Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Historical Firsts for Canadian Women

"We want women leaders today as never before. Leaders who are not afraid to be called names and who are willing to go out and fight. I think women can save civilization. Women are persons."
 - Emily Murphy, 1931

  • The Ursuline Nuns establish a school for girls in Quebec.

  • First hospital in Canada, Hôtel-Dieu in Montreal, is opened by Jeanne Mance.
  • First Francophone female writer born in Canada - Marie Morin
  • First school teacher in Montreal, arrives from France - Marguerite Bourgeoys.

  • 775 French orphan girls and young women are sent to New France under the banner "Filles du roi" to marry settlers.

  • First English woman to come to James Bay, Mrs. (John) Sargeant, wife of the Governor of the Hudson Bay Company, with her companion Mrs. Maurice, and a maidservant.
  • Marguerite d'Youville founds the Grey Nuns order in Montreal.

  •  First Jewish woman to arrive in Canada - Esther Brandeau (in the guise of a cabin boy).
  • First Canadian printing office and Canada's first newspaper, the weekly Halifax Gazette - Elizabeth Bushell (with her father).
  • First recorded female art teacher in Montréal, Quebec - Jeanne Charlotte Allamand.
  • First work of fiction by a native born Canadian to be published in Canada - Julia Catherine Hart.

  • First female professional photographer - Mrs. (John) Fletcher (portrait studio in Montreal). 
  • Women in Ontario got the right to vote for school trustees if they owned property regardless of marital status.

  • Susanna Moodie published Roughing It in the Bush about life as a pioneer in then Upper Canada.

  • First woman publisher in Canada - Mary Shadd Carey
  • First black woman publisher in North America (The Provincial Freeman, 1853 to 1857) - Mary Shadd Carey
  • First university in Canada to admit women — Mount Allison in New Brunswick (did not include the right to study in professional faculties).
  • First woman doctor in Canada - Emily Stowe (her practice was in Toronto but her training was in the States
  • First female doctor to graduate from a Canadian Medical School - Dr. Augusta Stowe-Gullen
  • First woman to teach at a Canadian medical school - Dr. Augusta Stowe-Gullen (she helped found the Toronto Western Hospital with her husband Dr. John B. Gullen)
  • First woman lawyer in Ontario, Canada and the British Empire - Clara Brett Martin
  • Creation of the world's first Women's Institute - Adelaide Hunter (Hoodless) in Stoney Creek, Ontario (she also introduced the teaching of domestic science into Ontario schools)
  • First Canadian woman nuclear physicist — Harriet Brooks (she was also the first woman to obtain a Master's Degree from McGill in 1901)
  • First woman intern at Toronto General Hospital - Dr. Helen MacMurchy (named one of the western world's leading physicians in 1949)
  • First francophone woman to practice medicine in Canada - Irma Levasseur (she co-founded Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montréal)
  • Women admitted to the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine for the first time
  • First single woman to be granted homestead rights in Ontario - Dorothea Mitchell (Canada’s first female independent film maker)
  • First woman in the British Empire to become a judge - Emily Murphy
  • Women obtained the right to vote in a federal election
  • First election including female candidates
  • First Canadian woman to be a member of Parliament - Agnes Macphail (also one of the first two women elected to Ontario Legislature)
  • Ada McKenzie founded the Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto, the first private golf club in North America owned and operated by women
  • First Canadian woman to earn a degree in electrical engineering - Elsie MacGill (University of Toronto)
  • Canadian women are allowed to compete in the Olympic Games for the first time.

  • First woman senator - Cairine Wilson
  • First female CGA in Canada - Ivy A. Cox
  • First woman to be elected a mayor in Canada (in Webbwood, Ontario) - Barbara McCallum Hanley
  • First woman corporate member to the Engineering Institute of Canada - Elsie MacGill
  • First woman to become a colonel in the Canadian Army - Elizabeth Laurie Smellie
  • First woman to be given the title of official war artist (World War II) - Molly Lamb Bobak
  • First "Woman Mountie", the RCMP's first Honourary Surgeon - Dr. Francis McGill
  • First woman to head a provincial party - Thérèse Forget Casgrain (in the province of Québec)
  • First woman federal cabinet minister - Ellen Fairclough
  • First woman appointed ambassador for Canada - Blanche Margaret Meagher (posted in Israel)
  • First Canadian woman to be named Minister of Health and Welfare - Judy LaMarsh (she introduced the Canada Pension Plan and established the Royal Commission on the Status of Women)
  • First women professional golfer in Canada - Sandra Post
  • First woman president of the physical sciences section of the Royal Society of Canada and the first female president of the Royal Canadian Institute - Helen Hogg
  • First woman physician president of the Ontario Medical Association - Dr. Bette Stephenson
  • First solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada of the work of a living Canadian woman - Joyce Wieland
  • First black woman elected to a legislature in Canada (B.C.) - Rosemary Brown
  • First woman candidate for the leadership of a major Canadian political party (NDP) - Rosemary Brown
  • First North American woman airline pilot - Rosella Bjornson
  • First woman president of the Canadian Medical Association - Dr. Bette Stephenson
  • First female Lieutenant-Governor in the British Commonwealth - Pauline McGibbon (of Ontario)
  • The RCMP begins to accept women in their ranks.
  • First woman to lead a major national union in Canada - Grace Hartman (CUPE)
  • First president of the Fédération des francophones hors Québec founded in 1975 (which later became the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA) in June 1991) - Jeannine Séguin
  • Troop 17 was the first group of 32 females accepted into the RCMP. This first all-female troop graduated from Depot on March 3, 1975.
  • Carolyn Bowes became the first woman to run across Canada. It took 133 days to cover the 3,840 miles from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Burnaby, British Columbia.
  • First woman Speaker of the House of Commons – Jeanne Sauvé
  • First woman minister responsible for the Status of Women in Parliament - Judy Erola
  • First woman on the Supreme Court - Bertha Wilson
  • First Canadian woman officially recognized as a saint (canonized) - Marguerite Bourgeoys (founder of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Montréal)
  • First woman Governor General - Jeanne Sauvé
  • First black person ever appointed to the Canadian Senate - Anne Cools
  • First televised debate on women's issues between the three major federal parties - organized by National Action Committee on the Status of Women
  • First North American woman to scale Mount Everest - Sharon Wood of Canmore, Alberta
  • First woman president of the Canadian Labour Congress - Shirley Carr
  • First francophone woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada - Claire L'Heureux-Dubé
  • First woman federal party leader - Audrey McLaughlin
  • First female pilots in the world to sucessfully complete and qualify to fly the CF18 Jet Fighter Aircraft - Deanna Brasseur and Jane Foster
  • First woman deputy Speaker of the House of Commons - Andrée Champagne
  • First Women's World Hockey Championships won by Canada
  • First Military female aircraft accident investigator - Deanna Brasseur
  • First woman Premier of a province - Rita Johnston (B.C.)
  • First Canadian Woman in Space - Roberta Bondar (second Canadian astronaut to go into space)
  • First female President of the Canadian Bar Association - Paule Gauthier, Quebec City lawyer
  • October is proclaimed Women's History Month in Canada by the Government of Canada. 
  • First woman Prime Minister - Kim Campbell
  • First woman to be named Leader of the Government in the Senate - Joyce Fairbairn
  • First black woman elected to the House of Commons - Jean Augustine
  • First woman deputy prime minister - Sheila Copps
  • First woman Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada - Beverley McLachlin
  • First female Premier of a territory (Yukon) - Pat Duncan
  • First woman appointed Auditor General of Canada - Sheila Fraser
  • First Canadian to win five medals at a single Olympic Winter Games - Cindy Klasssen.
  • First woman appointed Commander of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - Bev Busson.
  • First female to occupy top anchor spot (chef d’antenne) at the Télévision de Radio-Canada, Céline Galipeau, Le Téléjournal.

  • First Canadian Member of Parliament for the Green Party - Elizabeth May.
  • First woman in Canada appointed as Chief of Reserves and Cadets - Rear Admiral Jennifer Bennett.
  • First full-time female anchor in one of the three major English-language national newscasts - Lisa LaFlamme, CTV National News. 
  • First female doctor to receive the Patient's Choice Award, given in June 2012 by the Patient's Association of Canada and the Ontario Medical Association - Dr. Evelyn Honsl who practices in Ottawa

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