The game is six degrees of Canadian history. Take two seemingly unrelated pieces of Canadian culture and connect the dots through various people, places and events to discover how they’re distantly — or maybe not-so-distantly — related. Along the way, we visit the quizzical and curious, the tragic and comic, and everything in between.
Women’s suffrage (or franchise) is the right of women to vote in political elections; campaigns for this right generally included demand for the right to run for public office. The women’s suffrage movement was a decades-long struggle intended to address fundamental issues of equity and justice and to improve the lives of Canadians.
Mabel Adeline (Addie) Aylestock, minister of the British Methodist Episcopal Church (born 8 September 1909 in Glen Allan, ON; died 25 July 1998 in Toronto, ON). The first Black woman to be ordained in Canada, Aylestock helped organize congregations in several communities in Ontario, as well as in Québec (Montréal) and Nova Scotia (Africville and Halifax).
Nell (née Helen Barham) Shipman, screenwriter, actor, director, producer, author (born in Victoria, British Columbia on 25 Oct 1892; died in Cabazon, California on 23 Jan 1970). Nell Shipman's first starring role in a major film was in the silent movie God's Country and the Woman (1916), which was an overnight success. Starring roles in 10 other films, mostly for Vitagraph, were followed by a seven-year contract offer from Samuel Goldwyn in 1917.
The Conseil du statut de la femme (CSF), or Council on the Status of Women, is a government consultative and review body that has sought to promote and defend the rights and interests of women in Québec since 1973. It reports to Québec’s Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women.
Léa Pool, CM, filmmaker, director, documentarian, screenwriter, producer (born 8 September 1950 in Soglio, Switzerland). Through her introspective films, Pool offers an approach to female characters that is stripped of all stereotypes. Exploring themes of love, exile and uprootedness, she attempts to draw viewers into a reflection on their own condition, through their own individuality. Often compared with the films of Marguerite Duras, Pool’s films focus on intimate emotions and attract a multigenerational audience. The recipient of many awards in Canada and abroad, Léa Pool is the first female director to win Best Film at the Gala du cinéma québécois.
Manon Rhéaume, hockey player (born 24 February 1972 in Lac-Beauport, Québec). Goaltender Manon Rhéaume was a pioneer in women’s hockey. In 1992, she became the first woman to try out for a National Hockey League (NHL) team and to play in an NHL game. In doing so, she also became the first woman to play in any of North America’s major sports leagues. Rhéaume also represented Canada in international women’s hockey. She was part of the World Championship women’s team in 1992 and 1994, and helped Team Canada win the Olympic silver medal in 1998, the first year that women’s hockey was included in the Olympic Winter Games.
Bella Hall Gauld, labour educator, political activist (born at Lindsay, Ont 31 Dec 1878; died at Montréal 21 Aug 1961). Raised on a farm in Manitoba, Gauld qualified as a teacher before studying piano in Germany. Back in Canada (1905), she worked with German immigrants near Brandon and then joined J.S. Woodsworth's All People's Mission in Winnipeg (1911).
Elizabeth Goudie, née Blake, writer (b at Mud Lake, Lab 20 Apr 1902; d at Happy Valley, Lab 10 June 1982). Of Inuit, Indian, French and English ancestry, she married Jim Goudie, a Labrador trapper, in 1920. For 40 years she raised her family and lived the difficult life of a trapper's wife.
Loretta Todd, documentary filmmaker, installation artist, essayist (b at Edmonton circa 1963). A central figure in what might be considered the second wave of aboriginal directors, Todd brings insight, discipline, resistance to sentimentality and a sense of adventurousness to her non-fiction films.