Thelma Chalifoux (1929-2017) was a Canadian teacher and politician. She
served as a senator for Alberta from 1997, when she became the first Métis
woman on the Canadian Senate.
From a young age, she established a
centre to help women who struggled with alcoholism and abuse, and advocated for
the promotion of Métis culture. She was the first woman to receive the National
Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1994.
MacGill (1864-1947) was a notable
journalist, judge and women’s rights advocate from Canada. She was one of the
first female judges in the country, and at one point, the only one.
She graduated from Trinity
College (part of the University of Toronto) in 1889, the only woman in her
class and the first female graduate of the institution. She co-founded the
Vancouver Business and Professional Women’s Club in 1923.
Kate Rice (1882-1963) was a Canadian adventurer. She
became famous for her life as a homesteader, prospector and miner, especially
the later being an industry where few women succeeded at the time.
sciences and taught mathematics in Ontario before finding a new vocation and
taking up mountaineering. While maintaing a lifestyle where she was living off
the land and training sled dogs, she also wrote numerous scientific articles
for publication in journals. The island in Wekusko Lake where she lived now
bears her name.
Laura Smith Haviland
(1808-1898) was an abolitionist
and defender of women’s rights. She was an important figure of the Underground
Born in a Quaker
family in Canada, she moved to the United States and helped organise the Logan
Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1832. She also founded the Refugee Home Society
in Ontario and taught in a school for African American children in Ohio. Her
home became the first Underground Railroad station in Michigan.
(1923-2015) was a
Canadian painter, sculptor and printmaker. She was considered a leader of the
Pattern and Decoration movement and a pioneer of feminist art.
frequently paid homage to other female artists, such as Frida Kahlo and Mary
Cassatt, in her work. Along with Judy Chicago, she established the Feminist Art
Program at the California Institute of Arts. He works can be admired at the
Jewish Museum in New York or the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others.
was a French nurse, one of the founders of the Canadian city of Montreal. She
established the first hospital in the city, Hotel-Dieu de Montreal, in 1645.
emigrated in 1641, and helped found the new city a year later. She was the
director of its hospital for 17 years, and returned to France several times
throughout her life to seek financial assistance for it.
Muriel Duckworth (1908-2009) was a pacifist and feminist activist from Canada. She was the founder of the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace, and was the first woman in Halifax to run for a seat in the Nova Scotia legislature.
She was a founding member of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, and served as its president for two years. Her efforts were rewarded with the Pearson Medal of Peace and the Order of Canada, among others.
Gower (1931-2013) was
a Canadian politician and women’s rights advocate. She was also a commissioner
of the Canadion Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
worked as a nurse in Vernon, British Columbia, and eventually became a city
councillor. As part of her work with the CRTC, she campaigned for improved
portrayals of women in the media.
Louise McKinney (1868-1931) was a politician and feminist activist from Canada. She became
the first woman to be elected to a legislature in the entire British Empire
when she was sworn into the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in 1917.
She was one of the Famous Five, a group that
successfully campaigned for the right of women to be appointed to the Canadian Senate.
She is recognized by the government as a Person of National Historic
Daphne Odjig (1919-2016) was a First Nations artist from Canada. Her efforts were
crucial in bringing native Canadian art to the forefront of the country’s
She started drawing when she was a child, but
first gained recognition for her work in the 1960s, particularly for her illustrations
of traditional Cree communities and people. She opened the first gallery in
Canada to exclusively feature the art of Native Canadians, and co-founded the
Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporation in 1973.