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Hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, Reuters Photo.
.Latest News
News Archives 2008

Upcoming in 2008
  • Spring Conference of Ontario Women's History Network
    Lisa Helps from the University of Toronto advises that the spring conference of the Ontario Women's History Network will be held May 2-3, at the University of Waterloo. Speakers include the following:

    Patricia Staton, author, publisher of Green Dragon Press and OWHN treasurer
    Topic: OWHN: Past, Present, and Future

    Dr. Cynthia Comacchio, Wilfrid Laurier University, author of The Dominion of Youth; Adolescence and the Making of Modern Canada, 1920-1950
    Topic: Thoroughly Modern Millies: Adolescent Girls in Canada, 1920-50

    Panel 1: Recent Trends in Women’s History
    Dr. Sharon Cook, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa
    Dr. Ruth Sandwell, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

    Panel 2: Researching and Teaching Women’s History
    Dr. Jane Errington, Royal Military College and Queen’s University, OWHN President
    Lisa Faden, PhD candidate, University of Western Ontario
    Rose Fine, Humberside Collegiate Institute, Toronto (2007 recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History)
    Leslie Thomas-Smith, archivist, University of Western Ontario

  • Meeting of Canadian Committee on Women's History in June
    The Canadian Committee on Women's History will be holding its annual meeting at the upcoming Canadian Historical Association conference. This year members of the CHA will gather in Vancouver, British Columbia June 1-4.

  • Conference at L.M. Montgomery Institute
    The L.M. Montgomery Institute is organizing a conference to be held in June 2008 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The theme of the gathering is Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, and the Idea of "Classic".

  • BC Conference on Women and the Law
    The Women's History Network of British Columbia will be holding its annual conference in Victoria, British Columbia this fall on October 3-4. The theme of the 2008 conference is "Historical Perspectives on Women and the Law". The organization was created to celebrate the contributions that women have made to the province of BC. New members are welcome! More info on the conference and the Women's History Network of British Columbia.

    The program includes the following:

    Opening presentation and reception, Friday, October 3, 7:30 pm at the Friends Meeting House, 1831 Fern St. Victoria, BC

    James Burnham Sedgwick, "The Sin of Silence: The Invisibility of Women at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, 1946-1948"

    Saturday's sessions, October 4, are at the Maritime Museum of B.C., 28 Bastion Square, Victoria, BC, 8:40 - 4 pm.

    Presenters: Susan C. Boyd, Judy Fudge, Jamie Lee Hamilton, Kristine S. Knaplund, Hester Lessard, Ireh Iyioha, Karen Pearlston, Becki Ross, Bonnie Schmidt, James Burnham Sedgwick, Rachael Sullivan.


    Probate Records, Patents, and Separation Agreements: Negotiating Real and Intellectual Property Rights

    Women and the Law: Images, Perceptions, and Realities

    The Neo-Colonial Rule of Unruly Subjects: The Expulsion of Sex Workers from Vancouver's West End, 1975-1985

  • Women's History Month Presentation
    "Her Daughter the Engineer" the Life of Elsie Gregory MacGill
    Presentation by biographer Dick Bourgeois-Doyle
    7:00 PM Thursday October 9, 2008
    Ottawa Public Library
    Main Library Auditorium
    120 Metcalfe Street Ottawa

  • Women's History Month Presentation
    Elsie Gregory MacGill and the Maple Leaf Trainer II
    Presentation by biographer Dick Bourgeois-Doyle
    Canadian Aviation Historical Society - Toronto
    1:00 PM Saturday October 18, 2008
    Toronto Aerospace Museum
    65 Carl Hall Road , Downsview Park

  • Celebrating Women's History Month in BC
    Lyn Gough has sent us the following list of upcoming events in Victoria, British Columbia. Thanks Lyn!

    October 5, 2008: The Old Cemeteries Society presents its annual "Emily Carr Tour" at Ross Bay Cemetery with stories of people associated with Emily. Old Cemetery Society Tours are Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. Meet in front of Starbucks Coffee at Fairfield Plaza, 1516 Fairfield Rd. $5 for non-members, $2 for members. Info:250-598-8870. Old Cemetery Society

    October 12, 2008: The Old Cemeteries Society presents Yvonne Van Ruskenveld's popular "Women's History Tour" at Ross Bay, featuring new stories about BC's amazing & inspiring women.

    October 15, 2008: West Coast LEAF holds its annual fund-raising breakfast featuring Beverley Jacobs, President of the Native Women's Association of Canada. Details to come, or phone toll-free number at 1-866-737-7716.

    October 23, 2008: Victoria Historical Society presents authors Debbie Marchand & Linda Picciotto speaking about "South Park School: Memories through the Decades". Agnes Deans Cameron was its first principal and the first woman school principal in BC. Jame Bay New Horizons, 24 Menzies, 1516 Fairfield Rd.,7:30 p.m., public welcome. Info: wl545@shaw.ca.

  • Celebrating Women's History Month in BC

    October 23, 2008: Victoria Historical Society presents authors Debbie Marchand & Linda Picciotto speaking about "South Park School: Memories through the Decades". Agnes Deans Cameron was its first principal and the first woman school principal in BC. Jame Bay New Horizons, 24 Menzies, 1516 Fairfield Rd., Victoria, BC at 7:30 p.m., public welcome. Info: wl545@shaw.ca.

  • You're Invited: Annual Persons Day Gathering on the Hill

    Persons Monument Parliament Hill Ottawa
    Friday October 24th, 2008
    11:30 am to 1:00 pm

    Persons Monument
    Women are Persons! Monument in Ottawa.
    (Copyright M. Forster)
    To celebrate Person's Day join the Ottawa Council of Women on the “Hill” for a cup of tea with the Famous Five on Friday October 24th, 2008 between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm.

    To mark the occasion the recipients of the Human Rights in Action Awards presented by the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies - Hon. Louise Arbour, Gayle Horii, Margaret McGee and Dr. Patricia Montour, and the Board of Directors of the Society - have been invited as special guests of the Council. Ms. McGee is a Past President of the National Council of Women of Canada.

    In 1918 the Women’s Franchise Act gave the federal vote to women in Canada on the same basis as men. In 1919 it became possible for women to be elected to the House of Commons. Women who had sought the vote continued to challenge the government to appoint women to the Senate, a step the government claimed they could not take. Women after all were not considered persons. Using tea parties - and existing mechanisms and systems women made their voices heard. In 1929, the five women, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Emily Murphy and Irene Parlby succeeded in having the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of England rule in their favour. Persons Day commemorates this momentous event.

    We are reminded that “women’s rights are human rights”. And like in years gone by, equality seeking women today still need to join efforts and perhaps sometimes also raise a cup together for substantive women’s equality and social justice.

    Invitation issued by:
    Monica Cullum
    Status of Women Chair
    Ottawa Council of Women

    Edeltraud Neal
    Ottawa Council of Women

  • Famous Five Luncheon in Ottawa

    An announcement from Famous Five Ottawa:

    Join us for the Enbridge Famous 5 Ottawa Committee Luncheon and be inspired to become Nation Builders in the legacy of the Famous 5. The November 6th event will honour the recipients of the 2008 Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case.

    The luncheon will bring together the women being recognized this year for a panel discussion moderated by Catherine Clark. The recipients will be honoured the next day at a ceremony at Rideau Hall.

    The Famous 5 - Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards, and Irene Parlby – opened the doors of the Senate of Canada to women through their efforts known today as the Persons Case.

    - *Date*: Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008
    - *Time*: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
    - *Location*: Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ballroom
    - *Tickets*: $55 each, $500 for a table of 8
    To register: www.famous5ottawa.ca

    Contact: joanne@jmaeventplanning.com, Famous5.Ottawa@gmail.com, or Joanne McDonald 613-271-2713.

  • Women's Bodies in a Public History Context

    The Canadian Association for Women's Public History (CAWPH) will hold a conference at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec on November 7-8, 2008. The topic this year is Women's Bodies in a Public History Context. Advance registration is required. For more information, please email cawph.achpf@gmail.com or see the blog http://cawph.wordpress.com.

Latest News in 2008
  • Write a Letter to Anne of Green Gables?
    In February 2008 a new contest was launched to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of Lucy Maud Montgomery's most popular novel: Anne of Green Gables. Canada Post, Penguin Group, Tourism PEI, and Canwest Raise-a-Reader are sponsoring the contest.

    Participants are invited to write a letter to the novel's main character, Anne Shirley, and tell her what she means to them. Letters must be no longer than 500 words, and will be judged on grammar, spelling and orignality of the content. The winners in each age category will win $2,500 for a trip to Prince Edward Island, tickets to see the Anne of Green Gables musical., and three anniversary books.

    You can obtain more information about the contest and entry forms at Amazon.ca, CanadaPost.com, Overwaitea, Shoppers Drug Mart and some Indigo stores. The contest closes April 30, 2008.

  • A Prequel for Anne of Green Gables Released

    Anne of Green Gables
    Ever wondered about the details of Anne's life before she came to Green Gables? The story of the earliest days of the popular fictional heroine Anne Shirley (created by Lucy Maud Montgomery) has been written by Budget Wilson.

    Wilson is an author of children's books and lives in Nova Scotia. She was contracted to do this new book after an editor at Penguin came up with the idea. The publication, called Before Green Gables, was released in 2008 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the creation of the beloved Anne of Green Gables. Many centennial tributes are underway to recognize Lucy Maud Montgomery and the red-haired heroine she created.

  • Canadian Women Artists History Initiative

    Concordia University has initiated a wonderful new research project focusing on the work of female artists in Canada. The initiative will involve scholars researching art created by women before 1967. An inaugural conference will be held in October 2008. Be sure to check out the project website for more information about what's happening, and the resources already available. Thanks to Dr. Kristina Huneault for sharing the news about this project!

    Canadian Women Artists History Initiative website

  • Chantal Petitclerc Named Female Athlete of the Year

    On December 26, 2008 The Canadian Press named Chantal Petitclerc Female Athlete of the Year. The award was created back in 1933, when it was named after Bobbie Rosenfeld - selected in 1950 as Canada's female athlete of the first half of the century. Chantal Peticlerc is the first Paralympian to receive the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award. The accomplished wheelchair athlete won a total of 21 medals in the five Parlaympic Games she participated in. Read more about Chantal Petitclerc in our Biographies section. Learn more about Fannie Rosenfeld in our feature about The 1928 Amsterdam Olympics or read about her in the book 100 Canadian Heroines.

  • 2008 Awards for Persons Case

    The following is a media release issued on November 4, 2008 by the Status of Women Canada:

    2008 Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case Announced

    OTTAWA - In recognition of Persons Day 2008, the Honourable Helena Guergis, newly appointed Minister of State (Status of Women), is pleased to announce the recipients of this year's Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case. The Awards, which honour individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of women in Canada, will be presented at Rideau Hall on November 7, 2008.

    "Like the Famous Five, each one of these individuals has helped strengthen the fabric of Canadian society. Each in a unique way has served as a role model and opened doors for others to follow," said Minister Guergis. "The Government of Canada is pleased to recognize those extraordinary Canadians who work tirelessly towards the full participation of women in the social, economic and democratic life of Canada."

    The following six individuals are the 2008 recipients of the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case:

    Shelagh Day, of Vancouver, British Columbia, is an international authority on women's human rights and the founding President of LEAF (Women's Legal Education and Action Fund).

    Frances Ennis, of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, is a social activist, educator, author and rug-hooking artist who has devoted her life to advancing equality for women.

    Beverley Jacobs, of Ohsweken, Ontario, is an inspired leader and devoted advocate for equal opportunity and human rights for Aboriginal women and girls.

    Maureen McTeer
    Maureen A. McTeer, of Ottawa, Ontario, is a lawyer, author and expert on issues of women's rights and health and those of law, science and public policy.

    Mair Verthuy, of Montréal, Quebec, is a researcher, activist and distinguished academic who co-founded Concordia University's Simone de Beauvoir Institute, home of Canada's first women's studies program.

    Youth Award recipient Ben Barry, of Ottawa, Ontario, is an international modeling consultant, women's health advocate and author of the Canadian bestseller Fashioning Reality.

    The Persons Case is a significant historical landmark in the fight for equality by Canadian women. In 1929, five Canadian women - Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Nellie McClung, who became known as The Famous Five - fought and won the right for women to be recognized as persons and thus eligible to sit in the Senate. The Government of Canada established the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case, in 1979, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Persons Case decision and to salute contributions to the advancement of women.

    An official call for nominations for the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case is made every spring. Nomination forms and brochures outlining selection criteria are always available on Status of Women Canada's web site. Nominations may be submitted at any time and will be considered at the annual Selection Committee meeting, held in late summer.

  • National Council of Women of Canada Celebrates 115 Years of Service

    The following is a media release from the NCWC:

    On October 27,1893, at a public meeting in Toronto, over 1,500 women joined forces to form the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC), knowing that by working together and speaking with a united voice, they would be much more effective. Looking back over the last 115 years, NCWC has played a pivotal role in advancing the status of women in Canada. In the 1990’s, the Government of Canada recognized NCWC as having National Historic Significance, and in 2005 Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada formally unveiled a plaque to this effect in Allan Park in Toronto, site of that first NCWC meeting.

    National Council Women
    National Council of Women, Ottawa, 1898
    (Library and Archives Canada/PA-028033)

    One hundred and fifteen years later, our mission continues to be:“To empower all women to work together towards improving the quality of life for women, families, and society through a forum of member organizations and individuals”.

    Today NCWC represents many thousands of Canadian women from extremely diverse backgrounds, through our membership which consists of 17 Local Councils, 24 Nationally Organized Societies, and 5 Provincial Councils. Some of the issues that we are currently focusing on include: advocating for a National Water Strategy and a National Energy Strategy; reform of the Employment Insurance system; and the need to maintain and strengthen one-tier universal health care.

    "This is a pivotal time in history for women in our country," said President Karen Dempsey. "There is still much more work to be done, and most importantly, we have to be vigilant to ensure that what we have accomplished is not "undone.”

    To commemorate this historic occasion, we have launched the NCWC Firm the Foundation Fund. Monies raised will enable the Council to continue their efforts on behalf of women, families, and society. For information, please call 1-613-232-5025, email ncwc@magma.ca, and visit our website at www.ncwc.ca.

  • Seeking Autobiographies of Canadian Feminists

    Marguerite Anderson would appreciate your input for an exciting new project:

    Call for Submissions - Autobiographies
    Feminisms in Canada 1960-2010

    My name is Marguerite Andersen; I am writing to you as a member of a working group of women who are planning to tell the stories of the second wave feminist movement in Canada in a series of books to be published in coming years. The diversity of feminism, including the complexities of gender, race, class, geography, culture, dis/ability, language, sexual identity, and age are central to the project.

    This group of about thirty met for the first time in February 2008 at the University of Ottawa. At the meeting, we created a Working Committee on Second Wave History with members Beth Atcheson (Lawyer, Toronto), Constance Backhouse ( Professor of Law and University Research Chair, University of Ottawa), Francine Descarries (Professor of Sociology and l’Institut de recherché et d’études féministes, l’Université du Québec à Montréal), Sylvia D. Hamilton (Filmmaker, University of King’s College, Halifax) and Tracey Lindberg (Associate Professor of Law, University of Ottawa).

    I have volunteered to help gather and edit autobiographical texts for a book in English that we hope to publish in 2010. I would like to ask you whether you would consider writing an autobiographical text of 750-1200 words which would tell readers how you came to feminism. Here are some questions which may help you in making your decision:

    * What prompted you to begin living and working as a feminist?
    * Was there a precise turning point in your life?
    * Who inspired you?
    * What joyous, painful, funny or other experiences did you have?
    * What transformations took place?
    * What new skills did you acquire?
    * How were people around you reacting to your new self?

    Submissions should be sent to:
    marguerite.andersen@sympatico.ca . You may reach me at (416) 361-5070 for further information.

  • Acclaimed CBC Producer Dies

    Vancouver-born broadcaster Joane Humphrey, known as J.J. McColl throughout her career, died on September 23, 2008 in White Rock, British Columbia. Read more about the acclaimed playright Joane Humphrey in our Biographies section.

  • Marion Dewar Dies at 80

    Marion Dewar, Oxfam photo
    Former Ottawa mayor Marion Dewar died in Toronto of September 15, 2008 after a fall. She was eighty years old.

    Dewar served as mayor of the city of Ottawa from 1978 to 1985. Trained as a nurse, she became a fearless social activist. Dewar sat in the House of Commons as a MP representing the NDP, the party for which she also was president for a few years in the 1980s. Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent remembered her fondly as a "happy warrior".

    Article from CBCnews.ca.
    Article from the National Union of Public and General Employees.

  • Tuidsmuir History Books Need Home

    Jane Kirouac of the Tuidsmuir History Committee Woodburn Women's Institute would appreciate your suggestions:
    "I am a member of the Women's Institute. And I was horrified to find out that we do not have a permanent place for all our Tuidsmuir history books. We are talking about books with local rural histories across Canada! These women have made history over the years. Who do you think had the Government paint a white line on all roads? Packaged bread? Pasteurised milk?The list goes on and on yet we do not have a place to keep these local histories without losing control of our books! These history books are kept in some local libraries but mostly in some ones home!!! We are talking about a major part of Canadian Women"s Local histories. Can you help or tell me where I could go to find help with this wonderful part of our history?"

    If you have any recommendations for Jane please contact mail@heroines.ca.

  • New Book re Women's Institutes

    The British Columbia Women's Institute has produced a commemorative history in anticipation of its 100th Anniversary in 2009: "100 years of the BC Women's Institute. Info is available from Jean Johnson: granby@shaw.ca

  • Acadian Author Honoured

    Antonine Maillet
    Antonine Maillet (Communications New Brunswick)
    Acadian author Antonine Maillet was honoured in Moncton, New Brunswick on August 29, 2008. The celebrated writer launched her latest book, Le mystérieux voyage de Rien, and scholars from many countries recognized her contribution to Canadian literature. During her 50-year career the author has published 40 books.

  • Last Female WWI Veteran

    On Friday, August 29th, 2008, a funeral was held in Abbotsford, BC for Gladys Powers. Powers was believed to be the last female WWI veteran, and died on August 14th at the age of 109.

    Born in England in 1899, she enlisted in Britain. In her memoirs Powers indicated she served in the British Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and also the British Women's Royal Air Force (in which she worked as a barracks waitress). After the war she emigrated to Canada with her husband, a Canadian solider named Ed Luxford, and became a Canadian citizen. She found their Calgary home too cold, so in 1925 the pair walked a thousand kilometres along the RR tracks to Vancouver so they could settle on the coast. Following her divorce from Ed, Gladys married three more times. But she outlived all three husbands. During the last years of her life Gladys Powers lived in a rest home in Abbotsford.

  • Empress Hotel Awaits Emily Carr Statue

    Empress Hotel site dedication
    Barbara Paterson with Roger Soane. (Copyright M. Forster)
    On August 19, 2008 the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria hosted a special event to officially launch fundraising for a statue of the Canadian icon Emily Carr. General Manager Roger Soane announced that the completed statue to be sculpted by artist Barbara Paterson will be erected on the grounds of the famous hotel (where there is now a circular flower bed), only a few blocks from where Carr lived and painted for much of her life. The commitment from the Fairmont Empress Hotel is a major development in the project, with the Empress now a founding partner.

    Peter Baillie, Barbara Paterson
    Peter Baillie and sculptor Barbara Paterson. (Copyright M. Forster)
    Victoria's Times Colonist newspaper is a partner in the initiative as well, and Peter Baillie, VP for Advertising Sales and Marketing, participated in the ceremony. The Times Colonist will be playing a major role in promoting the project, and on August 20th published a full-page colour ad to encourage donations to the statue fund, so that "one of Canada's best-know and well-loved artists" will be commemorated with a public monument.

    Empress Hotel site dedication
    Site dedication ceremony:L-R Peter Baillie, Barbara Paterson, Roger Soane, Ann Geddes at the spot where the statue will be erected. (Copyright M. Forster)
    An enthusiastic group of supporters gathered to dedicate the site. Ann Geddes, President of the Parks and Recreation Foundation of Victoria which is leading the fundraising campaign, welcomed the guests and provided an update on the project. The special guest of honour was Barbara Paterson, the talented artist who will create the sculpture of "Our Emily". Her original sketch of the statue of Emily Carr was presented to Roger Soane in recognition of the generous support of the Fairmont Empress. Peter Baillie accepted a signed maquette photo on behalf of the Times Colonist, and Victoria author Ann-Lee Switzer donated proceeds from her new book This and That to the statue project. Also on hand to show their support were Denise Savoie, MP for Victoria, MLA Ida Chong, and Victoria Councilor Charlene Thornton-Joe who represented the City of Victoria.

    More information about the project, and how to make a donation. Donation form, which requires Acrobat Reader to download.

  • Celebrating Arrival of Sisters of St. Ann

    Marie Anne Blondin, Foundress
    From June 5-8. 2008 the city of Victoria celebrated the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of St. Ann in Fort Victoria. Festivities included a historical re-enactment of the arrival of the first four sisters of the order back in 1858, a special mass at St. Andrew's Cathedral, a guided walking tour and special archival displays. The Victoria Symphony performed at St. Ann's Academy, where a gala dinner was held. The Right Honourable Kim Campbell, a former student at the school, was the keynote speaker at this event.

    Iinformation about the history of St. Ann's Academy, and the foundress Marie Anne Blondin (show above).

  • Third Edition of 100 Canadian Heroines Released

    100 Canadian Heroines
    A third edition of the popular title 100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces was released by The Dundurn Group (Toronto) in mid February 2008. Written by Canadian historian Merna Forster, the book features lively accounts of a hundred great Canadian women along with wonderful images and quotes for each.

    The publication has received very favourable reviews from a wide variety of sources. The Vancouver Public Library wrote, "Seeking inspiration? You will find it in the remarkable lives, achievements, and 100% Canadian content in this collection of fascinating biographies." Femininst Penni Mitchell noted, "A book of encyclopedic biographical references, Heroines is fresh and informative, even to the seasoned feminist reader. I'd never heard of half of these women before--what a shame! This is a book of rich achievements, but more, it is a storytelling book about great characters."

    More information, reviews and how to order.


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