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Regulation 17 was modified in 1927 to allow limited teaching in French but was only withdrawn in its entirety in 1944.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