another century of service.
 
Margaret Smith Polson Murray née Polson. Born Paisley Scotland June 1, 1844. Died January 27, 1927. The oldest of seven children she did not have time for education outside of the home where she was expected to help care for her brothers and sisters. In 1821 she married John Clark Murray and she emigrated to Kingston , Ontario with her professor husband. They soon moved to Montreal where she applied her considerable energies to helping other women established the Young Woman's Christian Association. In 1891 she was a known writer and she founded the publication Young Canadian to help instill patriotism in Canadian youth. She returned from an 1899 trip to England with the embryo of an idea to form a patriotic organization of women. On January 13, 1900 she sent telegrams to the mayors of major Canadian cities entreating them to encourage women to organize and become part of a federation of Daughters of the Empire. February 13, 1900 the National organization of the Federation of the Daughters of the Empire was formed. At the height of the setting up of the organization she would send cables, postcards and as many as 500 letters a day to seek patrons and members. The IODE celebrated its centennial in 2000.
 
Marguerite Michaud Born Bauctouche, New Brunswick 1903. Died 1982. At the are of 13 she received the Lieutenant’s Governor Medal in recognition of her outstanding academic abilities. She studied at the New Brunswick Teachers College and wit a Carnegie Scholarship she attended St Francis Xavier University graduating with distinction in 1923. She was the 1st Acadian woman to receive a university degree. Continuing her studies she obtained a diploma en française from the Sorbonne in France and also did a graduate studies at Columbia University in New York City and Université de Montréal where she earned her PhD in history. She was one of three Canadians to attend the United Nations Conference on Teaching Human Rights in Schools. She was the founder of the 1st Acadian parent teacher association and she helped organize the Association des enseignants francophones du Nouveau Brunswick in 1961. Marguerite was the 1st woman vice-principal at the provincial normal school working to improve opportunities for francophones. She was also a respected volunteer working as vice president of the  New Brunswick UNICEF and the Beaverbrook Foundation. She received the order of Canada, the Medaille de l’ Alliance Français, and  the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Medal. Several schools in Acadian area of New Brunswick are named in her honour. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012.
 
Nahnebahwequay See Catherine Sutton
Dr. Joyce Nsubuga

Born near Kampala, Uganda 1947. Died May 4, 2006. Second of 12 children she was fortunate that her father believed both his sons and daughters deserved equal education. After she graduated university with a degree in medicine, Dr. Joyce set up a clinic and would become a district medical officer of health. She married a school headmaster who was a budding businessman. In 1983 revolution was in the air and her husband was kidnapped and killed. Joyce quickly mover her family and went into hiding in Kenya. She remarried and she and her new blended family moved to start a new life in Canada. She took a job with the Ontario Ministry of health and after working hours devoted her life to her family of 10 ( the last child was born in Canada). She also worked for the Toronto Uganda community founding the Uganda Martyrs Church and prepared reports on wife assault in the Canadian African Community. She promoted AIDS awareness among young immigrants and mentored many newcomers setting up a system helping single African women access to Social Services. To her, she was never able to provide enough help. When she died she has almost accomplished the establishment of a Community Learning Centre in Uganda with the help of her Canadian church. The Centre has now been completed. Source: “Joyce Nsubuga, 59: Met Uganda’s needs.” By Catherine Dunphy. The Toronto Star July 14, 2006.
 

Eliza Olson

née Kiss. Born September 1938 Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.  Eliza considers herself a late bloomer. She married and had two daughters and her divorce found her seeking a profession. At 30 she enrolled at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. By 1987 she was working as a teacher in Surrey, British Columbia. A proposal to dredge the Burns Bog, a 3,000 hectares of peat bog with divers wild life shocked her into action. She ran for municipal council and sought attention of renowned environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki. The Burns Bog was saved and a conservation Society was formed with Eliza as president, continuing to fight for environmental conservation in the area. She has been awarded several awards for her work: The Canada 125 Medal, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, the Canadian Geographic Society Silver Award for conservation, the Human Rights Award for Environmental Stewardship and the Yves Rocher Foundation Women of the Earth Award. She was also a finalist on the 2011 CBC’s Champions of Challenge earning 10,000.00 for conservation projects. Source: Herstory: Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012 ,Coteau Books, 2011.
 

Ethel Ostry Born January 1, 1904, Elizabethgrad, Russia. Died December 31, 1976, Vancouver, British Columbia. She immigrated to Canada with her family who settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She earned her B.A. at the University of Manitoba in 1924 and for awhile taught in rural schools before moving back to Winnipeg to work as a social worker.  In the 1920’s she relocated to Montreal, Quebec where she worked as director of the Baron de Hirsch Institute. She then traveled and worked in Palestine. During World War ll she worked as a psychiatric social worker in hospitals in Toronto. After the War she volunteered to serve with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA) in Europe where she was director and principal welfare officer in several displaced persons camps in France and Germany. She went on to work for the Canadian Jewish Congress settling 1200 youth Holocaust survivors in homes across Canada. Her final career was that of a family and marriage counselor in her own private practice in Toronto and later in Vancouver. Source: Jewish Women’s Archive.  Personal Information for Ethel Ostry. Online. (Accessed June 2013)
 
Madelaine Parent

Born November 11, 1918, Montreal, Quebec. Died March 12, 2013. She had married as a young girl but would eventually divorce to wed her working labour partner Kent Rowley. She began working on behalf of labour groups when she met Rowley during World War ll. They worked together organizing women workers in Quebec’s textile industry. In 1946 they were paramount in winning the strike against Dominion Textiles in Valleyfield. In 1947 with Kent convicted and serving time for labour actions, Madelaine was fighting her own court battle and was convicted of seditious conspiracy and was wrongly labeled a Communist for her labour involvement. In 1954 a new trial saw her acquitted of all charges. In 1952 she and Rowley formed the Canadian Textile and Chemical Union. The next year they were married. In 1969 they formed the Confederation of Canadian Unions. Madelaine was also an active proponent of Abortion Rights and Aboriginal Rights. Sources: Canadian Encyclopedia Online Accessed March 2013. : Madelaine Parent by Rick Salutin Toronto Star March 15, 1012.
 

Landon Pearson

 

 

Senator and child health and children's right advocate

née Mackenzie. Born November 16, 1930 Toronto, Ontario. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Masters degree in Education  in 1951. That same year she married Geoffrey Pearson, son of Prime Minister L.B. Pearson, and a Canadian Foreign Service Officer.  The couple would have a family of five children, and live in France, Mexico, India and the Soviet Union. In each country, Landon not only was concerned for her own children but observed and marveled at each of the country’s children’s survival skills. Turning  concern into action she served on various commissions, organizations and committees dealing with the welfare and rights of children. In 1974 she founded Children Learning for Living. In 1979 she was vice chair of the Canadian Commission for the International Year of the Child. The committee report has had many of its recommendations accomplished with the help of her activities including abused children and women’s safety, income tax deductions for child care costs and regulations for infant car seats. Appointed to the Senate of Canada (1994-2005) she carried on her efforts for children around the world. She co-founded the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children and the monies from a book published in 2003 were given to Street Kids International. In 2005 she was designated by the Nobel Prize group as one of the 1000 Women of Peace Project. In 2006 she opened the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights.  In 2008 she was inducted an Officer in the Order of Canada. Source: Fiery God Mother by Thom Barker Ottawa City June/July 2004 P. 44-48 : 1000 Peace Women Across the Globe. On line ( accessed June 2008)
 

Lady Mary Pellatt. née Dodgson.  Born 1858, Toronto, Ontario. The 1st Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada, Lady Pellatt lived in a Castle! Lady Mary often invited Girl Guides to have rallies at Casa Loma in Toronto. She was warranted as Commissioner of the Dominion of Canada Girl Guides on July 24, 1912. When she was to ill to attend events she enjoyed watching the girls from her bedroom window. When Lady Pellatt died in April 1924 she was buried in her Girl Guide uniform and the Girl Guides formed a Guard of Honour at the funeral service. Connect to the Girl Guide Fact Sheet at http://www.girlguides.ca/media/pdfs/14-3/14.3.1.8.pdf
 
Harriet Irene Dunlop Prenter
 
see under Dunlop Prenter.
Judy Rebick Born Reno, Nevada, U.S.A. 1945. A well known journalist she is an established social activist for women's issues. She honed her skills as President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women from 1990-1993. She is perhaps one of Canada's best known political commentators. She has hosted shows on the CBC such as Face-off and From the Hip, a women's discussion show on CBC Newsworld. She has co-authored a book Politically speaking with Ken Roach (Toronto,1996) and published in the traditional manner two books, Imagine democracy (Toronto, 200) and Ten thousand roses: the making of a feminist revolution (Toronto, 2005). She contributes on a regular basis to various Canadian newspapers and magazines and is one of the founders of Rabble.ca a virtual publication that is a lively forum of critical politics meant to be an alternative to mainstream media. She lectures across the country and is on staff in women's studies at the University of Toronto as well as being the GINDIN Chair in social justice and democracy at Ryerson University in Toronto.
 
Flavia Elliott Redelmeier. Born March 9, 1926. This volunteer has donated her life time to such organizations as the Girl Guides of Canada where she was an executive member and camping commissioner for Canada. She has also  served on hospital and museum boards She is currently a board member at the Canadian Museum of Nature. 
 
Dorothy Reitman

 

 

 

 

Volunteer

Born October 13, 1932, Montreal, Quebec. She was educated at McGill University. May 26, 1952 she married Cyril Reitman (1928)  son of the Reitman Clothing entrepreneurs. The couple have one son. Dorothy was a founding member of the Portage Program for Drug Dependency, the Council of Canadian Unity and Auberge Shalom for Battered Women as well as being instrumental in establishing Kosher Meals on Wheels in Montreal. She was also a founding member of the Match Centre which was established in the UN Year of the Woman in 1975 to enable women from Canada to share their experience and expertise with women from developing countries. Dorothy was particularly interested on Kenya. At the 1985 Match International conference she was part of the Jewish coalition fighting the UN Declaration on Zionism as racism. She has served as honorary chair of the McGill University Centre for Research and Teaching for Women, co-chaired the Canadian Conference of Christians and Jews and chaired the Commonwealth Jewish Foundation of Canada. She was the first woman elected as president from 1986-1989 of the Canadian Jewish Congress.  Her endeavors have been marked with the Montreal Jewish Community Young leadership award in 1965, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1967, the Commonwealth Jewish Council Annual Award in 1989 and the Governor’s Generals Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case in 1992. On October 22, 1997 she was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada. Sources: Canadian Who’s Who, University of Toronto 2006 : Brown, Michael “Dorothy Reitman. Jewish Women: A Commemorative Historical Encyclopedia. 1 March 2008. Jewish Women’s Archive. Http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/ (Accessed August 2011)
 

Nancy Riche

Born October 14, 1944, St. John’s Newfoundland.  Died St. John’s Newfoundland October 1, 2011. She graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland and during her career held various career in Labour organizations. She was secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress from 1984 through till retirement in 2002. She served as Vice-president of the Brussels based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and chair of its women’s committee from 1993-2002. After retirement she returned to her beloved Newfoundland and was President of the Newfoundland and Labrador New Democratic Party from 2003-2008. She received both the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) Woman of Courage Award and the Governor’s General Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case in 2002. The AFL-CIO presented her with the Meary-Lane Human Rights Award. In 2004 she became an Officer in the Order of Canada. In 2009 she received the Elijah Barayi Award from the Congress of South African Trade Unions for her struggle against apartheid.  Sources: http://wwwcanadianlabour.ca : Women of Ottawa: Mentors and milestones.ca (accessed October 2011.)
 

Lily Rosebush

née Houghton. Born May 28, 1924, Toronto, Ontario. Died June 14, 2013. Her family struggled financially and she worked in a General Electric factory giving half of her $9.00 weekly pay to her mother. She married Thomas Joseph Rosebush and the couple had 5 children. She founded Brownies and Girl Guide units in their home town of Warsaw, Ontario. Selling the family garage in 1969 they eventually settled in Peterborough. In 1973 she left her husband and worked at several sales clerking jobs to keep her family going. In October 1980 her son, Ralph, was killed by an impaired driver. She became a pioneer in the North American Movement against drunk driving. In 1985-1884 she served as president of the Peterborough Against Impaired Driving (PAID) which she helped to create. She has received the Ontario Crime Prevention Award, the Addiction Research Foundation Community Achievement Award, and the City of Peterborough Award for Outstanding Contribution . The Lily Rosebush Award, named in her honour is given to outstanding contributors to lives in crisis. She had a simple goal, to fix things going wrong in the world and make the world a better place. Source: “Feminist before her time” by Danielle Adams, The Globe and Mail, July 9, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 

Bertha Rosenthal

née Lehman.  Born August 2, 1849 Berlin, Germany. Died December 10, 1922, Ottawa Ontario. On March 27, 1867 she married Aaron Rosenthal whom she met on a visit to Austria. The couple had five sons. After their marriage they lived a short time in England before emigrating to Canada in 1874 and finally settling in Ottawa. Here Aaron opened a jewelry shop and they became one of the founding families of the Ottawa Jewish community. Bertha became a leader of the Ladies Auxiliary Society of the Adath Jeshurun congregation. She organized events for all special celebrations. She was also a strong help to incoming immigrants to the growing community through her Ottawa Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society. She founded the organization in 1898 and served as president until her death. Funds were raised through publications lie the Economical Cook Book (Ottawa, 1915) which was the first such collection of Jewish recipes in Canada. She was also honorary president of the Ottawa Ladies Sewing Circle which grew out of the Red Cross effort of her friend Mrs. Freiman. She gave her time and talents to other groups as well such as the Perley Home for Incurables , the war effort in support of the Ottawa General Hospital and services to veterans returning home. Source: The Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Online (Accessed November 2011)
 

Betty Ross Born Cross Lake First Nation, Manitoba. As a child she was removed from her home by the Government of Canada to attend an Indian Residential School. Betty was a true survivor and despite being discouraged at school to let go of her cultural heritage she found a way to learn about her culture, to embrace it and to share it with others eager to learn. Betty is a social worker, counselor and interpreter. In 2010 she was honoured at the Keeping the Fires Burning aboriginal awards celebrating female leaders for preserving First Nations culture and serving as role models for younger generations. In 2012, David Robertson wrote an e-book called Sugar Falls: A residential School Story (Toronto: Portage and Main Press) a novel for young readers which is based on Betty’s own school experiences. Sources; Matt Preprost, “Gala recognizes accomplishments”.  Winnipeg Free Press June 18, 2010 Page; David Robertson, Sugar Falls: A residential school story.  
 
Nellie Langford Rowell

Born December 16, 1874. Died 1968. In 1896 Nellie graded from Victoria College, Toronto . She was one of 14 women who dared entered the halls of learning with 265 male freshmen. She joined the Victoria College Women’s Literary Society and soon became Vice President. She was also V-P, and the only women on the executive of the Victoria College Missionary Society. A year after graduation she completed her teacher training course. After teaching for awhile in 1901 she married Newton Wesley Rowell, a brilliant young lawyer who was destined to leave his own mark in Canadian legal history circles. In 1906 Nellie continued her lifelong relationship with Victoria College when she joined the Board of Management of Annesley Hall, a women’s residence. In 1910 she became an active member of the YWCA National executive and in 1913 was president of the Dominion Council. In 1927 she was appointed to the World Committee of the YWCA. She would remain committed and active with the YWCA until she resigned in 1934. In 1913 she founded the Toronto’s Women’s Liberal Association for which she served as President and later, 22 years as honorary President. By 1919 she was President of the Ontario Women’s Liberal Association. She also served a lifetime of services with the university Women’s Club and her local Women’s Missionary Society. In 1969  the Toronto New Feminists set up a library. In the 1980’s the library was the bases for the Nellie Langford Rowell Library at York University.  Sources: Re-examining history: bringing a name to life, Nellie Langford Rowell by Maria Carney. Toronto: Nellie Langford Rowell Women’s Studies Library, 1987. http://www.yourku.ca/nlrowell/... Accessed June 2011.
 

Nancy Ruth (Jackman)

Member of Senate of Canada

Born January 6, 1942. Nancy Ruth is Canada's first feminist philanthropist. With less that 5% of funding from private foundations and corporations going to women and girls her philosophy remains : "If women don't give to women and girls, who will?" As an activist, Nancy Ruth was part of the 1981 push for the inclusion of the equity clauses ( 15 & 28) in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She is a founding mother of Canada's largest women's history website www.coolwomen.ca  of The Womens' Legal Education and Action Fund - LEAF/FARJ. ( Be sure check out the teen pages at the site www.LEAF.ca ) and of the Canadian Women's Foundation/Foundation des Femmes Canadiennes, www.women.org who founded among other things the "White Ribbon Campaign". Nancy Ruth holds three honourary degrees and the Order of Canada. In 2005 Prime Minister Paul Martin appointed her to the Senate of Canada.
 
Olga Rains née Trestorff. Born the Netherlands.  Olga met Lloyd Rains three weeks after the Dutch Liberation in May 1945. The couple were married on Christmas Eve, 1945 in Haarlem, The Netherlands. Olga would join her solder husband to live in Canada becoming what is known as a war Bride. In 1980 the couple founded Project Roots to help children left in Europe after the war find their Canadian soldier fathers. Olga wrote stories of the Dutch war brides in her 1984 book We Became Canadians. She has also written Children of the Liberation and The Summer of 46. In April 1997 Olga was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands for work with Project Roots. In 2006 she published Voices of the Left Behind: Project Roots and the Canadian War Children of World War ll, telling the stories of children who were fathered by Canadian soldiers during the war and who were left behind when the soldiers returned home to Canada.  Source: Project Roots Online Accessed July 2000.
 
Idola Saint-Jean. Born Montreal, Quebec 1880. She studied in Montreal and became a teacher of the French language. However it would be her dedication to the fight for women's rights, specifically the right to vote in her home province of Quebec for which she would be best remembered. Quebec would be the last province in Canada to grant the vote to women and the battle was won by the direct efforts of women like Idola Saint-Jean. She founded the Alliance canadienne pour le vote des femmes du Quebec. In 1991 the Federation des femmes du Québec (FFQ) instituted Le Prix Idola Saint-Jean.
 
Norma Scarborough Born 1918. Died April 2, 2009. During World War ll Norma served in the Canadian Women’s Army Corp. Norma was married and had 5 children. She worked as a secretary for the Scarborough Township (near Toronto) School Board. On November 19, 1974 she was a founder of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League/Association canadienne pour le droit d’avortement (CARAL/ACDA)(2016)
 
Janina 'Janka' Stykolt Seydegart Born August 3, 1920, Poland. Died July 30, 2008. She studied international law in Switzerland but with the beginning of World War ll in 1939 her family was forced to find safety and immigrated to Toronto, Ontario. Although she did not speak English she studied for her B.A. at Victoria College, University of Toronto and went on to earn a Masters of Social Work at Columbia University, New York City, New York, and U.S.A. After the war she married Stanislaw Seydegart and the couple had 2 daughters. While her children were still in school she took the unusual step of returning to a job. She worked at the Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto assisting women with unplanned pregnancies. She became an instructor with the University Of Toronto School Of Social Work. In 1979 she became a founding member of the Feminist Party of Canada. Upon retirement she volunteered with the YWCA and with the Board of the Victoria Daycare Center helping to establish subsidized daycare. A graduate scholarship in feminist studies was established in her name at the University of Toronto. Source: Herstory; The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2010.
 
 Edna May Williston  Sexton

née Best. Born June 25, 1880, Sediac, New Brunswick. Died December 4, 1923, Halifax, Nova Scotia. When her father and step-mother died prematurely she went to live with family in Boston Massachusetts. In 1902 she graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She worked for a year at General Electric Company in Schenectady, New Your before marrying a colleague Frederic Sexton. The young couple moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia where Frederic had a job at Dalhousie University. The couple had two children. May was restless at home and soon sought outlet for her energies through various women’s organizations in Halifax. Here her abilities in organization were put to good use.  She campaigned for children’s playgrounds, placing women on School boards and votes for women. On August 5, 1914, in direct response to the war effort a Central Red Cross and Relief Committee was established. May was soon organizing women from all walks of life, even crossing the colour line to create assembly line teams working for the war effort. She herself led a financial campaign with patriotic lectures being a part of the $1,000,000.00 campaign for the war effort. In 1916 a 25 bed convalescent Home was established, the 1st such facility to provide vocational training in Canada. She swept into organizational mode for relief after the 1916 devastating Halifax explosion. In 1918 she was replacement of Red Cross Hospital Committee and introduced new British standards, established libraries and sun parlours for returning wounded troops. That same year she suffered from broken health and retired from public work but still continued as a consultant for various projects. Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Toronto; University of Toronto/Laval Université, 2005 vol. 15 1921-1930
 

Jacqueline Lorraine Shepherd

née Le Drew. Born St John’s, Newfoundland August 16 1932. Died January 27, 2006. In the 1960’s, Jackie was a consumer advocate to be reckoned with and an activist to whom people listened. In 1967 she formed the Consumer Housewives Union and convinced members to picket food warehouses. A strong supporter of the New Democratic Party in politics she was an unsuccessful NDP federal candidate for York West in 1968. She spearheaded a fight for better housing for low-income residents and helped convince the government of the day to pass legislation that banned landlords from refusing to rent to people with children.
 

Bonnie Sherr Klein

Born April 1, 1941, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.  After high school she attended Akiba Hebrew Academy where she was introduced to the social justice concept to make the world more tolerant. A concept that would remain with her and guide her life. She earned her BA at Bernard College and a teaching certificate from Temple University in Philadelphia. At Stanford University she studied  theatre. She and her physician husband Michael immigrated to Canada in 1967 in protest to the war in Viet Nam. Bonnie worked for the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal in the late 1960’s. By the 1980’s she had made dozens of movies in the NFB’s famous women’s STUDIO D while raising her two children. Perhaps the best known work was Not a Love Story: a film about pornography / C’est surtout pas de l’amour: un film sur la pronographie. In 1987 she survived two debilitating brain-stem strokes that resulted in her becoming a quadriplegic and requiring a respirator to breathe. She spent three years in full time rehabilitation. During this time she kept writing and taped her journals . From these notes she produced an award winning movie about coping with disabilities.  She became co-founder of the Society for Disability Arts and Culture and was producer of the pioneering Kickstart Festival of Disability Arts and Culture for whom she made a movie of the  same name in 2003. In 2004 she was presented with the Governor’s General Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case recognizing outstanding contributions to quality of life for women in Canada. Source. Library and Archives Canada. Bonnie Sherr Klein: Canadian women in film. Celebrating Women’s Achievements. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/women/ (accessed June 2006) This site includes an extensive bibliography.
 

Anastasia Marie Shkilnyk Born August 22, 1945, Wasserberg, Germany. Died May 13,2014. The family immigrated to Canada and settled in Winnipeg. She attended the University of Toronto graduating in 1966 and then went to Yale University in the U.S.A. to earn her Master’s in 1968 and on to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a PhD IN Urban Planning, While completing her studies she worked with the Ford Foundation in Santiago, Chile helping to direct scholarships to the most deserving students. She also worked in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula helping with the resettlement along the Suez Canal in the 1970’s. From time working on her thesis at the Grassy Narrows Reservation on the English-WABIGOON River system in Ontario she was inspired to write a book: A poison Stronger Than Love , 1st published 1985. She established and funded The Light of Justice Award recognizing moral leaders in the Ukraine. Although diagnosed with cancer she continued to raise funds to support child refugees of the conflict in Syria. Source: Obituary . Globe and Mail, May 17, 2014. Suggestion Submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 
Jacqueline Shumlatcher

 

Community volunteer

Born 1923 Venin-le-Viel, Pas de Calais, France. In 1927 she immigrated to Saskatchewan and worked as a teacher. She married Morris Shumiatcher  (   -2004) in 1955. After her marriage she founded her own management business in Regina, to support her husband’s law practice. A tireless community volunteer she worked with the Canadian Club, the Dominion Drama Festival, Regina Council of Women, France-Canada Association, Women’s Business and Professional Association, Saskatchewan Center of the arts, Saskatchewan Veterinary College and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. The couple were founders and supporters of the Shumiatcher Sculpture Gallery at the Mackenzie Art Gallery, the Shu-Box Theatre at the University of Regina, as well as the Shumiatcher Scholarship at the University of Saskatchewan which provides funding for two students. She was recognized with many awards including: 1996, the YWCA Woman of Distinction, 1999, B'Nai Brith named her Citizen of the year, in 2000 she was awarded the Canadian Woman Mentor Award and the Mayor’s Community Volunteer Award for the Arts, 2001 she was inducted into the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and in 2004 she was named Regina’s Citizen of the year. Source: City of Regina. Heritage & History Online. (Accessed January 2012.
 
Virginia "Ginny" Dobson Shrivastava Born 1942, Amherst, New Brunswick. She and her family relocated to Burlington, Ontario when she was a child. In 1963 she earned her B.A. at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. Right after graduating she spent a year in Indonesia. In 1970 she married Om Shrivastava whom she had met at the University of Toronto when they were studying for their master’s degrees in education. The couple steeled in Rajasthan, India. In 1986 they helped to found ASTHA, an organization to help the poor with “faith in people”. ASTHA supports collective efforts of villagers to help them solve their own defined problems. Ginny is also a founder of Ekai Nari Shakti Sangathan (Association of Strong Women Alone, ASWA) informing widows, separated woman and those abandoned of their rights. They work for women to gain ownership of lands, increasing widows pensions and similar projects. In 2005 her work gained her a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in the project of 1000 woman of Peace. Source: Herstory 2008: The Canadian Women’s Calendar. (Coteau Books, 2007)
 
Wilhelmina 'Minnie' Smith

née Gordon. Born February 5, 1849, Pictou, Nova Scotia. Died July 16, 1925, St Andrews, New Brunswick. On October 29, 1879 she married and New Brunswick ship broker, George Frederick Smith (d 1894) and the couple settled in Saint John, New Brunswick. They had three children. . Minnie was very active in their local Anglican Church with various groups including the Ladies’ Society of Church Women where she served as President in 1891.After the death of her husband she raised her daughters as a single parent. Fortunately the family estate was enough so that the family was relatively well off allowing her time to volunteer in the community.  In 1899 she was a founding member and vice President for the local Victorian Order of Nurses (VON). 1905-1911 she was the VON representative on the local Council of Women. In the 1920 she was involved with the establishment of a training school for nurses. In February 1918 she was a member of an elite group of women who attended a national conference called in Ottawa by the federal War Committee. She was a Board member and 1st Vice-President of the Women’s Auxiliary to the Missionary Society of the Church of England and in 1925 became President. Source: Peter J. Mitham, “GORDON, WILHELMINA (Minnie) (Smith),” in EN:UNDEF:public_citation_publication, vol. 15, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 10, 2016, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gordon_wilhelmina_15E.html.
 

Elizabeth Smith-Shortt Born January 18, 1859,  Vinemount, Canada West (now Ontario). Died January 14, 1949. One of Canada’s early women doctors she almost single handedly fought fore Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario to become co-educational and accept women as students in medicine.  She was an enthusiastic champion of women’s rights and was elected Vice President of the National Council of Women.
 
Jean Spears

War Bride

Born Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, England 1921. She met a young Canadian Serviceman from the Royal Canadian Engineers in England during World War ll. They fell in love and were married in August of 1941. in 1944 she came to Canada to be with him. The couple would raise a family of two children. She had been in the early groups of war brides who would follow their hearts to Canada. In 1945 she formed a war brides club the ESWIC: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Canada Club. She was named a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2006. Sources:  Canadian War Brides; www.canadianwoarbrides.com : Women in Ottawa: Mentors and milestones ; www.womeninottawa.blogspot.com accessed July 2011.
 

Mary Barrett Speechly Born 1873, London, England. Died 1968.  Her father was not satisfied with the education provided for girls and in 1884 Mary was the only girl with 80 boys in the school where her father was headmaster , Mostyn Hall. She earned her B.A. on scholarship at University College, Liverpool, England in 1892. She also studied at Cambridge University but did not receive a degree as women were not granted degrees from Cambridge at this time. In 1895 she earned her M.A. from University College.  She married Henry Speechly in 1895 and joined him in Pilot Mound Manitoba in 1902. The couple would have 3 children. Prior to joining her husband in Canada she followed his advice and studied photography so she could earn money once she arrived in Manitoba.  In the beginning Mary did not take to the hard work and loneliness, but acclimatize she did.  Mary became president of the Pilot Mound Home Economics Society in 1912 and was active in the home economics societies of the time, becoming a major advocate of home economics and domestic science. She was also a member of the Agricultural Women’s Association and the Women’s Institute. She moved to Winnipeg in 1916, became a prominent proponent of the birth control movement and became the first president of the Winnipeg Birth Control Society in 1934. That same year she wrote a Short History of the Women’s Institutes of Manitoba. She was appointed to the council of the Manitoba Agricultural College in 1924 and to the board of governors of the University of Manitoba in 1933, where she served until retirement in 1946. She also helped found the Family Planning Association of Manitoba. Speechly The Mary Speechly student residence at the University of Manitoba was named in her honor. Source: Mary Speechly: A Life of Service” by Angela Davis, The Beaver, 74, no. 5 (October/November 1994): 35-39 ; Memorable Manitobans. Online (Accessed August 2014)
 
Doreen Spence

Born Alberta. In 1959 she studied and earned her Practical Nursing Certificate at Edmonton University Hospital in Alberta. Almost from the beginning she became involved with volunteer work with the police, school systems, and hospitals to preserve aboriginal traditions and ensure a promising future. From 1980 through 1993 she was president of Plains Indian Cultural Survival School in Calgary. A Cree Nation Elder her efforts have earned her the Alberta Human Rights Award and she has been inducted into the Thunder Bay (Ontario) Elder’s Circle. In 1994 she represented Canada on a United Nations working group on world indigenous populations. In 1996 she founded and is currently executive Director of the Canadian Indigenous Women’s Resource Institute which has a mandate to keep traditional teachings alive in Calgary. In 2005 she was awarded the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Heritage and Spirituality. That same year she was nominated of the Nobel Peace Prize 1000 Women of Peace Project. Source: Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective. Herstory 2007: the Canadian Women’s Calendar (Regina: Couteau Books, 2006)  pg. 36
 

Annie Charlotte Starkey née Stairs. Born November 15, 1910, Halifax , Nova Scotia. Died May 19, 2012, Knowlton, Quebec. As a teen Charlotte became manager of the family home during the illness of her mother and later after her mother’s death. She brought up her sibling, was hostess for her father’s business parties and generally ran the household. In 1935 she married Hugh Starkey, a medical doctor and micro-biologist at the Royal Montreal Hospital. The couple had four children. For more than 55 years she maintained a relationship with Girl Guides. The organization, founded the year of her birth, enrolled her as a member when she was 11 years old. She enjoyed many years as a company leader and volunteered as District Commissioner. From 1964 through 1970 she served as Commissioner of Girl Guides for the province of Quebec and travelled across Canada. In 1967 she was awarded the highest honour from Girl Guides and also received the Canadian Centennial Medal. Sources: “Charlotte Starkey” by Fred Langan, The Globe and Mail June 9, 2012. : “Happy 100th birthday to Charlotte Starkey”, Tempo (Brome Lake, Quebec) vol. 30. No. 5 June 2010 online (Accessed November 2012.) Suggestion from June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 
Pearl Steen

née Soper.  Born 1893, Victoria, British Columbia. Died 1988, Vancouver, British Columbia. Joined Canadian Federation of Professional and Business Women's Club and served as president in 1935. President, Point Grey Conservative Association (1936-37). Spent six years on Vancouver School Board (1947-52); elected chair in 1950. In 1958 she served as a member of the, British Columbia Centennial Committee.  In 1960 she was the only Canadian woman delegate to UN General Assembly and from 1960 through 1968 she was the only woman director of the Pacific Northwest Exhibition. She was President of the Vancouver Council of Women and president of the Vancouver Women's Canadian Club and the President of National Council of Women 1964 through 1967. She also served as a member, British C0olumbia Human Rights Council. In 1967 she was presented with Vancouver's Good Citizen Award. Source: Vancouver Hall of Fame Online (accessed November 2012.
 

Dorothy Gretchen Steeves

née Biersteker. Born May 26, 1895, Amsterdam, Holland. Died May 9, 1978, Vancouver, British Columbia. She graduated in Law from Leiden University, the Netherlands.  During World War she served as legal advisor to the government of The Netherlands. In 1918 she married Rufus Palmer Steeves (1892-1960) a Canadian officer and former prisoner of war. The young couple settled in Vancouver in 1919. Dot was a founding member of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and attended the Regina Convention in 1933. She was elected in a by election as C.C.F MLA for North Vancouver, in 1934 and won the elections again in 1937 and 1941.  In May 1948 she was  elected C.C.F president for British Columbia /Yukon. She also worked with the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament, the International League for Peace and freedom and the Association to Protect Fur Bearing Animals. Source: Dorothy Gretchen Steeves Collection Inventory, Special Collections, Library of the University of British Columbia. Online (Accessed November 2012)
 

Emma M. Stirling Born Scotland. Died Pennsylvania, U.S.A. In 1877 she founded the Edinburgh and Leith Children’s Aid and Refugee Society which she funded with her own monies. Like several other organizations at this era the Society worked with homeless children often sending them to Canada in the hopes of providing them with a better life. In 1893 Emma felt she would serve the program better is she established a home in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia to accepting the children from Scotland. She would write two volumes about her work under the title of Our Children of Old Scotland and Nova Scotia. The 1st volume covered her work in Scotland and the second volume covered a history of her work in Nova Scotia. In the late 1890’s she retired to Pennsylvania in the U.S.A.
 
Marion Stirling née Fairweather. Born October 14, 1846, Bowmanville, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died February 28,1923, San Leandro California, U.S.A. In 1869 she received her teaching certificate from McGill Normal School, Montreal, Quebec. Teaching in Bowmanville gave her time to reach out to the Foreign Mission Committee of the Presbyterian Church. She accepted to work with the American Presbyterians in India in 1873. By 1877 Canada had its 1st Presbyterian Mission in Indore, central India with Marion as one of the original workers. However the strong woman was recalled in 1879 among rumors of suspected impropriety. She had gone beyond the expected behavior of a meek Victorian woman. She began to channel her energies into nursing and by 1885 she had graduated as a medical doctor from the Woman’s Medical College of Chicago. Gathering financial aid for supplies she returned to India in January 1887. In Agra she began a medical school. On September 25, 1888 she married fellow physician Charles Stirling. They remained serving in India until Charles poor health caused they to return to the United States. By 1914 they had practices in Oakland, California. . Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Toronto; University of Toronto/Laval Université, 2005 vol. 15 1921-1930
 
Eileen Tallman Sufrin Born 1913, Montreal, Quebec. Died 1999, White Rock, British Columbia. She relocated with her family to Toronto where she was the leading all-around student in her Vaugh Road Collegiate. After high school she went looking for work and was dismayed by the working conditions she observed. Women worked not only for lower wages then me but there was less opportunities for women to obtain jobs as well. She joined with other unemployed youth the Canadian Commonwealth Youth Movement (CCYM). She learned to speak on street corners and to organize and motivate people. She also liked to tell stories how she won a contest as Canada’s fastest typist and how she won contests for dancing the Tango.  In 1941 she led the 1st strike of bank employees in Montreal. Later in the 1940’s she attempted to unionize employees of the Eaton’s Department stores in Toronto. Though her determination and perseverance she was able to organize 9,000 of the 30,000 Eaton’s workers between 1948 and 1952. Though her efforts did not gain a fully unionized Eaton’s work place her work forced Eaton’s administration to take measures to stop the unwanted unionization and salaries were increased, pensions provided and welfare packages were provided to staff. Eileen published her story of the attempted unionization leaving a detailed account of her work. Eileen moved about and organized wherever she went. In the early 1960’s she was working in a finance office of the government of Saskatchewan. She met and married in 1962 Bert Sufrin a fellow CCF worker. The couple moved to Ottawa in 1964 where Eileen worked with the Women’s Bureau of the Canadian Department of Labour. In 1972 the couple moved to White Rock, British Columbia for retirement. However Eileen still campaigned for the New Democratic Party and founded the local Choice of Dying Society. In 1979 Eileen was one of 7 women who were awarded the Governor’s General Award for the 50th Anniversary of the Persons Case. In 2016 Canada’s History magazine listed Eileen as one of 30 women in Canada’s Great Women. Source: Anne Farrell, Eileen Tallman Sufrin. July 13, 2001, Section15.ca Accessed February 2016
 
Catherine Sutton née Sonego. Born Port Credit River Mission, Upper Canada (now Ontario) fall 1824. Died September 26, 1865, Sarawak Township, Canada West (now Ontario). In 1825 she was baptized as Catherine Bunch (her father was Bunch Sonego) and later book the name Catherine Brown. She grew up in the home of her Uncle Rev. Peter Jones and his wife Eliza. They took Catherine to England in 1837 where Peter, as Chief of the Mississaugas, petitioned the crown to acquire title deeds and ownership of their lands to prevent more European settlement on the Credit River. On January 9, 1839 her Uncle, Rev. Peter Jones, performed her marriage to an Englishman William Sutton. The couple would have 7 children. They eventually settled in Sarawak, where Catharine was given land by the Nawash band. The couple cleared land and build a home but ill health and poor weather made life unsuitable. William as a lay minister in 1852 relocated his family to Garden River near Sault Ste Marie and then to Michigan in the U.S.A. before returning in 1857 to Sarawak. Here they found their lands up for auction by the authorities. Catherine attempted to purchase her lands back but the Indian representatives held the view that Indians could not won the land and then said she had no rights anyhow since she had married a white man. The couple attempted to obtain recompense for the clearing of the land and building of a home. They took their demands to the government in Toronto with no results. Catherine, as envoy for the Nawash people and their land concerns traveled to New York, U.S.A. where with the help of Quaker supporters toured and lectured on Indian Rights and earned enough funding to travel to England.  On June 19 1860 she was granted an audience with Queen Victoria. Catherine was allowed to buy back her own land but nothing was ever done for others who had land disputes. Back in Canada Catherine continued to be outspoken on the mistreatment of justice against her people. Source: Donald B. Smith, “NAHNEBAHWEQUAY,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 3, 2016, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/nahnebahwequay_9E.html.
 
Dorothy Thomas née Mikos. Born 1838, Toronto, Ontario. Died May 9, 2005. She stated studies at the University of Toronto but opted instead to a more practical training in on-the-job journalism at the Toronto Star. She married a fell journalist, Ralph Thomas and became a stay at home Mom. She used her excess energies working for resident group and from these she entered local politics. She was elected to two terms on Toronto City Council from 1972-1976 and again from 1981 to 1985. An excellent politician she worked hard for her constituents initiating Toronto's "poop and scoop" program, establishing the City of Toronto's Persons Day Award and heading the mayor's Task Force on the Status of Women. During all of this time she made sure she was home every night to have dinner with her son. She maintained a reputation as a serious hostess and shared her talents talents for auction with local charities. After moving to Port Hope, Ontario she became immersed in her community again with the development of the Port Hope Ecology Garden.
 
Verna Irene States Thomas Born 1935, Denson, Nova Scotia. Died 2005. As a Black Canadian woman there were few jobs open to her. She tried domestic jobs but she did not like the “slave” like mentality of her employers so she quit. In 1956 she married John E. Thomas and the couple had 6 children. She was an avid volunteer serving as president of the Women’s Missionary Society of her church, the Preston Area Learning Skills Center and served as charter president of Nova Scotia’s Black United Front. She was national Vice-President of the National Anti-poverty Organization for which she travelled across Canada. Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women's calendar. 2008  (Saskatoon Women's Calendar Collective / Coteau Books, 2007)
 
Frances 'Frankie' Tillman née Montgomery. Born December 5, 1916. Died October8, 2003.  Frankie attended the University of British Columbia where she was active in the Student Christian Movement. She married Robert “Bob” Tillman a university administrator and the couple had three children.  Frankie taught scripture at Balmoral private school for girls in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She was non-judgmental and supported lesbians well before it was the accepted thing to do. While living in Vancouver, British Columbia she worked with street women of the city’s east side. In the 1970’s she travelled to Africa on behalf of the International YWCA. She was the Vancouver YWCA Woman of Distinction. Source: Lois M. Wilson, I Want To Be In That Number: Cool Saints I Have Known. (Self published, 2014)
 
Alice Star Tilley Image result for Alice TilleyBorn October 10, 1843 St Stephen, New Brunswick. Died May 1921. On October 22 1867 she married widower Samuel Leonard Tilley (1820-1896) a brewer and a politician. She became stepmother to 8 children and the couple would have two more children. She was a founding member of the National Council of Women and served as the President of the St John Local Council of Women. Both husband and wife were activists in the temperance movement. Alice was a founder of the Victoria College Hospital, Fredericton, New Brunswick and aided in founding the Industrial Schools for Boys, the Nurse’s Home, The Seamen’s Mission and the Home for Consumptives. She was 1st Lady of New Brunswick when her husband served as Lieutenant Governor from 1873-1878 and again in 1885. Since Tilly is a Father of Confederation, Alice could be considered one of the Mothers of Confederation. Source: Henry James Morgan, Types of Canadian Women and Women Who are or Have Been Connected With Canada (Toronto, 1903)
 
Lillian Frances Treble née Massey. Born March 2,1854 Newcastle Ontario. Died November 3, 1915 Santa Barbara, California. Lillian was the daughter of Hart Massey (1823-1896) the Canadian farm implement businessman and philanthropist. She became interested in mission work with the Women’s Aid Society of the Methodist Church when she was young. In 188 she became interested in “inner City work supporting the Toronto City Missionary Society and in 1894 she helped to establish the Fred Victor Mission where in 1896 she started the Kitchen Garden along with sewing and cooking classes for youth from the surrounding slums. She married only as a mature woman on January 26, 1897 to widower John Mill Treble (  -1909). John was a men’s wear dealer and a father of children from a previous marriage.  In 1902 she founded the Lillian Massey School of Household Science and art. The methods used at this sis school were soon picked up at Canadian Universities from coast to coast. This school let to the 1st degree program in Household Sciences at the University of Toronto. In 1913 she donated a building to the university. A hypochondriac,  she was always over concerned with her health and moved to California for her health. Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Online (Accessed January 2013)
 
Roberta Elizabeth Tilton née Odell. Born September 20, 1837, Whiting, Maine, U.S.A. Died May 28, 1925, Ottawa, Ontario. On November 11, 1858 she married a Canadian businessman, John Tilton (d 1914). The couple would adopt one son. 10 years after their marriage the couple relocated to Ottawa where John began working in the Civil Service. Roberta lost no time in getting involved in her new home community. In 1868 she was the Vice- President of the Ontario Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and in 1871 she founded the Ottawa chapter of the WCTU serving as president. In 1892 she was treasurer for the National WCTU. 1895 -1897 she was Superintendent of the Soldiers’ and Volunteer Camps and then was Auditor for the National WCTU. In April 1889 she founded the Ottawa Branch of the Girls’ Friendly Society of Canada and helped outfit a room at the Ottawa Children’s Hospital.  She was also a board member of the Orphans Home of the City of Ottawa. Shew was also a founding member of the National Council of Women of Canada. She was a member of the Anglican Church of Canada and was founder of the Woman’s Auxiliary to the Missionary Society of the Church of England in Canada. She served as secretary for the Ontario area of the organization and 1891-1901 she served as President of the Dominion Auxiliary 1902-1908. In 1925 an memorial house which would serve as the headquarters of the organization was named in her honor. Source: Sharon Anne Cook, “ODELL, ROBERTA ELIZABETH (Tilton),” in EN:UNDEF:public_citation_publication, vol. 15, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 10, 2016, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/odell_roberta_elizabeth_15E.html.
 
Ernestine van Merle

née van Griethuysen. Born 1929, The Netherlands. Died June 22, 2006. She was educated in Belgium. Her family was actually forced to leave Holland when they were found to be harboring Jewish families during World War ll. She joined the navy after high school and after the war she worked in the Belgian Red Cross with freed concentration camp survivors and liberated Russians. She married and the young couple who would have two children, immigrated to Canada in 1951. When John took a job with NATO the family moved to Italy where Ernestine published a handbook for new NATO scientists and their families. In 1971 they were living in Etobicoke, Ontario and Ernestine asked for space to set up a table and a chair in a mall to distribute information for her Rexdale. Community Information Directory. In 1977 she began a legal clinic to help advise immigrants and even though she did not have a law degree she served as director of the clinic for many years. This would grow into the Rexdale Community Information and Legal Services offices. Ernestine’s Women Shelter in Rexdale was named for her in 1983. She was so honoured that she took a seat on the Board. She also founded the Federation of Community Information Centres and the Association of Community Information Centres in Ontario as well as championing the Jean Tweed Centre for Addicted women. Source: Ernestine van Merle, 80: The Heart of Rexdale’….by Catherine Dunphy, The Toronto Starr September 5, 2006.  
 

Lorna van Mossel née McNeilly. Born October 31, 1923, Shelburne, Ontario. Died June 21, 2014, Kitchener, Ontario. In 1946 Lorna graduated as a Registered Nurse from the Toronto General Hospital. The following year she married Bert van Mossel (d 1986) a Presbyterian Minister. The couple lived in Boissevain, British Columbia, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan before settling in Kitchener, Ontario. The couple had 6 children. Together they found Friendship Families matching area families with new immigrants to help them learn the new culture. After working for immigrant settlement programs with the Kitchener Waterloo Multicultural Centre she was appointed as a Citizenship Judge in 1884 and served until 1992. Lorna testified at the Ontario Human Rights Commission supporting the Gay community and was very proud of this service. In 2012 Lorna was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. Source: Catherine van Mossel, Lives Lived Lorna (McNeilly) van Mossel. The Globe and Mail, December 14, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 
Muriel Stanley Venne

Born Lamont, Alberta. As a child she was forced to leave high School when she endured two episodes of tuberculosis She survived two marriages and became a mother to two children. She did not give up on her education but took correspondent courses to earn a diploma. In 1973 she became a member of the Alberta Human Rights Commission. She also served on numerous boards including the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and was a lifetime member of the Canadian Native Friendship Centres. In 1996 she spearheaded the production of a publication on Aboriginal human rights and wrote a booklet aimed at Aboriginal youth. In 1998, the 25th anniversary Award from the Alberta Human Rights Commission was presented to her. She has also earned the Bowden Native Brotherhood Award., The Canadian Merit Award and in 2002 she received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.  In 2004 she earned the National Aboriginal Achievement Award and a lifetime Achievement Award from the YWCA. She founded the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. She also established the Social Justice Award to honour those who have done outstanding work for Aboriginal women. In 2005 she received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case and was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 2007 the Toronto Globe and Mail recognized her as a Woman of Vision and in September 2008 she was elected as Vice-President of the Metis Nation.  On October 25, 2017 she became the 1st Aboriginal woman to hve an Alberta Provincial government building, a multi –purpose government centre in Edmonton named in her honour.
 

Edith Virginia Vuchnick

née Myers. Born Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. Died February 1, 2012, Toronto, Ontario. She grew up and attended Ohio State University where she met and married Michael “Mickey” Vuchnick. The couple married in South Africa and then settled in Toronto. A lifelong volunteer Edith became a member and President of the Toronto YWCA and went on to become national President of the organization. She was a member of the Y world council. She also volunteered with the Rotary Club, the United Way Campaigns and the American Women’s Club. Her efforts were recognized when she received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award and the Ohio State University Alumni Citizenship Award. Source: Birth and Death Notices, Globe and Mail, February 5, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 

Harriet "Hattie" Walker

née Anderson. Born February 13, 1868,New York City, U.S.A.  Died Winnipeg, Manitoba September 24, 1943. She was a child actor and became a Broadway musical comedy star appearing with such colleagues as Marie Dressler. She married Corlis Powers Walker in the early 1890’s and moved to Fargo North Dakota when he was manager of the local Opera House. C.P. Walker established theatres in the Winnipeg Red River Area and Hattie was totally involved. From 1898 through 1913 she wrote the Matinee Girl column in the Winnipeg Town Topics. She was a charter member of the Canadian Women’s Press Club of Winnipeg and a staunch suffragette. On February 28, 1914 she arranged the famous Mock Parliament at the Winnipeg Walker Theatre, where women debated giving males the vote! In 1911 her opera production the Chimes of Normandy, won the Earl Gray Musical Trophy. She became the driving force behind the University of Manitoba Dramatic Society. In 1917 she founded the American Women’s Club to help raise funds for the Canadian War effort.  Source: the Canadian Encyclopedia online Accessed January 22, 2004.
 

Almanda Walker-Marchand Born November 16, 1868, Quebec City. Died January 4, 1949, Ottawa, Ontario. Almanda married businessman Paul-Eugène Marchand and the couple settled in Ottawa in 1890. They would raise a family of 9 children. During World War l Almanda organized a group of French Canadian women who raised funds to charter a hospital ship for the war effort. On August 16, 1918 the Federation des femmes-française was officially founded and she would serve as president until 1946. The organization worked to expand participation of French Canadian women in education, economics, culture and policies becoming national in scope. With the coming of World War ll the group raised funds to purchase ambulances to serve the Canadian Army in England. Source: ‘Almanda Marchand (1868-1949)’, Ottawa Raconte-moi Online (Accessed July 2015)
 
Gail Walsh

Born Northern New Brunswick, she completed courses at Mt. St. Vincent University, Dalhousie University, Université de Moncton, Université Laval, University of New Brunswick and Hebrew University .Her 1st profession was that as a social worker and she has been a supervisor of child abuse and inclusion where she was a pioneer in the provinces introduction of inclusion in the schools system She advocated the inclusion program as a school board member. She is active in the New Brunswick Association for Community Living. She has been an activist and leader in the women’s movement and as Director of an Addictions Center, helped lead the government to provide more services for women in that area. She has also worked in the areas of violence against women, helping to cofound the 1st association of sexual assault centres across Canada. She has served on the executive of the National Action Committee of the Status of Women. In 1978, she was the 1st woman in her province to be elected as President of a political party and continues to push for more women in politics. Her work in computer science is equally well known and she has lectured around the world. Her research area is biotechnology but she also is writing a book on the history of programming languages, believing people must be taught several languages at once and not in the traditional method of one language as was once the norm. She was the only woman of the four founding members of the Irish Canadian Cultural Association of New Brunswick, a group that led a renaissance of all things Irish in that province.

Frances Jane Wasserlein Born June 14, 1946 San Francisco, California, U.S.A. Died August 23, 2015, At 14 she relocated with her family to Vancouver, British Columbia. She worked as a secretary at the University of British Columbia and enrolled as a student earning her BA after which she  worked with the Women’s Office at the university. She worked as a volunteer in her community becoming executive producer of the annual folk music festival at Jericho Beach as well as at the Vancouver International Writer’s Festival and the Vancouver East Cultural Center. She did research and wrote for the Women’s Research Center, a nonprofit society for the advancement of women. She also worked with the Coalition Against Discrimination. She was the co-founder of Women Against Violence Against Women in Vancouver. In 1983 she led a coalition called Women Against the Budget. In July of that year she addressed 20,000 protestors saying ‘we will not be silences’ by the government. In the mid 1980’s she earned her Master’s Degree from Simon Fraser University. She put herself forward as a candidate three times for the Vancouver City Council. In 2003, after same sex marriage became legal she married Marguerite Kotwitz, who she met on the internet. The couple ran a Bed and Breakfast on the British Columbia coast. Source: Tom Hawthorne, Obituary, Globe and Mail, October 1, 2015. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 
Dora Wasserman

née Goldfarb. Born June 30, 1919, Jetomir, Ukraine. Died December 15, 2003. She was one of five children and she was often referred to as the “showoff”. She studied at the Moscow Yiddish Art Theatre and enjoyed her profession. However, with the dangers of World War II she fled to Kazakhstan where she performed at the State Theatre. It was here that she also met her husband Shura (Sam) Wasserman. The rest of the Wasserman family were killed during the war so Dora and Sam took their two daughters and entered Canada as refugees in 1950. Dora soon was working at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal and dramatic presentations soon followed. In 1956 she founded the Yiddish Dram Group which became the Yiddish Theatre in 1967. The Theatre kept the culture and language alive as Dora provided works and translations for plays. The theatre company itself has performed in both the U.S.A and Europe to great reviews. In 1992 she was recognized for her efforts with the Order of Canada and in 1993 the Order of Quebec. She was also the recipient of the Masques Award for lifetime achievement in theatre. After a stroke made it difficult for her to continue her work her daughter took over the theatre to assure its continence. Suggested Sources: Herstory: the Canadian women’s calendar, 2007 ; Jean-Marc Larrue, “Dora Wasserman est décédér…” Le Devoir, Décembre 18, 2003.
 

Rebecca Belle Watson

Born 1911(?) Kitsilano, British Columbia. Died April 7, 1976, Vancouver, British Columbia. She began her career by teaching  in the Caribou region of the province and then she trained as a nurse at Vancouver General Hospital. In 1958, she was  spokesperson for Save Our Parklands Association, and rescued the Shaughnessy Golf Course from development. She became interested in politics and ran unsuccessfully as independent alderman in Vancouver in1961,and 1962. In 1968 she was elected to Vancouver park board. She became president, Progressive Conservative Party of B.C. in 1971. A West End resident, of Vancouver  she was active in its community associations. She was named to the City of Vancouver Civic Merit Board of Honor. Source: Vancouver Hall of Fame online (Accessed December 2012 )
 

Margaret "Madge" Rose Robertson Watt Born June 4, 1888, Collingwood, Ontario. Died November 29, 1948, Montreal, Quebec. In 1890 she graduated from the University of Toronto with a Masters of Arts. From 1890 through 1907 she was able to make a living as a writer, editor, and reviewer under the name of Madge Robertson. Her writing appeared in The Varsity, the Ladies Pictoral Weekly, the Toronto Globe and later after moving to British Columbia the Victoria Times. She married Alfred Tennyson Watt, M. D. on December 7, 1893 and the couple would have 2 sons. In 1909 she joined the Metchosin, British Columbia, Women’s Institute. While in British Columbia she wrote pamphlets on womens issues and was a member of the Senate of the University of British Columbia. In 1913 she became a widow and she moved to England so that her sons could complete their education. During World War l she offered the ideas of organizing British country women in the manner of the Canadian Woman’s Institutes. Her efforts were funded by the Agricultural Organizations Society and the 1st Women’s Institute was set up in Wales in 1915. A good speaker, Madge too the WI message throughout Britain. She helped organize 100 Institutes and was Chief Organizer under the Board of Agriculture. She developed and presented the 1st WI school in Sussex in 1918. In 1919 King George V appointed Mrs. Alfred Watt to the Order of the British Empire. She also received the Order of Agriculture Merit from the governments of France and Belgium. She was also a strong proponent of an international organization of country women. In 1933, in Stockholm, Sweden the Associated Countrywomen of the World was founded. Madge would serve as 1st President until she retired in 1947. She lived in Victoria, British Columbia during World War ll and moved to Montreal, Quebec later to be with her son Sholto. In 1958 an Ontario Historic Plaque was placed at her home in Collingwood. Today the plaque is located near the Collingwood Museum. In 2007 she was declared a Person of National Historic Significance. A memorial picnic shelter is named in her honour at the International Peace Gardens on the border between Manitoba and the U.S.A. . Book: A great Rural Sisterhood; Madge Robertson Watt and the Associated Countrywomen of the World by Linda Ambrose( University Press)
 
Sheila Watt Cloutier

Born Kuujiuaq, Quebec December 2, 1953. Her mother was a well known healer and no doubt taught her daughter about living with the environment. Her brother, Charlie, is a Canadian member of the Senate, and no doubt accounts for some of her interest in politics. She was sent at 10 years of age, to Nova Scotia and then Churchill Manitoba for her education. She continued studies at McGill University at Montreal. A mother of two children she has been a life long social activist who has gained international clout. She is recognized for her all out efforts on behalf of the Aortic indigenous peoples world wide. She is a contemporary champion against persistent organic pollutants (POP’s) and has served as President of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (Canada) In 2005 she was awarded the generous and coveted SOPHIE Award from Norway for her efforts to draw the world’s attention to the devastating effects of climate change and of emissions of toxic chemicals.
 

Rhea Hildegarde Whitehead née Menzel. Born January 22, 1936, St Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. Died June 14, 2011 Toronto, Ontario. Rhea attended Elmhurst College in the state of Illinois where she earned her B.A. She went on to earn her M.A. in education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. In 1957 she Married Raymond Whitehead. The young couple studied Cantonese at York University before moving to Hong Kong in 1961. They would have three children. In 1976 the settled in Toronto where Rhea worked with the Joint Centre on Modern East Asia associated with the University of Toronto and York University. She would also work as Asia Area Administrator for the Anglican Church and the United Church of Canada. In 1984 she worked with the World Council of Churches consultation on the Peace and Justice In Northeast Asia. She was able to bring both North and South Korea together for the 1st time since World War ll while working on this peace imitative. In 1992 she was the General Secretary of the Division of World Outreach for the United Church of Canada. After she retired she taught at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, china and at Silliman University in the Philippines. Sources: Lois M. Wilson, I want To Be In That Number: Cool Saints I Have Known. (Self published, 2014) ; Obituary, Globe and Mail June 17, 2011.
 
Doreen Wicks

Mary Curtis Bristol, England 1935. Died March 1, 2004. She was in training as a nurse when she met and married Ben Wicks. The young couple emigrated to Calgary , Alberta in 1957 with the grand sum of $25.00 in their pockets. By 1963 the young family with three children moved to Toronto where Ben could pursue his promising career as a cartoonist, author and international journalist. Doreen worked at Sunnybrook Hospital as a nurse. On a visit to Haiti Doreen was overcome by the sight of poverty suffering and disease of young mothers and children. She quite her job and founded Global Education Medical Supplies …GEMS of Hope. She recycled medical equipment and pleaded for donations of drugs for the impoverished in 50 third world countries around the globe. She travelled the globe on her own often entering war torn countries. In 1987-1988 she was appointed by the federal government as a Citizenship Judge. In 1989 her dedication of service was recognized by her appointment to the Order of Canada. Ben Wicks had received the Order of Canada in 1986 and they become the first husband and wife to have received the Order of Canada.  Source: Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective. Herstory 2007: the Canadian Women’s Calendar (Regina: Couteau Books, 2006)  pg. 86..
 

Blanche Wisenthal Born January 1, 1919 Sydney, Nova Scotia. She married and moved to Montreal. Her family had long been active in the Zionist Movement and she was the founder of the Herman Abranowitz Chapter of the Canadian Hadassah-W.I.Z.O. in Montreal serving as 1st president from 1946-1951.  She held several positions at all levels of the organization including being National President, 1968-1972. She was responsible for introducing such projects as fashion shows and Israel trade promotion. She wrote scripts and directed two films on Israel. She was also Chairperson of the 1964 National Convention in Montreal and represented the Zionist Organization of Canada at the 24th World Zionist Congress.  Source: Library and Archives Canada Online Accessed June 2013.
 
Mary Wong Born Hamilton, Ontario.   In 1943 she and her husband opened a family restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario. She soon became involved with her home community as principal of the National Chinese School and as an interpreter of the Chinese language in the city courts. She served as a member of the Canadian Consultative Council on Multiculturalism. In 1977 Mary Wong was the first Canadian of Chinese descent to be appointed as a Citizenship Court Judge. She retired from the "bench" ( as a Citizenship Judge) in 1985. She is an appointee to the Hamilton [Ontario] Gallery of Distinction.
 
Wanda Lefurgey Wyatt

Volunteer

 

Born 1895, Prince Edward Island. Died 1998. She earned her B.A. at McGill University, Montreal and then went on to complete graduate studies at Chicago University. She was the first woman in Prince Edward Island to be admitted to study law. She joined the I.O.D.E. (Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire in 1915 and served on numerous positions. She became the first Islander to be awarded life membership in the I.O.D.E. She also enjoyed Little Theatre and was involved in efforts on their behalf. She purchased the Grandfather’s historic house imitating the founding of the Lefurgey Cultural Centre. She was an active member of the Heritage Foundation and on the Board of Governors of the Prince of Wales College. She would serve her home province as a volunteer for 78 years. Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club of Charlottetown, 1981.
 
Anna Yonker

nee Humeniloyyck. Born Ukraine, February 5, 1890. Died Winnipeg May 6, 1944. As a teen she moved with her family to Winnipeg following the Canadian Government promise of a good life for immigrants.  Life in the Canadian west proved harsh, even in cities, low paying jobs were the only avenue for immigrants. Her first marriage left her with two small children to raise. She worked as a housekeeper for Dr. Henry Yonker who moved to Winnipeg from the United States in 1905. The two were soon in love and married and a son, Zenon was added to the family. Anna worked to improve the plight of Ukrainian immigrants and soon became a leader of women’s organizations a philanthropist and pioneer welfare worker. She personally contacted Senator Cairine Wilson and Lady Ishbel Aberdeen, the activist wife of the Governor General of Canada, to ensure the plight of immigrant women was in the limelight. She urged the Canadian Council of Women to pursue international peace. Serving on the executive of Lesia Ukrayenka Women’s organization she formulated fund raisers such as concerts, book fairs, plays, dinners and dances. Upon her death she left not only a family but a grieving community. It was estimated that 1600 people attended her funeral. In 1962, on the 25th anniversary of her death a memorial dinner was held in her honour. Well known Ukrainian – Canadian author Iryna Knych wrote Patriotyzm Anny Ionker (the Patriotism of Anna Yonker) Winnipeg: [sn], 1964,  text in Ukrainian with a resume in English, as a tribute to the pioneering spirit. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, May 8, 1936 page 7: Herstory; The Canadian women’s calendar 2007 Coteau Books, 2006. Page 62.
 

Lititia Youmans née Creighton. Born January 3, 1827, Hamilton Township, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died July 18, 1896. After visiting a rally of the American Women's Temperance Crusade in 1874, she returned to Canada full of determination.  Her efforts founded the Women's Christian Temperance Union in Canada and she would be the first president.  She would remain, after 1889, its honorary president for the rest of her life. Read more about her determination in her autobiography Campaign Echoes.
 
Grace Ledoux Zoldy Born December 13, 1933, Camperville, Manitoba. Still speaks the Michif, Cree and Saulteaux languages. She has been a lifelong active member of the Manitoba Métis Federation where she became A spokeswoman of Métis Women in Manitoba. She married Gaspar Zoldy and the couple has 3 children. Grace worked for 7 years at the Sanatorium at The Pas in the kitchen and dining room.  After two years of training she became a Home Advisor for Northern Affairs, a job she held for ten years. She also a passionate and advocates for the preservation of the Michif language and is active in the Manitoba Métis Federation’s Michif Language Program. With Heritage Canada she has participated in language focus groups in national heritage languages as well as being an active member of the National Michif Speakers’ group that was founded in 2006.  Grace visited California to learn from Native people who were actually delivering the a language  program which  is a complete immersion program where the speakers, usually elders, commit to teaching the language on a one-on-one basis in the home and in the community. The California program is a community-centered approach that allows speakers to effectively pass on their language to learners without classrooms, books or language experts.  She has been paramount in introducing this program in the teaching of the Michif language. She published in 2003 Li Liivr Oche Michif Ayamiiawina: The Book Of Michif Prayers.  In 2010 she was honoured at the Keeping the Fires Burning aboriginal awards celebrating female leaders for preserving First Nations culture and serving as role models for younger generations. Sources; Matt Preprost, “Gala recognizes accomplishments”.  Winnipeg Free Press June 18, 2010 Page A13; Lawrence Barkwell, Grace Ledoux Zoldy, Métis Museum, Online (accessed September 2015
 
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