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Telling the story of Canadian Women from Exceptional to Everyday Life

Published on October 15, 2015

Canadian Museum of History 
Gatineau, QC
Thursday, October 15, 2015

Watch from 1 pm to 5 pm ET at

Just under 100 years ago Canadian women achieved a significant milestone. In January 1916, the province of Manitoba granted women the right to vote in provincial elections. Women in Saskatchewan and Alberta followed shortly afterwards.

Gaining the vote was just one moment in a long history of women’s achievements. And while their stories didn’t often appear in the history books their contributions range from the daily struggle for life as early settlers to the fight to have women recognized as persons under the law.

The anniversary of women’s suffrage in Canada provides an opportunity to look back on the lives of these exceptional women and, by sharing their stories of perseverance and determination, inspire young Canadian women today.

Watch from 1 pm to 5 pm ET at 


Canada’s History Forum

Thursday, October 15, 2015
Canadian Museum of History
Telling Canadian Women’s Stories

13:00 — Opening Remarks and Welcome

Janet Walker 
Executive Director, Canada’s History

Canadian Museum of History

               Masters of Ceremonies – Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail and Maude Couturier

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail is a historian, freelance writer, speaker, and CBC radio columnist. She is the creator of the serial history blog project about the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital, the author of For the Love of Flying and Polar Winds, and the editor of In This Together: Fifteen True Stories of Real Reconciliation (Brindle & Glass, 2016). She was writer-in-residence at Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon; was named Chatelainemagazine's Maverick of the Year, and is currently serving as Edmonton’s Historian Laureate.

Maude Couturier is a 2014 recipient of the Young Citizens Award for her project on Canadian military nurses during the First and Second World Wars.

13:15 — 100 years of women’s suffrage

Isabel Metcalfe, Famous Five Ottawa

Famous Five Ottawa – a volunteer group – was instrumental in persuading the government to place the Women Are Persons! Monument on Parliament Hill to commemorate the efforts of Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Louise McKinney.

13:30             Keynote Presentation

Lawrence Hill, Recipient of the 2015 Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media – The Pierre Berton

Lawrence Hill has dedicated his life to learning, to teaching, and to helping. Through his efforts, Canadians have gained a better understanding of our shared history, and of the Black experience in particular. Hill is best known for his masterpiece, The Book of Negroes, which has sold more than 700,000 copies, making it one of the most popular books in Canadian publishing history. The novel has been translated into French and adapted into a mini-series for television, giving its powerful message an even wider audience.

14:00 — Roundtable: Telling women’s stories

Moderator: Mark Reid is the editor-in-chief and the director of content development for Canada’s History Magazine.

                        Panelists: Charlotte Gray, Joan Sangster, and Lawrence Hill.

Charlotte Gray is one of Canada’s best-known writers, and author of nine acclaimed books of literary non-fiction. Her most recent bestseller is The Massey Murder. The television miniseries, Klondike, broadcast on Discovery Channel in January 2014, was based on Charlotte’s 2010 award-winner Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike. A former Chair of the Board of Canada’s National History Society, she is a member of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Joan Sangster is affiliated with the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. She has written five monographs and many articles and book chapters on working women, the labour movement, the criminalization of women and girls, feminist politics, and Aboriginal women and the law. Her most recent book is Transforming Labour: Women and Work in Postwar Canada. She is currently writing a history of the women’s suffrage movement in Canada, and serves as President of the Canadian Historical Association/ Société Historique du Canada.

15:00  Break

15:30 — Researching the lives of women
                       – Special presentation with CHA

Moderator: Ruby Heap is a full professor in the University of Ottawa’s Department of History. She has been associate vice-president, research since 2009. She was the founding director of the Institute of Women’s Studies following her mandate as Program Director in Women’s Studies. Ruby specializes in the history of women in higher education and the professions, with a particular focus on women in science and engineering.

                     Panelists: Jean Barman, Dominique Deslandres, and Rose Fine-Meyer

Jean Barman is professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia. Her books, edited volumes, articles, and book chapters on Canadian, British Columbian, and indigenous history have won more than a dozen Canadian and American awards. Her prize-winning The West beyond the West: A History of British Columbia is in its third edition. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Jean is also the recipient of the 2015 Macdonald Prize.

Dominique Deslandres is a full professor in the Department of History at the Université de Montréal. In 2003, she published Croire et faire croire. Les missions françaises au XVIIe siècle, which garnered numerous awards, including the Canadian Historical Society's Sir John A. Macdonald Prize. In 2007, together with J.A. Dickenson and O. Hubert, she co-edited the best-selling Les Sulpiciens de Montréal: une histoire de pouvoir et de discrétion 1657-2007, with a subsequent exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In 2010, in preparation for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City, together with R. Brodeur and T. Nadeau-Lacour she co-editedLecture inédite de la modernité aux origines de la Nouvelle-France. Her current body of work focuses on gender studies, religion, and the expansion of French sovereignty in the 17th century.

Rose Fine-Meyer teaches in the Masters of Teaching program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Her research focuses on history education in Canada. Her most recent publication is “A Good Teacher Is a Revolutionary” in Worth Fighting For: Canada’s Tradition of War Resistance from 1812 to the War on Terror, edited by Lara Campbell and Michael Dawson. She was also a guest editor for Women and Education, Ontario History, Spring 2015. Her local women’s history talk series,, received a Heritage Toronto Community Award in 2012. She also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History (2007).

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