Reformers & Activists | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Canadian Liver Foundation

    The Canadian Liver Foundation is the first organization in the world to devote itself exclusively to providing support for education and research into the causes and treatment of diseases of the liver.

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  • Article

    Canadian Lung Association

    Canadian Lung Association, Canada's first national voluntary health organization, was founded in 1900. Its roots were in the former Canadian Tuberculosis Association.

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  • Article

    Charles Lightfoot Roman

    Charles Lightfoot Roman, MD, CM, surgeon, author, researcher, lecturer (born 19 May 1889 in Port Elgin, ON; died 8 June 1961 in Valleyfield, QC). Charles Lightfoot Roman was one of the first Black Canadians to graduate from McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine and became a recognized expert in industrial medicine. He was also one of the first Black Canadians to enlist for service in the First World War and was the only known Black person to serve with the Canadian General Hospital No. 3 (McGill). Lightfoot Roman was also likely the first Black Grand Master of a traditional Masonic lodge.

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  • Article

    Clarence Meredith Hincks

    Clarence Meredith Hincks, physician, mental-health reformer (b at St Marys, Ont 8 Apr 1885; d at Toronto 17 Dec 1964). He received his MD from the University of Toronto in 1907 and, finding general practice unsuitable, obtained a part-time post as medical inspector for Toronto schools.

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  • Article

    David Suzuki

    David Takayoshi Suzuki, CC, OBC, geneticist, broadcaster, environmental activist (born 24 March 1936 in Vancouver, BC). A Japanese Canadian, David Suzuki was interned with his family during the Second World War. He later became one of Canada’s most popular scientists and media personalities. He is best known as the host (1979–2023) of the longest-running science show on television, CBC’s The Nature of Things, and for his work as an environmental activist. He has received ACTRA’s John Drainie Award for broadcasting excellence and the Canadian Screen Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award. A Companion of the Order of Canada, he has also received the Order of British Columbia and been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.

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  • Macleans

    David Suzuki (Interview)

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on October 4, 2004. Partner content is not updated. David Suzuki was there to explain to Canadians the grand ambitions of the early space program and our Anik satellites.

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  • Macleans

    David Suzuki (Profile)

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on November 5, 2007. Partner content is not updated. On the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 9, emergency crews raced to the provincial cabinet offices on the Vancouver waterfront after a receptionist's hands were left tingling from a suspicious powder in a piece of mail.

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  • Article

    Donald Chant

    Donald Alfred Chant, OC, FRSC, scientist, educator, environmentalist, executive (born 30 September 1928 in Toronto, ON; died 23 December 2007 in Kingston, ON). Chant was one of the foremost experts on the phytoseiid family of predatory mites. A professor of zoology and administrator at the University of Toronto, he was also a prominent environmental leader and advocate.

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  • Article

    Dorothea Palmer

    Dorothea Ferguson (née Palmer), birth control advocate, social worker (born 1908 in England; died 5 November 1992 in Ottawa, ON). Dorothea Palmer was arrested in 1936 for advertising birth control to women in a working-class neighbourhood in Ottawa. She was cleared of charges after a lengthy trial proved her work had been for the public good. Her acquittal was a major victory for the birth control movement in Canada.

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  • Article

    Douglas Humphreys Pimlott

    Douglas Humphreys Pimlott, conservationist, wildlife biologist, ecologist, environmentalist (born 4 January 1920 in Quyon, QC; died 31 July 1978 in Richmond Hill, ON). A founder of the modern environmental movement in Canada.

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  • Article

    Elsie MacGill

    Elizabeth (Elsie) Muriel Gregory MacGill, OC, aeronautical engineer, feminist (born 27 March 1905 in Vancouver, BC; died 4 November 1980 in Cambridge, Massachusetts). Elsie MacGill was the first woman to earn a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering (1929). She was also the first practising Canadian woman engineer. In 1938, she became chief aeronautical engineer of Canadian Car & Foundry (Can Car). There, she headed the Canadian production of Hawker Hurricane fighter planes during the Second World War. An active feminist, MacGill was national president of the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs (1962–64). She was also a member of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada (1967–70). Key Facts Born 27 March 1905, died 4 November 1980 First woman aeronautical engineer and aircraft designer Key Canadian feminist Oversaw production of fighter planes during WWII   Nicknamed “Queen of the Hurricanes”

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  • Article

    Elizabeth Smith-Shortt

    Elizabeth Smith-Shortt, née Smith, physician, feminist (b at Winona, Canada W 18 Jan 1859; d at Ottawa 14 Jan 1949). She belonged to the prosperous LOYALIST family that founded the E.D. Smith preserves company.

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  • Article

    Emily Stowe

    Emily Howard Jennings Stowe, physician, teacher, school principal, suffragist (born 1 May 1831 in Norwich, Ontario; died 30 April 1903 in Toronto, Ontario). Stowe was a founder of the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association. She is considered to be the first female physician to publicly practise medicine in Ontario. She was also the first female principal of a public school in Ontario. 

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  • Article

    Helen Irene Battle

    Helen Irene Battle, zoologist, educator (b at London, Ont 31 Aug 1903; d there 17 Jun 1994). A pioneering Canadian zoologist and much-loved teacher, she was emeritus professor of zoology at the University of Western Ontario from 1972.

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  • Article

    Henry Morgentaler

    Henekh (Henry) Morgentaler, CM, abortion advocate, physician (born 19 March 1923 in Lodz, Poland; died 29 May 2013 in Toronto, ON. Morgentaler spent much of his life advocating for women’s reproductive rights at a time when they could not legally obtain abortions. He established illegal abortion clinics across Canada, challenging the federal and provincial governments to repeal their abortion laws. As a result of his campaign (and the work of organizations such as the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League, CARAL), the Supreme Court struck down federal abortion law as unconstitutional in 1988, thereby decriminalizing the procedure. Morgentaler was also the first to use the vacuum aspiration method in Canada, a safer procedure for women than previous methods.

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