A Guide to Women in Canadian History

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Hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, Reuters Photo.
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Latest News: Canadian Women Making History

New Heritage Minute Honours Baseball Star
October 2023

Historica Canada released a new Heritage Minute which celebrates Mary "Bonnie" Baker. The Saskatchewan athlete becaem an all-star-catcher in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She was one of the women profiled in the book 100 Canadian Heroines, written by historian Merna Forster.

Watch the new video.

Bonnie Baker Heritage Minute

Opportunity to Nominate a Canadian Woman for $5 Bill
January 29, 2020

The Bank of Canada launched public consultations to select an iconic Canadian to appear on the face of the next $5 bank note. The deadline for nominations is March 11, 2020. You can submit up to five names on each online submission. Nomineees must have been dead for at least 25 years.

If you are interested in nominating another Canadian woman, to join civil rights activist Viola Desmond who was honoured on a $10 bank note issued in November 2018, there are of course many Bank NOTE-able Canadian women who would fit the bill. Hundreds of iconic female historical figures were nominated during the public consultations which resulted in the selection of Desmond, and this list can still be consulted online.

You will find more ideas for nominations on the website heroines.ca. The site includes a list of Female Indigenous Leaders, as well as miscellaneous bios and a list of 100 Canadian Heroines. Be sure to nominate someone for the new $5 bill. March 8 is International Women's Day, the perfect time to nominate an iconic Canadian woman to appear on the face of the next $5 bank note.

Nominations for $5

Bianca Andreescu Becomes Grand Slam Champion
September 7, 2019
New York

Tennis player Bianca Andreescu made history by becoming Canada's first-ever Grand Slam champion in singles. She defeated tennis legend Serena Williams at the US Open, gaining the distinction of being the first Canadian to win a major title. Andreescu, at the age of nineteen, is the first teenager to win a Major since Sharapova won the 2006 US Open. Bianca Andreescu was born in Mississauga, Ontario.

Bianca Andreescu

Captain Molly Kool Icebreaker Joins Fleet
May 30, 2019
St. John's, New Brunswick

For the first time in 25 years, the Coast Guard welcomed a new vessel. The CCGS Captain Molly Kool is an icebreaker which celebrates a trailblazer from Alama, New Brunswick. Molly Kool became the first registered sea captain in North America, back in 1939. Her story was included in the book 100 More Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces, written by historian Merna Forster.

More: Canadian Coast Guard�s first new icebreaker welcomed to fleet.

Captain Molly Kool Icebreaker Canadian Coast Guard

Unveiling of Viola Desmond Bank Note
March 8, 2018

On International Women's Day 2018, a new $10 bill celebrating civil rights activist Viola Desmond was unveiled in Halifax. Wanda Robson, sister of Viola Desmond, uncovered the bank note with the help of Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz. For the first time in Canadian history, a Canadian woman is being honoured on the face of a regularly circulating Bank of Canada note.

Viola Desmond $10 bill

The unveiling of the note was the culmination of the work of activist Merna Forster and tens of thousands of Canadians who supported her campaign to celebrate women from Canadian history on bank notes. In July 2013, historian and author Merna Forster began a petition on change.org calling on the Bank of Canada and the Minister of Finance (who approves bank note designs) to celebrate female Canadian historical figures on Canadian bank notes.

Wanda Robson

Wanda Robson with bank note celebrating her sister Viola Desmond (Photo by Merna Forster).


Canadian Currency

Women on bank notes Petition at change.org

Reasons for Signing Canadian Women on Bank Notes Petition

Meet the panel that will help choose a woman for the new Canadian banknote

Money Makeover: Canadian Women on Bank Notes, article by Merna Forster in Canadian Issues, published by the Association for Canadian Studies.

B.C. author who championed women for bank notes hopes Viola Desmond is the first of many

It�s not about the money, it�s about the misogyny: Porter. Merna Forster, a historian in Victoria, persuaded the Bank of Canada to add a woman to banknotes

Historian who campaigned for change thrilled women to appear on Canadian dollar bills

Who's the woman on Canada's new $10 bill? A Viola Desmond primer

National Anthem Becomes Gender Neutral
January 31, 2018

The Senate of Canada has passed a bill that will make O Canada, our national anthem, gender neutral. The words "in all thy sons command" will be replaced by "in all of us command." In 2016, the House of Commons passed a private member's bill calling for the change. The bill was introduced by Liberal MP Mauril B�langer. For more than thirty years, various efforts were undertaken to change the national anthem and make it gender neutral. The bill will become law once the Governor General gives royal assent.

More: �O� Canada� lyric change sparks debate, but the anthem was originally gender neutral

Canadian anthem gender neutral


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