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Arthur Roy Brown
Arthur Roy Brown, fighter pilot and ace, businessman, civil aviation pioneer (born 23 December 1893 in Carleton Place, Ontario; died 9 March 1944 in Stouffville, Ontario). Brown is credited with killing Germany’s top First World War ace, Manfred von Richthofen, the famed “Red Baron.” Richthofen may, however, have been shot down by two Australian army machine-gunners.
The Woodland culture comprises various cultural manifestations that took place mainly in southern Ontario and Québec between 3000 and 500 years Before Present (BP).
Simon Girty, frontiersman, British Indian agent, Loyalist settler in Upper Canada (Ontario), (born 14 November 1741 near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; died 18 February 1818 in Malden, Upper Canada).
Emily Murphy's Famous Triumph
“I feel equal,” wrote Emily Murphy in 1927, “to high and splendid braveries.” By that point in her life, the 59-year-old native of Cookstown, Ontario, had earned the right to big ambitions: her achievements included turns as a successful writer (under the name “Janey Canuck”), social activist, self-taught legal expert and, as of 1916, the first woman magistrate in the British Empire. She was also a wife and mother.
Deskaheh (also known as Levi General), Cayuga chief and speaker of the Six Nations Hereditary Council (born on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario in 1873; died at the Tuscarora Reservation, New York, on 25 June 1925).
Robert Montgomery Horne-Payne
Robert Montgomery Horne-Payne, financier (b in Eng; d at Brentwood, Eng 30 Jan 1929). Long an invalid, he rarely visited Canada, but his financial skills left an imprint on the landscape and a northern Ontario town (Hornepayne) bears his name.
Robert McDowall, pioneer Presbyterian minister (b at Balston Spa, near Albany, NY 25 July 1768; d at Fredericksburgh, Canada West 3 Aug 1841). In 1790 the Dutch Reformed Church sent McDowall as a missionary to what is now southern Ontario.
Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack (born 19 January 1954; died 23 October 1966 near Redditt, ON). Chanie Wenjack, an Anishinaabe boy from Ontario, ran away from his residential school near Kenora at age 12, and subsequently died from hunger and exposure to the harsh weather. His death in 1966 sparked national attention and the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools.
Norman Ryan, "Red," bandit (b at Toronto July 1895, d at Sarnia, Ont 25 May 1936). Nicknamed "Canada's Jesse James," Ryan committed numerous robberies in Ontario, Québec and the US, deserted the Canadian Army in WWI, and once made a spectacular escape from Kingston Penitentiary.
Antoine Laumet, dit de Lamothe Cadillac
Antoine Laumet, known as “de Lamothe Cadillac,” explorer, seigneur in Acadia, commandant of Fort Michilimackinac, founder of Detroit and of the first colony in Ontario, governor of Louisiana (born 5 March 1658 at Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave, France; died 16 October 1730 at Castelsarrasin, France).
Overlanders of 1862
The Overlanders of 1862 were a group of some 150 settlers who travelled from Fort Garry (now Winnipeg, Manitoba) to the interior of British Columbia, following the Cariboo Gold Rush. They were led by Thomas McMicking of Stamford Township, Welland County, Canada West [Ontario].
Joseph-François Hertel de La Fresnière
Joseph-François Hertel de La Fresnière, soldier (bap at Trois-Rivières, New France 3 July 1642; buried at Boucherville, New France 22 May 1722). As a youth, he was captured and adopted by the Iroquois (1661), escaped, and took part in retaliatory raids, accompanying FRONTENAC to Lake Ontario (1673).
Benjamin Lett: Early Canadian Terrorist
In the early morning of Good Friday, April 17, 1840, a terrific explosion shattered the peaceful atmosphere of the village of Queenston in Upper Canada (now Ontario). Brock's Monument, burial place of General Sir Isaac Brock, the much-revered hero of the War of 1812, was in ruins.
Adolphus Egerton Ryerson, Methodist minister, educator (born 24 March 1803 in Charlotteville Township, Norfolk County, Upper Canada; died 18 February 1882 in Toronto, Ontario). Egerton Ryerson was a leading figure in education and politics in 19th century Ontario. He helped found and edit the Christian Guardian (1829) and served as president of the Methodist Church of Canada (1874–78). As superintendent of education in Canada West, Ryerson established a system of free, mandatory schooling at the primary and secondary level — the forerunner of Ontario’s current school system. He also founded the Provincial Normal School (1847), which eventually became the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Ryerson also served as principal of Victoria College, which he helped found in 1836 as the Upper Canada Academy. He was also, however, involved in the development of residential schools in Canada. This has led to increasing calls to rename Ryerson University (now Toronto Metropolitan University) and other institutions named in his honour.
Agnes Campbell Macphail, politician, reformer (born 24 March 1890 in Proton Township, Grey County, ON; died 13 February 1954 in Toronto, ON). Agnes Macphail was the first woman elected to the House of Commons (1921–40) and was one of the first two women elected to the Ontario legislature (1943–45, 1948–51). She was also the first female member of a Canadian delegation to the League of Nations. Macphail was a founding member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (the forerunner of the New Democratic Party). She was a noted pacifist and an advocate for prison reform. As a member of the Ontario legislature, she championed Ontario’s first equal pay legislation (1951).
Ruth Lor Malloy
Ruth Lor Malloy (née Lor), journalist, writer, activist (born 4 August 1932, in Brockville, ON). Malloy was a key figure in fighting against discrimination in Ontario in the 1950s (see Prejudice and Discrimination in Canada). She participated in the high profile Dresden restaurant sit-in of 1954. In 1973, she published the first English-language guidebook to China in North America. Throughout her decades-long career, Malloy worked tirelessly to foster intercultural dialogue and justice for marginalized groups.
Irving Martin Abella, CM, O Ont, FRSC, historian, professor, administrator (born 2 July 1940 in Toronto, ON; died 3 July 2022). Irving Abella was a professor of history at York University from 1968 to 2013. He was a pioneer in the field of Canadian labour history and also specialized in the history of Jewish people in Canada. Abella was co-author of the book None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933–1948, which documented antisemitism in the Canadian government’s immigration policies. Abella served as president of the Canadian Jewish Congress from 1992 to 1995 and helped establish the Centre for Jewish Studies at York University. He was a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
David Boyle, blacksmith, teacher, archaeologist, museologist, historian (b at Greenock, Scot 1 May 1842; d at Toronto, Ont 14 Feb 1911). Although apprenticed as a blacksmith on arriving in Canada in 1856, Boyle became internationally prominent as Canada's premier archaeologist before WWI.
Thomas John Thomson, painter (born 5 August 1877 in Claremont, ON; died 8 July 1917 in Algonquin Provincial Park, ON). Tom Thomson was the most influential and enduringly popular Canadian artist of the early 20th century. An intense, wry and gentle artist with a canny sensibility, he was an early inspiration for what became the Group of Seven. He was one of the first painters to give acute visual form to the Canadian landscape. His works portray the natural world in a way that is poetic but still informed by direct experience. Many of his paintings, such as The West Wind (1916–17) and The Jack Pine (1916–17), have become icons of Canadian culture. He produced about 50 canvases and more than 400 sketches in his short professional career. His legend only grew after his untimely death at the age of 39.