In June 1983, a small group of midwives, consumers, health care providers and other supporters of midwifery met to discuss the status of midwifery in Ontario. Historically, Ontario had a tradition of lay midwives who attended the births of family, friends and neighbours. This tradition of community midwifery began to decline around the turn of the century until, by the 1950s, midwifery had all but disappeared in Ontario. In the 1970s, the practice of midwifery began to re-emerge and was influenced by the natural childbirth movement principles that pregnancy and birth are normal, healthy, family events and that pregnant women themselves should be the primary decision makers about the health care they receive. Subsequently, the Midwifery Task Force of Ontario (MFT-O), a community-based lobby group, was established to promote legislation and recognition of midwifery. Around the same time, the association of practicing midwives (Ontario Association of Midwives) and nurse-midwives association (Ontario Nurse-Midwives Association) joined together to form the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM). The MTF-O gained support from women and their families seeking an alternative to the medical model of childbirth and maternity care. Over the next several years, the AOM and the MTF-O worked together to advocate the creation of midwifery as a recognized profession. This culminated in Bill 56, the Midwifery Act which was passed on December 31, 1993 making Ontario the first province in Canada to recognize, regulate and fund midwifery as part of the health care system.
Wendy McPeake was involved in the creation of cultural products, including museum exhibits, revenue-generating publications and products, promotional publications, and commercial operations. She obtained a Bachelor of Art in English Literature from the University of Ottawa in 1971 and also studied at the Université d’Aix-en-Provence in 1972 and 1973, as well as completing courses in management publishing. In the late 1970s, Wendy McPeake was involved in various groups and organizations working on women's issues. She was very active in the Ottawa Women's Centre, frequently sitting on the Policy Committee. She was involved in organizing various events, including a musical fundraiser in 1977 with the artists Angele Arsenault, CT & April, and Ellen McIllwaine, as well as another concert fundraiser that featured Rita MacNeil.
Wendy McPeake founded and was a very active member of the Political Action Collective, renamed the Feminist Action Collective in 1981. She worked as a marketing manager at the National Museums of Canada (1980 to 1984), as Assistant to the Director of Publishing at McClelland and Stewart publishing house (1984-1985), as Director, Publishing and Product Development at the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology Corporation (1985-1995), and as Director Commercial Operations at the Canada Museum of Science and Technology Corporation (1994-1998). She is currently a freelance publishing consultant and editor.
Ján (John) Matisko was born in 1902 in Slovakia. According to a letter written by one of his former students, he was a teacher in Prešov, a city in eastern Slovakia. He and his wife Martha had a son named Barney. According to his correspondence, he may have arrived in the United States in 1949 and settled in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. He passed away in 1974.
Mary Bishop is a retired CPA representative. She lived in Toronto from 1970 to 1984, until she moved to Ottawa. She started attending the theatre on a regular basis in the 70s. During that time, she attended many performances in Toronto, Stratford, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ottawa, and other locations. She saved most of the programs to the plays she attended. In 2020, she moved in northern Ontario and decided to give her collection to the Archives and special collection.
Claudette MacKay-Lassonde was a prominent engineer and leader in energy and telecommunications fields. She was also an outspoken advocate for science and engineering as viable career options for women. Dr. MacKay-Lassonde was born in Montreal, Québec, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at École Polytechnique. She married fellow engineering student, Pierre Lassonde (b. 1947–) in 1970, and the couple had two children.
After graduating from École Polytechnique in 1971, Claudette MacKay-Lassonde earned her Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Utah. She went on to earn her Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 1983 from the University of Toronto. Dr. MacKay-Lassonde’s honourary degrees encompass numerous doctorates of engineering, including the University of Windsor’s honourary engineering doctorate (1986), an Honourary Doctor of Science from Queen’s University (1993) and an Honourary Doctor of Laws from Concordia University (1996).
Claudette MacKay-Lassonde challenged hostilities and stereotypes towards women within science and engineering fields. She spoke in such diverse settings as elementary school career fairs, university engineering convocations and conventions of women engineers. She helped found Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), in 1977, and also organized the First Canadian Convention of Women Engineers in Toronto, Ontario (1981) to help engineering women communicate and mobilize to advance their careers.
From 1986-1987 Claudette MacKay-Lassonde served as the first woman president of the Association of Professional Engineers Ontario (APEO). From 1987-1988 she was a member of the National Advisory Board on Science and Technology, and from 1988-1990 was chair of the Canadian Engineering Manpower Board. In 1991, she became Ontario Provincial Assistant Deputy Minister of Trade and International Relations.
Claudette MacKay-Lassonde was the first woman vice president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in 1987. She was also nominated to the Mississauga riding of the Ontario Liberal Party, although the Conservative representative was elected to power, in 1987. After the École Polytechnique massacre, in 1989, Dr. MacKay-Lassonde founded the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation (CEMF) to provide scholarship opportunities for promising young female engineering students—an initiative that continues today.
Claudette MacKay-Lassonde’s career also spanned senior positions within organizations such as Ontario Hydro, (manager of the Load Forecasting Department), Northern Telecom, Xerox and Enghouse systems (Chair and CEO), Firelight Investments (president), AGF Group of Funds, Abitibi-Price, Clearnet Communications and Les Laboratories Aeterna.
Helen Levine (nee Zivian) was born in Ottawa in 1923. She was a social worker, activist and professor. At the School of Social Work at Carleton University, she introduced women's issues and feminist perspectives into the curriculum for the first time. She received the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case for advancing the equality of women in Canada.
Helen Levine was actively involved in the women’s movement since the late 1960s. She was a member of the Faculty of the School of Social Work at Carleton University from the mid-1970s until 1988. Upon retiring, she practised feminist counselling as well as speaking and doing workshops on topics related to women’s personal and political struggles. She was a member of the Crones, a group of older feminists; of a singing group called Sistersong; and of Woman-to-Woman, a feminist counselling project in Ottawa. She published many articles, most of which have been critiques of the conventional helping professions and of the issues related to a feminist counselling approach. In October 1989, she was one of six women across Canada to receive the Person’s Award, in recognition of her contribution to improving the status of Canadian Women.
The Lesbian Organization of Toronto (LOOT) was founded in 1976 and was Toronto's first openly lesbian feminist group. L.O.O.T. grew out of an October 1976 meeting convened in the C.H.A.T. (Community Homophile Association of Toronto) offices on Church Street. Fiona Rattray, an original member, estimates the meeting was attended by 30-60 lesbians. Members present at this meeting decided to rent part of a house (342 Jarvis St), to develop a multi-use lesbian centre. The collective also included Eve Zaremba, who would later become one of Canada's first notable openly lesbian writers, and Lynne Fernie, a noted documentary filmmaker. The Lesbian Organization of Toronto shared the building with two other compatible organizations; The Other Woman, one of Toronto's longest lasting feminist newsmagazines, and the Three of Cups Women's Coffeehouse. L.O.O.T. moved into the house on February 1, 1977. The organization regularly provided peer support, telephone counselling, dances, social & political activities, a lending library, a newsletter, potluck socials, brunches, concerts and performances by well-known feminist and lesbian musicians like Ferron, Alix Dobkin, Mama Quilla II, and Beverley Glenn Copeland. In 1979, L.O.O.T. members, in collaboration with the International Women's Day Committee, organized that year's Bi-National Lesbian Conference on the University of Toronto campus.
In 1978, members from Wages Due Lesbians created a new organization called Lesbian Mothers’ Defence Fund (LMDF). Modelled on the Seattle organization Lesbian Mothers’ National Defense Fund, this new group was formed in Toronto in 1978 and was primarily concerned with helping lesbian mothers in child custody cases. As such, it collected a large amount of documents on trials held in Canada and the United States, which it distributed to lesbian mothers or/and their lawyers. It also provided some financial assistance and emotional support to lesbian mothers.
To reach as many women as possible it also began to publish a newsletter, Grapevine: the newsletter of the Lesbian Mothers' Defence Fund. Not only did it inform women but the money helped to support the running of the organization. The Lesbian Mothers’ Defence Fund also raised money by holding dances and accepting donations. However, the revenues were slim and they had to rely heavily on grants given by several companies. By 1987 the organization ceased operations.
Born in Canada in 1945 to Jewish-Polish survivors of World War II, Judith Lermer Crawley grew up and went to school in Montreal, eventually obtaining an MA in English Literature. She bought a camera in the summer of 1968 and spent the better part of that summer in San Francisco in a publically funded city darkroom, where she experimented, practised, learned from others and taught herself photography. Upon her return to Montreal, she set up her own darkroom and continued to explore photography while teaching English Literature at Loyola College. With the opening of Vanier College (CEGEP) in Montreal in 1970, she joined its faculty as an English and photography teacher. Greta Nemiroff was instrumental in hiring Judith Lermer Crawley to teach at Vanier College because of shared attitudes to education. Judith taught the course “Images: photographic and Poetic” which became the basis of the photography component of the Creative Arts program at Vanier. Along with her colleague Alanna Stalker, they brought feminist ideas, skills and teaching philosophy to a new Women’s Studies Programme at Vanier College. Judith worked on the Executive of the Teachers’ Union. Her concern over the conservative direction the government was taking in education led her to participate in the 1983 strikes and to edit the newsletter of the union local. Judith Lermer Crawley was also part of the Montreal Health Press Collective/Les Presses de la Santé de Montréal, a collective that produced and distributed handbooks on issues of health and sexuality. She was the photography coordinator for the collective but also participated also in the entire process of revising, publishing and distributing the publications. As a photographer, most of Judith’s work was based in Montreal, where she lived, worked and raised her two children on her own. Her photographic work took the point of view of the women’s community. Her main subject was women’s “private” daily life, which often showed a network of relationships. She placed intimate images within a cultural, political context and used her photography as part of a process of reflecting on and understanding her life as a woman. For Judith Lermer Crawley, photography was also a collaborative process between artist and subject, artist and community, and involved place, culture and voice: “My camera shoots not up, not down, but around.” The starting point of her image-making was the social reality of women’s experience and the need to challenge predominant stereotypes of women as either passive/subordinate (and in middle years, also invisible) or active/sexually provocative. She wanted to reflect her feminism in her engagement with art. Judith Lermer Crawley exhibited and published her photographs widely in Canada and the United States. She created her own exhibitions and also participated in group shows, the first held in Little Shop Gallery in 1980. In March 1982, she mounted a photographic exhibit entitled “Relations” at Galerie Dazibao in Montreal. In 1985, she realized the project titled “Giving Birth is just the beginnings: Women speak about mothering”. In this project, Judith Crawley presented black and white photographs of women with their children, co-parents and friends. The photographs were integrated with text, in English and French, drawn from conversations about mothering with the women she has been photographing for years. A book version of the project was produced. In 1986, she exhibited “You can’t hug kids with nuclear arms”. The photographs and texts in this exhibition questioned “how children can be raised in the face of a possible nuclear holocaust. It ended with a list of the names and phone numbers of disarmament groups in Montreal. In 1988, she participated in “Mexico/Canada: A photographic Exchange” and in 1993, she exhibited the project “One in Five…” which combined photographs of her children taken after the death of their father with their comments and her memories as a single parent. In 1997, she worked on the exhibition “The 50s/La Cinquantaine”. The project focused on issues that the women of her community faced in their middle years - as individuals, with partners, friends, colleagues, family and adult children. In 2001, she participated in the group exhibition “Urbanité” shown at the Centre de Creativité du Gesu. In 2002, Judith Lermer Crawley travelled to Poland with one of her friends and her brother, and a project based on this trip resulted. The project was shown for the first time at Vanier College in Montreal in 2003. In 2006, another exhibition “Women’s Daybook Series" was also hosted at Vanier College. / Née au Canada en 1945, de parents juifs-polonais ayant survécu à la Seconde Guerre mondiale, Judith Lemer Crawley a grandi et a été scolarisée à Montréal. Elle obtient une maîtrise en littérature anglaise et enseigne ensuite la littérature anglaise. Elle achète son premier appareil photo durant l'été 1968. Elle passe la plus grande partie de l'été à San Francisco utilisant une chambre noire mise à disposition du public et financée par l'État. Elle y fait ses premières expériences en matière de photographie. Son apprentissage de la photographie est autodidacte. À son retour à Montréal, elle met en place sa propre chambre noire et continue d'explorer la photographie tout en enseignant la littérature anglaise au Collège Loyola. Lors de l’ouverture du Collège Vanier (CEGEP) à Montréal en 1970, elle se joint à la faculté en tant que professeure d'anglais et de photographie. Greta Nemiroff a joué un rôle déterminant dans l'embauche de Judith Lemer Crawley en tant qu’enseignante au collège. Leurs conceptions de l’éducation se rejoignent. Judith Lemer Crawley enseigne le cours "Images : photographique et poétique" qui est devenu la base du volet « Photographie » du programme d’Arts créatifs. Elle travaille en collaboration avec Alanna Stalker dont elle partage la philosophie, et les visions féministes. Elles contribuent au développement du programme d'études sur les femmes du Collège Vanier. Judith Lemer Crawley fait partie de l'exécutif du Syndicat des enseignantes et des enseignants. Elle est également membre du département d'études des femmes à Vanier. Inquiète de l’orientation conservatrice prise par l'État en matière d'éducation, elle participe aux grèves de 1983. Elle rédige le bulletin de sa section locale et collabore avec Alanna Stalker sur divers projets pendant cette période de grèves. Judith Lemer Crawley a fait partie du collectif Les Presses de la Santé de Montréal / Montreal Health Press Collective, un collectif qui a produit et distribué des manuels traitant de questions de santé et de sexualité. Elle a été photographe-coordonnatrice du collectif, et a également participé à l'ensemble du processus de révision, de publication et de distribution. La plupart de ses travaux photographiques se déroulent à Montréal, où elle a vécu, travaillé et a élevé seule ses deux enfants. Elle a travaillé à partir du point de vue de la communauté des femmes. Son sujet principal est la vie quotidienne et ""privée"" des femmes, souvent présentée comme un réseau de relations. Elle place ces images intimes dans un contexte social et politique qu’elle question. Elle utilise la photographie dans le cadre de son processus de réflexion et de compréhension de sa vie de femme. Pour Judith Lemer Crawley, la photographie est aussi un processus de collaboration entre l'artiste et le sujet, l'artiste et la communauté, impliquant le lieu, la culture et la vision du photographe. "" My camera shoots not up, not down, but around. "Le point de départ de sa création d'image est la réalité sociale de l'expérience des femmes et la nécessité de remettre en question les stéréotypes prédominants selon lesquels les femmes sont soit passives/subordonnées (voir invisibles) ou actives/sexuellement provocatrices. Elle utilise le médium photographique pour refléter ses perceptions et préoccupations concernant la place des femmes dans la société. Elle a exposé et publié ses photographies au Canada et aux États-Unis. Elle développe ses propres expositions et a également participé à d'autres expositions de groupe. Sa première participation à une exposition de groupe a eu lieu à la Little Shop Gallery en 1980. En mars 1982, elle monte une exposition photographique intitulée ""Relations"" qui est exposée pour la première fois à la Galerie Dazibao à Montréal. En 1985, elle réalise le projet intitulé "Donner naissance n'est qu'un début : Les femmes parlent de maternité’’. Dans ce projet, Judith Crawley présente des photographies en noir et blanc de femmes avec leurs enfants, issues de sa parenté ou de son cercle d’amis. Les prises de vue sont accompagnées de textes, en anglais et en français, tirés d’entrevues menées avec ses sujets abordant des questions relatives à la vie des femmes en tant que mères. Ce projet donna naissance à un ouvrage, pour la publication duquel elle recueilli des fonds et travailla en collaboration avec son proche entourage. En 1986, elle expose "You can’t hug kids with nuclear arms". Les photographies et les textes de cette exposition soulèvent des questionnements sur l’éducation des enfants face "à un éventuel holocauste nucléaire". L’exposition se termine par une liste de noms et de numéros de téléphone de groupes de désarmement présents à Montréal. En 1988, elle participe à ""Mexico/Canada : Un échange photographique"". En 1993 a été exposé pour la première fois le projet "One on Five...". Dans ce projet, des photographies de ses enfants sont accompagnées de leurs commentaires. Certains commentaires sont personnels à l’artiste et reliés à ses souvenirs de mère célibataire. En 1997, elle travaille à l'exposition "The 50s / La Cinquantaine". Le projet met l'accent sur les problèmes auxquels les femmes de sa communauté font face au milieu de leur vie. Il éclaire leur parcours en tant qu’individu, conjointe, mère, amie, collègue, etc. En 2001, elle participe à l'exposition collective "Urbanité" exposée au Centre de Créativité du Gesu. En 2002, Judith Crawley s'est rendue en Pologne avec une de ses amis et son frère. Ce voyage a donné lieu à des prises de vue dont certaines ont été utilisée pour le projet d’exposition "About Auschwitz / A Propos d'Auschwitz", présenté pour la première fois au Collège Vanier en 2003. Judith Lemer Crawley a également réalisé plus récemment l'exposition "Women's Daybook Series" présentée au Collège Vanier à Montréal en 2006.
Helen Jefferson Lenskyj was born in Sydeny, Australia and moved to Toronto, Canada 1966. From 1972 to 1983, she completed her BA, MA, and Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. In 1986, she began teaching part-time at the University of Toronto. In 1990, she was appointed Associate Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (O.I.S.E.), at the University of Toronto. Between 1986 and 2007, she was Professor of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She was also involved with the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education (CWSE) at the University, mostly with the subcommittee that she coordinated, which investigated a free-standing women’s studies program.
Helen is currently Professor Emerita of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Since the 1970s, she has been involved in several community activist groups, including the Feminist Party of Canada (F.P.C.). She continues to work as a researcher, writer, public speaker and community activist. She has published books and numerous book chapters, journal and magazine articles on women, sport, sexuality, and the Olympic industry.