Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nancy Riche

Labour organizer, social activist, women’s rights advocate

“Nancy’s contribution to the social fabric of Canada will live on in the work of the countless labour and women’s activists whose lives she touched and inspired,” Ken Georgetti, President of the CLC, 2011

Born in St.John's, Newfoundland in 1944; died in 2011. 

Graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

One of Canada’s leading women labour leaders and a tireless advocate for workers’ and women’s rights; pioneer in the Canadian Women’s movement.

Held various positions in her career including secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), vice-president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour and secretary-treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees.

Lived in Ottawa's Carleton Heights neighbourhood for 18 years while she was secretary-treasurer of the CLC from 1984 until her retirement in 2002.

Served as Vice-President of the Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and Chair of its Women’s Committee from 1993-2002.

Received both the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) Woman of Courage Award and the Governor-General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case in 2002.

Became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2004.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Women's History Month

October is Women's History Month in Canada. Proclaimed in 1992 by the Government of Canada, Women's History Month provides an opportunity for Canadians to learn about the important contributions of women and girls to our society.

Beginning in 1998, a theme was assigned each year.

1998: Canadian Women – Making an Impact
1999: Yesterday and Today – Francophone Women in Canada
2000: Making History, Building Futures – Women of the 20th Century
2001: In Praise of Canadian Women Volunteers
2002: Women and Sports – Champions Forever!
2003: What do you mean, women couldn’t vote?
2004: Yes, Women Are Persons!
2005: Women and War – Contributions and Consequences
2006: Aboriginal Women – The Journey Forward
2007: Celebrating Immigrant Women in Canada
2008: Women in the Lead – Past and Present
2009: Women in the Lead – Winter Sports
2010: Recognizing Canadian Women in Business
2011: Women’s Invaluable Contributions to the Military

Carolyn Waldo

Olympic athlete, sports broadcaster, motivational speaker

Born in Montreal, Quebec; works in Ottawa.

Despite a fear of water, learned to swim at the age of 10 and managed to win two gold medals in synchronized swimming by the time she was 23.

First Canadian woman to win two gold medals at the same Olympic games (1988 Seoul Games).

Also won a silver medal at the 1984 games in Los Angeles.

Was flagbearer at the 1988 Olympics.

Is a 6-time world champion, a Lou Marsh Award winner, a 4-time Canadian Female Athlete of the year, a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Is a successful sports broadcaster at CTV Ottawa and a passionate speaker, inspiring a full range of audiences to discover the possibilities in their own lives.

Betty Kennedy

Broadcaster, journalist, author, retired Senator

Born and raised in Ottawa; born in 1926.

As a teenager in the 1940s, honed her journalistic skills as a reporter for the Ottawa Citizen newspaper.

Appointed Public Affairs of CFRB, Canada’s largest radio station in Toronto where she stayed for 27 years. As host of the Betty Kennedy Show, she interviewed 25-thousand guests.

Brought a “feminine point of view” to CBC-TV's Front Page Challenge from 1962 to 1995; best known to most Canadians as a panelist on this show (the longest-running television program).

Appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1982.

Was the first woman chair-person of the School of Journalism at the University of Western Ontario.

First non-medical member of the Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Author of two books: Hurricane Hazel and Gerard.

Inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1991.

Appointed to the Senate in 2000.

Nathalie Gamache

Gynecologist specialized in women’s health (menopause)

Studied medicine in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Completed her residency in gynecology and obstetrics, as well as a fellowship in menopause and women’s health in Ottawa.

Practices at the Shirley E. Greenberg Centre for Women’s Health at the Ottawa General Hospital and recently opened the Centre de Santé pour Femmes GAÏA in Gatineau.

Areas of interest are abnormal bleeding and fibromas, menopause and hormone therapy, sexuality, premenstrual syndrome, and early ovarian failure, especially among cancer survivors.

Is an associate professor at the University of Ottawa, where she helped develop and start the new medical program in 2009.

Winner of two awards of excellence in teaching, she was also recently awarded a prize for the best oral presentation at the SOGC in 2010.

Is a frequent presenter at both local and international conferences.

Mother Tongue Books

Independent feminist bookstore

Located in Old Ottawa South at 1067 Bank street in Ottawa.

Specializes in poetry, literature and non fiction from local to international, personal to political; specifically targets women readers.

Also holds discussion groups and workshops.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dawn Monroe

Librarian, author and creator of the Famous Canadian Women Website

Born in Toronto in 1945. Lived in Ottawa from 1971 to 2006.

Obtained a B.A. in Canadian history at the University of Guelph in Ontario and a Masters in Library Science at the University of Western Ontario.

Worked at the National Library of Canada, the Library at the National Archives, and retired from her role as Manager of Library Services Citizenship and Immigration Canada in 2004.

Has also taught and coached archery to youth at the RA Centre in Ottawa.

Was involved in the Ottawa Girl Guides, where she developed a series of activities for her Guide Unit relating to Famous Canadian Women; these activities eventually became a website featuring Famous Firsts accomplished by Canadian women, a historical timeline, quotes by Canadian women and career highlights in various fields of work where women have excelled.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Keys to the City of Ottawa

1937: Cecilia Colledge, British figure skater.

1948: Barbara Ann Scott: Canadian figure skater born in Ottawa.

1951: H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth, upon her first visit to the Capital as future queen. 

1954: Her Majesty the Queen Mother. 

1955: H.R.H. Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary The Princess Royal.

1960: Anne Heggtveit, alpine skier, born in Ottawa.

1968: Nancy Greene, Olympic skier, born in Ottawa.  

1984: Sue Holloway, cross-country skier, born in Halifax.

1984: Linda Thom, Olympic shooter, born in Hamilton.

1988: Elizabeth Manley, Olympic figure skater, born in Ottawa.

1989: President Corazon Aquino.

1996: Alannis Morissette, singer, born in Ottawa.

1997: Angela Hewitt, pianist, born in Ottawa.

2000: Margaret Atwood, author, born in Ottawa. 

Source: City of Ottawa

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bytown Beat Chorus

Creative outlet for musical growth open to women of all ages

Ottawa chapter formed in 2005.

The chorus is a charter member of Sweet Adelines International (SAI) since October 2007; SAI is a worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education and performances. This independent, non-profit music education association is one of the world‘s largest singing organizations for women. The SAI organization has 35 regions comprised of more that 120 quartets and 600 choruses.

Members learn music, good vocal production techniques and singing as a harmony team; they also learn about choreography, stage production, costuming, makeup and much more. Training and certification programs are available in the areas of directing, arranging, judging, teaching, personal growth and leadership.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

France Chrétien Desmarais

Business woman, lawyer, philanthropist

Graduated from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law; received the Meritas Tabarat Award for Alumni Achievement awarded by the University of Ottawa in 2011.

Served and chaired many boards in the fields of business, health and sports; currently serves on the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

Vice-chair of the Guy Laliberté Foundation and ONE DROP.

Member of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation and the board of McGill’s International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviours; was also a member of the board of directors of VANOC for the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Received the Order of Canada in September 2012 for her philanthropy.

Daughter of Jean Chrétien, 20th prime minister of Canada and Aline Chrétien.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Greta Hale

Entrepreneur, community advocate, author

Emeritus Governor on the University of Ottawa Board of Governors.

Chairman Emeritus of Morrison Lamothe Inc., a national family frozen food company now headquartered in Toronto.

Comes from a pioneer Ottawa family (1818) and has lived all her life in Ottawa’s oldest house (1828).

Has served on numerous national corporate and provincial boards and continues to be an active volunteer in dozens of Ottawa organizations, including President of Beechwood Cemetery and on the board of the Community Foundation of Ottawa.

Received the YM-YWCA Life Time Achievement Award in 1997, the Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1998, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Ottawa in 1999 and the Order of Canada in 2006.

Has published her memoirs entitled “Baker’s Daughter: The Story of a Long, Rich and Very Canadian Life“. Her book is filled with Ottawa stories.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Marianne Florence Scott

National librarian of Canada

Born in Toronto in 1928. Worked in Ottawa.

Studied at McGill University where she earned her Bachelor in Library Sciences; received several LLD honours during her career.

Started her career as a law librarian at McGill University where she worked for 20 years, was also lecturer in the Faculty of Law from 1964 to 1974, and Director of Libraries at McGill University from 1975 to 1984.

Was the cofounder of the Index to Canadian Legal Periodical Literature which began in 1963.

Was the first woman to be appointed as National Librarian of Canada in Ottawa, a position she held from 1984-1999.

Was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and the Order of Canada in 1995.

Lynn Marshall

Masters swimmer

Part-time professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, in the department of systems and computer engineering.

Head swim coach of the Carleton Masters Swim Club.

Represented Manitoba at the 1977 Canada Summer Games, was named to the Canadian team for the 1983 World University Games, and was a Top-20 swimmer at the Canadian championships.

Has been among the world's Top 10 swimmers for the past 25 years, and has beaten more than 20 Canadian records in her age group (50-54).

Has set five long course and 23 short course FINA Masters World Records.

Recently inducted into the Masters Swimmer Hall of Fame (the second Canadian to enter the hall; the first one was Bonnie Pronk in 2010).

Sylva M. Gelber

Arts patron

Born in Toronto in 1910; lived in Ottawa; died in 2003.

Distinguished Canadian who served Canada in various capacities, most notably as Director of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labour and Canadian representative on the UN Commission for the Status of Women from 1970-74.

Held many international appointments during her lifetime, including that of Canadian delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in 1976 and 1978.

Outspoken advocate of women's rights; helped to introduce equal-pay legislation, maternity leave and women's pension benefits into Canadian society.

Spent 15 years as a medical social worker and government administrator in British-mandate Palestine, an experience she chronicled in No Balm in Gilead, an award-winning 1989 memoir.

Known for her wit, humour and a love of music, stylish clothes and fast cars, she led a colourful life that included early stints in theatre and radio; passionate music lover; known in Ottawa as an arts patron.

Created the Sylva M. Gerber Music Foundation to help talented Canadian students with high costs of training.

A Piano Lab at the University of Ottawa was named the Sylva Gerber studio in her honour.

She is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Canada's Walk of Fame

Canada's Walk of Fame engages Canadians in celebrating those who have excelled in music, sport, film, television, as well as the literary, visual, performing arts, science and innovation.

Since 1998, there have been a total of 137 Canadians inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame of which 39 are women. Of the 39 women, 5 have an Ottawa connection. They are:
  • Barbara Ann Scott, figure skater, inducted in 1998.
  • Nancy Greene, skier, inducted in 1999.
  • Margaret Atwood, writer, inducted in 2000.
  • Alanis Morissette, singer, inducted in 2005.
  • Sandra Oh, actress, inducted in 2011.
You may read individual entries on each of these women in this blog by consulting the alphabetical listing or you can type their name in the Search option in the upper left hand corner.