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  • People

  • Marie-Anne Lagimodière, née Gaboury

    by Frances Rooney | Feb 16, 2009

    Just in time for Manitoba’s Louis Riel Day, a new biography explores his grandmother’s life and significance. Author Maggie Siggins writes, “It’s been said that in Marie-Anne’s latter years she and her favourite grandchild, Louis Riel, were very close. No wonder. They were kindred spirits.” How this historical figure has been remembered shows us a lot about how shared memory changes over time, and what the limits of history can be. What can you do to keep the past and its people alive? read more

  • legacy: room for Miss Lou, Harbourfront’s living tribute to a cultural icon

    by Sierra Bacquie | Feb 12, 2009

    Miss Lou’s Room is a dynamic remembrance of the great Jamaican icon, whose influence is felt around the world, with a particular resonance in Toronto. Miss Lou’s is a strong presence in the space at Harbourfront that bears her name. The personal nature of the comments in the visitors’ book makes clear the depth of the impact that Louise Bennett-Coverley had on so many now-grown children. The room itself piques the senses of the youngsters who now come to the space for an afternoon storytelling. read more

  • artist: Dora de Pédery-Hunt, November 16, 1913–September 29, 2008

    by Frances Rooney | Jan 6, 2009

    On October 18, 1929, Canada recognized that women are persons. In 1979, Dora de Pédery-Hunt designed the Persons Case medallion. She said of her design, “The subject of this medal is celebration! Celebration of Canadian women becoming ‘persons’, of joy and delight that at least one great step was taken.” According to Clara Hargittay, de Pédery-Hunt “was instrumental in introducing the ancient art of medal sculpture to Canada.” Think you have never seen her work? Think again. read more

  • grandmothers to grandmothers

    by Frances Rooney | Dec 1, 2008

    On March 7, 2006, the Stephen Lewis Foundation launched its Grandmothers Campaign to respond to Africa’s AIDS epidemic. Today, there are 220 Grandmother groups with more than 8,000 members in Canada. They work to support “grandmothers from Africa, who have humbled us with their super-human responses to unbearable sorrow and hardship” – women who nurse their dying adult children, and raise grandchildren with little help. “A continent in tatters was being stitched back together by grandmothers.” read more

  • Rita MacNeil, “I’m no rabble-rouser”

    by Frances Rooney | Oct 20, 2008

    For decades, many Canadians thought of Rita MacNeil as their own gentle, shy, legendary singer songwriter. Then, last August, recently declassified documents from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police revealed that, in the early 1970s, she was part of a group that the RCMP infiltrated and spied on. The group? Women. Whooo, scary!  read more

  • part one of choice in Canada: access to abortions

    by Sarah Ghabrial | Sep 16, 2008

    Beyond recent bills, beyond Henry Morgentaler – beyond all the rhetoric for and against choice – many women still face huge barriers when it comes to getting safe abortion procedures in this country. “There is an assumption that, as long as we’ve got the legislation, the work is done.” It is the wrong assumption to make. read more

  • activist artist: Persimmon Blackbridge, other matters

    by Frances Rooney | May 30, 2008

    Her creative work deals with the experiences of those who’ve been through both the mental health and prison systems. Through her art, Persimmon has explored body image, community, depression, sexuality, alcoholism, marginalization, disabilities, pornography, and war. Her latest search for a collaborator is very personal. She is looking for a kidney donor. Her situation reveals something startling: Canada has one of the lowest organ donation rates among industrialized countries. read more

  • Earth Day: Vandana Shiva, physicist, environmental activist, feminist, ecologist and author

    by Frances Rooney | Apr 21, 2008

    According to Vandana Shiva, we are all connected, As a result, the rights of women and small farmers is central to her work for our earth. She points out that women are the main producers and processors of food. Farmers are the keepers of the diversity that makes both people and plants strong. “For me,” says Shiva, “ecology and feminism have been inseparable.” She combines women’s rights and nature’s rights, celebrating our cultural diversity and biological diversity. read more

  • dancer, choreographer, teacher, visionary: Celia Franca, 1921-2007

    by Frances Rooney | Mar 3, 2008

    A man would have been called hard headed, focused, larger than life, terrifying, adored. In an article written by Paul Gessell, Celia Franca was called “two words ... Both rhyme with rich.” Later, she was also called hard headed, focused, larger than life, terrifying, adored. Despite her look of delicate femininity, Celia Franca was tough. Because of her work, ballet and the all-important teaching of teachers of ballet have found a strong and vibrant place in Canadian culture.  read more

  • Viola Desmond, unintentional revolutionary

    by Frances Rooney | Jan 29, 2008

    On November 8, 1946, a woman bought a ticket to a movie. She sat down in the theatre. She was told to move. She didn’t. The theatre manager went outside, found a police officer, and the two men roughly threw her out. Then she was arrested. Charged. Thrown in jail. Found guilty of an astonishing crime. Viola Desmond demanded justice. She did not receive it. This is how the segregation laws of Nova Scotia started to crumble. This is what too many of us don’t know. This is our history.  read more


  • Seasonal Feature

  • April 1994: the night raid at Kingston’s Prison for Women

    by Sierra Bacquie

    There was supposed to be a new approach to the Correctional Service of Canada’s relationship to female offenders, who were promised responsible choices, respect, dignity, supportive environments, and shared responsibility. But on the night of April 26, eight women experienced humiliation, degradation, raw fear and trauma at the hands of an all-male emergency team. How did this happen? What has changed since?  read more