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Becoming famous can sometime evolve without notice due to a viewpoint or just luck. Sometimes it is earned in the political arena, sometimes it is earned for humanitarian actions, and sometimes it is earned for significant contributions to one’s country or even the world. Every country has citizens who have made these contributions, and Canada is no exception. Below you will find a list and resources about some of the most influential and famous women in Canadian history
List of Famous Canadian Woman Who Have Made a Difference
Henrietta Muir Edwards : Edwards became one of the Famous Five, a group of five Canadian women who, in 1927, forced the Supreme Court of Canada to answer the question, “Does the word ‘Persons’ in Section 24 of the British North America Act, 1867, include female persons?” Born in 1849, the tireless women’s rights activist also founded the National Council of Women and the Victorian Order of Nurses.
Adelaide Hoodless : Hoodless was a famous education reformer who was born on a farm in Ontario, Canada, on February 27, 1858. She married a man named John Hoodless and moved to Hamilton. When she gave birth to a son in 1889, the infant died from drinking impure milk. After his death, she devoted herself to helping new mothers become educated. She campaigned for the pasteurization of milk and became president of a branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association. She went on to help found the National Council of Women, the Victorian Order of Nurses, and the National Association of the YWCA. In February of 1897, she gave a speech that inspired the first Women’s Institute intended for the education of rural women.
Emma Lajeunesse Gye Albani born on November 1, 1847, Albani was a world-famous opera singer. She was the first Canadian singer to ever become famous internationally. While she started out performing in Montreal, her talent led her all over the world, including New York, Paris, Milan, and London. At 24, she was offered a contract at London’s prestigious Covenant Garden opera house.
Martha Louise Black Black was the second Canadian woman elected to the Canadian House of Commons. She married the Commissioner of the Yukonand was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her cultural and social contributions to the Yukon. In 1921, she took her husband’s place as a Member of Parliament when he became ill and could no longer serve.
Maude Elizabeth Abbott : Born on March 18, 1869, Abbott was one of Canada’s first women to graduate from medical school and she became a world expert on congenital heart disease. The great-grandchild of Canada’s third Prime Minister, she received her M.D. from Bishop’s University in 1894 where she was the only woman in her class. She helped found the Federation of Medical Women of Canada in 1924 and was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
Emily Carr : Carr was an expressionist painter born in 1871. Her paintings became famous in the 1920s when she met the Group of Seven, a famous group of Canadian painters. She is considered to be a Canadian icon thanks to her artwork, most of which revolved around Canadian aboriginal life.
Marguerite Bourgeoys : The founder of the Sisters of Congregation of Notre Dame, Bourgeoys was born in France in 1620. She was brought to Canada by the governor of Montreal, who happened to be looking for a new teacher in 1643. She initiated the construction of the great Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. After she died, she was declared venerable in 1878, beautified in 1950 and in 1982, she was canonized. She was commemorated in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, then buried in the sanctuary of the chapel she helped build.
Margaret Ridley Charlton : She was a medical librarian who was instrumental in the founding of the Association of Medical Librarians on May 2, 1898, which would later become known as the Medical Library Association. Born in 1858, her interest in libraries fueled her to become one of the first librarians in the McGill University Medical Library.
Marie Lacoste GÈrin-Lajoie : She was a Quebec feminist born in 1867. She founded an organization which campaigned for political rights for women, the FÈdÈration nationale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, and was known for standing up for social causes like fighting alcoholism and raising awareness of infant mortality.
Agnes Campbell Macphail : Macphail was the first woman ever elected to the Canadian House of Commons as well as one of the first two elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Born in 1890, she even became president of the Ontario CCF in 1932. She pushed for causes like prison reform and senior worker’s rights.
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