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Pédagogue et pionnière en enseignement de l'éducation physique au Québec, Cécile Grenier naît à Montréal (Québec) le 12 juin 1907. Récipiendaire d’un diplôme de l’École normale de Nicolet en 1925, elle quitte le Québec pour enseigner la littérature française au Lorette College (Toronto, Ontario). Deux ans plus tard, elle revient à Montréal (Québec) où elle est engagée par la Commission des écoles catholique de Montréal (CECM) ou elle est notamment en charge de l’éducation physique. Afin de mieux connaitre cette matière, elle fait de la recherche et, à partir de 1962, elle suit des cours d’éducation physique et obtient un certificat de la Fondation Strathcona. Dix ans plus tard (1937), elle devient assistante-directrice du Service de l’éducation physique à la CECM, poste lui permettant d’organiser un curriculum pour l’éducation physique des filles. Grâce à une bourse d’étude, Cécile Grenier étudie la gymnastique en Suède. Elle fonde également l’Institut d’éducation physique, une institution dispensant de formations poussée en enseignement de l’éducation physique pour filles au niveau primaire et secondaire. Dans les années 1940, elle s'intéresse à diverses nouvelles méthodes d'enseignement dont la méthode Medeau, créée par Senta et Henrich Medeau, avec qui elle suit un stage en 1962.
Le travail de Cécile Grenier ne se borne pas à la CECM et à l’Institut d’éducation physique. En 1948, elle est choisie par le Département de l’instruction publique de l’Université de Montréal pour mettre sur pied un nouveau programme d’enseignement d’éducation physique pour filles de la première à la huitième année. Elle enseigne l’expression corporelle au Conservatoire d’art dramatique (1955-1960) et la gymnastique analytique à l’Université de Montréal (1956-1958). Cécile Grenier est décédée à Montréal en décembre 2003.
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Upstream was an Ottawa-based feminist news magazine published by the Feminist Publications of Ottawa. In January 1976, after a notice was posted in the Ottawa Women’s Centre, a collective began forming around the idea of a feminist news publication. The first issue was published in October 1976 thanks to a $3000 grant from the Bronfman Foundation and several fundraising endeavours. It began as a bi-monthly publication but changed to monthly when finances became difficult to secure. The collective started as a 16 women team and grew to include freelancers, volunteers, and a number of employees. They also hired students and contract employees through government assistant programs.
The name was adopted in honour of Agnes Macphail, the first woman elected to the House of Commons, who compared her public life in 1922 to a pleasurable but difficult voyage upstream. The staff felt that this paralleled the struggles women experienced going against traditional, exploitative currents in Canadian society. Published from 1976 to 1980, the collective wanted to keep women in Ottawa, and eventually Canada, informed of news and women’s issues from a feminist point of view. It was also a vehicle for encouraging dialogue between their readers.
Conceived of as a completely volunteer publication, Upstream began as a 20 page tabloid with 75% of space devoted to news and 25% to advertising. Each issue would include local news from a woman’s viewpoint as well as arts, sports, editorials, letters, opposition editorials, columns, national, and international news. Staffed by individuals with diverse backgrounds, they wanted to bring a variety of articles to their readers. This organization functioned with a non-hierarchical structure, which eventually caused issues within the group. Upstream was sustained through subscriptions and donations with a goal of generating advertising revenue in the future.
After fourteen months, Upstream developed some internal disharmony especially with regards to the political direction of the paper. Although they wanted a collective with diversity they required a more unified business plan. There are several letters and reports of issues with distribution including missing issues for several months, which is indicative of a lack of clearly defined roles and responsibilities within the collective. The disorganization eventually led to several members resigning over creative differences. Although they had steady circulation and revenue from a typesetting business, the paper experienced severe financial difficulties in early 1980. The collective went through a restructuring phase that was meant to create a unified policy that would help with the content, structure, and the political aim of the news magazine. Unfortunately, the reconstruction only identified bigger issues. In July 1980, the final issue of Upstream was published including personal messages on Upstream’s challenges and goodbyes. There was a wave of support both written and financial after the end of publication.
Feminist Publications of Ottawa hoped to expand into other forms of publication including graphic design. In 1978, members of the original collective also received a Secretary of State Grant to create a poster series on Women in History. This series included posters about women in sports, working in non-traditional careers, and a focus on the People’s case. There is no clear evidence that the full series was ever completed.
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Voice of Women began in 1960 when women across Canada were alarmed about the threat of nuclear war and how nuclear testing was endangering their children’s lives. Lotta Dempsey wrote columns in the Toronto Star asking women to write to her if they were willing to “do something” about this imminent danger. Hundreds replied. Four women, Jo Davis, Dorothy Henderson, Helen Tucker and Beth Touzel met with Lotta Dempsey and shortly thereafter “The Voice of Women” was established. Within months, thousands of women joined VOW that began to receive newsletters urging women to form small local groups to keep in touch with one another and to encourage all their female friends to join and unite for world peace.
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) is a non-partisan Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) comprised of a network of diverse women with consultative status at the United Nations ECOSOC. For 55 years, VOW has tirelessly advocated for a world without war. An accredited NGO to the United Nations, affiliated to the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), VOW was the Canadian lead group for peace at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Members have been active in follow-up activities, including writing the chapter,”Women and Peace” in Take Action for Equality, Development and Peace.
They continue to exist today as part of a growing and select number of NGOs that provide women the opportunity to appeal to national government and international diplomats, attend conferences at the United Nations including the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and to write and present briefs and statements to political heads of state and nations worldwide on women and peace issues. They respond to calls for guidance and research on peace and women’s issues locally, nationally, and internationally. VOW is a non-partisan, non-religious organization that values women in all their diversities.
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The idea for Women's Place/Place Aux Femmes originally grew out discussions held in January 1984 with Mayor of Ottawa, Marion Dewar. The community representatives and individuals who met with the Mayor felt there was a need for a centralized telephone information and referral service specifically for women.
A feasibility study on the need for such a service was commissioned in 1984 by an interim board named Women's Info. The study confirmed the need for one source to co-ordinate and provide information on the services available to women. Those surveyed also pointed to the problem of gaps in service and the need for outreach and advocacy, and so it was agreed that, although the service would begin with information and referral, it would grow into the areas of support, advocacy and direct services. In late 1984, while plans were being made for the new service, numerous concerns were raised about duplication of existing services, particularly with the Community Information Centre. To deal with these concerns, Women's Info decided to accelerate their growth plans and were given a grant of $10,000 to gather support and suggestions for the new proposal which included a wider range of services and a physical space for personal access and Centre activities.
Women's Info consulted the community extensively through mail-out questionnaires, pamphlets, and in-depth interviews, and discussions were also held with Community Information Centre representatives in an attempt to clarify respective roles and objectives. It was agreed that, besides providing information and referral, the new women's centre would also help identify and advocate for unmet needs and resources, and would work to heighten awareness of women's issues. The new proposal had extensive community support, and on October 16, Ottawa City Council approved funding. On June 12, 1986, Women's Place/Place aux Femmes officially opened at 242 Besserer Street.
From the beginning, Women's Place was concerned with reaching out to women who were isolated or disadvantaged because of age, ethnicity, poverty, disability or a combination of factors. Thus, their services, operating guidelines, and structure reflected the need to be inclusive and accessible. They did regular and extensive community outreach, established a francophone services collective and worked closely with other organizations to identify and work to solve problems caused by gaps in service. The Board was made up of both staff, volunteers and community members, and the organization was operated as a collective, with everyone sharing in the decision making process. Decision-making positions could not be held by men, although they could have limited access to services and information.
Like many women's organizations, Women's Place faced its share of financial problems, relying for funding on individual donations and government grants. In September 1986, only a few months after their official opening, their budget was reduced from $80,000 to $40,000, necessitating the cutting of 3 full time positions and many services. Another cut, in 1987, was met with a huge fundraising effort which included a reception for Bonnie Robichaud on Parliament Hill, film nights, a poetry reading, dances, a March for Peace and a music night. Since 1988, Women's Place/Place aux Femmes has relied mainly on grants from the provincial and local governments. In 1991, it moved from Besserer Street to Bruyère Street, where it rented the top half of a local community centre from the City of Ottawa.
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Broadside: A Feminist Review began publication in October 1979 and produced 10 issues a year until its demise in September 1989. Until then, the paper met its publication goals regularly with two exceptions: a mail strike and faulty equipment. Published in Toronto, Broadside was heavily weighted to Ontario. Attempts were made to link other Canadian correspondents to issues on a regular basis, however these were not consistently sustained.
Behind the production of Broadside was a volunteer collective whose goal was to publish a tabloid-size newspaper that would provide a forum for all women, to encourage dialogue, and to provide a feminist perspective on a range of subjects. The publication was committed to publishing reviews, analyses of women’s issues and feminist perspectives on world events. Articles about the Vietnamese Boat People, nuclear power, and Amnesty International shared space with articles on sexual assault, pornography, child care, pay equity, and abortion. There was always a large arts component along with critical commentary on popular culture.
Collective membership varied and current members were identified in the mastheads. The members of the collective had a variety of backgrounds and skills. These included volunteering skills for layout, editorial functions, fundraising, subscription services, circulation and distribution. Original collective members included Eve Zaremba, Philinda Masters, Deena Rasky, Beverly Allinson, Heather Brown, Susan G. Cole, Debra Curties, Judith Lawrence, Alex Maas, Jacqueline Frewin, and Susan Sturman.
From 1979 to 1988 Broadside had one paid employee, the editor, Philinda Masters. While the Broadside collective was responsible for the paper’s overall functioning, day to day decisions fell on the editor’s shoulders. Masters resigned in 1988 due to increasing financial and personal duress. During the mid-1980s summer students were hired under federal and provincial job programs. Some of the students continued to participate with the paper’s production as collective members.
Throughout its existence, the paper operated under the constant risk of financial doom. Support was raised mainly from advertisers, subscribers, and government grants. Some fundraising efforts sponsored by Broadside included dances, concerts, and a strawberry brunch. The collective initiated direct mail campaigns to boost subscriber lists and revenue.
The editorial collective attempted to continue the paper’s production, but found the combination of burn-out and financial pressures overwhelming. Volume 10, No.4 was published in February 1989, but there was no March issue. A meeting was called in an effort to encourage another group to take over production. Lacking further support, Broadside published the tenth anniversary and final issue (Volume 10, No.5) in August/September of 1989. The collective received funding for the final issue from personal donations and the Ontario Women’s Directorate.
Several collective members, participated in organizing the 1986 Canadian Feminist Periodicals (CFP) Conference. This conference was an initiative that grew out of the efforts of members of the Canadian Periodicals Publishers Association to strengthen the Feminist base within Quebec. Their first conference was held in 1985 in Quebec.
Significant contributors to Broadside included: Myrna Kostash, Susan G. Cole, Eve Zaremba, Marlene Nourbese Philip, Ann Cameron, Dorothy Heanut, Banuta Rubess, Angela Miles, Margaret Atwood, Joanne Kates, and Eleanor Wachtel.