Showing 145 results

Authority record

Redlight Theatre

  • Corporate body
  • 1974-1977

The Redlight Theatre was Toronto’s first professional feminist theatre company, operating from 1974 to 1977. Diane Grant, Marcella Lustig, and Francine Volker, who were actors and playwrights in Toronto’s alternative theatre scene, founded Redlight Theatre to give women artistic, technical and administrative opportunities in theatre. Grant, Lustig, and Volker served as Co-Artistic Directors and the theatre was run by a combination of hired staff and volunteers.

The Redlight Theatre mounted a wide range of productions addressing feminist topics such as the women’s history, gender stereotyping, and abortion. It produced original plays and commissioned work from playwrights such as Carol Bold and Margaret Hollingsworth. The Redlight Theatre’s most acclaimed production was What Glorious Times We Had written by Diane Grant, which told the story of Nellie McClung and the suffrage movement in Manitoba. What Glorious Times We Had premiered in 1974 and toured Canada for International Women’s Year in 1975. Other notable productions include Entrances (1974) written by Marcella Lustig and Francine Volker, Strange Games (1975) by Elinore Siminovitch, and Queen of the Silver Blades (1976) by Susan Swan and Margaret Dragu. The Redlight Theatre also sponsored Cleo Laine’s first concert in Canada.

In 1975, Redlight Theatre created the Playwrights Workshop to encourage women to develop professional skills in writing for the theatre. Plays that emerged from this workshop include Inside Looking In by Joann MacIntyre, Lies My Mother Told Me by Gay Claitman and Nancy White, and 10,000 Hellcats in Deepfreeze by Suzette Couture, Marcella Lustig, and Jacqueline Swartz.

Established with a grant from the Local Initiatives Program, the Redlight Theatre also received funding from The Secretary of State, the Canada Council, and the City of Toronto. The theatre never acquired sufficient funds to secure a permanent location so productions were staged in various venues, including the Matador Club, the Bathurst Street United Church, the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, and St. Paul’s Centre. After three seasons, the Redlight Theatre closed due to lack of funding in 1977.

Quinlan, Judith

  • Person

Judith Quinlan is a graduate of the University of Alberta in Edmonton and was on the Student Council (1970) and was part of starting the first Edmonton Women's Centre and the Isis women's shelter while a student. After graduating, she moved to Vancouver and worked on the Pedestal Women's Newspaper. In 1972, she moved to Toronto and worked on The Other Woman newspaper, helped start the Toronto Women's Bookstore, was one of the founders of Cora the Women's Bookmobile, and the Toronto Women's Centre. Judith later wrote for Broadside and worked on the LOOT project. She started the All Girls Hit and Run Feminist Marching Band and joined the Wages for Housework group and started Wages Due Lesbians.

After stepping away from these groups, she wrote poetry and songs (including the Mama Quilla name song) and then moved to rural British Columbia, where she worked with the 100 Mile House Women's Centre, acted as the editor of The Open Door (Rural Lesbians of BC), and got involved in choirs and music teaching. She later moved back to Vancouver and then Victoria where she currently resides.

Press Gang Printers

  • Corporate body
  • 1970-1993

Press Gang Printers was a feminist printing collective operating in Vancouver from 1970 to 1993. It incorporated under British Columbia's Companies Act as Press Gang Publishers Ltd. in April 1970. The organization included both women and men until 1974, when it was established as a women-only feminist collective.

Press Gang published its first book under its own imprint in 1976, a collection of essays entitled "I'm Not Mad, I'm Angry: Women Look at Psychiatry." Over the years, printing and publishing activities increasingly diverged, and in 1982 Press Gang established a separate collective to manage the publishing operations. In 1989 the separation was completed when the two collectives formally became distinct legal and corporate entities, Press Gang Printers Ltd. and Press Gang Publishers Feminist Cooperative. The two organizations, however, remained closely associated and continued to operate out of the same premises -- 603 Powell Street, where the shop was established in 1978, after four years in its previous location at 821 East Hastings Street.

Overend, Valerie

  • CA
  • Person
  • 1953-

Valerie Overend was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1953. During the 1990s, Valerie worked as a Red Seal Carpenter on commercial construction projects in the Regina area with the local Carpenters Union. Valerie had never met another woman on a construction site and knew that she wanted to do something to change that situation. She knew that women wanted to work in physical, creative, well-paying jobs but that they were limited by opportunity. She took advantage of her role as a summer instructor and moved into creating other programs for girls and women, maintaining the focus on career exploration in trades and technology. For the next 25 years, Valerie made her living expanding on that role until to her retirement.

In the 1970s, Saskatchewan Women in Trades & Technology (SaskWITT), a provincial organization that promotes and assists in the recruitment and training of girls and young women in predominantly male fields, was established. In the early 1990s, Valerie represented SaskWITT on the Board of the WITT National Network. That organization also developed programs to guide women into careers in trades and technology occupations. Valerie was on the team of WITT instructors from across Canada who met to develop National Standards and Guidelines for WITT programs in Canada. These were updated and revised again near the end of the decade to reflect changes in the landscape of trades and technology occupations. This work was fundamental in the development of curriculum resources that were introduced in all provinces and territories in Canada, many of them still in use.

In 1991, Valerie was approached by the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) to teach summer camps to introduce grades 7 and 8 girls to careers in trades and technology. With Valerie at the helm, SIAST campuses delivered summer Girls Exploring Trades and Technology Camps, GETT Alumnae workshops for high school girls, weekend Kids in the Shop Programs, a Kindergarten project where role models visited 60 classes each year, Women in Trades and Women in Technology Exploratory Programs, Career Fairs and variations of all of these for Aboriginal girls and women.

In 1995, she co-founded the Women’s Work Training Program in Regina, Saskatchewan. Throughout her career, Valerie sat on numerous Boards and Committees representing tradeswomen. These include the Saskatchewan Education Council, Saskatchewan Carpenters Trade Board, Saskatchewan Provincial Apprenticeship Board, the Saskatchewan Labour Market Initiatives Committee to the Canadian Construction Association, and the Women’s Reference Group to the Provincial Labour Force Development Board. Nationally, Valerie represented Saskatchewan as a Director of the Canadian Vocational Association, WITT NN, and CCWESTT. Through her involvement with these organizations, Valerie held Director positions with the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum and the National Women’s Reference Group on Labour Market Initiatives.

Aside from working directly with girls and women, Valerie began to work with employers and unions to resolve some of the barriers that conspired to keep women out of jobs in various industries. She worked both as a private consultant and as a consultant with WITT NN on various Employment Equity and Retention projects throughout the decade. Valerie’s work often involved travel, primarily in Canada. Over time, Valerie worked not only with the Construction Industry but also with Oil and Gas, and Mining Industries. She had contracts in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, and all of the Western Provinces and Ontario. As well, Valerie’s work once took her to Malawi in Africa.

When WITT NN dissolved in the early 2000s, Valerie was invited to work as a consultant to a project by the Canadian Coalition of Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology (CCWESTT). This resulted in the formation of the WinSETT Centre, a mechanism established to expand and support women’s participation in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology. Valerie became the Trades Consultant for the organization and worked to establish a pan-Canadian presence among unions, employers, and employer associations through delivery of programs and services.

Valerie has received both local and national recognition for her work. In 1992, she was awarded the Governor General’s 125 Medal for community volunteerism and she also recognized by the YWCA Regina as a Woman of Distinction. In 2005, Valerie received the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal. These awards recognize her dedicated work as a role model inspiring young women in non-traditional fields.

Ottawa Women's Place / Place aux Femmes

  • Corporate body
  • 1986-

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.

Ottawa Women's Lobby (OWL)

  • Corporate body
  • 1977-[199-]
The Ottawa Women’s Lobby (OWL) was a feminist advocacy organization founded as a member group of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) by Shirley Greenberg in 1977. OWL lobbied the municipal, provincial and federal governments to fight for equality for women in all aspects of Canadian life. The organization consisted of women from various occupations and backgrounds. In addition to Shirley Greenberg, the members of OWL throughout the group's founding/early years (1970s) consisted of: Kay Marshall, Lynn Kaye, Rosemary Billings, Diana Pepall, Mary Ambrose, Pat Hacker, John Baglow, Carole Swan, Helene Doyon, Sheila Klein, and Monica Townson. OWL remained active until the 1990's, but past members continue to hold semi-annual social meetings, which facilitate spirited debates.

Ottawa Women's Centre

  • Corporate body
  • 1972-1980

In early 1972, a group of women formed the Ottawa Women's Centre Association and drafted a proposal for a centre which would allow women to meet and pool their skills and resources. The Ottawa Women's Centre (OWC) was the result of their proposal. The Centre offered a space for meetings, counselling, training and education, and it became the hub of women's liberation activity in Ottawa from its opening in July 1972 until its demise in 1980.

Like many grassroots feminist organizations of the 1970s, the Women's Centre wanted to avoid traditional methods of organizing; the aim was to leave as much power as possible in the hands of the members themselves. Consequently, the OWC was structured as a collective, run by staff, volunteers and members together, and using consensus to decide on centre policy and direction. However, as the Women's Centre grew, the need for more structured organization became apparent, and while the collective structure was maintained, in 1974 a Policy Committee was elected to be in charge of the major decisions. It was also decided, in 1973, that the centre would be off limits to men.

The Women's Centre offered various services which revolved mainly around crisis help, counselling, information and support of various kinds. They were also very active in the community, helping to organize a number of events, such as the Native Women's March to Ottawa in 1979, protests against federal cutbacks affecting poor women, and "reclaim the night" parades. They inspired, supported and helped to organize many other women's organizations in the Ottawa community, such as the Rape Crisis Centre, Women's Career Counselling, Interval House and Upstream, a women's newspaper. In 1975, the scope of their programs had grown so large that it was decided to split the two components of service and action. At that time, Women's Info, Referral and Counselling became a separate organization while continuing to share the same space and Policy Committee.

Financial support for the OWC came from a number of sources, including individual donations and support from other community organizations such as the Ottawa Women's Business and Professional Club. A major fundraising drive and benefit events were held in 1973, 1974 and 1976. The OWC also received grant money through the International Women's Year Program, the Local Initiatives Program and the City of Ottawa. In 1975, they were awarded a $10,000 grant from the Regional Municipality on the condition that they incorporate and register as a charitable institution. However, this decision was strongly opposed by some members who saw the potential for serious problems in reliance on government funding. These problems were illustrated the following year when the same grant was revoked. Although the decision was later reversed, the OWC was temporarily thrown into a funding crisis by the controversy.

In 1978 an open meeting was called to discuss the future of the OWC and it was decided that they would work towards becoming self-sufficient. A Business Committee was formed to help with this goal, and the result was the creation of Chez Nous, a small cafe which opened on the premises in February 1979. It was hoped that revenues from Chez Nous would allow the centre to survive without government support. Unfortunately, difficulties connected to their application for a liquor license threw them into even deeper financial trouble and they were forced to close in May 1980.

The Women’s Place / Place aux femmes (fonds 10-020) was opened in 1986, after extensive feasibility studies and community surveys to determine exactly what type of service should be offered in Ottawa. The basic organisation, philosophy and services of Women’s Place were very similar to those of the previous Ottawa Women’s Centre, but there was more emphasis on meeting the needs of diverse groups of women in the community, and on working together with other organisations and agencies.

Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre

  • Corporate body
  • 1974-

In 1974, three women (Rosemary Billings, Gaby Van Heusen and Diane Williams) originally active in the Ottawa Women’s Centre had the idea of starting a crisis centre for victims of rape and sexual assault in the Ottawa-Hull area. A grant was secured to support the project, and on December 15th, 1974, the centre officially opened. The original goals of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre were to 1) provide direct assistance to rape victims through a volunteer-operated crisis phone line, casework and accompaniment services, and group counselling 2) to educate the public toward a change in attitude and treatment of the issue of rape. Representatives of the centre spoke to high schools and other organizations to raise awareness as well as liaising with police stations and hospitals with the aim of working together to help victims of rape.

In 1976, the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre was comprised of four full-time staff and 40 volunteers. A board of directors made up of community members was established in early 1976 to provide support for a Demonstration Project grant submission to the Federal Government Health & Welfare department. Conflicts between the board and certain staff members ensued in 1976 and 1977 which threatened the success of the centre; internal conflicts occurred again in 1982. The Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre continues to operate in 2019 and has expanded to include three full time and eight part-time staff members, project staff, and approximately 50 volunteers who respond to the crisis line, provide education outreach, and sit on the board.

Ontario Institute of Studies in Education

  • Canada
  • Corporate body
  • 1965-current

The Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) was founded in 1965, by an act of the Ontario legislature; it was established to lead research initiatives and to provide graduate programs in education. Research and graduate studies within the University of Toronto were transferred to OISE from the Ontario Colleges of Education.

In December 1994, OISE was integrated with the Faculty of Education, University of Toronto. It was named the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, and was fully operational by July 1996.

Beginning in 2012, OISE was structured with four academic departments: Applied Psychology and Human Development (APHD); Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL); Leadership, Higher and Adult Education (LHAE); Social Justice Education (SJE). The current dean of OISE is G.A. Jones, whose term began in 2015. The Council of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education is the institute’s highest governing body; it oversees faculty governance.

OISE is mandated to equip scholars, teachers and other professional with skills and global awareness necessary to influence policy and practice in their fields. The institute is mandated to discover and mobilize knowledge through leading-edge research and innovation. It is also mandated to advance lifelong learning and to contribute to public policy dialogue.

Ontario Advisory Council on Women's Issues (OACWI)

  • Corporate body
  • 1985-1993
The Ontario Advisory Council on Women's Issues (OACWI) was founded in 1984. It was the successor to the Ontario Advisory Council on the Status of Women (OACSW), founded in 1973 in response to the 1970 federal Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. Succesful lobbying by women's groups pushed the Ontario government to expand the capacity of OACWI and it was charged with advising the government on women’s issues through a special minister. The Conservative government decided to fold the OACWI in 1996.
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