Friday, October 31, 2008

Florence Campbell

Police officer

First female police officer in Ottawa in 1913.

Resigned after 21 years of service in 1935; with her resignation, the position of police woman was abolished.

The Board accepted the appointment of a second police woman constable in 1942.

Alice Wilson


1881-1964; lived and worked in Ottawa.

Born in Cobourg, Ontario.

First female geologist in Canada and first woman to become a member of the Royal Society of Canada in 1938.

Eminent paleontologist noted for her detailed studies of the fossils and rock of the Ottawa-Saint Lawrence Lowland.

Began working at the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) in Ottawa in 1909 and remained at the Survey until she retired.

Chosen to become a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

Recognized as one of Canada's most respected geologists, a paleontologist of worldwide reputation, and an inspiring teacher.

Barbara Paterson

Sculptor of Women Are Persons! Monument (Famous 5 Monument), permanently installed in Ottawa.

Born and lives in Alberta.

Created the first permanent monument on Parliament Hill in Ottawa which commemorates Canadian women.

The bronze memorial was commissioned to honour the Persons Case and the Alberta women who launched the legal challenge to gain recognition of Canadian women as "persons" elegible to sit in the Senate.

First woman to have her sculptures appear on Parliament Hill.

N.B. Barbara Paterson is part of this Women In Ottawa list because she is the only woman to have a permanent sculpture on Parliament Hill.

Jocelyne Bourgon

Expert in governance and public sector reforms.
President Emeritus, Canada School of Public Service

Studied and lives in Ottawa.

Born in Papineauville, Quebec.

Studied at the University of Ottawa.

Joined the Public Service of Canada in 1974.

Appointed to the rank of Deputy Minister in 1989.

Appointed Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Canadian Cabinet in 1994 becoming the first woman, and so far the only woman, to exercise these functions in Canada (1994-1999).

Summoned to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada in recognition of her contribution to her country in 1998.

Served as President of the Canadian Centre for Management Development from 1999 to 2003; her work led to the creation of Canada School of Public Service.

Served on various boards in Canada and in Ottawa including the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Opera Lyra Ottawa.

Awarded the Public Service Outstanding Achievement Award (1999), the Order of Canada (2001) and the Ordre de la Pléiade (2001).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Claudette Boyer

Teacher, politician

Born in 1938 in Ottawa.

Studied at the University of Ottawa.

Was actively involved in the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens, the Ontario Teachers Federation and the Canadian Teachers Federation.

Served as President of the Liberal Party of Canada and Ontario Liberal Party riding associations in Ottawa East.

The first Franco-Ontarian woman to be elected to Queen's Park (1999); was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the redistributed riding of Ottawa—Vanier, successor to Ottawa East.

Awarded the Prix anniversaire in 2004 by the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens in recognition of her years of service to the community.

Member of the "100 personnalités franco-ontariennes" in 2006.

Lorna de Blicquy

Pioneering aviator

Lived and studied in Ottawa.

Born in Blythe, Ontario.

First Canadian female to make a parachute jump (and the youngest — she was 16 years old); the jump took place at the Ottawa Parachute Club.

Soloed at 15 in a J-3 Cub at the Atlas Aviation Flying School in Ottawa.

Received her private pilot's license in 1948, and her commercial pilot's license in 1953.

Graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa in 1953.

Canada’s first female pilot Civil Aviation Inspector and the first woman to fly commercially in the high Arctic.

First Canadian to be inducted in the International Women in Aviation, Pioneer Hall of Fame in 1996.

Member of the Order of Canada since 1993.

Honorary Life Member of the 99s and the Ottawa Flying Club.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pauline Charron

Seniors' advocate

1920-1979; born in Orléans (Ottawa).

Founded Le Club « 60 » d’Eastview (Vanier) in 1963 in order to improve services in French to seniors in Ottawa.

The centre, still in operation today, is now called Le Centre Pauline Charron; it continues to offer a wide range of cultural and social services to francophone seniors.

Founding member of la Fédération des aînés francophones in Ottawa.

Gisèle Richer

Community Leader

Born in 1922; works in Ottawa.

Served as the first woman President of the Association canadienne-française de l`Ontario in 1976-78.

Also served as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Lottery Corporation, as Member of the Special Education tribunal for the Government of Ontario and as Vice-Chair of the Board of governors of the Ottawa Hospital.

Member of the Campaign Cabinet for Operation 20/20: $20 million in 20 months to expand The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre.

Was General Manager of the Rockland Public Utilities Commission, Conference Director for the Canadian Hospital Association and Chief Executive Director of the Montfort Hospital Foundation.

Received l`Ordre de la Pléiade for her volunteer work in the Ontario francophone community and awarded the decoration Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for her role of President of the protocol, arrival and departure ceremonies for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Ottawa.

Was appointed to the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Board of Directors in December 2004.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Angela Hewitt


Born in Ottawa in 1958.

Her father was the Cathedral organist in Ottawa, Canada.

Learned piano with French pianist, Jean-Paul Sévilla, at the University of Ottawa.

Won First Prize in Italy’s Viotti Competition (1978) and was a top prizewinner in the International Bach competitions of Leipzig and Washington D.C. as well as the Schumann Competition in Zwickau, the Casadesus Competition in Cleveland and the Dino Ciani Competition at La Scala, Milan.

Won the Toronto International Bach Piano Competition in 1985.

Made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Awarded the first ever BBC Radio 3 Listener’s Award (Royal Philharmonic Society Awards) in 2003.

Named Gramophone Artist of the Year in 2006.

Awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2006.

Jill Vickers

Distinguished research professor

Born in Britain in 1942; worked and studied in Ottawa.

Renowned authority in the politics of women's rights, comparative approaches to women's participation, and the relationship between gender and nationalism.

Graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa.

Joined the faculty of Carleton University in 1971; served as Director of the School of Canadian Societies, Chair of the Inter-Faculty Committee on Women's Studies, president and negotiator for the faculty union, and Associate Vice-President (Academic).

Named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2003.

Awarded a Chancellor's Professorship at Carleton University in 2003.

Named Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Emeritus Professor at Carleton in 2007.

In 2002, the Canadian Political Science Association created the Jill Vickers Prize in Gender and Politics, in recognition of her work.

Cristina Remond

Consultant for refugee and human rights issues

Studied in Ottawa.

"[Cristina Remond's study] contributes significantly to feminist anthropology and makes a compelling case for the protection of refugee rights." Florence Babb, president of AFA.

Graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa.

Her research on sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in Africa has won her the Sylvia Forman Prize; a prestigious award in feminist anthropology.

Interned with the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights where she helped human rights defenders to collaborate with the African Commission for Human Rights and the African governments.

Worked on Monia Mazigh's (wife of Maher Arar) electoral campaign in Ottawa South.

Winner of the Miss Canadian Universe 2001.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Alison Korn

Olympian (rowing), sportswriter

Born in Nepean (Ottawa), Ontario.

Two-time Olympic medallist in the eight (silver Atlanta 1996 & bronze Sydney 2000).

Two-time world rowing champion in the pair (1997 & 1998) with Emma Robinson.

Member of Canadian National Rowing Team from 1996 to 2000.

Graduated with a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University in Ottawa.

Has worked for the Ottawa Citizen newspaper.

Michelle Douglas

Human rights activist

Born in 1963; studied and works in Ottawa.

Graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa in 1985.

Fought a landmark legal challenge around lesbian and gay rights to serve in the Canadian military; an officer with a distinguished career in the Canadian Armed Forces, she was dismissed from the military in 1989 as being "Not Advantageously Employable Due to Homosexuality".

Launched a court challenge of her dismissal from the military.

Before proceeding to trial, the Canadian military abandoned its discriminatory policy against gays and lesbians and settled the case in 1992. This ended Canada's policy of discrimination against gays and lesbians in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Founding president of the Foundation for Equal Families.

Chair of the Canadian Board of Directors of Free the Children.

Speaker at the World Outgames Conference to be held in Copenhagen in 2009.

Elaine Jolly

Gynecologist, recognized Canadian authority in women's health issues

Dedicated advocate of women's health.

Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Ottawa.

Developed the first Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Treatment Program in Ottawa.

Developed the first clinical service in Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Introduced Contraception and Family Planning Services at the Ottawa General Hospital.

Developed the first Mature Women's Health Initiative in Ontario in 1986 and made available essential comprehensive services to menopausal women.

Invested as an Officer in the Order of Canada in recognition of her achievements in women's health in 1999.

Founded the Ottawa Women's Health Council in 2001.

First Medical Director of the Shirley E. Greenberg Women's Health Centre of the Ottawa Hospital.

Rose-Marie Perry


Studied and works in Ottawa.

The first woman graduate of the Common Law Section of the University of Ottawa and the only woman in her class during her three years at law school.

Called to the Bar in 1962.

Joined Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP two years later where she continues to practice in areas of trademark, copyright, and industrial design litigation and prosecution today.

Became a partner in 1974, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1985.

Rose Goldstein


Worked in Ottawa.

Received the first May Cohen Award for Women Mentors in 2002 from the Canadian Medical Association for being a formidable activist on behalf of women in medicine.

N.B. The CMA May Cohen Award is awarded annually to a woman physician who has demonstrated outstanding mentoring abilities.

Associate Dean of Professional Affairs at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, 2003-2007.

Actively prepares women for promotion and promotes personal wellness and family life in balance with professional life.

Fosters a faculty-wide mentoring program and formal leadership training for faculty and staff at the University of Ottawa.

Helped define an equitable promotion policy that closed the gender gap in promotions, and inspired similar initiatives in other Ontario universities.

Leads workshops on leadership development, balancing professional and family life and the academic promotion process, and has provided conflict resolution training in collaboration with the Faculty of Law.

Founding Director of the Ottawa Academic Health Sciences Leadership Program in 2001.

Pauline Jewett

Politician, academic

Born in St.Catharines, Ontario in 1922; died in 1992.

First Canadian woman to serve as president of a major university in Canada (Simon Fraser U).

One of the first two women to receive a faculty appointment at Carleton University in Ottawa, progressing to full professor by 1966.

Taught at Carleton University in political science and served as Director of the Institute of Canadian Studies.

First female doctoral student in political science from Harvard University.

Elected as a Member of Parliament in 1963.

Her proposals for peace, equality, and justice were an important influence on the Canadian political scene in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1974, she moved to British Columbia as president of Simon Fraser University. She was the first woman president of a major Canadian co-educational university.

Throughout her life, was committed to many social justice causes and was a strong and vocal advocate of equality for women.

In 1991, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

She was Chancellor of Carleton University from 1990 until her death in 1992. The Women's Studies Institute at Carleton University was renamed in her honour - The Pauline Jewett Institute of Women's and Gender Studies.

Diane King Stuemer

Journalist, philanthropist

1950-1993; lived in Ottawa.

Born in Sarnia, Ontario.

Obtained a journalism degree from Carleton University in Ottawa.

After being diagnosed with melanoma, she and her husband, along with their three children, left their Ottawa home in 1997 and sailed around the world.

During the voyage, wrote weekly dispatches for the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, generating more response from the public than any series in the paper's history.

Ottawa readers still remember her weekly dispatches from exotic locations abroad, documenting the around-the-world sea voyage on their 43-foot sailboat, the Northern Magic, for four years.

Published the Voyage of the Northern Magic: A Family Odyssey with McClelland & Stewart.

Passed away in March 2003 after a courageous battle with cancer.

The Diane King Stuemer Fellowship was established in the fall of 2005 as a unique opportunity for a graduating Carleton University student to apply his or her passion for writing and interest in world issues.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Andrée Lortie

President (founder) of La Cité collégiale, the first French-language College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ontario. Located in Ottawa.

Studied and works in Ottawa.

Graduate of the University of Ottawa; also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa in recognition of her contribution to the promotion of French-language education in Ontario.

Member of the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Center for Research and Innovation (OCRI), member of the Board of Directors of the Congress Centre, member of the Executive Committee and vice-president of the steering committee of TalentWorks.

Involved in the development of French college education in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Awarded the Order of Ontario, the Ordre de la Pléiade, the Golden Jubilee Medal and the Insigne du Chevalier de l’Ordre national du mérite de la République française.

Susan Mann (Trofimenkoff)

Historian, professor

Born in Ottawa in 1941.

Taught at the Université de Montréal (1966-1970), University of Calgary (1970-1972), and the University of Ottawa (1972-1992).

Vice-rector (academic) at the University of Ottawa from 1984 to 1990.

Conducted groundbreaking research into women’s issues; founder of the women’s studies program at the University of Ottawa.

Key contributor to the growth of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women.

Past chair of the Status of Women Committee of the Council of Ontario Universities.

The first woman president of York University in 1992.

Member of the Order of Canada since 2000.

The Women Studies House at the University of Ottawa, located at 143 Seraphin-Marion (near Tabaret Hall) is called the Susan Mann House in her honour.

Jean Pigott

Entrepreneur, politician, philanthropist

Born and raised in the Ottawa Valley; 1924-2012.

Affectionately known as the matriarch of Ottawa.

Past president and CEO of her family's business, Morrison-Lamothe Bakery in the Ottawa Valley, one of only three women CEOs in Canada in the early 1970s.

Became a Member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons as a Progressive Conservative in Ottawa—Carleton riding in 1976. One of only two female MPs in the Conservative caucus at the time.

First female member of the Rideau Club in the 1970s.

Appointed as chair of the National Capital Commission, 1985-1992.

The first woman to sit on the board of directors of Ontario Hydro; also sat on the board of Canadian Tire Corporation.

Became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Huguette Labelle

Present Chancellor of the University of Ottawa

Born in 1939 in Rockland, Ontario; studied and works in Ottawa.

Received a Master of Education and Doctor of Philosophy in education from the University of Ottawa.

Held senior management posts in different government ministries. Was Deputy Clerk of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, chairperson of the Public Service Commission of Canada, Deputy Minister of Transport.

Past president of the Canadian International Development Agency; headed the Canadian delegation which participated in the first Tokyo International Conference on African Development in 1993.

Appointed Chancellor of the University of Ottawa in 1994.

Appointed to the Board of Governors of the Canadian Centre for Management Development in 2002.

Appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of Transparency International in 2005.

Companion of the Order of Canada in 2001.

Officer of the Ordre de la Pléiade, an order honouring achievement in La Francophonie in 2001.

Has been awarded honorary degrees from twelve Canadian Universities.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Maude Barlow

Activist, writer, policy critic

Born in Ottawa in 1947.

Studied at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Described as Canada’s best known voice of dissent, she has fought for feminism and battled against the Free Trade Agreement.

Internationally renowned water activist.

National chairperson of The Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest citizen’s advocacy organization.

Co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which works to stop commodification of the world’s water.

Received honorary doctorates from six Canadian universities for her social justice work.

Nominated for the 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005.

Appointed as the first Senior Advisor on water issues by Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd session of the United Nations in October 2008.

Gabrielle Léger

Chancellor of the University of Ottawa
Vice-regal Consort of Canada

1916-1998; lived in Ottawa.

Born in Montreal.

Second woman chancellor of the University of Ottawa from 1979 to 1985.

Vice-regal consort of Governor General Jules Léger from 1974 to 1979.

Due to Jules Léger's illness early on in his term as Governor General, she played an important role in sharing his official duties.

She read the Governor General New Year's message in 1975 and became the first woman to read passages from the Speech from the Throne in 1976 when she read it along with Jules Léger.

She is the only spouse to have been featured in a portrait along with the Governor General.

Co-president along with Paul-Émile Cardinal Léger of the Jules and Paul-Émile Léger Foundation, created by a special act of the Canadian Parliament in 1981.

In 1974, she was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Isabella Preston

Horticulturist, hybridist

Born in Lancaster, England in 1881; died in 1965.

Immigrated to Ontario in 1912.

Entered the Ontario Agricultural College in 1913.

First professional woman hybridist in Canada in 1916.

Joined the Central Experimental Farm's in Ottawa, Horticultural Division under W.T. Macoun in 1920.

From then until she retired in 1946, Preston was a specialist in ornamental horitculture and originated nearly 200 hybrids (roses, lilacs, Siberian iris, Rosybloom crabapples and lilies).

Wrote numerous wide-ranging horticultural articles as well as Garden Lilies (1929), the first book on lily cultivation in Canada.

The Isabella Preston Trophy was established by the North American Lily Society in recognition of Preston's work.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Monique Frize

Biomedical engineer, academic

"I have never had a boring day since I was born." - Monique Frize

Born in Montreal in 1942; studied at the University of Ottawa.

First woman engineering graduate at the University of Ottawa in 1966.

Known for her expertise in medical instrumentation and decision-support systems.

First holder of the Northern Telecom-NSERC Women in Engineering Chair in 1989; rose to national prominence championing the chair objectives and raising the profile of women in research.

N.B. During her chair tenure the number of women entering these fields increased by 50%.

Headed a report produced by the Canadian Committee on Women in Engineering, which became a guide for many organizations striving to achieve a better gender balance in the profession.

Became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993.

Shirley Greenberg

Lawyer, women's advocate, philanthropist

Alumna of the University of Ottawa’s law school.

Helped found the Ottawa Women's Centre, from which subsequently developed the Rape Crisis Centre, the Women's Career Counselling Centre and Interval House, a refuge for battered women.

In the 1970's, created the first all-female law practice in Ottawa with Catherine Aitken, Superior Court Justice of Ontario since 1997.

Fought systemic discrimination against women in laws and legal documents throughout her career.

The Shirley E. Greenberg Centre for Women's Health was established at the Riverside campus of the Ottawa Hospital, with the help of her generous donation. This centre, specializing in gynecology and cancer detection, puts particular emphasis on the well-being of older women.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kathleen Shannon


1935-1998; lived and worked in Ottawa.

Born in Vancouver.

Founder and Executive Producer of Studio D, National Film Board (Ottawa) in 1974.

Studio D played a key role in providing Canadian women, filmmakers and audiences alike, the opportunity to create, share and view their own stories on the film screen.

Started her career in the film industry when she got a summer job as a background music cataloguer at Crawley Films (Ottawa) in 1952. (see Judith Crawley entry)

Offered a position at the NFB in 1956.

In 1974, in conjunction with International Women's Year, the National Film Board of Canada created Studio D, largely due to Shannon's determination.

The NFB Studio D was first government-funded film studio dedicated to women filmmakers in the world.

Studio D soon became one of the NFB's most celebrated filmmaking units, winning awards and breaking distribution records.

Was awarded the Order of Canada in 1986.

Jennifer Dickson

Painter, photographer, arts activist

Born in 1936; resides in Ottawa.

Born in South Africa; emigrated to Canada in 1969.

One of Canada's most distinguished photographic artists.

Elected a Royal Academician (R.A.) by the Royal Academy of Arts in London, England in 1976; the first Canadian in the 200 year history of this prestigious institution to be so honoured.

Played an integral role in the regeneration of printmaking in England in the 1960's.

Played an instrumental role in the creation of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in Ottawa.

Initiated seminars to alert students and artists to the grave dangers of exposure to certain chemicals and art materials.

Named to the order of Canada in 1995.

In 2002, the National Archives of Canada established the Jennifer Dickson Fonds; the collection will eventually hold all Jennifer Dickson's original photographic material.

In 2002, received the Victor Tolgesy Arts Award from the Council for the Arts for her contribution to the arts in Ottawa.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Carol Shields

Pulitzer Prize writer

1935-2003; lived in Ottawa 1968 to 1978.

Born in Illinois, USA.

Received an MA from the University of Ottawa in 1975.

Lectured in the Department of English, University of Ottawa in 1976.

Taught Creative Writing at the University of Ottawa 1977-78.

Was Writer-in-Residence at the University of Ottawa in 1989.

Companion of the Order of Canada, 2002.

Her novel Stone Diaries was awarded the Governor General's Award for fiction, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Critics Circle Award, and the Prix de Lire.

Larry's Party won the Orange Prize for fiction.

Her critical study and biography Jane Austen won the $25,000 Charles Taylor prize for literary non-fiction in 2002.

Cairine Wilson


1885-1962; moved to Ottawa in 1918.

Born in Montreal.

First woman appointed to the Canadian Senate in 1930, just months after the Persons Case gave women the right to sit in the Senate.

It was 23 years before another woman was appointed to the Senate in Canada.

Spent over 30 years in the Canadian Senate, and was best known for her support of the causes of refugees.

First woman to be appointed Chair of a Senate standing committee, the Senate committee on Immigration and Labour.

Supported issues involving the rights of women and children, more progressive divorce legislation, and a proponent of Medicare.

Chaired the founding committee of the Ottawa Women's Liberal Club in 1922 and was its president for three years.

Honorary president of the National Federation of Liberal Women of Canada.

Canada's first woman delegate to the United Nations in 1949.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Suzanne Pinel

Teacher, television personality, ambassador of French-Canadian culture

Born in Ottawa.

Helped promote bilingualism through hosting the television show "Marie-Soleil".

Studied nursing at the University of Ottawa.

Since she launched her first record in 1976, has been on every stage in the area and has entertained children through her character, Marie Soleil.

As a teacher, lecturer and workshop leader, has promoted music as an integral part of a child's development and a therapeutic tool.

Currently a Canadian citizenship judge.

Received the Order of Canada in 1991.

Chantal Benoit

Wheelchair basketball olympian

"I find wheelchair basketball very interesting in the sense that every time you are on the court, you are learning something different, and because it's different each and every time, the flame is always there and active." - Chantal Benoit

Born in Beloeil, Québec in 1960; does her athletic training in Ottawa.

Often referred to as the Michael Jordan of women's wheelchair basketball.

Plays wheelchair basketball since 1983.

Member of two teams in Montreal and one in Ottawa.

Has four Paralympic medals in her athletic portfolio: a gold from the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games, a gold from the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, a gold from the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and a bronze from the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.

Beijing Games were her sixth Paralympic Games.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Louison Danis

Actor, director, translator

Born in Ottawa in 1951.

Made her stage debut at 13 with the Ottawa company Lake Side Theatre Productions in 1964.

Played in the very first production of Théâtre de l’Île in Hull (Ottawa) in 1970.

Based in Montréal in the early 1980s, she remained true to her Franco-Ontarian roots and returned to work in her province of origin, where she ran the Théâtre de la Grande Chapelle.

Extensive career in theatre; she played nearly 170 characters in more than 150 plays.

Her role as Maman Bougon (prix Gémeaux 2004, best female performance - comedy) in the successful series les Bougon... c'est aussi ça la vie on Radio-Canada television, thrust her into the ranks of a media star.

Her translation from French to English of Normand Canac-Marquis' Syndrome de Cézanne was performed in New York, London and Toronto.

Luce Dufault


Born in 1966 in Orléans (Ottawa).

Became well known in French Canada when Luc Plamondon offered her a role in the musical La légende de Jimmy in 1992, and in Starmania in 1993.

Won awards for her role in Starmania both in Quebec and in France.

First album, launched in 1996; awarded the "Félix" (equivalent of the Juno Award in Québec) for best show of the year.

Has 6 albums in her discography.

Florence Bird

Broadcaster, journalist, senator

1908-1998; moved to Ottawa in 1946.

Born in Philadelphia. Moved to Montreal in 1931, then to Winnipeg in 1937.

Throughout the war, she wrote a weekly column for the Winnipeg Tribune about women's war work called "Holding the Home Front".

Assumed the roles of producer, interviewer and scriptwriter for radio.

Chair of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada in 1967.

Became a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1971.

Appointed to the Senate in 1978.

Won the Governor General's Persons Award for her work on behalf of Canadian women in 1985.

Served on Canadian delegations to United Nations organizations that emphasized women's economic rights and the role of women in developing countries.

The Florence Bird Lecture is held every year at Carleton University in Ottawa.

The Florence Bird Memorial Library was opened by the offices of the Status of Women Canada in Ottawa in 1999.

Chantal Hébert

Columnist and political commentator

"She’s easily the best political writer in the country right now, in French and English”. - Andrew Potter, Maclean’s

Born in Ottawa (Hull) c. 1955.

Educated at Glendon College of York University.

Senior Fellow of Massey College at the University of Toronto.

Began her media career in 1975 at the regional television and radio newsroom of the French language Radio-Canada facility in Toronto.

Appointed by Radio-Canada to cover federal politics on Parliament Hill, and worked as bureau chief for Montreal's Le Devoir and La Presse.

Respected for her straightforward and factual approach to political issues, over the years her columns have also been published by the London Free Press, the Ottawa Citizen and the National Post and currently in Le Devoir and the Toronto Star.

Published French Kiss: Stephen Harper's Blind Date with Quebec in 2007.

Beverley McLachlin

Chief Justice of Canada, Supreme Court of Canada

Born in 1943 in Pincher Creek, Alberta.

First woman to hold the position of Chief Justice of Canada; was appointed in 2000.

Educated at the University of Alberta, called to the Bar of Alberta in 1969.

Professor at the University of British Columbia.

Third woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

First woman appointed to the BC Court of Appeal and the first female BC Supreme Court Justice.

When Governor General Adrienne Clarkson was hospitalized in July 2005, Justice McLachlin served as the Administrator of the Government and performed the duties of the Governor General, including giving royal assent to the Civil Marriage Act, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in Canada.

Was awarded over 21 honorary Doctor of Laws degrees.

Louise Charron

Jurist, Supreme Court Judge

Born in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario in 1951; studied and worked in Ottawa.

The first native-born Franco-Ontarian Supreme Court judge.

Educated at Carleton University and at the University of Ottawa.

Practiced civil litigation with the firm Lalonde, Chartrand & Gouin in Ottawa.

Law professor at the University of Ottawa from 1985 to 1988.

Appointed to the District Court of Ontario in 1988 and to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1995.

Appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004.

Leslie Reid

Artist, professor (University of Ottawa)

..."calm is only as it is because so much around isn't"
-Leslie Reid, 1975.

Born in Ottawa in 1947.

One of Ottawa's best known local artists. Her practice focuses on painting, as well as photography and drawing.

Enjoys challenging societal notions of women and their place in art. Her work presently examines the representation of motherhood in the visual arts.

Teacher of Fine Arts at the University of Ottawa since 1972.

Developed a particular graphic style, emphasized minimalist approach to her use of space, praised for her ability to convey light and depth.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Élisabeth Bruyère

Founder of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa, pioneer social worker

1818-1876; arrived in Ottawa in 1845.

Born at L’Assomption, Quebec.

Opened the first general hospital in Bytown (Ottawa) and the first bilingual school in Ontario.

Founded an orphanage, several schools, a boarding house and a college in Bytown.

Her community, so closely linked to Ottawa’s religious and civic history, continued to grow until it was active not only in Ontario but also in the USA, Africa, Brazil, Haïti, Japan and Papua-New Guinea.

In 1978, a request for her canonization was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Helen Levine

Social worker, professor (Carleton University), author

Was the first to introduce women's issues and feminist perspectives into the curriculum at the School of Social Work at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Received the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case for advancing the equality of women in Canada.

Published essays on mothering, feminist counseling, and psychiatry.

Energetically engaged as an advocate for women's rights.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Eva Gauthier


1885-1958; born in Ottawa.

Soloist at St Patrick Church in Ottawa.

Made her professional debut as a contralto at the Ottawa Basilica (1902) when she participated in a service commemorating the death of Queen Victoria.

May have been the first person to sing jazz during a concert, and the first woman to introduce jazz and oriental music to America. (

In 1914, she went to New York where her innovative concerts brought her to the heights of a modern arts lyricist.

Known for her love of modern composers and defending the cause of modern music.

Each Gauthier recital contained premieres, and it is estimated that she gave no fewer than 184 during her career,

Elizabeth Smith Shortt

Physician, champion of women's rights

1859-1949; moved to Ottawa in 1908.

Born at "Mountain Hall", Vinemount.

Belonged to the prosperous family that founded the E.D. Smith preserves company.

Received her degree in medicine at the Royal Medical College in 1884; one of the first 3 women M.D.'s in Canada. She first practiced in Hamilton.

Almost single-handedly stimulated Queen's University to introduce medical coeducation.

Worked for the first Y.W.C.A. in Canada and served as its president.

In Ottawa, Smith became very active in the local, provincial, and National Council of Women affairs; was elected as VP of the NCW.

Was the first Convener of the Public Health and Mental Hygiene Committee of the National Council of Women in 1911.

Was Convener of the Committee on Immigration in the Council and instrumental in organizing a hostel for women immigrants in Ottawa.

Was largely responsible in convening a committee to petition the Provincial Government to establish Mother's Allowances in Ontario.

Helped to form the Victorian Order of Nurses and the Women's Canadian Club.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pauline Vanier


1898-1991; lived in Ottawa from 1959 to 1967.

Born in Montreal.

Wife of Georges Vanier, one of Canada's first professional diplomats, Canada's first ambassador to France and Canada's first Canadian-born French-speaking Governor General of Canada (1959-1967).

Madame Vanier was the first non-political woman to be appointed to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. She was sworn in on April 11, 1967 as a sign of honour from Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.

In 1967, she was made one of the first Companions of the Order of Canada for her humanitarian work.

She was appointed the first Chancellor of the University of Ottawa in 1966.

Her son Jean founded L'Arche to which Madame Vanier dedicated 19 years of her life after her husband's death.

Both Madame Vanier and her husband Georges have been nominated for beatification in the Roman Catholic Church because of their piety and love for humanity.

Marie-Rose Turcot

Journalist, author

1887-1977; moved to Ottawa circa 1907.

Born in Laurierville, Quebec.

Worked in the civil service and became one of the first female journalists in French Ontario.

Published in the daily newspaper Le Droit, as well as in several other weekly and daily publications in Ottawa and Montreal, sometimes using the pseudonym Constance Bayard.

Worked in broadcast journalism for the French radio station CKCH in Hull, Quebec.

Turcot was the author of a novel, several collections of short stories, and poems, and was a pioneer in collecting and publishing Franco-Ontarian folk tales.

There is a plaque in her honour on the north side of Rideau Street between Nelson Street and Friel Street in front of the Rideau Branch of the Ottawa Public Library.

Gisèle Lalonde

Community activist, politician

Born in Eastview (later Vanier, now Ottawa) in 1933.

Mayor of the city of Vanier from 1985 to 1991.

Advisor on the subject of francophone education to the Ministry of Education in Ontario and also chaired a council which advised Premier of Ontario on francophone matters.

Founded, and was the first president of l'Association française des municipalités de l'Ontario in 1988.

Key leader in the SOS Montfort campaign which prevented the closing of the Montfort Hospital, the only francophone hospital in Ontario, and succeeded.

Member of the Order of Canada in 2003 and the Order of Ontario in 2006.

Pegi Nicol Smith


1904-1949; raised in Ottawa.

Born in Listowel, Ontario.

Among the first wave of artists of Canadian modernism; she left over 1000 works of art in many media including designs for hooked rugs.

Awarded the Willingdon Prize in 1931 for a landscape of the Gatineau River.

In 1940, she started an art center at the University of New Brunswick, her husband’s hometown.

In 1944, she was commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada to paint the activities of the women's services. One hundred and ten watercolour and oil paintings are now in their war collection.

MacLeod had an abiding respect for the women on Canada’s home front. She compared them to Diana, the ancient goddess of the hunt. She painted women soldiers, but also the mothers of soldiers, the nurses and the factory girls.

In 2005, the first major restrospective of of MacLeod's work (since her memorial exhibition organized by the National Gallery of Canada) was held at Carleton University.

Lady Ishbel Gordon Aberdeen

Pioneer social reformer

1857-1939; born in Scotland, moved to Ottawa in 1893.

Wife of Lord Aberdeen, Canada's 7th Governor General from 1893 to 1898.

Received an honorary L.L.D. from Queen's University, the first time an honorary degree was conferred on a woman by a Canadian university.

Lady Aberdeen believed that women were a vast unused resource in Canada. She was instrumental in forming the National Council of Women.

Against the fierce opposition of the Canadian medical establishment, she created the Victorian Order of Nurses in 1897. Lady Aberdeen was chosen VON's first president.

First president of the International Council of Women.

Charlotte Whitton

First woman mayor of a large city in Canada (1951)

1896-1975; born in Renfrew; moved to Ottawa in 1922.

"Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult." - Charlotte Whitton

Social worker, politician and feminist, she was a relentless crusader for professional standards of juvenile immigrants and neglected children in the 1920s.

Founder of the Canadian Council on Child Welfare (now the Canadian Council on Social Development).

Lectured across North America on social programs.

Entered Ottawa City politics in 1950. When the elected mayor died the next year she succeeded him (1951). Elected mayor of Ottawa in 1952, 1954, 1960 and 1961 and served as an alderman until 1972.

Historical note on the first woman mayor in Canada: Barbara McCallum Hanley, born in Magnetawan, Ontario was the first woman to be elected mayor in Canada. She was elected mayor of Webbwood, (west of Sudbury) on January 6, 1936 and served the community as mayor for eight years. Charlotte Whitton was the first mayor of a large city in Canada.

Anne Heggtveit

Olympic champion alpine skier

Born in Ottawa in 1939.

Studied at Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Ottawa.

First gained international attention when she became the youngest winner ever of the Holmenkollen Giant Slalom event in Norway in 1954 (at the age of 15).

Won Canada's first-ever Olympic skiing gold medal at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games in Squaw Valley, California, Heggtveit . Her victory in the Olympic slalom event also made her the first non-European to win the International Ski Federation slalom and overall world championship

First North American to win the Arlberg-Kandahar Trophy, the most prestigious and classic event in alpine skiing.

Member of the Order of Canada.

Awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's outstanding athlete of 1960.

Inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1960.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Béatrice Desloges

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

1895-1957; born in Ottawa.

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

Along with her sister Diane, also a teacher, Béatrice 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.

There is a school in Orleans, Ontario named in her honour.

Lindalee Tracey

Filmmaker and writer

1957-2006; born in Ottawa.

Scriptwriter for the NFB; also worked in radio, television and print.

Whether in print or on film, Tracey depicts the lives of marginal people, those often disenfranchised by life's circumstances -- the poor, migrant workers and night shift employees. She explores what she terms "social geography".

Her article on illegal immigrants won the 1991 Best National Investigative Report award from the Canadian Association of Journalists.

Her first book: On The Edge: A Journey into the Heart of Canada (1993) took her on the road for seven months, interviewing poor people and letting them speak for themselves.

Together with Maria Pimental, Tracey and her husband Peter Raymont formed the independent film and television production company, White Pine Pictures, specializing in documentaries and docu-dramas.

Tracey was the director and writer of the 1997 film, Invisible Nation, which looked at the work of Canadian immigration officers and the people they police. It was nominated for a Genie award for best directing.

In 2003, Tracey founded Magnolia Movies, a production company affiliated with White Pine Pictures that focuses on somewhat lighter hearted topics than those addressed by White Pine.

Evelyn Lambart

Animator, National Film Board of Canada

1914-1999; born in Ottawa.

Attended Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Ottawa.

Created the illuminations and lettering for the first Book of Remembrance, housed at the Peace Tower in Ottawa.

Began working at the National Film Board (then located in Ottawa) in 1942. Her first film was The Impossible Map (1947).

Produced her first solo animation effort, Fine Feathers in 1968.

She perfected the technique of paper cutouts transferred to lithograph plate which she would then paint and animate. She used this technique in seven award-winning films.

Retired from the NFB in 1975.

Served as the honorary president of the Ottawa International Animation Festival in 1988.