Jeanne Mathilde Sauvé

June 30th, 2021

Jeanne Mathilde Sauvé Historical Trailblazers Jeanne Sauvé was a journalist, politician, and stateswoman whose extraordinary career has been revered by firsts – first female Cabinet member from Quebec, first woman elected as Speaker of the House of Commons, and first woman to serve as Governor General. Ms. Sauvé’s interest in politics began as a young adult. While working for the government of Canada as a translator to pay for tuition, she studied […]

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Jean E. Pigott

June 30th, 2021

Jean E. Pigott Historical Trailblazers Jean E. Pigott, a proud Ottawan and Canadian, was an extraordinary businesswoman who played a leadership role in the development of Canada’s capital. Ms. Pigott was a family descendent of five generations who called Ottawa their home. As a pioneer female leader in both business and politics, she was one of a handful of female Chief Executive Officers within Canada in the early 1970’s and […]

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Flora MacDonald

June 30th, 2021

Flora MacDonald Historical Trailblazers Flora MacDonald was a Canadian politician and trailblazer who helped break down barriers for women seeking high office in Canada. As a young adult working as a bank teller, Ms. MacDonald saved enough money to travel to Europe in 1950. While abroad, she travelled across England and Scotland and hitchhiked through other European countries, bearing witness to the effects of the last war. In England, she […]

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Pauline Jewett

June 30th, 2021

Pauline Jewett Historical Trailblazers Pauline Jewett, an academic, politician and social activist, was the first woman to be president of a major Canadian university. Her passion for social justice and disdain for discrimination fueled her advocacy for social equity, women, and aboriginal persons. Ms. Jewett was born and raised in St. Catharine’s, Ontario where she attained her primary and secondary education. She later received a BA in politics and philosophy, […]

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Naomi Jackson Groves

June 30th, 2021

Naomi Jackson Groves Historical Trailblazers A leading art historian, patron, artist, teacher and writer, Naomi Jackson Groves’ passion for linguistics and art have benefited all Canadians, as have her generous gifts of art and documents to various institutions. Naomi Groves was born in Montreal in 1910 and studied at the Art Association of Montreal during high school. The niece of renowned Canadian artist A. Y. Jackson, she was raised amidst […]

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Lotta Hitschmanova

June 30th, 2021

Lotta Hitschmanova Historical Trailblazers Lotta Hitschmanova was a Canadian humanitarian who helped found the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada (USC), now called SeedChange. Each year, she travelled to war-torn and impoverished towns and villages worldwide, offering Canadian support to recover from war, disease, drought, and poverty. Ms. Hitschmanova was born in Prague, Bohemia (now Czech Republic), and attended Stephans Gymnasium, a coeducational high school, where she graduated with honours. In 1929, she enrolled in the school of […]

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Sylva M. Gelber

June 30th, 2021

Sylva M. Gelber Historical Trailblazers Sylva M. Gelber served Canada most notably as Director of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labour and as a Canadian representative on the UN Commission for the Status of Women. She was a strong advocate for women’s rights and helped to introduce equal-pay legislation, maternity leave, and women’s pension benefits into Canadian society. Ms. Gelber was born in 1910 in Toronto, Ontario.  She […]

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Lillian Bilsky Freiman

June 30th, 2021

Lillian Bilsky Freiman Historical Trailblazers Fondly referred to as “The Poppy Lady”, Lillian Bilsky Freiman was a gifted organizer, administrator, and Jewish-Canadian philanthropist of national historic significance whose efforts helped improve the health and welfare of fellow citizens. Born in Mattawa, Ontario in 1885, Ms. Freiman’s benevolent role in Canadian society began at the outbreak of World War One with the creation of a sewing circle that became a Disraeli Chapter of […]

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Celia Franca

June 30th, 2021

Celia Franca Historical Trailblazers Celebrated as founder of the National Ballet of Canada, Celia Franca devoted her entire life to dance. Her passion created opportunities for Canadian dancers, along with managerial and support staff, while inspiring a new generation of future dancers in Ottawa and nationally. Born in 1921 in London, England to Jewish Polish immigrant parents, Celia Franca began studying ballet at the age of 4. She attended the […]

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Ellen Louks Fairclough

June 30th, 2021

Ellen Louks Fairclough Historical Trailblazers Ellen Louks Fairclough was a trailblazer and Canada’s first female Federal Cabinet Minister. Her contributions to policies related to immigration, pay equity, and women’s rights have greatly improved the opportunities for many Canadians. Ms. Fairclough was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1905. She was a chartered accountant by training and started her career as an entrepreneur of an accounting firm. She also served as a member of […]

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Olive Patricia Dickason

June 30th, 2021

Olive Patricia Dickason Historical Trailblazers Olive Patricia Dickason was a journalist, historian, university professor, and author whose ground-breaking research and books transformed Canadians’ perceptions and knowledge of Indigenous and Métis history. Ms. Dickason was born in 1920 and, as a child, she attended a private Catholic school in Winnipeg until the Great Depression brought about the family’s financial ruin that forced them to uproot and move to Manitoba’s Interlake region. Encouraged by […]

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Ruth Marion Bell

June 30th, 2021

Ruth Marion Bell Historical Trailblazers Dr. Ruth Bell was an educator, volunteer, and a champion for women’s and children’s rights who advocated for change through civic and political engagement. Born in Detroit in 1919, Ruth Bell immigrated to Canada in 1929. As a resolute scholar, Ms. Bell earned credits at seven universities on two continents, with a culmination of her BA in Political Economy from the University of Toronto’s Trinity […]

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Florence Bird

June 30th, 2021

Florence Bird Historical Trailblazers Florence Bird was a Canadian broadcaster, journalist and senator who is best remembered for her work on women’s rights, pay equity and improving the circumstances in women’s prisons. Born in 1908 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ms. Bird immigrated to Canada in 1931, settling in Montreal were she wrote for a political magazine, Canadian Forum. In 1937, she moved to Winnipeg and developed her journalistic skills by volunteering for the Winnipeg […]

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Marion Dewar

June 17th, 2021

Marion Dewar Historical Trailblazers Marion Dewar worked tirelessly to bring about not-for-profit housing, better public transportation, support and encouragement for the arts, peace, and women’s rights. She advocated for the equality of visible minorities, gays and lesbians, and was a driving force behind helping refugees. Ms. Dewar held many political offices including the 52nd Mayor of Ottawa (1978–1985), President of the federal New Democratic Party (1985–1987), and, as a Member […]

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