A Guide to Women in Canadian History

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.Historic Sites
History Month

Historic Sites

National Events for Canadian Women's History

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has designated the following events to be of national historic significance to Canada.

  • Canadian Women’s Christian Temperance Union
    Creation of what was the largest non-denominational Canadian women’s organization in the late 19th century. The WCTU was formed in Ontario in 1874.

  • Congregation of Notre-Dame
    The founding by Marguerite Bourgeoys of this religious group circa 1650 to provide education for children

  • Edmonton Grads
    Championship women’s basketball team, 1915-40, from Edmonton, Alberta.

  • Women in the Canadian Women's Army Corps relaxing
    (Documentary Art and Photography Division, National Archives Canada, Gift of Artist Molly Lamb Bobak/C-135778)
    Entry of Women in the Military in World War II
    Women`s service in the Canadian Army, Canadian Air Force and Canadian Navy in World War II

  • Women's service in the Canadian Women's Army Corps

  • Women's service in the Canadian Air Force

  • Women's service in the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service

  • Establishment of the National Council of Women of Canada

  • First Women’s Institute
    Founding of the First Women’s Institute in Canada in 1897

  • Formation and development of the Canadian Home and School Federation

  • Grey Nuns of Montreal
    Foundation of the Grey Nuns by Margaret d’Youville in 1747, to care for the sick

  • Mrs. Doolittle
    Mrs. P.E. Doolittle, National President of the IODE 1922-1925.
    (National Archives Canada, PA-135282
    Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire (IODE)
    Founded in 1900 to encourage patriotism and social service

  • Newfoundland Outport Nursing and Industrial Association (NONIA)
    Creation of an outpost nursing association which provided a range of health care services

  • Persons Case
    The 1929 decision from the British Privy Council enabled the appointment of women to the Senate, by establishing that Canadian women were full "persons".

  • Sisters of Charity of Ottawa
    Founded in 1845, began a nursing school in 1890s

  • Sisters of Providence
    Founded in 1843 by Émilie Gamelin, for the care of the poor and the sick

  • Sisters of Ste. Anne
    Founded in 1850 by Marie-Esther Blondin for education and care of the sick

  • Sisters of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    Founded in 1853 by Léocadie Bourgeois as a massionary teaching order

  • Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
    Founded in 1843 by Eulalie Durocher as a religious school for the young

  • Trois-Rivières Historical Complex
    Residential and religious district, circa 1700-1770

  • Ursulines of Trois-Rivières
    Establishment of an order of Sisters that taught for 300 years

  • Victorian Order of Nurses (VON)
    Creation of a major national organization which provides health services to poor and isolated Canadians

  • war brides
    British war brides heading to Canada, 2 April 1946.
    (National Archives Canada, PA-112368
    War Brides
    Contributions of about 48,000 war brides who came to Canada following Canadian participation in World War II
    See War Brides (Group Histories) for more info.

  • Winning of the Vote by Women
    The struggle of Canadian women to achieve the vote

  • Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA)
    Creation of an organization that supported a greater role for women in workplace, higher education and public service. The first Canadian branch of the YWCA was established in 1870 in St. John, New Brunswick.

For more information about commemorations of the Historic Site and Monuments Board of Canada related to the contributions of women in Canadian history, see:

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