Monday, October 22, 2012

Megan Landry

Anti-bullying community educator, singer-songwriter

“Stand a little prouder, yell a little louder”. — Lyrics to the song Stronger

Lives and attends school in Ottawa.

Was bullied in grades 8 and 9 at two Ottawa schools by a clique of “mean girls”.

At 14, wrote a song about her painful experience, shot a video herself and posted it on You Tube. Her song “Stronger” is attracting world-wide attention for its anti-bullying message.

She is receiving praise and support for her anti-bullying song from around the planet.

Has performed at several youth benefits and will perform at a Canadian Safe School Network dinner in Toronto in November 2012.

Studied classical piano, jazz and pop, as well as taken voice lessons.

Won a Spirit of the Capital Youth Award for arts and culture for her contribution to youths in Ottawa.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Helen MacMurchy

Pioneer physican, health advocate, public health reformer

Born in 1862, died in 1953.

Began her medical career in private practice.

Had a lasting and meaningful impact on health care in Canada as a public health activist who specialized in women's issues.

Was a leading advocate of public health reforms in Canada in the early years of the 20th century.

Became the first chief of the federal Department of Health's Division of Child Welfare in Ottawa. She occupied this position for 14 years. At the time, this was the highest position then open to a woman in the Canadian public service.

Wrote the first childcare advice literature produced by the Canadian Government. In writing the Little Blue Books, she balanced the need to impart important medical advice to Canadian citizens while speaking to the reader in simple and plain language.

Was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1934, and named one of the 10 leading female physicians in the western world in 1949.

Helped found the Canadian National Committee on Mental Hygiene (later renamed Canadian Mental Health Association).

Was designated a national historic person in 1997, recognized for her contributions through her infant mortality reports, her career at the Department of Health and her series of books offering advice to mothers.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Kira Isabella

Singer-songwriter, musician

Born in Barrie, Ontario; grew up in Orleans (Ottawa) from the age of four. She attended St. Peter Catholic High School.

At 19, already has a decade of experience under her belt performing her brand of up-tempo country music across Canada.

Did her first recital at the age of seven in Ottawa and entered multiple singing competitions, of which she won many over the years.

At 14, she won first place in a country singing contest at an arts festival in Blyth, Ontario (Female Open Category), for which she won the Rising Star Award.

In 2009, she was signed to Sony Music Canada.

Plays guitar, writes poetry and lyrics and has performed hundreds of times to date. Will be releasing her first album “Love Me Like That” on October 4, 2012. The songs for this album were co-written with songwriters in Nashville and Atlanta.

Her first single from the album “Love Me Like That” recently won a 2012 Canadian Radio Music Award in the Country category at Canadian Music Week. See the you tube video of her song by clicking here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Karen Bailey

Artist, painter

“I paint people at work. Military medical personnel, church tea ladies, waitresses, charity shop volunteers”—Karen Bailey

Ottawa-based artist.

Is a graduate of the Reigate School of Art & Design, England.

Is a “painter of the people”. Many of her works feature behind-the-scenes workers and under-recognized people.

Some of her series have highlighted the working life of servers and hairstylists while “Blanche Dot Doris”, focused on older women who prepare food for church functions.

Some of her past work includes courtroom drawing for Global Television, book illustration for Appletree Press, U.K., heraldic art and calligraphy.

Has received the prestigious Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grants for drawing and painting twice in her 30-year career.

As one of five military appointed artists in the Defence Program, she spent one week at a Kandahar hospital in 2007 to paint portraits of patients and medical military personnel. She entitled this collection of work—“The Triage Collection”.

Her largest canvas to date, Blast Victims, was included in the War & Medicine exhibition at the Canadian War Museum.

Was commissioned to paint the official portrait of past governor general Michaëlle Jean for Rideau Hall (unveiling took place in September 2012). www

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Verna Cotton

Local historian (Navan), author, volunteer

Is the third Tweedsmuir Coordinator for the Navan Branch of the Woman’s Institute, as well as a founding member of the Cumberland and Township Historical Society.

Is the author of pictorial history books entitled “The Navan of Yesteryear”.

Worked as a volunteer, secretary and president of the Navan Women’s Institute, fulfilling executive duties and helping with fundraising and community service projects.

Continues to serve on committees for the Navan Fair and St. Mary’s Anglican Church.

Verna and her husband Syd have both been recognized by the municipal and provincial governments for their contributions to the community of Navan. They received numerous awards, most significant of which was the Ontario Bicentennial Award, presented in 1984.

In recognition of Syd and Verna Cotton’s contributions to the community of Navan, a park on Forest Lea Drive has been renamed the “Syd and Verna Cotton Park” by the City of Ottawa in September 2012.

As long-term residents of the Navan area, Syd (now deceased) and Verna have shown great commitment to improving their community. To read about Syd’s contribution, please visit the following link:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kathleen Edwards

Singer-songwriter, musician

Born in Ottawa in 1978. As the daughter of a diplomat, spent much of her childhood in Korea and Switzerland. Now lives in Toronto.

Her musical style is classified as “alternative country, folk”; her instruments are guitar and violin.

First recorded a six-song EP entitled "Building 55" in 1999, of which she pressed 500 copies and toured across Canada managing her own gigs.

Wrote seven of the ten songs for her debut album “Failer” launched in 2003. Her second album “Back to Me” came out in 2005, while her third album “Asking for Flowers” was released in 2008.

In 2006, she was nominated for Juno Awards for Songwriter of the Year and Adult Alternative Album of the Year for "Back to Me".

In her career, she has opened for Willie Nelson, John Prine, Aimee Mann, My Morning Jacket, John Mayer and Bryan Adams. She was also invited as a guest on the David Letterman Show, and as a performer at Farm Aid.

Her most recent release is “Voyageur” (2012). For her next project, she plans to record songs from the 1990s.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Alanis Morisette

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer, actress

Born in Ottawa in 1974. Attended Holy Family Catholic Elementary School, Immaculata High School and Glebe Collegiate.

Won 16 Juno Awards and 7 Grammy Awards, and was nominated for 2 Golden Globes.

Since the beginning of her career (1991), she has launched 8 albums; her first international album was the rock-influenced Jagged Little Pill, released in 1995. It has sold more than 33 million units globally.

Has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide. She is known for her powerful and emotive mezzo-soprano voice.

Has had roles in television (including Sex in the City, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Weeds), film (including God and Dogma) and on stage (including The Vagina Monologues).

Monday, August 6, 2012

Evelyn Stroobach

Pianist, composer, music teacher

“I’ve heard composers say they live to have their music performed. I don’t think there’s anything better on the planet than to share music.” – Evelyn Stroobach

Born in Holland; moved to Cobourg, Ontario with her family in the 1960s; lives in Ottawa since the late 1990s.

Has a master’s of music degree from Indiana University at Bloomington.

Studied the art of composing for various sections of an orchestra, including strings, brass, woodwinds, piano and harpsichord. Has compositions for solo guitar, piano and alto saxophone.

Among her accomplishments are four symphonies which have been performed by 13 orchestras all over Canada, Europe and Asia. Her choral works have been performed by the National Opera Chorus in Kyle and Ottawa’s Harmony Choir. One of her newest compositions will be performed during the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival (August 2012). 

She authored a music book entitled Medieval Tales: The Art of the Mode (2005). She has also scored music for films and won awards for her works. She launched a CD of her compositions in 2007, Aurora Borealis.

Is part of a select group of women composers. In 2011, the Canadian Music Centre counted 788 associate composers, of which only 136 are women.

Serves and participates on different boards and groups including the Association of Canadian Women Composers and the International Alliance for Women in Music.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sandra Dyck

Art historian, curator, gallery director

“[…) I’d love for the gallery to serve as a “third space” – neither home nor work – that functions as a forum for dialogue between diverse communities […]”. - Sandra Dyck

Born in Chilliwack, B.C.; lives in Ottawa.

Obtained a Masters in Canadian art history at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Worked at many cultural institutions including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa Art Gallery, and Library and Archives Canada.

Has been employed by the Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG) for the last 17 years where, over the course of her career, she has curated 50 and coordinated over 150 exhibitions. She has been named gallery director in July 2012.

As director, her focus will be on strengthening CUAG’s engagement in communities both on and off campus, as well as expand the scope and ambition of educational programming as a means of reaching new audiences both regionally and nationally.

Has contributed essays to books published by the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Montreal Museum of Fine.

Her recent accomplishments include her 2012 catalogue Shuvinai Ashoona Drawings (recommended as essential reading in the summer 2012 issue of Canadian Art magazine). She has also won two Curatorial Writing Awards from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries. She was general editor of Sanattiaqsimajut: Inuit Art from the Carleton University Art Gallery Collection, which won first prize for exhibition catalogue design in the 2009 American Association of Museum Publications Design Competition.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nicole V. Champeau

Poet, essayist, speaker

Born in Cornwall, Ontario; lives in Ottawa.

Studied literature and music at the University of Ottawa.

Collaborated on a TV series on the Historia channel, called L'Odyssée d'un fleuve. She was also the subject of several television reports, particularly on the St. Lawrence Seaway, broadcast on TV Ontario and Radio-Canada's RDI news network.

During her career as a writer, has also worked as a teacher, learning advisor and researcher.

Has six poetry collections, including Dans les pas de la louve (awarded the 2001 Prix du livre d'Ottawa), and the non-fiction work, Mémoire des villages engloutis.

Was a finalist for the Prix Trillium, and won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 2009 for her work Pointe maligne : l’infiniment oubliée of which the Jury said:

"Like a requiem, this book sings of the destruction of the territories of the Upper Saint Lawrence, drowned by dams and depopulated by expropriation. These places have even disappeared from the memories of maps. Around Cornwall, originally called Pointe Maligne, the memory of the founding peoples, Amerindian and French, has been obliterated."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Claire Faubert

Actress, artistic director, teacher, volunteer

Born in Orléans, Ontario in 1946.

Has a BA in Lettres françaises from the University of Ottawa and an MA from the Institut d’études théâtrales, Paris III (Sorbonne).

Joined the ranks of Ottawa's professional artistic community in the late sixties, having appeared and worked for all of the principal French language companies on both sides of the Ottawa River. She regularly performed on all the National Art Centre stages and at the Théâtre de l'Île in Gatineau.

Left for Paris in 1981 to study with Alain Knapp and at the Institut d'études théâtrales and then accepted a position as professor at the Department of Theatre.

Became artistic director of the Théâtre du Trillium in 1990 where she performed in Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf (In French) and Mademoiselle Marguerite. At the Théâtre de l'Île, she performed in Duo pour une soliste and at National Arts Centre in Mademoiselle Eléna.

Began directing in 1978 and has directed productions for the Théâtre de l'Île and the Théâtre du Trillium.

Winner of the Victor Tolgesy Arts Award in 1998; this award recognizes the accomplishments of residents who have contributed substantially to enriching cultural life in the city of Ottawa.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Carol Anne Chenard

Soccer referee, microbiologist

Born in Prince Edward Island; grew up in Ottawa; lives in Orleans.

Has a wide-ranging athletic career with a background in speed skating, basketball, volleyball and soccer.

Attended Colonel By Secondary School in Ottawa and was senior athlete-of-the-year in her graduating year; played for the Gloucester Hornets soccer team.

Attended the Canadian short-track national team’s training centre, as well as completed a PhD in microbiology and immunology at McGill University.

Is the owner of six World Cup short-track speedskating medals and a one-time world record holder in the 3,000-metre relay.

Combines a career as head of Regional Compliance Program of Controlled Substances at Health Canada with coaching at her home Gloucester Concordes Speed Skating Club and soccer refereeing.

Became a FIFA referee in 2006, operating on a national level. In 2008, she began officiating international matches, including the U20 Women’s World Cup tournament in Chile and the Women’s World Cup final in Germany.

Will be the only Canadian soccer referee at the London Olympic Games in 2012.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tanya Heath

Inventor of the convertible shoe

“Above all I want the notion of having to suffer to be beautiful to disappear and I hope my shoe will be as liberating as when women left the corset behind.” – Tanya Heath

Born in Ottawa; moved to Paris in 1998 where she worked for a strategy firm.

As an entrepreneur, she designed a shoe with interchangeable heel heights that combine mobility, comfort and glamour in one shoe. The goal was to create shoes that women could wear at the office, for evenings out and for the commute home by simply changing the heel height.

She worked with a team of 14 engineers and shoe technicians to invent a mechanism that requires a simple secure click of a button to change the heel height. The result is one of the best technically executed examples of convertible footwear.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Diane Morrison

Homelessness advocate

Obtained a Bachelor of Education at McGill University and a Master of Public Administration at Queens University.

Worked for 20 years as a professional educator.

Appointed Executive Director of The Ottawa Mission in 1992; she was the first woman appointed to this position. Under her guidance and leadership, The Ottawa Mission has grown from a small emergency homeless shelter to an active community resource.

Is a founding member of The Alliance to End Homelessness.

In April 2004, was honoured with the Women of Distinction Award from the YM/YWCA. In 2005 she was named by The Ottawa Sun as one of five people who changed the face of Ottawa.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sharon Anne Cook

Professor, researcher, historian, author

Earned a bachelor degree in Arts at Carleton University in Ottawa in 1970, and her bachelor in Education from Queens University the next year.

Taught history at secondary schools from the Carleton Board of Education for a decade before completing a Master degree at the Institute of Canadian Studies Carleton University in 1987, then her Ph.D. in History in 1990.

Joined the Faculty of Education of the University of Ottawa as an associate professor in 1990 and has been a full professor since 1997. Currently teaches in the graduate program in the Faculty of Education and is the Assistant Director of the Teacher Education Program.

Is a prolific author having published extensively in her areas of research which are feminist theory and methods, gender theory, health history, historical analysis, history of education, social studies education and women’s studies.

Published the first comprehensive study of women and smoking in Canada, Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes (2012); this work explores women’s long association with smoking in this country – first as implacable opponents of male smoking, and as protectors of children who would be smokers, then as consumers themselves, and as sexualized symbols to sell tobacco.

Has received numerous accolades and teaching awards since 2004. Is a Distinguished professor at the University of Ottawa since 2010.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sheila E. McKee

Politician, community leader

Lived in Kanata (now part of Ottawa) from 1968 to 2010; died in 2010.

Well-known and respected member of the community of Kanata; was involved in countless community and volunteer groups including Kanata Golf Club, KBCA, March Rural Association and the Women’s Institute.

Was alderman of Kanata from 1982 to 1985 and councillor of Kanata three times between 1991 and 2000; first got involved in politics as a writer for the then Kanata Standard.

Was also President of the Board of Directors of Community Child Care of Ottawa and vice president of the March Rural Community Association (MRCA).

Was commissioner of Kanata Hydro, on the board of management at Pinhey’s Point, the board of the Kanata Public Library and an integral part of the city’s rural summit task force.

On June 14, 2012, the city of Ottawa named a West Carleton-March park in her honour. The park, located at 1730 Sixth Line Rd., was formerly named Riverfront Park.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Louise Hine-Schmidt

Pioneer firefighter

Became one of Ottawa’s first female firefighters in 1999.

Along with two colleagues, she also helps women discover what a career in the fire service is all about by offering an annual week-long summer event that shows women age 15 to 19 what is required to be a firefighter and that it's a job they can do (Camp FFIT).

Historical Note: As of 2011, nearly 4% of Ottawa’s full-time uniformed firefighting staff are women, a total of 41. There are 91 women employed - 63 work as front-line firefighters, 50 of them volunteers. (Firefighters mark International Women’s Day)

Elizabeth Embury

Pioneer doctor

Born in Lennox County circa 1867; moved to Ottawa in 1906; died in Kingston in 1945.

One of the first women to graduate with a medical degree from Queens University (1888); was a prominent Canadian physician for 55 years and one of the first women to practice medicine in Canada.

She practiced medicine in Ottawa for 37 years (1906-1943). Upon retirement in 1943, she moved to Kingston.

Ottawa Citizen, February 5th, 1945

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pat Durr

Artist, arts advocate

“Be assured that the state of the visual arts in this city and country would be in a very sorry state if it were not for the dedication of Pat Durr,” Adrian Göllner, Ottawa artist

Originally from Kansas, Missouri, moved to Ottawa in 1964.

Her artistic work includes drawings, paintings, prints and installations.

Recently had a major solo show at the Ottawa Art Gallery — a retrospective exhibition entitled Persistance of Chaos with several decades of her work on display dating back to the 1960s.

Has been active not only as an artist but as an advocate for artist rights and in developing cultural policy in the city of Ottawa and in Canada. She was instrumental in establishing Arts Court and the Ottawa Art Gallery, and is past president of CARFAC.

In June 2012, won the National Visual Arts Advocacy Award, given by CARFAC, the group that represents visual arts nationwide; this award honours  “a professional artist who has made a significant contribution to the Canadian visual arts community.”

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kimothy Walker

News anchor, journalist, community advocate

Grew up across Canada; settled in Ottawa in 1982.

Graduated from Carleton University School of Journalism.

Has spent almost half her life working for CTV in Ottawa and the Valley. Presently anchors and produces the Weekend News.

In 2008, she was voted one of the Capital's top "Forty Under 40". She is also a Y Woman of Distinction Nominee, and an award-winning journalist.

She is a voice for survivors of child sexual abuse and has launched a nationwide campaign to bring attention to the issue. Was also a board member for Ottawa Race Weekend from 2006-2011 and is an Advisor to the Algonquin College Victimology program, a Community Ambassador for the Y, a champion for organ donation, as well as working regularly with CHEO. She also makes about 100 appearances a year for various other charitable causes.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Catherine Seward

Mentor in lifelong learning

“I’ve learned that I’ve got to have patience with myself, and that I could never give up, even when I was sick and I wanted to give up.”  — Catherine Seward

Fulfilled a lifelong dream when she graduated from high school while she was in her 60s;  she was valedictorian of her graduating class.

Now at 80 years old, she has reached her next milestone — graduating from Carleton University with an English degree in June 2012. It took her 11 years to complete her BA due to obstacles such as illness and course load.

As a teenager, she became ill and had to stop attending high school. She later took stenography courses and worked many years as a civil servant and later moved to Toronto to work for a life insurance company. She eventually moved back to Ottawa where she married and raised a family.

She has now finished her very first short story and plans to keep writing and possibly publishing her work. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Martha Webber

Educator, naturalist, master teacher

“Wherever Europeans settled, they always brought along their favourite plants” – Martha Webber

Born in New England circa 1927, lives in Kanata, Ontario.

Studied botany-ecology and geology; taught biology and earth science in Vermont before moving to Canada.

Leads groups into forests and fields to discover the variety of edible plants growing wild in the Ottawa region, particularly in Kanata.

Has been teaching about “wild edibles” in Ottawa since the 1970s.  Her goal is to teach “positive identification and conservation” of edible plants.

In addition to the wild edibles course, she runs a summer camp to guide children in their exploration of the flora, fauna and geology of natural areas in Ottawa ; also leads family nature walks at the Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre.

Part of Martha Webber’s work is helping to protect the Kanata Forest, which is the biggest remaining old growth forest in Ottawa. It is privately owned and slated for major development.

The Ottawa Field-Naturalists Club gave her the Mary Stuart Education Award in 2007 for her outstanding work in the field of natural history education in Ottawa.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

LaDorna Penteluk

Longest serving foster parent with the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa, parenting mentor

"I do it because these kids need to be taught what unconditional love is. If they grow up without love than they will never know what real love is when they get married and become parents."  —LaDorna Penteluk.

Opened her doors to foster children in the Capital in 1960 and has since cared for over 500 children; through her foster work, she has impacted hundreds of children's lives as well as their families. has adopted three foster children and fostered both regular placements and developmentally challenged children.

At age 80, she is in her 52nd year of fostering children in Ottawa and continues to enjoys providing a safe and nurturing environment that permits children to learn, grow and prosper.

She also volunteers with Foster Parent activities including the Christmas party, clothing depot and “Foster a Snow Angel”. She is well known at the Children’s Aid Society as the "Purple Lady" as every piece of clothing and accessory is purple!

She continues to expand her knowledge of fostering through attending workshops and conferences all over the world so she can contribute to the success and happiness of future foster children.

2005 Lifetime Achievement Award, Ottawa-Carleton Foster Parent Association
2010 Co-recipient of the Citizen of the Year Civic Appreciation Award, City of Ottawa
Ottawa Parenting Magazine, Summer 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Christine Hartig

Honorary Keeper of the Royal Swans

Cared for the city’s Royal Swans in Ottawa for 25 years.

As a project and policy officer with the city of Ottawa’s bylaw and regulatory services branch, Hartig has ensured the health and safety of the swans since 1987. As of May 2012, she is passing on that responsibility to the parks and recreation department. In recognition of her work, she was named Honorary Keeper of the Royal Swans.

For 25 years, she conducted bi-weekly health and facility inspections while the swans were in their wintering quarters, and provided year-round on-call and emergency services.

Historical note :
In 1967, then-governor general Roland Michener joined Ottawa mayor Frank Reid at a ceremony behind City Hall to release six pairs of mute swans into the Rideau River.  

The swans were a gift from the Queen to mark Canada’s centennial. Today, the descendants of those 12 royal white swans continue to swim and forage in the Rideau from May to November. Then they head to their winter home at the city’s Leitrim Nursery, to wait for spring when once again they take to the historic waterway.  

Occasionally you may also  spot a few Australian black swans, descendants of some donated by the Montreal zoo in 1974.  

The swans, which can live for 30 years or more, mate for life but will accept a new mate if one dies. They normally sleep at night, but occasionally take a catnap during the daylight hours.  The swans nest in areas of tall grass or brush, away from predators and curious passersby.  

Ottawa’s royal swans cannot fly because their wings have been pinioned, meaning the primary feathers on one wing has been permanently clipped. This precaution is dictated by the Canadian Wildlife Service so the birds don’t migrate and disturb native North American species.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Amethyst Women's Addiction Centre

Addiction centre for women (bilingual)

The Centre was founded in order to provide community-based treatment services to address the unique issues affecting women coping with substance abuse and/or problem gambling in the Capital.

When the centre opened in Ottawa in 1979, it was the first addiction treatment centre of its kind in Canada.

It offers alternative addiction services to women and is committed to working with diverse and marginalized groups of women. The centre supports women, individually and together, to take control of factors affecting their health and well-being.

The philosophy of the centre is grounded in the feminist belief that women's experiences with alcohol, drugs and gambling cannot be separated from their experiences and status as women.  A central task of Amethyst is to help women take charge of their lives by ending substance use and/or problem gambling and by making changes that enhance their strengths, their freedom and their choices.

The centre is both a health service concerned with prevention as well as direct service, as it works toward changing unjust social structures that place women at risk of addiction.

Katherine Henderson

Psychologist, expert on eating disorders, researcher

Is a registered Clinical Psychologist, the clinical director of the Regional Eating Disorders Program at CHEO, and lead for Outcomes Management and Research.

Completed her PhD in Clinical-Developmental Psychology at York University in 2000, and has been the Clinical Director at CHEO since 2003.

Is leading groups and conducting individual and family therapy, and is also very involved in research and training new professionals in the field of eating disorders.

Is an Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Lauralyn McIntyre

Scientist, intensive care physician, professor

Is part of the research team in Clinical Epidemiology at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Is also a physician with the Critical Care Team  at The Ottawa Hospital and assistant professor at the Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa.

Her program of research is focused on examining fluid resuscitation practices in the critically ill and specifically, septic shock in Canadian Intensive Care Units.

She will lead the first clinical trial in the world of a stem cell therapy for septic shock. This deadly condition occurs when an infection spreads throughout the body and over-activates the immune system, resulting in severe organ damage and death in 30 to 40 per cent of cases. Under the leadership of Dr. Lauralyn McIntyre, this new “Phase I” trial will test the experimental therapy in up to 15 patients with septic shock at The Ottawa Hospital’s ICU.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kathie Donovan

Television host, DJ, radio pioneer, reporter

Born in Vancouver, raised in Montreal; has lived in the Ottawa area since the 1970s.

Helped to start Canada’s first campus FM radio station CKCU-FM at Carleton University in 1975.

Helped to launch Ottawa’s first alternative FM radio station, CHEZ 106.

Worked as a disc jockey, then host of a radio magazine program called "In the City”, and as a reporter at Ottawa's CJOH News.

She has been with CTV since 1988 and had been co-producing and co-hosting Regional Contact since 1998.

She is leaving CTV after a successful 24-year career at that station.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ruth Phillips

Professor, author, curator

Earned a doctorate in African Art History from the School of African and Oriental Studies at the University of London.

Began her career at Carleton University in Ottawa in 1979, pioneering the teaching of indigenous North American art history in Canada.

Has curated exhibitions for and consulted to major museums in Canada and the United States.

Served as director of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, where she was also Professor of Anthropology and Art History, 1997-2003.

Returned to Carleton in 2003 as the Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture.

Served as president of CIHA, the international association of art historians, 2004-2008.

Founder of the Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Cultures (GRASAC), in 2005.

Is Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture at Carleton University and the author of Seeing Through Translation: Visuality and Cultural Exchange in the Great Lakes, and Museum Pieces: Exhibiting Native Art in Canadian Museums, for which she was recently dominated for the Donner Prize.

Has won many awards and honours including Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2007 and a National Gallery of Canada fellowship in 1997.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Barbara M. Freeman

Historian, professor, author, broadcast journalist

Holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree and a Master of Arts in Canadian Studies from Carleton University; graduated with a Ph.D. in History from Concordia University in Montreal.

Began teaching at Carleton University in Ottawa in 1980 after a career in broadcast journalism.

Is an adjunct research professor and former associate professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University; has a specialty in media history, and gender and diversity in journalism.

Is the author of  Beyond Bylines: Media Workers and Women’s Rights in Canada  (2011), The Satellite Sex: The Media and Women's Issues in English Canada, 1966-1971  (2001) and Kit’s Kingdom: the Journalism of Kathleen Blake Coleman (1989).

Is a founding and executive member of the Media and Communication History Committee and a member of the Canadian Committee on Women’s History.

Louise Rachlis

Freelance writer and communications consultant

Holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University in Ottawa; is a creative fiction writer, receiving first prize and an honorable mention in City of Ottawa 55+ Short Story Contests.

Spent 25 years at the Ottawa Citizen newspaper where she was the advertising features editor.

Is the author of two triathlon and running books, A Matter of Dreams, and 20 Steps.

Was also the editor for more than 10 years of Challenge Life with Cancer magazine for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

Is vice-president, Communications, for the Canadian Authors Association, National Capital Region and is a weekly volunteer leader at “The Art Studio for People Living with Mental Illness” at the Hintonburg Community Centre in Ottawa.

Is also a board member of the Parkinson Association Ottawa, which is receiving the profits from her new book entitled Feeling Good: Life stories of my friends.

Maison d’amitié

Crisis shelter for francophone women and their children

Sister Solange Beauparlant and Sister Rita Labelle are the founding pioneers of Maison d’amitié; they held their first board meeting in 1975.

The shelter was officially recognized by the government of Canada as a non-profit organization on March 29, 1976 and one year later, in April 1977, Maison d’amitié welcomed a mother and her son; by April 1978, 134 families had seeked shelter.

In 1989, the shelter acquired a new home (change of address), yet 15 beds proved to be insufficient due to an increased demand for services; a second home opened its doors in 2006, thus doubling the number of families being sheltered.

In May 2006, in partnership with other shelters across the province, a health line became available for francophone women in crisis (1-877-FEMAIDE), the first and only crisis line offered in French to the women of Ontario.

Leigh Chapple

Anchor, reporter, professor

Born and lives in Ottawa.

Studied journalism at Algonquin College.

Began her career with CHOV-TV in Pembroke at the age of 19.

Joined CJOH-TV, first as personal assistant to Max Keeping, then as a reporter, eventually as anchor of the 11:30 pm news.

Hosted Regional Contact, CTV Weekend News and is the producer of CTV News @ 11:30.

For the last 15 years, works as a part-time professor at Algonquin College in the TV Broadcasting Program.

Was twice nominated for the Premier's Award, named as one of the capital's top 50 people by Ottawa Magazine, and honoured as the Consumer's Choice Award Women of the Year.

Is retiring from her CTV anchor job in 2012 after 36 years in the business.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Diane Desloges

Teacher, militant for the right to attend school in French in Ontario

1892-1945; born in Ottawa; died in Montreal.

Grand-daughter of Michel Desloges, an 1837 patriot from Saint-Eustache who came to Bytown in mid-nineteeth century.

Along with her sister Béatrice, also a teacher, Diane Desloges successfully opposed Regulation 17.

Regulation 17, adopted in 1912, severely restricted the use of French in Ontario schools. It is considered one of the major upheavals in French Ontario and a turning point in the Franco-Ontarian identity. The regulation led to one of the greatest educational crises in French Ontario, and Guigues elementary school, which is located in downtown Ottawa.

Regulation 17 was modified in 1927 to allow limited teaching in French but was only withdrawn in its entirety in 1944.

The RdÉÉ created a prize bearing her name. The Diane-Desloges prize is awarded in the category "Enseignement, éducation et soins de santé" to a successful franco-ontarian business.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Emergency shelter and supportive housing for women

“We continue to grow and develop along with the women we serve. “ – Cornerstone Website

Founded in 1983 by a small group of people under the name “Women in Crisis Project”, the project was initially meant to provide an overnight place for women living on the street in Ottawa to come in from the cold for one night.

In 1986, built a twelve-room house called Martha’s to provide a more permanent home for the women who were regular users of the shelter.

In 1989, opened a 20-apartment, permanent housing housing community on MacLaren Street in Ottawa.

In 1999, the Women in Crisis Project changed its name to Cornerstone/Le Pilier.

In 2000, opened McPhail House, a cooperative supportive living community.

For the last 28 years, Cornerstone has been committed to public education and advocacy, and has strived to increase safe, affordable housing and to end homelessness; they offer services to women of all ages who need short-term accommodation, long term supportive housing and self-contained apartments in an affordable supportive housing community

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sue Garvey

Housing and women’s advocate

Executive director of Cornerstone Housing for Women in Ottawa since 1996; an emergency center for homeless women or women at risk of homelessness.

Graduated with a Masters of Social Work from Carleton University in 1988.

Past employment includes City of Ottawa Recreation Branch, Pinecrest Queensway Health and Social Services Centre and Pinecrest Queensway Community Economic Development Corp.

Founding co-ordinator of Daybreak Supportive Housing and founding co-ordinator of Centre 507.

Member of the Alliance to End Homelessness Steering Committee, Ottawa Supportive Housing Network.
Ottawa Woman publication, March 2012 

Sisters of the Joan of Arc Institute

Educators, girls and women's advocates

Founded in 1919, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Joan of Arc Institute had their mother house and novitiate in Ottawa. It is one of very few French speaking congregations founded in Ontario.

It began in 1910 when two women, Albina Aubry and Laura Chartrand founded a home for girls in Ottawa, a branch of the Montreal “Foyer Notre-Dame”. By 1913, it was no longer associated with the Foyer and was renamed l’Institut Jeanne d’Arc.

In 1919, Sister Marie-Thomas d’Aquin (née Jeanne-Lydia Branda) founds the religious congregation of the Sisters of the Jeanne d’Arc Institute and is the first superior-general.  You can read an entry on her under “B” in this blog.

This Congregation had charge of the protection and education of youth. Its chief aim was the protection of young girls away from home. It offered room and board in a homelike atmosphere. Through the employment bureau the Sisters also helped to find work for those who are unemployed.

The second aim of the Congregation was education. A course of studies comprising elementary, intermediate, and high school classes was given to day pupils and boarders from 1920 to 1957.

To favour health through recreation, the Congregation offered ladies two summer houses, Villa Lorraine on lake Wakefield, Quebec, in the Laurentian hills, and Villa Bellerive at Wychwood on the shore of the Ottawa river, only seven miles from the capital.

In July, 1934, at Westboro, Ontario, then on the outskirts of Ottawa, the Congregation built and opened the " Joan of Arc House", a beautiful residence for convalescent women and children, and a school for convalescent children with an intellectual disability.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sally Benson


“Sally was very talented, very quick, very solid and she hardly ever missed anything. She was one of the big strengths of the violin section”. - Lynne Hammond, violinist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra

Native of Rochester, NY; moved to Ottawa circa 1970; died in 2012.

Received her bachelor’s degree in music from the Eastern School of Music and her master’s degree in music from Indiana University.

Played viola and violin with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra before joining the National Arts Centre Orchestra where she played from 1970 to 2012; she toured with NACO all over the world.

Worked with all the National Arts Centre Orchestra conductors.

Also played viola with Thirteen Strings, the Ottawa Symphony and with the Laurier and Benedykt String Quartets.

Participated in the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival since its inception.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Janice Cavell

Historian, author

Graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa with a PhD in history.

Works in the Historical Section at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

Adjunct research professor in the Department of History, Carleton University.

She is the author of Tracing the Connected Narrative: Arctic Exploration in British Print Culture, 1818-1860 (Toronto, 2008) and co-author with Jeff Noakes of Acts of Occupation:  Canada and Arctic Sovereignty, 1918-25 (Vancouver, 2010).

The book Acts of Occupation: Canada and Arctic Sovereignty is shortlisted for the 2012 Canadian Political History Prize (the winner will be announced at the Canadian Historical Association at the end of May).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Agathe Bélisle

Volunteer, philanthropist

Lived in Ottawa; died in 2011.

Founding member of the Hôpital Montfort Auxiliary and Volunteer Association; president of the Association for over 20 years; has actively participated in the enhancement of the hospital in her role as volunteer.

The Montfort Hospital has officially recognized her contribution and commitment as a woman who lived the core values of the hospital, and was both dedicated and faithful to the mission.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Marcelle Barthe

Writer, producer, French-Canadian radio and television pioneer

Born in Ottawa in 1904; died in Montreal in 1964.

Studied at la Congrégation Notre-Dame (convent) in Ottawa.

Founding member of a theatre company called “La Rampe” in Ottawa in 1929; also had roles in various plays.

Graduated from the University of Ottawa School of Music and Elocution in 1935.

Worked at the CKCH radio station in Hull; used the pseudonym “Françoise” on her daily radio aimed at a female audience.

Wrote, produced and hosted a children’s program at Société Radio-Canada; went on to have a long career hosting programs, doing interviews and working as an announcer; she also adapted plays for French and English television.

Was hired by the CBC/Radio-Canada in 1938; first bilingual woman to be hired as an announcer.

There is a park named for her in Montréal, Québec.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mariana Assaf Khalil

Titanic survivor

Born in Syria in 1867; emigrated to Ottawa circa 1907.

Was a green grocer, and by all accounts a sharp businesswoman who sold produce to the carriage trade in the Canadian capital. In 1912, she travelled back to Syria to visit the two sons she had left behind when she first came to Canada.

After a family visit, she was returning aboard Titanic with a group of family members; she held third class ticket number 2696, £7 4s 6d.

She survived the sinking of the Titanic, probably in Collapsible C, and travelled on to her nephew David Shaheen, who lived at 150 Broad Street, Ottawa, Ontario.

Her first person account of the disaster appeared the in the Ottawa Citizen which can be found at :

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mary Bryant

Botanist, zoologist, teacher

"Throughout her life Mary was a very positive force in the lives of hundreds of people, a cheerleader and motivator for her children, grandchildren and legions of students."
- Carl Down, True North Perspective

Born in 1919, in Ardath, Saskatchewan; moved to Ottawa in 1967; died in Ottawa in 2011.

Graduated from Normal School (Teacher’s College) in 1936; worked at a number of one room schools, an Indian Residential School at Lac L Rouge, Saskatchewan and from 1944-1948 at the Anglican Mission School at Aklavik, North West Territories.

Had a great interest in botany and enrolled in Biology at the University of British Columbia, where she graduated in 1951.

Settled in Ottawa in 1967 where she received multiple awards over the years for her community service, including the Ottawa Mayor’s Award for Community Service; the Ontario Horticultural Service Award; The Rehabilitation Centre Achievement Award and the Woman of Distinction Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Taught Mathematics and English in the adult re-entry program at Algonquin College, Ottawa through the 1970s and 1980s.

Published books about her teaching experiences with all proceeds going to the Rehabilitation Centre of the Ottawa Hospital. Source.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Janet Podleski

Author, wellness motivator

Originally from St. Thomas, Ontario; lives in Ottawa.

With her sister Greta Podleski, co-wrote the bestselling cookbooks, Looneyspoons, Crazy Plates (a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Awards) and their latest, Eat, Shrink & Be Merry!

Janet and her sister, Greta, are also monthly columnists for Canada's number-one magazine, Reader's Digest, and were voted into Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2000.

Their inspirational, self-publishing success story has been featured on dozens of national TV programs such as The Today Show, CNN, Canada A.M. and QVC, as well as on hundreds of radio shows, and in magazines and newspapers across North America.

Janet was inducted into Carleton University’s Sports Hall of Fame in Ottawa (for soccer and basketball) in 2000.

In addition to a B.A. in Psychology, has also earned a degree as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rosetta E. Carr

Photographer, artist

Born in Drummond Township, Ontario, 1845; died in Ottawa, Ontario, 1907.

Studied in New York, Connecticut, and at William Notman's studio in Ottawa.

In 1883, moved to Winnipeg and purchased a local photography business which she renamed the American Art Gallery.

Was an accomplished portraitist who was skilled at hand-colouring her prints using watercolours as well as the photo-crayon process; photographed a variety of important local figures such as the Premier of Manitoba, as well as the landscapes of the Canadian West between Thunder Bay and the Rockies.

Her photographs were included in local and international exhibitions, including the 1886 Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London, England, where she received a medal.

Sold her gallery in 1899 and moved to Ottawa where she lived until her death.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dorothea Palmer

Disseminator of birth control information

Born in 1908 in England.

Was employed as a nurse by the Parents' Information Bureau of Kitchener, Ontario to visit homes of those known to be poor or relatively poor, and to offer to needy mothers the opportunity of applying for certain contraceptive materials.

Was arrested at Eastview, an Ottawa suburb, as she was leaving the home of a French Roman Catholic family which was on relief and had a large number of children; her charge was distributing birth control information and contraceptive devices; her arrest and subsequent trial changed the course of Canadian society.

The trial occupied nineteen days of testimony and four of argument, and during which forty witnesses were examined. The case was a remarkable one in that the decision overruled religious and medical objections to the dissemination of birth control information.

Was acquitted on March 17, 1937 after a trial that extended over a period of six months; the case proved to be a landmark case in how birth control information was distributed in Canada. As a result of the trial, no one was ever again charged for distributing birth control information, even though the law was not changed until 1969.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Georgette Vachon

Community leader, author, cultural activist

Born in 1900 in Lac-à-la-Tortue in the Mauricie region of Québec; moved to Ottawa in 1944; died in Ottawa in 1987.

Went to school with Les Servantes du Coeur-de-Marie, a French religion congregation, and then with Les Soeurs du Bon-Pasteur in Rivière-du-Loup; graduated with a degree in music from Laval University.

Founded and served as president of La Société d’étude et de conférences in Ottawa in 1946.

Was vice-president of the Ottawa Philharmonic Orchestra in 1946 in Ottawa; started the Arts and Culture movement and set up guided tours at the National Gallery of Canada.

Was a member of the Female Journalists Circle of Ottawa and the author of many books and magazine articles.

Served on the board of L’Alliance française d’Ottawa between 1949 and 1965.

Founded the Christ-Roi branch of La Fédération des femmes canadiennes-françaises in Ottawa in 1960.

Received the Alliance française medal in 1967.

Gwennaelle Madiba

Student activist, humanitarian

"The joy that helping others brings me is incredible. I also do it so I can learn."

Currently pursuing her master's degree in sociology at the University of Ottawa.

Started organizing her own humanitarian projects in 2007; since then, has co-founded I Act, an initiative that encourages dialogue between youth in Ottawa; acted as an ambassador for Vision Gram International, a non-government organization that protects women and children in the Congo from marginalization; and organized the first Black History Month Gala at the University of Ottawa, for which she secured Governor General Michaelle Jean and several members of Parliament as special guests.

Launched La Caravane de l'Espérance in Senegal (a project to help women with health and social justice issues), and organized a campaign called "A Month of Hope" that raised money to send Haitian children affected by the 2010 earthquake to school.

Her future goals involve working with the United Nations and hosting her own TV show where she can share people's stories.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jeanne Lydia Branda, (Mère Marie-Thomas d’Acquin)

Educator, writer, Dominican nun

Born in France in 1877; came to Ottawa in 1914; died in Ottawa in 1963.

Was the director of the all girls’ school, l’Institut Jeanne d’Arc.

Created the magazine Revue Jeanne d’Arc which she published until 1957.

Was the founder of the Soeurs de l’Institut Jeanne d’Arc congregation in 1919 of which she was Mother Superior until 1942.

Used the pseudonym Marie Sylvia to publish her books of poetry for which she won prizes both in Canada and in France. She also received France’s highest distinction in 1956, the Légion d’honneur cross.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Maria Knapik

Soprano, promoter of Polish arts and culture

Born in Krakow, Poland; lives in Ottawa.

Began her graduate studies at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Vocal and Acting Arts in Poland, specializing in music and acting; graduated from Sir Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and studied at the Britten-Pears School of Advanced Musical Studies in Aldeburgh(England), under full scholarship.

Is the youngest of the "Eight Knapik Sisters", who performed more than 4,000 concerts during numerous European tours; debuted on stage as a singer and dancer at the age of three.

Frequently appears as soloist with major orchestras and in many demanding roles with opera companies throughout Europe and North America; hailed by the New York Times as "the magnetic center of attention" and "the clear star of the show".

Has received numerous awards in Canada and all over the world. In 2011, the American Institute of Polish Culture awarded her the Gold Medal of Honour for her ongoing national and international efforts to promote Polish arts and culture, notably in the discipline of opera.
“Singing to Her Own Tune”, by June Coxon in Ottawa Family Living Magazine,  pp. 18-22, spring 2012.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Elizabeth M. Stewart

Municipal politician

Was reeve of Gloucester, Ontario from 1978 to 1981.

Was mayor of Gloucester; Gloucester had five mayors between 1981 and 2001, of which two were women. Elizabeth Stewart was the first mayor of Gloucester from 1981-1982, while Claudette Cain was the last mayor of Gloucester from 1991-2001 (please see her entry under “Cain” in this blog).

Historical note: Gloucester is a suburb of and within the City of Ottawa. Gloucester Township was established in 1792 and originally included lands east of the Rideau River from the Ottawa River south to Manotick. It was incorporated as a township in 1850 and became a city in 1981. Gloucester was one of the 11 municipalities that merged in 2001 to form the new city of Ottawa.,_Ontario
Gloucester Roots, compiled and edited by Lois Kemp, Publications #1, 1991

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pamela Griffin

Fitness instructor and mentor for seniors

Became a fitness instructor at age 52; provided fitness classes to seniors at the Carleton Canoe Club.

Began the “55-plus” Fitness Club in 1984, teaching fitness to 100 seniors every single week for three decades, encouraging them to build better health through fitness.

Retired in 2012 at age 80.

Lois Shannon

Founding member of the Great Canadian Theatre Company

Theatre company and venue founded in Ottawa in 1975 by a group of five professors and students from Carleton University, including Lois Shannon who was the first artistic director of GCTC.

The primary goal of the GCTC is the presentation of Canadian plays by Canadian theatre practitioners. It’s aim is nationalist, leftist and populist.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Helene Campbell

Advocate for organ and tissue registration and blood donation

While awaiting for a double lung transplant in Toronto, Campbell, a 20-year-old Ottawa resident is raising awareness on organ and tissue registration and donation all over the world.

She successfully got Justin Bieber to tweet her plea for organ and tissue registration to his millions of followers last month. After she and her friends took to Bieber through Twitter, registration on Ontario’s Trillium Gift of Life Network website umped fourfold. During the week and a half of the Justin Bieber campaign, Trillium’s registry saw 1,300 new donors sign up. Since then, they’ve been averaging 160 a day. Before Campbell took to Twitter, the provincial agency mandated with organ and tissue donation and transplant averaged 50 new registrants daily

She appeared via Skype on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on February 16, 2012 to bolster her campaign of awareness by making a direct appeal to Ellen in a video on her website

Friday, March 30th, 2012 has been declared Hélène Campbell Day in Ottawa.