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.