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Article

Wade MacLauchlan

H. Wade MacLauchlan, CM, OPEI, MLA, 32nd premier of Prince Edward Island (2015–19), president of University of Prince Edward Island (1999–2011), lawyer, academic (born 10 December 1954 in Stanhope, PEI). MacLauchlan was sworn in as premier of Prince Edward Island on 23 February 2015, becoming the province’s first openly gay premier. The former law professor and university president received the Order of Canada in 2008 and the Order of Prince Edward Island in 2014. He is the author of Alex B. Campbell: The Prince Edward Island Premier Who Rocked the Cradle (2014).

Article

Sir Samuel Hughes

Sir Samuel Hughes, teacher, journalist, soldier, politician (born at Darlington, Canada W 8 Jan 1853; died at Lindsay, Ont 24 Aug 1921). A Conservative and an enthusiastic supporter of Sir John A. Macdonald's National Policy, Sam Hughes was elected to Parliament for Victoria North in 1892.

Article

George C. Ebers

George Cornell Ebers, neurologist, researcher (born 24 July 1946 in Budapest, Hungary). Ebers has published extensively with more than 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals, three books, 25 book chapters, and multiple editorials to his name. He has contributed significant medical research into multiple sclerosis (MS). A former professor at Western University and the University of Oxford, Ebers was awarded the John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research.

Article

Alexina Louie

Alexina Diane Louie, OC, OOnt, FRSC, composer, pianist, teacher (born 30 July 1949 in Vancouver, BC). Alexina Louie is one of Canada’s most celebrated composers. She writes music with an imaginative and spiritual blend of Asian and Western influences. Her compositions have earned many prizes, including multiple Juno and SOCAN Awards. Her most significant works include Scenes from a Jade Terrace (1988), Music for Heaven and Earth (1990) and Bringing the Tiger Down from the Mountain II (2004). Louie is the first woman to receive the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music and served as composer-in-residence at the Canadian Opera Company from 1996 to 2002. An Officer of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, she has received the Order of Ontario, the Molson Prize and a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.

Article

Maureen Forrester

Maureen Kathleen Stewart Forrester, CC, O.ON, OQ, opera and recital singer, teacher, arts administrator (born 25 July 1930 in Montreal, QC; died 16 June 2010 in Toronto, ON). Maureen Forrester was one of Canada’s greatest and best-known classical singers. She was renowned for her remarkable trumpet-like contralto and her deeply emotive musical interpretations. The only classical performer other than Glenn Gould to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, she was admired greatly at home and abroad for her recitals, recordings and opera performances. She also served as chair of the Canada Council for the Arts, director of du Maurier Arts and chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University. She received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, the Molson Prize, the Diplôme d’honneur from the Canadian Conference of the Arts and the Canadian Music Council Medal, as well as numerous other honours.

Article

Hugh Fraser

Hugh Alexander Fraser, pianist, trombonist, composer, teacher (born 26 October 1958 in Victoria, BC; died 17 June 2020). Two-time Juno Award-winner Hugh Fraser enjoyed great success with his 13-piece big band Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation (VEJI, or “Veggie”) and with the Hugh Fraser Quintet. He composed over 200 jazz works, including many commissions, and taught at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Royal Academy of Music in London, and the University of Victoria. He set up the diploma jazz program at the Victoria Conservatory of Music in 2001. Jazz Report named Fraser Canadian trombonist of the year in 1996 and 1998.

Article

Resistance and Residential Schools

Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools that many Indigenous children were forced to attend. They were established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Indigenous parents and children did not simply accept the residential-school system. Indigenous peoples fought against – and engaged with – the state, schools and other key players in the system. For the duration of the residential-school era, parents acted in the best interests of their children and communities. The children responded in ways that would allow them to survive.

Article

Gérard Bouchard

Gérard Bouchard, Québécois historian and sociologist, internationally renowned public intellectual (born 26 December 1943 in Jonquière, Quebec). His work covers a variety of topics, namely nationalism, collective identity and imaginary, the Québécois society and diversity management. In 2007-2008, Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor co-chaired the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences in Quebec.

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The Underground Railroad (Plain-Language Summary)

The Underground Railroad was a secret organization. It was made up of people who helped African Americans escape from slavery in the southern United States. The people in this organization set up a system of routes that escaped slaves could travel to find freedom in the northern United States and Canada. In the 1800s (the 19th century) between 30,000 and 40,000 escaped slaves travelled to British North America (Canada) through the Underground Railroad.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the Underground Railroad in Canada. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry on The Underground Railroad.)

Article

James George Eayrs

James George Eayrs, political scientist, educator (born 13 October 1926 in London, England; died 6 February 2021 in Toronto, ON). Educated at the University of Toronto, Columbia and London School of Economics, Eayrs was Eric Dennis Memorial Professor of Political Science and Government at Dalhousie University. He taught at the University of Toronto (1952–80) and at Dalhousie University (1980–92) and was editor of the International Journal (1959–84).

Article

Egerton Ryerson

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.

Article

Olivier Le Jeune

We may never know the exact number of British ships that carried enslaved people from the continent of Africa to the New World (see Black Enslavement in Canada). However, the earliest record of enslaved Black Africans in New France is the sale of a boy from either Madagascar or Guinea. In 1629, the child, believed to have been around six years old, was brought to New France aboard a British ship as the chattel slave of Sir David Kirke, a trader and privateer for England’s King Charles I. The boy was later sold to a French clerk named Olivier Le Baillif, and then transferred to Guillaume Couillard. In 1633, the enslaved boy was baptized and given the name Olivier Le Jeune. Le Jeune remained in the colony of New France for the rest of his life until he died on 10 May 1654.

Article

Alfred Schmitz Shadd

Alfred Schmitz Shadd, educator, physician, farmer, politician, pharmacist, editor, civic leader (born 1870 in Raleigh Township, Kent County, ON; died 1915 in Winnipeg, MB).

Article

Richard Semmens

Richard (Templar) Semmens. Musicologist, teacher (born 27 December 1950 in Vancouver, BC; died 2022 in London, ON). B MUS (British Columbia) 1973, M MUS (British Columbia) 1975, PH D (Stanford) 1980.

Article

David Blackwood

David Lloyd Blackwood, CM, O Ont, printmaker, painter (born 7 November 1941 in Wesleyville [now New-Wes-Valley], NL; died 2 July 2022 in Port Hope, ON). David Blackwood was considered one of Canada's most important etchers (see printmaking). Dubbed “Newfoundland’s gothic master” by the Globe and Mail, Blackwood’s work often depicts the treacherous seafaring life of his native Newfoundland. He taught at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario, and served as honorary chair of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Article

Irving Abella

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.

Article

Audrey Farnell

Audrey Bernice Farnell, soprano, teacher (born 28 July 1921 in Amherst, NS; died 11 September 1995 in Toronto, ON). Audrey Farnell enjoyed a prominent career as both a soloist and recitalist. After winning the 1945–46 Singing Stars of Tomorrow competition, she performed with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Montreal Elgar Choir, the Halifax Choral Society and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, among others. She also performed for Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip during their first Royal Tour of Canada in 1951. Farnell later taught at the Alberta College Music Centre and at the Royal Conservatory of Music.