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Susan Louise Moir Allison
18, 1845, Ceylon. Died February 1, 1937, Vancouver, British Columbia. After
her father’s death his widow and 3 children relocated to England. In 1857
the mother married Thomas Glennie and by 1900 the family was living in
British Columbia. By 1864 the father abandoned the family in Hope, British
Columbia. Here Susan established the 1st school in the town. In 1868 she
married John Fall Allison one of the founders of Princeton, British
Columbia. The couple had 14 children who they raised in the Similkamun
Valley. Susan and her family formed close relations with the Aboriginal
population of the area and she learned their stories and translated them to
English. She was the 1st European to report sighting the Naitaka
(Opopogo), a large serpent like legend of Lake Okanagan. In 1891 the British
Association for the Advancement of Science published Susan’s paper on the
peoples of Similkameen. In 1900 she published a long narrative poem
In-cow-mad-ket, a story of a local native Chief. She retired to Vancouver in
1928 publishing part of her memoirs in 1931 in the Province
newspaper. Her complete memoirs were published by the University of British
Columbia in 1976. This publication gives the only British Columbian woman’s
account of early settlement in the area. On September 4, 2010 she was
declared a National Historic Person.
Source: Susan Louisa Moir Allison Backgrounder. Parks Canada Online
(Accessed July 2014)
Born December 3, 1917, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her 1st 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 January 9, 1845, La Malbaie, Quebec. 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,
Born April 9, 1900 Carlisle, England. Died April 19, 1981 Victoria, British
Columbia. In 1991 she immigrated to Canada’s west coast with her family and
settled in Vancouver. A few years later she married an engineer, Robert
Baird and the couple had two children. Like many families the depression was
difficult with Robert losing his job. Irene taught at Vancouver St. George’s
private school as one of the few female teachers. In 1937 she produced her 1st
novel, John followed in 1939 by her 2nd novel Waste
heritage. This novel fell out of favour for a while but was rediscovered
and republished in 1973 and again in 2007. Other novels were to follow. The
family relocated to Victoria, British Columbia and by the early 1940’s Irene
was the family breadwinner. She became a freelance journalist and wrote a
column for the Vancouver Sun. In 1942 with Robert no longer in the
picture Irene was offered a job at the National Film Board and Irene and the
children relocated to Ottawa, Ontario. In 1944 she married John Grierson who
was Director at the National Film Board. Irene’s career covered several
federal government departments including the Department of Mines and
Resources, the Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources and the
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Her work meant lots
of travel throughout North America, Latin America and the United Kingdom.
She also had numerous trips to the Canadian Arctic. When she retired in 1967
she had been the 1st woman to head an Information Division in the
federal government. While working for the government she authored numerous
travelogues for the publication North/Nord as well as having her
short stories and poems appear in Saturday Night magazine, The
Beaver (Canada’s History Magazine), the Canadian Geographical Journal
and the UNESCO Currier. In 1973 Irene moved back to Victoria, British
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.
Elizabeth Jo-Anne 'Jo' Bannatyne-Cugnet
Born July 19,
1951 Estevan, Saskatchewan. She studied nursing at the University of
Saskatchewan earing her BSc. in 1974. She began her nursing career in
Weyburn, Saskatchewan as a public health nurse. She married Kenney Frank
Bannatyne-Cugnet in August 1975 and the couple have 4 sons. She began
writing to teach her sons about life on a prairie farm. In 1992 she produced
Prairie Alphabet which joined other picture books, A prairie Year,
Heartland: a Prairie Sampler. She has also produced two novels
for young readers and a picture book on new Canadians called The Day I
became a Canadian: a Citizenship Scrapbook. Jo retired from Nursing in 1994
and keeps busy writing and volunteering in her community. Source: Who’s
Who in Canadian Sport (Toronto: Prentice Hall 1977);
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
Born 1891 Shorten,
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 Montreal, Quebec. Died January 20, 2016. Constance
earned her BA and Master’s Degree at McGill University and then attended
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. to work on her PhD in
1950. She worked in the Department of English at McGill University, Montreal
and Ryerson University, Toronto until she retired in 1988. She wrote short
stories which appeared in both Canadian and American magazines but is better
know for having written 10 novels between 1946 and 1991. Perhaps her best
known novel was the Book of Eve, published in 1973 which in 1976 was adapted
into a stage play. Two of her popular novels A Population of One and The
Marriage Bed were made into CBC films.
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.
Born October 5, 1939, Quebec City, Quebec. She attended Laval University
were friends encouraged her to become a writer. At 20 in 1959 she published
her 1st novel Labelle Bete, in English translation, the
Mad Shadow. Since then there have been some 20 novels, several plays, as
well as published collections of poetry. In 1963 she moved to Cambridge,
Massachusetts, U.S.A. where she met her life partner, Artist Mary Meigs. The
couple lived in France for awhile before settling in Montreal. Her books
have been translated into English, Italian and even Chinese. Her works have
garnered her a multitude of awards from both Canada and abroad. In 1965
there was the Prix France, Canada followed in 1968 with the 1st
of several Governor’s General Awards (1979, 1996, 2001, 2005, and 2008).
There is also the W.O. Mitchell Award in 2000, the Prix Prince Pierre de
Monaco and in 2006 Matt Cohen Prize . In 1972 she was inducted in to the
Order of Canada and she also has been inducted into the Ordre National du
Quebec. From France she is a Chevalier in the Ordre of Lettres. In 1995/96
she was the International Woman of the Year awarded by the International
Biographical Centre, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Source: Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Accessed February 2014)
Victoria Grace Blackburn
Born March 4, 1928 Quebec City, Quebec. 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.
McKishnie Born November 4, 1872,Scotia, Lake Erie, Upper Canada (Now
Ontario) . Died August 19, 1934, Chatham, Ontario. She was part of a
literary family with both a brother and a sister and a cousin who were also
writers. On June 6, 1876 she married Bassett Collins Blewett, a farmer from
Cornwall , England. The couple had two children. She contributed articles
to numerous Canadian publications as well as 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. In all she published 3 volumes of Poetry and 4
novels. In 1919, with the help of the International Order of the Daughters
of the Empire (I.O.D.E.) she published a small book Heart Stories to
benefit war charities. She retired from journalism and writing in 1925. In
1946 she was designated a Person of National Historic Interest by the
National Historic Sites and Monuments Board and a plaque was placed at the
Chatham Public Library by the HSM Board. Blewett Saskatchewan was named in
Canadian Early Women Writers. Simon Fraser University. Online.
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 June 8, 1927 Vienna, Austria. Died May 27, 2007, Montreal, Quebec.
After completing studies in France she arrived in Canada and settled in
Montreal in 1948. She worked at Radio Canada International while completing
her PhD at the Université de Montréal in 1953. She worked as a journalist at
La Press and Le Devoir newspapers as well as being the
literary critic for MacLean’s Magazine. In 1961 she published her 1st
novel Un amour maladroit which won the ‘First Novel’ Award in the
U.S.A. In 1962 she became a professor of French literature at Université de
Montréal. She published numerous novels, collections of short stories and
collected volumes of poetry all in her beloved French language. In 1970 she
earned the Governor’s General Award for French Language in Fiction for La
Femme de Loth. The book was translated the following year into English under
the title Lots’ Wife. In 1992 she won the Prix-Grandbois for poetry and in
1996 she earned the Prix Athanase-David.
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.
née Bartholomew. Born
September 22, 1942 Toronto, Ontario. Gail graduated in 1964 the
University of Toronto and went on to earn her Master’s Degree
from the University of Waterloo and then she attended the
University of Saskatchewan. She taught English in Saskatchewan
and was an associate professor of English at First Nations
University of Canada. The author of several novels, she has set
her mystery stories in the province of Saskatchewan. Her book
character, Joanne Kilbourn, is an amateur sleuth who also is the
mother of three teenagers. Many of her writings have been
adapted as Canadian movies for TV. Gail is also an accomplished
playwright with her plays produced at the Globe Theatre in
Regina, Saskatchewan. In 2006 the CBC broadcast her radio play
Dr. Doolittle and in 2007 the CBC broadcast the World
According to Charlie D. Charlie D was successful and was
followed up within the year with another episode. And was part
of the WorldPlay series broadcast on public radio networks in 6
English speaking countries. In 2009 she was writer-in –residence
for the Toronto Reference Library and Calgary’s Memorial Park
Library in 2010. By 2010 Charlie D was appearing in published
mystery novellas. Gail was writer-in-residence for the Regina
Public Library in 2014-2015.
Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Accessed 2006; mini biography
updated October 2014. Regina Public Library.
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 December 16, 1936 Toronto, Ontario. 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 June 25, 1954 Sherbrooke, Quebec.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. Died August
15, 2010, Ottawa, Ontario. After
university she 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 completed 6 novels many
of which are used in literature classrooms in high schools, colleges and
universities particularly the English trilogy, The Saga of Northern Ontario.
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).Source:
Obituary, Ottawa Citizen, August 2010.
Moore. Born January 12, 1724, Claypole, Lincolnshire England. Died Jan 23,
1789, Sleaford, England. She used the pseudonym Mary Singleton Spinster for
her early writings and in 1755-1755 she found a magazine she called The
Old Maid which ran for 37 issues. Married in 1756 she gave up her
publication. She joined her husband, the Rev. John Brooke, garrison chaplain
at Quebec, from 1764 -1768. She wrote what may be described as the 1st
Canadian novel The History of Emily Montague (4 vols. London 1769
reprinted in 1931) which was set in Quebec City. The work provides a vivid
description of the Canadian landscape and social life including scandals of
the time. Back in England she would pen additional novels but no more with a
Canadian setting. She was also a playwright, essayist, librettist and stage
director. She was well known in the London literary and theatrical circles.
Cassie Eileen Brown
née Horwood. Born Rose Blanche,1919, Newfoundland. 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) ;
Ruth Matheson Buck
Born November 24, 1905 St Barnabas Mission, Onion Lake Saskatchewan. Died
July 6, 2009. She was the daughter of Elizabeth Scott Matheson (1866-1958)
sho was the 1st doctor in Saskatchewan. In 1928 she earned her BA
from the University of Manitoba and began teaching in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In
1933 she married Geoffrey Buck. In 1946 she and her daughter moved to
Regina, Saskatchewan. She was elected a a member of the Civic Voters
Standard and served on the Regina Collegiate Board until her retirement in
1967. In 1973 she published The voices of the Plaines Cree. She wrote
the biography of her mother entitled The Doctor Rode Side Saddle in
1974. The Ruth M. Buck School with the Regina School Board is named in her
honour. At her death she left an unpublished manuscript The Lives of Rory
Ruth M. Buck, Regina Board of Education. Online Accessed June 2014)
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 in 1994, the Marian Engel Award
in 1994 and the Giller Award in1999.
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 November 1, 1818 Hamilton Inlet, Labrador.
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
Born April 6,1940 near Athlone, Edmonton, Alberta. In Edmonton she assisted in founding a halfway house for
women and a women's emergency shelter. She began writing in 1973 because she
was upset that so few people knew about historic and contemporary
Native Cultures. Her 1st book was a memoir, Halfbreed which
is used in schools across Canada continuing to inspire indigenous women. She
herself is fluent in 4 languages: Cree, Michif, Saulteaux and English. Her
books have been translated into German, Chinese, French and Italian. Her
1st professionally produced play, Flight, was the 1st
all Aboriginal theatre production in modern CanadaShe has written screenplays and books.
In 1986 she was presented with the Dora Mavor Award and the Chalmers Award
for Best New Play. .
In 1992 she earned the Gabriel Dumont Institute
Medal of Merit She has written and/or
directed films by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), including My Partners My People,
which aired on CTV for 3 years. She is coordinator and member of Sage
Ensemble, a community theatre group for Aboriginal elders, and is
actively associated with the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company in
Saskatoon. Maria is also a volunteer, activist and advocate for Aboriginal
rights and the rights of women. She sits as an Elder on the Saskatchewan
Aboriginal Justice Commission and is a member of the Grandmothers for
Justice Society. Her writings and her efforts for justice have been
recognized in 1994 with the Saskatchewan Achievement Award and in 1996 with
the National Aboriginal Achievement Award In 2006 she was honoured with the
Saskatchewan Order of Merit. In 2008 she was inducted as an Officer of the
Order of Canada. Over the years she has also served as Writer In Residence
for the University of Alberta, Regina Public Library, Prince Albert Public
Library, University of Saskatchewan and University of Winnipeg.
née Wright. Born 1863. Died November 22, 1949. As an author
she would write 3 main works; White Chief of the Ottawa, (Toronto,
1903); The Hieroglyphics of the Heavens (Toronto, 1933); Love's
Immensity (Pickering, 1935).
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.)
Born 1954, England. After secondary school, Gillian worked at various places
including a bank and restaurants. By the mid 1970’s she decided to study to
become a teacher and by 1980 she had earned a degree in English and
Education. In 1982 she married Henry Chan and the couple had one son. She
taught for 10 years prior to immigrating to Canada and settling in Dundas,
Ontario. In 1991 she took a course on writing short stories. Later she met
the editor of Kids Can Press where she would publish her first book
Golden Girl and Other Stories. More books soon followed in 1996, 2001, ,
2002, 2004 and 2005. She then took some time from writing to care for her
son until he went to school. Commemorating the 100th anniversary
of the War of 1812 she published I am Canada: a call to battle about
the war. The book was the winner of the Ontario South Library Association
White Pine Award and the Nautilus Award for Best Young Adult Book.
authored numerous books including Let’s stay to dine Chinese which
has been published several times. In 1972 she did a Chinese cooking show on
TV. Proceeds from her Chinese cooking book and A many –coloured South
Africa: the diary of a non-person (Bonsecour Editions, 1982) have been
donated to Northern Peoples of Canada, The Canadian Save the Children Fund
and toward scholarships for indigenous peoples of Canada pursuing higher
education. She is a member of P.E.N. International, The Canadian Authors
Association and in 1985 she joined The Media Club of Canada. Lily also
earned a renowned reputation as a fashion designer. In 1986 she was
commissioned to design and create a Marian Papal Vestment for Pope John Paul
Source: Who’s Who in the Media Club of Canada 1991.
Born 1915, Shawinigan Falls, Quebec. Died 1973. She was educated from
1924-in 34 at the Convent des Ursulienes de Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. She
worked as a publicist with the Quebec ministry of Agriculture. She had
written works appear in numerous French language magazines, journals and
reviews. In began to publish books in 1939. In 1954 she was awarded the Prix
Athanase-David for her work La nuit ne dort pas. In 1961 she was
awarded the Prix du Grand Jury des Lettres for her book that many consider
her best work, Laure Clouet. In 1981 La Société des écrivains
canadiens de la langue français created Le Prix Adrienne Choquette to honor
new Quebec writers. Both the cities of Shawinigan and Trois-Rivieres have
streets named in her honor.
Alice Amelia Chown
Born February 3,1866, 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
November 19, 1939, Montreal, Quebec.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.
September 26, 1927, Québec. Died June 24, 1976, Québec. Monique attended the
University of Toronto in 1946 and Université Laval in 1948. She would return
to Laval for additional studies in 1969 and 1974. Married Monique became the
mother of 10 children and she wrote and dedicated a book for young readers
to each of her children. More of her books were published posthumously in
1980 and 1985. In 1958 and again in 1966 she wan the Prix de l’A.C.E.L.F. ,
Association canadienne des éducateurs de langue française. In 1966 she
earned the Prix Marie Rollet, Médaille de l’Association de bibliothèquaires
du Canada and from the same association in 1976 Prix Alvine-Bélisle. In 1967
she received the Canadian Centennial Commission Award/Prix de la Commission
du centenaire du Canada. In 1971 she was presented with the Prix Michelle-Le
Normand of the Société des écrivains canadiens. The library of Eglise Saint
Denys-du-plateau is named in her honour as is the Public Library in Sainte
“Monique Corriveau”: Profiles, Canadian Library Association, 1971.
Luella Saunders Creighton
née Bruce. Born August 25, 1901. Stouffville, Ontario. Died March
6, 1996. 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 Ameliasburg, Ontario. She attended Queen’s
University, Kingston, Ontario on writing scholarships for her BA and
completed graduated studies at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.A.
She then studied for her diploma in education from the University of Toronto
in 1955. She married the Reverend F. Reginald Brown and the couple had two
daughters. Constance resumed her teaching career upon the death of her
husband. She remarried a second time to Albert W. Cook. She taught English
and Latin for 30 years in high schools throughout Ontario. She also was a
teacher of developmental reading and English as a second language. When she
retired for teaching she finally had time to devote to her writing. She
enjoys writing novels with Canadian historical settings for young readers.
Many of her stories are based on her own family history. 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) to name a few of her works. She has
earned the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and
the Canadian Children’s Book Center Choice designation in 1995. In 1998 she
earned the Storytelling World Award Honours Title for Tellable Stories for
Ages 13-17 and the Canadian Children’s Book Center Choice designation for
Maple Moon, her 1st child’s picture book.
July 15, 2000, Connie was one of the honourable inductees for the year into
Peterborough’s Pathway of Fame.
In 2002 she earned the Word Guild Novel Award for The Hungry Year and
in 2004 was co-recipient of the Word Guild Award for The Perilous Year.
Some of her writings have been translated into Braille and have been adapted
as sound recordings.
On June 11,
2008, Connie received the Leslie K. Tarr Award for Outstanding Career
Connie Brummel Cook website Online (accessed September 2012)
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.
Born April 6, 1919 (Sometimes recorded as April 5), Quebec. Paule took
Social Services courses at Soeur du bonne conseil. She began
working at CKAC Radio station and it was not long until she was editing
radio broadcasts. In 1944 she married André Daveluy and the couple would
have 6 children. In 1957 she wrote a collection of short stories for youth
readers Les Guinoes and continues to write in her beloved French language
for young teens. In 1958 she earned the Concours Littéaire from the
Association canadienne des
éducateurs de langue français. In 1972 she received the Prix Michelle-Le
Normand of the Société des écrivains canadiens. In 1980 Her works were
recognized with a certificate of honor from L ‘Union international pour les
livres de jeunesse (International Union for youth books) In 1985 she
received the Prix Claude-Aubrey and in 1987 Prix Fleury Mesplet pour
l’esemble de son oeuvre de traduction. In 1999 she was inducted into the
Order of Quebec/Ordre national du Québec. Source: Paule Clouthier by
Marguerite Polnicky in Profiles (Canadian Library Association, 1971)
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
January 15, 1897, Newmarket, Ontario. 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
Born July 22, 1927, Saint John, New Brunswick. She began writing as a youth
and published a collection of poems in 1950. She is perhaps the 1st
city editor for a newspaper in Canada when she worked at the Saint John
Times Globe. She went on to write and edit for the Saint John’s
Telegraph – Journal and the Evening Times-Globe. She also edited
the King’s County Record and the Saint John Citizen. As a
freelance journalist she has contributed articles to numerous publications
including the Atlantic Advocate and the Financial Post. She served as
the host of a panel TV show called Check and Double Check for CSJH
television. She also has a keen interest in politics which has seen her run
twice for a federal seat in Parliament from Fundy Royal Riding and she also
ran for a seat in the provincial legislature. Although unsuccessful in her
political aspirations she is a successful author having published numerous
books devoted to local ghost stories, murders and UFO experiences. Her works
are both fiction and nonfiction. She also enjoys writing for youth. She has
worked with the Canadian Mental Health Association to establish the 1st
school for mentally challenged in Saint John. Dorothy is married to Fred R.
Dearborn and the couple have 4 adult children with grandchildren who no
doubt will be excited with grandma’s story telling.
Fairley, Amanda. ‘Dorothy Dearborn’ in the New Brunswick Literary
Encyclopedia. Online (Accessed September 2014)
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 September 27, 1894, St. John's, Newfoundland. Died March 22, 1968, Newfoundland.
In 1911 she
travelled with her family to England to attend a wedding of an aunt. While
there Margaret attended elocution and drama courses at the London Academy of
Music and Dramatic Art. With the on slot of World War 1 she returned to
Canada. During the war she worked with the Women’s Patriotic Association
while her 3 brothers served overseas. During this time she wrote a short
story : Mother Boggan about islander’s war efforts. In the 1920’s she
was a member of the Women’s Franchise League working towards gaining voting
rights for women which were granted in March 1925 to women over 25 years of
age. During World War ll she worked with the Women’s Patriotic League and
the St John’s Ambulance Corp. Later she did public relations work for the
Red Cross writing for newspapers and providing radio interviews. In 1952 she
was in England to cover the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth ll. She completed
4 novels and additional short stories all set in Newfoundland. By 1959
Parkinson’s Disease prevented her from continuing to write. Near the
entrance to the Memorial University Library and at her former home in St.
John’s historic plaques have been erected. In 2007 she was declared a
National Historic Person.
Source: Margaret Iris Duley Backgrounder. Parks Canada online.
(Accessed July 2014)
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.
Claire Martin Faucher
née Montreuil. Born April 18, 1914, Quebec. Died June 18, 2014,
Using the surname Martin, Claire worked as a secretary and then a host on
CKCV Radio in Quebec and Radio Canada in Montreal. In 1945 she married
Roland Faucher and the couple settled in Ottawa where Claire became a full
time writer. In
won the :
Prix du Cercle du livre de France
for her work Avec ou sans amour. By 1966 she earned the Governor
General’s Award in Literature and the Prix Conecours littéraire du Québec
for Dans un gant de fer. This book also won the
In 1967 she became a member of the Roayal society of Canada. In 1984 she was
inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada and became a Companion of the
Order of Canada in 2001. In 1999 she won a medal from the
l'Académie des lettres du Québec.
In 2007 she was inducted as an Officer of the National Order of Quebec. In
2009 she became a member of the Académie des Grands Québécois followed and
in 2010 she became an officer in the Order of Arts and Letters.
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.
S. Patricia 'Pat' Filer
Died 2010, Hamilton, Ontario. A Hamiltonian for 58-years, Pat Filer
committed her life to serving others. A 25-year association with The Girl
Guides of Canada included serving as Hamilton Area District Commissioner and
Deputy Chief Commissioner of Canada. During that time she revised the
national Girl Guide program and oversaw the production of a new guiding
handbook. In 1969 she was awarded the Guides’ highest service award – The
Beaver Medal. Pat was a writer/editor on the Dictionary of Hamilton
Biography, authored Mohawk College’s history and edited the
autobiography of winemaker Andrew Peller. She served as chair of the
Hamilton Gallery of Distinction and was inducted into the Gallery in 2015.
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.
September 18, 1960, Chilliwack, British Columbia. After high school Gayle
took a year to attend a Bible School in Sweden and to see Europe. Back home
in Canada she worked at a bank to pay off her European trip. She married and
shortly after her 1986 graduation from the University of British Columbia
her first child was born. She now has two children. In 1998 she published
her 1st novel for young adult readers called Janey’s Girl.
The book garnered attention and won the Red Maple Reading Award and the
Canadian Library Associations’ Young Adult Book Award. It has been
translated into several languages. She has written an additional 5 books of
which the Isabel Factor, published in 2005 received the 2007/2008 Stellar
Award from the British Columbia’s Teacher’s Choice Award.
Source: Gayle Friesen by Dave Jenkinson. University of Manitoba CM
Magazine online (Accessed January 2007)
Mavis Leslie Gallant
née de Trafford Young. Born August 11, 1922. Died February 18, 2014, Paris,
France. As a youngster she told stories to her paper dolls to keep herself
quietly entertained. A 4 years of age she was sent to boarding school. Her
father died when she was 10 and her mother remarried and left for New York
without her daughter who would attend a multitude of different schools. She
settled in her late teens in Montreal. Here she married Johnny Gallant an
Acadian might club entertainer who was soon a soldier in Europe. She was a
working “Girl” at the National Film Board and an reporter at the Montreal
Standard newspaper reluctantly hired to replace the men who were off
fighting the war. She refused to write “girly” columns and was soon a
feature writer for the paper. Her marriage disintegrated after the war and
by 1951 she was submitting stories to the New Yorker and off to Live in
Paris. Her early years in Europe had her living in many short-term
situations in the south of France, Switzerland and Spain, and eventually
settled in the Montparnasse district of Paris, France. This was the home of
Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus in the 1950s, and the site of many student
demonstrations in 1968 and during the labour and student strikes about the
job laws in 2006. She chronicled the uprisings, initially for her personal
notebooks, but eventually agreed to let The New Yorker publish them. (They
Notebooks.) She received the Governor’s General Award in 1981
for her work Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories. She would
receive numerous honorary degrees, the Molson Prize from the Canada Council,
the Canada-Australia Literary Prize, a tribute at the International Festival
of Authors at Harbourfront in Toronto, the Blue Metropolis Literary Prize,
the Inaugural Matt Cohen Prize, and the Pen Nabokov Award for career
achievement. In 1981 she was made an officer of the Order of Canada and in
1993 this was upgraded to Companion of the Order of Canada. In 1983-1984 she
returned to Canada as Writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto. She
was preoccupied with the past in her last years as she prepared her
diaries covering the years from 1952 through 1969 for publication. The
diaries are to be published in Toronto and New York in 2015.In her last
decade she was plagued by ill health and poverty. but close friends rallied
to support her ‘valiant spirit, her coruscating wit and her generous
capacity for friendship.’
Source: Sandra Martin. Writer Mavis Gallant dies at age 91, In the Globe
and Mail February 18, 2014 ; The Canadian encyclopedia. Online
(Accessed June 2002)
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
New Delhi (now Dilli) India. She loved to read. Her favourite books growing
up were Anne of Green Gables and Little Women . in 1967, as a teenager she
immigrated to London, England with her family. She thought of entering
medicine and earned her BSc with honour from King’s College, London. Finding
that medicine was not really her calling she traveled and in the late 1970’s
she moved to Prince Edward Island where she married. The couple would have 4
daughters. Rachna earned her Bachelor of Education at the University of
Prince Edward Island. She had always thought she would like to write and
was constantly jotting notes in a scribbler but she never got around to
writing anything from her notes. In 1989 she 1st picture book was
accepted by a publisher was entitled: My Mother is Weird. In 1990 the
family relocated to Ottawa, Ontario. In 1991 using the pseudonym Rachna
Mara she published a collection of short stories. In the 1990’s she battled
breast cancer but soon returned to writing. In 1999 she earned the Governor
General’s Award for children’s book A Screaming Kind of Day. In 2006
she won the I.O.D.E Violet Downey Book Award for The Sower of Tales.
Her book the Trouble with Dilly was a Girl Guide Club pick and Resource
Links Best Fiction (grades 3-8). She plans on writing more books letting her
imagination lead her to more interesting characters.
Source: Dave Jenkinson, ‘Rachna Gilmore’ CM Magazine, 2001. Online.
(Accessed May 2014.)
Dorothy-Jane "DJ" Goulding
youngster growing up she worked helping her mother who was director at the
Toronto Children’s Players. After high school she earned a music degree and
a degree in classical ballet. She attended Toronto Normal School (Teacher’s
College) and started teaching in a regular classroom but soon she round the
larger appeal of the radio classroom. She scripted fairy tale plays and went
on to storytelling. She was soon noticed by CBC Radio and for 9 years from
1948 through 1957 she did Kindergarten of the Air on CBC. It was during this
time that DJ married Bill Needles and the couple had five children. She
began writing her stories and her first book Margaret told the story of a
Irish immigrant girl bringing history alive for young readers. She taught
summer school drama for the Toronto Board of Education and continued to
write and produce for CBC’s school broadcasting division. She has published
songs, books, almost 100 plays, a history of Toronto, an historical novel
and drama guides for teachers. After she retired she moved to her farm in
Duffrin County, Ontario and began working with seniors as well as working
with youth in drama. She also enjoys her online publishing.
Sources: Dorothy-Jane Goulding: Profiles. Canadian Library
Association, 1971 ; Needles Publishing. Biography. 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
Behavior 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
Ethel Kirk Grayson
20, 1890 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Died November 27, 1980. She obtained her
early education in Moose Jaw and then attended the University of Toronto to
obtain her BA in 1910. She travelled to Hong Kong and Honolulu before
attending the University of Manitoba where she received her Masters Degree.
She took up a teaching career teaching English at Mount Allison Ladies
College and then at McMurray College for Women in Jacksonville, Illinois,
U.S.A. from 1924 through 1928. In 1920 a novel was published in serial form
and in 1928 she published the 1st of her 3 novels.
She would publish one play, "Flower of the Storm," which appeared in
Wilson’s Monthly in 1926.
In 1948 with
a published volume of verse called Beggar’s Velvet. She was also a frequent
contributor of prose and verse to numerous periodicals.
Canada's Early Women Writers. SFU Library Digital Collections. Simon Fraser
University, Burnaby, BC, Canada. 1980-2014.
Grignon. Born April 16, 1893 (also reported as 1900) Saint-Jerome, Quebec.
Died August 21, 1968. As a journalist she wrote for women’s magazines. She
married Hyacinthe ‘Hy’ Guevremont and the couple settled in Sorel, Quebec
where she was a writer and editor for Le courier de Sorel. Relocating
to Montreal she worked as a court stenographer and began writing short
stories. In the 1940’s 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’s General Award in literature. In
1961 she was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Her work
also won the Prix David and the Prix Sully-Olivier de Serres from the
Académie française. Canada Post issued a commemorative postage stamp in her
honor in 1968.
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!
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 April 4, 1940 New York City, New York, U.S.A. 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.
(ée 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
Phyllis 'Pat' Grosskurth
Born March 16, 1924, Toronto, Ontario. Died August 2, 2015, Toronto,
Ontario. Known to family and friends as ‘Pat’ she earned her MA at the
University of Ottawa. When her 1st husband, naval officer Robert
Grosskurth , took her to England with his job she earned her PhD in 1962
from Birkbeck College, University of London. In 1965, back in Toronto, she
was the 1st female professor hired in the English Department of
the University of Toronto. Pat would may 2 more times to actor and producer
Mavor Moore from 1968-1978 and to Bob McMullan. She would have 3 children.
Pat was renowned in her chosen genre of writing biographies. She published
life stories of such giants as John Addington Symonds, which contained a
frank treatment of his homosexuality, in 1964 . The book won the Governor
General’s Award. She wrote of Havelock Ellis in 1980, and her second
Governor General’s Award winning book was the biography of Melanie, Klein
in 1986. Lord Byron’s biography was published in 1997. In 1999 she published
her own memoirs. She enjoyed travelling and she was invited to deliver
lectures in Brazil. Argentina, Italy, France and Germany. She retired as a
professor in 2000 only to lead a group of some 100 retired professors and
librarians in a fight against the University to give retired female
professors better pensions, akin to those of their male counterparts. In
2002 the group reached a settlement which was expected to bring the
protestors enhanced benefits. That same year she was inducted into the Order
of Canada. She also holds the Order of Ontario. Throughout her life she had
battled depression as well as both breast cancer and leukemia in her
lifetime, and suffered a debilitating stroke in late 2002 which limited her
to a wheelchair. Sources:
Lisa Fitterman, ’Phyllis Grosskurth: Brilliant biographer relished a
challenge’ , The Globe and Mail, August 28, 2015; Diana Hall,
‘Biographer Phyllis Grosskurth a fiery literary force ‘, The Toronto Star,
August 9, 2015.
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.
17, 1946, Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1976 she took a 5 week course at
Alberta’s Banff Centre on writing. The course instructors included authors
W. O. Mitchell, Alice Munro and others. She became a teacher at junior and
senior high school where she inspired students to be creative in their
writings. She also used her own writing skills to produce books for young
adults and children as well as professional books for teachers. Her sports
stories for young adults drew on her own love of playing basketball at high
school and university. In 1998 she earned the Prime Minister’s Teaching
Award as an outstanding and innovative teacher. In 2000 her book Menace and
Mischief won the Canadian Authors Association Lilla Stirling Award. She is a
member and has served on the executive of the Writer’s Association of Nova
Scotia. Currently retired she is enjoying writing her next books and
travelling to provide learning and author sessions at schools and libraries
Source: “Sylvia Gunnery” by Dave Jenkinson CM Magazine, University of
Manitoba. Online (Accessed January 2007)
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.
Lucy Christie Harris
Born November 21, 1907 Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A. Died January 5, 2002.
Christie arrived in British Columbia with her Irish family in 1908. At the
age of 12 while living with her family in the Fraser Valley she sold her 1st
newspaper reports to the New Westminster Columbian. She graduated
from Normal School (teachers College) and began teaching in Surrey when she
was just 17. The Vancouver Daily Province purchased stories she used to
write for her students. In 1932 she married a Royal Canadian Mounted Police
constable, Thomas Arthur Harris and the couple soon were parents to 5
In her early years of marriage, she wrote primarily for the Province's
women's page and also sent radio scripts to the CBC. Over the years
she provided hundreds of school programs, serial adventures, and
adult plays for the CBC. Christie even adapted an adventure serial from her
1st book The Caribou Trail in 1957.
moved to Prince Rupert, British Columbia in 1958 where she wrote a series of
dramas on First Nations topics for the CBC. This author soon found her true
talent in writing children’s’ stories and books. Her stories were told in
aboriginal settings teaching the need and respect for the 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 in 1976 for Mouse
Woman and the Vanished Princesses. In 1980 with The Trouble with
Princesses, which retells stories about Northwest Coast princesses and
compares them with old world European princesses, she won the Canada Council
Children’s Literature prize (the forerunner of the Governor General’s Award
for English Language children’s Literature) She became a member of the
Order of Canada in 1980. In 1998 Christie received the George Woodcock
Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding literary career. Three
months after her death, the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s
Literature Prize was announced as a new category of the British Columbia
George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award. Online Accessed March 2016.
Stibbards. Born September 1937, Shaunovon, Saskatchewan. In 1959 she
graduated McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. She married 1st
to television producer Barry Harris and for the second time to Jack Batten.
As a radio host on CBC she was known as the ‘Urban Gardner’. She wrote
articles and columns on gardening for newspapers and magazines. She has
served as Editor in Chief of Gardening Life Magazine and has
published 19 books on gardening. Her Native Plants of North America
is a social and anecdotal history of the native plants found in Canada and
the U.S.A. In 2005 and 2006 she donated her archives to McMaster University.
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!
Sundre, Alberta. Marilyn grew up on her father’s ranch in Alberta. She left
home when she became a teacher but soon returned to teach near home. She was
encouraged to write by her secondary school students and her 1st
book, a young adult novel, Cowboys Don’t Cry won a contest. This book
was later made into a movie premiering at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.
In 1983 she earned the Alberta Culture Writing for Youth Award and in 1988
she won the R. Ross Arnett Award from the Writers Guild of Alberta High
School teacher. By 2004 she had published over 10 books and in 2007 she
earned the Golden Eagle Children’s Choice Book Award given annually to an
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.
Schwartz) Born January 1, 1887, Austria. Died December 31, 1975. Her family
immigrated to Canada in 1903. During the trip to Canada Clara met another
young Jewish immigrant, Israel Hoffer (1887-1962) and the couple were soon
married. The couple settled as farmers in Sonnenfield, Saskatchewan. There
are remembered as outstanding farmers and community leaders. Clara along
with her daughter Fannie Hoffer Kahan wrote Israel’s story of immigration
and farm live in the book Land of Hope (Saskatoon, Modern Press,
1960) and she also wrote Township 25.
Source Jewish Women’s Archive. Personal information for Clara Hoffer
Online (Accessed June 2013)
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: email@example.com.
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)
Gillian Johnson Shakespeare
(née Johnson) Born February 26, 1963, Winnipeg, Manitoba. As a young girl
growing up Canadian winters were a way of life and she started at 6 to
compete in speed skating. She would win 12 national speed skating titles and
would represent Canada on the national team that trained in Germany. While
she always liked to write and sketch her 1st year at the
University of Manitoba was spent in labs for chemistry, physics and biology.
However she soon found English courses easier and much more fun. After the
death of her father she cared for her mother. After her mother’s death she
relocated to Toronto where she met author Nicholas Shakespeare a writer on
tour. In 1999 the couple married and settled in Tasmania with some time
spent each year in Oxford, England. The couple have two sons. Gillian writes
and illustrates her own books for children . Some 30 titles had been
published and translated into 10 different languages by 2014. She has also
illustrated works by author colleagues including noted children’s poet
Source: Gillian Johnson by Dave Jenkinson in CM Magazine,
University of Manitoba Online (Accessed January 2007)
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).
30, 1969, Ponka, Alberta. She would attend fashion design school in Toronto,
Ontario but somehow it did not work out for her. Instead she began a degree
in English literature at the University of Toronto but returned west to the
University of British Columbia to complete the degree. She took a job as an
editor at a self help book publishing company and continued her formal
education with a Masters degree in publishing. When she began writing she
would write on the bus and she migrated to a coffee ship. Her 1st
novel Alice I think appeared in 2000. She has also produced a series
of books about a teen girl who does not quite fit into her world, the Alice
MacLeod series. The books have become the basis for television series. She
also teaches creative writing at the Vancouver Island University and at the
University of British Columbia.
Juby by Dave Jenkinson CM magazine online accessed January 2007.
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)
Corners, Upper Canada (now 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 and also taught art. However it is her writings that
would remain her legacy. She would publish some three books including
Historical Sketches of Scotland (Toronto, 1905). In 1896 and 1905 she
published two books of her poetry. In 1878 she published a novel : The
Cromaboo Mail Carrier: a Canadian love story. The novel was banned when
first published because it offended many of the townspeople of Erin, Ontario
who felt that they were being made fun of by the author. She had planned a
sequel to the book but it never materialized. She used her pen name James
Thomas James for her 1878 novel and many of her stories written with her pen
name were picked up by cheap pulp magazines in the United States.
Guide to the Literary Heritage of Waterloo and Wellington Counties.
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. ;
Norma Eloise West Linder
Born 1928, Toronto,
Ontario. Norma would spend her childhood on Manitoulin Island, and teenage
years in Muskoka, Ontario. Linder is the author of 5 novels, 13 collections
of poetry, a memoir of Manitoulin Island, a children’s book, a collection or
short stories, and a biography of Pauline McGibbon entitled: Pauline
with the 1st edition 1979. She was on the faculty of Lambton
College in Sarnia, teaching English and Creative Writing. Her poems and
short stories have appeared in a multitude of contemporary Canadian
Magazines including Chatelaine and Our Canada. For 7 years
she wrote a monthly column for the Sarnia Observer, and she is a
regular contributor to “Daytripping in Southern Ontario”. She is Past
President of the Sarnia Branch of the Canadian Authors Assoc. She is married
and has three children.
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)
Norma Eloise West Linder
Born 1928, Toronto,
Ontario. Norma would spend her childhood on Manitoulin Island, and teenage
years in Muskoka, Ontario. Linder is the author of 5 novels, 13 collections
of poetry, a memoir of Manitoulin Island, a children’s book, a collection or
short stories, and a biography of Pauline McGibbon entitled: Pauline
with the 1st edition 1979. She was on the faculty of Lambton
College in Sarnia, teaching English and Creative Writing. Her poems and
short stories have appeared in a multitude of contemporary Canadian
Magazines including Chatelaine and Our Canada. For 7 years
she wrote a monthly column for the Sarnia Observer, and she is a
regular contributor to “Daytripping in Southern Ontario”. She is Past
President of the Sarnia Branch of the Canadian Authors Assoc. She is married
and has three children.
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 1910 Winnipeg, Manitoba 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 January 23, 1837 Kingston, Canada West (Ontario). 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 November 21, 1875 Woodstock, Ontario. 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
October 21,Thornhill, Ontario. Elizabeth attended the University of Toronto
where she studies sciences. After university she backpacked through Europe
for a year and returned to work at the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
One summer she attended the Banff School Publishing Workshop in Alberta.
Returning home she had a contact from the course approach her to work at
Owl Magazine, the Canadian publication for young children. To supplement
her Owl income she wrote for the text book publishing company, Grolier as
well as the Owl book publishing group. Leaving Owl in 1989 she worked for a
software company which taught her that she would rather be publishing books.
Working with Kids Can Press she has written biographies of famous people as
well as the Kids Book of Great Canadians published in 2004. That same
year her work on Helen Keller won the Society of School Librarian
International Honour Book designation. She has also published in 2006 the
Kids Book of Great Canadian Women. Since Elizabeth also enjoys being in
the kitchen she has used her love of baking to produce several books for
youth including Bake and Make Amazing Cakes and Gifts to Make and
Elizabeth MacLeod by Dave Jenkinson CM Magazine, University of
Manitoba, 2006 Online (Accessed January 2007)
Jean Newton McIlwraith
Born 1859 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 1st 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 June 7, 1921, Montreal, Quebec. Died December 3, 1995. She enjoyed
writing and embraced it at the age of 11. From 1943 through 1952 she had a
career as a journalist. From 1952 through to 1960 she was director of the
magazine Amérique français and a columnist for the Petit journal.
She became the founder of the French Canadian chapter of PEN Club. She
married Lloyd Hobden. In 1966 she ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for
provincial election in Quebec for the Rassemblement pour l’independence
Nationals in the Westmount area of Montreal. In 1974 she was named to the
Académie des lettres du Québec and in 1978 she was inducted into the Order
of Canada. In 1990 she earned the Prix Athanase-David. The following year
she became a Grand Officer in the National Order of Quebec. She would
publish a total of 7 works consisting of collections of poems, short stories
and 4 novels.
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)
Librarian, journalist, historian
December 8, 1904, Wellington County, Ontario. After leaving high school, she
attended the Toronto Normal School and then taught successively in the
continuation schools at Aberfoyle and Wroxeter. She graduated from Queen's
University in 1930 with honours in English and History, after which she
obtained a library science degree from the University of Toronto. She worked
as a reference librarian in the Toronto Public Library until 1943 when she
became editor and research director for National Farm Radio Forum,
responsible for the study bulletin Farm Forum Guide. In 1954 she
joined the Citizenship Branch of the Department of Citizenship and
Immigration where she edited the bimonthly periodical Citizen. After
an early retirement, Ruth McKenzie began her career as a freelance writer,
editor and researcher. Her articles appeared in the Canadian Geographic
Journal, Chatelaine, the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, the Canadian
Encyclopedia and the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. She has written the
following books: Leeds and Grenville, Their First Two Hundred Years,
1967; Laura Secord, the Legend and the Lady, 1971; James
FitzGibbon, Defender of Upper Canada, 1983; and she edited The St.
Lawrence Survey Journals of Henry Wolsey Bayfield, two volumes,
(Champlain Society,1984 and 1986. )
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 .
Phoebe Florence Miller
Born July 8
1889, Topsail, Newfoundland. Died May 18, 1979, Topsail, Newfoundland. In
1907 Florence completed school and began working as a government telegraph
operator a position she held until she retired in 1942. In 1920 she won 1st
prize in Dr. Chase’s Almanac Great Diary Contest sponsored by Edamson Bates
and Company. In 1921 and again in 1924 she tied for 1st place in
this annual competition. For over 25 years she submitted verses to American
greeting card companies such as Rust Craft Cards. She published one book of
poems and had her poems appear in the Evening Telegram, the Newfound
Quarterly and additional publications. In 1929 she Published In Caribou Land
(Toronto: Ryerson) with a forward by the acclaimed Canadian poet E.J. Pratt.
Florence was also an avid letter writer to family and friends who had moved
Source: The Gazette January 26, 1995.
Suggestion submitted by Nora Phillips.
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-Macdonald
née Montgomery. Born November
30, 1874 Clifton, Prince Edward Island. 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 December 6, 1803 Bungay, England.
Died April 8,1885 Ontario, Canada. 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 June 27, 1816 Died 1849. It is rumored that she stuck a pencil
in her ear and caused some brain damage when she was only seven years old.
As a young adult she ran off to the U.S.A. where she claimed to have been a
Nun who had been sexually exploited. The newspapers and magazines picked up
on her stories and in 1936 a book was published under the title of The awful
disclosures of Maria Monk or the hidden secrets of a Nun. The book fuelled
the anti-Catholic sentiment of the era and was popular reading. A sequel to
the popular first volume soon followed. Investigations into the truth of the
works also followed. These later investigations would show that the premises
of the books were false but the harm had been done to strengthen religious
dissention. Marie herself simply drifted off to live a life that would end
in an almshouse at Blackwell’s Island in New York.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography (accessed May 2008)
Audrey Yvonne Morris
Born July 1930, Athens, Ontario. Died June 1, 2014, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In
1952 she earned her BA in Political Science from the University of Toronto.
While at university she wrote a collective biography which included
Catherine Parr Trail and Susanna Moodie. Her work originally appeared in
installments in Chatelaine magazine prior to being published as a separate
book in 1968 under the title Gentle Pioneers: fifteen nineteenth century
Canadians.. Audrey worked as a civil servant in Ottawa at various positions
including as a speech writer. Re locating to Winnipeg she worked as a
consultant in her own business, Morris Associates doing career consulting.
She also wrote a business section column in the Winnipeg Free Press.
Source: Obituary, Toronto Globe and Mail July 19, 2014.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon of Ottawa.
Alberta. Died February 8, 2013, Petrolia, Ontario. She married Dan Cameron
and in 1960 the couple settled in Sarnia , Ontario. Hope earned a bachelor
of arts in English from the University of Western Ontario and did post
graduate work in Irish literature at the University of Dublin. She authored
several works of fiction, including "Nahanni," a book she co-authored with
Norma West Linder (1928- ). Her works received many awards over the years,
including first place in a writing competition sponsored by the Banff School
of Fine Arts (now the Banff Centre), which earned her a writing scholarship.
She taught creative writing at Lambton College and launched a creative
writing program for gifted students. Hope was a member of The Writers’
Union of Canada and a member of WIT (Writers in Transition) in Sarnia.
Morritt, local author and friend of writers, has died” By
JD Booth online at The Lampton
Shield.com on February 9, 2013
Ethel Rogers Mulvany
Born Manitoulin Island, Ontario. While still a teenager she was teaching in
a local primary school. She eventually moved to Toronto to attend formal
teacher training. She began working as a director of an arts and literary
society. In 1933 while on tor of Asia doing an educational survey she met
and married a British army doctor. In 1940 the couple were posted in
Singapore. While volunteering as an aide worker with the Australian Red
Cross she became a prisoner after the Japanese invasion on December 8, 1941
and was sent with 1300 other women to Changi prison. She kept the women busy
holding imaginary tea parties where the ladies pretended to be finely
dressed and dining on sumptuous dishes. This exercise stimulated salvia
glands helping stave off hunger pains. She also had the women quilting and
hiding notes in quilt squares that went to Prisoner of War camps where many
husbands where prisoners. Back in Canada after the war she completed an 800
page recipe cook book highlighting the war time tea party recipes that was
sold to raise funds for British Prisoner of War hospital patients. The
cookbook was republished in 2013 by the Manitoulin Historical Society.
Lorraine Malinder.” Ether Roger Mulvany” in Canada’s History Magazine
Born July 10, 1931 Wingham, Ontario. 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 May 24, 1918 Carisbrooke, England.
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 September 6, 1900 Bergen, Norway. 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
1883 Gunnersby, Middlesex, England. 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 May 8, 1930, St. John’s, Newfoundland. 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 1839,England. 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
Source: Janice Rapport
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 March 28, 1931, Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.A. Died November 27, 2007
Galiano Island, British Columbia. During the Second World War her family
moved around various army basis before finally settling in San Francisco.
Jane attended Mills College, Oakland, California and earned her B.A. While
teaching at Concord Academy in Massachusetts in 1954 she met her lifelong
partner, author and educator Helen Sonthoff. The couple moved to Vancouver
in 1956 and soon received their Canadian citizenship. She taught
periodically at the University of British Columbia while writing. Her 1st
novel, Desert of the Heard was published in 1964. In 1976 the couple settled
on Galiano Island off the west coast of British Columbia. Desert Hearts
became a movie in 1985 and was a ground breaking topic. In all she wrote a
dozen book including three short story collections as well as writing for
various high profile publications. For the gay liberationist newspaper the
Body Politic a regular column from 1979-1985. In 1998 she received the Order
of British Columbia and was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada in
Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Accessed April 2014)
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
Toronto, Ontario. Rosemary attended York University, Toronto for her
undergraduate studies and continued at the University of Toronto for post
graduate studies in Social work. She was dominant person in the 1995 push to
have the provincial and federal governments to declare February as Black
She has also had an active career outside of her history crusade,
particularly in the fields of education and social work. She has worked as a
school teacher and a hospital social worker and done volunteer work with
developmentally delayed adults, emotionally disturbed children, and recent
immigrants. She sat on Toronto's Ministry of Education Advisory Panel and
vetted the black history curriculum produced by Toronto's District School
Board. She was employed in the Women's Bureau of the Office of the Deputy
Premier, where she developed a series of programs to encourage women to
pursue training and employment in science fields. In 1993 she became
president of the Ontario Black History Society a position she held until
2015.She has received numerous awards for her efforts including in 1999 the
William Peyton Hubbard Relations Award, the Women of Pace Award, and the
Black Links Award. In the mid-2000s she completed her doctoral coursework at
the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto in the
Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education. In 2005 she earned
the Planet Africa Marcus Garvey Award. She also holds a lifetime achievers
Award from Women Achievers’ Awards and is a member of the Order of Ontario.
Rosemary married Jay Sadlier and the couple have three children.
née Goodman. Born December 9, 1890, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died July 13, 1970.
In 1913 she married George Salverson and the couple lived in Winnipeg,
Manitoba and then Toronto, Ontario. In 1923 Laura presented the 1st
of her 7 published works, The Viking Heart. Most of her works would
reflect her Icelandic background. In 1937 Laura published the Dark Weaver
for which she received a Governor General’s Award in literature. In 1939 she
produced an autobiography, Confessions of an Immigrant’s Daughter which also
won a Governor General’s Award. In 1954 her Immortal Rock: the Saga of
the Kennington Stone won the Ryerson Fiction Award. Laura was a member
of the Paris Institute of Arts and Sciences which awarded her a gold medal
for literary merit.
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).
Born November 29, 1783, Cornwall, England. Died July 9, 1866, Toronto,
Ontario. Susan Married William Sibbald in 1807. The couple would have 11
children. In 1835 the family immigrated to Upper Canada (Now Ontario).
Within the year of landing in Canada Susan became a widow. The family must
have had some fortune for they were able to live in the colonial wilderness
in comfort. She wrote, much like the better known sister authors, Susannah
Moodie, and Catharine Parr Trail, notes for those who might wish to
immigrate. Her work was entitled : A few days in the United States and
Canada, hints for settlers published in 1846. She also penned an
autobiography of the 1st 29 years of her life which was published
in 1926 by her great-grandson. A facsimile reprint of the Memoirs of
Susan Sibbald 1783-1812 was published in 2010.
Source: Marian E. Fowler, “MEIN, SUSAN,” in
Dictionary of Canadian Biography,
vol. 9, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed January 30,
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.
Constance Lindsay Skinner
December 7, 1877 Stanley, British Columbia. Died March 27, 1939, New York
City, New York, U.S.A. At 10 years of age her family left the Caribou region
relocation 1st to Victoria and then to Vancouver, British
Columbia. Even as a teen in school she wrote plays, poetry and newspaper
article under the names of C. Lindsay Skinner and Constance Lindsay. By 1895
her work had been published in the Canadian Magazine out of Toronto.
By 1913 she used her full name when publishing her poetry. By 1920 she used
full name exclusively for all her writings. In 1900 she moved to Los Angeles
and worked for the LA Times and the following year her works appeared
across the country. In 1903 she was working for William Randolf Hearst at
the LA Examiner By 1908 she was in Chicago and in 1912 she had
arrived in New York City. As well as writing “Sob Sister” stories of human
interest she successfully continued her poetic endeavors and wrote plays
which she published in her own collected works, In the 1920’s and 1930’s she
was known for her histories of pioneers as well as a 3 volume history of the
fur trade: Beavers, Kings, and Cabins (NY; Macmillan, 1933). She also wrote
successful novels with Canadian settings from 1917 through 1929. She
published 19 books, 30 short stories and some 75 poems. Most of her female
characters were brave resourceful and refused to defer to men.
Source: Jean Barman, “SKINNER, CONSTANCE LINDSAY (Constance Annie),” in
Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 16, University of
Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed July 28, 2014,
Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Born December 12, 1954 Brantford, Ontario. 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
university in 1978 she worked as a salesperson in Industrial tools where she
found that other women working in the industry as secretaries and
receptionists were “most hostile’ to her as a woman salesperson. She went on
to become a top sales representative for Canada.
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 Orest Skrypunch in 1981 and became
a stay at home for her son.Not
liking commercial breat pad sold on the market she developed her own and
soon had her own successful business selling her hand-stitched,
washable breast pads. In 1992 she began to write her own books.
Canadian of Ukrainian descent she began to write stories about Ukrainian
Canadians who were interned during World War l, and the Armenian genocide of
1915. In addition she wrote stories about orphans of the Vietnam War.
Disregarding constant refusals from publishers her 1st book
Silver Threads was published in 1996 winning the Amelia Frances
Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award and was listed by the Ontario Library
Association as a ‘Best Bet’. Since then she has published over 20 book for
young readers and has been nominated or won some 45 awards for her
stories. She started the Brantford Book Camp for children and a Summer
Writing Workshop for adults. In 2008 she was named to the Order of Princess
Olha, one of the Highest Awards from the Ukraine.
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 September 1, 1915, Newton, Kansas, U.S.A.
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.
née Biss. Born
August 28, 1907 Standerton, Transvaal,
South Africa. Died December 16,
1998 Ottawa, Ontario..
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.
Edna Louise Staebler
née Cress. Born January 15, 1906, Berlin (Now Kitchener) Ontario. Died
September 12, 2006, Waterloo, Ontario. Edna was raised in Mennonite country
which would have great influence on her career. In 1929 she graduated with a
BA from the University of Toronto and she followed up with a teacher’s
certificate from the Ontario College of Education. At 16 she had experienced
the joy of writing and she would have her works published in numerous
magazines and journals including; Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Saturday Night,
Reader’s Digest, the Star Weekly as well as numerous newspapers.
She wrote non –fiction, historical research, creative non – fiction literary
criticism but perhaps is best known for her cook books. While she had
published earlier her best loved cook book was Food That Really Schmecks
published by McClelland and Stewart in 1968. It would see numerous editions
and a series develop from the original publishing. The books contained not
only recipes of the Mennonite community but there were anecdotes, and
stories of daily life interspersed between the culinary delights. In all she
would publish 21 books including the ‘Schmecks’ series. In 1991 she
established an award for creative non-fiction to be presented annually at
Wilfrid Laurier University. In 1996 she became a member of the Order of
Canada. Just prior to her death Must write: Edna Staebler Diaries
edited by Christi Verduyn was published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press,
Sources: Edna Staebler, B.A. L.L.D ,Who’s
Who in the Media Club of Canada 1991 : ‘Remembering Edna Staebler’,
Globe and Mail, Toronto, September 17, 2006.
Born April 22, 1952.
22, 1952. Kathy has had a variety of careers from sorting mail, waiting
tables to teaching school. She was one of the last teachers to go directly
from one year in Teachers’
College into the classroom. While
teaching she worked toward a B.A. at the University of Toronto, but she didn’t
complete it. She married in 1971, had two children (a son and a daughter),
and then divorced. She has been with life partner Peter Carver since 1985. In 1982 she published her
first children’s book, Red is Best with Annick Press. Since then
Kathy has published more than 2 dozen works including picture books, novels
for young adults, historical fiction, short stories, biographies as well as
several other works of non-fiction.
is Best, Big
or Little? and The Bare Naked Book have all been published in
20th or 25th anniversary editions. Mom and Dad Don’t Live Together
Anymore, published in 1984, was revised and re-illustrated in 2007.Mom
and Dad Don’t Live Together Anymore, published in 1984, was revised in
2007. Her books have made the Ontario Library Association Top Ten books of
the Year listing and the CBC lists Red is Best as one of the top ten
Picture books each Canadian Home should have. She has been
Writer-in-Residence at various Public Libraries in Southern Ontario
including, East York, Toronto, Kitchener and Vaughn. Kathy also has embraced
the latest technology as Writer-in-Electronic Residence, linking her to
student and Professional writers across Canada.
Source: “Kathy Stinson” by
Dave Jenkinson CM Magazine, 2006 online (Accessed May 2014) ; Personal
Elizabeth 'Bette' Storin
Died 2005. At age 11 Bette won an essay competition with the Toronto City
Daily which included publication and prize money, and she was hooked on
writing for a career. For 3 years she worked in the Children’s Division of
the Toronto Public Library. In 1970 Bette and her family moved to British
Columbia where she started a day care centre and took courses at Camosun
College in Victoria earning a Certificate in Early Childhood Development.
She organized and ran for 10 years her own pre school for 18 children. Bette
contributed to the Xerox Weekly Reader, Highlights for Children, Jack and
Jill, Country Guide, the Western Producer, Vancouver Sun and many other
Canadian and American publications. She has also been published in trade
magazines such as Milk Salesman in Pittsburg, and the Chicago Milk
Plant Monthly. Her children’s book The Dreadful Dragon of Dismal Rock
was published by Borealis Press in 1985. A prolific writer, 36 of her short
stories have been broadcast on the CBC’s “John Drainie Short Story Program”
and the “Bernie Braden Short Story Program”, her stories have also been
narrated by personalities such as Don Harron and Nonie Griffin.
Source: Who’s Who in
the Media Club of Canada
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
née Tall. Born 1917 Swan River, Manitoba. Died May 31, 2015, Airdrie,
Alberta. Gladys trained as a teacher and taught in Winnipeg for several
years. In 1940 she married Lorne Taylor in 1940 During
World War II.
Lorne served in the
and from 1943 Gladys served in the
Canadian Women's Army
Corps. At war end the couple settled to
The housewife and mother of 4 began writing fiction as a hobby, and won the
Ryerson Press Award
for best novel of the year twice for her works Pine Roots, 1956 and
The King Tree, 1958.. She also served for several years as editor of
Canadian Bookman & Quarterly, the quarterly trade publication of the
Association. Divorced at age 50, Gladys moved west to
She became editor for the publication Western Leisure, which she
eventually bought. She expanded the business by acquiring a network of
community newspapers, including The Wheel and Deal, the Rocky View
Five Village Weekly, the Carstairs Courier and the Airdrie
Advance. In 1983 she was Calgary’s Businesswoman of the year. In 1984
she published which was based on her tour of Australia in 1977. Alone
in the Australian Outback which was the basis for the 1992 film
Over the Hill.
In 1987, she published Alone in the Boardroom, a memoir of her
experience as a woman in business at a time when that was still a rarity in
that era. She ran as an independent candidate in the
Alberta Senate nominee
election, 1989, finishing fourth of six candidates. Her 5th
book, Valinda, Our Daughter, 1993. The book tells of the
Egypt Air Flight 648
hijacking, with a focus on one of the Canadian passengers.
The town of Irricana, Alberta has named the public library in her honor.
Sources: Gladys Taylor, Who’s Who in the Media Club of Canada 1991;
Obituary, Calgary Herald, June 4, 2015.
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 July 2,
1887, Laurierville, Quebec. Died November 27, 1977, Orleans, Ontario. She
completed her university studies at the University of Ottawa and remained
the city as a journalist and writer. She collaborated on the Annales de
l’institut Canadien-français d’Ottawa, Revue Moderne and was editor of the
women’s pages of the French language newspaper Le Droit from
1934-1950. In May 1925 she was appointed to the French secretariat of the
Council of Women in Washington, DC U.S.A. She was an active member of the
Canadian Women’s Press Club, the Société d’étude et de conferences, the
Société de écrivains des canadiens-française and the Association of Women
Journalists. She began to publish books in 1920, 1930, and in 1933 she
published two more books. In 2005 the Ontario Heritage Foundation erected an
historic plaque in Ottawa commemorating her life and work.
‘Marie-Rose Turcot, journalist and author’, Ottawa raconte-moi Online
(accessed July 2015)
Born 1929, Hamilton, Ontario. As a high school student she worked summers at
CKOC a Hamilton radio station. After graduating from McMaster University,
Hamilton Dorothy worked as a copywriter at the radio station. After her
marriage and becoming a parent she began a freelance career writing
on infant and child care, then later articles on travel, history, and other
topics. She wrote a weekly column in the St. Catharines Standard
newspaper for 15 years, and for 22 years has had a weekly column, ‘Over the
Coffee Cups’, in The Grimsby Independent and a column, ‘A Small Drop
of Ink’, in The Grimsby Lincoln News. She has written some ten books
that include local history works, a biography of Canadian baseball player
Fergie Jenkins, and The Nelles Story, Pioneers, Loyalists, Founding
Families published in 1910. Dorothy has always been active in her
community besides reporting on community life she has been involved in the
Local Architecture Conservation Advisory Committee, served as president of
the Grimsby Public Library and Art Gallery Board. She also served from
1985-88 as the President of the Media Club of Canada. She is a founding
member of Grimsby Block parents and works with the Grimsby Historical
Society Archives. She is also an active member of St. Philips-By-The-Lake
Dorothy Turcotte, Who’s Who Media Club of Canada, 1991; Dorothy
Turcotte.ca (Accessed July 2015) ; Amicus, catalogue of the National
Library of Canada Online (Accessed July 2015)
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.
Lac-à-La-Tortue, Québec. Died February 7, 1987, Ottawa, Ontario. After
graduating from Laval University she studied at St Germain-des-Prés, France.
In 1924 she married civil aviation pioneer Romeo Vachon. The couple would
have 4 children. In 1944 the family settled in Ottawa. She was one of the
founders of the Ottawa Branch and also served as president of La Société
d’étude et de conference. She also found time to set up guided tours of the
National Gallery of Canada. She was a member of the Female Journalists’
Circle of Ottawa. She would write her husband’s biography entitled Romeo
Vachon: distinguished Canadian Aviator in 1969. Still in the aviation
theme in 1974 she penned Goggles, Helmets and Airmail Stamps and it
the following year she published Images of Romeo Vachon. For 6 years
she was in charge of the historical documents of the Royal Canadian Air
Force. She served on the Board of Directors of L’Alliance française d
‘Ottawa serving as chair 1954/5. She founded Christ–Roi Branch of the
L’Alliance française des femmes canadiennes-française in Ottawa. On May 16,
1967 she received the L’Alliance française medal from the French Ambassador.
Source: Georgette Vachon, Community Leader and Author, Ottawa
raconte-moi. Online (Accessed July 2015)
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.
Sheila Martin Watson.
née Doherty. Born October 24, 1909, New Westminster, British Columbia. Died February 1,
1998. Sheila graduated from the University of Toronto. She published short
stories in numerous magazines and journals. She married fellow poet and
dramatist Wilfred Watson. Her novel Double Hook, written in 1959, is
considered the point for the beginning of contemporary writing in Canada.
In 1984 she was awarded for her writings the Lorne Pierce medal from the Royal
Society of Canada. A biography of Sheila, Always Someone to Kill the Doves: the
Life of Sheila Watson was published by F.T. Flahiff in 2005.
October 24-25 2009 – St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto held
a 2-day event to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth and the
50th Anniversary of her book Double Hook. She or her works
are mentioned in some 1800 books!
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.
Sydell attended Toronto Teacher’s College and when she began teaching in
primary grade school she also took on the position of teacher librarian. She
is married with three children. For a while she wrote stories for various
Canadian and American magazine. She then became interested and wondered why
women’s life stories were not being told. She too a course in women’s
studies at the Women’s Resource Centre at the Ontario Institute of Studies
in Education. She also did some historical research and produced her 1st
book, a biography for young readers about Canada’s 1st practicing
woman doctor Emily Stowe (1831-1903) called Changing the Pattern. The
book won the Toronto Heritage Award of Merit in 1990 and the Our Choice Seal
for Best Canadian Children’s Book. Her book Storytelling Around the World
won the Rooster Prize. Another biography that Sydell has written for young
readers, Believing in Books: the Story of Lillian Smith, won the 2002
Frances E. Russell Award from the International Board on Books for Young
People (IBBY). It is the story of the Toronto woman who was 1st
children’s librarian in the British Commonwealth. Famous Canadian Women
sincerely hopes that more books for young readers telling the stories of
Canadian women is part of the future plans for this author.
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.
née Kesslering Born Saskatchewan
After graduating with a BA in 1949 from the University of Saskatchewan. she
took a job in Regina with the Commonwealth, the Saskatchewan CCF
weekly where, as the only reporter on staff, she covered everything, had a
column and even wrote an editorial. Her next job was with the Regina
Leader-Post . In the 1950s she spent two years as a foreign service
officer in Ottawa and New York. She did some freelance work in Canada and
Africa and, in 1963, joined the Toronto Star where she remained until
her retirement in 1991. At the Star she was, in turn, reporter,
feature writer and writer of editorials as a member of the newspaper’s
editorial board. She won a Canadian Women’s Press Club award for news
reporting in 1969. Margaret joined the Heliconian Club in 1979, has served
on the Executive Committee, was co-editor of The Bulletin for 10
years and served on the Board of Management of the Heliconian Hall
Foundation as president. That same year 1979, she became the 1st journalist
to receive a special award from the American Association on Mental
Deficiency for the citation called Socially Responsible Journalism.
She wrote the book, Envoys Extraordinary: Women of the Canadian Foreign
Service, (Toronto, Dundurn Press, 1995). In October 2009 she was named
one of a number of Alumni of Influence by the University of Saskatchewan and
in June 2010 the university awarded her an honorary Doctor of Letters
Source: Duff Spofford, ‘Stop the Presses! Looking back on 100 years of
Sheaf Alumni in the Media. (Part 4, 1946-1952)’, The Sheaf,
September 18, 2012.
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!
September 23, 1946, Edmonton, Alberta. During high school she taught piano
and became interested in drama touring in summers with a children’s theater
group. Anne graduated from the University of Alberta having studied
mathematics. While at university she had also continued music studies and
after graduation she became a high School music teacher. She worked for a
short time as a computer programmer and then decided to travel the world for
two years going to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. She was
inspired to become a storyteller and upon returning to Canada she joined
friends to for a film collective, Filmwest. From 1975 to 1985 she had a
position in Edmonton with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and in
1981 she was able to make her 1st feature film A War Story.
Still living in Edmonton, Alberta and caring for her two sons, she
completed her 1st film outside of the NFB came was Loyalties
in 1986. Her film “Bye Bye Blues” (1990) earned 3 Genie Awards. In
1990 the family relocated to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Her work
took her back to the prairies she directed the adaptation of Margaret
Lawrence’s The Diviners which was a 2 hour TV movie which won a
Genier for Best M.O.W. in Canada. Other Women’s Children garnered a Cable
Ace Award for Performance and was shown in both Canada and the U.S. The
War Between Us garnered several international awards including the
Special Jury Prize from the Houston Film Festival, the Red Cross Award for
Humanity, the Critic's Choice Award at both Monte Carlo and the Charleston
Festival in West Virginia, and a Cable Ace Award for Best Foreign
Programming in the U.S. In 1995 she was inducted into the Order of Canada
and the following she settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. in February of
1997 and for the second year in a row, her work won the Cable Ace Award for
Best International Programming. In 1998 she directed for the TV show Da
Vinci’s Inquest. After doing a series of movies she returned to Canadian
literature and adapted the short story, A Wilderness Station by Alice
Munro. It is now called on DVD, as Edge of Madness. She keeps herself
busy with multiple projects and has no plans for retirement. In 2012
she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Anne Wheeler Writer, Director, Producer, Biography. Annewheeler.com
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 May 21, 1928 Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died June 1, 1992, Toronto, Ontario.
Adel graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1949. She took on a
variety of jobs including teaching at the Overseas School of Rome, Italy for
a year in 1951. In 1955 she was in England volunteering for the Jewish
Girls’ Hospital in Stepney. Back in Canada she supported herself working as
a lab tech and as secretary to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. During this time
she was working on her 1st novel The Sacrifice which was
published in 1956 winning the Governor’s General Award for 1957 as well as
the Beta Sigma Phi Award. She then was writer-in-residence at the University
of Windsor in Ontario. From 1957-1960 she worked on a Guggenheim fellowship
in New York City, U.S.A. From 1961-1962 she worked on writing children’s
stories while living in London, Ontario. In 1964-1969 she was living in
Montreal, Quebec and lecturing at Sir George Williams University and other
institutions. She received a Canada Council Senior Arts Award to work on her
3rd novel and was writer-in-residence at the University of
Toronto which she followed up with taking similar positions as other Ontario
universities. Along with her novels and children’s books she had plays
published as well as essays and nonfiction works.
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.
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
née Davies. Born 1899. Died August 1, 1937. This author would
pen the book The Celtic Heart (Toronto, 1939) which was published after her
Born 1856 London, Canada West (now Ontario). Died March 4, 1906.
She worked as a journalist and married writer Frank Yeigh in 1892. She would
continue writing and produce a novel.
Carolyn Ann Young
13, 1961 Fredericton, New Brunswick. She attended the University of New
Brunswick earning her BA in 1983. While still a student she published
Heritage Handbook, Fredericton in 1982. She then attended the University
of Toronto for her M.A, in 1986 and then a M. Phil in 1989. She married John
G. Young on June 23, 1990 and the couple have one child. She worked as a art
historian at the University of Toronto before moving as a researcher at
Heritage Montreal in 1994-95. She has also worked at a translator of French
to English. She has published the Glory of Ottawa: Canada’s First
Parliament Buildings in 1995. Source: Canadian Who’s Who.
(Toronto: U of T Press, 1997)
Pamela S. Yule
née Vining. Born New York State, U.S.A. Died March 6, 1897.
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.
Debora Turney Zagwyn
14, 1953, Cornwall, Ontario. Deborah has always loved to draw and tell
stories. In the 1970’s Deborah toured the craft fairs of British Columbia
showing hand-woven and hand dyed tapestries. She had produced 5 mega murals
displayed in British Columbia. On March 8, 1978 she married Leo Zagwyn and
the couple has 2 children. She expanded her artistic talents to watercolour
paintings and soft-sculpture works and she has had her works exhibited all
along the west coast of Canada. She turned her talents to published stories
for children and had brought the stories alive with her won vibrant
illustrations. She had produced over 10 books for children winning the
Sheila Egoff Children’s Prize in 1989 and in 1995 she was a finalist in the
Mr. Christies Book Award.
Canadian Who’s Who (Toronto; University of Toronto Press; 1997)
Journalists and Broadcasters
Naomi Yanova Adaskin
Granatstein. Born May 6, 1908,Toronto, Ontario. 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.
1891 Beeton, Ontario. 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 December 4,
1940 Hertfordshire, England. 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 November 21, 1921,Calgary Alberta. 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
Susan Jane Anstey
Scott. Born 1946. Died November 9, 2005, Nobleton, Ontario. Susan
chaired the task force that resulted in the creation of Jump Canada, and
established the Horse Sport Young Riders Scholarship Fund in 1998 to
recognize the top Canadian performers at the annual North American Young
Riders’ Championship in the three Olympic disciplines. An avid horsewoman,
Susan Jane competed and judged hunters/jumpers, bred and raced
Thoroughbreds, published Canada's leading horse magazines including Horse
Sport, Horse-Canada and Canadian Thoroughbred, and was a lifelong member of
The Toronto & North York Hunt. She made a significant contribution to horse
sport both nationally and internationally, serving as a director of Jump
Canada, chair of the Media Advisory Committee of the Federation Equestre
International (FEI) and, for the last 12 years, President of the
International Alliance of Equestrian Journalists. Equine Canada create the
Susan Jane Anstey Media Award to an exceptional individual who has delivered
outstanding media coverage which served to enhance the image of Canadian
equine interests to the Canadian Public. Source: Obituary In Memorium.
November 11, 2005. Online. Accessed February 2016.
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.
Vera Lyla Helen Ayling
Born February 4, 1906, Saint John, New Brunswick. Died January 21, 1999. She
enjoyed writing even in public school. In grade 8 she wrote a story about a
child in World War l and won a Saint John city wide prize for her work. In
her 20’s her stories were published in the United Church Sunday School
papers. She also wrote stories and plays for radio. In the late 1920’s and
early 1930’s she worked at the New Brunswick Museum Archives. On June 22,
1937 she married Arthur Richard Ayling and settled in Moncton, New
Brunswick. The couple had two sons. After her marriage she wrote stories for
the popular national publication the Family Herald and the
Canadian Red Cross Junior Magazine. Vera joined the Canadian Women’s
Press Club in 1944 where she served numerous times as president of the New
Brunswick Branch as well as serving on the National Executive several times.
She was a feature writer for the Saint John Telegraph-Journal, a
career that covered 65 years. McClelland and Stewart Publishers took note of
her work and she began writing for their Canadian School Readers series
where she had stories published as early as 1948. These school readers were
used in schools for three decades. She also published Arrivals and
Departures; American School Readers (Allyn & Bacon Inc., in 1957.
Arrivals and departures: American School Readers (Allyn & Bacon Inc. ,
1957). She is perhaps best remembered by the public work her stories about
families, farm life and New Brunswick handcrafts which appeared in numerous
national publications as well as H. Gordon Green’s book Canadian
Who’s Who in the Media Club of Canada. 1991. (s.l.; 1991) ; Vera Ayling
Collections , New Brunswick Archives provided by Reference services, New
Brunswick Archives September 2014.
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 Vice President.
Gertrude Balmer Watt .
née Hogg. Born 1879,Guelph, Ontario. Died 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 Canadian Women's Press Club and along with her continued newspaper columns
would write several books on women and life in the Canadian west.
Florence Diamond Bean
Minto Township, Wellington County, Ontario. Died 1993. As a young lady she
too a secretarial course in Toronto, Ontario. She married Clarence Diamond
and later married Ellworth Bean. From 1977 to 1980 she was President of the
Ontario Federated Women’s Institutes. She too leadership roles in conference
of the Associated Country Women of the World. She was an active member of
the Waterloo Farm and Home Safety Council, the Wilmot Agricultural Society,
the Wilmot Horticultural Society and the Waterloo Historical Society. She
was the Haysville correspondent for the Kitchener – Waterloo Record for 30
years and had a radio career with CFRB in Toronto. In 1990 she was the
Wilmot Citizen of the year. She was also presented with the Queen’s Jubilee
Source: Waterloo Regional Hall of Fame. Online (Accessed July 2014)
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 September 7, 1919 Kingston, Jamaica. 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.
May 21, 1884, Streetsville, Ontario. 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)
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 November 4, 1872 Scotia, Lake Erie, Ontario. 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 April 29, 1875 Moodyville, British Columbia. Died February 2,
British Columbia. 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,
Virginia Luella 'Ginger' Byfield
née Naim Born
March 26, 1929 Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. Died July 21, 2014 Edmonton,
Alberta. When her parents separated she grew up in Greenfield, Nova Scotia
with her mother’s family before settling in Ottawa. As a student at the
University of Toronto she wrote for the school’s Communist newspaper.
Dropping out of school she followed Ted Byfield to Timmins, Ontario and
worked Press. The newspaper would only hire her if she was married so she
and Ted married. Relocation to Ottawa she worked at the Ottawa Journal On
the move again the couple relocated to Alberta where she worked on the
Alberta Report Magazine and the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper. In Selkirk,
Manitoba the couple founded the Company of the Cross, a lay order of the
Anglican Church of Canada. They opened in 1957 the St John’s Boys School In
1968 they worked on a newsletter, St John’s Edmonton Report . They trained
numerous young journalists and their home was often a bunkhouse for their
students. Their final joint project was the editing of a 12 volume history
Shawn Taylor, Formidable Editor Left and Indelible Mark , Toronto Globe
and Mail August 2, 2014.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario
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.
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
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.
Bettie L. Cole
(?), Marbeton, Quebec. Died, 1983, Ottawa, Ontario. By 1908 Bettie was a
working reporter with the Sherbrooke Record. She worked on the Women’s
Pages. By 1941 she had relocated to Ottawa and until 1952 she worked with
the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. Written on her grave stone is the sentence” 1st
girl journalist on men’s general staff of the Ottawa Citizen.” While working
as a journalist she lived with fellow journalist Rosa L. Shaw (1895-1981).
In 1952 she switched professions working as a landscaper in Orleans, just
outside of Ottawa, retaining in 1982.
Source: “Section B, Range 6, Graves 20A & 25” by Marci Surkes, “Stories from
the Grave”, Ottawa Citizen September 28, 2004.
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
Mary Adelaide Dawson
See Mary Adelaide Dawson Snider
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
Born 1854(?) Chatham, Ontario. Died February 1, 1914, Toronto, Ontario. As a
young girl she attended Hellmuth College in London, Ontario. She is
considered Canada’s 1st female travel writer. In 1890 she
published A Happy Holiday, a picture storybook, in 1890. She worked
as a journalist and society editor for Saturday Night Magazine for 23 years
using the pen name ‘Lady Gay’. It is said that she made an unhappy marriage.
In 1904 she was the oldest member of a group of 16 journalists who traveled
to the St, Louis World’s Fair on behalf of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. On
the train trip returning to Canada the women formed the Canadian Womens
Press Club, however Grace Elizabeth Dennison did not become a member of the
club. She also published The Canadian Family Cook Book a volume of tried,
tested and proven recipes which ran in several editions from 1912
Kay, Sweet Sixteen: the journey that inspired the Canadian Women’s Press
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 CBC. As host of CBC.
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 1862, Brantford, Canada West (now Ontario). 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.
Annie Harvie Ross Foster
Born February 15, 1875, Fredericton, New Brunswick. Died June 18, 1974,
White Rock, British Columbia. In 1896 she earned her B.A. from the
University of New Brunswick. She went on to train as a nurse at the
Philadelphia Polyclinic Hospital receiving her diploma in 1901. She worked
as a nurse in Woodstock, New Brunswick where she served as the 1st
matron of Carlton County Hospital. Poor health forced her to leave her
nursing career and she moved first to Saskatchewan in 1905 and then in 1908
on to British Columbia to teach. In 1915 she married William Garland Foster,
editor of the Nelson Daily News. In 1916 she followed her husband to England
where she nursed with the British Red Cross. Widowed during the war she
returned to Canada eventually settling once again in Nelson British Columbia
in 1919. She became President of the Great War Veterans Association. In 1920
she was the only woman delegate to the association’s annual convention. In
1923 she began writing for the Vancouver Daily Province. It was at this time
that she also attempted unsuccessfully to have a career in politics. She
continued writing producing such books as High Days and Holidays in
Canada and the Makers of Canada. She also wrote a biography of poet
Pauline Johnson entitled the Mohawk Princess in 1931. That same year she
graduated from McGill University with a post graduate degree in Library
Science. In 1932 she submitted the Mohawk Princess to earn a Master’s Degree
from the University of New Brunsw3ick. In 1945 she married Patrick Hanley.
She was active in the Vancouver Women’s Canadian Club and the Women’s Civic
League. She became the 1st woman to serve on the University of
New Brunswick Alumni executive.
Source: ‘Annie Harvie Ross Foster.’ New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia.
Online (Accessed May 2014)
Roseberg. Born September 8, 1937, Niagara Falls, New York, U.S.A. Died March
26, 1992, Toronto, Ontario. Barbara grew up in Niagara Falls, Ontario
Where her father had his business. She married Murray Frum, a dentist and
later a real estate developer in 1957 while she was studying at University.
She graduated with a degree in history from the University of Toronto in
1959. She and Murray would have two children and an adopted son during the
1960’s. She worked as a freelance journalist with her writings being
accepted by the Toronto Star, the Toronto Globe and Mail and
Saturday Night Magazine. In 1971 she began work as an on air
journalist with the CBC radio. For ten years, ending in 1981, she provided
interviews with international personalities on the popular radio
newsmagazine show As It Happens. In 1975 she was presented with the
National Press Club of Canada Award for outstanding contribution to Canadian
Journalism.. On December 17, 1979 she was inducted into the Order of Canada.
From 1982 until her death she hosted CBC television’s The Journal, a
nightly current-affairs program. She was the inspiration for Canadian Sesame
Street character, Barbara Plumb and she ever portrayed herself as the
reporter Barbara LaFrum on the Canadian cartoon shoe The Raccoons. You know
that you have made it when you have become a puppet, a cartoon character and
when you have been parodies on the Canadian TV show CODCO! She died for m
chronic leukemia which although it had been diagnosed in the 1970’s had been
kept a secret even from her children until the final years. After her death
there were numerous tributes. In 1993 the Academy of Canadian Cinema and
Television awarded her the John Drainie Award for Distinguished
Contributions to Broadcasting and that same year the new CBC building, in
downtown Toronto, dedicated the Barbara Frum Atrium. The Toronto Public
Libraries dedicated a branch library which contains a commemorative
sculpture of Barbara. There is also an annual Barbara Frum Lecture
co-sponsored by the Department of History, University of Toronto and the
CBC. In 1996, her daughter Linda Frum, published Barbara Frum: a
Daughter’s Memoir. In 1999 Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp in
her honour in the Canada Millennium series.
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 Furniss
1884, Stratford, Ontario. Died October 23, 1977, Vancouver, British
Columbia. She studied at the University of Toronto to become a concert
pianist. She switched careers and became a journalist working in 1910 in
Woodstock, Ontario and later in Vancouver, British Columbia and Calgary,
Alberta. While on the west coast she joined the Canadian Women’s Press Club
and served as Vancouver’s chapter president in 1913. In 1914 she was a
journalist campaigning across the Canadian prairies for women’s right to
vote. Shortly after she was running a publicity bureau for the Alberta
Government in London, England. She and her cousin Nell Sifton would run the
successful 1917 campaign for nursing sister, Roberta MacAdams’ run for the
Alberta Legislature. During World War 1 she was one of only 4 women
journalist allowed to tour behind the Canadian lines on the war front in
France. She reported back to Canadians stories of life and bravery at the
war front. In November 1918 she was present when the armitist was signed.
The only woman journalist accredited to cover the World War 1 1919 peace
treaty negotiations in Paris, France. She married and returned with her
husband to Montreal where he worked for the Montreal Gazette
newspaper. She went on to author several short stories and raise her
children. In 1952 the couple retired to Vancouver.
Source: Herstory 2006: The Canadian Women’s Calendar. Coteau Books,
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 CBC Radio. She hosted a CBC 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.
Died May 1945. She chose the career of journalism. In 1904 she was one of
the 16 women who traveled to the St Louis World’s Fair on behalf of the
Canadian Pacific Railway. While at the Fair she reported for the Quebec City
daily, L’Evénement. It was during the train trip back to Canada that
the women formed the Canadian Women’s Press Club. In 1905/06 she traveled to
Switzerland with a friend Jeanne Andi to teach domestic sciences. Back in
Montreal in 1907 the two women opened L’Ecole ménangère. In 1910 she was
teaching at L’Académie Marchand in Montreal. In 1926 she was the director of
L’Ecole ménangère. In 1936, along with the help of her niece Marie she
expanded the school at L ‘institute Notre Dame du Bon-Conseil. She took her
retirement from teaching in 1942.
Source: Linda Kay, Sweet Sixteen: the journey that inspired the Canadian
Women’s Press Club, 2012.
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 CBC 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)
Annie Linda Hayr-Jack
Born 1 1839 Northamptonshire, England. Died February 15, Chateauguay,
Quebec. Linda immigrated to the U.S.A. in 1852 and was educated at the Troy
Female Seminary, Troy, New York, U.S.A. Often her school compositions were
published in the Troy Daily Times. By 16 she was a 1st assistant
in the free schools in Troy. She became a teacher in Chateauguay, Lower
Canada, a few miles shout of Montreal, where she met her husband Robert Jack
(d1900). The couple were married on June 13, 1860 and they had a family of
12 children, 11 of whom lived to adulthood. From 1877 to 1890 she was a
regular contributor to the Reports of the Montreal Horticultural
Society and Fruit Growers Association of the Province of Quebec. An avid
horticulturalist she honed her knowledge from experience but also by
corresponding with others in the field. She often had more acceptance for
her horticultural writing from the U.S.A. than from her own home. She was
also keenly invested in education and in 1882-83 she became a member of the
Montreal Ladies’ Educational Association and shortly after the Montreal
Women’s Club. She wrote articles on social topics for the Montreal
Witness using the pen-name Loyal Janet. She was also a regular
contributor to the Waverly Magazine in Boston and published numerous
articles for children. From April 30 1898 to 1903 she wrote a weekly
column in the Montreal Daily Witness called Garden Talks. She
contributed as well to the Canadian Horticultural Magazine and the Canadian
Horticulturist. In 1902 she published a collection of short stories followed
in 1903 with The Canadian Garden which influenced a whole era
of gardening. In 1904 she published Rhyme-thoughts for a Canadian Year, a
small book of poems.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Vol 14. Online. Accessed 2002.
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 September 18, 1861, Toronto, Ontario. Died October 6, 1942. Cora’s
mother died when she was very young and her father took the children to live
with their grandparents on a farm in Ontario where grandfather taught her
about farming. She was educated at home by her aunt until she was 11 and the
family built a school. She lived in Orillia with her Uncle George to
complete her high school. Moving west to Manitoba in the hopes of landing a
teaching position, Cora learned that she had failed the algebra portion of
her teaching exams. Not deterred she decided to become a journalist. The
Manitoba Free Press did not want an inexperienced woman writer so Cora
worked as a typist until 1893 when she opened her own business as a
stenographer becoming the 1st public typewriter in the province.
Cora joined the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Along with Dr.
Amelia Yeomans (1842-1913) she formed the Manitoba Equal Suffrage Club. Cora
also joined the Canadian Women’s Press Club that had been formed in 1904.
She never gave up writing and with her knowledge of farming she was soon a
regular reporter and became the commercial and agricultural editor for the
Manitoba Free Press. She would become renowned for her accurate
analysis of crop yields and livestock news and became the western
correspondent for several eastern newspapers. Still wanting votes for women
she formed the Political Equality League with Lillian Beynon Thomas
(1884-1961) and Nellie McClung (1873-1953) in 1912. Women earned the right
to vote in 1916. She became a regular columnist with the Winnipeg Free
Press and at
75 she travelled around the world to observe agricultural methods, writing
her observations in 1937 in the book, Seeing for Myself and My Travels
and Findings, 1939. After her death the United
Grain Growers created the Cora Hind Fellowship for research in
and the Free Press created the Cora Hind Scholarship in home
Sources: Gordon Goldsborough, Ella Cora Hind Memorable Manitobans
(accessed 2002); Carlotta Hacker, E. Cora Hind, 1979.
Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Like many young women of her era, Dorothy studied and
became a teacher. She taught for 2 years on the Canadian Prairies before
moving to a more challenging career. She joined the Regina Leader Post
newspaper staff and worked her way up to a reporter for the women’s section
of the newspaper. During World War 11 she headed for Toronto to work for the
Toronto Telegram. In 1949 Dorothy wrote about Newfoundland’s entry into the
Canadian Confederation and she won the Canadian Women’s Press Club Award
which was a national newspaper award for feature writing. In the 1950
Dorothy moved west and tried reporting for the Vancouver Sun but she felt
she was closely controlled in the stories she covered and that her work was
‘savagely’ rewritten so she returned to the Toronto Telegram. In 1967 she
married Dr. Harold ‘Hal’ Richardson and raised 2 stepchildren. By this time
she felt that her style of journalism was no longer acceptable especially
with the modern effects of television.
Source: Chantal Guertin. ‘the 1st lady of razzmatazz: if
Toronto’s newspapers in the 50’s was a circus, Dorothy Howarth was in the
centre ring.’ In Ryerson Review of Journalism. June 2000.
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 where she covered the news from
the Alberta provincial legislature. In 1908 she was appointed as the 1st
Provincial Archivist of Alberta. While in Edmonton she was one of the
founders of the Catholic Women’s League. In 1914 she became assistant to
Agent General for Alberta in London, England where she befriended the Irish
sentiment for independence. By 1920 she had written a draft biography on
William Van Horne. The biography was published but not under her name but
that of editor Walter Vaughn. It was about this time that she moved to
Washington DC, U.S.A. in order to lobby for Irish independence. She also
traveled to Australia to support the Irish cause before settling in New York
City, New York, U.S.A. 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).
Source: Linda Kay, Sweet Sixteen: the journey that inspired the Canadian
Women’s Press Club, 2012.
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
Eleanor 'Ella' Johnson
Born 1875. Died 1950. She worked as a reporter of ladies fashion. She donned
men’s clothing posing to prove she could do a news story as well as any man.
She worked reporting on the waterfront docks for the Vancouver World.
She also reported on life in Chinatown and City Hall. She became Financial
and Marine editor for the Vancouver Sun. Tired of being a reporter
she became the 1st woman taxi driver in British Columbia working
in Victoria prior to World War l. She also worked as a logger and even tried
real estate. A handy carpenter she built her own house in Burnaby, British
Columbia and then ran her own cement construction company winning contracts
to build the 1st sewers in Burnaby and for a roundhouse for the
Canadian Pacific railway. In 1933 she took an interest in provincial
politics and ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Liberal Party. She
ran in 1937 as an independent but was once again unsuccessful. In 1941 she
left Vancouver and some people saw her on a Mexican newsreel. In 1951 she
was found dead in a hotel room in Arizona under the name Edna Jepson.
Source: Canadian Girls Who Rocked the World by Tanya Lloyd Kyi.
Walrus Books 2001.
Born 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. In the Yukon she would
raise two 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.
Audrey Jeanne Kunkel
27, 1946. Died April 2, 2009 , Phoenix, Arizona. Audrey studied to become a
teacher with her BEd 1969 and her BA in 1971 from the University of
Saskatchewan. She was a member of the Canadian Educational Press Association
from 1972 and in 1985 she began serving as the Executive Secretary for the
association. She received eight Distinguished Achievement Awards for
Excellence n Educational Journalism from the Educational Press Association
of America. She was also a member of the communications staff of the
Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation where she served as editor of the
Saskatchewan Bulletin. From time to time she also worked for the United
Audrey Kunkel, Who’s Who in the Media Club of Canada 1991 ; Obituary,
The Star, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. April 2009.
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. In 1908 she married Arthur Léger. In the 1920’s
she served as president of the Provincial Franchise Committee/Comité
provincial pour le suffrage feminine. She wrote the English language
history for the 50th anniversary of the Ladies Morning Musical
Club which had a member ship of 1200. She had served as president for 9
years and was there when the famous African American singer, Marion
Anderson, was not allowed into a hotel in Montreal. The singer stayed at
Kay, Sweet Sixteen: the journey that inspired the Canadian Women’s Press
Born July 25,
1964, Kitchener, Ontario. Lisa earned her B.A. from the University of
Ottawa. In 1989 she began her career with CTV in Kitchener, Ontario on CKCO.
By 1997 she was the consumer reporter for CTV News. In 1998 -2000 she was
the prime news ancho for CTV Newsnet. In 1999 she earned the Galaxi Award
form Canadian Cablevision Television Network. She became an Ambassador of
PLAN International highlighting child poverty around the world. In 2003
through 2010 she served as the national affairs correspondent for CTV
national news covering wars, elections and disasters. In 2011 she was
appointed Chief Ancho and Senior Editor for CTV News. In 2014 she earned the
Canada Screen Award and the Bert Canning Award from the R_T News Directors
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.
Agnes Christina Laut
1871, Stanley Township, Huron County, Ontario. Died November 14, 1936. While
still a toddler in 1873 her family relocated to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Like
many of her generation she attended Normal School (Teacher’s College) and
when just 15 she was teaching in public schools. In 1889 she attended the
University of Manitoba but ill health forced her to withdraw in her second
year. In 1895 she began a 2 year stint with the Winnipeg Free Press. In 1898
she travelled across country submitting travel articles to various
publications along the way. In 1901 she published a book, Lords of the
North , which helped finance her relocation to Wassaic, New York, U.S.A.
Continuing to writing she submitted articles to various North American
publications including Financial Post, Saturday Evening Post, Review of
Reviews and Collier’s. In 1909 she published the book The Canadian
Commonwealth, and began writing for MacLean’s Magazine often
items of political commentary which was unusual for a female journalist. Her
commentary allowed Canadian to open their perspective to the wider North
American scene. In all she would publish 24 books with a north American
The Pioneering Journalism of Agnes C. Laut During the Great War. Cleo’s
Current August 18, 2014. Online (Accessed August 2014) ; Agnes C. Laut
Funeral today., The Windsor Daily Star, November 17, 1936.
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)
née Gardiner. Born Merlin, (Chatham) Ontario. Eunice always loved
to write and at 12 she had her 1st bylines in the Family Herald and
the Star Weekly. From 1946 through 1956 she was news editor for the
Radio station CFCO, Chatham, Ontario. For the next two years she was a
broadcaster and news writer for CFPL Radio in London, Ontario. After 1958
she moved to a position as morning commentator for CBC Radio in Ottawa,
Ontario. It was here that she moved to print media becoming the Women’s
Editor for the Ottawa Journal until 1967. She had married Norman
Laycraft in 1966 and decided to leave her full time day job but she
freelanced and remained with the Ottawa Journal as a columnist until
her retirement in 1979. She was a Member of the Media Club of Canada serving
as president in 1963. She was also an active member of the Young Men’s
Christian Association serving as one of the two first women delegates to the
national meeting in Toronto in 1956 which she followed up as a delegate to
the YMCA Centenary in Paris, France in 1955.
Source: Eunice (Gardiner)
Laycraft , Who’s Who in the Media Club of Canada, 1991; files of the
Media Club of Ottawa.
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 1943, Vancouver, British Columbia. 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.
Genevieve Elsie Alice Lipsett-Skinner
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. Died January 29, 1935, Montreal, Quebec. The young
Lipsett family moved to Toronto when Genevieve was just an infant. Later
they relocated to Winnipeg and back to the U.S.A. settling in New York. From
1900-1903 she attended New York Normal School (Teachers College) and in 1904
she was off to Manitoba to teach. She found herself working from 1904
through 1917 with the Winnipeg Telegram newspaper as a reporter and editor
to the “Sunshine Department of the paper. Outside of the office she served
in 1909-10 as Secretary for the Winnipeg Branch of the Canadian Women’s
Press Club. In 1910 she served as Director of the Anti-Tuberculosis Society.
On June 6, 1911 she married Winnipeg businessman Robert Curtis Skinner, whom
she stated was a staunch supporter of herself as a modern working woman. In
1912 she joined the Political Equality League, an organization dedicated to
the advancement of women’s rights including the right to vote. In 1918 she
and her younger brother Robert Lipsett started the Lipsett-skinner Press
News Bureau specializing in Publicity Campaigns. It was a memorable year for
Genevieve as she graduated in law from the University of Manitoba as the 1st
qualified married woman in this field. By 1919 she saw the end of her
marriage and was once again working back at the Telegram. In June 1920 she
was an unsuccessful candidate for the Progressive Conservative party running
for the Manitoba Provincial Legislature. Later that same year she began
working for the Vancouver Sun Newspaper out of British Columbia. She would
spend the next five years as an official Parliamentary correspondent in
Ottawa, the 1st woman member of the Press gallery. By 1926 she
was writing for the Montreal Star newspaper. In the late 1920’s she toured
England and Ireland lecturing about the Dominion of Canada. In 1933 her
picture was hung on the Ottawa Press Gallery wall along with her male
colleagues. While in Montreal she served four years as President of the
local branch of the Canadian Women’s Press Club. At her funeral in Montreal
large floral displays were presented from the CWPC and Prime Minister
Memorable Manitobans. Online. (Accessed June 2014) ; “Associates Mourn
Noted Journalist.” Montreal Gazette February 21, 1935 ; Obituary.
Winnipeg Tribune January 30, 1935.
October 12, 1909, Winnipeg, Manitoba. 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.
née Macwalker. Died July 24, 2014, Toronto, Ontario. As a student at Acadia
University she worked as a journalist in Saint John, New Brunswick. After
graduating from university she relocated to Toronto, Ontario to work with
Public Relations at the Robert Simpson Company. She became editor of
Chatelaine Magazine but the post was short lived as she was lured back
to work for Simpson’s in 1964. A volunteer with the Helicon Society she was
the founder of the Heliconian Foundation. She married Allison Cheyne London
(1918-1975) and the couple had 2 children.
Source: Obituaries, The Globe and Mail, July 28, 2014.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Irene Currie Love
Died 1945. 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. In 1912 she would marry journalist Elfred S. Archibald
of Montreal. Using Margaret Currie as her byline from 1914 through 1945 she
was editor of the Women’s pages of the Montreal Daily Star. 1924 a
compendium of her advice columns including helpful household and beauty tips
was published as Margaret Currie – Her Book.
Kay, Sweet Sixteen: the journey that inspired the Canadian Women’s Press
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)
Margaret Moran Dixon MacDougall/McDougall
née Dixon. Born December 25, 1828, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Died October
22, 1899, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. When she was in her 20’s Margaret came
to Canada with her mother, stepfather and siblings. She married Alexander Dougald McDougall (1827-1997) in 1852 and the couple had 6 children. The
family settled in the Ottawa Valley where Margaret taught school. Her 1st
publication was a book of poetry. She also wrote for local newspapers and in
the early 1880’s while she was in Ireland as a correspondent for the
Montreal Witness and the New York Witness. In 1882 she published
her columns from Ireland in a book: The Letters of ‘Norah’ on her tour
through Ireland. She told about her travels again in her novel Days of a
Life in 1883.
death of her husband Margaret Became an active member of the Baptist Home
Missionary Society, working in Michigan and later in Montesano, Washington.
Obituary in Seattle Post Intelligencer. ; Margaret MacDougal in Canada’s
Early Women Writers
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 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
Born 1895, Toronto, Ontario. 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
in an number of other books.
Born May 5,
1922, Newtonville, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Died July 15, 2010, Brantford,
Ontario. Her parents were Dutch and in 1931 the family returned to Holland.
As a teen she worked as a spy for the Dutch Resistance, gathering
information from German soldiers and being a courier with messages carried
in the sole of her boots. After World War ll she served as an Allied Forces
Interpreter with the Canadian occupation army in Germany. After she married
she moved to Lethbridge Alberta to be with her husband’s family but later
relocated to Hamilton/Stoney Creek area in Ontario with her three children.
In the late 1950’s she was co-owner and assistant editor of weekly newspaper
The Stoney Creek News, with Jean Craig and another woman. They were
pioneers as producers and distributors of a weekly paper and their story was
written up in Time Magazine. In1960-1 she worked as an advertising
copy writer the Right House Dept stores, Hamilton, Ontario. In 1961-62 she
worked as editor The Stoney Creek News for Brabant Publishers, who
had purchased the weekly newspaper. From1962-88 she was Women’s editor and
broadcaster CKPC radio in Brantford where the hour long daily Kit McDermott
Show was aired. Trilingual she also provided French lessons on air. In 1976
she served as National President of the Media Club of Canada. (Formerly
Canadian Women’s Press Club).In 1988 Kit changed media and became a
columnist and freelance writer for the Brantford Expositor, Brantford,
Ontario. She believed in serving her community and was a volunteer with Big
Brothers Association Brantford/Brant County, and a Trustee with the Art
Gallery of Brant. In 1986 she served as honorary Chairman, Brantford/Brant
County United Way campaign and in 1989 as honorary Chairman, Cancer Society.
She lived in Brantford with her life companion Vern Cavanaugh for 32 years.
Sources: Kit McDermott, Who’s Who in the Media Club of Canada, 1991 ;
Richard Beales, ‘Media Pioneer Enjoyed her Many Roles’, Brantford
Expositor, July 16, 2010. Online (Accessed July 2015)
18, 1941 Morris, Manitoba. Died August 25, 2015 Ottawa, Ontario. 1960 she
worked as a student intern for the Winnipeg Free Press and she never forgot
the enjoyment of journalism. By 1962 she had earned her BA at St Paul’s
College at the University of Manitoba. In August of that year she entered
the Society of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and became Sister Audrey
Catherine and taught high school. She took on part-time work for a local
radio stations as a commentator on religion. After 12 years she felt she
could no longer retain her commitment to her religious order and left
joining CBC Radio. On October 22, 1977 she became the host of the program
called The House. By 1980 she the social affairs reporter for CBC
TV’s The National. In 1986, she became producer of CBC Radio's
religious and spiritual show Open House, and became the program's
host in 1990. She remained with the program until it was replaced in 1994.
She was the 1st female national reporter at CBC TV’s
parliamentary bureau in Ottawa. She not only broke the barriers but she also
held her own! After her retirement in 1996 she returned to university and
earned her master degree in counseling and worked with the Employee
Assistance Program for a government Department. Marguerite married Harry
Elton (d2004) and there was a second marriage to Bill Young. While she did
not have any children of her own she was step mother to 6 children.
Fred Langan, ‘CBC Journalist Marguerite McDonald Broke Gender Barriers.’ the
Globe and Mail September 6, 2015; Marguerite McDonald 1st
to host CBC Radio’s The House dead at 73. CBC News, August 24, 2015.
submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario
Sara Anne McLagan
née Claeys. Born December 30, 1924, St Vita, (Winnipeg) Manitoba. Died March
27, 2013, Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A. There were no facilities for women
at a mandatory camp for engineering students at the University of Manitoba
so Yvonne studied chemistry and Math and was 1st in her class.
She went on to post graduated studies and earned her Masters from the
University of Southern California. She began her engineering career at
Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, California, U.S.A. where she was one of
the only women working and the 1st American plans and projects
for satellites. In 1951 she married William Franklin Brill. The couple had
three children. Her career carried her across the country where in 1981
through 1983 she worked at the National Aero Space Administration (NASA).
She invented a propulsion system to help keep communication satellites in
their orbits which is still in use today in 2015. It was in the 1980’s that
Harper’s Bazaar magazine and DeBier Corporation presented her a
Diamond Superwoman Award for combining family life and successful career. In
2001 she was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal which was
followed in 2002 with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Wyld Award. She also earned the American Association of Engineering
Societies John Fritz Medal which is the highest award in the engineering
profession. In 2010 she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of
Fame and in 2011 President Obama presented her the National Medal of
technology and Innovation. Superwoman indeed!
Source: Douglas Martin, Yvonne Brill,
a pioneering Rocket Scientists Dies at 88, in the New York Times
March 30, 3013: Memorable Manitobans Online. (Accessed June 2015)
Margaret Stovel McWilliams
Born 1875, Toronto, Ontario Died April 12, 1952, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1898
she graduated in political science from the University of Toronto. She began
her journalism career in Detroit, Michigan before relocating to Winnipeg,
Manitoba in 1910. She was a free lance journalist who often contributed to
the Manitoba Free Press. In 1913 she became President of the University
Woman’s Club and in 1919 she became the 1st President of the
Canadian Federation of University Women. In 1922 she was President of the
Woman’s Canadian Club. In 1933 she became the second woman to serve as
alderman for the City of Winnipeg a position she held until 1940. She wrote
three books relating to the history of Manitoba between 1928 and 1948. In
1943 she chaired the subcommittee on Post War Problems for Women for the
Canadian Government committee on Reconstruction. For over 30 years she held
regular “Current Event” classes for women in Winnipeg, promoting education
in politics for women. She served as President of the Manitoba Historical
Society from 1944-1948. After her last book she married Roland F.
McWilliams. In 1955 the Manitoba Historical Society established the Margaret
McWilliams Awards that commemorates her contributions to Manitoba history.
Source: Memorable Manitobans. Online (Accessed July 2014) ; Book
Margaret McWilliams: an interwar feminist by Mary Kinnear
(McGill-Queen’s Press, 1991)
Josephine Hersélle-Henriette Marchand-Dandurand
Born December 5 1861, Saint Jean sur Richelieu, Lower Canada (Now Québec).
Died March 2, 1925, Montreal, Quebec. Josephine was educated in a convent
school where she enjoyed education in both French and English. She began to
write short stories, tales and plays when she was young. From 17 she kept a
secret diary sometimes with entries sometimes in English. On January 12,
1886 she married Raul Dandurand, a lawyer and later appointed to the senate
of Canada. The couple would have one daughter. From
1893 through December 1896 she
founded the monthly magazine Le coin du feu which was
the 1st French language periodical in
Canada to be edited by a woman. She wrote much of the articles
and columns in the monthly production using such pen names as Mme Danderand
or Marie Vieutemps. After ceasing her own magazine she wrote for Le Monde
illustré, Le journal de Francoise and La Revue moderne. In 1894 she became a
lecturer in English as was called ‘the female Laurier’ which was a reference
comparing her to the eloquent Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
In 1898 she founded the Euvre des livres Gratuits to provide reading
materials to students and teachers in remote areas. The Government of France
awarded her with the title of Officier d’Académie in recognition of her
championing the French language in Canada. In 1900 she represented Canada as
a commissioner of the Government at the International Congress of Women and
the Paris World Fair. She was a member of the Montreal local Council of
Women and went on to serve as the Vice President of the Council of Women of
Canada. In 1902 she founded the women’s section of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste
de Montreal which provided another outlet for her strong feminist views. In
1924 she published a book of her journalistic writings. In 2015 the city of
Ottawa announced that it would name a street after Josephine Marchand-Danderand
as part of a special project to rename 12 streets after Canadian women of
Achievement. Sources: Line Gosselin,
MARCHAND, JOSÉPHINE (Dandurand), Dictionary of Canadian Biography vol. 15,
Toronto: University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2005; Erin McCracken Names
of trailblazing Canadian Women may be coming to a street near you. Ottawa
South News, November 5, 2015.
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.
Amy Louise Marsland
née Downey. Born March 23, 1924, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Died June 3, 2013,
Greene, New York, U.S.A. Amy attended the University of Saskatchewan
graduating with a BA in 1943. While a student she volunteered on the
university newspaper the Sheaf. She
was one of seven
students, all women, who collaborated on the publication in 1943 of Seven
Sheaves, a volume of poetry dedicated to the Sheaf. She went on
to complete a PhD degree in Romance Languages at the University of Michigan
in the United States where she settled, combining writing books with
newspaper editing and some university teaching. In 1951 she married William
D. Marsland from New York State in the U.S. The couple had four children.
In 1958, Amy and her husband, bought the weekly Chenango American, in
Greene, New York and went on to purchase
Whitney Point Reporter, then The Oxford Review-Times and in 1961 the
Tri-Town News of Sidney,
beginning a family business publishing weekly newspapers. Amy edited the
American, and she wrote a regular column. She reports, “anything from
obituary photos to global warming to how to give a cat medicine, and after
all this time my few thousand readers probably know more about me than my
her life in Greene she was chairman of the Bicentennial celebration, active
as a member of the Greene Historical Society in putting Genesee Street on
the historical register, and chaired for some time, what later became Greene
Community Services. She belonged to the Art Group of Greene, Book Club, and
was a member of Zion Episcopal Church, where she served briefly on the
vestry. She was the author of two Doubleday Crime Club novels, and, with her
husband, of two non-fiction books: Venezuela Through Its History and Snow
White, the Wolf and the Unicorn. Symbols in Art, of which she was sole
author, was published on the web in 1998, and 2009 her last scholarly work,
The Origin of Culture, was published by Academia Press.
Source: Duff Spofford,
‘Stop the presses! Looking back on 100 years of Sheaf alumni in the media
(Part 3: 1940-1946)’ Sheaf, University of Saskatchewan, September
18 2012. ; Amy Louise Marsland (1924-2013) Obituary. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/PressConnects/obituary.aspx?pid=165168997#sthash.q01v381I.dpuf
(Accessed July 2013)
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.
Margaret Teresa Lally "Ma" Murray
Born 1888, Kansas, U.S.A. Died September 25, 1982 Fort St John, British
Columbia. Born in Kansa she had the wanderlust and relocated to Western
Canada in search of handsome cowboys. February 5, 1913 she married newspaper
editor and future Member of Legislative Assembly George Matheson Murray
( -1961). In 1920 she started a
magazine called Country Life in BC that lasted until 1927. In 1933
George is elected Liberal MLA for Lillooet British Columbia. Margaret, who
was dubbed ‘Ma Murray’ by an Ontario journalist, began the Howe Sound
News in Squamish. Her son Daniel began the Cariboo News in
Williams Lake. In 1937 Ma and George went to the orient and witnessed an air
raid on Shanghai. Bach home Ma wanted nothing to do with Lillooet being a
reception area for interned Japanese Canadians and the family relocated to
Fort St. John, a rough and ready settlement with a camp of 5000 U.S.
soldiers. Here she began the Alaska Highway News on March 17, 1944.
As editor Ma took the town and the province to task on bringing progress to
the area. She traveled rough unfinished roads or flew to locations that
provided stories for the newspaper. In her own words “We raised a lot of
hell and had a lot of fun.” She was well known for her “salty” language. In
1971 she was presented with the Order of Canada. In 1988 the Murray home in
Anmore British Columbia was donated to the town along with some of the
Sources: “Ma Murray:
Fighting Editor of the Peace” by Stephen Franklin, Weekend Magazine
Vol. 8 No. 23, 1958
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 September 2, 1859, Galt Canada West (now Ontario). Died
November 11, 1932, Calgary Alberta. She worked as a journalist in Toronto
where she became the 1st editor of the woman’s Pages of the
Toronto News. While in Toronto she developed an interest in problems facing
working women and she introduced working women to the use of shorthand
writing. She was the 1st woman teacher of Shorthand in Canada. In
the 1880’s she served as assistant secretary to General Manager of the
Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1884 she married Eugene Pierre Newhall. She
also wrote poetry and some of her poems appeared in Selections from Scottish
Canadian Poets. (Toronto: Imrie Graham, 1900).
Source: Guide to the Literary Heritage of Waterloo and Wellington
Born July 9, 1920, Saskatchewan. Died November 18, 2014, Ottawa, Ontario.
completed a degree in English and Social Science at the University of
Saskatchewan in 1944. Her passion for writing led her to volunteer at the
university newspaper, The Sheaf, where she wrote articles and poetry
and became its editor. With so many men off at war in 1941, women were being
hired to fill in jobs and on October 1, 1944 she was hired by the Regina
Leader-Post newspaper to write human interest stories. After an
automobile accident in 1945 Borgny began working for the slower paced weekly
paper, The Shaunavon Standard
in southwestern Saskatchewan. By 1948, Borgny was a reporter for The
Swift Current Sun. She crossed paths with a lady soliciting for
the Unitarian Service Committee (USC) and became so engaged with this
overseas development organization, which helped orphans through setting up
resources in third world countries, that in 1950 she accepted the position
of Promotions Manager with the USC in Ottawa. In 1955, she took up a job
with the advertizing department at Murphy Gambles department store. In 1956
she became Editor of the Homes Page at the Ottawa Citizen for 3 years. She
quickly moved into CBC radio, writing scripts and doing interviews. Another
highlight in her career was working for the federal department of
Citizenship and Immigration, where her duties included writing promotional
material on citizenship for new Canadians, including youth. She also worked
for 10 years at Statistics Canada becoming editor in 1976 for the Canada
Yearbook and just before she retired she spent six months at the
Department of Justice. In retirement she freelanced for her community paper
the Glebe Reporter. She was a long time member of the Media Club of
Ottawa (Formerly Canadian Women’s Press Club) and served as president in
Borgny married Joe Pearson, who was Presse Attache for the Russian Embassy,
and together they raised their son and daughter.
Jessica Goodfellow, Borgny Pearson’s Eclectic Career, The Galley, Media Club
of Ottawa. August 2007 ; Duff Spofford, Stop the Presses! Looking back on
100 years of Sheaf alumni in the media (Part 3: 1940-1946) The Sheaf,
University of Saskatchewan, September 18 2012. ; Obituary The Ottawa
Citizen, December 12, 2014.
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
Jean Elinor Portugal
Born April 19, 1921, Kingston Ontario. Died November 26, 2016, Scarborough,
Ontario. The family relocated to Peterborough, Ontario where Jean and her
sister attended high school. It was here at the Peterborough Examiner
newspaper that Jean got the 1st job as a journalist in 1942.
She worked being in charge of foreign news and military news including
covering D Day on June 6, 1944. She remained at this job until 1956 when she
left to freelance and travel to Mexico. By 1958 she was a copy editor with
the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper. She worked as a foreign
correspondent covering Asia from Japan to Cambodia where she met her
husband, Felix Portugal. Jean began working with the United States
Information Agency in Cambodia. She received a commendation for her cool
leadership she the American Embassy was under siege. In 1965 she was back in
Canada working as a provincial information officer with the Ontario
Department of Municipal Affairs. She went on to work for Maclean Hunter
Publishing until 1987. She took on the ambitious project ‘we were there’
recording stories of World War ll veterans. The stories were published in
seven volumes. On the 5oth anniversary of D-Day she received a commemorative
medal for her telling stories of veterans. She also received awards from
France for her travel and tourism writings.
Langan, Obituary, Toronto Globe and Mail, January 1. 2017.
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 Chronicle 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 March 19, 1943,
Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died March 18, 2014, King City, Ontario.Heather attended the University of Manitoba and was a feisty editor of the
university newspaper, The Manitoban. She went on to post graduated studies
at the Columbia University, New York, U.S.A. In 1966 she began work on her
1st published book Reservations are for Indians (1970). She worked after
university for the Winnipeg Free Press and then moved to the Winnipeg
Tribune and she stood her ground to write for more than women’s pages. Her
writings were also found in the major journals and magazines in Canada such
as : Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Toronto Life, Saturday Night, Equinox, Elm
Street, Canadian Forum and others. In 1973 she met her life partner Andrew
Marshall and became a stepmother and later a son arrived. Concerned with the
lack of respect given to writers she became co-founder of both the Writer’s
Union of Canada and the Professional Writer’s Association of Canada. In
1983 she tried her had at fiction writing Willie: a Romance. This
garnered her the Books Canada First Novel Award. She went on to turn her
work into a trilogy with Lily: a Rhapsody in Red and in 1989 Igor:
a Novel in Intrigue. In her own local she founded the King Township
Archives. She had two close brushes with Cancer and in 2000 she became a
certified caregiver visiting hospices in Canada, England and Africa. She
wrote about in pending death from her experiences. In 20011 she earned the
Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Magazine Awards Foundation.
Source: “Heather Robertson, Writer, 72: Reform Spirit Drove her Work,
Private Life…” by David Hayes. The Globe and Mail, April 4, 2014.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa.
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 (CBC) 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 CBC. 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 February 6, 1860 St Hyacinthe, Canada East (Quebec). 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 neighborhood 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 October 9, 1853 Wilmington, Delaware U.S.A. 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:
Rosa L. Shaw
(?). Died 1981, Ottawa, Ontario. Rosa earned her teaching certificate at
Normal School in Montreal, Quebec. She taught for two years but was
unsatisfied with the profession. She was a reporter in London, England for
Vogue magazine and by the late 1920’s she had returned to Canada. She worked
for 14 years with the Montreal Gazette as their 1st woman news
editor. She relocated to Ottawa to work with the Canadian Welfare Council
where no doubt she grew to know Charlotte Whitton. Rosa lived with fellow
reporter Bettie L. Cole ( -1989).. After being President of the Canadian
Women’s Press Club Montreal Branch she went on in 1938 to be president of
the national Canadian Womens Press Club. In 1957 she authored the book Proud
Heritage: a history of the National Council of Women.
“Section B, Range 6, Graves 20A & 25” by Marci Surkes, “Stories from the
Grave”, Ottawa Citizen September 28, 2004.
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 January 21, 1965. Died May 13, 2016. Jackie graduated from Red River
College studying journalism. Paul White became her life partner. She worked
as the weather girl with IMTV, Dolphin, Manitoba and thrived in her chosen
journalism field in small town Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 1989 she was
working at CTV in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She left for Europe for a decade and
worked as an international journalist with CNN. In 1994 she earned the
Silver Du Pont Award from Columbia University, New York, U.S.A. for her work
in Bosnia Herzegovina. Back in Manitoba she worked at the Manitoba Telecom
Services and the Manitoba Lotteries Commission in Public Relations. Later
she worked as Director of Cancer Care Manitoba.
Source: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press May 19, 2016.
Connie graduated from Mohawk College with a diploma in communication
Arts. Looking for work she was told that TV viewers were not ready to have
women present the news! When she came to CHCH in 1976, she was the first
female weather person the station had ever had and she went on to become the
station’s first female anchor when she joined Dan McLean on the desk in 1988
through 1992. At the same time she co-anchored with Tom Cherington the noon
news show. . She has hosted the CTS show Always Good News since 2008.
She has produced and hosted the weekly interview show Straight Talk. Until
1992. She was co-host of the Chedoke-McMaster Children’s Hospital Mother's
Day Telethon, has been honorary co-chair of the YMCA Breakfast with Santa
for inner city kids, and was named Hamilton’s Woman of the Year for her
production of the documentary Elizabeth’s Hope.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) Society of Canada also
awarded her the Exceptional Public Awareness Award for the same project.
Her leadership has also been recognized with the 2002 Queen’s Jubilee Medal,
the Hamilton Health Sciences Cornerstone Award, the Hamilton Fire
Departments Silver Helmut Award and the Ontario Association of Broadcasters’
Howard Caine Award. Connie was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of
Distinction 2010. Connie is married and has one child.
Amelia Turner Smith
Born February 11, 1894, Tottenham, Ontario. Her family relocated 1st
to Fernie, British Columbia where her father ran a hotel and then the moved
to southern Alberta as homesteaders. Amelia earned a job in Fort Macleod at
the newspaper the Macleod Advertiser in 1911 and by 1913 she had
settled in Calgary where she worked at odd jobs and became active with
labour groups joining the Labour Representation League. In 1922 she joined
the staff of the United Farmers of Alberta. . She also served 12 years on
the Calgary school board. She attended the founding convention of the
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and ran in 2 by elections as a
CCF candidate. She was unsuccessful in both the by-election of January 9,
1933 and again in the by election of January 15, 1934. Even though the
working class women turned out to vote for Amelia she could only place a
close second in the voting. Somewhat discouraged she retired from politics.
In 1937 she married Walter Norman Smith (1887-1972) who worked for the
United Farmers of Alberta. From 1936 through to their retirement in 1954 the
couple published the Western Farm Leader.
Mary Adelaide Dawson Snider
Lambton, County, Ontario. Died September 3, 1932. Mary joined the workforce
at the Toronto Evening Telegram in 1901 as the paper’s 1st female
reporter. She worked as a columnist for the women’s pages as well as serving
as secretary for the editor. In 1904 Mary was 1 of the 16 women who
travelled by train to cover the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. On the
return train trip the women formed the Canadian Women’s Press Club which
would endure for 100 years. Mary was not credited with a byline for her
reports from the World’s Fair. In 1908 she married reporter and historian
Charles Henry Jeremiah (Jerry) Snider (1897-1971). In 1912, posing as a
nurse and slipping through security lines, Mary reported meeting the ship
Carpathia’ which brought survivors of the fateful Titanic to New York City,
U.S. A. This time she was credited with her own byline! In 1919 she covered
the Winnipeg General Strike and filed copies of her stories to the Telegram
from Minnesota to ensure the arrival uninterrupted by Canadian telegraphers.
During World War l she was in Charge of women working at a Toronto munitions
Plant. Mary continued writing for the Toronto Telegram until her death.
Sources: Linda Kay. The Sweet Sixteen. (McGill-Queens University
Press, 2012) : Marjory Lang. Women who made the news. McGill Queen’s
University Press, 1999.
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,
2008.; personal acquaintance .
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.
Born 1937, Toronto, Ontario. After high school Jan earned a degree in
Physical Education from the University of Toronto. She taught for a year in
Port Credit, Ontario and 1961-62 she was in Switzerland. Returning to Canada
she attended the Ontario College of Education to earn teaching certificates
in physical education, English and French. She taught for a year at Castle
Frank High School in Toronto. Dissatisfied with teaching as a career she
began working as a secretary for the CBC. She became a script assistant for
some popular TV shows and then a TV and Radio announcer. She substituted on
the National news one night and became the 1st woman to host the
National. In 1987 she switched to work for the Global Television Network
retiring in 1998.
Born April 9, 1932, Sudbury, Ontario. Died November 12, 2014. At 16 Adele
moved from northern Ontario to Toronto where she met and married G. Kingsley
(d. 2014) in 1959. The couple would have 2 children. Adele worked at the
Toronto radio station CHUM hosting as ‘Aunt Susan’ a children’s radio show.
Several years later she moved to CBC television writing for the popular
children’s TV show Mr. Dressup. She worked 17 years helping Ernie
Coombs, Mr. Dressup himself helping young viewers be educated. She would
also edit and published 4 books that were written by her husband including,
Letters of a Businessman to His Son which was translated into 28
languages. When her mother suffered a stroke she began a business
manufacturing mobility chairs, ‘Go Chairs’ to help people with disabilities.
She enjoyed music and composed her own music. With John Hartman she
co-composed music for the poem In Flanders Fields. On top of all this
creativity she was an accomplished portrait and landscape artist. Source:
Obituaries, Globe and Mail, November 22, 2014. Suggestion submitted by June
Coxon, Ottawa Ontario.
née Van Zyl. Born April 30, 1927 Fictsburg, South Africa. Died October 20,
2014 Delta, British Columbia. While still in school in 1936 she won a
province wide essay competition and she just continued writing. The youth
Marie wrote a play, contributed to the local newspaper with stories which
also could be found on pages of periodicals and even a British magazine. At
19 she married Thomas Warder and the couple had 2 children. The couple
played in a dance band when 1st married while she worked as a
teacher and public relations officer. In 1977 they immigrated to Calgary and
she continued to write. In all she would complete 24 novels some written in
Afrikaans and were extremely popular in South Africa. She suffered from
Hermochromatois which is an iron overload disorder. She served as president
in 1994 of the Canadian Hermochromatois Society and took part in the
international organization as well. She would contribute over 300 articles
attempting to get the word out to doctors and those who suffered with the
disease. In 1995 her own story was published in Reader’s Digest. She
received the Volunteer Medal of Honour from Health and Welfare Canada and in
2001 her work was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work
around the world.
Source: Obituaries, The Globe and Mail November 15, 2014.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
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.
Helen Dacey Wilson
Born August 21, 1927 Wilson Cove, Nova Scotia. Died June 15, 2015 Ottawa,
Ontario. She grew up in a family of 8 girls and 5 boys and would use stories
of their growing up in her future bestselling books, Tales From Barrett’s
Landing and More Tales From Barrett’s Landing. Her life stories
would also find themselves interwoven into stories for prominent magazines
(she used pseudonyms) and her radio broadcasts. Hallie worked as a public
servant with federal cabinet minister Judy LaMarsh for the Royal Commission
on the Status of Women and as communications officer in the office of former
Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Source: Kate Zimmerman, Lives Matter:
Helen Dacey Wilson Globe and Mail December 4, 2015. Suggestion
submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Born August 15, 1952 Montreal, Quebec. She graduated from McGill University
in Montreal to become 1 of 2 foreign college students permitted to study at
Beijing University during Maoist regime and eventually was forced to escape
back to the West. She met her future husband Norman Shulman in China. The
couple married in 1976 and they have 2 sons. She began her journalist
working as a news assistant at Fox Butterfield the correspondent for the New
York Times. She studied journalism at Columbia University, New York City,
New York, U.S.A. graduating in 1981 and began working with the Montreal
Gazette, Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal before becoming
a business reporter for the Toronto Globe and Mail. She worked 6 years in
China as foreign correspondent and later wrote a book, Red China Blues
on her experiences. Back in Canada in the late 1990’s she produced a second
book, Jan Wong’s China.
From 1996 to 2002, Wong was best known for her Lunch with... column
in The Globe and Mail, in which she had lunch with a celebrity, who
was usually but not always Canadian. The column finished in 2002 and she
continued writing with the Globe and Mail in various capacities.
Including going undercover writing a series on low-income living. The
newspaper was sued by the family involved in her articles alleging
embarrassment and mental distress.
After additional controversial articles and depression from events she was
let go from her work at the Globe and Mail. She has since worked at CBC
Radio 1 and in 2010 was Visiting Irving Chair of Journalism at St Thomas
University, Fredericton, New Brunswick. She also writes a column for the
Chronicle-Herald, Halifax, Nova Scotia and free lances with numerous
magazines. Her 3rd book
of the Blue: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and,
self-published in 2012 for which the Globe and Mail took her to court and
won its case.
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.
Katherine 'Kit' Brennan-Waters
Born April 9, 1958 Vancouver, British Columbia. During her studies at Queens University she received awards
including the Lorne Green Award. She began her career as an actor
but soon found that she preferred writing plays to acting. In 1994 her play
about the woman Dr. James Barry won the Canadian National Playwright
Competition. he acted for several years but prefers
writing plays. One of her works, Spring Planting has received
the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Award. She
is married to Andrew Waters and works as a professor at Concordia
University, Montreal. In 2013 she began writing a series of novels starting
with Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards.
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.
Born November 20, 1958. This writer has many screenwriting credits
with the National Film Board of Canada and CBC TV. She has written for the
"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.
Born August 13, 1910 Anatone, Washington U.S.A. Died May 24, 1984 Williams
Lake, British Columbia. After graduating from the University of Alberta she
worked as a secretary and later as registrar at the Banff Centre for the
Arts were she wrote her 1st play The Dragons of Kent in
1935. She also studied playwriting at the University of North Carolina in
the U.S.A. In 1939 she won an award from the Dominion Drama Festival for her
tragic play Still Stands the House. In 1941 she received the Governor
General's Award for outstanding service to Canadian drama. She was the 1st
Canadian playwright to publish a volume of collected plays in 1982.The
theatre in Williams Lake, British Columbia is named in her honour. The
Writers Guild of Alberta presents the Gwendolyn Ringwood Drama Award.
Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia. Online. Accessed last time 2000)
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 1953, New Denmark, New Brunswick. After attending a Maritime Writers’
workshop at the University of New Brunswick in 1987 she began to write
poetry seriously. In 1990 she produced a chapbook of her peoms. She attended
various writing workshops by noted authors and in 1999 she published her 1st
full length work of collected poems, the Stone Cloak followed in 2001 with
another book of poems. In 2005 her third book was followed by the
publication Walking in the Sky. Her individual works have appeared in such
magazines as Canadian Literature and Fiddlehead. She has served on the
executive t the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick. Her works have
garnered numerous awards including the Alfred G. Bailey Prize.
Source: ‘Shari Andrews’ by Carissa
St. Armand. New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia. Online (Accessed May
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 1st 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.
Audrey Alexandra Brown
Born October 29, 1904 Nanaimo, British Columbia. Died September 20, 1998.
She was educated at St Anne’s Convent and showed talent at writing at an
early age. She composed her 1st poem when she was only 6. She
would during her career publish 5 volumes of verse. In 1927 she suffered and
attack of rheumatic fever and was forced to take treatment to be able to
walk again. She wrote numerous works for various publications and as a
freelance journalist she wrote columns under the pen name of ‘The Khoji” for
the Nanaimo Free Press newspaper. In 1936 she earned the Members Memorial
Medal of the Canadian Women’s Press Club. In 1944 she became the 1st
female poet to win the Royal Society of Canada’s Lorne Pierce Medal for her
poetry. In 1967 she was inducted into the Order of Canada.and received the
Canada Centennial Medal.
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.
Born 1907, L'Annonciation, Quebec. Died 1990. Cecile attended the Ecole des
Beaux Arts in Montreal from 1933 to 1938. She wrote and illustrated books of
poetry. She was a member of the Royall Society of Canada. A street in
Sherbrooke, Quebec has been named in her honor.
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.
Alice Helen Collins
Born January 18, 1879 Whitby, Ontario. Died February 6, 1955, Peterborough,
Ontario. After attending Havergal College she attended the University of
Toronto and the Toronto Conservatory of Music (Now the Royal Conservatory of
Music of Toronto). She continued her studies in Leipzig Germany and London
England. She travelled to the Orient, Egypt before returning to see Europe
and return to Canada. On October 24, 1906 she married, Alexander James Hay
Collins (1881-1960)a Bank Manager with the Bank of Montreal and the couple
had 4 children. The family relocated often usually within Ontario whenever
the Bank of Montreal posted them. Alice taught piano and music theory and
was often church organist wherever they lived. She composted music herself
often setting the poems of Kipling and Masefield to music. Her own poetry
writing often appeared in local newspapers including the Toronto Star, The
Toronto Globe and Mail, The Guelph Mercury and the Peterborough Examiner.
The poems were later collected into books. She used various pen names: Alice
H Roger for her songs, Alice Roger Collins or Helen A Roger for her poetry.
Sources: Guide to the Literary Heritage of Waterloo and Wellington
Counties, (Waterloo, Ontario, 1985); Canada’s Early Women Writers.
SFU Library Digital Collections. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British
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 December 9, 1865 Berkby, Huddersfield, England 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 Lanciano, Italy. She
immigrated to Toronto, Ontario with her family in 1955. In 1972 she
completed her studies at the University of Toronto for her BA which she
followed in 1974 with her MA from the University of Windsor. She was one of
the poets included in the anthology Roman Candles (1978), and in
The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse (1982), edited by Margaret
Atwood. Her 1st
solo poetry book Tree of August was published in 1978 would be
followed by several more poetry works. Her 1st novel Terror of
Love appeared in 2005. She is a founding
member of the Association of Italian Canadian writers in 1986. Working as a
freelance writer and editor she has worked with Toronto Live,
Poetry Toronto and the Toronto Star newspaper. She has held posts
as writer-in-residence in Toronto, Regina, Banff, Montreal, Rome, Italy and
Bologna, Italy. Since 1990 she has been professor of creative writing at
Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. Mary has received numerous awards
for her books of poetry. Including a silver medal in the CBC poetry
competition, duMaurier Award for Poetry, an Air Canada Writing Award, a
Toronto Arts Award and ARC Confederation Poets Award. Source:
the Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Last accessed July 2015)
Nora M. Duncan
née Dann. Born 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
Evelyn Sybil Mary Eaton.
Born December 22, 1902, Montreaux, Switzerland. Died July 17, 1983
Independence, California, U.S.A. Evelyn was born while her Canadian parents
were living in Switzerland. She was educated in New Brunswick and Ascot
England. Even as a young scholar she enjoyed writing poetry when by 8 years
of age her poems were published in the Montreal Star Newspaper.
While studying at the Sorbonne in France she gave birth out of wedlock to a
daughter. She married a Polish Count, Ernest Paul Richard Viedt and left
France just before Hitler invaded. She divorced the Count six years after
their marriage and landed back in Canada. She supported herself writing book
reviews, and making contributions to such publications as the New Yorker
Magazine. She was vice-president of the Canadian Authors association in
1940-41. She penned two novels before she really received notice. In 1940
her work Quietly My Captain Waits, an historical novel set in Acadia
in Nova Scotia found monetary success. In 1945 she took out American
citizenship and 1946 to 195o she served as president of the Pen and Brush
Club of New York. In 1949 she was teaching at Columbia University while more
novels set in New France were published. From 1951 through 1960 she taught
at Sweet Brian College and moved on as writer-in-residence with the
Huntingdon Hartford Foundation. By 1960 she had settled in California,
U.S.A. In 1974 she published her autobiography. In all she would publish 26
books. In 1988 a biography, Joy Before Night: the Last Years of Evelyn
Eaton was written by her daughter Terry.
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.
Phyllis Fay Gotlieb
Ontario, January 1, 1926. Died Toronto, Ontario July 14, 2009. She attended
Victoria College for her B.A. in 1948 and she earned her M.A. in 1950 from
University College, University of Toronto. She married computer scienciest
Calvin Gotlieb. She was a prolific author including four volumes of
poetry, five verse plays and several science fiction stories and full novels
in the 1960,60s, 1970’s and 1980’s.Her 1982 novel, A Judgement of Dragons
won the Prix Auora Award for best novel. In 2001 the new Starburst Award,
given annually for speculative fiction in named in honor of her 1st
book, Sunburst published in 1964.
Jewish women’s Archive. Personal information for Phyllis Gotlieb
<http://jwa.org/archive/jsp/perinfor.jsp?personID=639 (Accessed June 2013) ;
The Canadian Encyclopedia online (Accessed March 2013)
Carla Jean Hartsfield
29, 1956, Waxahachie, Texas. Carla began piano lessons when she was just 4
years old and she almost immediately began winning local and state-wide
honours. She attended University of Texas earning a Bachelor and Masters in
piano Music. She immigrated to Canada in 1982. She became a member of the
Piano Faculty of the Royal Conservatory of Music in 1987. In 1988 she
published her 1st book of poems, The Invisible Moon. On May 18,
1990 she married Kenneth Hartsfield and the couple have one son. Her second
book of poems was published in 1993 and the following year co-authored New
Piano Series Student Guides in 1994. In 1995 her 3rd book of
poetry Fire Never Sleeps was published and she was included in
Understatement: An Anthology of Twelve Contemporary Poets in 1996.She also
operates CJH Piano Studio in Ottawa. Source: Canadian Who’s Who, Toronto,
University of Toronto. 1997.
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.
August 1, 1916, Sainte-Catherine-de-Fossambault, Quebec
August 1, 1916. Died
January 22, 2000. Anne moved to Paris in the 1950's but made frequent
visits to her home in Canada. A
poet, playwright, and novelist worked on Radio-Canada broadcasts and also wrote
scripts for the National Film Board. She wrote books of prose and some of
her novels have been made into films. She wrote in her native French but most
of her works have been translated into English.
She has been awarded the Molson Prize in 1967 and was elected to the Royal
Society of Canada. She was also the winner of the Prix Fémina and 3 Governor
General's Awards in literature. She eventually returned from France to
retire in Quebec.
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.
Diane Margaret Keating
Born July 20, 1943 Winnipeg Manitoba. She attended the University of
Manitoba graduating in 1963. She married Christopher Keating in 1967 and the
couple have two children. In 1978 she published her 1st poetry
book; In Dark Places. In 1982 No Birds or Flowers was
published and garnered her the Governor General’s Award for English Language
Poetry. She published again in 1984: the Optic Heart. In 2001 she
produced: The Year One: new and Selected Poems. In 2014 she published
a novel, The Crying Out. Source: The Canadian Who’s Who, (Toronto:
University of Toronto Press, 1997)
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 January 13, 1889, Les Escoumains, Quebec. Died May 25, 1958. Blanche
was educated at convent schools and earned her BA from the Université de
Montréal. In 1913 she became what may be the 1st female poet to
have published her writings. Her 1st collection of poems Visions
gaspéiennes was awarded the Prix de la Société du parler français au Canada.
In July 1920 she married a lawyer, Hector Beauregard. After her marriage she
was able to devote her life to her writing. She produced 12 published works
during her lifetime and in 1989 and 1991 collected and selected works were
published. The municipal library in Saint Anne-des-Monts is named in her
honour and Mont Blanche Lamontagne is a popular ski destination. Beauport
Quebec boasts of rue Blanche-Lamontagne and there is a Inn Blanche
Lamontagne in Gaspé where much of the background of her works is situated.
Born August 6, 1915, St-Grégoire d'Iberville, Quebec.
Died Québec May 9,
was youthful playwright who blossomed into a renowned poet.
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 1st literary work, a
the life of Kateri Tekakwitha, was published.
Her writings garnered her the Prix David in 1943 and again in 1974.
1957 she was awarded the Prix Dulemay. In the 1970’s her works were
recognized with the 1971 Molson Prize, the 1973 Prix France-Canada and in
1974 the Lorne Pierce Medal. In 1987 she was inducted into the National
Order of Quebec.
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 July 29, 1935 Vancouver, British
Columbia. 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 Toronto, Ontario. Died November 29, 1987 Toronto,
Ontario. She had her 1st poem published in the Canadian Forum
magazine when she was just 17 years old and at 18 she had written her 1st
novel Julian the Magician. At 20 she produced her 1st
complete book of poetry The Drunken Clock. Along with poetry and
novels she also wrote numerous radio docudramas for the CBC. In 1969 her
poetry book, The Shadow Maker, won the Governor Generals Award. In
1972 she opened a coffee house with her 2nd husband Nikos Tsingos
and in 1973 she won the A.J.M. Smith Poetry Award. In 1983 she won the
Borestone Mountain Poetry Award the CBC Literary Competition and the Du
Maurier Awards gold and silver for poetry. In 1985 she became Writer in
Residence at the University of Western Ontario and went on to the University
of Toronto as Writer in Residence in 1986-1987. That same year she won her
second Governor General’s Award posthumously. An accomplished linguist she
taught herself to read Hebrew, Arabic, Greek and French using her skills to
translate writers from each of these languages. Her own original works have
been translated into numerous foreign languages including French German and
Italian. In 1995 Rosemary Sullivan published, Shadow Maker: the Life of
Gwendolyn MacEwen which won the Governor General’s Award for
non-fiction. In 1994 the former Walmer Road Park in the Annex neighbourhood
of Toronto was renamed Gwendolyn MacEwen Park in her honor and in September
2006 a bronze bust of the writer by sculptor John McCombe Reynolds was
unveiled in the park. A one-woman play by
Alien Creature: A Visitation from Gwendolyn MacEwen, won the
Dora Mavor Moore
Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Accessed 2008)
Born June 13, 1931. Died March 21, 2012, Toronto, Ontario. When Jay was 9
she was a ‘war guest’ in Newfoundland. This was a term used for British
evacuee children who were sent from Britain for their safety during World
War ll. In 1944 the while family settled in Ottawa, Ontario. She earned her
BA from Carlton University, Ottawa in 1951. While still a student at
Carleton she had some of her poems published in the Canadian magazine
Contemporary in 1949. After achieving her BA she went on to University
College in London for post Graduate studies prior to earning her PhD from
the University of Toronto. She also earned a post graduate Bachelor of
Library Science. In 1952 her 1st published work Nineteen Poems
appeared. In 1954 Jay began her own small press, Emblem Books. Her most
popular work, The Boatman, was a series of 80 poems published in 1957
garnered the 1958 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. From 1997 through
1996 Jay taught English at Victoria College at the University of Toronto
becoming a full professor in 1974. Her works also earned her the E.J. Pratt
Medal for poetry and the Levinson. Source: Jay Macpherson Poet and Teacher,
Victoria University Archives Online (Accessed January 2012)
Minovitch. Born February 13, 1930, Rockglen, Saskatchewan. 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.
Joyce Anne Marriott
Born November 5, 1913, Victoria, British Columbia. Died October 10, 1947,
Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1939 she penned a long poem, The Wind Our
Enemy, depicting draught on the Canadian prairies. At the University of
British Columbia she co-founded with Dorothy Livesay (1909-1996) and others
the journal, Contemporary Verse. In 1941 she earned a Governor General’s
Award for Poetry for her work Calling Adventurers. In 1943 she earned the
Woman’s Canadian Club Literary Award. In 1945 she relocated to Ottawa,
Ontario working as an editor for the National Film Board of Canada. In 1947
she married Gerald McLellan (d 1974) and the couple returned to British
Columbia to raise their 3 children. After her marriage she wrote multiple
scripts for the CBC. In 1956 she earned a Koerner Foundation Scholarship and
in 1958 she wan the Ohio Award for educational Broadcasting. In the 1970’s
she provided poetry workshops for young people and in the 1980’s she
published multiple volumes of poetry and a volume of short stories.
Laura Elizabeth McCully
Born March 17, 1886, Toronto, Ontario. Died July 7, 1924, Toronto, Ontario.
As a youngster she wrote often and some of her writings were published in
the Children’s Corner of the Daily Mail and Empire newspaper. She was
even profiled in Harper’s Bazaar magazine which was published in New
York, U.S.A. in 1899. Laura attended the University of Toronto receiving her
B.A. in 1907 and her M.A. in 1908.While still a student she became
interested in the votes for women movement and attended suffrage rallies
including August 8, 1908 in Orillia, Ontario. In 1909 she studied at Yale
University in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A. returning to Canada in 1910. In
1915 she expanded her pacifist views to include the right to bear arms and
joined the Women’s Home Guard to train with the idea of relieving men for
active duty. By the end of 1916 she had developed diabetes and suffered from
mental illness with bouts of hospital care which led to poverty and a life
Sperdakos, McCully, Laura Elizabeth. Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol.
15. University of Toronto/Laval University Presses 2003-. Online Accessed
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 November 7, 1841, Ashburnham, Ontario. 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 March 12, 1951 Santa Cruz, California,
U.S.A. 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.
Born November 23, 1916 Swanage, Dorset, England. Died January 14, 2010,
Victoria, British Columbia. Her family moved to Red Deer, Alberta in 1919.
After graduating from high school P.K. went to England for a year. She
returned to live in Saint John, New Brunswick. She worked as a shop
assistant and several other jobs. In 1941 she relocated to Montreal, Quebec.
During World War ll she became associated a group of Montreal poets. He own
poems were published in various Canadian magazines and journals. In 1944
some of her writings were included in an anthology, Unit of Five
edited by Ronald Hambleton. That same year, using the pen name Judith Cape
she published a novel The Sun and The Moon. In 1950 she married
William Arthur Irwin a Canadian diplomat. In 1954 her work, The Metal and
The Flower garnered the Governor General’s Award for poetry. She
lived with her ambassador husband in Australia, Brazil and Mexico where she
learned to paint. She would have in her lifetime several one man shows of
her art. Some of her paintings are held in Canada’s National Gallery. Her
painting are signed P.K. Irwin. In 1977 she was inducted into the Order of
Canada and in 1998 she was promoted to the level of Companion of the Order
of Canada. In 2003 she was inducted into the Order of British Columbia. In
2004 she was awarded the 1st of the British Columbia’s Lieutenant
Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence and that same year she was
presented with the Terasen Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2006 she was named
a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada. Coal and Roses, her last
collection of poetry was published after her death. The P.K. Page Founders’
Award for Poetry is presented annually in her honor.
Rhoda Ann Page
Born 1826 Hackney, England. 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.
Suzanne married fellow poet Louis-Paul Hamel (d 2015?). In 1962 Suzanne
began to devote herself to a full time career in writing. She has written
several novels and numerous volumes of poetry. In 1965 she received the Prix
Jean Hamelin and her writings, L’oeuvre de Pierre: Poèmes garnered
the Prix France-Québec. In 1970 she earned the Prix Du Maurier. Source:
Canadian Encyclopaedia. Online (Accessed January 2016)
Born1859?, Liverpool England. 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.
Born November 19 1958 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.. Died January 31,
2015, Vancouver, British Columbia. When she was in grade 3 she received a
book of nonsense poetry and became enthralled with poems. She went on to
study English at Harvard University where her work was published in the New
Republic, a unique accomplishment for an undergraduate. She also attended
Cambridge University, Boston University and the University of British
Columbia. In 1994 she married Stephen Partridge. They had met during
graduate studies at Harvard. The couple settled in Vancouver, British
Columbia. She became an active member of the Vancouver House Network
fighting to preserve original homes from land developers. In 2002 she
published her 1st collection of poems Fielder’s Choice
which received glowing reviews. A breast cancer survivor she served on the
organizing committee for the May 2004 conference the Young and the Breatless
in Vancouver. It was the 1st ever national conference for young
women diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2008 she produced a 2nd
collection of poems Chameleon Hours which won the Canadian Authors
Association Poetry Award. She was generous in her support to up and coming
poets taking time to correspond with them. A 3rd collection of
poems was published posthumously. Source: Mark Medley, Beloved Creator of
Pitch-perfect Verse. The Globe and Mail, February 19, 2015.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Marlene Nourbese Philip
February 3, 1947, Moriah, Tobago. 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.
Marjorie Lowry Christie Picktall
Born September 14, 1883, Gunnersburg, London, England. Died April 19, 1922,
Vancouver, British Columbia. Marjorie started writing poems at the age of 7.
She knew from this early age that she wanted to be a writer and illustrator
of books. In 1890 her family relocated to Toronto, Ontario. In 1898 she was
attending Bishop Strachan
School. That same year she sold her 1st story, Two Ears, to the
newspaper the Toronto Globe for $3.00. The story won for her a
sponsored by the newspaper the Toronto Mail and Empire. She would
continue to contribute to both newspapers as well as various Canadian
magazines and journals. In 1900 she once again won the Mail and Empire’s
writing contest with the poem O keep the World for Ever at the Dawn.
By 1905 she had hired a New York Agent and was having her writings published
in U.S. magazines. With the death of her mother in 1910 she worked at the
library at Victoria College, University of Toronto to help with the family
finances. She was forced to leave her job due to ill health in 1912.
Travelling to England she wrote an historical novel she called Poursuite
Joyeuse which would be published in 1915 under the English title Little
Hearts. While in England she wanted to contribute to the World War l effort
by training as an automobile mechanic but she was not accepted for the job
and accepted a position as secretary and assistant librarian. On May
22, 1920 she sailed back to Canada to settle in British Columbia. She worked
on a collection of poetry and short stories which were published after her
death. She had during her career written over 200 short stories and 100
poems, 3 novels and 3 children’s books.
Sadie O. Prince
Born 1861, Springfield, Nova Scotia. 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
Born March 4, 1901, Quebec. Died November 6, 1987. Simone attended the
Université Laval. In 1928 she published L’imortel Adoescent which won
the Prix David. in 1930 graduated from the Université de Paris which she
followed with studies at the Sorbonne in 1931. From 1930 through 1940 she
was Director of the Map collections at the offices of the Public Archives of
Canada in Paris, France. Returning to Canada she continued to work at the
Public Archives of Canada in Ottawa as assistant Director of the Manuscript
Division for ten years .In 1945 she studied at the L’institute dominicain
d’Ottawa. Joining the diplomatic corps of the Canadian Department of
External Affairs she served at the Canadian Embassy in Brussels, Belgium
from 1950 through 1955 and then she served at the Canadian Consulate in
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. from 1955-1958. She received
le diplôme d'honneur of la Société des poètes canadiens-français, le diplôme
des Jeux floraux du Languedoc in France and a medal from the
Born April 30, 1911, Saint John, New Brunswick. Died September 8, 2004,
Hampton, New Brunswick. She loved to write as a child and she had her 1st
poem published when she was just 14 when she won a contest held by the
Buffalo Sunday Times. She attended Mount Allison Ladies College until
1933. She established a nursery school with a friend in Saint John. In
1934-35 she joined the Saint John Theatre Guild. In the summer of 1934 she
attended a study program in drama at the Columbia University in New York
City, U.S.A. From 1940 through 1942 she taught at Alma Ladies College in St.
Thomas, Ontario. She returned to Saint John to teach at the Saint John
Vocational School, a position she retained for 30 years. She was a member of
the Canadian Authors Association and her works over the years appeared in
various magazines and journals and anthologies of Canadian poetry.
Fiddlehead published her early works and in 1971 published her second volume
of collected works. Kay was a part of the writers scene in the Maritimes and
was known for being a mentor and for setting standards of Canadian writing.
November 4, 1868, Dundas County, Ontario. 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.
January 3, 1922, London, England. 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.
Grezelda Elizabeth Cottnam Tonge
Born circa 1803, Windsor, Nova Scotia. Died May 19, 1825, Demerara, Guyana.
In 1825 she sailed to be with her father in the West Indies. She emerged in
the literary world as the epitome of a young beautiful gifted poet who was
tragically down just as het talent had begun to bloom. She died of tropical
fever. The established Maritime journalist Joseph How seem to have been
particularly effected by the death of this young poet. She is often
mentioned in his writings on literature in Nova Scotia.
Source: The Dictionary of Canadian Biography Vol. Vl Page 776-7.
née Block. Born August 15, 1953 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Rhea married Alan
Tregebov on December 5, 1971 and the couple have 1 son. She attended the
University of Manitoba earning her B.A. in 1974 and her pre-masters at
Cornell University in 1976. She took her Master’s Degree at Boston
University in 1978. By 2012 she had published 7 volumes of poetry and her
works have received the Pat Lowther Award,
the Malahat Review Long Poem prize, Honorable Mention for the National
Magazine Awards (poetry) and the Readers’ Choice Award for Poetry from
Prairie Schooner. She also published her 1st novel in 2009, The
Knife-Sharpener’s Bell which received the 2010 J.I. Segal Award for fiction.
She has also published 5 popular children’s books some of which feature
stories of Sasha no doubt based on life happenings with her son. The Big
Storm won the inaugural CNIB Tiny Torgi Print Braille Book Award. In 2005
she began teaching at the University of British Columbia after having taught
at York University and Ryerson University, Toronto. Sources: Canadian
Who’s Who. 1997.
Kenora, Ontario. She married and worked in her husband’s company for many
years. After her children were raised. She began to think about writing. She
began writing shot stories in the 1950’s but eventually switched to poetry
as she felt she could not stay up all night writing! Her efforts in poetry
helped her open up a new worlds and that passion helped her bridge into her
senior years. Her stories were published collectively in Dark Forms Gliding,
published online, Monday’s Poem, Leaf Press. In 1996 she earned the League
of Canadian Poets Annual Poetry Award and also ARC Magazine’s Poem of the
year contest award. In 2000 she was presented with the Orillia Humor Award
and in 2005 she won the Vancouver International Writer’s Festival Award for
her poetry. Oolechan Books has published 3 of her poetry collections.
www.leafpress.ca Accessed January 2014. Oolechan Books online Accessed
11, 1868, Quebec. Died May 1936. Her 1st job as a journalist was
with Le Monde illustré where she was hired in 1900 to write the
women’s page. Her pen name was ‘Attala’ or ‘Atala’. In 1904 she was a member
of the group of 16 women who took a Canadian Pacific train trip to cover the
St. Louis World’s Fair. On the train trip home the women formed the Canadian
Women’s Press Club that would survive as an organization for 100 years.
After the trip Léonise worked in a post office until she retired in 1929.
Later in life she would return to writing sporadically for various Quebec
journals. She was the 1st woman in Quebec
to publish a volume of poetry, Fleurs sauvages in 1910. She
wrote for La Terre de chez nous, a weekly agricultural newspaper until 1931
when she had an accident that had her in a coma for 63 days. She slowly
recuperated and published a second book of poetry in 1934 called Feuilles
tombées. A feminist to the last, her will specified that capital funds
to her sisters did not require signature of their husbands. At this time,
Quebec law required husbands to endorse inheritance cheques for wives to
receive the monies.
Source. Linda Kay. Sweet Sixteen (McGill Queens University press,
2012) . Book: Léonise Valois: femme de lettres by Louise Warren
Born December 23, 1917 Winnipeg, Manitoba. 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 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.
Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald
26, 1857, Rockwood, Canada West (Ontario) Died March 9, 1940m Fenwick,
Ontario. When she was seven the family moved to Philadelphia where her
father worked teaching. Awhile later back in Canada on the Niagara Peninsula
she attended Rockwood Academy run by her father. She late attended a Quaker
School in Union Springs, New York, U.S.A. and Pickering College in Ontario.
Her first poem was published when she was 17. From 1880-1882 she wrote
stories for the Rose-Bedford Canadian Monthly. Under the pen name of Bel
Thistlewaite she began contributing to the Toronto Globe in 1886 and
continued her freelance contributions to numerous Canadian publications. In
1886 she also published her first novel An Algonquin Maiden: a romance of
the early days of Upper Canada. The work was proven to be very popular with
three editions being published. She would go on to publish 5 volumes of
poetry in the 1900’s. Many of her poems were included over the years in
various anthologies of Canadian Literature. In 1921 she published Tree-Top
Morning: a book of verse for children. As a single parent she adopted a
daughter Dorothy Wetherald Rungeling
who would eventually publish collections of her mother’s work.
Source: Guide to the Literary Heritage of Waterloo and Wellington
|| 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
Anne Cochrane Wilkinson
Born September 21, 1910, Toronto, Ontario. Died May 10, 1961. Anne was
educated in the U.S.A. and in Europe She published two books of verse in
1951 and in 1955. As well she wrote items in the Tamarack Review of
which she was a founding editor. In 1956 she published Lions in the Way,
a history of the Osler family to whom she was related. In 1960 she published
a children’s fantasy called Swan and Daphne. From 1968 through 2003 6 books
were published of her works. In 2003 the Complete Poems of Anne Wilkinson
1924-1967 was published.