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September 9, 1954
(Canada's Sports Hall of Fame)
Sixteen-year-old Marilyn Bell became the first person to swim across Lake Ontario. The Toronto-born athlete swam 52 km during her 21 hours in the cold lake. Marilyn was competing in an organized event and was the surprise winner. When she finally crawled onto shore at the CNE ground in Toronto, Ontario, the young Canadian schoolgirl was cheered by a waiting crowd of about 100,000 people. Way to go Marilyn!
Hear a CBC interview with Marilyn Bell.
September 15, 1989
Joan Pennefather was appointed as Governnment Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada, becoming the first woman to hold these positions. Born in Montreal, Ms. Pennefather studied history and communications in Canada and abroad before joining the National Film Board in 1977. In 1992 she welcomed about 50 women from around the world to discuss strategies for improving the status of women in the media. In 1993 she received the Astral Award from Toronto Women in Film and Television, for "an outstanding contribution to the enhancement of the role and image of the women of Canada's film and television industry".
September 20, 1917
Canadian Nursing Sisters voting at a Canadian Hospital in France in December, 1917.
(National Archives of Canada PA-002279)
Some Canadian women were allowed to vote in federal elections, thanks to the Military Voters Act that gave the vote to women serving in the military - such as Nursing Sisters. With Royal Assent of the War-time Elections Act, women who were close relatives of men in the armed forces could also vote. You also had to be a British subject and over 21.
Evolution of the Federal Franchise
September 23, 1992
(Cover of a biography of Manon)
Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play professional hockey when she joined the men of Tampa Bay Lightning to play the St. Louis Blues. Born in Lac Beauport, Quebec, the Canadian athlete started playing hockey at the age of five and excelled at the sport.
Watch a CBC television clip of Manon
September 28, 1959
Canada's National Ballet School was created in Toronto, operating in a former Quaker Meeting House at 111 Maitland Street. Founded by artistic director Celia Franca, the school was managed by Betty Oliphant. The school was first attended by 27 female, full-time students as well as others who came after school. Now recognized as one of the world's leading dance schools, the National Ballet School has trained such dancers as the famous Veronica Tennant and Karen Kain.
Celia Franca dancing in "Giselle", 1956.
(Ken Bell/Library and Archives Canada/PA-153947)
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