Lhasa de Sela, author, singer, songwriter, film director, musical director and painter (born 27 September 1972 in Big Indian, United States; died 1 January 2010, in Montreal, Quebec). A major influence on the world music repertoire, she charmed an entire generation with her charisma and her deep voice, which she deployed in a wide range of languages, dialects and new sonorities. In 1998, her first album, La Llorona, won her the Juno Award for Best Global Album of the Year as well as a Juno nomination for Best New Solo Artist of the Year. In 2004, her album The Living Road was nominated for the Juno for World Music Album of the Year, and in 2006, her video for the song “Con Toda Palabra” was nominated for the Juno for Video of the Year. In 2005, she received the award for Best World Music Artist of the Americas from the BBC.
Afua (Ava Pamela) Cooper, educator, historian, performance artist, poet (born 8 November 1957 in the Whithorn district of Westmoreland, Jamaica), is considered one of the most influential and pioneering voices in the Canadian dub poetry and spoken word movement. Her poems are published in numerous regional, national and international journals and anthologies. Afua Cooper also has CDs of her performances that make her work well known to the global community. In addition to her renown as a performance artist, she is an internationally-ranked historian. She has taught Caribbean cultural studies, history, women's studies and Black studies at Ryerson and York universities, at the University of Toronto and at Dalhousie University.
Alanis Obomsawin, OC, GOQ, filmmaker, singer, artist, storyteller (born 31 August 1932 near Lebanon, New Hampshire). One of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers, Alanis Obomsawin began her career as a professional singer and storyteller before joining the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in 1967. Her award-winning films address the struggles of Indigenous peoples in Canada from their perspective, giving prominence to voices that have long fallen on deaf ears. An Officer of the Order of Canada and a Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec, she has received the Prix Albert-Tessier and the Canadian Screen Awards’ Humanitarian Award, as well as multiple Governor General’s Awards, lifetime achievement awards and honorary degrees.
Idola Saint-Jean, feminist and pioneer in the fight for women’s suffrage (born 19 May 1880 in Montréal, QC; died 6 April 1945 in Montréal). The first woman from Québec to run as a candidate in a federal election, she devoted over 20 years of her life to active efforts to improve women’s legal rights.1