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Women in STEM

This collection brings together the biographies of a number of remarkable women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Editorial

Women on Canadian Banknotes

Though Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on the $20 bill since she was eight years old, identifiable Canadian women have only appeared on a Canadian banknote once. In 2004, the statue of the Famous Five from Parliament Hill and Olympic Plaza in Calgary, and the medal for the Thérèse Casgrain Volunteer Award were featured on the back of the $50 note. They were the first Canadian women to appear on our currency. However, in 2011, they were replaced by an icebreaker named for a man (see Roald Amundsen). The new bill was part of a series of notes meant to highlight technical innovation and achievement, but the change sparked controversy. Other than the image of a nameless female scientist on the $100 note issued in 2011, and two female Canadian Forces officers and a young girl on the $10 bill issued in 2001, Canadian women were absent from Canadian bills.

On 8 March 2016, International Women’s Day, the Bank of Canada launched a public consultation to choose an iconic Canadian woman who would be featured on a banknote, released in the next series of bills in 2018. More than 26,000 submissions poured in. Of those, 461 names met the qualifying criteria, and the list was pared down to a long list of 12 and finally a short list of five. The final selection will be announced on 8 December 2016.

But how did we get here?

timeline

Women's Suffrage

Women in Canada obtained the right to vote in a sporadic fashion. Federal authorities granted them the franchise in 1918, more than two years after the women of Manitoba became the first to vote at the provincial level.

Article

Wonny Song

Wonny Song, pianist and artistic and executive director (born 6 April 1978 in Seoul, South Korea). Originally from South Korea, this Canadian pianist has received several prestigious awards and has played with many symphony orchestras around the world. Thanks to his many recordings and media presence, particularly on the radio, classical music has become accessible to and appreciated by the general public.

Article

Woodland Culture

 The Woodland culture comprises various cultural manifestations that took place mainly in southern Ontario and Québec between 3000 and 500 years Before Present (BP).

Article

Wop May

Wilfrid Reid (Wop) May, OBE, DFC, aviator, First World War flying ace (born 20 March 1896, in Carberry, Manitoba; died 21 June 1952 near Provo, UT). Wop May was an aviator who served as a fighter pilot in the First World War. May finished the war as a flying ace, credited with 13 victories, and was part of the dogfight in which the infamous Red Baron was gunned down. After the war, May became a renowned barnstormer (or stunt pilot) and bush pilot, flying small aircraft into remote areas in Northern Canada, often on daring missions. May flew in several historic flights, carrying medicine and aide to northern locations and assisting law enforcement in manhunts, including the hunt for Albert Johnson, the “Mad Trapper of Rat River” in 1932.

Article

Wray Downes

Rupert Arnold (Wray) Downes, jazz pianist, composer, arranger, conductor (born 14 January 1931 in Toronto, ON). Downes was the first Canadian to receive the British Empire (Overseas) Scholarship to the Trinity College of Music, London.

Article

Wyatt Eaton

Wyatt Eaton, portrait, genre and landscape painter, illustrator (b at Philipsburg, Qué 6 May 1849; d at Newport, RI 7 June 1896). Eaton left Canada for New York around 1867 and studied at the National Academy of Design, and then for 5 years under Joseph Oriel Eaton.

Article

Xavier Dolan

Xavier Dolan (né Xavier Dolan-Tadros), actor, director, writer, producer, editor, costume designer (born 20 March 1989 in Montréal, QC). A precocious practitioner of auteurist art cinema, Xavier Dolan made a meteoric rise from child actor to filmmaking wunderkind, garnering international acclaim at age 20 for his debut feature, J’ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother, 2009). His next four films — Les amours imaginaires (Heartbeats, 2010), Laurence Anyways (2012), Tom à la ferme (Tom at the Farm, 2013) and Mommy (2014) — were all completed by the time he was 25. They won numerous awards and further established him as one of international cinema’s most promising and prolific young filmmakers. His sixth feature film, Juste la fin du monde (It’s Only the End of the World, 2016), won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, César Awards for best director and editing, and six Canadian Screen Awards including Best Motion Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Achievement in Direction.

Article

Yaëla Hertz

Yaëla Hertz, violinist, teacher (born April 1930 in Tel Aviv, Palestine [now Israel]; died 30 May 2014 in Montréal, QC).

Article

Yann Martel

Best known for his award-winning The Life of Pi, Yann Martel has continued his meditations on memory, horror and the consequences of human error and human evil.

Article

Yanna McIntosh

Yanna McIntosh (born 1970 in Jamaica). McIntosh is one of Canada's pre-eminent stage actors, known for her dramatic range and fiery intensity. She has also had an active career in television.

Article

Yannick Bisson

Yannick Bisson, actor (b at Montréal 16 May 1969). Yannick Bisson began his acting career in television commercials as a child. His first substantive role came when he was 15 in the well-received made-for-television movie Hockey Night (1984), starring Megan FOLLOWS and Rick MORANIS.

Article

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Yannick Nicholas Nézet-Séguin, CC, OQ, conductor, pianist (born 6 March 1975 in Montréal, QC). Known for brilliance, energy and consummate skill from an uncommonly young age, Yannick Nézet-Séguin made a meteoric rise to prominence as a conductor, particularly of operas. His appointments as music director of Montréal’s Orchestre Métropolitain (2000–) the Philadelphia Orchestra (2012–) and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (2008–18) made him an international star. He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada at age 37 and an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec at 40. In 2016, he was named music director of The Metropolitan Opera, a position he officially began in September 2018. His many honours include numerous Félix Awards, the National Arts Centre Award, the Virginia Parker Prize and the Prix Denise-Pelletier.

Article

Yaron Ross

Yaron Ross. Pianist, teacher, b Tel-Aviv 28 Apr 1950, naturalized Canadian 1986; BA (Tel-Aviv) 1975, Artist Diploma (Tel-Aviv) 1977, D MUS (Montreal) 1994.

Macleans

Yashin Cancels $1 Million NAC Gift

Hockey fans have long since become accustomed to the mercenary nature of modern professional sports: players whose seven-figure salaries are not enough to anchor them to a team or a town, and even teams themselves that abandon those towns for newer arenas and sweet tax concessions elsewhere.