Canada’s History Society decided to mark the centennial of the first women to win the vote in Canada — in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1916 — by celebrating great women from Canada’s past.
To create our list we recruited a panel of prominent Canadians — former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson; bestselling author Charlotte Gray; historians Michèle Dagenais (Université de Montreal), Tina Loo (University of British Columbia), and Joan Sangster (Trent University); and author and English professor Aritha van Herk (University of Calgary).
Theirs was not an easy task, for how do you define greatness? The list of thirty names the panel came up with is by no means definitive; some of the names are familiar, others are obscure. But what can be said is that each of the great women chosen has in some way made a positive impact on Canada.
Canada’s History Society would like to invite teachers and students to take on new perspectives and some other historical thinking concepts. Have students select one of the thirty women and debate whether she deserves to be identified as a great or if someone else should take her place. Take the time with your class to listen to this interview with one of our judges, Joan Sangster, about her experience in selecting these great women.