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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”

Article

André Lortie

André Lortie, tenor (born 11 May 1930 in Montreal, Quebec). André Lortie handled tragic roles as easily as comic parts. His performances of Beppe in I Pagliacci and Spoletta in Tosca established his reputation in Canada as a singer of character roles.

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54-40

Alternative rock band 54-40 rose from the Vancouver punk scene of the late 1970s to achieve mainstream success in Canada in the late 1980s and the 1990s. They have had four platinum albums and one gold album and have been nominated for eight Juno Awards. They are perhaps best known for the hit singles “I Go Blind,” “Baby Ran,” “One Day in Your Life,” “Nice to Luv You,” “She La,” “Ocean Pearl” and “Since When,” among others. The band has been inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame. “I Go Blind” was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2021.

Article

André Jobin

André Jobin, tenor, actor, stage designer (born 20 January 1933 in Québec, QC). The son of tenor, Raoul Jobin, André began his artistic training in Paris, France. André had a successful career as a singer and actor, and he performed in operas and operettas throughout Europe and North America (see Opera Performance).

Article

King Ganam

King (Ameen Sied) Ganam. Fiddler, composer, b Swift Current, Sask, of Syrian-American parents, 9 Aug 1914, d Carlsbad, California, 26 Apr 1994. At first taught by oldtime fiddlers in his hometown, Ganam played for dances at nine and on CHWC radio, Regina, at 13. Later, his formal teachers were W.

Article

Edwin A. Baker

Edwin Albert Baker, CC, OBE, MC, co-founder of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) (born 9 January 1893 in Ernestown Township, ON; died 7 April 1968 in Collins Bay, ON). After he was blinded as a solider during the First World War, Baker was motivated to create employment opportunities and training for people with blindness and vision loss (see Blindness and Visual Impairment). He assisted in the establishment of the CNIB, a national organization. As managing director, Baker championed rights and broadened research and awareness of blindness. His work was recognized by prominent figures around the world.

Article

King George VI

King George VI (George VI, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions Beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India) (born 14 December 1895 at York Cottage, Sandringham, Norfolk, United Kingdom; died 6 February 1952 at Sandringham House, Norfolk). The father of Queen Elizabeth II, George VI reigned during the Second World War. He was the first reigning monarch to tour Canada (in 1939) and the first monarch to hold the official title of Head of the Commonwealth (from 1949).

Article

Marie de l'Incarnation

Marie de l’Incarnation, born Marie Guyart, founder of the religious order of the Ursulines in Canada, mystic and writer (born 28 October 1599 in Tours, France; died 30 April 1672 in Quebec City). Her writings are among the most important accounts of the founding of the colony of New France and the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church in the Americas. Her work as a teacher helped to lay the foundations for formal education in Canada.

Article

Edith Monture

Charlotte Edith Anderson Monture (often known simply as Edith Monture), Mohawk First World War veteran, registered nurse, (born 10 April 1890 on Six Nations reserve near Brantford, ON; died 3 April 1996 in Ohsweken, ON). Edith was the first Indigenous woman to become a registered nurse in Canada and to gain the right to vote in a Canadian federal election. She was also the first Indigenous woman from Canada to serve in the United States military. Edith broke barriers for Indigenous women in the armed forces and with regards to federal voting rights. A street (Edith Monture Avenue) and park (Edith Monture Park) are named after her in Brantford, Ontario.

Article

Walter Kohn

Walter Kohn, theoretical physicist, professor, Nobel laureate in chemistry (born 9 March 1923 in Vienna, Austria; died 19 April 2016, Santa Barbara, United States). A refugee in England at the outbreak of the Second World War, Kohn was arrested in 1940 as an “enemy alien” and sent to Canada, where he was held in detention camps until 1942 (see Canada and the Holocaust). After his release, he studied mathematics and physics at the University of Toronto and Harvard University. He taught for many years at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and later at the University of California, San Diego and was the founding director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Kohn was at the forefront of solid-state physics and quantum chemistry during his scientific career. For his work on “density functional theory” he was named co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998.

Article

Sir Frederick Banting

Sir Frederick Grant Banting, KBE, MC, FRS, FRSC, co-discoverer of insulin, medical scientist, painter (born 14 November 1891 in Alliston, ON; died 21 February 1941 near Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland). Banting is best known as one of the scientists who discovered insulin in 1922. After this breakthrough, he became Canada’s first professor of medical research at the University of Toronto. Banting was also an accomplished amateur painter. As an artist, he had links to A.Y. Jackson and the Group of Seven.

Article

CCMC

CCMC. 'Free music orchestra' formed in 1974 in Toronto as the Canadian Creative Music Collective. Only the abbreviation was in use by 1978. Defining itself as 'a composing ensemble...

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Catherine Lafortune

Catherine Lafortune, ballet dancer (born 17 February 1961 in Montreal, QC). At the age of seven, Catherine Lafortune enthusiastically responded to the call of dance and took courses in the Cecchetti method at the La Volière studio. Completing her examinations with distinction, she entered the dance academy of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Through the years of her apprenticeship (ages 15 to 17) she undertook intensive training at York University, where her talent was noticed by the teaching staff.

Article

Claude Lagacé

Claude Pierre Édouard Lagacé, organist, choirmaster, educator (born 1 May 1917 in Sorel, QC; died 7 February 2019 in Quebec City). BA (Laval) 1938, B PH (Laval) 1939, B MUS (Laval) 1954, Associate American Guild of Organists 1957.

Article

Andre De Grasse

Andre De Grasse, sprinter, philanthropist (born 10 November 1994 in Scarborough, ON). Andre De Grasse is the first Canadian to break both the 10-second barrier in the 100 m dash and the 20-second barrier in the 200 m dash. He burst onto the international stage at age 20, winning double gold at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, followed by a bronze medal in the 100 m at the 2015 World Track and Field Championships. At the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, De Grasse won silver in the 200 m, bronze in the 100 m and bronze in the 4x100 m relay. At the 2020 Games in Tokyo, he won gold in the 200 m and bronze in both the 100 m and the 4x100 m relay. He is the first Canadian sprinter to win three medals at a single Olympic Games. He also holds the Canadian record in the 200 m (19.62 seconds).

Article

Kim Campbell

Avril Phaedra Douglas Campbell, PC, CC, QC, OBC, lawyer, professor, politician, Canada’s prime minister 25 June 1993 to 3 November 1993, diplomat, global advocate for education, democracy and women’s issues (born 10 March 1947 in Port Alberni, BC). Kim Campbell became Canada's first — and still only — female prime minister when she assumed the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party following Brian Mulroney's resignation. She was also Canada’s first female justice minister and attorney general; Canada’s first female minister of national defence and of veterans affairs; the first woman to represent a member country at a NATO meeting; and the first prime minister from British Columbia. She has received the Order of British Columbia and numerous honorary degrees and is a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Article

Joseph Whiteside Boyle

Joseph Whiteside Boyle (born 6 November 1867 in Toronto, ON; died 14 April 1923 in Hampton Hill, Middlesex, United Kingdom). Nicknamed Klondike Joe, Boyle founded a gold mining company and became a millionaire in the aftermath of the Klondike gold rush. During the First World War, he equipped a machine gun unit and was a spy with the British secret service in Russia and Romania. He also reorganized the Russian military supply network, rescued Romanian prisoners of war and became the confidant and possibly lover of Queen Marie of Romania.