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Born Winnipeg, Manitoba December 3, 1917. Her first career was as a social worker
before she became an educator, writer, and editor.
She has written poetry and short fiction.
She is a specialist on the subject of A.M. Klein. In 1998 she
was the Canada Council exchange poet in Wales.
Born La Malbaie, Quebec January 9, 1845. Died
June 6, 1924. This was the pen name of Laure Conan, author of nine novels of
French Canadian Life. She was a witness to her time. She was the first
French Canadian female novelist. All her novels centered on the 3 driving
forces of French Canadian life, family, nation, and religion.
Born British Columbia 1948. She originally
studied fine arts at Okanogan College and the University of Victoria. Her
current career is being director of the En'owkin Cultural Centre, a cultural
and educational organization operated by the Okanogan Nation. Her writings
serve the purpose to educate young people about aboriginal history and
culture. Her published works have earned the Mungo Martin Award in 1974 and
the Helen Pitt Memorial Award in 1978.
Margaret Eleanor Atwood
Born Ottawa, Ontario November
18, 1939. "Peggy" is a poet, novelist, editor and critic is one of Canada's
major contemporary authors. She has written novels, television scripts,
short stories, children's books many of which have won awards locally,
nationally and internationally. Her works have won the Governor General's
Award for Literature, the Giller Prize, the Los Angeles Times Prize just to
name a few! She has also edited such monumental tomes as the Oxford Book of Canadian
Poetry. She has an active interest in Amnesty International. Recognition
of her career have been way to numerous to list in one paragraph.
The variety of awards runs from MS Magazine Woman of the Year 1986
to being a Companion in the Order of Canada. Check out the online
edition for the Canadian Encyclopedia for complete listings of her
works and her awards.
Constance Barbara Backhouse
Born Winnipeg, Manitoba February 19, 1952.
She studied for her B.A. at the University of Manitoba and took Law at
Osgoode Hall Law School and took her masters LL.M at Harvard Law School in
the U.S.A. Since 1984 she has bee a professor of Law at the University of
Western Ontario in London, Ontario. Her legal specialty is women and the
law. She is interested in women and the law in history and is an considered
an expert in the field of gender issues and sexual harassment. Some of the
books she has written are considered basic reading for women's study
programs across the country. Some of the titles she has written are: The
Secret oppression: Sexual harassment of working women (1979);
Sexual Harassment on the Job (1981) Petticoats and Prejudice:
women and the law in nineteenth century Canada (1991) and Colour
coded: a legal history of racism in Canada 1900-1950 (Toronto,
Helga Steinvor Baldvinsdotir
Born June 1,
1855 Litla Aszeirsa Iceland. Died October 23, 1941. She came to Canada with
her parents in 1873. The first settled in Ontario where she married Jakob
Jonatonsson Lindal. The couple had two children. She had written poetry in
Iceland but it was not until she came to Canada would she have any of her
work published. He writings reflected her life story, writing of leaving her
homeland and lamenting that in Canada women’s rights often meant women
remained in a bad marriage. She became divorced in 1892. She moved to
Manitoba and later to British Columbia with her second husband Skuli Arni
Stefansson Freeman with whom she had another child. Skuli died in 1904. She
published using the pen name Undine. Her works were published in Freyja,
an early suffrage journal . While she did put her poems together in a
manuscript they were not published until 1952, 11 years after her death.
Herstory: A Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006. Saskatoon: Coteau Books,
2005: Writings by Western Icelandic Women by Kristen Wolf. Winnipeg:
University of Manitoba Press, 1997.
Joyce Carmen Barkhouse
Born May 3, 1913, Woodville, Nova Scotia. Died February 2, 2012,
Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. While as a youth she dreamed of being a missionary
she took the reality check of becoming a teachers. She attended the Truro
Normal Collage (Teacher’s College) in 1932. She encouraged all her students
, even her niece, Margaret Atwood. She often wrote short stories, poems and
plays for her students to provide Canadian content and context that was
missing from regular school provided textbooks. In 1942 she married Milton
Joseph Barkhouse ( - 1968) and took time from her teaching and writing to
raise her two children. In 1974 she published her first book: George Dawson:
the Little Giant. In 1980 she collaborated with Margaret Atwood for the book
Anna’s Pet. Her work, The Pit Pony won the Ann Connor Brimer Award in
Children’s Literature. This story went on to win a Gemini Award when
produced as a CBC TV film and later was redone as a min series for TV. She
was a member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia, The writer’s Union
of Canada, and the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and
performers. She was inaugurated into the Order of Nova Scotia in 2007 and
the Order of Canada in 2009.
“Author of Pit Pony turned to writing late in life.” by Sandra
Martin, Globe and Mail, February 4, 2012.
Born Massachusetts, U.S.A. 1934. An author
who married a Canadian and moved to New Brunswick to raise her family of two
sons and one daughter. She was the publisher of 25 New Brunswick chap books.
She founded the Maritime Writers Workshop. She has been writer in residence
at the University of New Brunswick, The Cape Code Writers Conference, and
Bemidji State University in Michigan, U.S.A. She writes article about
craftspeople, visual artists and writers for various Canadian Maritime
magazines. She has written several novels and has won the Alden Nowlan Award
for Excellence in the Literary Arts in 1999.
Ontario October 2, 1896. Died Hamilton, Ontario, October 5, 1985. She
published her first poem when she was just 15years old. She continued her
writing under the name, Rainbow Bright. After high school she worked in
libraries in Kitchener, Ontario, Hamilton, Ontario and Buffalo, New York,
U.S.A. By 1928 she had returned home to care for her aging parents. She also
tutored neighboring children and obtained a special license to teach from
the Province of Ontario. In 1929, and 1931 Ryerson Press published books of
her poems and her first novel, Hill Top appeared in 1935. These early works
would be followed by some 20 books, three plays and an operetta. In an
attempt to raise funds for library books, Jessie wrote and produced a play
that soon found her travelling throughout Ontario to help produce school
plays in various towns as a representative of the Ontario Welfare Council.
From 1937-1939 she was a “House Mother” at Coronation Cottage at the Ontario
Training School for Girls in Galt. World War ll found her working at the
Vancouver Public Library in British Columbia. She married David Griffin and
the couple settled in Hamilton, Ontario where she continued writing even
though her sight was greatly weakened. In 1995 she was inducted into the
City of Cambridge (Ontario) Hall of Fame.
Louise Beattie, City of Cambridge Hall of Fame. Online Accessed
Elizabeth Speed Beaven
(née Frowd) Born Summerside, England
Died September 14, 1871.The wife of the Rev. James Beaven, a practicing
minister and professor of divinity in King's College in Toronto. Her husband
was a writer and no doubt the absence of materials for young ladies prompter
her to write her own book called "Devotions for School girls" [Toronto :
n.d.] In the 1840's her husband would write of visits to Indian Missions in
the Canadas. Perhaps she had traveled with him on these ventures.
Emily Elizabeth Beaven
(née Shaw). Born Belfast, Ireland Died August 6, 1897. She and her
family would sail with their sea faring father to New Brunswick in 1836.
June, two years later she married Frederick William Cadwallader Beavan, a
surgeon in the militia. Three of their family of seven children would be
born in Canada. She enjoyed writing and her poetry and stories appeared in
the Armaranth, the first magazine of New Brunswick. Her works
appeared with the signature style of the day as wither Mrs. B or as Emily
B.. In 1843 the family sailed to settle in England. However the life in
the Canadian province stayed with Emily and in 1845 she published
Sketches and tales illustrative of the life in the backwoods’ of New
Brunswick, North America. She intended the work to be a handbook of
prospective settlers. She even detailed the effect of weather on a woman’s
skin. Today the work is studied by students as a valuable historic profile
of her times in the colony. In 1852 the Beavan family sailed for Melbourne
to finally settle in Australia.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography V. VII pg 792 ; A celebration of women
Montreal, Quebec October 25, 1956. As a child living in small town Quebec
she enjoyed the freedom of a vivid imagination and the outdoors. Her mother
took the family to live in Montreal when Andrea was 11 and she was not
impressed with the city. She attended Dawson College taking art and then
went to Toronto to attend the Ontario College of Art. Later she would attend
York University for her Bachelor degree and the University of Toronto for
her masters degree in social Work. Although she works as a registered
Clinical Consultant her imagination and love of drawing could not be
shelved. She actually founded a toy business making stuffed animals like
moose and beavers. It would be here that the embryo of the character for
children’s stories Elliot Moose would become part of Andrea’s life. She
began writing stories and when Elliot was sent to the Kids Can Press he was
an instant success with the publisher and with readers. Elliot even has his
own TV show! IN 2003 she was forced to rest and recuperate from two minor
automobile accidents. By 2007 she was back to writing and drawing and Pierre
le Poof, a poodle dog with an attitude came alive and also very popular with
the young readers. Andrea has enjoyed traveling to such places as the
rainforest in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe England and Russia making
her travels a fertile ground to be background for stores. Andrea has two
sons and lives in Unionville, Ontario, just east of Toronto.
Beck.com ; Andrea Beck by Dave Jenkinson, Canadian Magazine online accessed
Lily Adams Beck
(née Moresby) Born 1862(?) Died January 3,
1931. She traveled to Asia and the Orient but did not begin to write until
1919 and was first published in 1922. She wrote under several pen names and
became well known under all the names she used: E. Barrington; Eliza Louisa
Beck; and L (Louis) Moresby. During her career she would write almost thirty
books published in Toronto, Boston, New York and London. Many of her books
were set in the Orient.
Ethel Mary Bennett
England 1891. Died
April 19, 1988. She and her family immigrated to
Canada when she
was an infant. Settling in
Ontario, young Ethel was writing for the Collingwood Bulletin while still in
school. She would attend the
Graduating in 1915 she taught at the
Ladies College in Whitby, Ontario before she married in 1919 and moved to
She earned her PhD at the University of Wisconsin and Lectured in French in
Victoria during the 1940’s. In the late 1950’s
she published three historical novels featuring women in
She won the Ryerson Fiction Award in 1960 for her work Short of Glory.
She also penned stories for Children for Discovery Magazine.
Patenaude) Born March 21, 1904. Died November 24, 1987. This food
consultant turned to TV as a medium to explain Canadian cuisine to her home
and native land. She also published some 30 books to generate interest in
her field. She studied at the Cordon Bleu and held a degree as a food
chemist from the Sorbonne in France. She opened a cooking school in
Montreal. In 1973 she became an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Born June 18,
1911 Preston, Ontario. Died May 1, 1993 Kitchener, Ontario. Clare became
wheelchair bound after a had polio when she was only 11. She was unable to
attend high school because of lack of accessibility but she educated herself
by reading. At 17 she had an article published in the magazine Girlhood
Days. She would go on to write book reviews for the local newspaper the
Prestonian. She wrote poems that were published in various magazines
including the Ladies Home Journal and the Toronto Star Weekly.
During World War ll she wrote a column for the Canadian Red Cross and was a
correspondent for the Kitchener –Waterloo Record. Along with her short
stories that were published she wrote two novels and a play. Miss Bernhardt
wrote the lyrics for the Canadian Centennial year hymn that was provided to
churches across the country in 1967. Foe 30 years she would write a column
for her local paper about the world from her point of view. In 1991 she was
inducted into the Order of Ontario.
of Fame, City of Cambridge, Ontario Online Accessed March 2013.
Born November 10, 1922. A novelist she produced seven novels. "The Book of
Eve" was adapted to a stage plan and was produced at the Stratford
Festival in 1977.
Frances Marion Beynon
Born 1884 Streetsville, Ontario, Died Winnipeg, Manitoba October 5, 1951
She moved with her family to Manitoba in 1889, settling in the Hartney
district on a family farm. Like her siblings, Beynon earned a teaching
certificate. She taught near Carman before moving to Winnipeg in 1908 to
work in the T. Eaton Company’s advertising department. She was an active
member of the Quill Club. In 1912 she became the first full-time women’s
editor of the
Growers’ Guide, holding the post until 1917. She and her sister
Lillian fought for a variety of women’s issues, including suffrage, dower
legislation, and homesteading rights for women, but she lost much public
credibility when she began to criticize the war. She left Manitoba in 1917
for the United States, where she wrote a semi-autobiographical novel,
and continued her journalistic work.
Beynon: The Forgotten Suffragist by Brie McManus
Manitoba History, Number 28, Autumn 1994 : Who’s Who in Western
Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western
Canada, Volume 1, 1911. C. W. Parker, editor. Canadian Press
Association, Vancouver. :
Manitoba Biography, by
J. M. Bumsted
(University of Manitoba Press, 1999)
Sandra Louise Birdsell
(née Bartlette) Born Hamiota, Manitoba 1942.
An award winning novelist she has won the 1984 Gerald Lampert Award for
Night Travelers. In 1990 the Missing Child won the Books in Canada First
Novel Award. She has also been nominated more than once for the Governor
General's Award. by 2004 she had published 8 books in total.
Quebec City, Quebec October 5, 1939. This writer is one of Quebec’s
finest contemporary authors. She
published her 1st novel at 20.
It was published in France in 1960 and was translated into English, Spanish
and Italian. Her works have earned her the Prix France-Canada, the Prix Médicis,
the Governor General’s Award, and the Prix David (Quebec). She has also written
for radio, TV, and theatre. She is a Companion to the Order of Canada.
Victoria Grace Blackburn
Born Quebec City, Quebec. Died March 4,
1928. Her father, Josiah Blackburn, was editor and proprietor of the London
Free Press in London, Ontario. Perhaps it was he who encouraged his daughter
to become a journalist. Her works were written under the pen name of "Fanfan."
Her only novel "The Manchild" would be published in 1930 after her death.
Patricia Jenkins Blondal
Souris, Manitoba. Died 1959. She moved to Winnipeg with her family in the
1930s and attended the
University of Manitoba from 1944
to 1947. Patricia worked as a broadcaster for the CBC and later moved to
Montreal and began writing professionally in 1955. Her book
From Heaven with a Shout
was published in 1963 and serialized in
Chatelaine magazine. Her most critically acclaimed work,
A Candle to Light the Sun,
was published posthumously in 1960.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by
J. M. Bumsted (University of
Manitoba Press, 1999) : Memorable Manitobans Online (Accessed December 2011)
Jo Ellen Bogart
Born Houston, Texas, U.S.A. October 20,
1945. She moved to Canada as an adult in 1975 and she began to consider a
career as a writer. By the mid 1980's she had several prepared manuscripts
to present to a publisher. Animals in the form a coatimundi, and
Argentine desert tortoise, and Africa Clawed frog, Alvin the chipmunk,
several mice gerbils and guinea pigs have been a part of her home menagerie
over the years. To write a book about a Blue Macaw was a natural stretch for
this author. For her as an author there is sheer enjoyment in making
something up and kicking the story. The next best thing is having other
people enjoying what she has written as a poem or a story.
Born Walkerton, Ontario, 1918. Died 2007. She earned her B.A. from Victoria
College, University of Toronto, in 1939. While working as a hospital social
worker in Toronto and Vancouver she wrote short stories that appeared in
various magazines such as: Canadian Forum, Alphabet and Exile: A Literary
Quarterly. She also wrote for the Anthology series on CBC radio.
After marrying Arthur Boissonneau, a specialist in forestry, Alice began
writing fiction in the isolation of northern Ontario. The novel Eileen
McCullough was short listed in 1977 for the W.H. Smith/Books in Canada
First Novel Award, and was followed by A Sudden Brightness (1994).
The memoir There Will Be Gardens was published in 1991. Sources:
Yvonne McKague Hauser Collection. E.J. Pratt Library, University of Victoria
Campus, University of Toronto. Online. Accessed July 2013. Suggestion
submitted by Jeanne Ouellette, Ottawa, Ontario.
Born St Victor de Beauce, Quebec July 8,
1888. Died December 22, 1939. Her main career was working as a translator
for the Canadian Senate in Ottawa. She would establish herself by writing
Manuel de l'Equette ( Ottawa, Queen's Printer, 1937)
Melvina Marjorie Bolus
Born 1906 Fox Bay, Falkland Islands. Died 1997, Victoria, British Columbia.
When she was a child the family moved to England. And in 1926 to Ottawa..
Bolus held several secretarial positions at the House of Commons in Ottawa
from 1928 to 1939, most notably as personal secretary to Canada's first
female M.P., Agnes Macphail, from 1928 to 1936. Bolus returned to London,
where she worked until 1944 as personal assistant to the senior officer at
the Canadian Military Headquarters. She also held various positions with
the American government, working in New York and Washington, D.C. Returning
to Ottawa in 1946, she worked for the Canadian Geographical Society,
becoming assistant editor of the "Canadian Geographical Journal" in 1948.She
1953). She moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1956 to become
assistant editor of the Hudson Bay Company
and then its editor from 1958 to 1972. She widened the scope of
the magazine beyond its historical focus, introducing such subjects as art,
nature and archaeology. Awards during her life, included the Canadian
Historical Association's Order of Merit, the Alberta Historical Association
Award, the Washington State Historical Society's Captain Robert Gray Medal
and the American Association of State and Local History Award of Merit. In
1970, she received the Medal of Service of the Order of Canada was awarded a
Manitoba Centennial Medal
by the Manitoba Historical Society. She retired to Victoria, British
Sources: Archives of Manitoba. Fonds of Malvina M. Bolus. Online
(Accessed December 2011) ; Memorable Manitobans Online. (Accessed
Born Winnipeg, Manitoba July 20, 1951. If
you have read any children's stories about a shy turtle called Franklin then
you are familiar with the work of Paulette Bourgeois. While she often takes
ideas for her books from her own life experiences she admits that she never
had a pet turtle! She also likes to write information books for young
readers like ; The Amazing Apple Book , The Amazing Paper Book,
or The Moon.
Born Toronto, Ontario September 22, 1942. The author of several novels, she has set her mystery stories in the
province of Saskatchewan. Maybe you will read of the adventures of the character
Joanne Kilbourn, an amateur sleuth who also is the mother of three teenagers.
Sound like good stories don't they?
Check you library to see if you can
borrow these books.
Born Winnipeg, Manitoba 1949. A Canadian
novelist and poet she has had her works nominated for the Governor General's
Awards in literature. In 1996 her Autobiography was the winner of the Pat
Lowther Award which is presented annually for the best published work of
poetry by a Canadian woman.
Karleen Bradford .
Born Toronto, Ontario December 16, 1936. She says that she has
loved to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil and put it to
paper! Her family moved to Argentina when she was only seven. This began her
understanding of living in the world. She came back to Canada to study at
the University of Toronto and met her husband Jim Creighton. The young
couple would spend the next 34 years living at various international
postings with the Canadian Foreign Services. They have three children. In
the early days of the postings wives of foreign officers could not hold jobs
outside the home so she turned her love of writing into producing books for
youth. Hers writings have been listed for recommended reading by the Ontario
Library Association, and the Canadian Library Association have not only
short listed her works but in 1993 she won the Young Adult Canadian Book
Awards which is just one of many writings awards. Karleen has also found
time to contribute to her profession by holding positions at organizations
such as the Canadian Author’s association, and the Public Lending Rights
Commission. In 1990 she was awarded the Max and Greta Ebel Award for her
work Windward Island. Check the shelves of any Canadian Public Library and
you will find some of her books to enjoy.
Trinidad 1953. Dionne cam to Canada to study at the University of Toronto. A
poet, novelist and non-fiction writer she focuses on issues relating to
Black women. She is an active fighter for the rights of marginalized
communities, especially blacks and women. Land to Light On won the 1997
Governor General's Award for poetry.
Born May 11,
918. An author she is perhaps best known for her novel about animals called
the INCREDIBLE JOURNEY. The book was an immediate international best seller
and in 1963 it became a Walt Disney movie. It is a great story about 3
friends, a bull terrier, a golden Labrador and a Siamese cat who travel over
300 km through northern Ontario wilderness to return home. It will be
available to borrow from your local library.
Born Sherbrooke, Quebec June 25 1954. This
author is a professor of Political Sconces at Brock University in St
Catherines, Ontario. She did her studies at bishop's University, York
University where she received her PHD in 1984. She has written a book that
won the Gelber Award in International relations and the Choice Award from
the U.S. She is a working mother with three children to keep her in line at
Born July 13, 1923. After
university she married would become mother of five children. Like many of
here generation she turned first to teaching and then became a successful
civil servant. Through all of this her desire to write remained strong. She
has published works in both English and French . She has earned the Prix
Champlain, Prix du Nouvel-Ont. and Prix due Droit. In 1983 she wrote the the
TV script Les Ontariens. ( 1997).
(née Moore) Born England 1745. Died 1789. Wife of the Reverend
John Brooke, onetime garrison chaplain at Quebec she joined her husband in
Canada in 1764 for four years. She wrote what may be described as the first
Canadian novel, "The History of Emily Montague ( 4 volumes, London 1769,
reprinted in 1931). She was also a playwright, essayist, librettist, and
stage director. She was well known in the London literary and theatrical
Cassie Eileen Brown
(née Horwood) Born Rose Blanche, Newfoundland 1919. Died 1986.
She began writing as a teenager and later worked as a freelance writer of
scripts and educational broadcasts for the CBC. She wrote articles for
various publications, short stories and participated in radio
dramatizations. In the 1950's her work received five awards through the
Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letter Competition. From 1959-1966 she
was a reporter for the Daily News and she also published and edited
the magazine Newfoundland Women (1961-1964). She retired from
the Daily News to work on her book Death on the Ice (1972) , a
gripping account of the 1914 sealing disaster . She went on to write two
Lois is a
journalist and has worked many years in corporate communications. Lois has
lived in Maputo, Mozambique as an international volunteer during the
struggle against apartheid. She has travelled throughout the United Kingdom
and Europe during the 1970’s and as well has experienced extended stays in
Mexico and Costa Rica. In 1992 she published :Girls of Summer: In their
own League (Harper Collins). She maintains a web site with the same name
as the book, which updates research concerning members of the All American
Girls Professional Baseball League. She has written several novels, one of
which, Murder in the Clubhouse, is set in the shadow of the early
days of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. In 2009 Lois
was once again an international volunteer, this time in Northern India and
The Girls of Summer by Lois Brown (Accessed February 2014)
Margaret Helen Brown
Tiverton, Ontario 1887. Died 1978. After graduating high school in 1905 she
attended Normal School (Teacher’s College) and then joined a cousin at
Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. The two would graduate in 1912.
Together the cousins had joined the Student Volunteers, a Christian youth
movement and took extra courses in religion. They were cleared for mission
work by the Women’s Missionary Society of the Methodist (now United Church
of Canada) and prepared to sail for China. Margaret would return to school
during furloughs. In 1928 she attended the Ontario College of Education in
Toronto and in 1935 she earned a masters degree in Chinese Studies. Although
she began a doctoral program at Columbia University, New York, U.S.A. she
never completed her degree. In July 1913 she left Canada going to China
beginning a 38 year career of serving the call to mission in China. She
serving in the Hwaiking she was instrumental in opening the 1st
full primary school for girls in the city as well as a school for young
married women. During her 3rd term in China she became an editor
of the Christian Literature Society and later she worked as a translator for
the Canadian Commissioner of Trade. Her sill in the Chinese language even
permitted her to write books in the language! During the Japanese military
activities in China in the late 1930’s she worked from Hon Kong under the
British Consulate and although there were intervals in China once Communism
took over China foreign missionaries were not allowed on the mainland. Her
personal writings and those published have left a view of Christian Mission
efforts in a changing Chin., an area of history that is just being studied.
She retired home to Canada in 1956. Sources: From the pages
of three ladies: Canadian women missionaries in Republican China. By
Deborah Shulman (MA Thesis, Concordia University, 1996) ;
Born Winnipeg, Manitoba March 29, 1945. For this author who
writes books for young readers, her inspiration often comes from happenings
in her own life. She has lots of ides for books and stories and often wishes
she was more than one person so she could put all of her ideas into her
computer. She suggests that aspiring young writers keep a combination diary
sketchbook to collect information and pictures which could be used for
writing a book. Margaret won the Vicky Metcalf Award in 1996. This award is
presented to authors who have written more than 4 books which young readers
find an inspiration.
January 15, 1945. This mother of three is a teacher and guest lecturer. She
has toured South Africa, Sweden, Germany and England. To date, for her short
stories, she has been awarded the Commonwealth Best First Book Award
(1989), Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award (1994), the Marian Engel Award
(1994) and the Giller Award(1999).
Grace MacLennan Grant Campbell
Born Williamstown, Ontario March 18, 1895. Died May 31, 1963.
After graduating with a B.A. from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario in
1915 she chose a career in teaching. She would also practice her avocation
of writing. She had article and short stories published in several Canadian
magazines. Her novels, published mainly in the 1940's , included The
Thorn Apple Tree (Toronto, 1942). Fresh Wind Blowing (Toronto,
1947) and The Tower in the Town (Toronto, 1950).
Born Stamford, Canada West (Ontario November 14, 1839. Died
March 31, 1926. She was a teacher who loved history. She was a tireless
worker for the Niagara-on-the-Lake Historical Society in Ontario. She wrote
several local church histories in the late 1890's and is the author of
History of Niagara (Toronto, 1914)
(née Brooks). Born Hamilton Inlet, Labrador November 1, 1818.
Died April 1905. One of the children of an English settler and his Inuit
wife, she lived her entire life in her native Labrador. As an old woman , a
journalist , Arthur Charles Waghorn, sent her a journal and asked her
to write down memories of Labrador life and ways. In 1894-1895 13
installments of her writings appeared in the St John's Evening Herald in
Newfoundland. Her reflections went beyond the personal and provided a first
hand account to life and lore of her home territory. Lydia had married twice
and was the mother of 13 children. It is thanks to her sharing her life
memories and knowledge that information of nineteenth century Labrador has a
(née Wright) Born 1863. Died November 22, 1949. As an author
she would write three main works; White Chief of the Ottawa, (Toronto,
1903); The Hieroglyphics of the Heavens (Toronto, 1933); Love's immensity
Anne Laurel Carter
Mills, Ontario September 1953. As a child she had wanted to be an actor but
was much too shy. She entered the study of medicine at the University of
Toronto but dropped out and headed for Israel where she lived and worked on
a Kibbutz, a community farm. She married and the young couple moved to
California and finally settled in Toronto. Back home she earned her BA at
York University in 1975 and continued to worked to earn her Masters in
education at the Ontario Institute of Education. In the 1980’s she was
teaching Cree children in Northern Quebec. Her 1st novel In the
Clear was about a youth with polio was published in 1984. She remarried and
settled once again in Toronto and worked as a teacher-librarian. She has
written numerous books, with Last Chance Boy winning the Book of the Year
award from the Canadian Library Association and Under a Prairie Sky winning
the Mr. Christie’s Book Award. She has also written for the series Our
Source: Anne Laurel Carter official web site (Accessed November 2012.)
Alice Amelia Chown
Born Kingston, Ontario February 3, 1866. Died March 2, 1949.
Educated at Queen's University she graduated in 1887. She became an active
suffragist and was also know as a promoter of unions. She lent her support
to the League of Nations. She wrote her autobiography The Stairway
Annie Rothwell Christie
(née Fowler) Born London, England March 31, 1837 Died July 2,
1927. She came to Canada as a young child with her family and settled on
Amherst Island near Kingston, Ontario. Her father was a respected landscape
artist. Married and widowed while young she married a second time the the
Reverend I. J. Christie and settled in the North Gower, Ontario with her
second husband. She is know for her short stories and her novels which
appeared first as magazine sequels. Recognition as a poet was earned when
some of her poetry was turned into songs used in "The half breed rebellions"
Elizabeth Anne Cleaver
(née Mrazik). Born
Montreal, Quebec November 19, 1939. Died 1985. An illustrator and author, Elizabeth
was most concerned with myths and legends. She obtained several awards
for her works including the Frances Howard-Gibbon Award in 1978 and
the International Board on Books for Young People's Hans Christian
Andersen award in 1882. Maybe you have seen her work “The Loon’s
Necklace” or the “The Enchanted Caribou” which is an Inuit
legend illustrated with shadow puppets?
Born May 29, 1922 Kamsack, Saskatchewan. Died California November
22, 2010. One of her best friends in school was daughter of Japanese
immigrants and Eleanor learned to enjoy origami and Japanese food. She
married a U.S. Air Force office but retained her independence. In 1949 she
was the only person who applied to the Ottawa Journal newspaper to be
a foreign correspondent to describe conditions in postwar Japan. Since there
were no civilian ships nor planes to Japan at that time she sail on A Dutch
freighter o take up her new job. She lived with a Japanese farm family in
the middle of nowhere prior to moving to Hiroshima. The she was unprepared
for the devastation she saw. In the 1950’s she became o mother to two sons ,
one born in Japan and the second in Alabama. She continued her writing while
traveling to postings with her husband in California, The Philippines and
Taiwan. Returning to Hiroshima, Japan in 1963 she was enthralled and
mesmerized with the beautiful Pease Park with the statue with a young girl
at the top. The monies to build the park had been raised in part by selling
the story of the youth on the statue, Sadako. Eventually Eleanor found a
copy of the story of the youth Sadako and the book Sadako and the
Thousand Paper Cranes was published in 1977. The book spawned web sites,
lesson plans and popularized origami. The story inspired works of music,
theatre and ballet. As Eleanor entered her second marriage to Wymberly de
Renne Coerr (1913-1996), the couple traveled as diplomats and she earned
her B.A. in English from American University and a Masters of Library
Science from the University of Maryland. She went on to publish several
dozen books for youth including biographies, easy to read adventure tales,
and sensitive accounts of children from other cultures.
Sources: “Eleanor Coerr…”.School Library Journal November
30, 2010 ; Ewing-Weisz, Chris “Visits to Hiroshima prompted a book promoting
peace” The Globe and Mail October 21, 2011 Page R 9
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa
Evelyn "Lyn" Margaret Cook
Evelyn Margaret Cook
Waddell. Born May 4, 1918. In 1940 she earned a scholarship to attend the
University of Toronto. She continued her studies with post graduate work in
Library Science at the University of Toronto. In 1946 she used her
grandmother’s name Margaret Culverhouse to publish a poem in the June 1946
issue of the Canadian Poetry Magazine. She worked at eh Toronto Public
Library for a year an then joined the RCAF – Women’s Division in the
Meteorological Service for three years. She also organized a library at the
Military base in Trenton, Ontario. She served as the 1st
Children’s Librarian at the Sudbury Public Library. Her 1st book,
Bells on Finland Street appeared after the World War II and she became one
of the first writer for children to be published after the war. Her books,
written for the youth market, took place in Canadian places and often told
the story of the Canadian multicultural scene. It has been said that she
literarily developed the prototype of the hyphenated Canadian ( i.e.
Finnish-Canadian) While in Sudbury she developed a ½ hour CBC radio show A
Doorway to Fairland” and was a regular asset to CBC Radio in the 1940’s and
1950’s with the show also being picked up in the U.S.A. She created the
Radio show Sounds Fun and wrote plots for Uncle Chichimus puppet
show. Moving to Scarborough, Ontario in the 1960 she told stories at the
Bendale Branch of the local Library. In 1965 she wrote the Brownie’s
Handbook for Girl Guides of Canada. As a Canadian Centennial project in
1967 she adapted her book Samantha’s Secret Room for National School
telecast as a Television series. Among the many awards accumulated by her
more than 12 books was the 1978 Vicky Metcalf Award for contribution to
Sources: “Lyn Cook”
by Ruth Maydan in Profiles, Canadian Library Association, 1971. ;
Creating the National Mosaic. Multiculturalism in Canadian Children’s
Literature 1950-1994 by Miriam Verena Rihter.
Luella Saunders Creighton
(née Bruce). Born August 25, 1901. Stouffville, Ontario. She was a
teacher in a rural Ontario School from 1920-21. In 1924-1926 she attended
Victoria College at the University of Toronto. In 1926 she married Donald
Creighton (1902-1977) She enjoyed writing novels and romances and was well
known for her work High Bright Buggy Wheels (McClelland & Stewart, 1951)
which drew from Mennonite history in the Markham area of Ontario. 6
additional works followed each drawing on settings in Canadian History. She
was supported in her writing by her husband, Donald Creighton,(1902-1979) a
well known and respected Canadian Historian who died in 1979.
Canadian Women of Note (Toronto, Canadian Women’s Press Club/York
University, 1994) no. 193 page 201.
Constance Elvia Crook.
Born September 29, 1930. This retired teacher and grandmother is perhaps best known by her pen
name : Connie Brummel Crook. She has written Laura's Choice (1993), Nellie
L (1994) and Meyers Creek (1995). Be sure to have a look at her books
at your local Public Library.
Annie Charlotte Dalton
Armitage) Born Birkkby, England December 9. Died January 12, 1938. She would
immigrate to Canada with her husband in 1904. She began publishing her works
in 1910 and publish some 8 volumes through to 1935. She was well known and
respected as a novelist in her own era spanning some thirty years.
Mary Agnes Scott Davis
Scott). Born Quebec City, Quebec December 12, 1863. Died November 19, 1927.
She used two successful pen names as a journalist, Amaryillis and the
Marchioness. She wrote at the turn of the 1900 for Saturday Night Magazine
and she turned "gossip " to pure entertainment and became the toast of the
town of Ottawa newspapers and kept readers clamouring for more "intel". .
She was a social advocate for welfare children and aboriginals with a keen
interest in feminism, all the signs of "the new woman". She married the well
to do William P. Davis an gave up her daily journalism, writing only the
occasional articles for the Women's Historical Society. After the death of
her husband in 1916, she and her two daughters were dependant on family for
support and eventually moved to France for less expensive life style. From
France she contributed a scattering of writings for the Montréal Star.
Mazo de la Roche
Newmarket, Ontario January 15, 1897. Died July 12, 1961. While studying at
the Ontario College of Art in 1902 she would publish her first short story
in Munsey's Magazine. She would go on the write for the Atlantic
Monthly, the Canadian Magazine and the Women's home Companion.
In 1923 she would publish her first novel followed in 1925 with an one act
play. In 1927 she won a $10,000.00 award for her novel Jalna. This
novel would be the first of 16 novels about the Whiteoak family. Even the
adoption of two children in 1931 did not deter her writing. In 1954-55 the
novels were adopted for television by the British Broadcasting Corporation.
There was a renewed interest when the CBC TV produced a Jalna
series. However in current times the novels are not on popular reading
Kristen den Hartog
Born Deep River, Ontario. Her writings have appeared in
numerous journals and anthologies. She has produced two novels up to 2005,
Water Wings (Toronto, 2001) and The Perpetual Ending (Toronto, 2003). She
currently lives in Toronto but frequently returns to her beloved Ottawa
Valley to re-energize.
Born September 29, 1946. This writer drew from her own experiences publishing stories of pilgrimages.
She has made walking pilgrimages in France, Spain, Italy and six other countries.
All her walking efforts have raised over 200,000 dollars for medical research.
She has been the Honourary Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.
In 1993 she received the Confederation Medal to honour her achievements.
Winnipeg Manitoba July 22, 1942. She is an illustrator and author of books
who took the advice of her first editor who told her to have fun! To this
day she has 'fun' with her profession. She does take her work very seriously
and puts in many hours labouring over each illustration. In 1998 her book, A
Child's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes won three top awards including the
Governor General's Award.
Sandra Ann Djwa
St. John's, Newfoundland April 16, 1939. This writer, biographer and
educator studied at Memorial University in Newfoundland and the University
of British Columbia. Dr. Djwa settled to a position of Professor of English
at Simon Fraser University in 1980. She had published numerous articles,
edited several works, including books of poetry by Canadian poet, E. J.
Pratt and has written several biographies of Canadian authors. She is
currently working on a biography of a Victorian poet, novelist and artist P.
Born Montreal, Quebec April
16, 1858. Died October 9, 1923. She visited England and in 1900 decided to
make it her permanent residence. However, as a novelist and religious writer
she set the background for 4 of her novels in her home country of Canada.
Her works are carefully structured. She used humor and lively dialog to
describe her unusual plots and twists.
Ann Douglas is an award-winning
journalist and the author of some 30 books, many of which have been about
baby and child care including: The Mother of All Pregnancy Books,
The Mother of All Toddler Books, The Mother of All Parenting Books.
She also has an interest in Canadian women’s history and has written
Canuck Chicks and Maple Leaf Mamma’s to help others learn more of our
women’s heritage. A parent, educator, lecturer, and mother of four, Ann is
currently serving as the honorary Chair of the National Healthy Mothers
Healthy Babies 9-Month Club and as a member of the expert advisory group for
Invest in Kids. She recently served as national spokesperson for Sunlight's
National Play Day Program and has been featured on a Cheerios box as part of
a special "Read the Box" campaign of 2002 and 2005. As past president of the
Periodical Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) and a teacher of writing
courses through Trent University she mentors emerging and established
Mary Alice Dawe Downie
(née Hunter). Born Alton, Illinois, U.S.A. February 12, 1934.
Her Canadian parents moved back to Canada where Mary Alice grew up and
graduated from the University of Toronto. While studying she spent much of
her time at The Varsity newspaper. In 1959 she married and returned to the
U.S.A. to live. It was here that she worked producing films, plays and book
reviews. With her young family of two young daughters she moved to Kingston,
Ontario, Canada where she still resided today. She has written over a dozen
books for young Canadian readers and created the Northern Lights series and
the Kids Canada Series. She has won awards from the Canada Council, the
Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Heritage, the Laidlaw Foundation, and the
Canadian Children's Book Centre "Our Choice" awards for various books.
Emma Lorne Duff
Born Meaford, Ontario. Died March 31,
1935. She would become a Kindergarten teacher in Toronto in 1888 and showed
her love of teaching by remaining in the position for some 25 years. During
her retirement from teaching she would write "A Cargo of stories for
children" Toronto 1931).
Margaret Iris Duley
Born St John's, Newfoundland 1895. Died
March 22, 1968. Newfoundland was the setting for all of the works by this
author. Her first work "Eyes of the Gull (London 1936) drew international
acclaim. She would write anther four novels. She is considered the first
Newfoundland woman writer to be recognized as a novelist outside her own
Born East Orange, New Jersey, United
States. Died April 22, 1957. Married to the renouned Canadian author Huh
MacLennan ( married 1936) she was a reputed author on her own. She would
publish some four works including "Bluenose : a portrait of Nova Scotia (New
Born August 6, 1969 Kingsville, Ontario. As a child being a novelist was one
of the choice careers that was right up there with being a detective or a
spy. She always loved reading and studied English at McGill University,
Montreal and then went to the University of Guelph for her Master’s degree.
It was while at Guelph that she stated to have an interest in children’s
literature. Moving to Toronto she decided that she did not want to study for
her PhD. She worked and continued taking a variety of courses from tap
dancing to writing books for children. She has published three books for
young readers: Missing Mathew (2003); Mosh Pit (2004) and
Big Big Sky in 2008 all with Red Deer Press. Kristyn also performs
creeptastic art as Miss Kitty Galore and plays bass in the all-female metal
band Heavy Filth.
Source: Profile by Dave Jenkinson. CM Magazine Online (Accessed 2007)
; Kristyn Dunnion web site (accessed January 2011)
Born Toronto, Ontario 1870. Died December
5, 1900. She studied for her B.A. at the University of Toronto in 1896. Her
written work Elise Le Beau: a dramatic idyll and lyrics and sonnets was
published in Toronto in 1921 by her sister Laura.
Born 1867. Died April 7, 1914. She studied
for her B.A. at the University of Toronto in 1896. Her written work Elise Le
Beau: a dramatic idyll and lyrics and sonnets was published in Toronto in
1921 by her sister Laura.
Born Montreal, Quebec 1875. Died April 8, 1954.
She was the 8th child of 14 children of a British silk
merchant and a Chinese mother, Grace, who had lived with missionaries. Both
she and her older sister would take to the art of writing. Winnifred was a
writer in many arenas from newspaper articles, magazines and journals, short
stories, successful novels ( some of which became plays and movies)
cookbooks, and movie scripts. She was 14 when she had her first newspaper
article published. At seventeen she left home to wander to Jamaica and New
York City. Although she was of Chinese she choose a Japanese pen name Onoto
Watanna since Japanese novels were more popular. She married Bernard Babcock
but the marriage was short lived. In 1917 she married Frances (Frank)
Fournier Reeve and moved to settle to a ranch in Calgary Alberta for a
couple of years before she once again had wanderlust ending up in Hollywood
and New York once again. In 1932 she returned to her husband in Calgary to
basically settle. She took an interest and founded the Little Theatre. She
was the first known writer oa Asian descent to be published in America. Her
first novel, Mrs Nomé of Japan was published in Chicago in 1899 and
was republished in 1999. Her granddaughter Diane Birchall wrote Onoto
Watanna, a biography in 2001.
Matilda Ridout Edgar
(née Ridout) Born September 29, 1844, Toronto, Ontario. Died September 29,
1910, London, England. She was more than likely educated at home. On
September 5, 1865 she married James David Edgar, (1841-1899) a lawyer and
author. The couple would raise 9 children. Much of her early marriage was
spend dedicated to bringing up their large family. When she was in her 40’s
she had her first work published, Ten years of Upper Canada in Peace and
War (Toronto: Briggs, 1890). This work , a compilation of information
from family correspondence was well received. In 1898 with honors bestowed
upon her husband she became Lady Edgar. In 1904 her second book was a
biography of Sir Isaac Brock, the British hero of the war of 1812. She was
also a philanthropist supporting the Infants’ Home in Toronto and the
Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire. She was also active in the
Woman’s Art Association of Canada where she served as President in 1899. She
was a life member of the National Council of Women and served as President
Source: Dictionary of Canadian
Biography vol. Xlll. Online (Accessed March 2014)
Born Cochrane, Ontario. August 7, 2960.
A self declared loner she started writing at 10 or 11 years
old. She has won the Canadian Governor General’s Award, (2002), the Ruth
Swartz Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the University of California’s
Middle East Book Award, the Jane Addams Peace Award and the Vicky Metcalf
Award. Her books give western readers a glimpse into the plight of children
in today’s developing countries. As a teen in high school she joined the
peace movement and is also a longtime feminist . She pledged the earnings
from her Breadwinner Trilogy, published around the world in seventeen
languages, more than half a million dollars, to Street Kids International
and to Women for Women, an organization for Afghan girls in refugee camps in
Pakistan. Book proceeds have also been shared with UNICEF.
Born Vancouver, British Columbia. May
19,1952. She wrote novels when she was 12 years old! She too time out to go
to school and become a librarian but at 30 found herself on leave from her
job to write books again. By 2001 she had published some 10 books. Pic-Up
Sticks was the 1991 winner of the Governor Genera's Award. Out of the Blue,
1994 won Mr. Christie's Book Award. She loves to write in her little office
in the attic of her house.
Marion Ruth Engel
Passmore) Born May 24, 1933, Toronto, Ontario. Died February 16, 1985,
Toronto, Ontario. She earned her B.A. in Language Studies from McMaster
University in 1955. She then moved to Montreal to earn her Master’s degree
from McGill University. She taught at McGill for a short while and then at
the University of Montana in the U.S.A. In 1960/61 she earned a Rotary
Foundation Scholarship to the Université d’Aix-Marseille, France. In 1962
she married radio producer Howard Engle and the couple rasied twins until
the marriage ended in divorce in 1975. Her first novel, No Clouds of Glory
appeared in 1968. In 1973 she was the 1st chair of the Writer’s
Union of Canada. In 1976 she won the Governor General’s Award in Literature
for her work Bear. She served as writer in residence a the University of
Alberta in 1977 and at the University of Toronto from 1980-1982. In 1981she
won the City of Toronto Book Award for Lunatic Villas. In 1982 she was
inducted into the Order of Canada. In 1984 she was the Toronto YWCA Woman
of Distinction. The Marion Engle Award is present annually in her honour to
a woman writer in mid-career. She was an avid journal keeper and in 1999 her
journals were published as Marion Engel’s Notebook. Marion Engel Park is
located in Toronto.
Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia. Online (Accessed February 2014)
Constance May Evans.
Born Montreal Quebec March 15, 1888. Died
????. She studied art and music in London, England with private
lessons. She enjoyed writing short stories and stories in serial format for
popular magazines. She would, during her career, that stretched from the
early 1930's through to the 1970's, produce some 125 romance novels both
under her own name and the nom de plume of Mairi O"Nair. She was not as
lucky finding a life long romance as some of her book hero were. She never
married although engaged three times. one of her suitors was killed, a
second died from old war wounds and a third died of heart failure. She
eventually adopted three daughters.
Born Huntington, New York, U.S.A.
September 25, 1943. She began her career as an illustrator by working for a
greeting card company. She illustrated cheap books where she says she
learned to become a better artist. She enjoys illustrating books for young
readers and has also written some of her own books. Some of her titles are :
Waves in the Bathtub ( 1993), Ordinary Amos and the Amazing
Born Huntington, New York, U.S.A.
September 4, 1969.In high school she learned to sculpt and found that
three dimensional art was just how she could best express herself! Kim's
Mom, Eugenie, is an illustrator and author of books for youth. Kim was
encouraged to use her clay illustrations and write books to accompany her
art. She attended the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and developed skills
that lead her to a career of full time illustrator and part time author. She
stores her fimo ( type of clay) illustrations in pizza boxes! She is a
strong believer of 'visualization" ( seeing the completed work in her mind)
before she begins working.
Mary Agnes Fitzgibbon
Born Belleville, Canada East (Ontario)
June 18, 1851. Died May 17, 1915. Some might say that as the grand daughter
of the famous Susanna Moodie she came by her desire to write naturally. She
wrote thee books including "A trip to Manitoba" (London 1880) and Historic
Days (Toronto 1898). She had an avid interest in Canadian history and in
1894 she founded the Canadian Women's Historical Society of Toronto.
Ann Cuthbert Fleming
(née Rae). Born Aberdeen, Scotland. 1788. Died March 15, 1860. She married
James Innis Knight July 3, 1810 and later as a young widow married James
Fleming May 8, 1820 in Canada. In 1815 and 1816 she published two books
called Home and a book of poems entitled A year in Canada and
other poems. Once settled in Canada she became a teacher concerned that
the school books being used in her Canadian school house had very little
Canadian content. She developed school books specifically for her young
students. Her works may have been the first books for Canadian children. Her
published works contained views of Canadian scenery and the book The
Prompter was subtitled: Progressive exercises on English Language. She
wanted to provide interesting lessons for her students and continued to
“Canadianize” early textbooks.
Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Vol. lll pg. 734-35
Pearl Beatrix Foley
Born Toronto, Ontario Died October 12,
1953. While she entered her studies at the University of Toronto she did not
graduate. This however did not stop her determination to write. She would
produce four novels. The third novel was published under the pen name of
Paul de Mar.
Mary Evelyn Gannon
11, 1900, Fredericton New Brunswick. Died January 3, 1975, Fredericton New
Brunswick. Mary was a delightful child with a marvelous wit. She loved the
stories her grandparents told and enjoyed even more sharing her own stories
with her students where she taught school. In 1935 Mary began to tell her
stories on CFNB, Fredericton Radio. Her Just Mary and Maggie
Muggins stories soon were available on books for children to enjoy over
and over again. The CBC soon came to call and offer Mary a Toronto position
as head of the CBC Children’s broadcasting. In 1954 her characters made
their TV debut with national exposure. By the time she had retired and moved
back to her beloved Maritimes in 1962 she had written over 30 books and over
4,000 scripts for children’s programs. In 1947 the CBC presented Mary Gannan
with the Beaver Award and in 1951 she was made an honorary member of the
Mark Twain Society.
Marilyn Brinell, Memories of Mary
www.newirelandnb.ca (Accessed November 2012) ; Andrea Bell, “Mary
Gannon”, New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia Online (Accessed
Rebecca "Becky" Grambo
Born February 21, 1963. Rebecca studied to be a geological engineer at the
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1985. She soon found that her
interest in animals could be the base for a new career. She is now an
experienced photographer of natural history and has created books to share
her love for readers of all ages. She began writing in 1994 and is an
acclaimed and award winning author of 25 books. In 2004 she won the Canadian
Science Writers Association’s Science in Society Award and the Animal
Behaviour Society’s Outstanding Children’s Book Award for Lupe: a wolf pup’s
first year. She gets in touch with nature through her gardening and designs
intricate needlework patters based on her nature photographs taken around
the world. Rebecca is married and has opened her home to menagerie of
rescued pets. Check out her web site “Wild Threads”
Sources: Wild Threads on line; Herstory: a Canadian Woman’s Calendar
Minnie Caroline Forsythe Grant
née Robinson. Born Toronto, Ontario. Died
November 2, 1923. As the daughter of John Beverly Robinson she was from one
of the big families of Toronto and was married in 1842. She enjoyed writing
and published a book, Scenes in Hawaii in 1888. Later she became interested
in history and turned her writing talents to producing series of articles
for the Canadian magazine entitled Bygone Days which were published
Born Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia 1820. Died
1913. She took early training at Normal School (Teacher's College) and
taught in Nova Scotia. She enjoyed writing and produced two books.
Descriptive Sketches of Nova Scotia (Halifax, 1864) and The Twilight of
Faith (Boston, 1891).
May Agnes Fleming.
(née Early). Born
Saint John, New Brunswick November 15, 1840. Died March 24, 1880.
Her early stories were published in New York and Boston while
she was still in school! She enjoyed writing romance and mystery novels
but as was the fashion of the time her novels would appear as serials
(chapter by chapter in newspapers) before being published as full
books. Her serials were published in New York and London, England!
Barbara Florio Graham,
Born New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Barbara was first published at the age of 9 in Humpty Dumpty Magazine,
and then in Jack and Jill, winning a National Scholastic
Magazine regional short story award when she was 14. With her B.A. degree
from Columbia University she taught English, speech and drama in New York
and Chicago and worked in public relations before moving to Canada in 1967.
A popular speaker for local, national and international organizations, she
has taught courses in writing, speaking and media training. The author of
three books, including the 20th anniversary edition of Five Fast Steps to
Better Writing and a revised edition of Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost
Publicity. Her alter-ego, Simon Teakettle, owns the company, Simon
Teakettle Ink, and this cat has his own credits as a writer. Barbara and
Simon collaborated Mewsings/museings, a collection of their best humor
writing. Together, Barbara and Simon have contributed to 29 anthologies in
six countries. Their website is
Mavis Leslie Gallant.
Young). Born Montreal, Quebec
August 11, 1922. A fiction writer
since 1951 she has published more than 100 stories, most of which first appeared
in the New Yorker Magazine. In 1993 she became a Companion of the Order of Canada.
She has also written a play She has also written an impressive body of reviews
and essays on French culture and society.
Elsie Bell Gardner
Born Gateshead-on-tyne, United Kingdom
May 15,1895. Died October 1994. The family grew up in Scotland and Trinidad
,for several years when the father had a position with the police force.
During World War l, while working at a munitions factory, Elsie and her
sister were enamored with a pair of friends from Newfoundland. Elsie did
not enjoy life in Newfoundland and she, her husband and budding young family
moved to southern Ontario. Elsie turned to writing overcoming the death of a
son. She wrote a series of books around the world life adventures of a
character named Maxie. She typed with using only two fingers on an old
Underwood typewriter. Her daughters and their friends used to stand beside
the typewriter and read the exciting pages as they came off the machine.
When she first started writing she could not find a Canadian publisher and
while the American company of Cupples and Leon in New York
accepted the manuscripts, they requested that Maxie become American rather
than Canadian. Elsie had to retype the entire manuscripts of her first three
books! Maxie, an adorable Girl, Maxie in Venezuela and
Maxie, Searching for her parents, were runaway success stories. Four
more books appeared in the series. A member of the Hamilton Women's Press
Club, Elsie also penned a column for the Mail and Empire (now the
Globe and Mail) newspaper entitled Life begins at forty.
The Maxie series of books would be finished when the family lived in
Burlington. Always interested in politics, Elsie Bell Gardner became the
first woman elected to the Burlington Town Council.
Submitted by Anita Gardner Brit, Victoria, British Columbia.
Born April 6, 1948. This
writer started off with a bang when one of her first published works, The
Butterfly Ward, made her a co-winner of the Best Canadian Short
Story. She shared this award with Margaret Atwood. It would later be made
into a TV movie for CBC. The movie Outrageous was also based on her
work entitled Making it. More recently the made for CBS TV movie
For the love of Aaron was based on an aspect of her life.
Mary Evelyn Gannon
Born Fredericton, New Brunswick 1900. Died
1975. She started her working career as so many of her generation of young
women did, as a teacher. She had a real gift however, she had a passion for
writing stories for children. Her storey telling career took off when in the
mid 1930's she began to tell her stories on a local radio program. News of
her talent spread and she was discovered by the CBC> The partnership would
last from the end of 1930 into the 1960's. She was JUST MARY and her
characters, Maggie Muggins, Mr. McGariety, Petunia 'Possum, Mrs. Bettlebug
and others found themselves featured in more than thirty books and well as
thousands of radio and TV programs. Her home at 35 Brunswick St. in
Fredericton is now an historic cite of the Province of New Brunswick.
Born New York City, New York, U.S.A. April
4, 1940. Her career started out as a hobby. She was a professional
traditional artist. It took her a long time to finally seek a publisher for
her first book, The Balloon Tree in 1985. She was determined to get the book
published even though she received over 50 rejection slips! As a child
reading books herself she would seek out books with female heroines. She had
to be satisfied with Nancy Drew because there were few fictional heroines.
She uses heroines like Gillian Giggs in the books she writes. She was
awarded the Vicky Metcalf Award in 1993. This award honours Canadian Authors
who have written at least four inspirational books for young people.
Bell-Smith Born 1864. Died 1942. Married to the Rev. Jonathan Goforth she
would follow him on his mission work to China. In 1937 she published her
husband's biography entitled Goforth in China. She also published
How I know God Answers Prayer (Toronto, 1939) and Climbing: Memoirs
of a missionary's wife (Toronto), 1940).
December 30, 1936. An author,
who has one the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, she has also authored
two Canadian cookbooks. She
writes articles for such notable publications as Saturday Night,
Maclean’s, and the New York Times.
(née Blake) Born Mud Lake, Labrador April 20,
1902. Died Happy Valley, Labrador 1982. She was a wife and mother in
Labrador. After the death of her trapper husband in 1963 she wrote her
autobiography, Woman of Labrador (published in 1993).The book became
an international best seller. It is the first recorded history of family
life in the wilds of Labrador.
(née Jeffers) Born Wilton, Canada West (Ontario) Died August
20, 1922. While her father, the Rev. Wellington Jeffers was the editor of
the famous newspaper the Christian Guardian, she contributed articles to the
newspaper. She was also a contributor of articles to the Toronto Globe. She
married the Rev. James Graham and was mother to three daughters and three
sons. She would published "Etchings from a parsonage verandah (Toronto,
(real name Gwethalyn Graham
Erichse-Brown). Born January 18,1913. This author would use only her first
2 names. Her novel Earth and High Heaven was the first Canadian novel
to top the American bestseller list (1945). This same novel would win a
Governor Generals Award, would sell for movie rights (alas it was never to
be a movie) and would be translated into Braille and 18 different languages!
She continued to write but always in the shadow that she could never do as
well with another novel. She wrote articles on immigration, anti-Semitism
and women’s issues. Later in her career, she successfully turned her talents
to writing TV Scripts.
Born Melrose, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
November 22, 1950. A voracious reader as a child, she credits Louisa May
Alcott's character, JO, in the book, Little Women for being her inspiration
to write. Her first writing job was to do the high school cafeteria menu
each week for the local town newspaper. She worked in her cold basemen,
wearing fingerless gloves that allowed her to type and try to keep warm. She
is a collector of information on community events. Flyers, real estate
advertisements, price lists of everything…all of these things are filed away
in order so that they can be retrieved at some future date as a resource.
She was awarded the Vicky Metcalfe Award in 2001. his award honours Canadian
authors who have written 4 or more works that have inspired youthful
Gwendolyn Margaret Grant
Irwin) Born May 14, 1920, Toronto, Ontario. Died September 1, 2002. She
earned a B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1941. During World War II
she worked for the Farm Radio Forum outside Montreal, and then in Ottawa for
the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. In June 1944 she married the United
Church minister John Webster Grant; and in 1946 she earned an M.A. from
Dalhousie University. She accompanied her husband to Oxford, England and
then to Vancouver, British Columbia where he was a teacher. While living on
the Canadian west coast she directed student theatre and originated a
weekly words and music radio program. In 1957–1958, she wrote descriptive
letters used by CBC Radio, and subsequently wrote a study book on south Asia
for the Woman’s Missionary Society of the United Church. In 1959 the couple
moved to Toronto where Gwen spent an increased amount of time writing
Gwendolyn Grant Collection. E.J. Pratt Library, University of Victoria
Campus, University of Toronto. Online. Accessed July 2013.
Suggestion submitted by Jeanne Ouellette, Ottawa, Ontario.
An international lecturer and author of
some 25 romantic women's fiction novels she has used her expertise to write
a "How-to" book, Writing Romance. Her books have been translated into some
15 foreign languages. Her west coast North American settings for her novels
are very popular with readers around the world.
Born Toronto, Ontario September 14, 1940.
She has always had a secret desire to be a writer Her high school English
teacher would encourage her secret desire that would become her successful
career. A piece on Louis Riel published in her high School yearbook would
eventually become an acclaimed novel : A QUESTION OF LOYALTY. All her books
use Canada as a background setting. She does in-depth research for her
historical novels. She learns from primary documents about the people and
she also studies the events and how they were described by others during the
events themselves. Her book : A Pioneer story (1994) wpm the
Information Book Award, Mr. Christie's Book Award and the Ruth Schartz
(née Grignon) Born St Jérome, Quebec 1900.
Died August 21, 1968. As a journalist she was a correspondent for the
Montreal Gazette. In the 1940 she wrote three novels in French. Two of the
novels were translated into one volume in English entitled the Outlander (
Toronto, 1950) which won the Governor General's Award, In 1961 she was
elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Louise Bernice Halfe
18, 1953, Saddle Lake First Nation, Alberta. Her Cree name is Sky Dancer and
refers to the Northern lights. At the age of 7 she was sent to Blue Quilts
Residential School in St. Paul Alberta as were many aboriginal youth. She
choose not to return home but to remain and attend high School. She went on
to earn a Bachelor in Social Work from the University of Regina. She had
always loved writing and began to write seriously in the 1980’s. She has
published several books of poetry one of which Bear Bones and Feathers
(Saskatoon, Coteau Books, 1994) received the Canadian People’s Poet Award.
She also sent a copy of her work to the Queen of England and the Pope. There
was a poem to each of them and the Pope’s thank you said he noted the
reference to him. She has travelled across North America and foreign
countries such as China discussing her work. She was appointed Poet Laureate
of Saskatchewan in 2005.
Biography. Banff Centre of the Arts, accessed April 2013.
Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006.
Saskatoon: Coteau Books, 2005.
Evelyn "Lyn" Harrington
Born July 31, 1911, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She worked at the local
Public Library and then decided to earn her diploma in libraries at the
University of Toronto. She would return to the Sault and work as their
Children’s librarian for 15 years. in 1942 she married Richard Harrington a
renowned photographer and the couple moved to Toronto where Lyn became a
freelance writer. She wrote books as well. In 1967 she received a Centennial
grant for a book for youth, The Luck of the La Verendryes. She has written
over 17 books and 2300 magazine articles as well as radio drams. In 1975 she
received the Vicky Metcalfe Award for her writings.
Source Lyn Harrington by June Munro in Profiles, Canadian Library
(née Ryerse), Born February 1798 Port Ryese, Upper Canada (Ontario)
Died London, Ontario March 19, 1882. She was the daughter of United Empire
Loyalists who settled in Upper Canada in 1784. On June 28, 1815 she married
John Harris of the Royal Navy. John was involved in the preparation of maps
of the Great Lakes and there is evidence that Amelia was also involved in
the preparation of draft maps of the surveyed areas. The family moved a
couple of times before setline in Eldon House in London, Upper Canada. The
couple would have three sons and seven daughters. Although she did not have
much in the way of formal education, Amelia was well read in the literature
of the time and she enjoyed corresponding with family members and keeping a
diary. Which covered almost 9000 days. She would leave for the next
generations a well written detailed portrait of wel-to-do 19th
century family life. Her works are know for their clarity and objectivity of
her analysis of character. Her cousin , Egerton Ryerson, published her
accounts of her early loyalist family life in his work The Loyalists of
America and their times. Her diaries are held at the University of Western
Source: The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Online Accessed 2001.
Toronto, Ontario. Died April 14, 2013, Toronto. Ontario. She entered the
Ontario College of Art with the encouragement of her father. However formal
training did not set well with her and she left after two years. Se became a
performing artist worked in video art, did editing and was always an voice
as an animal rights enthusiast. She married briefly in her youth to Rodney
Werden. In the 1970’s she taped interviews with woman about their sex life
which lead to the book Orgasms in 1974. She used the name A.S.A
Harrison and a false photo on the book’s jacket. The book became a classic.
She earned her necessities by working as a type setter at the Toronto Sun
Newspaper and as editor for C Magazine. She collaborated with Margaret Dragu
on a book of essays about striptease and sexuality, Revelations in
1987. It would be Margaret who introduced her at this time to her life
partner John Massey. The couple finally married in 2006. A.S.A. became an
editor for John’s works. In 1996 she produced a novelty book about how to
read your cat’s personality based on its astrological sign. After this in
her mid fifties she decided to try her hand at a work of fiction. Her first
novel The Silent Wife, based in Chicago to please the U.S. market
will be printed posthumously in 2013.
sexologist to thriller writer” by Judy Stoffman, The Globe and Mail,
May 8, 2013
Doris Prisilla Muncey Haslan
Born Bedeque, Prince Edward Island July 20, 1905. She trained as a teacher
and even served as a governess in New York for a couple of years. However,
P.E.I. called to her and she that in the province until 1945. September 22,
1945 she married Reginald Heber Haslan and the couple went to live on the
family farm in Springfield P.E.I. Doris became involved with the Local
Women’s Institute and in turn in the history of her community. The history
“Springfield 1828-1953” with which he was a major participant received
Honourable mention in the Tweedsmuir Village Histories Competition. In 1964
she prepared a booklet of the life and works of L.M. Montgomery: the Island
Lady of Stores which would see several reprinting. She co-authored An
Island Refuge: Loyalist and Disbanded Troupes on the Island of St. John,
and the work called Loyalists of PEI. She also hand artistic talents
she shared in flower arrangements, needlework and knitted garments for
charity. In 1972 she received Life membership in the Women’s Institute
showing appreciation for her efforts.
Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club
of Charlottetown, 1981.
Julia Catherine Hart.
née Beckwith Born Fredericton, New Brunswick
March 10, 1796. Died November 28, 1867. She wrote the first work of fiction
by a native born Canadian to be published in Canada. Her novel was called St
Ursula’s Convent or The Nun of Canada, Containing Scenes from Real Life”
(1824). She wrote this book when she was only 17 years old! She would
continue publishing her writings while she raised 6 children!
Elizabeth Grace Hay
Born Owen Sound, Ontario 1951. While
working for the CBC Radio she lived in various areas in Canada including
Yellowknife in the northern territories, Winnipeg and Toronto. She rounded
out her North American living with time living in Mexico and New York City.
She has won several acclaims for her works including the National Magazine
Award Gold Medal in Fiction. Her works have also been on the finalist
listings for the Governor General's Awards in literature. her works have
included Canadian Tales: Canadians in New York (1993); The only Snow in
Havana (1992); Small Change (1997) ; A student of weather (2000).
Lillian Margaret Hendrie
Born Montreal, Quebec 1870. Died May 12,
1952. A teacher by profession she was the headmistress of Montreal High
School for Girls from 1911 through to 1930. She wrote one book; Early
days in Montreal and rambles in the neighborhood (Montreal, 1932).
Julia Willmothe Henshaw
Henderson Born August 8, 1868,St Mary’s the Less, Durham, England. Died
November 18, 1937, West Vancouver, British Columbia. She learned to enjoy
the outdoors and photography from her naturalist father. She moved to
Montreal and contributed writings to the Montreal Star and the Montreal
Gazette. June 15, 1887 she married investment broker Charles Grant Henshaw.
The couple had one daughter. The young family moved to Vancouver where
Julia worked for various newspapers including the Province,
Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver News-Advisor often under the pen names of
Julian Durham or G’wan. . She enjoyed writing novels and became
successful internationally in 1898 when her work; Hypnotized; or the
Experiment of Sir Hugh Galbraith (Ontario Publishing Company , 1898) was
called Canadian Book of the Year. She wrote several important plant studies,
including Mountain Wildflowers of Canada (1906) and The Wild
Flowers of B.C. (1908). At the beginning of World War l she raised funds
to send Christmas gifts to overseas soldiers. Later she served as ambulance
driver in France. For her war efforts she was awarded the Croix De Guerre.
And other service medals of honour and reached the rank of Captain. She has
also been credited with co-founding the Georgian Club, the first women’s
social club in Vancouver.
Sources: The Vancouver Hall of Fame : Canada’s Early Women Writers,
Simon Fraser University. Online accessed November and December 2012
Mary Eliza Herbert
Born Halifax, Nova Scotia 1832. Died July
15,1872. An author and editor her first published work were poems that she
co-authored with her sister Sarah in 1857. She was the first woman in Nova
Scotia to edit and publish a magazine, The Mayflower or Ladies' Acadian
Newspaper. The publication was some 32 pages an issue and began
publishing in 1851. It only lasted some nine months with failed support from
the population. She continued to write and some 4 of her books were
published at her own expense due to an absence of any book publishing firms
in the province.
Norah Mary Holland
Born Collingwood, Ontario January 10, 1876. Died
1925. A cousin to the famous Irish writer, W. B. Yeats, this Canadian
novelist toured Ireland on foot in 1904. She published several of her works
and in her own day she was a well-respected poet.
Born London, England June 5,
1939. She emigrated from England to Canada in 1968 where she attended a
University in Ontario before moving to British Columbia for post graduate
studies. She is a notable playwright. Five of her plays were collected and
published in 1985 in the book Willful Acts.
Janet Turner Hospital
Born Melrose, Australia November 12, 1942. She moved to
Kingston, Ontario in 1971 and attended Queen’s University. She published her
first novel, The Ivory Swing in 1982 followed with more novels in the
1980”s and 1990’s. She also published short stories and dipped into the
murder mystery genre in 1990 with A very proper death under the nom
de plume Alex Juniper.
(née Irse). Born Liverpool, England November 3, 1925. Died
March 7, 2003. This author, between 1980 and 1984 won
7 major Canadian awards for literature! In her lifetime she would
publish some 35 books for young people. She is best known for her young adult science fiction, fantasy
and contemporary novels. In 2002 she became a member of the Order
Nancy Lynn Hundal
Born Vancouver, British Columbia January
31, 1957. She studied for her BA and her teaching certificate at the
University of British Columbia in Vancouver. A busy mother of 3, she has
found time to exercise her passion of writing books, short stories and poems
for young readers. Her published titles include I heard my mother call my
name (1990); November boots, 1993; Puddleduck, 1995; and Camping 2002. Among
her awards are the BC Price in 1991, the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Prize.
Born Toronto, Ontario
August 24, 1947. She is an author, editor and a critic of art and literature
which she combines with being a professor at the University of Toronto.
Among her published books is a study of contemporary Canadian fiction.
Edith Margaret Fowke.
(née Fulton). Born Lumsdon,
Saskatchewan April 30,1913. Died March 28, 1996. This folklorist, collector,
writer, and teacher was interested in Ontario folklore. She presented the
songs she recorded on the CBC radio on various shows featuring weekly
programs on folklore from 1950 to 1974. She was a founding member of the
Canadian Folk Music Society and editor of the societies journal.
Phyllis Fay Gotlieb.
Born May 25,1926. She published 4 volumes of verse, 5 verse plays, science
fiction short stories, and science fiction novels. Some of her works have
been translated into several languages.
Born Shaunovon, Saskatchewan September 15, 1937.
Her career as editor-in-chief of Gardening Life Magazine has not kept this energetic
author from publishing some 19 books, many of which are on her first love of gardening.
She has written articles for all the major Canadian magazines and appears regularly
on both CBC and CTV radio and television. She was featured in Toronto Life magazine
with a biographical sketch. Her latest book, in 1999, is Seasons of my garden.
She is already researching another book on the social and anecdotal history of
native plants in North America. Have an interesting anecdote to pass on about
plants in your area? Contact Marjorie at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A good web page on Marjorie is: http://www.marjorieharris.com/
Julia Willmothe Henshaw
Botanist and adventurer
Born Durham, England1869. Died November 18, 1937. She inherited a love of
nature and wildflowers from her naturalist father. She and her husband,
Charles Grant Henshaw settled in the Vancouver area in the 1880’s. She
became an international respected novelist of her day with Hypnotized,
the book of the year in 1898. She also wrote several comprehensive plant
studies including Mountain Wildflowers of Canada in 1906 and the
Wild Flowers of British Columbia in 1908. This adventuresome couple were
the first to drive a car across the Rockies in 1914. ( I guess they did not
have problems finding gas stations even at this early date!) She worked as
an ambulance driver on the front during World War I and was awarded the
Croix de Guerre from the grateful country of France.
Source: The History of Metropolitan Vancouver – Hall of Fame
http://www.vancouverhistory.ca (accessed June 17, 2009)
Born 1907 Toronto, Ontario. Died September 2008. In 1929 she earned a B.A.
from Victoria College, University of Toronto, and followed up in 1932 with a
M.A. , She became a teacher with a long and rewarding career teaching at
Humberside Collegiate Institute, heading the Latin and Greek Department,
1942 until she retired in 1969. During her summer vacation at the family
cottage on Beshkung Lake near Halliburton she loved to write. She wrote
seven novels, including
all saints (1952),
little place (1959),
of slaves: a biographical novel of John Newton (1961),
with horses (1969), and
seventh earl: a dramatized biography (1976). She also enjoyed
writing poetry and articles in periodicals. Grace Irwin served on the
Senate, University of Toronto, 1952–1956, and received an Honorary Doctorate
of Sacred Letters from Victoria University in 1991. In 1968 she was awarded
the Centennial Medal of Canada. In 1972 she was asked by her church Emmanuel
Evangelical Church to become their minister, a position she served full time
until 1985 and on special occasions well into her 90’s. In 2001 the Grace
Irwin Secondary School Teaching Award was established by the Ontario
Classical Association. The Grace Irwin Award, Canada’s top award for
Christian authors was named by her nephew in her honour.
Sources: Grace Irwin
Library, University of Victoria Campus, University of Toronto. Online.
Accessed July 2013. : “Grace Irwin, 101, left significant mark on
community.” Bloor West Villager, October 7, 2008 Online accessed July
Annie l. Jack
Born Northampton, England January 1,1839. Died February 15, 1912. She was
Canada’s first professional woman garden writer. When she moved to Canada,
she used her gardening skills to experiment and make a profit. Her skills
became known throughout North America and she was written up in American
publications. While she wrote and published short stories and poems, it is
her horticultural articles for which she is remembered. Her book The
Canadian Gardener : A pocket Help of the Amateur was published in 1903
and set the gardening standard for all of pre World War 1 Canada.
Anna Brownell Jameson.
Born Dublin, Ireland May 17, 1794. Died March 17, 1860. A well known author
by the time she came to Canada to join her husband she chronicled her 8
month stay in her book “Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada”
née Moore Born Dundas, Ontario. Died
November 6,1932. As a career journalist she contributed occasional papers on
rural life to the Toronto Mail and Empire. She also wrote three books;
The Hickory stick: a romance of the school in the cedars (Toronto, 1921)
; The cattle in the stall; sketches and poems (Toronto, 1932)
Amelia Clotilda Jennings.
Born Nova Scotia. Died 1895. During her
writing career she would use the pen names of "Maude" of Mileta" She wrote
some three books: Lenden Rhymes (Halifax, 1854); The White Rose in Acadia
(Halifax, 1855) and Autumn in Nova Scotia (Halifax, 1855).
Mabel Annesley Johnston
née Sulivan Born Toronto, Ontario 1870.
Died April 1, 1945. As a writer she often used the pen name of Susanne or
Suzanne Marny. She is credited with tow books: The Canadian book of months
(Toronto, 1908) and Tales of old Toronto (Toronto, 1909)
Born Halifax, Nova Scotia
August 26, 1853. Died February 27, 1933. This
author developed the “new woman” theme in her novels.
She also wrote shot stories and travel articles for magazines.
She used the pen name of Alix John for one of her novels.
In 1903 she was described as one of Canada’s leading women novelists.
Her works included : The Night Hawk (Toronto & New York 1901);
Bubbles we buy (Toronto, 1903) Gabriel Praed's castle
(Boston, 1904) ; Marcus Holbrach's daughter (New York, 1912) and
Flame of Frost (1918).
Rukhana "Roxy" Kahn
Born Lahore, Pakistan March 13, 1962.
Rejection of her first storybook by publishers encouraged Rukhana to put
away her writing. She got married and started a family leaving her writing
alone. Coming across her old rejection slips she found that publishers had
actually been encouraging her and made suggestions to improve her writing.
She decided to give it a try again. A local librarian encouraged her to
learn more about writing from the Canadian Children's book Centre. By the
end of 2000 she had penned some five books including an in depth novel. Not
a bad accomplishment for someone who thought she could not become a writer
because of her ethnic background!
Thelma Ruck Keene
Born January 9, 1916, Uxbridge, England. At 16 she worked in the foreign
office at various secretarial positions which took her to postings in
Budapest, Athens, Cairo and Beirut before she ended back in London in 1944.
She married in 1947 . By 1966 she was divorced and came to Canada where she
found work in the Library at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. Leaving
her job she opened a unique craft and book shop, the Canadian Craft Store.
Wishing to be closer to her son she moved to the West coast of Canada where
she became involved with a peace movement wanting to ban nuclear bombs. She
also began a close relationship with the Circle Craft Co-operative and
Gallery. She produced the Craft Circle newsletter as the organization grew
to cover the province of British Columbia. In 2006 she published an
autobiographical book that included her post WW ll exploits, called The
Handkerchief Drawer. (Trafford Publishing, 2006) .
Sources: First Generation by Nancy Knickerbooker, Vancouver Asia
Pacific Imitative, 1990
Valerie Jean Knowles.
Born Montreal, Quebec August 2, 1934. She completed degrees from
Smith College, McGill University in Montreal and Carleton University in
Ottawa. This former history teacher and, now, free lance writer who has been
successful in writing for newspapers, magazines and federal government
departments. She has authored some 9 books. She uses
her historical studies and archives background to develop
her contribution to historical writings of Canada. Her book, Strangers at
Our Gates, currently in its 2nd edition (1997) provides the only writing to
give a complete overview of the history of Canadian immigration. She
has established herself as a biographer of note with her works on Cairine
Wilson, Canada's first woman in the senate (1988), the award winning
book Telegrapher to Titan the life of William C. Van Horne (2004) and
a collection of profiles of famous and obscure figures of Ottawa in
Capital Lives. (2005)
Joy Nozomi Kogawa.
Vancouver, British Columbia June 6, 1935. This busy mother of two had
previously worked as a writer in the Prime Minister's Office. She is known
for her novels, children's books, poetry and essays, which have been
published in Canada and in Japan. She is also an activist. She was
instrumental in influencing the Canadian government in their settlement with
Japanese Canadians for loss of liberty and property in Canada during World
War ll. She is a member of the Order of Canada.
(née Jean Margaret Wemyss)
Born Neepawa, Manitoba July 18, 1926. Died January 5, 1987. From age seven
she wrote stories. Her gift of writing leaves a permanent mark on
contemporary Canadian Literature. Her first writing job was as a reporter
and book reviewer for the Winnipeg Citizen. She has been able to write with
experience of having lived in England, Somalilanc, Ghana, Greece, Crete,
Palestine, India, Egypt and Spain but Canada was always home. She is much
beloved and remembered for her works, her personal warmth, strength and
humor which she shared so generously.
Mary Jane Lawson
née Katzmann Born Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
1828. Died 1890. She married William Lawson shortly before her death.
Perhaps it was his dedication that got her books published posthumously.
There was a book of poetry published in 1893 and The History of the
Townships of Dartmouth, Preston and Lawrencetown, Halifax Country, Nova
Scotia (Halifax, 1893)
Born Leslie's Corners, Upper Canada
(Ontario) June 11, 1842. Died March 1, 1920. Like many of the well to do
pre- Confederation well to do families in Canada, her family sent her to
Europe to tour. While she was in Holland she continued her studies in art.
However it is her writings that would remain her legacy. She would publish
some three books including Historical Sketches of Scotland (Toronto, 1905)
Born Eskilstuna, Sweden March 16. Loris immigrated to Canada with
her family as a child. She kept notes in journals which she illustrated on
every topic. She loved to write and draw she even wrote poetry. After a
formal university education proved be be not what she wanted she took a job
at a printing company and was exposed properly to graphic arts. She is
totally self-taught as an illustrator and has worked as a freelance
designer. She continued her writing as she had always loved it. It was only
after attending a story makers conference in 1991 that she gained confidence
to do something with her scribbling. She formed a relationship with Annick
Publishing and has not looked back. “Nothing beats a Pizza was a Mr.
Christie’s Award honour book. Her works include Boy Soup, Catmagic,
Nightschool and many more. Check out your Public Library for more of her
Source: Loris Lesynski by Dave Jenkinson CM Magazine
Profile online accessed January 2007. ;
Born Formosa (Taiwan)
China. January 2, 1932. When her doctor parents realized that baby Jean had
severe site problems they moved to Canada. Although legally blind she
completed her BA at the University of Toronto and trained as a special
education teacher. Jean
knew she would be a writer but she also felt that she had to work at a real
job to make a living. She soon gave up being a teacher to be a full time
writer. She has
written some 25 children’s books and two autobiographies Little by
Little (1987) and Stars Come Out within (1990).
Jean Little's first book, Mine for Keeps,
won the Little Brown Children's Book Award in 1962 and was republished by
Viking Penguin in 1995. She has won a number of additional awards, including
a Canadian Library Association (CLA) Book of the Year Medal , the Vicky
Metcalf Award, a Canada Council Children's Literature Award , The Ruth
Schwartz Award and the Mr. Christie’s Book Award. . Her books have attracted
an international readership and have been translated into several different
languages including Korean. Jean lives with her talking computer, her seeing
eye dog, several collected family members and a menagerie of pets including
dogs, cats, birds and turtles. Her advice to young people of the world “
Always remember that the best place for your nose is inside a book.”
www.jeanlittle.com January 2006)
Born Stratford, Ontario. Died August 26,
1918. She is some times referred to by her married name of Smith. She and
her sister Kathleen co-authored several historical works including In the
days of the Canada Company (Toronto, 1896).
Kathleen Macfarlane Lizars
Born Stratford, Ontario. Died April
20, 1931. Kathleen was educated in Toronto and also studied in Scotland.
With her sister, Robina she wrote several books including In the Days of the
Canada Company (Toronto, 1896). She also published on her own a historical
work, The Valley of the Humber (Toronto, 1913.)
Loreen Rice Lucas
Born December 24, 1914, Midland, Ontario. . Died January 29, 2011 ,
Hawkestone, Ontario. She was a survivor right from the get go! She survived
the influenza epidemic of 1918, falling through the ice on Little Lake, The
Great depression, Hurricane Hazel and the fire that took the family
livelihood. She raised 8 children and cared for her elderly parents in the
family home. She was one of the first women in Ontario to obtain her Real
Estate Broker’s License and her insurance agent’s license. She was a
lifelong volunteer giving her time to many projects and organizations such
as the Oro Historical Society, the Simcoe County Museum and she worked
tirelessly with others to make sure swimming lessons were available to the
local children. She shared her life experiences in publications such as the
Orillia Packet Times and the Curious Daytripper. At the age of
80 she learned to use a computer and subsequently wrote and illustrated six
books based upon recollections from her life. In 1992 she received the 125th
Anniversary of Confederation of Canada Medal, followed in 1993 with being
the Citizen of the Year in Oro Township. In 2005 she was woman of the year
of the Orillia Business Women’s Association.
Sources: The Orillia Packet.
25,1971. It was not until the summer between grades seven and eight that she
read Guide to Fiction writing and began to take her writing seriously. She
began a regimen of writing regularly, one hour per day that grew to three
hours each evening. She pounded out eleven books in four years, two are now
in print. One is a great ghost story that may be borrowed through your own
Born Dallas, Texas, U.S.A. December 28,
1928.An author of books of historical fiction for young readers her writings
have won the Canada Council Prize (1979 and 1988), the CLA Book of the Year
for Children (1981 & 1988), the Ruth Schwartz Award ( 1988), the Information
Book Award ( 1995), the Mr. Christie's Book Award ( 1995) and the Governor
General's Award ( 1998) For all her efforts she received the Vicky Metcalf
Award in 1982 which recognizes authors who have inspired youth. She has the
ability to transform avid research into a real time machine for young
readers. She assures her readers that she does have a ghost in her house and
his story is written up in her book "The Root Cellar" (1981).
née Lesek Born Winnipeg, Manitoba
1910. Died 1995. Educated at the University of Manitoba she worked as a
nurse, a school teacher and a Journalist at various times in her varied
career. She sometimes used the name Luba Novak for her writings. Her work
tended to confound standard critical categories and has therefore been much
neglected as Canadian writer.
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1878. Died
September 20, 1965. She had married at 15 and was a widow in her 20's with
two young sons. She turned to writing to support her small family. She was
one of the first travel writers and she constantly had a notebook in her
hands and she wrote about everything she saw. . She would have to her career
credit some 20 novels, two autobiographies, biographies. travel books and
hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. She also enjoyed radio writing
and by 1938 she had written several radio plays, one with 24 episodes! She
believed in supporting her profession and was a popular and willing speaker
at many events. She was also a president of the Ottawa Branch of the
Canadian Women's Press Club.
Jane Elizabeth MacDonald
née Roberts. Born Westcock, New Brunswick
February 17, 1864. Died November 8, 1922. The sister of the famous author
Sir Charles C.D. Roberts she moved west and finally settled in Ottawa,
Ontario. She wrote "Our Little Canadian Cousin" (Boston, 1904) and "Dream
Verses and other" (Boston, 1906) She co-authored with family members
"Northland Lyrics (Boston, 1897)
Blanche Lucile Macdonell
Born 1853. Died November 24, 1924. She was
educated in Toronto, Ontario. She wrote several stories and published a
novel "Diane of Ville Marie (Toronto, 1896).
Agnes Maule Machar
Born Kingston, Canada West (Ontario)
January 23, 1837. Died January 24, 1927. Educated in Kingston she would show
her skills as a writer under the pen name "Fidelis" She would published
novels , historical works as well as collections of prose and poetry. For
her early work Katie Johnston's Cross (Toronto, 1870) she
would receive a prize for the best children's Sunday School Fiction. Among
her several works were The Story of Old Kingston (Toronto,
1908) and Stories of the British Empire (Toronto ,19130 In 1873 she
wrote with her mother , Memoirs of the Rev. John Machar (Toronto,
1873) Her writings did not masque her views as a Christian, a nationalist, a
feminist and a social crusader.
Claire Lorraine Mackay
(née Bacchus) Born December 21, 1930.Died August 11, 2013. At the age of 8
she started her own community newspaper. She won scholarships and earned her
BA in Political Sciences at the University of Toronto. She married Jackson
Mackay and the couple have three sons. She wrote her 1st book
Mini Bike Hero for her son and on a whim submitted it in a contest run
by Scholastic Books. She had a great since of humor combined with the
ability to be a true wordsmith. She had a love for dictionaries and would
always find the right word to spice up her writing. He would write 11
children’s and young adult fiction and non fiction books. Her writing
garnered her the Vicky Metcalf Award for her body of work and the Ruth
Schwartz Award for One Proud Summer. She was a co-founder of the
Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers. She
felt strongly about encouraging young authors and she wrote fan letters to
authors publishing their 1st book for young readers.
Source: “Children’s Author CANSCAIP Co-founder Claire Mackey Dies” by Sue
Carter Flin, Quill& Quire, August 13, 2013 ; Obituary, Globe and
Mail, August 17m, 2013.
Isabel Ecclestone MacKay
née Macpherson. Born Woodstock, Ontario
November 25, 1875. Died August 15, 1928. In 1895 she married Peter J. MacKay
and in 1909 the couple moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. As a poet she
would published some three volumes of verse, including a volume for
children. She published short stories and some seven novels. She was a
prominent worker with the Canadian Women's Press Club. As a playwright she
wrote a number of plays which have been produced in Canada and the United
Jean Newton McIlwraith
Born Hamilton , Canada West (Ontario)
1859. Died November 17, 1938. A prolific writer for her day, many of her
works were meant to provide information and biographical data for her
readers. The making of Mary (New York, 1895) was followed with A Book About
Shakespeare (New York, 1898) and Canada (New York, 1899) She would also
write Sir Frederick Haldimand (Toronto, 1904) among others.
Born June 9,
1929. In 1963 her first novel was awarded the Prix du Cercle du livre de
France. She wrote of the then critical theme of lesbianism. She continued
to write novels and branched out to short stories and scripts for films for
Born May 10,
1929. A storyteller supreme, this novelist is most famous for her French
language work La Sagouine which is rich in Acadian heritage. This
novel has been made into a very popular one-person play. Linda
Evangelista. Born 1965. At 15 while a unsuccessful contestant in a beauty
contest she was approached by a modeling agent. A serious and successful
international model she has been on the cover of every major fashion
magazine cover around the world.
E. Madge Mandy
Born in the U.S.A. A college professor from Kansas she married T. Joseph
Mandy a mines engineer and amateur photographer. The couple loved the
western Canadian northland. Madge would write of their experiences trekking
across the area in the 1930’s and with reprints in the 1990’s the books
effects are still being felt. The book was : Our Trail led Northwest:
true trail romance and adventure in British Columbia. (Reprinted Surrey,
B.C.: Heritage House 1992.) Madge Lake, Madge Mountain were both named for
this adventurer. The town of Burnaby , British Columbia boasts of Madge
Ave., named in her honour.
Source: Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2000. (Silver
Anniversary Edition) Coteau Books, 1999. Page 12.
Alice Stuart Massey
née Parkin. Born Fredericton, New
Brunswick Died July 29, 1950. The wife of Canada's first Canadian Born
Governor General, kept her busy with an extremely active social life that
was required of the family she had married into. She did have an interest in
women's roles in modern society and was author of Occupations for trained
women in Canada (London, 1920)
Born Winnipeg, Manitoba November 14,
1949. She went to theatre school and acted in Toronto before discovering her
talent for writing children's books. She enjoys writing fantasy. She also
has taken what she considered an important story about the treatment of Jews
in World War ll and written a book so that Canadian youth would know what
happened. Her books have won the Geoffrey Bilson Award ( 1987), the Silver
Birch Award (1993) and the Red Maple Award( 1996).
Margaret Dixon McDougal
Born (1826 (?) Died 1898. As a writer she
was known to have used the pen name "Nora" or Norah" One larger work that
was published was "The letters of "Norah" on her tour through Ireland. She
also published "Verses and Rhymes by the Way" (Pembroke, 1880) and The Day
of a Life (Almonte, 1883)
Sara (Sarah) Mickle
Born June 13, 1853, Guelph, Ontario. Died June 2, 1939, Toronto, Ontario.
relocated from Guelph to Toronto. Not much is recorded on her early life.
She was active in supporting her church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church as
well as the Hillcrest Convalescent Hospital in Toronto. Her avocation was
local history. She worked with the Pioneer and Historical Society of the
Province of Ontario which as a meeting when she was the only woman in
attendance she suggested be renamed the Ontario Historical Society. She was
immersed in the Women’s Canadian Historical Society serving from 1897
through 1930 on the executive committee including serving some 15 years as
President. She wrote papers for the WCHC and was in demand as a gifted
speaker. In 1899 she worked with a group to set up a successful historic
exhibition at Victoria University. She also poured her energies over the
years into saving the site of Fort York from being devoured by urban
commercial takeover. Another Conservation project close to her heart was the
restoration of Colborne Lodge the 1837 home of artist-architect John George
Howard, located near High Park.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography vol. XV Online (Accessed March 2014 .
née Sturm. Born Kitchener, Ontario 1915.
Died March 26, 1994. She married Kenneth Miller when she was a student
studying the classics at the University of Toronto in 1938. In 1941 she
penned her first novel The Invisible worm" She would write some 6 novels in
her early career all of which had a Canadian setting. After 1950 her
mysteries were mainly set in California where she had settled with her
family. She even did the Hollywood 'thing' after world war ll when she was a
screenwriter for Warner Brothers Studios. She and her husband, had a mutual
enjoyment of nature and helped found a chapter of the National Audubon
Society. in 1965 she was the Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year. Her
numerous writings are often overshadowed by the works of her husband who
became a well known mystery writer under the pen name of Ross Macdonald.
Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Born Clifton, Prince Edward Island November 30, 1874. Died April 24, 1942
It is no surprise to know that she was born in Prince Edward Island.
She would use the stories and lessons of growing up in her
world famous novels about a young orphan named Anne. Later there was
also Emily and Jane, new characters to share with the world. Have
you ever read "Anne of
Green Gables?" In
which of the 14 languages the book is translated did you read the
Born Bungay, England December 6, 1803.
Died 1885. Susanna
was a settler in Upper Canada and she wrote about her adventures in
a famous book called Roughing
it in the Bush. She was also an early Canadian journalist
writing for the best of the Canadian literary journals of the day.
She was very suspicious of the “Yankee” (American) influence on early
Canada. Her sister, Catherine Parr Trail was also a famous Canadian
Born Wingham, Ontario July
10,1931. Her short stories appear in magazines such as the New Yorker
and The Atlantic. She has collected her stories and published
numerous books of stories. A novel, Lives of girls and women, grew
from her short stories. She has received 3 Governor General’s awards for
her works. She also has won the Canada-Australia Literary Prize and the
Marion Engel Award and the W. H. Smith Award from Great Britain.
Louisa Annie Murray
Born Carisbrooke, England May 24, 1918.
Died July 27,1894. She emigrated to Canada in 1844 with her family and they
became pioneers on Wolfe Island near Kingston, Ontario. She taught school as
a young woman. She began to write with the encouragement of a neighbors.
With the endorsement of Susanna Moodie her work Fauna, or the red flower of
leafy Hollow appeared in the Literary Garland magazine in 1851 in serial
format. She persevered publishing perils and loss of work to become the
major Canadian prose writer of the 1870's. She also published a small number
Kangiqusujuaq, Quebec. An esteemed story teller whose stories and legends
have been broadcast for years on the CBC radio she draws on her traditional
upbringing. She had her feet firmly planted in both the traditions of her
people and the modern worlds. As an author she is the first author to
publish a novel in the Inuktitul language. She has translated the Roman
Catholic Book of Prayer into Inuktitut so that her people my learn in their
own language. She has compiled an encyclopedia of traditional Inuit
knowledge, legends and natural history so that the traditional spoken
knowledge may be passed to all who seek knowledge of the unique culture of
her people. In 1999 she received an National Aboriginal Achievement Award
for her contributions to heritage and spirituality
||Born Bergen, Norway September 6, 1900. Died
1963. She was educated in a Winnipeg high school and the University of
Manitoba. While she taught school she worked on her 1st novel,”
Wild Geese” (1925). She spent time as a reporter, and a social worker
but still found room for her writings.
She would complete another novels.
Born June 4,
1958, Kapuskasing, Ontario. She attended the bilingual University of Ottawa
were she earned a B.A. in Psychology followed by a Masters Degree in
education. While at University she worked as a movie reviewer for the campus
radio on Ellspace, a program for women on campus. On December 22,
1979 she married Guy Théroux of Kapuskasing and the couple settled in
Ottawa. She was a contributed to the national women’s magazine Femmes
d’action from the Fédération nationale des femmes Canadiennes-francaises
for the years. She is the co-founder of the Action Group Against Violence
Against Women in Northern Ontario. She Supervised the production of Tfo’s
series on children who grow up in violent homes, S.O.S. Géneration en
détresse and co-wrote the teacher’s guide which accompanied the television
series. She has published a book on women’s learning with the University of
Ottawa Press, Les femmes en milieu universitarie: liberté d’apprendre
outrement. in 2000 the book won the Laura Jamieson Prize from the Canadian
Institute for the Advancement of research on Women for the best feminist
book by a Canadian author. She was the host of the Télèvision Rogers cable
program D’hier àujourd’hui on local Ottawa television. The program combined
her interest in history and enjoyment in teaching people about their past.
In 2008 she began a blog highlighting the accomplishments of milestones and
mentoring women of Ottawa throughout it’s history. Embracing further the
medium of the internet Jeanne has also begun in 2012 a blog highlighting the
women of Northern Ontario along highway 11.: Les femmes de la route 11: Elles du Nord. Source: Personal contact with Jeannine Ouellette, Ottawa,
Born Madras, India. As a child she enjoyed reading. As a youth she
read and studied the Greek classic plays. Winninag Smith-Mundt Fulbright
Scholarship she studied literature at Indiana University earning her
master’s degree in creative writing. She moved to Winnipeg Manitoba in 1966
and continued her university studies at the Michigan State University
receiving her PhD in 1972. She is married and has one daughter and the
family has settled in with Dr. Uma working as a professor at the University
of Winnipeg. She began her professional writing career in 1962 producing an
historical drama. In 1967 her writings won the Lady Eaton Award. In 1980 her
work was awarded the Caribe Playwriting Completion first prize. Her
collection of short stories What Was Always Hers won both the New
Muse Award and the Jubilee Award. During her work, writing career and family
responsibilities she has also found time to return service to the writers
world by working with several boards and committees including the Status of
Women Writers Committee, the Board of Immigrant Women’s Association of
Manitoba and as president of the Manitoba’s Writers Guild. Obviously she
enjoys nothing more than being creatively busy.
Suggested sources; Uma
Parameswaran web site at the University of Winnipeg. (Accessed May 2008)
Born April 25, 1957. This
author has written 14 novels for young adults and several novels for
adults. In 1988 she was awarded the "Grand Prix de la science-fiction du
fantastique Quebecoise" for her work, La petite fille de silence,
also the same year she was awarded the "Prix Boreal" for the work, les
temps de migrations.
Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall
Gunnersby, Middlesex, England, 1883. Died 1922 Vancouver, British Columbia.
Marjorie moved with her family to Toronto, Ontario in 1889. She sold her
first story; Two-ears to the Toronto Globe while still a
student at Bishop Strachan School. She was employed as an assistant
librarian at Victoria College Library, Toronto, from 1910 to 1912. She
contributed to several periodicals. Returning to England in 1912 she
participated in World War I as an ambulance driver, a farm labourer and a
library clerk. She wrote many short stories and poems during this period.
After the war she returned to Toronto, then moved to Vancouver, where she
continued to write. She published over 200 short stories and approximately
100 poems along with numerous articles in journals such as Atlantic
Monthly, Harper’s, and Scribner’s. She also contributed to
young people’s magazines. Her publications include: Poetry: The Drift of
Pinions (1913), Lamp of Poor Souls and other Poems (1916), The Woodcarver’s
Wife and other Poems (1922), Little Songs (1925), and Complete Poems (1927);
Short stories: Angels’ Shoes and other Stories (1923); Novels: Little Hearts
(1916), and The Bridge (1922).
Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall Collection. E.J. Pratt Library,
University of Victoria Campus, University of Toronto. Online. Accessed July
Jeanne Ouellette, Ottawa, Ontario.
Born Fredericton, New Brunswick April 19, 1936.
Her birth name was Mary Sharon Chalmers. Her first published play , A
compulsory Option, won the 1971 Alberta Playwriting Competition. After
teaching at several western Canadian institutions she became, in 1984, the
first woman artistic director of a major western Canadian theatre. She has
written several plays of children as well as TV and radio scripts. Her play
DOC earned her the 1984 Governor General's Award. In 1988 she was
awarded the Canada-Australia Literary Prize.
Agnes Helen Fogwill Porter.
(née Wright) Born St. John’s, Newfoundland May
8, 1930. She began her writing career as an adult in 1964. She was already a
busy wife and mother of 4 children. She excels in writing fiction poetry
and writing of drama. She won the Canadian Library Association Young Adult
Canada Book Award in 1989 and received the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts
Council Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.
(née Elliott) Born England 1839. Died 1928. She emigrated to
Canada in 1871. She married William Portlock. It was not until after the
death of her husband in 1893 that she began to consider publishing her works
which were mainly autobiographical in nature. The Head Keeper (Toronto,
1898) and 25 years of Canadian Life (Toronto, 1901).
Ontario, 1946. In 1966 she married Dr. David Seager in 1966. The couple had
three children. In 1967 she earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the University
of Toronto.. She married Douglas Donegani in 1980, they had a daughter and
became divorced in 2003. In 2003 she married Fernando Miranda Arregui. She
has been Associate Editor of Tamarack Review (1970- 82), Editor of
Ethos (1983-86), Playwright-in-Residence (1974-75), and
Writer-in-Residence at several Ontario libraries (1987 -1991). She also
worked as a literary and television editor, and as an instructor at the
University of Toronto. Her writings have garnered several awards including:
the New York Art Directors Club Award of Merit in 1983, the American
Institute of Graphic Arts Certificate of Excellence in 1983, the American
Poetry Association Award in 1986, a Canada Council Arts Award in 1991, a
Toronto Arts Council Award in 1990 and 1992, and an Ontario Arts Council
Work-in-Progress Grant in 1995. Her articles have been published in Canadian
magazines and newspapers, and her writing has been anthologized in four
Sources: Janice Rapoport Collection. E.J. Pratt Library, University
of Victoria Campus, University of Toronto. Online. Accessed July 2013.
Submitted by Jeanne Ouellette, Ottawa, Ontario.
Phares) Born Anatone, Washington U.S.A. August 13, 1910. Died May 24, 1984.
In 1941 she received the Governor General's Award for outstanding service to
Canadian drama. She was the first Canadian playwright to publish a volume of
collected plays in 1982.
née McGregor Born Banff, Scotland. Died 1892. She emigrated
to Canada with her second husband. When let a widow by the death of her
husband she turned to writing to support herself. She had numerous articles
and stories published in various Canadian and American magazines. She als
published some 4 books between 1868 and 1878. . These included: Violet
Keith (Toronto, 1868) ; Wreck of the White Bear (Montreal, 1871)
; A Legend of the Grand Gordons ( Montreal, 1873) and Legend of
the Holy Stones ( Montreal, 1878)
Born Middlesex County, Canada West (Ontario) July 5, 1845.
Died February 9, 1935. She is chiefly remembered for her biography of her
brother who was premier of the province of Ontario from 1898-1904. The
book was called. Sir George W . Ross: A Biographical Study (Toronto, 1923)
22, 1909. Died July 13, 1983. A 3 time winner of the Governor General’s
Award in Literature as well as international award holder, she is one of the
most important Canadian writers of the Post World War II Era in Canada. Some
of her works have been translated into 15 different languages
Born February. 23, 1887, Vancouver British Columbia. Died October 12, 1953,
Vancouver, British Columbia. She attended the University of British Columbia
when it was connected to McGill University, Montreal. She left teaching to
marry Frederick James Rolston in 1909 and raised a family of three children.
Tilly worked closely with many
associations and clubs including being a director of the Vancouver-based
Pacific National Exhibition, an Honorary President of the Women's Canadian
Club, president of the Oratorio Society, Quota Club, and the Travel Women's
Club. She was also the founding chairman of the Theatre Under the Stars,
board member of the YWCA auxiliary and of the Vancouver Symphony Society.
While a homemaker she continued her interest in politics and actually
entered politics as an elected Progressive Conservative Member of the
Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in1941. In 1951 she sat as an
Independent for the remainder of the session. She became a supporter of
W.A.C. Bennett and in the 1952 B.C. election in Vancouver-Port Grey, she was
elected as a Social Credit candidate and named education minister. She was
the second woman in British Columbia to be appointed to the cabinet and the
first woman in all of Canada to hold a specific portfolio. She was a staunch
advocate education for every child.
Eleanor Ann Saddlemyer.
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan November 28, 1932. This educator and author
is a professor at Massey College, Graduate Centre for Study of Drama
and Victoria College at the University of Toronto. Among the many
distinguished recognitions she was presented with were the 1994 YWCA
Toronto Woman of the Year Award and the Order of Canada. Her more
than one dozen published books have been related to drama and English
literature. She is also an accomplished editor and member of several
editorial boards such as Theatre History in Canada/ Histoire du Théatre
Mary Anne Sadlier
née Madden Born Cootehill, Cavan County, Ireland
December 31, 1820. Died April 5, 1903. She emigrated to Canada in 1844 and
published her first works by subscription ( where people sign up to purchase
a book before it is published. )In 1846 she married published James Sadlier.
They remained in Montreal where she continued to write and establish her
name as an author. The family moved to New York but after her husband's
death she returned to Montreal. During her career she would publish some 60
volumes of work from domestic novels to historical romances to children's
catechisms. A friend of the assassinated Canadian politician, Thomas D'Arcy
McGee, she edited he book of poems and had it published posthumously in
Margaret Marshall Saunders.
Milton, Nova Scotia April 13, 1861. Died February 15, 1947. Margaret
originally wrote under the name Marshall Saunders to hide her identity.
While it was just becoming somewhat respectable for women to be writers when
Margaret was publishing her works, writings by women were not best sellers.
In 1894 she wrote Beautiful Joe, a story of an abused dog, for a competition
sponsored by the American Humane Society. It won first prize! Beautiful Joe
would became the first Canadian book to sell more than 1,000,000 copies. It
was translated into more than 14 different languages.
(accessed on May 20, 2008)
Annie Gregg Savigny
Died July 10, 1901. She became and established author with
such titles as A romance of Toronto (Toronto 1888); Lion, the
mastiff (Toronto 1895) and Three wedding rings (Toronto n.d.) She
could perhaps be considered a pioneer of early multi media writing as she
apparently worked or at least published for the Canadian Department of
Agriculture in 1898 when she prepared under her own name a lantern slide
lecture on teaching kindness to animals called : Dick Niven and his Nobby.
The work consisted of some 24 slides but only the descriptive text has
Carol Ann Shields.
Born Oak Park
Illinois, U.S.A. June 2, 1935. Died July 16, 2003. A writer and professor
she is also Chancellor at the University of Manitoba. The busy mother of 5
children, this writer won the National Book Critics Circle Award, Governor
General’s Award for Literature, The Booker Award and the Pulitzer Prize for
her novels. Along with writing novels and biographies, she has also written
Nancy "Nan" Evelyn Shipley
née Summerville Born Glasgow, Scotland
1902. Died 1990. Coming to Canada as a youngster she grew and married and
settled in Winnipeg. Her first book was published in 1957 and followed it
with ten more works for young readers. Some were historical studies and some
were biographies. Many of the stories featured native and Métis women. In
1959 she organized Manitoba's first Indian handcrafts sales centre and she
was elected Woman of the Year in Manitoba by the Women's Sales and
Advertising Council in 1965.
née Stanton Born Cobourg, Canada
West (Ontario) 1865. Died February 22, 1943. In 1898 she began publishing
short stories and poems in various magazines and journals. On July 10, 1884
she married Dr. Charles Sheard and they raised a family of four sons.
Between 1898 and 1938 she would publish some 12 books including;
Trevelyan's Little Daughter (Toronto, 1898) and A Maid of Many Moods
( Toronto, 1902).
Jessie Georgina Sime
Born Scotland February 12, 1868. Died
1958. After the death of her parents she emigrated to Montréal in 1907.
There she used her powers of observation of the middle class life of single
women immigrants in the pre world war one urban Canada. Her father had been
an author and in Scotland she had written book reviews and articles for
newspapers and magazines. In 1919 she published a book of short stories
called Sister Women that told of her observations. She was a respected
lecturer on women writers and women characters in works by male writers. She
was a member of PEN and represented Canada at the PEN world conference in
Vienna. While she published at least two additional works but it is
Sister Women that illustrates the disproportional suffering women
in an era of social change. The work was republished in 1992 as a part of a
series on works of Canadian women authors.
31, 1938. A playwright of dramatic works she drew from her own background
for some of her play settings. She also wrote of women elders, studies of
life in retirement homes and of the contemporary human condition. She is
considered a Canadian playwright of significance.
Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Born Brantford, Ontario December 12,
1954. In school, she had trouble learning to read until she introduced
herself to the works of Charles Dickens. In High School she wrote
satire for the school newspaper. She studied English at the University of
Western Ontario and credits her degree with giving her the true talent to
read and learn enough to become a successful sales person for cutting
tools. She read up on everything before going for sales! Leaving her job she
returned to school to earn her Maters in Library Science. It was here that
she was introduced to Children's literature. She married in 1981 and became
a stay at home for her son. In 1992 she began to write her own books. She
received over 100 rejections slips but in 1994, her first book Sliver
Threads was published. She has never looked back.
Born Ottawa, Ontario October 27, 1913. Died March 4, 1986. She began
her career as a journalist but became known for her novels and poems. In 1945 she published
her first book, which was considered a masterpiece and was reprinted several times.
It was 32 years before she produced her next two books. She
published again in 1984.
(née Classen ) Born Newton, Kansas, U.S.A.
September 1, 1915.
Died July 31, 2003. She came to Canada in
1969. This author, teacher, and children's librarian has won several awards for her works
including the Canada Council Children’s Literature Prize (1977).
Look for her “Underground to Canada”, “Days of Terror”, White Mist” and
other books. This author wove her stories for young people around little known
historical events and inserted a youthful fictional character with whom her
young readers could relate. Her books have been translated into several
foreign languages as well a Braille and talking books for the sight impaired.
Irene Mary Spry.
Biss) Born Standerton, Transvaal,
South Africa August 28, 1907. Died December 16,
The works of this historian on the Palliser Expedition of 1857-1860 are
definitive studies. She represented
the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada at the Associated Country Women from
1954-to 1967 and was executive chairman 1959 to 1965.
She was a fervent supporter of Canada and of a social democratic
approach to public policy. She was
named an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1993.
Failing eyesight did not kept her from almost daily studies at the
National Archives of Canada where she could be seen using a large magnifying
glass in order to read documents.
Source: Personal interview.
Kathleen May Strange
Born London, England 1896. Died Ottawa,
Ontario January 9,
1968. née Redman. née Redman. Married December 23, 1918, in 1920 she
emigrated to Canada with her husband Major Harry. John. Latimer Strange and
they worked a farm in the Canadian west. In 1923 they won the World Wheat
Championship in Chicago. By 1928 she had contributed various articles to
Canadian magazines. In 1937 she won an award for her non-fiction work With
the west in her Eyes, which was a description of her own early farming life.
During her career she would compose some 60 short stories that would be
published. She also published Never a Dull Moment (1941) the memoirs of her
Ontario. She received a B.A. from Victoria University in 1954, and later
earned her M.A. at the University of Toronto, 1972. Her work in the Toronto
entertainment industry has included being a casting director of feature
films such as Margaret’s Museum, as well as major Canadian and
American television series such as Road To Avonlea; she has won two
Anik awards, and was nominated for an Emmy. She hosted her own daily CBC
radio program, and the weekly public affairs television series Some of
The People. In 2000 she founded ANNE TAIT PRODUCTIONS to develop and
produce quality feature films and dramatic television. The 2009 award
winning film Iron Road was her first as a co-producer.
Sources: Anne Tait Collection, E.J. Pratt Library, University of
Victoria Campus, University of Toronto. Online. Accessed July 2013.
Submitted by Jeanne Ouellette, Ottawa, Ontario.
Carrie-Jo (C.J.) Taylor
Born Montreal, Quebec August 31, 1952. Her
father was a strict Mohawk who had been removed from his culture. Carrie has
found herself in her Aboriginal culture and is shares her joy with her
father and young readers. She shortened her name to CJ when she autographed
her paintings. Her father took her out of school at 16 as he saw no reason
for girls to have an education. Carrie-Jo at 19 found herself married and
soon she was a struggling single parent. She sought solace in painting. She
combined her art with her interest in her native culture to express her
feeling .She began writing books touring and talking about learning and
Sharing. She enjoys painting large canvases and enjoys producing her works
with loud music blearing in the background. She worked for awhile in Radio
and even had her own show on CBC TV. However it is her children's books that
are her financial support. Many of her 22 published titles are available in
French and other languages eve, Braille for the blind
Adeline Margaret Teskey
Born Appleton, Canada West (Ontario) 1853.
Died March 21, 1924. She was educated at the Genesee College located in New
York State, U.S.A. Between 1901 and 1913 she would publish some six books
including The Village Artist (Toronto 1905), and Candlelight Days (Toronto,
Audrey Grace Thomas.
Born November 17, 1935 Binghamton, New York, U.S.A. She attended Smith
College before studying in Scotland at the famous St. Andrew’s University.
After teaching in England she moved to British Columbia in 1959. In 1965 she
published her 1st magazine short story. In all she has written 15
novels and collections of short stories as well as numerous radio plays and
broadcasts for the CBC. She was the first winner of the Ethel Wilson B.C.
Fiction Prize for her 1984 novel Intertidal Life., and she has taken
the award two more times. Internationally she has gained recognition with
the Canada-Scotland Literary Fellowship in 1984 and in 1987 the
Canada-Australia Literary Prize. In 1987 she received the Marian Engel Award
and in 2003 the Tereasen Lifetime Achievement Award.
Grace Thomas” by Veronica Thompson, the Canadian Encyclopedia.
Clara McCandless Thomas.
Born Strathroy, Ontario May 22, 1919. She would
publish as her first book, her University of Western Ontario, masters thesis
on Canadian Novelists 1920-1945. In 1961 she became a member of the teaching
faculty at York University where she continued until her retirement in 1984.
While teaching she worked on several critical studies and biographical books
of Canadian writers. In addition to her contributions of literary histories,
reference works, essays and periodical articles she also served on numerous
editorial boards and scholarly committees and served a term in 1971-72 as
President of the Association of Canadian University Teachers of English. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and in
1989 she was awarded with the Northern Telecom Canadian Studies
International Award for distinguished Service.
Dora Olive Thompson.
Born 1895. Died September 29, 1934. As the daughter of Henry
L. Thompson, president of Copp Clark Publishers one might consider that the
door for a career was already open to her. Open door or not, one must have
talent to consider a writing career. Dora would leave a legacy of some 6
books for young Canadian readers. Her writings, usually had the title of the
name of a Canadian girl and told the story of their lives with
attention to their school live, church life and good deeds. As an author she
showed acceptance for multiculturalism showing warmth and concern for
European immigrant families in her fictional community life.
Lola Lemire Tostevin.
Born June 15, 1937. This
bilingual author has produced books in both of Canada's official languages.
Her command of her second language, English, can be seen in her poetic
publications. Her poems and novels express feelings of life experiences
such as pregnancy and birth as well as loss of immediate family members in
Born Zagreb, Yugoslavia (Croatia). October 13, 1955. At only a few
days old her mother left Croatia to join the baby’s Canadian Father.
Teresa’s early life was rather unsettling with the family moving 17 times
from city to city to city. Unfortunately her father died when she was only
seven months old. Her first career choice was to be a mermaid. But
practicality of life took over. She attended the University of Toronto and
completed a Masters in Political Science just in time to marry and mover to
Montreal. Once settled she worked as a freelance broadcaster for Radio
Canada International before moving to Ottawa, Toronto, New York City and
back again to Toronto. In between moves 2 daughters were born and she
decided to become a stay at home mother. During this time she turned to
writing. She also became involved as a volunteer with Frontier College and
teaching English as a second language. Her writing has been mainly for young
readers and has resulted in numerous books having been published starting in
1995. According to Teresa writing is almost as good as being a mermaid!
Source: Teresa Toten by Dave Jenkinson CM Magazine Profile online
accessed January 2007. ; teresatoten.com
Strickland) Born London, England January 9, 1802. Died August 29, 1899. This
pioneer came to Canada with her lieutenant husband in 1832. She wrote of the
life around her in what was then "The Canadas" in her book the Backwoods
of Canada. She would also note the flora of the region in her
Canadian Wild Flowers. Her sister, Susanna Moodie was also a well known
Born Little Long Lac, Ontario. June 21 1949. This author is a
respected novelist, has also written poetry. Most of her works have been
published and translated in several foreign languages. In 1992 her novel The
Whirlpool was the first Canadian book to win France's prestigious Prix du
Meilleur Livre Etranger (Best Foreign Book Award). Her third novel Away
remained on the Globe and Mail newspaper's National Bestseller list for 132
rooks which was the longest of any Canadian boo. Away also won the 1994
Trillium Award and the Marian Engle Award for an outstanding body of prose
written by a Canadian woman. In the fall of 1997 her fourth novel The Under
painter won the Governor General's Award.
Born Toronto, Ontario January 19, 1941. Charlotte lived with an
overbearing father who was physical with her. She left high school to take
up her teen passion and studied formal night classes in acting. She once
dressed as a messenger boy to take a fan letter to Bette Davis. Davis was
smitten by the letter and she became friends with the young upstart.
Escaping her home situation she moving to England and worked from 1961-64 in
sleazy night spots to make a living. In the mid 1960’s she brought her
career back to Canada. Married in 1970, she soon became an urban mother to a
beautiful daughter. By 1975 the urge to write became strong and she wrote
her only non-fiction book that would be called Daddy’s Girl about her
abusive childhood. The subject of the book was not popular in that era and
she would publish some fifteen works of fiction before she would get this
ground breaking work to readers. She has penned over thirty books which have
been grabbed up by the public, mainly in the United Kingdom where she is one
of the most borrowed authors from libraries. Her books sell in over twenty
countries but yet she is not overly recognized in Canada. She developed her
own Press to publish her own commercial fiction Her stories deal with
strong feisty women who discover that they can take care of themselves when
it comes to living with adversity. She also writes under the pen name of
Katherine Marlowe. She divides her time between her home in Toronto and a
second home in Connecticut.
Sources: “Ignored at home. Successful abroad” by Diane Frances MacLean’s
October 15, 1999: Canadian Who’s Who 2005 (University of Toronto Press,
Born Rome Italy. March 9, 1955.She studied for her PhD at
York University in Toronto in 1982 in Social and Political Thought. From the
mid-1980's though the mid 1990's she did theoretical and historical works on
gender and sexuality. in the 1990's she devoted herself to the sociology of
law with her main current research interest in the deployment of low-level
administrative and lay knowledges of vice, sex and race in various legal
complexes. Her 998 book, "Diseases of the Will: alcohol and the dilemmas of
freedom" (Cambridge) won the Law and Society Association's Herbert Jacobs
biannual book prize in 2000. Princeton University Press published her most
recent book, "Law's Dream of a Common Knowledge" (2003). She teaches theory
at the Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto, and is currently
engaged in a socio-legal research project on urban/municipal law and bylaw
Born Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Died April 7, 2005. As a child she
was the first Black person to get a library card at the whites only Public
Library in Bulawayo. She came to Toronto, Ontario and attained her
undergraduate and graduate degrees, including her PhD in record time and got
married She was drawn back to her troubled homeland of Zimbabwe with her
need to write. She would publish 5 novels and a collection of short stories,
all of which have been translated into several languages.
Acknowledgement of her talent came in awards such as the Commonwealth
Writers Prize for African 1999 and the Swedish PEN Tucholsk Prize which
recognizes works on taboo subjects. She wrote about problems in her native
land, such as : incest, abortion, rape, infanticide and suicide. The BBC
World Services has produced a 2 hour work which serves as a biography of
this courageous writer. Evidently, when she wanted to write she would
check herself into a hotel for three weeks and emerge with a manuscript such
as Butterfly Burning (1998) . Perhaps the fast track studies at York
University and the 3 weeks production of a manuscript were part of the
knowledge that having AIDS meant she did not have a long time to do what she
wanted to achieve in her lifetime.
Anne Louisa Walker
Born England 1836. Died July 7, 1907. She emigrated to Canada
as a child with her family. In 1858 she and her sisters ran a private school
for Girls in Sarnia. She married Harry Coghill and would write Leaves
from the Canadian Backwoods. (Montreal, 1861). She also enjoyed writing
hymns such as Work, for the Night is Coming.
Montreal, Quebec. Died July 4 2010 St Andrew’s, New Brunswick. As a young
girls she had wanderlust and worked as a post mistress on a ocean liner. She
visited China, worked as private secretary to Lady Marlar, wife of the
Canadian ambassador, Washington. D.C. In 1939 she married David Walker an
officer in the Black Watch. David was a prisoner of War for five years
during the war and she was constantly trying to help him escape by sending
him maps and information hidden in gift packages. She joined the Royal
Canadian Air Force Women’s Division becoming a wing officer. Reunited after
the war the young couple travelled extensively before settling in St
Andrew’s New Brunswick to raise their family of four sons. It was here that
Willa wrote about the town in several books. She was kidded by her family
for having 7 work desks in her home. She also founded, owned and operated a
successful retail business.
Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012. Coteau Books, 2011.
Born New Westminster, British Columbia October 24, 1909. Died February 1,
1998. (née Doherty) Her novel Double Hook, written in 1959, is
considered the point for the beginning of contemporary writing in Canada.
She was awarded for her writings the Lorne Pierce medal from the Royal
Society of Canada.
Katherine (Kit) Brennan Watters.
Born April 9, 1957. During her studies at Queens
University she received awards including the Lorne Green Award. She acted
for several years but prefers writing plays. One of her works, Spring
Planting has received the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Award.
Emily Poynton Weaver
Born Manchester, England 1865. Died March 11, 1943. In 1880
she emigrated with her parents to Canada. She would study and become a well
known author and historian. She published some 11 books in the field of
Canadian history including: A Canadian History For Boys (Toronto, 1905) :
The stories of Counties of Ontario (Toronto, 1913) and Canada and the
British Immigrant (London, 1914)
Margaret Hubner Wetherell
(née Smith) Died 1933. A writer of local history she is best
remembered for her Jubilee History of Thorold Township. (Thorold, ON, 1898).
The original edition had now name of the author but when the work was
re-issued in 1933 Wetherell's name appeared as the author of the work.
Born Calgary, Alberta April 21, 1928. Raised in Calgary and
Winnipeg, Joan, attended the University of Manitoba. She worked in
advertising at Eaton's department store where she had great fun with Radio
programs such as the Santa Claus program. This was her introduction to
writing. While she has written history and biography non-fiction for adults
she has received the most of her joy from writing for teenagers. She married
a doctor in 1955 and stopped work to stay at home with her children but she
still found time to research and write. Along with her books she penned
scripts for TV series such as 'Fifteen' on the Nickelodeon Network. She is
also a teacher providing classes in creative writing at University College
of the Caribou. You may find many of her over 20 books at your library!
Harriet Annie Wilkins
Born England 1829. Died January 7, 1888. She emigrated to
Canada as a child with her family and settled in Hamilton, Canada West
(Ontario). Between 1851 and 1882 she would publish some five books.
Clara Flos Jewell Williams
2, 1889, Dundalk, Ontario. Died January 20, 1970, North Saarnich, British
Columbia. Flos spent her youth attending Jarvis High school in Toronto and
after she attended Normal School (Teachers College) in Toronto to obtain her
teaching certificate. She taught in Bobcageon and the Karatha Lakes
District, and then back to Toronto. On April 23, 1923 she married David
a travelling salesman. In 1923 the young couple had settled in Calgary where
they raised their twin sons. Finding herself alone with her husband on the
road for his job she began writing. In 1925 she submitted a book an won
runner up prize of $2500.00 from Hodder & Stoughton Publishers. She wrote
poetry and short stories along with magazine articles that were published in
various well known Canadian periodicals. In 1949 she won a prize from
Ryerson Press for her book Fold Home which was set in the Caraboo
District of British Columbia. She relocated to the west Coast later in life.
Her house at 5 Rose Ave, in Cabbagetown, an inner neighborhood in Toronto,
is marked with an historic plaque, from the local heritage group.
Cabbagetown People : The social history of a Canadian Inner City
Neighborhood. Online (Accessed March 2014) ; Flos Jewell Williams,
Digital Collections, Library, Simon Fraser University. Online (Accessed
Born Toronto, Ontario. Died December 15, 1938. née MacMurchy.
In 1926 she married Sir John Willison and became Lady Willison. She would
write some five books between 1916 and 1937: The Woman Bless Her
(Toronto, 1916); The Canadian Girl at Work (Toronto. 1919); The
Child's House (London 1923); Golden Treasury of Famous Books
(Toronto, 1929); The Longest Way Round (Toronto, 1937)
Budge Marjorie Wilson née
Born Nova Scotia May 2,1927.Her writings began winning awards with the CBC
Fiction Award in 1981. She has won among some 25 other awards the Atlantic
Writing Competition for fiction, the Canadian Library Association
Award, the Mariana Dempster Award, and the Thomas Randall Award.
Most of her books, more than 30 titles, have been for youth although
she often writes with adults in mind and she does have many adult fans. Her
works have been published in 11 countries and 9 different languages. Perhaps you have read some
of her books? The Leaving (1990), The Courtship (1994), Cordelia
Clark (1994), Fractures (2002) and Friendships (2006) are a few of the titles
she has written. She is also well known for her 5 collections of
short stories. In 2006 she was admitted to the Order of Canada. She
was selected to write the 2008 prequel in celebration of 100 years of Anne
called Before Green Gables. (Information submitted by Alan Wilson)
Ethel Davis Wilson
née Bryant. Born January 20, 1888, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Died
December 22, 1980, Vancouver, British Columbia. After the death of her
parents when she was ten she moved to Canada to live with her grandmother.
She was educated at private schools in Canada and England before returning
to attend the Vancouver Normal School (teacher’s college). After graduating
in 1907 she taught public school until her marriage to Dr. Wallace Wilson in
1927. Ethel began writing in 1937 with her early stories being published in
British magazines. In 1947 she published her first novel, Hetty Dorva.
From 1947-57, she wrote four more novels, best known being Swamp Angel.
Mrs. Golightly and Other Stories, her last published work, appeared
in 1964. She received a special Canada Council medal for contributions to
Canadian literature and the Lorne Pierce Medal from the Royal Society of
Canada. She was inducted into the Order of Canada and in 1970 received the
Canada Medal of Service. British .Columbia's top fiction prize is named for
Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia online : The Vancouver Hall of
Fame Online accessed November 2012. Suggested reading: Ethel Wilson:
Stories, essays and Letters. Edited by D. Stouck (1988)
Born Munich Germany July 14, 1948. She moved with her family
and would grow up in Manhattan (New York City) where she attended the
University of New York. She studied for her Masters in Special Education at
Ferkauf Graduate School and then began working with disabled adults. She
married and settled in Toronto where the couple adopted 2 children.
She started writing books and became hooked on writing before publishers
became hooked on publishing her works. The early refusals only empowered her
energy and her determination. She has published mainly for the your market.
Her works have introduced youth lives of famous people such as Frederick Law
Olmstead, the "man who made parks", Einstein in " what's the matter
with Albert' and Marie Currie in 'Maya's dream'. She enjoys writing about
scientists, she tells fan, but doesn't mean to become one. A prolific
writer, since 1997 she has produced almost 20 books, published in Canada,
the USA and Great Britain.
Born July 31, 1956. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A. As a child
reading was her passion. At 18 she discovered Whitewater Kayaking and from
there other fast athletic enjoyments. Sports, however, never took away her
ambition to be a writer. After attending Beloit College in Wisconsin, she
naturally turned to journalism for her profession. She combined her sport
and her job by working as associate editor of River World, a whitewater
kayaking magazine. She would meet her Canadian husband at a sporting event.
It seemed a natural progression to writing extreme sport novels. She could
often be found writing at the hockey area where he son played hockey! Her
goal is to put several novels a yea for your readers on library shelves.
Check out her web site at
http://takeittotheextreme.com ( accessed March 2007) .
Joanna E. Wood
Born Lanarkshire, Scotland. December 28, 1867. Died 1927. In
the hay day of her writing contemporary magazines hailed this author as the
Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens or the Nathanial Hawthorne of Canada. She
was rated as one of the top three Canadian authors along with Gilbert Parker
and Charles C.D. Roberts. It was with the support of her family that she was
encourage to have her writings published as early as 1890. “A daughter of
Witches was published as a serial, a chapter at a time, in the Canadian
Magazine in 1898. Critics described her characters as “vivid and magnetic.”
It is not really known why the novels stopped in 1902. She did present
lectures in local history but did not present the information in print.
Source: Industry Canada. Http://collections.ic.gc.ca/heirloom_series/volume6/130-131.htm
Johanna E. Wood
Died 1919. She emigrated to Canada with her family when she
was a child. As an author she would publish some 4 books between 1898 and
Born 1899. Died August 1, 1937. née Davies. This author would
pen the book The Celtic Heart (Toronto, 1939) which was published after her
Born London, Canada West (Ontario) 1856. Died March 4, 1906.
She worked as a journalist and married writer Frank Yeigh in 1892. She would
continue writing and produce a novel.
Pamela S. Yule
Born New York State. Died March 6, 1897. née Vining.
After her training and some experience in the U.S.A. in 1860 she was
appointed instructor of English at the Canadian Literary Institute,
Woodstock, Canada West (Ontario). She met and married James Cotton Yule. She
enjoyed writing poetry and published Poems of the Heart …(Toronto, 1881).
She would publish an additional four books including Records of a vanished
life : lectures, addresses etc. of James Cotton Yule (Toronto, 1876) in
memory of her late husband.
Journalists and Broadcasters
Naomi Yanova Adaskin
Granatstein) Born Toronto, Ontario May 6, 1908. Died March 1, 1996. She
studied music with such well know Canadian as Healey Willan and Mona Bates.
She made her debut as a pianist at Massey Hall, Toronto when she was just 12
years old. With her piano playing partner, Etta Cole, the duo toured
successfully toured North America. In 1939 she became a soloist. She taught
at the Toronto Conservatory of Music and wrote articles for various Canadian
publications such as the Star Weekly, Chatelaine and the Globe and Mail
newspaper in Toronto. She was the music critic for the Toronto Daily Star
and edited school music texts for Ginn and Co. publishers. She accomplished
this busy career and still found time to be a mother to two daughters.
Beeton, Ontario 1891. Died December 11, 1971. née Scott. As a youth of 14 she began
teaching. In 1914 she married her childhood sweetheart, Henry M. Aitken and
settled down to farm life. She began a small canning business from her farm
in Beeton, and was soon working at speaking engagements with the federal and
provincial departments of agriculture. She also began writing articles for
farm journals. By World War ll she was Conservation Director for the Federal
Wartime Prices and Trade Board. This was an unpaid position which provided
Canadians with a advice to "Use it up, wear it out, make over, make do". She
soon found a position as women's editor at the Montreal Standard and had a
regular radio program popular across the country. She wrote
9 cook books which were still being reprinted in 2004! In addition she
was author of a half dozen other books including two autobiographical
publications. In 1941 she earned $25,000.00 a year compared to the
average wage for men of $3,000.00 per year. In 1950 she earned
$5,200.00 a week, one of the highest paid women in the
country.. She was taping 600 radio broadcasts a year, making 150
speeches a year while still retaining her position as cooking editor of the
Montreal Standard newspaper. Her staff responded to 5,000 fan letters
a week! During her career she interviewed such world personalities as
Hitler, Mussolini, King George, queen Elizabeth, Franklin Roosevelt and our
Canadian Prime Ministers , King, St Laurent and Pearson.
After retiring from Broadcasting in 1957 she turned her energies to working
for the United Nations, and UNICEF.
Barbara Amiel .
Born Hertfordshire, England December 4, 1940. A writer, journalist, and editor,
Barbara was editor for the Toronto Sun newspaper.
She has won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best face crime book
and was the “Woman of Distinction” in 1989. She is married to Conrad
Black, a noted newspaper entrepreneur.
Source: Canadian Who's Who.
Doris Hilda Anderson
(née Buck). Born Calgary Alberta November 21, 1921 Died Toronto,
Ontario March 2007. In 1940 she graduated from Teachers College. She taught
in the rural schools of Alberta to earn money to put herself through the
B.A. program at the University of Alberta in 1945. She moved to Toronto
hoping to find work as a journalist. She started with menial jobs at the
Toronto Star Weekly and as copywriter for Eaton’s Department Stores. In 1949
she decided that she wanted to write fiction and took off for Europe. She
did however maintain Canadian ties by writing stories for Maclean’s magazine
and Chatelaine Magazine. Returning to Canada in 1951 she worked at
Chatelaine , beginning a 20 year career becoming in 1957 editor in Chief of
the magazine. In 1957 she married David Anderson. The couple would have
three children but the marriage ended in divorce in 1972. In 1974 Doris
became a member of the Order of Canada, an award that was changed to
Companion of the Order in 2002. She ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the
House of Commons and accepted a position with the Canadian Advisory Council
on the Status of Women. Her strong personality would eventually see her
leave this position but not before pressure made sure that the new
Constitution recognized women as equals!. She was the YWCA Woman of
Distinction in 1982 and in 1991 she received the Governor’s General Persons
Award in recognition for her promotion of the equality for girls and women
in Canada. In 1993 she became Chancellor of the University of Prince Edward
Island. In 1998 she was Chair of the Ontario Press Council. In 1984 she
returned to her journalism roots working for the Toronto Star newspaper.
Sources: Canadian Encyclopedia online Accessed July 2011: Doris Hilda
Anderson by Jessica Bedaoui in Biographical Sketches of nine members of
the Canadian Women’s Press Club . Ottawa, Media Club of Ottawa, 2011.
17, 1936 Tesdale, Saskatchewan. Died February 27, 2012 Vancouver, British
Columbia. At 15 she won a writing contest in which she was provided with a
full scholarship at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta. At 16 she won
a National Newspaper Award. She was hooked. Journalism was to be her career.
She worked at the Calgary, Albertan and the Herald, the
Edmonton Journal as well as the Winnipeg Tribune. While at the Tribune she
met Fred Annesley, a fellow reporter. The couple married and had two
children. She worked earning herself a daily column in the Toronto Telegram
and later for McLean’s Magazine In the early 1970’s she ran Information
Services for TVOntario. She retired to Vancouver in 1983 still dappling with
some freelance writing.
Lived by Belle Laderoule and David Cobb, The Globe and Mail, October
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario
Montreal, Quebec 1943. A journalist and human rights advocate for women and
children, Sally graduated with her B.Ed from McGill University. Her writing
and film documentary work have taken her the the centers of world unrest and
mistreatment of women and children in Bosnia, Somalia Rwanda and Afghanistan
to provide her eyewitness reports. She has won the Gold Award from the
National Magazine Awards foundation the Author's Award from the Foundation
for the Advancement of Canadian Letters and the Amnesty International Media
Award in 2000 and again in 2002. She has received the 1996 Women of
Distinction Award from the Toronto YWCA and in 1998 the Order of Canada. She
has been editor of Homemaker Magazine (1988-1999) and is currently editor at
large for Chatelaine Magazine. CBC Television has aired several of her major
film documentaries and she has published a book : Veiled Threat: the
hidden power of the women of Afghanistan (Penguin Books, 2002).
Gladys Marie Marguerite Arnold
Born Macoun, Saskatchewan October 2, 1905. Died Saskatchewan
September 29, 2002. After high school she began teaching but by 1930 she
found herself working as a secretary at the Regina Leader-Post.
Journalism was to be her career. In 1935 she took a grain ship to France and
was on tour in France when World War ii broke out. Her happenstance allowed
her, as the only Canadian journalist on site, to post articles for the
Canadian Press. Between 1936 and 1941 when she was forced to flee Germany,
she became officially named Paris correspondent reporting firs hand on the
European conflict. After she fled Europe she dedicated herself to the plight
of France. She co-founded the Free the French Association in Canada and
traveled throughout North America with her compassionate plea. In 1941,
France asked her to return to report on post war life. Her work in France
garnered her the order of Chevalier de a Légion d’Honeur, the highest
distinction given by the grateful nation of France. In her 80’s her reports
from France became the base for her book: One Woman’s War. Returning
to Canada after the War she was head of the Information Service of the
French Embassy until retirement in 1971. She would become the subject of a
History Television documentary called Eyewitness to War. In 1948 and
1949 she was elected as president of the Canadian Women’s Press Club. With
her adventuresome spirit she never stopped looking for a good story. During
her lifetime she visited and reported from 60 difference countries. She also
established an additional legacy of perpetual scholarships in French
Language and Journalism at the University of Regina.
Sources: Biographical Sketches of Nine members of the Canadian Women’s Press
Club. Media Club of Ottawa, 2011 page 6. ; Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan
online accessed July 2011. ; Gladys Arnold Eulogy October 2002. Online
accessed July 31, 2011.
journalist was the wife of Olivar Joseph Francois Asselin, the founder and
proprietor of the newspaper Le Nationaliste, of Montreal. She was a working
reporter and correspondent for Le Nationaliste. In 1904 she was a member of
a group of women journalists sponsored by the Canadian Pacific Railroad to
travel and cover the St Louis World's Fair. It was during this train trip
that the Canadian Women's Press Club was founded.
29, 1967, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She earned her B.A. at Queens University,
Kingston, Ontario. Her first job was as a reporter in Kenora, Ontario. From
1989 through 1992 she worked on the evening news in Edmonton, Alberta.
While in Calgary she was awarded two IRIS Awards. She moved to work in the
U.S.A. and earned an Emmy as Best News Anchor when she worked in Dallas at
KDFW TV. She also won the Texas Associated Press Award for best series “To
Serve and Survive”. She is remembered for her live reporting for 8 days
straight after 9/11. She married June 29, 2002 to Harold Gould and the
couple have two sons.
Mary Morrison Baker
Born Southern Ireland. She credits her time at boarding school with
teaching her to be independent and also proving her with a high standard of
conduct. She attended the National University of Ireland and then studied in
France. Mary cultivated her writing shills as a teen when articles were
published in the London Daily Express newspaper. She married James Baker of
Sydney, Australia in 1942. The couple lived in various locations while
becoming parents to four children. In 1954 they moved to Canada where Mary
shortly after became a widow. She kept her family together by holding
various jobs including buying and selling antiques. In 1964 and 1967 her
writings won her the Senator Cairine Wilson Citizenship Trophy when she
wrote of her home in Prince Edward Island. She was also editor of the
Women’s Institute News from 1959-1963. In 1980 she had a weekly TV antiques
show in PEI.
Source: Outstanding women of Prince Edward Island Compiled by the Zonta Club
of Charlottetown, 1981.
Born 1914 (?) Died November 1988. She began a successful TV broadcasting
career under the name of Laura Lindsay at CFRN TV in Edmonton. From 1955
though 1968 she had her own show on homemaking. The show was live and
unrehearsed and after the show she washed the dishes and cleaned up the set
by herself! In 1964 she published a book, Laura’s Recipes that sold 30,000
L’isle-Verte, Lower Canada February 26, 1863. Died January 7, 1910. A well
known personality in Montreal society she was a pioneer feminist lecturer
and writer. She is considered the first woman journalist in French Canada.
She joined the staff of the weekly newspaper La Patrie in 1891. Here column
was written for almost then years under the nom de plume of Francoise. She
would go on in her career to found Le Journal d Francoise, published from
1902-1909 . She also would publish books of her short stories. In 1900 she
was one of the Canadian government representatives to the famous Paris
International Exhibition. In 1904 the government of France named her as an
“Officer de l’Acaémie”
She was part of the
group of Canadian women Journalists who were sponsored to go to the St Louis
World's Fair in 1904 and during the trip they established the Canadian
Women's Press Club, with herself being elected at Vic President.
Gertrude Balmer Watt .
(née Hogg) Born Guelph, Ontario. 1879-1963.
Gertrude married Arthur Balmer Watt in 1900. She began her journalism career
with the Woodstock Sentinel-Review where she used the byline “Peggy”. The
young couple moved to Alberta in 1905. Arthur was a newspaper editor who
worked with various Edmonton newspapers including the Edmonton Journal. They
were stanch supporters of women’s rights and her articles on life of western
women were published in various Canadian newspapers including the Globe and
Mail in Toronto. In 1904 she was among a group of lady journalists who were
sponsored by the Canadian Pacific Railway to travel and cover the St Louis
World's Fair. It was during this train trip that the Canadian Women's Press
Club was founded. After the St Louis World’s Fair she would establish the
Edmonton Chapter of the CWPC and along with her continued newspaper columns
would write several books on women and life in the Canadian west.
Carol Gay Bell
Born Regina, Saskatchewan. After high school she earned her B.A. at the
University of Manitoba. She also too additional schooling in Radio and
Television Arts at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute , Toronto, Ontario where
she received the silver medal as outstanding female graduate. She began her
career as a journalist and was the CBC’s 1st female announcer for
radio and television, the 1st Saskatchewan producer of musical
variety on CBC Television, Canada’s 1st female jazz disc jockey,
and a actress in the first live drama on Saskatchewan’s CKCK television. Off
the job she became the first certified baton-twirling judge in western
Canada, and -coordinated the first musical theater program at the
Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts. She is the founder of the
Saskatchewan Roughrider Cheerleaders squad in 1960 and remained as director
though to 1977. As part of Canada’s 1967 Centennial Carol initiated the
Saskatchewan Express, a touring show with Saskatchewan performers. This
program would hatch the Saskatchewan Talent Program in the performing arts.
She and her husband Vern worked full time with the troupe to Celebrate
Saskatchewan’s 75th Anniversary as a province. She has been
recognized for her efforts in 1985 as the YWCA Woman of the Year,
professional category), 1986 she won the Larry Schneider Communications and
Leadership Award a, in 1997 she received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and
in October 2008 she was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada.
Source: City of Regina. History. Online. (Accessed January 2012.) ; Order of
Canada Online (Accessed January 2012)
Born Kingston, Jamaica September 7, 1919. Died July 31, 2006. She
was one of the first Black women broadcasters in the 1940’s. While still as
student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England, she hosted
a radio show called Caribbean Carnival. After she emigrated to Toronto she
used her knowledge of her culture, the stories and songs, sa a basis for her
radio shows which included ‘Laugh with Louise’, ‘Miss Lou’s Views’ and
educated Jamaican immigrant children with her TV show ‘Ring Ding’. She
married Eric ’Chalktalk’ Coverley and they had a son and many ‘adopted’
children. Miss Lou as she was known, had been made a member of the Order of
the British Empire and had received an honorary doctorate from York
University, Toronto and another from the University of the West Indies. She
died the night she was to be presented with the 2006 Jamaica Independence
Award Hall of Fame from the West Indian American Association of New Jersey.
Source: Miss Lou, 86: Bedrock of Canadian culture by Philip Mascoll, The
Toronto Starr, August 1, 2006.
Francis Marion Beynon.
Streetsville, Ontario May 21, 1884. Died October 5, 1951. A journalist,
feminist, and social reformer she was a determined individual who wrote of
votes for women, marriage and family structure. She was a pacifist and
resigned her position at the "Grain Growers Guide", an influential Prairie
magazine, over views on World War I.
Mary Elizabeth Bibb
First Black woman journalist in Canada
National Historic Person
Miles. Born Rhode Island, U.S.A. 1820. Died Brooklin, New York, U.S.A. 1877.
Mary was born a free Black Quaker and was privileged to be educated ,
graduating from Normal School (Teacher’s College) in Lexington,
Massachusetts. She was one of the first Black women teachers in North
America. In 1847 she met her future husband Henry Bibb ( d. 1854) who was an
escaped slave, at an anti-slave rally in New York City. The couple were wed
a year latter and settled in Boston. In 1850 the couple fled to Canada after
the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law which could have caused Henry to be
re-enslaved. Settling in Sandwich, Canada West (now known as Windsor,
Ontario) the couple played a key role in the famous Underground Railroad
that helped escaped slaves settle in Canada. The co-published the newspaper
The Fugitive Voice beginning in 1851. Mary is credited with being the first
Black woman journalist in Canada. Later her sister-in-law Mary Shadd Cary
would become the first Black woman publisher of a newspaper. Mary Bibb also
operated a dress making business and taught both adult Black and their
children in a class in her own home. She fought for Black schooling in the
area for several years. After Henry’s death she carried on until 1871 when
she returned to the USA. She and Henry were declared Persons of National
Historic Significance by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in
Sources: Section15.ca ; Merna Forster 100 more Canadian Heroines;
Famous and Forgotten Faces (Toronto; Dundurn Press, 2011.
Born March 27, 1942. Died Winnipeg, Manitoba March 23, 2009. Arlene lived
in New York City for a short time and had good memories of working on the
political campaign of John F. Kennedy. Returning to Canada, she earned her
degree in economics and political Science at the University of Manitoba. She
joined the staff of the
Winnipeg Free Press
in 1964, working in the women’s section. She left the newspaper when
complaints of inequality of pay with male reporters were ignored. She
travelled in Europe a few months only to return to a job at the newspaper
which met her demands. From 1970 through 1994 she was the well respected
legislative reporter, writing the column Under the Dome. She was
also known as a supporter and mentor for young reporters. She enjoyed being
a participant , even after her retirement, in the “Beer and Skits” political
satire productions at the Winnipeg Press Club. She received the
Queen Elizabeth II
Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
Lived, Globe and Mail July 20, 2009: Memorable Manitobans,
Online (Accessed December 2011)
Leigh Anne Chapple
Died December 10, 2013, Ottawa, Ontario. Leigh Anne began working in news
broadcasting in Pembroke, Ontario. The town is situated in the Ottawa valley
and she was soon noticed by one of the workers at CTV in Ottawa. She began
working as secretary to Max Keeping, a well known broadcaster at CJOH
television, with the understanding that when a job in broadcasting opened up
she would apply. She worked on the television program Regional Contact,
providing stories from the Ottawa Valley that would be on interest to her
Ottawa viewers. Then she became anchor for the late night news on CTV
Ottawa. She worked at this job with true dedication for three decades
becoming a familiar and welcome face to her viewers. She was also known for
being the master of ceremonies, host or a guest auctioneer at local
charities throughout the Valley. She helped the next generation come into
the profession when she taught at Algonquin College. She was honest and
forthright about such things as her struggle with weight but his showed that
broadcasters need not all be slim like a career model. Leigh Anne retired
after 36 years on Ottawa television On May 4, 2012.
Source: Obituary Ottawa Citizen, December 14, 2013.
Suggestion submitted by Leah Monroe, Timmins, Ontario
Born Dorset, England April
25, 1871. Died London, England April 22, 1947. A journalist perhaps in
search of a story, she decided to came to visit her brother’s farm in
Saskatchewan and fell in love with the area. She also felt that she would be
a better farmer than her brother. In 1905 she purchased land in the
Qu’Appelle Valley in Southern Saskatchewan. As a woman she was not eligible
to apply for or receive the free land offered in Western Canada. She sold
her grain in the open market and was a critic of privately controlled
grain-marketing systems. She would go to Ottawa in 1908 and protest for
equality for women farmers. It was not until 1930 when the federal
government handed land control over to the prairie provinces would single
women farmers get their demands. Meanwhile in 1910, Georgina opened her
farm to train other single women wishing to learn farming. She also
continued her writings and left behind a rich detailed account of social
life and daily farm life in the settlement of the Canadian prairies. During
World War l, the British Government appointed Georgina and 6others to train
women to work the land. Her own personal war effort was a children’s book
from which proceeds were used to help wounded solders and their horses. She
began ladies dress making business in London to stabilize her finances while
still managing her Canadian Farm. Her ashes were spread on her lands in
Source: 100 more Canadian Heroines by Merna Forster (Dundurn
Victoria Grace Blackburn
Born Quebec City, Quebec. Died March 4,
1928. She was the daughter of the editor and proprietor of the London Free
Press, in London Ontario. Perhaps it was this family background that
encouraged her to become a writer. She actually started her career as a
teacher in schools in the United States. However she did turn to journalism
using the pseudonym "Fanfan", she became one of Canada's top drama critics
of her era. . She spent some years in New York City reporting back for the
London Free Press. She also enjoyed writing and publishing poetry. After her
death her novel The Manchild (Ottawa, 1930) was published.
Born Scotia, Lake Erie, Ontario November 4, 1872. Died 1934. She contributed articles
to the Toronto Globe newspaper before joining the staff at that newspaper
where she became editor of the homemaker's department. She published
a novel, Out of the depths. Heart songs in 1890 and
later published several volumes of poetry in 1897, 1906 and 1922.
She retired from journalism and writing in 1925.
Mabel Ellen Boultbee
Springer. Born Moodyville, British Columbia April 29, 1875. Died Vancouver,
British Columbia, February 2, 1953. She was the first white child born on
Burrard Inlet. After her marriage dissolved she ran a school with her
sister, Eva in the 1890’s. She next took up journalist, a career she
embraced for 30 years. She wrote for the women’s pages of the Vancouver Sun
newspaper. During the 1930 and 1940’s the apartment of Mabel and Eva was
renowned among the social elite. Source: http://vancouverhistory.ca
whoswho (accessed June 2009)
Marsha Elaine Boulton
1952. She studied at the
Guelph which is
a little ironic.
is known more as an agricultural school than for the arts and she lives on a
sheep farm and is listed in the Canadian Who’s Who as a shepherd and an
author. A successful journalist she combined her love of history and humour
in her works. She won the Leacock Award for humorous writing in 1996. She
has done regular columns in Maclean’s Magazine, and written CBC
productions. She writes anecdotal Canadian history books which began with
Just a Minute: Glimpses of Our Great Canadian Heritage (Toronto
: McArthur & Co., 1994) In 1998 she was the YWCA Woman of Distinction.
Suzanne "Suzy"" Rochon Brunette
10, 1935, St. Adéle, Quebec. Died April 2, 2006. After high school Suzy
attended business college in St. Jerome, Quebec. In 1950 St. Jerome radio
hired her and by 20 she was writing newspaper columns as well as hosting 2
radio shows along with handling Public Relations for the radio stations. She
began taking Public Relations and marketing course at McGill University,
Montreal. She travelled internationally to cover newsworthy event.. She
tried taking modeling classes and moved to New York City to appear in
Television commercials. By the 1960’s she had purchased an old lodge in the
Laurentian Mountains and turned it into an art gallery. She met and married
a radio station owner, Gordon Burnett and the couple settled in St.
Catherines, Ontario. Once their daughter was in school , Suzy became
involved with the production of a French language radio show which she
produced in her own home studio. The Ontario Ministry of Culture picked up
the show for stations across the province. She became the French culture
expert for the CBC production of Morningside. By 1980 she used her avocation
for art to raise awareness of First Nation’s issues with her new company
Kakekalanicks Inc. She served as a Board member for TV Ontario, the
educational public television.
Rochon-Burnett was presented with an eagle feather in recognition of her
efforts to save a totem pole carved by Squamish carver Chief Mathias Joe and
in 2001 she received a Meritorious Service Award in recognition of her
contributions to Native Friendship Centres in Ontario.
In 1995 she
purchased a country music radio station in Welland, Ontario becoming the 1st
Aboriginal person in Canada to own a private commercial radio station. She
has received an Eagle Feather, Canada’s highest First Nations honour, A
Woman of Distinction Award, the Governor’s General Confederacy Medal, the
Order of Ontario. She is the 1st woman inducted into the Canadian
Council for Aboriginal Business Hall of fame.
Great women from our First Nations by Kelly Fournel (Second Story Press,
Ontario. June 2, 1924. A prominent magazine writer in the 1950's. In the
1960's she became an activist for such social causes as homeless youth and
drug addicts. She became an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1986.
26, 1930 Toronto, Ontario . Died November 3, 2011, Toronto, Ontario. She
had no love of formal schooling and dropped out of high school to work at
various jobs. She found her niche when she began reporting for the
Kitchener-Waterloo Record newspaper. In her twenties she met fellow writer
Clayton Derstine. The couple would marry with the birth of their only child
in 1965. In the early 1960’s the couple made the move to Toronto after she
had won the Judy Award for promoting Canadian Fashion. She wrote for the
Globe and Mail and included interesting highlights of what workings behind
the fashion world. Her first national byline appeared in the Globe and Mail
November 14, 1962. In 1981 she was named Woman of the Year by Fashion
Canada. Her work allowed her to jet off to world fashion capitals but her
pay was not large for the results provided. A succinct reporter she came to
the point directly. She did not write after her retirement.
Fashion writer had a healthy perspective…by Susan Ferrier Mackay, Globe
and Mail January 10 2012.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
J. Margot Brown Chester
Birmingham, England January 15, 1916. Died Winnipeg, Manitoba October 30,
2010. As a child she immigrated to Manitoba with her family, and settled in
the Sturgeon Creek area of St. James. On October 24, 1936, she married
Thomas P. Chester.
After the birth of their three children, she began writing professionally in
the mid-1950s. Her career in journalism began as the Charleswood
correspondent for the St. James Leader. By 1965, she was Editor of
the St. James Assiniboia News. She was later Editor-In-Chief of
several weekly community newspapers, including Metro One, The
Lance, The Herald, The Times and Thompson Times. As
a volunteer she was also a founding member of the Charleswood Historical
Society and the Charleswood Sketch Club. She was a member of the St. James
Chamber of Commerce, The St. James Business and Professional Women’s
Association and other local and political organizations. In 1997, she wrote
a book on the history of St. Mary’s Anglican Church in celebration of its
Winnipeg Free Press,
6 November 2010 : Memorable Manitobans Online (Accessed November
She studied for her B.A. at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
and earned her M.A. at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.
She also took additional personal interest courses in California. She worked
as a Director of Communications in the Canadian Government. She worked as a
broadcast journalist for the CBC in Toronto and Calgary. A linguist, she
speaks English, Italian and French. She has traveled and loves international
cuisine. She is married and has two children. In 1988 she earned the Award
of Distinction in Broadcasting for her work with the Calgary winter Olympic
Games. In 2001 she published her book Take the step, the Bridge will be
there (Harper Collins). In 2003 she was the cover story for Women with
Vision magazine. She provides help and guidance through workshops and
retreats around the world. She is the founder and President of Grace Cirocco
Inc. training and coaching company. In 2004 she founded the Goddess Club, a
monthly workshop and therapy group in Oakville, Ontario.
Sources Grace Cirocco.com
Biography (accessed 2007) ; Interview with and inspiring woman by
Penny in Discovering She May 14, 2011. Online (Accessed December
Suggestion submitted by Joan Lowry.
Adrienne Louise Clarkson
Hong Kong, February 10, 1939. A television personality, journalist,
novelist, public servant, and publisher are her main professions. She even
had her own television show “Adrienne Clarkson Presents”. She is an officer
in the Order of Canada
. She is the second woman, and first immigrant to
have been appointed to the position of Governor General of Canada.
Kathleen “Kit” Coleman.
Born Galway, Ireland 1864. Died 1915. After the death of her first husband,
Kit immigrated to Canada in 1884. She turned to journalism to support
herself and her two children after the death of her second husband. Boarding
a boat in Florida she landed in Cuba as the world’s first woman war
correspondent in 1898 during the Spanish American War. She would work with
the Toronto Mail newspaper until she retired. Her full page column not only
discussed fashion but reported in her personal outspoken manner all the top
topics of the day.
She was part of the
group of Canadian women Journalists who were sponsored to go to the St Louis
World's Fair in 1904 and during the trip they established the Canadian
Women's Press Club, with Kit as the first president.
Lenore Talbot Crawford
Born London, Ontario August 11, 1909.
Died May 4, 1983. By 1933 she had earned her BA from the University of
Western Ontario in London. She became a member of the newsroom staff of the
London Free Press. From 1941 through 1974 she was a reporter. She was a
critic of music art and cultural events. She maintained a weekly column and
a digest of French Canadian editorial opinion that appeared in daily and
weekly French language newspapers in both Ontario and Quebec. She was in the
London Bureau of the Windsor Star newspaper and was the first woman reporter
in the Windsor Star newsroom..
Sally Kathleen Creighton
Née Murphy. Born July 20, 1903 Ashcroft, British Columbia. Died September
13, 1982. She earned her BA at the University of British Columbia and in
1924 she received her MA from the University of Toronto. From 1924 through
1945 she lectured in English literature at both the University of British
Columbia and the University of Toronto. She served 9 years on the Senate at
the University of British Columbia. From 1945 through 1968 she was a full
time free lance script writer and broadcaster with the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation (CBC) radio and television.
Source: Canadian Women of Note. Media Club of Canada. (Toronto: York
University, 1994) no. 184 page 202.
Emily Ann McCausland Cummings
née Short Born Port Hope, Canada West (Ontario) May 11, 1851.
Died November 1, 1930. She began her working career as a journalist, working
from 1893 through 1903 on the editorial staff of the Toronto Globe. From
1894 through 1910 she was the corresponding secretary of t the National
Council of Women. In 1910 she received the honorary degree of D.C.L. from
King's College, Windsor and became the first woman to receive an honorary
degree from a Canadian University.
Irene Currie Love
As a school girl, she won a prize in a writing competition
run by the London Advertiser and she became a contributor to the newspaper.
In 1904 she was a member of a group of women journalists sponsored by the
Canadian Pacific Railroad to travel and cover the St Louis World's Fair. It
was during the train trip that she participated in the founding of the
Canadian Women's Press Club. She would marry Elfred Archibald of Montreal
where she joined the staff of the Montreal Star, using Margaret Currie as
September 5, 1959. Her love of sports was evident during her years
as a student at
Secondary School where she participated in basketball provincial
championships for Ontario. While at the University of Oklahoma in the USA
she was twice named “Big 12” basketball player of the year. She was the
highest Canadian ever drafted by the Woman's National Basketball Association
where she played for the Washington Mystics. She retired from the court in
2004. In 2002 she bean working for ESPN as a studio sports analyst and has
expanded her sports coverage since then. In 2004 USA Today named her Rookie
analyst of the year, and in 2004 she has been named “Best new face”.
Sophia Sims Dalton
Died June 14, 1859. Married to Thomas Dalton in 1805 the family attempted to
establish themselves in business in Newfoundland before moving to Kingston,
Upper Canada in 1817. Again, the family attempted several businesses before
establishing a newspaper , The Patriot and Farmers Monitor ,
November 12, 1829. The family decided to move the newspaper to
now Toronto, in 1832 as The Patriot. . It is said that Sophia would
edit her husband’s writings to avoid any legal issues. When Thomas died in
1840, Sophia took over the paper, becoming the first woman publisher of a
Toronto newspaper, a position she maintained until the paper was sold in
1848. Dalton Road in Toronto is named in honour of the family.
nee Marchand Born St John, New Brunswick
1862. Died 1925. Like most early women writers she would use a pen name to
sign her writing. She was known as Josette. A strong feminist she
championed the role of women in Quebec society. In 1892 she founded le
coin de feu which was the first women’s literary review in Canada. She
was also a strong orator and was often called the female Laurier. Prime
Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier. In 1898 she was the first Canadian woman
to be made an officer of the French Academy in France. In 1900 she was the
government appointed Canadian Commissioner to the famous Paris Exhibition.
In 1901 in her work, Two systems of art, she proposed government provide
funding for the arts. This was a full 50 years before the Canada Council of
Born 1905. Died December 19, 1988. She followed her father’s advice and took
up teaching as a respectable profession. It lasted 8 weeks, spent in a one
room school in Four Corners Alberta! Her first marriage to Sid Richardson
lasted 6 months in the fall of 1923. Not succeeding at the acceptable she
followed her desires and landed a job on a newspaper. With no male reporters
available the editor of the Edmonton Journal sent Dempsey off to
collect a story and interview Charlotte Whitton, the newly appointed
Director of the Canadian Welfare Council. Seeing that the new reporter was
very nervous Whitton proceeded to provide the questions and the answers for
the interview. Lotta was on her way to a remarkable career. She moved to the
Edmonton Bulletin and from there to Toronto in 1935 where she landed
a job with Chatelaine Magazine. Her writings were written with
“Gusto’ under several pseudonyms including a more acceptable feature writing
name of Jack Armstrong. In December 1936 she married Architect Richard
Fisher and by 1938 she was a working mother with a new son. In the 40’s she
worked for the War Time Prices Board and in the CBC Newsroom. In 1944 she
was back at Chatelaine. She missed the daily bustle of newspapers and
soon was working for the Globe and Mail moving in 1953 began a
long career as columnist and editor at the Toronto Star. She as known
for her large hats , big purses , smoking cigarettes in a long holder. Her
hardy laughter no doubt helped her survive the discriminating world of male
journalism. She won the Canadian Women’s Press Club Member’s Award in 1948,
1967 and 1976. In 1975 she was named to the News Hall of Fame. She was also
a founder of the Voice of Women for Peace in 1960. Her auto biography No
life for a lady was published in 1976. She retired from the Star in 1981.
Source: Driving Miss Dempsey by Ryan Jennings the Ryerson Review of
Journalism. Spring, 1999. Additional reading: Lotta Dempsey: the Lady was a
star by Carolyn Davis Fisher (Toronto, Belsten Publishers, 1995)
Grace Elizabeth Denison
née Sandys. Died February 1, 1914. A journalist she often
used the pen name "Lady Gay". She was a frequent contributor to publication
in Toronto including the Saturday Night Magazine. She also published
a book entitled A Happy Holiday (Toronto 1890). In 1903 she produced
the New Cook Book published in Toronto. In 1904 she was a member of a
group of women journalists who were sponsored by the Canadian Pacific
Railway to travel and cover the St Louis World's Fair. It was during this
train trip that the Canadian Women's Press Club was founded.
Flora Macdonald Denison
Née Merrill. Born in North Hastings County, Ontario February 20(?) 1867 Died
May 23, 1921, Toronto, Ontario. In order to support her love and desire for
writing she ran a successful dressmaking business in Toronto. She married a
travelling salesman and the couple had one son. The marriage was however
short lived and only strengthened Flora’s belief in divorce and free love.
young woman working as a costumer for the Robert Simpson company in Toronto
she witnessed firsthand the horrible conditions of the city’s sweat shops,
and vowed to do what she could to change the lives of the women who worked
in them. In 1903 she was introduced to the suffragist movement by Dr.
Elizabeth Stowe, the first woman to practice medicine in Canada. In 1906,
Flora attended the Copenhagen Conference as a delegate of the Dominion
Women’s Enfranchisement Association, and in 1911- 1914 she was the president
of the Canadian Suffragist Association. She worked tirelessly with others to
organize “monster rallies” and send dozens of petitions to members of the
legislature to improve the plight of women and get them the vote. She
resigned her position due to her support for the
more militant English suffragettes. Her strong life views were expressed in
her regular column in the Toronto Sunday World, 1909-1913. During WWI
she was a active and strong supporter of the Whitmanite movement which was a
social and spiritual movement based on the works of Walt Whitman. In 1916
she published the Whitmanite magazine entitled The Sunset of Bon
Echo from 1916-1920. Later she became a theosophist and in just
before her deaths she participated in the Theosophist Social Reconstruction
Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia, on line (Accessed March 2006)
Journalist & photographer
Born Truro, Nova Scotia 1881. Died February 16,1958. As a child her
family moved to Halifax where her publisher father provided the town with
its two major newspapers. In 1912 he was appointed to the Senate of Canada.
Clara attended both Mount Allison University, Sackville and Dalhousie
University, Halifax. She finished her studies with courses in stenography
and typing and the Halifax Business College so that she might pursue
appropriate employment for a young woman of her era. After a trip overseas
she had a great desire to tour her home province. She took alone her camera
to provide images of her travels. She would produce three major books of
trips in Nova Scotia that would be published by Ryerson Press. Her home
province travel writings also appeared in newspapers and magazines across
the country informing all of Canada of the beauties of Nova Scotia. In 1939
she composed the provincial chapter on a souvenir booked produced for the
King and Queen’s Royal Tour . She had a keen eye for photography and a
charming writing style that left a descriptive legacy of her beloved home.
Her photographs showed people. Nature. Places and architecture including
lighthouses and even Cabbage houses on Tancook Island. Her promotion of the
province was her passion which was recognized with and honourary doctor of
Literature from Mount Allison University and a life membership in the Nova
Scotia Branch of the Canadian Women’s Press Club. Her legacy of thousand of
images is preserved in the Nova Scotia Archives.
Dennis: tours Nova Scotia - Biographical Sketch. Nova Scotia Archives and
Records Management. http:///www.gov.ns.ca.nsarm/virtual/dennis/biography.asp?Language=English
Suggestion submitted by Cabot Yu, Ottawa, Ontario June 2008.
Rosaleen Diana Leslie Dickson
née Leslie Born
Halifax, Nova Scotia 1921. She obtained her BA at Guilford College, North
Carolina, U.S.A.1941. Her Masters studies would wait until her family has
grown. She received her Masters in Journalism at Carleton University 2003.
As a young woman she and her husband, settled in Pontiac County, Quebec
raising a family of 6 children while publishing and editing the weekly
newspaper The Equity. Retiring from the paper she taught journalism
students at Ryerson University at 75 years of age. She continues to write
feature articles for the Hill Times, the newspaper of Parliament Hill
in Ottawa. She has co-authored, as well as written her own books that have
included: The Leslie-Dickson Family Histories,; HTML: the Basic
book for people who would rather do it than read it and The
Mother-in-law book. In 2004 she wrote a play One Hundred years of
Daring, celebrating the founding of the Canadian Womens’ Press Club. She
took to the internet as a natural extension of communication and enjoys
writing for senior ‘Zines’ as well as developing and maintaining web sites
for such auspicious groups as the National Press Club of Canada. Her
personal web site displays the pride she has of her 18 grandchildren and (so
far) 10 great grand children
Bronwyn Deborah Anne Drainie
Born Toronto, Ontario June 8, 1945. After her master's
studies at the University of Toronto she began her career in broadcasting by
working at various radio stations in Ottawa and Toronto and then in England.
Returning to Canada in 1975 she began working for C.B.C. As host of C.B.C.
Radio "Sunday Morning" broadcast she won an ACTRA Award for Best Host
Interview on Radio in 1980. As a freelance writer she has written for the
Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, Books in Canada, and London Magazine. In 1987
she won National Magazine Award for her work in Toronto Life. She published
a book in 1988 which was awarded the Ann Saddlemyer Book Award.
Born India. She was brought up on a dairy farm in Beausejour,
Manitoba. She attended the University of Winnipeg before entering a career
in broadcasting. When she first started her career she wanted to break the
mould of the idea that most Indians were either extreme intellectuals,
researchers or taxi drivers! She was a very popular host on Much Music's
Electric Circus from 1988 through 1996. When she left the show some 35,000
people came to her farewell on her final episode. By 2002 she was working as
a Vancouver news anchor for CityTV. In July 2003 she stepped down from City
Pulse tonight to spend more time with her husband and children.
Born Montreal, Quebec. August 12, 1949. She studies
industrial design at an architectural school but ended up with a completely
different career path. An author, translator and illustrator she has
translated more than 400 titles and published more than 60 original books,
seven of which she has illustrated herself! She also writes scripts for
plans and recorded a series of broadcasts on legends and music for Radio
Canada. To think that she does all of this with ease in both of Canada's
official languages!!! Her works have be awarded the Governor General's Award
(Victor , 1992) and in 1993 La 42e soeur de Bebert and 1995 La Bergerede
chevaux won the Mr. Christie's Book Award.
Sara Jeanette Duncan
Born Brantford, Canada West (Ontario) 1862. Died July 22,
1922. As a journalist she would use the pen name "Garth Grafton" as women
journalists were not always accepted under their own names. She worked at
the prestigious Washington Post newspaper in the U.S.A. and
returned to Canada to write for the Toronto Globe newspaper .
She would be the author of some 20 books beginning with "A social departure"
(London, 1890). In 1891 she married Charles Coates of the Indian Museum in
Calcutta, India and spent much of her life in this corner of the Empire.
Agnes Mary Fitzgibbon
née Bernard Born Barrie, Canada West 1862. Died July 17,
1933. After her marriage in 1882 she left for England with her husband but
returned in 1894. As a journalist she used the pen name Lally Bernard. She
also wrote the book "Canadian Doukabor Settlements (Toronto, 1899).
Born August 25, 1912. Died November 30, 2003. née Adams. She
was the first female journalist to work at the Canadian Press. She was
women's Editor at the Ottawa Citizen and President of the Canadian Women's
Press Club. Wife of Lt. Col. Kenneth Flexman, they had five children.
née Rosberg Born Niagara Falls, New York U.S.A. September 8, 1937 Died March 26, 1992.. Barbara was a multi media journalist.
She wrote for numerous magazines, she was a host for the CBC Radio program
“As it happens” also a host of CBC TV’s nightly current affairs program “The Journal”.
She was Canada’s most respected and best-known interviewer.
13, 1963, Toronto, Ontario. Linda earned her B.A. from the McGill
University, Montreal, in 1984. Linda is married to Howard Sokolowski and the
couple has three children. She was a contributing editor for Maclean’s
magazine and a columnist with the National Post newspaper. She has written
two books: A guide to Canadian Universities published in 1987 and
updated edition in 1990 and Barbara From: a daughter’s memoir, published
in 1996.. Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Linda to the Senate of
Canada in 2009. Linda is an active member of the Toronto community. She is
vice chair of the board of Upper Canada College. She is also the honourary
chair of Zareinu—a school for physically and developmentally challenged
children. She is an honorary patron of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of
Canada. In 2006, she was chair of the Women’s Division of the United Jewish
Appeal. She is a past board member of the Canada Israel Committee, the Art
Gallery of Ontario Foundation, and the Ontario Arts Council. She is a past
recipient of the Golda Meir Leadership Award from the State of Israel
bonds. And in 2010, Yeshiva University awarded her a Doctor of Humane
Letters, honoris causa. She earned a Gemini Award in 1996 for Best
Social-Political Documentary Program. Source:
Senator Linda Frum Online Accessed February 2012
Beatrice Sifton Nasmyth Furness
Stratford, Ontario. Died October 23, 1977, Vancouver British Columbia. She
graduated from the University of Toronto and became a concert pianist. She
soon changed careers and followed journalism. She was a charter Member of
the Vancouver Women’s Press Club in the early 1900’s and served as president
in 1913. Prior to World War l she travelled across the Canadian Prairies
and campaigned for women’s suffrage. She left for London England in 1914 as
publicity director for the Alberta government and continued promoting
woman’s suffrage. She was the first woman to enter the British House of
Lords press Gallery in London. In 1917 she and her cousin Nell Sifton ran a
successful election campaign for the Alberta legislature for Roberta
MacAdams. She was one of only four Canadian women journalists allowed to
tour behind the Canadian fighting lines in France. She not only interviewed
Canadian service men but she also reported on the work women were doing in
France. She was the only woman journalist accredited to cover the 1919 Peace
Treaty negotiations in Paris, France. She was witness to the signing of the
November 11, 1918 armistice. She married after the war and the couple
returned to Canada and worked at the Montreal Gazette. She continued to
write short stories and articles while raising her family.
née Filion. Born 1946. Brought up on
Canada's west coast she moved to Toronto, Ontario to attend university at
18. By the age of 23 she had married a lion tamer from the circus and had
two children. Her early jobs were somewhat eclectic. She drove cab,
delivered elephants to Ohio and worked as a professional clown. She even ran
as a candidate for the position of mayor of Toronto in 1974. However, once
she had worked her first radio job she knew what her career would be.
Working at C.B.C. Radio she had her own show for 12 years. In 1997 she made
the switch to television talk show. She as won three ACTRA awards for best
host interviewer and in 2003 she earned two Leo Awards for best talk show
host. It is estimated that she has completed some 5000 interviews. She has
written her autobiography, This Won't Hurt a Bit and also composed a cook
book. She also finds time to be a grandma and to be honourary fundraising
Chair for the Parkinson Society.
Dorothy Bruce Garbutt
December 16, 1897 Died
1988. She studied German at the
Manitoba but it was journalism that would become her chosen career. She
wrote fiction and non fiction works for newspapers, national and
international magazines and the C.B.C Radio. She hosted a C.B.C Series Houses I
have Known. She was honoured with numerous Manitoba historical and literary
awards. In World War ll she was an official escort for British evacuee
children who were sent to safer homes in Canada.
Born 1875 (?), London, Ontario. Died May 26, 1984, West Vancouver, British
Columbia. Mae moved to Winnipeg in early 1900s as a CPR public relations
officer for the Canadian Pacific Railway. She was one of the first female
general news reporters in Western Canada, writing for the Albertan,
Edmonton Bulletin and Vancouver News-Herald, before joining
the Vancouver Sun in 1930. In 1962, retired as senior court reporter
covering the British Columbia Supreme Court and county courts. She was also
one of the first women to obtain a mortgage from Central Mortgage and
Housing. She was a champion of women's rights at least two generations
before the rise of the women's movement.
Source: Vancouver Hall of Fame on line accessed December 2012
Amelia Beers Garvin
née Warnock Born Galt, (Cambridge) Ontario
1878. Died September 7, 1956. Although she was married in 1912 she continued
her career as a journalist. She used the name de plume Katherine Hale. Prior
to her marriage she had been literary editor for the Toronto Mail and Empire
newspaper. After her marriage she would concentrate on her poetry and for
the next four decades would pen some 6 volumes of poetry. She also was the
biographer for Isabella Valency Crawford and published the work in Toronto
in 1923. Her second book of prose would be Legends of the St Lawrence
published in 1926.
Alexandrine "Alex" Gibb
Toronto, Ontario. Died December 15, 1958, Toronto, Ontario. She attended the
private girls college, Havergal College, in Toronto. The College was known
for its advance acceptance of girl’s sports in the early 20th
century. She graduated in 1913. During World War l she worked as a secretary
in Toronto. Although she was engaged to marry she never married after her
fiancé was killed during the War. Her participation in sports continued
after her college days. She enjoyed tennis, soft ball gold and track and
field. She was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs Ladies Basketball team
which won Eastern Canadian championships from 1922-1924. She was becoming an
articulated spokesperson for women in sports. During the 1920’s and 1930’s
she was Canada’s most preeminent woman journalist. Working with the Toronto
Daily Star she maintained a daily column entitled “No man’s land sport” for
over 30 years. She began her journalist career in the 1920’s and it was May
1928 that she began her famous column. In 1919 she helped found the Ladies
Ontario Basketball Association and served as president in 1925. In 1922 she
founded the Canadian Ladies Athletic Club and served as the 1st
president. In September 1925 the Women’s Amateur Athletic Union was created
and Alex helped draft the Constitution. By December 7, 1926 the Women’s
Amateur Athletic Foundation of Canada was founded with her encouragement.
She served as President from 1928-1931. In 1928 she was the manager of the
Canadian Women’s Olympic Team that would become known as the “Matchless
Six”, bringing home gold, silver and Bronze medals in Track and field. In
1934 she had become assistant sport editor at the Toronto Star and she was
appointed to be the only woman on the Ontario Athletic Commission. In 1935
she toured Russia and sent home to the Toronto Star articles on life in that
country. Some of her stories were front page copy. She gave up her column
with the star in 1940 when the country was at war. By 1951 she was
accompanying Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinborough in their cross
country Tour. In 1954 she was in the thick of the sports story of the year
when she encouraged Marlyn Bell’s swim across Lake Ontario.
Sources: “Queen of the Ice Lanes: the Preston Rivulettes and Women’s Hockey
in Canada 1931-1940” by Carly Adams in Sport History Review no. 39
pages 1-29 2008; 100 more Canadian Heroines by Merna Forster Dundurn
Born 1896. Died 1984. She began her broadcasting career in 1924 in
London Ontario, at the Radio station for the Free Press. She came first in a
list of 90 applicants for a cooking program on CFRB in Toronto. It is said
of here that she was a born show-person and it did not bother her to wear an
Indian costume to do a live commercial. In the 1940’s she was a main stay on
CHML in Hamilton, Ontario with the daily Jane Gray Show. Later she would
host the show on CHCH TV in Hamilton. Considered one of the first Canadian
women with a career in radio broadcasting, a true pioneer who is listed in
the Canadian Awards in Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
http://broadcasting-history.ca Accessed October 2011. Name submitted
by Jeannine Ouellette, Ottawa
Miriam Green Ellis
Rickville, New York, U.S.A. Died 1964, Saskatchewan. Her parents were
Canadian and the family moved shortly after her birth to Athens, Ontario.
She attended Bishop Strachan School in Toronto and graduated from the
Toronto Conservatory of Music. By 1904 the family lived in Edmonton,
Alberta, and she moved on to work as a reporter in 1912 with the Prince
Albert Post. She married George Edward Ellis, who would become
Inspectors of Schools for Alberta. When George became principal of Prince
Albert Collegiate in Saskatchewan, Miriam became coach for the women’s
hockey team. In 1913 she joined the Canadian Women’s Press Club and remained
a lifelong member. By 1919 she was back in Edmonton and President of the
Edmonton Branch of the CWPC. From 1919 through 1927 she was a reporter for
the Edmonton Bulletin. She dubbed herself “Toad” after the character
in the Wind in the Willows. She drove across the province for stories
and often changed her own sparkplugs in her old second hand car. In 1927 her
writing caught the eye of the Family Herald and Weekly Star where she
worked until 1952. She retired in 1952 but still wrote freelance articles.
While in Edmonton in 1922 she had financed her own journey to Aklavik, North
West Territories on the edge of the Arctic Ocean and travelled with her
typewriter and camera writing some 40 stories about her travels. Her photos
showed the life of peoples of northern Alberta. Her papers and her
photographs were bequeathed to the University of Alberta providing a lasting
read: Miriam Green Ellis: Champion of the West. Edmonton; University
of Alberta Press, 2013.
Montreal, Quebec January 22, 1931. Died April 25, 1993. She began her
working career as a secretary with a supermarket chain. She joined the staff
of the Montreal Star newspaper in 1953 and
thought persistence and hard work she never accepted accepted the "Glass
ceiling" that kept many women in low positions. She rose to be a reporter
and editor at three of Canada's major daily newspapers. Her husband Jack
Rabinovitch established the Giller Prize in 1994. It is Canada's premier
literary prize for literary fiction.
Anne Marie Gleason
Born Rimouski, Quebec October 5, 1875. Died Montreal October 21,
1943. As a teenager she was writing for local newspapers using a multitude
of pen names for her works. After the death of her father, she and her
sister relocated to Ottawa to live with a brother. Here she continued
writing with Le Temps. It was here that she first used the pen name
“Madeleine” when she was writing the women’s column. She had taken over the
job begun by “Francoise” / Robertine Barry. It was during this time that
she became a founding member and treasurer of the Canadian Women’s Press
Club. That same year, 1904 she married Dr. Wilfred A. Huguenin. The couple
would have one daughter. During World War l Anne-Marie gave generously of
her efforts with the French Red Cross society and l’aide a la France. For
her efforts she received the French Medal of Recognition in 1920 and King
Albert of Belgium presented her with a gold medal. In the 1920’s both her
husband and her daughter died and Anne-Marie immersed herself in her work.
After 19 years she left La Patrie and started editing La Revue
Moderne. In 1928 she founded La Vie Canadienne which merged with
La Revue Moderne, the ancestor of Chatelaine. After publishing
several books she decided to compile a history of Canadian women and in 1938
she published Portraits de femmes. A second edition of the popular
work was written for younger readers. Feminism was reflected her many works
She called upon women to better themselves with education, and becoming
interested and involved in Politics. She encouraged women to support their
men and raise boys respectful of equality of the genders.
Sources: Canadian Encyclopedia online Accessed July 2011: Anne-Marie
Gleason (Madeleine) by Amelia Baxter in Biographical Sketches of nine
members of the Canadian Women’s Press Club . Ottawa, Media Club of
Ottawa, 2011. page 11-12
Alison Ruth Gordon
Born New York, U.S.A. January
19, 1943. As a journalist she worked for CBC Radio and the Toronto
Star newspaper. She wrote a book about the Toronto Blue Jays but
found her love to be writing mysteries centered on a sportswriter as a main
character. If you like mysteries, visit your own public library and look up
Margaret “Miggsy” Graham.
Note card is available in the "Store"
Born Upper Musquodoboit,
Nova Scotia. 1870-1924. At 15 she attended the Normal School at Truro,
Nova Scotia. She taught for a few years and was ahead of her times in
advocating voting privileges for women teachers in the provincial teacher’s
association. In 1898 she became interested in mission work in the West
Indies. She was unable to complete her five year term after a riding
accident. She would spend some time in New York City with her journalist
brother and by 1897 she was employed as a journalist herself at the Halifax
Herald. She would move to Ottawa as the paper’s correspondent by 1904. She
was part of the group of Canadian women Journalists who were sponsored to go
to the St Louis World's Fair in 1904 and during the trip they established
the Canadian Women's Press Club. After the 1904 World’s Fair she would marry
and settle in Ottawa where she worked with such efforts as the Home for the
Blind and the Protestant’s Infant Home.
Born Winnipeg, Manitoba 1904 Died June 15, 1967. From the 1920’s she had an
active interest in children’s theatre. In1930 she moved to Vancouver. From
1944 through 1952 she was a prominent radio broadcaster with Morning Visit
on the CBC. In the 1950’s she became involved with the C.B.C school
broadcasts. Active in the Vancouver Ballet Society she served at one point
as President. She was part of the building committee of the University of
British Columbia’s International House and was Public Relations Officer for
the BCAA and Health Centre for Children. She was an active member of the
Vancouver Zonta Club and also a member of the International Zonta Club.
Source: The History
of Metropolitan Vancouver – Hall of Fame
http://www.vancouverhistory.ca (accessed June 2009)
Lucy Christie Harris.
(née Irwin) Born
Newark, New Jersey U.S.A. November 21. 1907. Died 2002. This author soon found her true talent
in writing children's' books. Often her stories are told in a Native
setting, teaching the need and respect for balance of nature.
She has been awarded the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians
book of the year award for "Raven's Cry" in 1966
and "Mouse Woman and the Vanished Princesses"
in 1976. The "Trouble with Princesses" in
1980 won the Canada Council's Children's Literature Prize. In
2002 she was awarded the Mr. Christie's Book Award. There is even
a Canadian juvenile literature book award named after her called the
Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Book Prize. She is a Member
of the Order of Canada.
Susie Frances Harrison
née Riley. Born Toronto 1859. Died May 8,1935. As an
journalist and author she frequently used the pen name Seranus. She
published several novels but is perhaps best remembered for her poetry. She
was a master of the difficult poetic form known as villanelle. She published
in her lifetime some 6 books of poetry. She also published the Canadian
Birthday Book (Toronto, 1887).
Kate Simpson Hayes.
Born Dalhousie, New Brunswick, 1856. Died 1945. Like many young women of
her generation she attended Normal School (Teachers college) in Fredericton
and taught at various schools throughout the Maritimes until she married C.
Bowman Simpson in 1882. Married women could not work as teachers. The couple
had two children. Kate left her husband and moved to the prairies in 1885
living first in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan before settling in Regina. Here
she opened a millinery shop and became organist at the Catholic Church.
Within a month of her arrival in the city she founded the Literary and
Musical Society and began to write plays and prose using the pseudonym of
“Mary Markwell”. While in Regina she had a torrid affair with one Nicholas
Flood Davin. He hired her to write for the Regina Leader as its first
female reporter and he put her name forward for the position for legislative
librarian, a post she maintained for 8 years. Kate was separated but still
married and refused to marry Davin even with the birth of their two Children
in 1889 and 1892. The Children were placed in living conditions outside
their home. Davin married another and attempted to locate his two children
to live with him. Kate moved to Winnipeg in 1899 where she was the editor of
the women’s page of the Manitoba Free Press. She was part of the
group of Canadian women Journalists who were sponsored by the Canadian
Pacific Railway to go to the St Louis World's Fair in 1904. During the trip
they established the Canadian Women's Press Club. She would be elected in
1906 as the second president of the C W P C. In 1907 she was sent overseas
as a publicity writer for the CPR and served as an immigration commissioner.
She would publish several books one of which Prairie Pot Pourri is
considered the first book written and published in the Northwest
Territories. * Some resources list her first name as Catherine or Kathleen.
Sources: Canadian Who’s Who 1910 : City of Regina. Heritage. Online
(Accessed January 2011)
Sophia Margaretta Hensley.
Born Bridgetown, Nova Scotia May 31, 1866.Died February 10, 1946. This
author and lecturer wrote of her interest in women’s issues and social
tolerance. She wrote periodical articles and 10 books under her own name
but also under the pen name of Gordon Hart, J. Try Davies, and Almon
Ella Cora Hind.
Note Card Available in the "Store"
Born Toronto, Ontario
September 18, 1861. Died
October 6, 1942. A journalist and
women’s rights activist she was the 1st western woman journalist.
Originally denied a job with the Winnipeg Free Press she would shortly
become a respected agricultural editor for this same publication.
She was president of the Canadian Women’s Press Club in 1904. At the age
of 75 she traveled around the world to observe and write about agricultural methods.
Born Prince Edward Island. Died April 27,
1925. After completing her education in her home province she joined the
staff of the Montreal Star in 1903. In 1904 she was a member of a
group of Canadian women journalists who were sponsored by the Canadian
Pacific Railway to travel and cover the St Louis World's Fair. It was during
this trip that she participated in the founding of the Canadian Women's
Press Club. By 1906 she had moved west and was working with the Edmonton
Bulletin. In 1908 she was appointed Provincial Archivist of Alberta. As
well as having been a journalist she authored two biographies. Archbishop
O’Brien: man and churchman (Ottawa, 1906) and Father Lacombe: the
Black Robe voyageur (Toronto, 1911)
Joan "Joane" Elizabeth Humphry
24, 1936, Vancouver British Columbia. Died September 23, 2008 White Rock,
British Columbia. While in high school she enjoyed working on the school
newspaper and being in the Drama group. She choose the professional name of
J.J. McColl and began her radio career as Vancouver’s first woman D.J.
hosting her own show on CJOR and later on CBC Radio. She worked with James
Cavell the author and with James Beard as his CTV show in the 1960’s. She
also created radio documentaries and authored an award winning 10 part drama
called Mothering in the 1990’s. After a visit to Ireland she wrote a musical
about a group of 50-something women at a high school reunion but the show
never took off. In 2001 she dappled in drama again by acting in small roles
such as being the real estate agent in Sean Penn’s The Pledge in 2001. At 65
years of age on June 22, 2002 she married Frank Howard.
Broadcaster and writer… by Moira Dann, The Globe and Mail,
October 20, 2008; Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar 2012.
Born 1916. Died October 20, 1972.
Educated in France and in Montreal she would be described as a talented,
brilliant determined and energetic pioneer of TV broadcasting. As a youth
she joined a theatre group in Montreal and her talents took her to work in
radio drama presentations where she gained acclaim. But her true love would
become TV journalism. When medium of TV came along she would use her
theatrical background to ultimate advantage in her presentation as an
interviewer. providing good body language to compel attention. She and
colleague Rene Levesque were credited with developing Quebec street
journalism, taking reporting out of the newsroom to where the story action
actually unfolded. She was a true pioneer who worked around the world on
site to provide viewers with a the full report.
Born September 6 1957 Port au Prince,
Haiti. She emigrated with her family in 1968 to live in Canada’s Province
of Quebec. After she completed her Masters of Arts at the University of
Montreal she took up teaching. She also worked for the betterment in the
lives of women and children in crisis by contributing to the establishment
of safe shelters. Taking some time off work, she studied language arts in
Italy. She is fluent in five languages, French, English, Spanish, Italian
and Creole. Returning to Canada she began an energetic broadcast journalism
career with Radio-Canada and earned the right to have her won show. Her
journalistic efforts were put to use to create an awareness in human rights.
Her efforts gained her awards and recognition from the Human Rights League
of Canada, Amnesty International , Canada and awards such as the Prix
Mirelle-Lanctot, the Galaxi Award and being made a Citizen of Hounour by
Montreal. She is married and has a daughter, Marie Eden. She was invested as
Canada’s 27th and first Afro-Caribbean Governor General in
Born Eagle, Alaska, U.S.A. December 8, 1921. Died Old Crow, Yukon January
31, 2010. She was a member of the Vuntut Gwitchin Tribe, “People of the
Lakes. Along with regular schooling, Edith learned the traditional sills of
her peoples related to hunting and living from the land. The family moved to
the Yukon Territory upon the death of an Uncle. HeIn the Yukon she would
raise tow of her three children and care for her aging parents. In 1957 she
was appointed Justice of the Peace in her community of Old Crow. In 1962
Edith became a correspondent at the Whitehorse Star newspaper it was not
long before her column “Here are the News” became popular and syndicated!
She wrote of the everything and anything of interest to Old Crow and her
readers were charmed with the description of everyday life in the Yukon
bush. Her article went our each week on the local supply air route. Grammar,
spelling and sentence structure with of little import to Edith. She wrote as
she spoke. The writing style endeared her to her rapidly growing fan base
which eventually reached across the globe, and was translated into several
languages. Her work also became the base of several books. Her life was
opened to CBC TV viewers, readers of magazines such as Weekenend Magazine
and Life. With all her success she remained humble and genuine. She
received many honours such as the Canadian Centennial Medal of 1967, the
Order of Canada in 1995 and the Aboriginal Achievement Award. She wrote her
last column in 2005 but continued as an active elder in Old Crow.
Elizabeth "Betty" Kennedy
Born Ottawa, Ontario 1926. As a teenager
she worked at the Ottawa Citizen newspaper but in the 1940's she switched to
radio. She began working for CFRA radio station in Toronto in 1959 where she
worked for 27 years during which time she became one of the most popular
radio personalities in Toronto. She hosted her own she and was a
panelist on the CBC Television program Front Page Challenge which ran from
1962-1995. She also has an extremely long list of credits of business
appointments such as being a Director of Simpson's Ltd 1974-1979, Bank of
Montreal, since 1975, Northern Telecom ltd, 1987, member of metro Toronto
Hospital Planning Council 1965-70. She was the first woman chair person for
the Advisory Committee for the University of Western Ontario (School of
Journalism). She is also the mother of four children. She was awarded the
Order of Canada in 1982 and became a member of the News Hall of Fame and the
Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1983. June 20, 2000 she was appointed to the
Senate of Canada.
Disraeli, Quebec January 3, 1912. Her early studies in Music and foreign
languages were useful to the journalist who first newspaper post saw her
responsible for music criticism and women’s issues. She would be the first
Canadian woman to become an editorial writer in 1965 which was marked with
her being named “journalist of the year” In November 1971 she was appointed
to the Senate of Canada where she would be the first French Canadian Woman
to hold the position of Speaker of the Senate.
Lily Janet Laverock
Born 1880 (?),Edinburgh, Scotland. Died December 2, 1969, Duncan, British
Columbia, She was the 1st woman to graduate in moral philosophy from McGill
University, Montreal. She became the1st woman reporter in Vancouver with
the World and Two years later, she was assigned women's editor of
News-Advertiser. In 1909, founded Vancouver branch of Canadian Women's
Press Club. An avid arts supporter, she promoted her 1st Celebrity Concert
in 1921, bringing world-famed performers to Vancouver packing the Denman
Arena auditorium with acts like the Ballet Ruses de Monte Carlo and Belgian
Royal Symphonic Band.
Source: The Vancouver Hall of Fame online (Accessed November 2012)
Jessie Kerr Lawson
Born Fifeshire, Scotland 1838. Died July 30, 1917. As a
journalist she would first use the pen name Hugh Airlie for her regular
column in the publication The Grip. In 1988 she would publish a book of
these articles called the Epistles O' Hugh Airlie (Toronto, 1888).
later she would use and Irish pen name, and continue her popular writing.
She also published more books including Dr. Bruno's Wife (Toronto ,
1893) and while she lived in Scotland, the Harvest of Moloch (
London, 1908). The family, including ten children, returned to again live in
Canada in 1911. She turned her talents to poetry and published Lays
and Lyrics (Toronto, 1913)
Marjorie "Marge" Anthony Linden
10, 1935, Mill Village, Nova Scotia. Died April 1, 2013, Malibu, California.
Her mother died when she was three but thanks to siblings she enjoyed an
active childhood. She loved to sing and she sang and danced at 13 on radio.
She began her career as a script assistant , communicator and singer for CBC
TV in Halifax. At 24 she relocated to Montreal singing and recording her
own album. She soon joined radio as a commercial writer and then on to
working for Television. She was the 1st female all night disc
jockey on Montreal radio and the 1st woman to appear in regular
programming on CFCF-TV. She worked for NBC in Houston , Texas before ending
up in Hollywood managing the famous comedians the Smothers’ Brothers. She
was at CBS New York prior to moving back to Canada in 1978. In the 1980’s
she was v-p of network relations at CTV but her office door read “Vice
Princess”. She was the 1st woman v-p in Canadian television. In
1984 she married for the third time to Judge Allen Linden and became a
loving step mom to three daughters. She was the 1st female President of the
Broadcasting Executive Society and in 1997 she was inducted into the
Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. She had a gift with
people and it was said that she charmed all whom she met including the Pop
and Queen Elizabeth 11. She retired in 1990 1st to Ottawa and
shortly after to Malibu , California.
pioneer charmed all she met…” by Susan Ferrier MacKay and Allison Lawlor.
The Globe and Mail May 4, 2013.
Born Vancouver, British Columbia 1943. Anne trained as a home economist
earning her degree at the University of British Columbia. In 1966 she
married Bob Lindsay and the couple would have 3 children. In the 1970’s she
was a home Economist for the Toronto Daily Star newspaper. In 1979
she started writing for Canadian Living magazine. In 1984 she wrote a
cook book for the Canadian Cancer Society and produced 5 additional cook
books with and for charitable organizations. In 1992 she became nutrition
editor for Canadian Living. Her work for magazines and her books provide
accurate good nutrition by employing fun and a practical approach to healthy
eating and living. In July 2003 she became a Member of the Order of Canada.
Sources: Order of Canada online Accessed July 2011.
Born Winnipeg, Manitoba
October 12, 1909. Died
December 29, 1996.
A journalist and literary critic, she is also known for her short stories
of fiction and her poetry. In 1944
she won the Governor General’s Award for her work Day and Night and again
in 1947 for Poems of the People.
She was an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Born Twin of
Robert) April 16, 1925 Indian Head, Saskatchewan. Died February 26, 2012.
While still in high school she became a correspondent for the Prince
Albert Daily Herald. She continued her education and earned an Masters
degree at the University of Saskatchewan in 1949. Taking a staff position at
Chatelaine Magazine she moved to Toronto. By 1960 she was a reporter
for the Toronto Star and was living in London, England as the Star’s 1st
woman bureau chief. In 1964, back in Toronto she married Peter Reilly, a
journalist. The couple moved to New York City, U.S.A. in 1967 when Mr.
Reilly was the United Nation’s correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation (CBC). While in New York City Jeannine wrote articles for the
Toronto Star Weekly . In 1969 she moved to television journalism producing
documentaries. In 1979 she turned her talents to drams producing her own
scripts for TV. In 1987 she won an ACTRA Award for Chautauque Girl as
the best program of the year. She retired in 1990 using her time to
volunteer for causes such as saving Ramsden Park in Toronto.
trailblazing Woman Journalist” by Susan Ferrier Mackay, The Globe and
Mail, March 12, 2013.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Doris Clark Ludwig
October 25, 1909.
Died October 6, 2005. She attended
University in Montreal in 1930 and then a Masters in Social Work from the
University of Toronto. She began her career in
in city planning. It was here that she began to build a reputation as a
writer. She made the novel suggestion of having a professional report on
social work Her feature column, “Successful Living” was published in some
25 daily newspapers and more than 100 weeklies across North America
1960-1988. A true pioneer, she bequeathed to those who followed in
journalism an ideal of professionalism and independence. She settled down
and married at 82 and enjoyed travelling with her husband until she became a
widow at 92. (Submitted by Connie Johnson)
Born Toronto, Ontario January 27, 1935. Died April 27, 2005.
She stared work as a secretary to Maclean's Magazine but continued her
education. After receiving her B.A. in English form the University of
Toronto she continued at Maclean's, as a writer. As a pioneer in journalism
she would be monumental is dispelling the idea that women could write only
'fluff''. She moved to Ottawa, for a while and took an interest in politics
that would become a lifetime pursuit. While in Ottawa she covered political
writings for both Chatelaine and Saturday Night Magazines. Back in Toronto
with her family of three daughters she honed her writing skills and began
more in depth projects of writing publications such as the history of the
Liberal Party of Canada and a two volume biography of Prime Minister Pierre
Fredelle Bruser Maynard
Born 1922 Foam Lake, Saskatchewan. Died October 3, 1989, Toronto, Ontario.
When she was 9 years old her family moved into Winnipeg. After high school
she became an award winning university student. She earned her B.A. at the
University of Manitoba and then went on to the University of Toronto for her
masters’ degree. She then went to Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. where she
earned her PhD at Radcliff (Harvard University). She married Max Maynard in
1948 and moved to Vermont were her husband was a professor at the University
of Vermont. The couple had two daughters. While she originally did not work
at the university she began a successful career in journalism writing books
and articles on child care. In the 1960’s and 1979’s she became a
ghostwriter for Good Housekeeping Magazine writing columns including the Dr.
Joyce Brother’s advice column. By 1952 she was hired as a lecturer at the
University of New Hampshire in Continuing Education. She also taught a high
school where she enjoyed nurturing young minds. In 1961-62 she lectured at
the University. In 1972 she wrote an autobiographical volume called
Raisins and Almonds. This was followed by the book, The Tree of Life.
It was at this time her marriage folded. Shortly after she met Toronto
Businessman Sydney Bacon who would become her best friend and partner.
Relocating to Toronto a Fredelle continued her success as a journalist,
writing, lecturing and working on radio and television. In 1989 after being
diagnosed with cancer, she died shortly after she and Sydney were married.
An historic plaque has been erected by her house in Cabbagetown, an inner
city neighborhood of Toronto.
Sources: Cabbagetown People : The social History of a Canadian Inner City
Neighborhood. Online (Accessed March 2014) ; Fredelle Bruser Maynard,
Library, University of Manitoba, (Accessed March 2014)
Born Toronto, Ontario 1895. Died March 25,
1964. She studied at the University of Toronto (B.A. 1917) and at Oxford
University in London, England (B. Litt 1927). She returned to Canada and was
a reporter for the Montreal Gazette and by 1937 she had married Colin
Sabiston and had been appointed as Art Critic for the Toronto Globe and Mail
newspaper. She wrote Leo Smith: a biographical Sketch (1937) and colaborated
in an number of other books.
Born Québec March 29, 1870 Died Montréal, Québec May 2, 1928. A
granddaughter of known historian François Xavier Garneau there was no doubt
of her literary birthright. As a child she was educated by religious sisters
and is thought to have studied literature in Paris, France. July6, 1892 she
married Donat Brodeur ( d. 1920) in Ottawa, Ontario. The couple settled in
Montreal where they had a family of 3 sons and 5 daughters. She wrote
articles , newspaper columns, poetry, short stories and novellas but it was
not until after her death that her daughter, Marguerite, collected several
pieces of her work and published a book, Figures et paysages
Dictionary of Canadian Biography Vol. XV online accessed August 2011.
Born April 22, 1962. She is a television news
journalist who was inspired by her uncle, also a journalist, who ran an
underground newspaper in her native South Africa. She is a graduate of
Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto. Before becoming the host of the
CBC Evening News in Toronto, she worked at TV stations in Hamilton, Windsor,
and Ottawa She has received 2 Gemini Award nominations for her work.
Emilie Musgrave Boswell
November 14, 1886, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died May 18, 1955,Winnipeg,
Manitoba. In 1915 she started reporting for the women’s page of the
Winnipeg Tribune, remaining there until 1945 when she became head
librarian for the newspaper. She retired in 1948. She was a President of the
Winnipeg Women’s Press Club.
Manitobans. Profile by Gordon Goldsborough. Online (Accessed December
Georgina Alexandrina Newhall
(née Fraser) Born Galt, Canada West (Ontario) September 1859.
Died November 11, 1932. She started her career as a journalist in Toronto
where she was the first editor of the Women's Page of the Toronto News. In
1844 she married Eugene Pierre Newhall. She enjoyed writing poetry in
published Selections from Scottish Canadian Poets ( Toronto, 1900).
Joanne Strong Philpott
(née Stoddart). Born Toronto, Ontario October 5, 1930. Died Toronto,
Ontario August 2, 2011. She had started her interest in journalism with
working on her high school newspaper. After attending the University of
Toronto she became a cub reporter for the Globe and Mail. She noticed
that there was nothing in the paper for young mother and put forth the idea
of a column. The Morning Coffee Club ran for 10 years and won the Canadian
Women’s Press Award! This was the 60’s when young mothers were expected to
stay home. Joanne Strong was mother to three children who were often
featured in her column. She did decide to stay at home returning to her
writing only when the last child was out of high school. She wrote informal
columns for the Globe and Mail where she interviewed prominent
Canadians such as Roberta Bondar, and returned to school to earn her
Master’s Degree. She was appointed to the Governing Council of the
University or Toronto. In the 1980’s she married a second time another
writer and the couple enjoyed travelling the world.
Lived. Globe and Mail. September 2011. Nominated for this site by
Halifax, Nova Scotia. Died June 1, 2013, Halifax, Nov Scotia. She graduated
high school at 16 and entered university. Here she was introduced to drugs
and by 19 she was married to Roderick MacEachern. Mother to a son and
sported a drug addiction. She was able to turn her life around and in 1974
began working as a reporter at the Halifax Chronical Herald. She excelled as
a journalist and became the 1st woman to work as managing editor of the
newspaper. During this time she also served on the boards for the Canadian
Press and the National Newspaper awards. In 1999 she was up front about her
addiction and ran successfully becoming a Member of the Legislative Assembly
until 2003. She held cabinet positions in education and health as well as
for the Status of Women. After being defeated in the 2003 election she
returned to newspapers working as editor of the Halifax Daily News. She also
served as chief of staff for premier Hamm and was an analyst for CBC who was
known for being out front and frank.
heroin addict to Cabinet Minister” by Allison Lawlor in the Globe and
Mail June 25, 2013
24, 1910, England. Died January 3, 2013, Edmonton, Alberta. Privately
educated she decided against any of the accepted career choices and took off
to be a reporter. She worked during her career for the British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC) the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Reuters and
the Canadian Television (CTV) She worked with Reuters from 1935 through 1944
interviewing such notables as Emperor Haile Selasie. During the war she was
a member of the U.S. Air Force. From 1948-1954 she owned a PR organization
serving such notables as the actress Deborah Kerr. She immigrated to
Edmonton Alberta when she was 44 where she owned and operated an accessories
and hat shop while she continued to serve as a reporter, playwright and a
theatre reviewer and taught Radio and TV Arts at the University of Alberta!
In the 1960’s she hitch hiked to the Distance Early Warning Line (DEW LINE)
that was set up as defense for the north during the cold war, to interview
Canadian troops. She was a proud member of the Canadian Woman’s Press Club.
Source: Joy Roberts-White 1910-2013, The Ottawa Citizen January 26,
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario
Born 1897, Toronto, Ontario. Died 1989, Toronto, Ontario. Evan as a child
she exhibited a powerful desire for leaning and retention of knowledge. In
1921 she earned her BA in Mathematics and physics from the University of
Toronto. In 1924 she married Meyer Rotenberg (1894-1958) a lawyer and
businessman. The couple would have 5 children. By 1926 she had completed her
doctorate and was the 1st woman and 1st
Jew to earn a PhD in Physics at the University of Toronto. Her thesis
“on the characteristics X-rays from light elements” was actually published
in 1924. In 1929 she founded the Hillcrest Progressive School the 1st
Jewish Day School in Toronto. She served as a director through to 1944.
Mattie also enjoyed being a journalist, in 1930 she worked for the Jewish
Standard writing a women’s column. From 1939 through 1966 she was a
regular commentator on the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (C.B.C.) Trans
Canada Matinee, which was dedicated to women’s issues. In 1945 her work
was recognized by the Canadian Women’s Press Club (CWPC) with the
presentation of the Memorial Award. In 1947 she covered the session at the
United Nations and the Status of Women for the C.B.C. By 1941 she had
returned to the University of Toronto where until 1968 she was a
demonstrator at the University physics laboratory. She was always a strong
family oriented person who made sure the younger generations knew of their
Mattie Levi Rotenberg by Nessa Rapoport. We Remember, Jewish Women’s
Archives. Online Accessed December 2012.
Born Change Islands, Newfoundland 1912. Died 1986. She
originally studied to be a teacher and taught in St John's for a couple of
years. She resigned and was married in 1935. For the next ten years she
moved to various rural communities with her magistrate husband. In 1945 she
became the first woman's editor of the Evening Telegram in St John's. She
contributed columns, editorials and fictional works all from a woman's
perspective. She supported local women in political, business, volunteer and
domestic roles and stressed activities of the local women's community. She
had a dispute with the political views and resigned. She cared for her five
children and interested herself in astronomy, music and working with the
Girl Guides. She was awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 1977 for her work
with the Girl Guides.
Annette Saint-Amant Frémont
(Baptized Marie Jeanne Annie Saint-Amant) Born July 1, 1892 L’Avenir,
Quebec. Died August 4, 1928, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She was educated by the
sisters of L’Assomption and L’Ecole Norman (Teacher’s College) Laval
graduating with diplomas in both English and French. She was diagnosed with
tuberculosis and spent 2y years at a sanatorium in New York State, U.S.A.
During this time she occasionally sent articles to newspapers in Montreal.
IN 1914, Back in Canada she and her sister, Marie moved to Gravelbourg
Saskatchewan to teach. In 1918 the editor of the first French language
newspaper in the province, La Patriote de l”Ouest, sought Annette
out to become the editor of the women’s page. Annette moved to Prince Albert
Saskatchewan and became the 1st francophone woman journalist in
Saskatchewan. Her writings reached rural women throughout the province and
her works included poems, stories along with helpful hints. Soon she created
a second column, Le Coin des Enfants which encouraged children to write. On
December 26, 1918 she married Donatien Frémont ( -1967) the assistant
editor of the paper. The couple had one child. In 1923 the family moved to
St. Boniface, Manitoba where Donatien was Chief Editor for La Liberté
Annette soon became editor for the women’s section. After her death,
Donatien produced a collection of her writings, L’ Art d’être heureuse.
Herstory, the Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006 Coteau Books, 2005;
Dictionary of Canadian Biography online Accessed April 2013.
(née Dessaulles) Born St Hyacinthe, Canada East (Quebec)
February 6, 1860. Died November 17, 1946. As a journalist she used the pen -
name "Fadette" and wrote for Le Canada and Le Devoir
newspapers. Between 1918 and 1933 she also published 3 books, one of which
Lettres de Fadette (Montreal 1918) was a collection of many of her
Born March 6,
1930, Montreal, Quebec. Died May 7, 2013, Toronto, Ontario. She was raised
in the Black neighbourhood called Little Burgundy in Montreal,
Quebec. Her mother often took family to museums and as many musicals
outings as they could afford. Mariruth attended Sir George Williams College
and McGill University as well as studying journalism at Columbia University
in New York City. She worked on Montreal’s TV news show, The hourglass and
moved to the CBC as a researcher and on-air host. She worked at Expo 67 for
Canada’s Centennial year and then she was posted to the United Nations in
New York City. She continued her education earning a master’s degree from
the University of Ghana in education. By the 1980’s she was serving as a
governor at the CBC. She was awarded the Order of Quebec for her work. Both
her daughter and her son died before she did, one from an accident and the
other from breast cancer. She became active in MATCH the international
women’s development and taught prisoners how to read. She also was an active
member of the Canadian Women’s Press Club/Media Club of Canada. In 1975 her
1st marriage to Cullen Hodge disintegrated and she remarried to
Dominick Sarsfield, a director with the Canadian International Development
Agency. The couple lived in Nairobi and she worked for the Department of
External Affairs. In 1997 she penned an autobiographical novel No crystal
star which was republished by Women’s Press in 2005.
Source: Mariruth Sarsfield from Little Burgundy to Expo 67 by Elizabeth
Renzetti, Globe and Mail June 12, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June
Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Mary Shadd Cary.
Born Wilmington, Delaware U.S.A. October 9,
1823. Born a free black, Mary Shadd Cary worked with black refugees in
Windsor one of the Canadian ends of the famous "Underground Railway" for
escaped slaves. In 1883 she became the first black woman in North America
who was an editor of a newspaper when she established the "Provincial
Freeman" a weekly paper designed to cover the lives of Canadian blacks and
promote the cause of black refugees to Canada. A biography may be found at:
Born June 17.
This Canadian journalist and short story writer has had her works published
in Saturday Night magazine, Toronto Life magazine and the
Globe and Mail and Ottawa Citizen newspapers. She has had a
career as a radio producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and as
a town planner. She first had dreams about visiting Japan when she was 14.
It took thirty years before her dream would come true. She has written about
her experience in Japan Diaries : A travel memoir (McAuthur & Co.
Born Omemee, Ontario 1923. Died May 23, 2008.Born Omemee, Ontario
1923. Died May 23, 2008. Raised on a dairy farm her heart turned to music as
a youth. She went on to study history at the University of Toronto and began
her working career on an Oshawa newspaper. She joined the Ottawa Journal in
1948 when she was one of the few women on staff. Jean said she learned to
smoke and wore pants and was soon putting her legs up on the desk the way
the men did! She wrote about the Ottawa arts and music scene for the Journal
until it closed in 1988. She continued writing for other publications
including the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.
Up until her
death she was a member of the Media Club of Ottawa, formerly the Canadian
Womens Press club.
For some 50 years
shared her music as assistant organist at the Christ Church Cathedral in
Ottawa. The Journal was a morning paper and no doubt Jean worked late into
the night as a reporter. Music often wafted from the Cathedral after
midnight as Jean played. She was active in the Royal Canadian College
Organists and a board member of the Ottawa Kiwanis Music Festival which
offers a scholarship in her name. She wrote of
their musical talents and encouraged such hopefuls as Angela Hewitt. Along
with writing and music, Jean had a passion for tennis, a game she played
until she was 79 years old!
Source Obituary- Jean Southworth: Writer was tireless supporter of
Ottawa’s music community by Steven Mazey Ottawa Citizen Saturday June 7,
Born 1940. Rosemary enjoyed being out doors when she was growing up
and was a junior member of the Toronto Field Naturalists. A historian with a
PhD from the University of Toronto, Rosemary has been a professional
journalist as Ottawa Bureau Chief and Political columnist for the Toronto
Star newspaper. In the 1980’s she worked with the Committee of 94 which
wanted to have women working in the House of Commons. The goal was to have
94 women, or at that time ½ of the membership of the House of Commons. This
group fell short of it’s goal but Rosemary stayed true to the idea of move
women in politics. She is founder and chair of Equal Voice/A voix égales,
an influential national advocacy for groups for the election of more women
to every level of government in Canada. She also founded the Women’s
Political ConneXion linking women’s groups and individuals in support of
electing more women. She has earned the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award and
October 2004 she was presented with the Governor’s General Award
commemorating the Persons Case. Her interest in politics has also led her to
write a book: Out of the Blue: A history of Ontario Politics.
Maintaining her love of nature she has also been President of the Board of
Directors of Ontario Nature, one of Canada’s largest environmental
Accessed July 2011
Ellen Elizabeth Spragge
née Cameron Born Toronto, Canada West
(Ontario) 1854. Died May 2, 1932. She married Arthur Spragge and contrary to
many women of her era she continued her career as a writer. While she
enjoyed being a known artist with her water colours she is best remembered
as a free lance journalist. In 1886 she journeyed to Winnipeg to board the
first cross Canada train on the Canadian Pacific Railway. She would write
and publish her exploits on this trip, during which time she traveled alone
with a bunch of rather rambunctious male journalists. From Ontario to the
Pacific by CPR was published in Toronto in 1887. The book is available in
electronic format at canadiana online.
Edith McConnell Stewart-Murray
Born 1900, Montreal, Quebec. Died November. 22, 1965, Victoria, British
Columbia. She moved to British Columbia with her family in 1904. Her
father, John P. (Black Jack) McConnell, was co-founded the Morning Sun,
the forerunner of the Vancouver Sun in 1912. Edith worked as a
columnist and women's page editor of the Sun and Vancouver
News-Herald for 40 years. Her best known column was Let's Go Shopping.
She was a life member, Canadian Women's Press Club.
Source: Vancouver Hall of Fame Online (Accessed November 2012
Born Toronto, Ontario 1945. While a
student at the University of Toronto she was named Miss Toronto 1964 and was
invited to be a co-host on the CFTO-TV show After Four. Her
broadcasting career was off to a running start. In 1972 she was one of the
hosts on the new Canada AM on the CTV network. In 1973 she was the first
woman to move into the high profile show W5. Married in 1976 the newlyweds
settled in British Columbia where she became a well known broadcast
personality. In 1986 she was elected to the Vancouver City Council. In 2000
she became an Officer of the Order of Canada and she is included in the
Canadian Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Agnes Elizabeth Wetherald
Born Rockwood, Canada West (Ontario) April
26, 1857. Died March 9, 1940. She was educated at Pickering College in
Pickering Ontario. She began a career as a journalist o the staff of the
Toronto Globe but would spend most of her career as a freelance writer. She
also enjoyed writing verse and would publish some five volumes of verse for
which she was well know.
Florence "Flo" Whyard
Born London, Ontario January 13, 1917. A
journalist who graduated in 1938 from the University of Western Ontario she
holds one of her life highlights as receiving an honorary LLD from the
Western Faculty of Journalism. A longtime northerner who was editor of the
Whitehorse Star in the Yukon. It is one of only an handful of independent
daily newspapers in Canada. During World War 11 she joined the Women's Royal
Canadian Naval Service where she traveled to write about Canadian Wrens
wherever they were serving in Canada and the Eastern U.S. Oh yes she was at
the same time editor of the WRCNS Magazine. She earned promotions and later
worked as a commissioned officer our of the Naval Information Office in
Ottawa where she would meet her husband to be who hailed from northern
Canada. She would become an elected member of the Yukon Territorial Council
where she found herself in cabinet! After her term in office she returned to
her editorial work to help continue the battle for political recognition of
the Yukon. She would become Ambassador of the Yukon, a position that would
replace the Yukon Commissioner was absent. In retirement, along with her
husband and his camera she had turned to publishing works to inform people
of her beloved north and building up a historical collection now hosed in
the Yukon Archives. Now a widow she continues to write and preside on boards
benefiting the daily life of people of the Yukon.
Marguerite Martha Allan
Born Montreal, Quebec 1895. Died March 31, 1942. A amateur
dramatist and playwrite, she organized the Montreal Repertory Theatre which
became on of the most successful amateur dramatic groups in all Canada. In
1935 she was presented with the Canadian Drama Award for her outstanding
service to the development in Canadian theatre. She wrote three plays. The
Dominion Drama Festival awards the Martha Allan Trophy annual award for the
best visual performance.
Born Winnipeg, Manitoba
August 25, 1941. Died November 28, 2000. Carol grew up in mining towns of
Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia. In 1961 she earned her BA at the e
University of British Columbia. She became a writer for children’s
television including such series as Tales of the Klondike; the Raccoons and
Fragle Rock. A founding member of the Playwrights Union of Canada by the
1970’s she had settled writing for the Toronto Theatre scene. One of her
works, Red Emma, about the life of a Russian anarchist and suffragette, Emma
Goldman, was aired on CBC TV and by 1995 was adapted as an opera. Many of
her works took place in Canadian locations. One Night Stand, from
Taragon Theatre in 1977 became her most often produced work and the movie
won 3 Canadian film awards in 1978. In 1989 Bolt herself won the Chalmers
Award for Icetime, a story about a 12 year old girl wanting to play
hockey. Again in the 1970’s she was playwright in residence at the
University of Toronto. In 2010 a collection of her plays was published:
Reading Carol Bolt.
Sources: Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia
http://www.Canadiantheatre.come (Accessed June 2011); Oxford
Companion to Canadian Theatre Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Sarah Anne Curzon
(née Vincent) Born 1833, Birmingham, England. Died November 6, 1898. In 1858
she married Robert Curzon and in the early 1860’s the young couple settled
in Toronto. She believed in access to higher education for women, female
suffrage and equal property rights for women. As a journalist she would put
her thoughts in written support of her beliefs. In November 1876 she, along
with Dr. Emily Stowe, founded the Toronto Women’s Literacy Club which was
actually a platform for women’s rights. She enjoyed writing history to prove
it was not just a male domain. In 1881 she was the editor of the Canadian
Citizen, Canada’s 1st prohibitionist paper. She also wrote a
column in the paper concerning women’s issues, such as the need for
accessible education. One of her early plays “The Sweet Girl Graduate”
mocked the idea that women were not smart enough to study at University. On
October 2, 1884 and Order in Council admitted women to University College in
Toronto! In 1887 she published a play that she had written a few years
earlier, Laura Secord: the Heroine of 1812. It is sometimes referred
to as Canada’s 1st feminist play. It is largely responsible for
the popularity of the Secord story. In 1895 she was a cofounder of the
Women’s History Society and served as the 1st President.
An historic plaque of a local history group marks her home in Cabbagetown,
an inner city neighborhood of Toronto.
Sources: Cabbagetown People : The social History of a Canadian Inner City
Neighborhood. Online (Accessed March 2014) ; Dictionary of Canadian
Biography Online (Accessed March 2014) ; The Canadian Encyclopedia
Online (Accessed March 2014)
Born Quebec City, Quebec November 29, 1950. An
actress, playwright, director and novelist are the career adventures that
she has embarked on in her life so far. She received the Governor
General's Award for drama in 1981. Many of her works have done well
translated into English and her work has often been popular in France.
Her themes emphasize feminist principles.
Elizabeth Minnie "Betty"
(née Lee). Born
Calgary, Alberta August 23, 1933. Died November 4,
1983 This playwright wrote some
70 works for adults and children to watch and listen to on radio, TV, and stage.
She also wrote novels.
Born St-Grégoire d'Iberville, Quebec
August 6, 1915. A youthful playwright
who blossomed into a renowned poet. She published her 1st verses in
1941. She won the Molson Prize in
1971, and the Prix France –Canada in 1973.
All her work is written in her beloved French language.
Born Vancouver, British Columbia November
2, 1950. Born on the Canadian west coast she was raised in Ontario and
choose to live as an adult in Nova Scotia. She brings a lot of knowledge of
living across her country to her writings. She described herself as a
playwright, journalist, community-development worker and an historian on her
web site when she served as a member of the Canadian Parliament from 1997 to
2004. She was elected in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where she ran as a candidate
for the New Democratic Party. She has won two ACTRA Awards and she has been
nominated 4 times for the Governor General Drama Award. Many of her plays
have an historical setting. While she was in parliament a video about her
was produced Wendy Lill : Playwright in Parliament (Montreal, Ralston
Productions/National Film Board, 1999)
Conni Louise Massing.
November 20, 1958. This writer has many screenwriting credits with the National
Film Board of Canada and CBC TV. She has written for the TV program
"North of 60" and has some 20 produced stage works
to her credit. In 1994-5 she was the playwright in residence at the
National Theatre School of Canada.
(née Phares) Born Anatone, Washington U.S.A.
August 13, 1910. Died May 24, 1984. In 1941 she received the Governor
General's Award for outstanding service to Canadian drama. She was the first
Canadian playwright to publish a volume of collected plays in 1982.
Born Regina, Saskatchewan April 28, 1948. She
began her studies with drama at McGill University and then she earned a
Masters degree in drama from the University of Toronto, 1970. She taught
briefly in Montreal in the mid-70's, prior to embarking upon a freelance
writing career. She has written plays, radio dramas, humorous essays,
fiction and radio broadcasts. Publications include: The Hidden Life of
Humans (Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1997); Ritter in Residence
(Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1987); Urban Scrawl (Toronto:
Macmillan of Canada, 1984) and Automatic Pilot (1980). Her awards
include 2 ACTRA Awards, in 1986 and 1981, and the Chalmers Canadian
Play Award for Automatic Pilot in 1980. She is the familiar
radio-friendly voice of CBC Radio's, The Arts Report, heard weekdays
and has been a cultural mainstay on this country’s airwaves for many years.
Francesca Marie Bernadette Thompson.
Quebec September 20, 1954. After graduating from Queen’s University,
Kingston, 1976 and the National Theatre School, Montreal, 1979 she turned to
writing plays as her form of expression. In 1987 “I Am Yours” won her a 2nd
Governor General’s Award and also the Chalmers Canadian Play Award.
Additional recognition includes the Order of Canada in 2005 and being the
first Canadian to win the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2008. Her plays have
been performed in both official languages across Canada as well as
worldwide. She has expanded into radio, screenplays, and plays for youth.
Her plays depict a graphic darker side of modern life but also provide hope.
She is currently teaching at the University of Guelph, Ontario and enjoys
life in Toronto with her husband and five children. Source:
Judith Thompson by Anne Nothof, Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia online (
accessed May 2008) :
Born Galt (now Cambridge), Ontario April 23,
1918. She was a poet, librarian, historian and social worker. She won the
Governor General's Award for literature in 1960. She used her writing to
bring history alive for young readers in her "History of Ontario".
Born St Johns, Lower Canada 1821. Died May
9,1884. The daughter of the first Anglican rector of St. Johns, Lower Canada
she was the author of a volume of Poems (Montreal 1859)
After her education in
the U.S. she moved to study at the University of British Columbia. She began
publishing her poetry in 1977. To date she has published 10
collections of her work
née Morey. Born Sherbrooke, Quebec 1882.
Died September 28, 1944. She enjoyed writing poems and would publish three
volumes between 1922 and 1938 including Dress Tapestries (Toronto,
Born Winkler, Manitoba 1952. After
completing studies at the University of Manitoba, the University of Toronto
and earning her PhD in English Literature at the University of Manitoba she
turned her writing talents to editing the poetry magazine, Prairie Fire. Her
own poetry is also well recognized. She has won the Gerald H. Lampert
Memorial Award for the best first book by a Canadian poet, the Canadian
Authors' Association national Poetry Award and the Dillson Commonwealth
Poetry. Her book Questions I asked my mother, published in 1987 won the
Governor General's Award for Poetry.
Elizabeth "Betty" Brewster
26, 1922 Chipman, New Brunswick. Died December 26, 2012 Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan. As a child she was considered a low learner when it came to
letters and number and as a result she was kept at home. While at home she
began to enjoy books and read everything from Eaton’s catalogue to the
complete works of Shakespeare. At 12 her first poem was published in a local
newspaper. She would go on to attend the University of New Brunswick on
scholarship. In 1946 she attended Radcliffe College in the U.S.A. and earned
her Master’s in literature. In 1947 while teaching in Cobourg, Ontario she
fell off a horse and broke her back forcing her to return home to
Fredericton to recuperate. She returned to formal studies attending Indiana
University (where she later earned her PhD) and King’s College in London
England. In the 1940’s and 1950’s she was one of the few women poets who
were published in Canada. She was a founding member of the literary journal
The Fiddlehead. In the 1950’s teaching jobs in Canada were scarce so in
hopes of becoming a secretary she attended Business College. The jobs that
followed were boring so she studied at Library School at the University of
Toronto where she won the E.J. Pratt Award in Poetry. She took a teaching
position replacing Margaret Atwood at the University of Alberta. She moved
to the University of Saskatchewan in 1972 until she retired in 1990. She won
the Saskatchewan Book Award twice and the Saskatchewan Lifetime Achievement
Award. She also received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.
“Poet’s journey to self awareness resulted in a prolific output of verse” by
Noreen Shanahan in The Globe and Mail, February 5, 2013.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
(married name Soubliére) Born Montreal, Quebec November 27, 1943. In 1965 she published
her first book , La Barre du jour. She concentrated on organizing
the jazz and poetry reading for the Youth Pavilion at Expo '67. She
obtained her Masters degree in 1972 and became a mother in 1975. Motherhood
did not slow her down in 1975 she won the Governor General's Award
for poetry. She would win again in 1984. After founding the feminist
editorial collective Les Tetes de Pioche and touring Europe
she founded her own publishing house.
Born Toronto, Ontario June 21, 1950. A
distant descendant of Egerton Ryerson ( the nineteenth century Ontario
educator for whom Ryerson Polytechnical University is named) she was perhaps
destined to leave her mark. She currently teaches Classics at McGill
University in Montreal. This was her personal preference for studies when
she earned her PhD at the University of Toronto. As well as being a
distinguished professor she is a renowned poet. She blends theories, ideas
and themes from her fields of studies and modernizes them in her poems and
essays. She has several published books and has won the Lannan Award in
1996, the Puscart Prize in 1997, and the Gugenheim and Macarther Fellowships
in 1998 and 2000 and the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2001.
Helena Jane Coleman.
Born April 28, 1860,
Newcastle, Canada West (Ontario). Died
As an adult
she lived with her brother, A.P. Coleman, in Toronto and spent summer
holidays at their cottage, “Pinehurst”, in the Thousand Islands. She was
educated at Ontario Ladies’ College, Whitby, where she received the Gold
Medal in Music, and became the Head of its Music Department (1880–1892). She
took a one-year leave of absence to pursue post-graduate studies in music in
Berlin, Germany. She contributed poems to a large number of Canadian and
American journals, including Atlantic Monthly, The Canadian
Magazine and Harper’s Weekly. She was a member of the Author’s
Society, the Canadian Author’s Association, the Rose Society, and the
University Women’s Club in Toronto. She did not publish under her own name
until the release of Songs and Sonnets in 1906. During her writing
career she would use some 20 Pseudonyms such as Caleb Black,
Winifred/Winnifred Cotter as well as using initials such as H.C and C.H.
Helena Jane Coleman Collection. E.J. Pratt Library, University of
Victoria Campus, University of Toronto. Online. Accessed July 2013.
Isabella Valency Crawford
Born Dublin, Ireland December 25, 1850.
Died February 12, 1887. Isabella emigrated with her family from Ireland
around 1958. After the death of her father in 1875 she began publishing
popular verse and serialized novels in various magazines and newspapers
in Toronto and New York City. She would be the first important woman poet in
Canada. A complete collection of her works was published posthumously.)
Bon May 24,
1948. A poet she has produced 10 collections of poetry. One of her works
earned the Governor General’s Award. Many of her works explore traditional
myths and histories.
Sarah Anne Curzon
née Vincent Born Birmingham, England 1833.
Died November 18, 1898 ( sometimes recorded as November 8) She emigrated to
Canada with her husband in 1862. She became a champion for women's rights
and was a tireless campaigner for women's admission to the University of
Toronto. She wrote several articles for various Canadian magazines before
she published a play and poems :Laura Secord, the heroine of 1812 : a drama
and other poems (Toronto, 1887).
Annie Charlotte Dalton
Born Berkby, Huddersfield, England December 9, 1865. Died January 12, 1938.
In 1891 she married Willie Dalton in in 1904 the couple emigrated to Canada.
. Her home became a meeting place for the writers and readers of the area.
She became president of the Vancouver Poetry Club and was an executive
member of the Lower Mainland Branch of the Canadian Author’s Association and
the Dominion Council. Left partially deaf from a childhood disease she
became known as the Poet Laureate of the Deaf for her work on their behalf.
In 1935 she became the only woman at the time to become a member of the
Order of the British Empire. She author several books including Flame and
Adventure, the Marriage of Music and Lilies and
Source: The History of Metropolitan
http://www.vancouverhistory.ca/whoswho_d (accessed June 19, 2009)
Born August 6, 1949. Poet and writer
of several books, Mary has received numerous awards for her books of poetry.
Why not visit your library and check out her poetry?
Nora M. Duncan
née Dann. Born Vermont, Clarina, County Limerick, Ireland 1883. Died May 31,
1946. She emigrated as a child with her family to London Ontario. She
received her education at Bishop Strachan School in Toronto. She married in
June 1908 to Wallace Craig Duncan and the young couple spent several years
in the Canadian prairies before settling in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Some of her poems would be published in two of her books : Down to the
Sea and Rainbow Reveries. She became the well known organizer of
the radio program the Lyric West.
Source: The History of Metropolitan Vancouver – Hall of Fame
http://www.vancouverhistory.ca (accessed June 19, 2009
Juliana Horatia Ewin
Born Yorkshire, England August 3, 1841. Died May 13, 1885 Bath, Summerset,
England. Juliana married Major Alexander Ewing, a military gentleman who was
also a music composer. A week after their wedding the couple sailed to
Fredericton, New Brunswick where their regiment had been posted. Juliana is
the author of more than 30 published popular books for children , including
such titles as: Trinity Flower published in 1871, It is the story of the
legend about the trillium which had Canadian settings. She is considered by
some as the first outstanding writer of children’s novels. Life in Canada
included botany, sketching and despite chronic ill health, she enjoyed
winter activities such as sleighing and snowshoeing. The family was recalled
to England in 1869.
Notable among her published verses was a work entitles "Canada Home" in
1879. Her biography was written by H.K.F. Gatty in 1885.
Early Voices: portraits of Canada by women writers 1639-1914. Natural
Heritage books, 2010.
Born Ottawa, Ontario. December 3, 1956. In grade 2 at school,
Sheree published her 1st poem! She enjoyed the feeling of making people
smile with her poem. She still enjoys the power of words. Her first short
story sold when she was 19 years old. She works diligently to develop the
text for nonsense books. It may take her up to two years to get every word
in a poem just right. In 1992 , her book, There Are Monkey's In My Kitchen
won the Mr. Christie's Book Award. In 1997 her book , If You Could Wear My
Sneakers won the Hackmatack Award.
February 5, 1942. She immigrated to Canada in 1963 and came to public
attention with a group of poets at Queen’s University, Kingston. She is
also known as editor of the journal called Quarry.
Erica Elizabeth Arndt Harvor
Born Saint John, New Brunswick 1936. This award winning poet
earned her Masters degree from Concordia University, Montréal, in 1964. She
has taught at Concordia University, York University, Toronto and the
University of New Brunswick. She has also established courses at several
institutions including Algonquin College in Ottawa. She has produced several
volumes of short fiction as well as several successful novels which have
been finalist for the Governor General's literature awards. She has also
contributed to many periodicals including Event, Grain, The New Yorker, The
Canadian Forum, Fiddlehead, Saturday Night and Poetry Canada Review.
||Born Sainte-Catherine-de-Fossambault, Quebec
August 1, 1916. Died
January 22, 2000. A
poet, playwright, and novelist worked on Radio – Canada broadcasts and also wrote
scripts for the National Film Board. She has written books of prose and some of
her novels have been made into films. She writes in her native French but most
of her works have been translated into English.
She has been awarded the Molson Prize in 1967 and elected to the Royal
Society of Canada.
Norah Mary Holland
Born Collingwood, Ontario January 10,
1876. Died April 27, 1925, She worked as a reader for the Dominion Press
Clipping Bureau and later she was on the staff of the Daily News of Toronto.
In 1904 she toured by foot the south of Ireland, the homeland of her mother
who was the first cousin of the noted Irishman W. B. Yeats. She would
publish tow books of her own verses in 1919 and 1924.
Born March 15, 1932, Whycocamagh, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Died
March 20, 2007 Sydney, Nova Scotia. Her mother died when she was only 5
years old and she began to live in various foster homes. When she was 10 her
father died and she left Cape Breton to attend Shubenacadie Residential
School. Here she was told that she was no good. Years later she would
publish a book on her life at the school. After school she returned to live
on the Eskasoni First Nations Reserve. In 1954 she married Frank Joe and the
couple would raise 8 children and two adopted sons. In 1978 her 1st
book of poetry was published. She would continue to produce books of poetry
and stories and her works were included in anthologies. Her writings earned
her the unofficial title of Poet Laureate of the Mi’kmaq people. In 1989 she
became a Member of the Order of Canada. In 1992 she was called to the
Queen’s Privy Council, one of the few non-politicians to be appointed. In
1993 she was the subject of a National Film Board Documentary “Song of
Eskasoni”. In 1996 she wrote her autobiography. In 1997 she was presented
with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award.
Canadian Encyclopedia Online (accessed January 2014)
Helen Mar Johnson
Born Magog, Lower Canada (Quebec) October
27, 1834. Died March 13, 1834. Her poetry was usually religious in nature. .
There are two published works of her poetry. Poems (Boston, 18550 and
Canadian Wild flowers (Boston, 1884).
Emily Pauline Johnson.
Nations Indian Reserve, Canada West (Ontario) March 10, 1861. Died March 7,
1913. Canada’s first renowned native poet she was also the first native born
cultural ambassador. She was working towards unity for all peoples and the
land when most settlers were only thinking of human unity. She took her
works all over Europe where she performed her readings in her native dress.
Her native name was Tekahionwake. She was the first woman hououred by Canada
Post to be featured on a Canadian postage stamp in 1961.
Born Strathroy, Ontario August 4. She received her BA in 1966 from the
University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario and followed it with he
Certificate in Education from Althouse College at Western. A poet,
playwright and novelist she has produced 25 books (The first in 1972) and 10
CD’s. Her poetry is enhanced by sound to lift poetry off the written page.
Her works have been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese and other
languages. Her sound poem Peach in Many Voices it available in 128
different translations from Ancient Egyptian to Ojibwa. She calls herself an
activist poet, dedication herself to political, social and environmental
issues. In 1988 she was awarded the OGS scholarship to earn her Masters in
Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto. She
has been writer in residence at the University of Mumbai, twice, 1995 and
again in 1999 as well as in Brazil and her own University of Western
Ontario. While at Western she provided a radio show on the UWO radio
station. She is the first appointed poet Laureate of the city of London,
Ontario. Married to Gavin Stairs and the couple have a daughter and son.
They both run Pendas Productions which produces had-bound poetry books and
Sources: University of Toronto Canadian Poetry online: Penn Kemp
http://www.library.utoronto.ca/canpoetry/kemp ... accessed June 2011.
; Personal correspondence.
Born Saint Grégoire d’Iberville, Québec. August 6, 1910. Died Québec May 9,
1991. She studied at the Université de Montréal, graduating in 1931. She
would later return to school to earn her degree in Library Sciences in 1942.
From 1932 she worked as a journalist and in 1939 her first literary work on
the life of Kateri Tekakwitha was published. Her rich, original poetry would
be held in the highest regard in her home province. She was awarded the Prix
David et Duvernay for her works.
Source: La Societé royale du Canada 1999.
Born Vancouver, British Columbia July 2, 1971.
This author published her first work while still a teenager! In 1989 she
recorded her experiences as a street kid in Vancouver in a best selling
work, Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid. The book was made into a movie
for the CBC. In 1992 she became the youngest poet to be nominated for a
Governor General's Award.
Rosanna Eleanora Leprohn
née Mullins Born Montreal, Quebec. January 12, 1829 Died
September 20, 1879. A poet and novelist she would first be published when
she was 17 years old. Many of her novels were published a serials, where a
portion of the story would appear in a magazine each week. Her serials were
carried by such noteworthy Canadian publications as the Literary Garland
and the Family Herald. The second magazine brought her work into the
farm homes across the country. Many of her works were translated into French
so that her writings were well known in both main cultures in Canada. She
accomplished all this while being the mother of 13 children!!
Florence Hamilton Livesay
née Randal Born Compton, Quebec November 3, 1874. Died July
28, 1953. This writer was a poet, a journalist, a translator and a novelist.
As a young woman she attended Compton's Ladies College and in the 1890's her
first poems were published in Massey's Magazine. She turned to
journalism and wrote for both the Ottawa Journal and the Winnipeg Telegram.
She was one of 30 volunteer teachers who . at the end of the Boer War in
1902 went to South Africa. She continued to send articles to Ottawa and
Winnipeg from Africa. Married life found the family settling in Winnipeg and
she produced Songs of the Ukrania (1916) consisting mainly of
translations of folk music. Her career continued with more published poetry
and novels. She found her young daughter's poetry hidden in a drawer and
sent it to a newspaper who thought it good enough to publish, and Florence
launched a career of her daughter Dorothy.
Patricia Louise Lowther.
Born Vancouver, British
Columbia July 29, 1935. Died September 24, 1975. She was Co–chair of the
league of Canadian Poets in 1974 and later the British Columbia Arts
Council. She devoted herself to the promotion of poetry. She published 4
collections of her own poetry. A mother of four children, she was murdered
by her husband in 1975. The League of Canadian Poets annually awards the Pat
September 1, 1941. This writer began
her career with a collection of poetry in 1961 and in 1969 her poetry won the
Governor Generals Award. In addition she has published novels, plays, and children’s
Jean Jay Macpherson.
England June 13, 1931. A teacher of English at Victoria College at the
University of Toronto she began publishing poetry in 1949. Her 2nd
book in 1958 won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. She reached out
to young readers through a published classical mythology for secondary
Minovitch) Born Rockglen, Saskatchewan February 13, 1930. Died February 13,
1982. After university she began writing poetry in her late 30’s when her
marriage broke down. She suffered from manic depression and she was able to
express her feeling with courage and honesty in her work. She won the
Governor General’s Award in 1978.
née MacGregor Born Stratford, Ontario May 13, 1884. Died
October 8, 1923. In 1906 she earned her B.A. from McMaster University in
Hamilton, Ontario. In 1909 she married Thomas E. Moffatt. While she enjoyed
writing verse all her life it was not until after her death that her verses
were published "A Book of Verse (Toronto, 1924)
Mary Elizabeth Jane Muchall
née Traill. Born Ashburnham, Ontario November 7, 1841. Died
May 28, 1892. She was born into the literary family of Catherine Parr Trail
as the 4th daughter. She sometimes used variations of the pseudonym Leanora
Aura Angelica Leigh for her many published articles and short stories which
appeared in such publications as The Canadian Monthly. One book of
verse was published: Step by Step: the Shadow on a Canadian Home
Born Santa Cruz, California,
U.S.A. March 12, 1951. She published her first book of poems, Songs
of the Sea-Witch, at 17. She would find her personal life
embroiled in a love affair that would end in a marriage in prison. Her life
and relationship is recorded in the CBC series Life and Times. She
continues her prolific writing from her family tree house in Victoria,
Born Montreal, Quebec May 14,1871. Died September 5, 1931. By
1902 she had been married twice and widowed twice. It is perhaps to support
herself that she turned to publishing her books of poems and plays and
prose. Between she would publish some five volumes of work.
Patricia Kathleen Page.
Born Swanage, Dorset, England November 23, 1916. A poet and artist she studied
in Brazil and New York City. She lived with her ambassador husband
in Australia, Brazil and Mexico. She has written several books
including a book of poetry, which won a Governor General's Award.
She has also had many one woman shows of her paintings in both Canada
Rhoda Ann Page
Born Hackney, England 1826. Died 1863. She emigrated as a
child with her family in 1832. She published a volume of verse "Wild Notes
from the Backwoods" (Coburg, Canada West, 1850). In 1856 she married a Mr.
Faulkner and was not to publish and additional volumes of work.
Born Liverpool England 1859 (?) Died February 12, 1938. She
emigrated to Canada with her family as a child. Never of good health, she
was an invalid for some 60 years and was confined to her bed. She had a love
of writing verse and was aplbe to produce and publish several volumes of
poetry in Canada.
Marlene Nourbese Philip
Moriah, Tobago February 3, 1947. A poet and novelist she has written
several books including a novel for young people, Harriet’s
Daughter. Try it out at your nearest library.
Sadie O. Prince
Born Springfield, Nova Scotia 1861. Died 1905. She enjoyed
writing poems and in 1900 she would publish a volume simply called "Poems".
Born July 3, 1927. An author,
poet and a painter she is best remembered for her memoirs that broke the
silence of the life of women in the belle province of Quebec. She would sign
the 1948 Refus Global (Total Refusal), the manifesto that denounced the
conservative and church-dominated values that held Quebec in a straight
jacket. The manifesto was signed by a small group of artistes was a
passionate statement affirming the link between artistic creation and social
Dundas County, Ontario November 4, 1868. Died January 3, 1963. She was
educated at Albert College in Belleville, Ontario and at Stanstead College
in Quebec. In 1894 she married the Reverend Frederick Sproule. After the
death of her husband in 1924 she looked to publishing her writings to help
finances. She would publish some one dozen books of poetry during her
career. in 1937 she received the Coronation Medal for her Coronation Ode.
London, England January 3, 1922. Died 1999. In 1951 she immigrated to Canada
from England with her husband and family. She was a translator, editor,
playwright, teacher and poet who was a guiding force in founding the
Saskatchewan Writer's Guild and the literary magazine Grain. Most of
her books have been poems, including Voice which won the Governor
General's Award. In 1995.
Born December 29, 1925, Toronto, Ontario. Died London, Ontario February 6,
2012. She attended the University of Toronto , graduating with a B.A. in
1948 followed by a Masters Degree Contemporary Canadian Poetry. December 29,
1931 she married a budding playwright by the name of James Reaney (
-2008) . The couple had three children. While the family lived in various
places throughout the country including Winnipeg and Victoria, they would
settle in London, Ontario. Her first book of poetry Lozenges: poems in
the shapes of things was published in 1965. She continued publishing for
the next 4 decades leaving a true treasure trove for her country to absorb.
Her works often took inspiration from the ordinary items of everyday life.
She would become praised as a Canadian treasure for her works.
Source: Canada’s secret national treasure found magic in the everyday.
Sandra Martin Globe and Mail February 10, 2012.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Born Winnipeg, Manitoba December 23, 1917.Died March 3, 2004
Vancouver, British Columbia. She had a traditional Jewish upbringing
and found it somewhat of a shock when her family moved to Ottawa and she
attended Public High School. She earned her BA at the university of Toronto
in 1939 and that same year married Patrick Waddington. She e earned a
diploma in Social work at the University of Toronto and went on to earn her
Masters in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania in 1949. She was a
social worker in Toronto and later in Montreal but her love of poetry would
soon lead her life in a different direction. She wrote poetry and
short fiction with 11 published works to her
credit. Miriam's book Driving Home won the J. I. Segal Award in 1972
and she was 2 times the winner of Senior Writing Fellowships from the Canada
Council. She won the Boreston Mountain Awards for best poetry in 1963, 1966
and again in 1974.
She was a specialist on the subject of A.M. Klein. In 1998 she
was the Canada Council exchange poet in Wales. She served as Writer
in Residence at Windsor Public Library and later at the University of
Ottawa. Her poem Jacques Cartier In Toronto is featured on the Back of the
Canadian $100.00 Bill issued in 2004.
Source: Menkis, Richard
"Miriam Dworkin Waddington" Jewish Women: A Cojmprehensive Historical
Encyclopedia. March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. Accessed June 30, 2013.
Naomi Beth Wakan
Born London, England. July 20, 1931. Naomi earned a degree in social work
from Birmingham University before she married. Eventually emigrating to
Toronto with her son and daughter she worked specializing in early childhood
traumas. After marriage to sculptor Elias Wakan there was extensive travel
for a few years. They would spend two years in Japan where Naomi obtained a
respect and love of the poetry of Haiku. Settling on the west coast of
Canada they operated a publishing company, Pacific Rim Publishing House,
producing educational children’s books of Naomi’s authorship. In 1996 the
couple moved to Gabriola Island, off Canada’s west coast, where they opened
Drumbeg House Studio. Elias
displays and sells his intricate wood sculptures and Naomi sells
paintings and fabric art. She has written/compiled over thirty-five books
including Haiku: one breath Poetry (Heian International), which was a
choice of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and was also selected by the
American Library Association for the 2001. She has had her short stories and
poems published in several world magazines and web sites. In 2006 Late
bloomer- on writing late in life (Toronto: Wolsak and Wynn Publishers)
Compositions: notes on the written word,
(Wolsak and Wynn, 2008) introducing Espoe, her form of writing which
combines poetry within essays.
Source: Naomi Beth Wakan web site www.naomiwakan.com
2008) Also correspondence with Naomi Wakan.
Anna Louisa Walker
Kiddermore, Staffordshire, England 1836. Died July 7, 1907. In 1857 she
emigrated to Canada with her family In 1858 she and her sisters ran a
private schools for Girls in Sarnia. She enjoyed writing verse and published
several books including Leaves from the Canadian Backwoods (Montreal
, Lovell, 1861) She also published a novel called A Canadian Heroine
(London 1873. In 1883 she married Harry Coghill and some of her works appear
under the name of Mrs. Coghill. One of her poems became a well known hymn "
Work, for the night is coming."
|| Born Toronto, Ontario September 21. 1890 Died May 10, 1961. Chiefly
a poet her works appear in various anthologies (books of collected poems or stories)
and were published in several small magazines.
She was the founding editor of the magazine the “Tamarack
Review”. She also published a biography
of the famous Canadian Osler family, a couple of novels, and a modern fairy tale
Born Victoria, British Columbia April 8,
1927. She attended both the University of British Columbia and McGill
University in Montreal. She published her first book of poems in 1954 Trio.
More books followed in 1956 and 1957. She won a grant to study dream an
theatre and took off to study in France. More published poems appeared in
1962 and 1965. Between 1964-1965 she worked as a broadcaster at the CBC in
Toronto and then she migrated to the west coast where she worked to publish
yet more poems in 1971 and appeared with yet more publications in 1980, 1982
and 1984. She also found time to she her knowledge and teach at the
University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, British
Columbia, the University of Alberta and the Banff Centre for the Arts in
Alberta. This prolific dramatic poet has made a substantial contribution to
the poetry of our nation.