Louise McKinney, née Crummy, Alberta MLA 1917–21, women’s rights activist, lay preacher (born 22 September 1868 in Frankville, ON; died 10 July 1931 in Claresholm, AB). McKinney holds the distinction of being the first woman elected to a legislature in Canada and in the British Empire. A member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and a devout Methodist, she dedicated her life to good works in the service of others. She is also known as a pioneer suffragist and member of the Famous Five. Her signature appears on the legal petition to recognize women as persons under the Constitution, allowing them to serve in appointed positions, such as in the Senate (see Persons Case).
Mary Irene Parlby, née Marryat, Alberta MLA (1921–35), women’s rights advocate, activist (born 9 January 1868 in London, UK; died 12 July 1965 in Red Deer, AB). Parlby served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Alberta for 14 years and was the first woman in Alberta, and the second in the British Empire, to be appointed to a cabinet position. One of the Famous Five appellants in the Persons Case, Parlby was a compelling advocate for women’s rights. Her career in activism and legislation was especially dedicated to improving the lives of rural women and children. She was the first woman awarded an honorary degree from the University of Alberta.
Jane Vance Rule, CM, OBC, writer, teacher and activist (born 28 March 1931 in Plainfield, NJ; died 27 November 2007 in Galiano Island, BC). Rule was a ground-breaking novelist and essayist whose work explored the lives of lesbians, beginning at a time when homosexuality was still a crime in Canada (see LGBT Rights in Canada). Her first novel, Desert of the Heart, is perhaps her best known. It was adapted into the film Desert Hearts in 1986. Rule is the author of seven novels and several collections of essays and short stories. She was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 1998 and the Order of Canada in 2007.
Bernard Joseph Francis Lonergan, Jesuit priest, philosopher-theologian (b at Buckingham, Qué 17 Dec 1904; d at Pickering, Ont 26 Nov 1984). Lonergan was a brilliant, original thinker of the highest rank. For many years his ideas have been studied by scholars in various fields.
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).
Dr. Charles Victor Roman, surgeon, professor, author, editor, philosopher, civil rights activist (born 4 July 1864 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania; died 25 August 1934 in Nashville, Tennessee). Charles Roman was raised in Dundas, ON, and was the first Black person to graduate from Hamilton Collegiate Institute in Hamilton, ON. After a tragic accident in his teenage years, he went on to establish himself as an internationally respected surgeon and educator.
Besides chaperoning girls sent from France as brides for settlers (Filles du Roi), she recruited French and Canadian girls as teachers, organized a boarding school for girls in Montréal, a school for Indigenous girls on the Sulpician reserve of La Montagne, and a domestic arts school.