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History Month
Statues and Monuments

Women are Persons! Monument (Famous Five Monument)
Ottawa, Ontario

The Celebrations

Musicians performing at the celebrations in Ottawa. (Copyright M. Forster.)

Thousands of dignitaries, politicians, school children and members of the general public came to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 18, 2000 to honour the "Famous Five". In a special ceremony attended by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, an impressive monument to the five Alberta women was unveiled. The statues in the memorial represent Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Irene Parlby and Louise McKinney.

Program for "A Celebration of Canadian
Women as Nation Builders".
(Copyright M. Forster.)

The program for the celebrations included:

  • Music by Barrage and the Calgary Girls Choir
  • Sheila Copps
    Sheila Copps (Copyright M. Forster)
    Arrival of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Sheila Copps, P.C.; M.P.,the Chief Justice of Canada, the Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin, P.C.; the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, the Honourable Alphonso Gagliano, P.C., M.P.; the Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women), the Honourable Hedy Fry, P.C., M.P.; the President and CEO of the Famous 5 Foundation, Frances Wright; the Prime Minister of Canada,the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien; and the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson.
  • Playing of "Salute to the Governor General" by the Canadian Forces Band
  • Arrival of women belonging to the Canadian Senate, along with actress Diana Leblanc in the role of Emily Murphy
  • "Emily Murphy" tells the story of the Famous Five and the Persons Case
  • Frances Wright, President and CEO of the Famous 5 Foundation, presents the monument "Women are Persons!" to Minister Gagliano, who accepts on behalf of the federal government.
  • Prime Minister Chrétien and Governor General Clarkson cut the ribbon to inaugurate the "Women are Persons!" monument
  • Introduction of the sculptor, Barbara Patterson
  • Qilaujartiit perform an Inuit dance
  • Measha Brueggergossman sings "Four Strong Winds"
  • Governor General Clarkson speech
  • Crystal Plamondon, accompanied by the Calgary Girls Choir, sings the "Famous Five Anthem"
  • Speech by Secretary of State Fry
  • Natalie Choquette, accompanied by Pierre-Marc Carbonneau, sings "Si chacun"
  • Raylene Rankin, accompanied by the Calgary Girls Choir, sings "Rise Again"
  • A dramatic scene at the monument features Diana Leblanc as Emily Murphy, Shirely Douglas as Nellie McClung, Annick Léger as Henrietta Edwards, Beverley Wolfe as Louise McKinney and Mary Ellis as Irene Parlby
  • Speech by Prime Minister Chrétien
  • The song "Until We Meet Again" is performed by Barrage
  • Heather Stewart
    Heather Stewart, a great-great grandaughter of Emily Murphy, with the statue of her ancestor.
    (Copyright M. Forster)
    Descendants of the Famous Five sit on Emily Murphy's chair. Catherine French become the first citizen to sit on the chair.
  • The National Anthem of Canada
  • Gordon Slater gives the Peace Tower Carillon Recital
  • Reception for dignitaries

At the conclusion of the formal ceremony, the actresses playing the roles of the Famous Five, descendants of the women honoured in the ceremony and members of the audience mingled around the statues to chat and take photographs.

Shirley Douglas
Actress Shirley Douglas, at right, posing for pictures
after the ceremony.
(Copyright M. Forster)

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