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.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Victor Tolgesy Arts Award

This award was inaugurated in 1987 by the City of Ottawa and the Council for the Arts in Ottawa to recognize the accomplishments of residents who have contributed substantially to enriching cultural life in the city. It is named in honour of Ottawa artist Victor Tolgesy who died in 1980.

Between 1987 (first year of the award) and 2010, 13 women won the Tolgesy award. They are:

Trudi LeCaine, arts supporter, volunteer and advocate

Pat Durr, visual artist and champion of arts policy and development

Barbara Clark, choral director and arts education advocate

Claire Faubert, actress, artistic director, teacher and volunteer
Diane Holmes, arts leader, volunteer and advocate

Jennifer Dickson, visual artist and arts advocate

Eleanor Crowder, founder of Salamander Theatre for Young Audiences

Susan Annis, arts patron and leadership volunteer

Jennifer Cayley, founder and former Director of MASC

Penny McCann, Director of SAW Video Association

Paulette Gagnon, significant contribution to the arts through French theatre and francophone artists

Christine Tremblay, Executive director of Arts Ottawa East

Mela Constantinidi, involved in the cultural sectors at the municipal, provincial and federal levels for 30 years

Jerry Grey, for enhancing Ottawa with a high caliber of artistic achievement and for her profound and sustained commitment to the arts community, including the performing arts of music and dance, and extensive and valued participation in numerous committees and fundraising activities.

Patrice James

Film maker

Executive director of the Independent Film-makers Co-operative of Ottawa.

Widely known and respected in the city’s arts community.

Her film projects include the documentary "Black in Ottawa” (co-produced with Orpheus Morgan). This thought-provoking documentary is the first to explore the struggles, triumphs and interactions of Ottawa's various black communities while also examining the relationships between these groups and 'mainstream society'.

Nominated for the Tolgesy Award in 2012, Ottawa’s top annual arts prize. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Félicité Murangira

Advocate for immigrant community and HIV prevention

Born in Rwanda, grew up in Congo and Burundi and came to Canada in 1986 as a landed immigrant with 4 young children.

Has a Bachelor's Degree in Law from University of Burundi and is the Global Ottawa AIDS Link Project Coordinator at Women's Health Research Unit, University of Ottawa.

Her involvement with the GOAL initiative links the Black community to the academic researchers for an exchange of knowledge and development of innovative best practices in HIV prevention, care, treatment and support.

Has been an advocate for immigrant community in Ottawa for the last 18 years. She is the recipient of the 1990 Canadian African Women's Organization Award, the recipient of the 1994 Canadian African Solidarity Volunteer Award, the 2005 Rwandese Association Award for contribution to the settlement and well being of the Rwandan community of Ottawa/ Gatineau, the 2006 recipient of the Planet Africa Volunteer of the Year Award and the recipient of the 2006 YMCA -YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Healthy Living.

Co-founder and Co-Chair of the African and Caribbean Health Network of Ottawa.

Rachel Décoste

Motivational speaker, community activist

Is a software engineer, was born and raised in Ottawa.

Holds a Bachelor in Computer Science from the University of Guelph and Project Management training from La Cité Collégiale.

A published poet, she has been a community activist since her youth, engaging in letter-writing campaigns to push for change in issues close to her heart: working with the Children's Aid Society to mentor foster children for over 15 years, assisting in the care of seniors at La Résidence St-Louis, and participating in the regional effort to save the Montfort Hospital, among many other activities.

Has a strong record of volunteerism: she received the Volunteer Appreciation Award for her efforts with the Black Canadian Scholarship Fund, a charitable organization which awards bursaries to bright disadvantaged students. She has served on the Event Committee of the Famous 5 Foundation from its inaugural year in Ottawa.

Is a member of the Selection Committee for the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case since 2008.

Damilola Otepola

Youth community leader

Came from Nigeria to Canada in 2003, and started grade 10 at Brookfield High School in Ottawa.
Became passionate about the Nelson Mandela's Children's Fund (NMCF) and helped raised funds for the group through a CD of songs, with her as a lead vocal.
Co-organized black history in her school where for the entire month of February they featured black pioneers and leaders, played African music, and celebrated black history.
Wrote a song, Move Your World for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for their 2006 theme "Move your world".
Won the Global Citizen Award organised by the Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa (CAYFO) in 2006; was later featured in the Ottawa Citizen and the Talk Black Radio (98.1) for her achievements and aspirations.
Graduated from high school with honours and won several awards including the Principal's award and the Lieutenant Governor's Community Volunteer Award for Students. She is currently a third year Chemical Engineering student at the University of Ottawa.

Noella Charles

Community activist and mentor

Born in St. Lucia; has lived in Ottawa for the past thirty years.

Active member in the community including past Vice President of United Black Women of Ottawa, past Vice President of Fete Caribe, past and Vice President of the St. Lucia Ottawa Association.

Presently the President of the St. Lucia Ottawa Association.

Worked for the E.A.G.L.E. Training Centre as Outreach Fundraising Manager, and the Mentoring Coordinator; owns an event planning business called Diamond Events.

Serves as a volunteer in the Ottawa community as a member to the Caribbean Associations Presidents committee, and the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean Advisory Committee to the OECS High Commissioner.

Volunteered for the Parent Council Awards Committee at Hillcrest High School and was a past Fundraising Coordinator at Robert Bateman Public School.

Was part of the team who planned a very successful first for Ottawa; the Caribbean Games Evening, in March 2008.

Her commitment and dedication to the community was recognized in 2007 as the recipient of the City of Ottawa, Civic Appreciation Award 2007.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Medal

The Diamond Jubilee Medal commemorates the day Queen Elizabeth became sovereign on the death of her father, King George VI, 60 years ago, 1952 – 2012. The medal is awarded to recipients across Canada for their work in community service.

About 60,000 Canadians are to receive the medal over the course of the year 2012. On Monday, February 6, 2012, five women from the national capital region received the Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Captain E. Maria Mangnall-Schonert, C.D. – Ottawa, Ontario
For promoting and delivering the Canadian Cadet Program to young people in her community.

Bryna Monson – Ottawa, Ontario
For her ongoing work with Languages of Life, and for providing Canadians with the means to communicate with each other in different languages.

Leslie Natynczyk – Ottawa, Ontario
For her dedication to and support of military families, and for her innovative Segways for Wounded Warriors initiative.

Rachel Scott-Mignon – Gatineau, Quebec
For raising awareness of mental health issues, particularly bipolar disorder.

Sergeant Angela Wintonyk, C.D. – Petawawa, Ontario
For her military service and for volunteering her time and resources to the Petawawa Military Families Resource Centre.