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A Guide to Women in Canadian History

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Canadian Illustrated News, Aug.7, 1880
.Time Travel
.This Month in
Herstory
This Month in Canadian Herstory: April
  • April 2, 1991
    Rita Margaret Johnston became the first woman in Canada to serve as premier of a province, after she succeeded Bill Vander Zalm in British Columbia.

  • April 5, 1917
    Women in the province of British Columbia gained the right to vote.

  • April 8, 1927
    Lois Miriam Freeman Wilson, who became the first woman moderator of the United Church in Canada, was born in Winnipeg. Rev. Wilson was ordained as a United Church minister in 1965 and later became the first Canadian to serve as president of the World Council of Churches. Prime Minister Chretien appointed Rev. Wilson to the Senate of Canada.

  • April 12, 1917
    Women in the province of Ontario gained the right to vote.

    Mayor Oliver
    Cartoon, ca. 1910, about women in Toronto fighting for the right to vote
    (Archives of Ontario/C301)



  • April 13, 1925
    Newfoundland women gained the right to vote.

    Nfld. suffragists
    Women's Franchise League in Newfoundland, ca. 1920
    (Gertrude Crosbie/Collection 158/Memorial University of Newfoundland Library)



  • Jeanne Sauvé
    Jeanne Sauvé
    (Harry Palmer/National Archives of Canada/PA-182418)
    April 14, 1980
    For the first time in Canadian history, a woman was chosen as Speaker of the House of Commons. Saskatchewan-native Jeanne-Mathilde Sauvé served as Speaker until January 15, 1984 and later became the 23rd Governor General of Canada. To hear some radio clips and watch some television clips about this woman of many firsts, check out the CBC Archives feature about Jeanne Sauvé.

  • April 17, 1919
    Women's suffrage was approved in the province of New Brunswick.

  • April 19, 1916
    The legislature in Alberta passed the Alberta Equal Suffrage Act, permitting women in the province to vote in provincial elections.

  • April 22, 1939
    Pioneer Canadian pilot Marion Orr took her first flying lesson, receiving her Private Pilot's License the following January. A couple of years later Marion began operating a flying club. During World War II she was thrilled to get a job ferrying military aircraft for the RAF in England. Watch a Heritage Minute about Marion and read about her in the book 100 More Canadian Heroines, page 256-259.

  • April 25, 1940
    Thanks to the efforts of women like Thérèse Casgrain, the women of Quebec finally got to vote in provincial elections--after being able to cast ballots in federal elections for more than two decades.

  • April 26, 1918
    Women in Nova Scotia gained the right to vote.

  • Ginette Reno
    April 28, 1946
    Singer Ginette Reno was born in Montreal. More about this popular international star at the official Ginette Reno website.

  • April 30, 1903
    Dr. Emily Stowe died in Toronto, after a lifetime of working to secure more rights for Canadian women. This pioneer physician was the first female Canadian to practice medicine in Canada, though it was some time until she managed to get a license. Dr. Stowe also created Canada's first suffrage group in 1876.

More pages from This Month in Canadian Herstory:

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

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