A Guide to Women in Canadian History

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Hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, Reuters Photo.
.Latest News
News Archives 2005

Upcoming in 2005
  • Teaching Women's History at Universities
    A symposium on Teaching Women's History at Atlantic Canadian Universities will be held on September 17th, 2005. The Department of History & Classics at Acadia University will host the event.

  • Fall Conference of Women's History Network of British Columbia
    The Women's History Network of British Columbia (WHN) will be holding its annual conference September 30th to October 1st, 2005 in Burnaby, B.C. Sessions will be at the Burnaby Village Museum. For complete conference information check the WHN website at www.members.shaw.ca/whnbc.

    The theme of the gathering is "Saints and Sinners: Unruly and Respectable Women in British Columbia's History". Proposals for conference papers should be sent by July 29th to:
    Linda Quiney
    1937 West 14th Ave.
    Vancouver, BC V6J 2K1

  • Nurse
    Nurse Deborah Hurcomb, ca. 1900
    (Pittaway/Library and Archives Canada/PA-057339)
    Conference on History of Canadian Nursing
    The Hannah Conference on the History of Canadian Nursing will be held at the University of Ottawa, June 15-16, 2005. Speakers will include internationally-recognized researchers in the field of Canadian nursing. Participants will have free admission to a new exhibit on nursing at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

  • Annual Meeting re Women's History
    The Canadian Committee on Women's History will be holding its annual meeting on May 30th, 2005. The gathering will be in London, Ontario in conjunction with meetings of the Canadian Historical Association. The CCWH, which promotes teaching and research related to women's history, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Events on May 30th will include sessions on Race and Gender in the Making of the Canadian Historical Profession, Great Books in Women's History, Reflections: 30 Years of the Canadian Committee on Women's History, and an evening reception.

  • Women in Politics
    Young women in Grade 11 & 12 are invited to attend a free seminar on women in politics. Hosted by Marlene Catterall, MP for Ottawa West-Nepean, the seminar will be held in Ottawa on Friday, May 13, 2005 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.

  • Women in Public History
    The fall conference of the Ontario Women's History Network will be held in Ottawa on October 21 and October 22, 2005. The theme is Women in Public History, and the conference will highlight Centuries of Canadian Nursing--a new exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civilzation. For more info contact:
    Katy Whitfield, OWHN Secretary

  • A National Conference on Teaching, Learning & Communicating the History of Canada
    This conference will not focus on women's history, though topics to be addressed include Women and Canadian History. The conference theme is New Frontiers in our History: 100 Years of Alberta and Saskatchewan in Confederation.

    The biennial national conference re teaching and communicating the history of Canada will be held October 28-30, 2005 in Edmonton, Alberta. Organized by the Association of Canadian Studies, the conference will be at the Westin Hotel and Conference Centre. Partners include Edmonton Public Schools, Canada's National History Society, Historica, Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian Century Research Infrastructure. There will be over 50 sessions, excursions and events as well as a Learning Exhibiton. For more information consult the Association of Canadian Studies website or contact the ACS:
    (514) 925-3097

  • National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
    December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. People across the country will be remembering the tragic day when fourteen young women were murdered in Montreal. The killings took place on December 6, 1989 at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. For more info on the commemoration and violence against women in Canada, check out the Status of Women Canada website.

Latest News in 2005
  • Cindy Klassen Wins Rosenfeld Award
    In December 2005 Canadian speed skater Cindy Klassen was named Canada's top female athlete for 2005, winning the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award. Rosenfeld was one of the most incredible woman athlete in Canadian history and earned the title of female athlete of the half-century back in 1950.

    Cindy Klassen, age 26, grew up in Winnipeg. She began her career in sports as a hockey player. After taking up long-track speed skating at university, the talented young woman became one of the best speed skaters in the world. During 2005 Cindy won eight World Cup medals and also managed to set four world records.

  • Victim of Bear Attach Dies
    Author Patricia Van Tighem died in Kelowna on December 14, 2005 at the age of 47. Her death ended more than two decades of chronic pain and recurring nightmares following an attack by a grizzly bear.

    In 1983 she and her husband Trevor Janz were severely mauled while hiking in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. As a result of the bear attack, Patrica lost an eye and was permanently disfigured. She endured dozens of failed surgeries in the following years and suffered from depression for the remainder of her life. To help her deal with the trauma of the bear attack and its enduring effects, Patricia wrote the moving book The Bear's Embrace. She raised four children, completed her degree in nursing, and established the Calgary branch of an organization called About Face. But Patricia Van Tighem was never able to fully recover from her ordeal.

  • 2006 as Year of the War Bride?
    On December 15, 2005 the province of New Brunswick declared 2006 as the Year of the War Bride. The motion was passed unanimously in the legislature, after being introduced by T.J. Burke (Frederiction North). Mr. Burke's grandmother was a war bride. The motion noted that one in thirty Canadians are descended from a war bride. The year 2006 marks the 60th anniversary of the year that the majority of war brides arrived in Canada at Pier 21 in Halifax. Some people would like the federal government to declare 2006 as the Year of the War Bride.

    More about Canadian war brides

  • New Television Series about Canadian Women
    Aina Wilen
    Aina Wilen, a Finnish Canadian who fought for the franchise, shown with her family (mothertongue.ca)
    A 13-episode television series about notable women from many different ethnic communities in Canada is being launched in the fall of 2005. The programs were directed, written and produced by journalist Susan Poizner.

    Each episode in the series tells the story of an interesting woman in Canada. The tlevision programs depict women in Canadian history who were part of a variety of communities across the country: Acadian, Japanese, African Canadian, Algonquian/Eastern Woodlands, Chinese, Doukobor, Finn, Italian, Jewish, Muslim, Rwandan, Ukranian and Vietnamese. The programs begin airing in early September, and copies can be purchased from Marlin Motion Pictures Ltd. for classroom use.

    More about the series, including broadcast times:

  • Celebrating Canadian Nurses
    Canadian nurse in South Africa, c.1900 (Library and Archives Canada/C-028733)
    A major exhibit and a new book have been developed to celebrate the history of Canadian nurses. On June 17, 2005 the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec opened an exhibition called A Caring Profession: Centuries of Nursing in Canada -- advertised as the first national exhibit on Canadian nursing. Museum curator Christina Bates worked on the nursing exhibit for about five years, incorporating many artifacts from the Canadian Nursing Association. The exhibition includes videos, games, historical photographs and items such as uniforms and stethoscopes. Visitors can explore this display until September 4, 2006.

    The recently released book about the history of Canadian nursing is called On All Frontiers: Four Centuries of Canadian Nursing. This impressive publication looks at Canadian nursing from the seventeenth century until the present. Illustrated with more than a hundred photographs, the book was edited by Christina Bates, Dianne Dodd and Nicole Rousseau.

    More about Canadian nursing history from:
    Photographs: Canadian Nurses, online resource from Library and Archives Canada
    A Caring Profession, exhibit information
    Canadian Nursing History Collection, an online resource featuring artifacts
    On All Frontiers: Four Centuries of Canadian Nursing, book info from amazon.ca
    Symbol of a Profession: One Hundred Years of Nurses' Caps, online resource from Canadian Museum of Civilization

  • Mina Hubbard Centennial
    The year 2005 marks the centennial of Mina Hubbard's amazing trek across Labrador, in a famous race to complete a trip attempted by her husband. A variety of special events are planned to celebrate Mina's incredible journey through what was at the time uncharted territory.

    More from:
    Mina Hubbard Centennial

  • Canadian Climber Makes History
    On May 30, 2005 Shaunna Burke of Ottawa became the second woman in Canadian history to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. The first Candian woman to reach the top was Sharon Wood.

    Last year Ms. Burke, a 29-year-old graduate student, made an unsuccessful attempt to climb Everest. She returned this year with a climbing team that suffered a number of tragic events. One of her former professors, Sean Egan, died on Everest this spring, and Ms. Burke's climbing partner, Ben Webster, had to return home after breaking his leg. Following weeks of stormy weather, Shaunna continued up the south side of Mt. Everest.

    More from:
    Article from Tabaret, University of Ottawa, Fall 2004
    Images of Expedition 2005, from Algonquin College

  • Acclaimed Canadian Author Dies
    Award-winning writer Christina McCall passed away on April 27, 2005 at the age of 70. A recipient of the Governor General's Award for her book Grits: An Intimate Portrait of the Liberal Party, Christina McCall penned articles for The Globe and Mail, Saturday Night and Maclean's as well as authoring books. She was a talented researcher, editor and writer.

  • Procession for Canada's First Female Saint
    Marguerite Bourgeoys
    Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, 1700 (Portrait by Pierre Le Ber, copyright expired)
    On Sunday, April 24, 2005, about a thousand people paraded through the streets of Old Montreal as the remains of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys were carried to what one can hope will be a final resting place.

    Marguerite Bourgeoys arrived in New France back in 1653, and created Canada's first religious community. Her remains have been moved a number of times, and have now been carried to the foundation of the church she established centuries ago. More from CBC News.

  • Time Magazine Honours Canadian Woman
    Time Magazine has selected Canadian author Alice Munro as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. The April 18th edition of the publication (released on April 11, 2005) lists the acclaimed short-story writer along with such famous folks such as U.S. President George Bush, Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko, the Dalai Lama, and the multi-talented Oprah Winfrey. Born in Ontario, Alice Munro is widely known for collections such as Open Secrets and Lives of Girls and Women. She is the recipient of both the Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Awards.

  • Mt. Everest
    Mt. Everest (Courtesy of NASA)
    Ottawa Climber Aims for Seven Peaks
    Canadian mountaineer Peggy Foster has already climbed the highest peaks on six continents, and has set her sights on the seventh: Everest, the highest mountain in the world.

    Many of the world's best climbers are eager to scale the highest peaks on all seven continents, and Peggy is getting close to her goal. The 45-year-old climber tried to reach Mount Everest once before but was forced back when her oxygen mask malfunctioned. If Peggy makes the summit of Everest in the spring of 2005, she will become the first woman in Canadian history to reach the Seven Summits. Learn more about Peggy Foster on her website The Seven Summits Odyssey. Hear Peggy talk about her quest in a CBC radio interview from 2001.

    Back in 1986, Canadian climber Sharon Wood became the first woman from North America to climb Mt. Everest.

  • Clarkson to Award Trophy to Women's Hockey Champs
    The famous Stanley Camp won't be presented to men's hockey champions this year, but Governor General Adrienne Clarkson plans to present a trophy to a female hockey team. Way to go Adrienne! It's not clear yet just which teams will compete for the trophy, but Clarkson's plan should help promote Canadian women who excel in the sport of hockey. More from CBC Sports in a story from March 11, 2005.

  • Alanis album
    Alanis and Fay Wray to be Honoured
    Singer Alanis Morissette, who recently obtained U.S. citizenship, and deceased actress Fay Wray will soon be recognized on Canada's Walk of Fame. The two women, as well as seven men, will be honoured in the Annual Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony on June 5th. Comedian Tom Green announced the 2005 Inductees on March 9, 2005. More about Canada's Walk of Fame, which celebrates the achievements of outstanding Canadians.

  • Play about Charlotte Whitton Opens in Winnipeg
    On February 24, 2005 a new play about former Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton opened in Winnipeg at the Prairie Theatre Exchange. The play Molly's Veil provides a look into Charlotte's secret life, and her close involvement with a woman called Margaret Grier. Playwright Sharon Bajer created Molly's Veil after studying correspondence between the women, which is preserved at the National Archives.

    Charlotte Whitton become mayor of Ottawa in 1951. She is famous for an oft-quoted phrase: "Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought of half so good...luckily it's not too difficult." . More about Dr. Whitton's career from the CBC Archives, where you can listen to an interesting radio clip.

  • art
    Writing Contest for Young Canadians
    To celebrate the release of the new book 100 Canadian Heroines, Dundurn Press is inviting young Canadians to make a case for their favourite heroine in Canadian history, and win some great prizes. Participants must be 12-16 years of age. Be sure to check out all the contest details and download a cool poster. The contest closes April 30, 2005.

  • Two Canadian Women on Podium in Italy
    On January 8, 2005, two Canadian skiers captured medals in the World Cup competitions in Santa Caterina, Italy. Allison Forsyth from Canmore, Alberta won a bronze in the women's giant slalom, while her teammate Genevieve Simard from Val-Morin, Quebec earned a silver. What a team!

  • Death of the Queen of Hugs
    Lois Hole
    Lois Hole (Government of Alta.)
    The Honourable Dr. Lois E. Hole, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, died of cancer on January 6, 2005 following a lengthy illness. An extraordinary women, Ms. Hole was a highly respected leader in the province of Alberta as well as a kind and caring individual widely known for the hugs she affectionately gave to those who needed them.

    Born in Saskatchewan, Dr. Hole began farming along the Sturgeon River in St. Albert about fifty years ago with her husband Ted. Her many accomplishments included mother and wife, businesswoman, school trusteee, author, and chancellor of the University of Alberta. On February 10th, 2000, she became Alberta's 15th Lieutenant Governor. More


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