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Thomson, Aisla

  • Persona
Aisla Thomson was a project coordinator with CRIAW from 1981 to 1985, and executive director of CCLOW from 1986-1995. At CCLOW, she wrote articles for Women's Education des femmes, wrote or acted as the editor for several documents, and oversaw the direction of research that led to the publications on women and literacy.

Webb, Nancy

  • Canada
  • Persona
  • 1946-

Nancy Webb graduated from high school in 1963 and immediately entered the workforce. She was employed, at age 18, as a secretary for an electronics corporation in Etobicoke, Ontario. In 1979, Nancy Webb enrolled at York University while also working full-time, and later, while parenting her daughter; she graduated from York University in 1991.

In the spring of 1985 Nancy Webb attended a Women’s Studies’ course, Social Sciences 3580.06, taught by Dr. Meg Luxton. Subsequently, Nancy Webb worked as Fundraising and Community Relations Coordinator for the Elizabeth Fry Society in Toronto, for 30 years.

From ca. 1978-1980 Nancy also volunteered with the Lesbian Organization of Toronto. In 1984, she was part of the founding collective of the Notso Amazon Softball League in Toronto.

Greenberg, Shirley E.

  • Canada
  • Persona
  • 1931-

Shirley Elizabeth (E.) Greenberg (née Schnell) was born to George Schnell and Elizabeth Bertha Schnell in 1931, in Ottawa, Ontario. In 1959 she was married to Irving Greenberg (1928-1991); she had three children.

Throughout her law studies and professional practice, Dr. Greenberg worked for women’s legal equality through advocacy, philanthropy and education.

In the early 1970s, Shirley E. Greenberg was inspired by second-wave feminism to pursue a law degree with the University of Ottawa. She attended law school as a mature, married student and as a mother of three. From March 14-16, 1974, Shirley E. Greenberg attended the founding conference of the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL).

Working with the University of Ottawa’s NAWL chapter, Shirley E. Greenberg helped administer the organization’s 1975 summer project, delivering programs that raised awareness of the impact of legal inequities on women’s lives.

Shelley E. Greenberg also conducted research and wrote extensively about legal topics affecting women, such as child custody, family law, pensions, and unemployment insurance. She wrote for such feminist publications as “Upstream.”

Dr. Greenberg helped found the Ottawa Women’s Centre Association—a vital resource for community women. She also volunteered with Ottawa’s Rape Crisis Centre and Interval House.

After graduating from law school in 1976, Shirley E. Greenberg co-founded Ottawa’s first all-female law practice, in 1978. The law practice hosted women articling students, helping women establish law careers in male-dominated spaces. She was awarded an honourary doctorate from the University of Ottawa in 2003.

Shirley E. Greenberg also became a noted philanthropist. In 2005, she endowed the Shirley E. Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession in the Common Law Section of the Faculty of Law, designated for feminist law faculty members. She established the Shirley E. Greenberg Women's Health Centre at the Ottawa Hospital’s Riverside campus, in 2005. In 2013 she funded the Shirley E. Greenberg Breast Cancer Imaging Suite at the Queensway Carleton Hospital. She established the Shirley E. Greenberg Resource Centre for Women at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

In 2014, Shirley Greenberg was awarded the Outstanding Individual Philanthropist honour by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), in 2014. She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2009 and awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, in 2012.

Sylvia Spring

  • Persona
  • 1942-
Sylvia Spring is born in Galt, Ontario on July 14, 1942. She is a Canadian feminist writer, filmmaker, and activist. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Buffalo in English Literature and Drama. After graduating, she wrote poetry and worked in advertising, journalism, radio, and television. In 1970, she produced Madeleine is…, the first Canadian English-language feature film directed by a woman since Nell Shipman in 1919. A segment of the film was released as a short feature under the name Madeleine and won an award at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 1970.
In 1979, she was appointed to the Task Force on Sex-Role Stereotyping in the Broadcast Media established by the Canadian minister responsible for the status of women. The Task Force was meant to examine the portrayal of women in popular media and developed guidelines for its improvement. Then, Sylvia Spring co-founded MediaWatch Canada, a watchdog organization dedicating to eliminating sexism in the media and became its first National Director. Sylvia Spring has spoken in national and international forums to raise awareness about the representation of women in the media. She has designed and facilitated workshops and lectures for agencies such as the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In January 2000, as a communication consultant, she travelled to China with Bonnie Diamond, NAWL’s executive Director, to conduct workshops with grassroots Chinese women on the information dissemination techniques used by women’s group in Canada (Nawl.ca, consulted 2021-06-02).
In 1995, she produced Voices and Visions, a documentary series from the UN World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China. In 1996, she produced the documentary Breaking the Silence: Stories from AIDS Activists in Southern Africa. The documentary tells the stories of women working at the front lines of the AIDS epidemic. In 2000, she produced 20th Century Gals (According to Babe), which explored the women's movement of the 20th century. In 2005, she co-produced Our bodies...their battleground, a documentary about the sexual violence crisis facing women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia.

Nelson, Lou

  • Persona
  • 1953-

Patricia Lucille Nelson was born in Montreal in 1953. Although her mother was from Alberta and her father from British Columbia, Nelson and her four siblings grew up in Laval West and St-Eustache (Québec). She studied the humanities and languages at Vanier College in Saint-Laurent, printing at Ahuntsic College in Montreal and worked at Classic Books before moving to British Columbia in 1974.

Nelson quickly settled in Vancouver and started working in a screen printing shop in Burnaby. She lived in a coop house and, in 1975, she joined Press Gang. Here she worked on a voluntary basis and became a press operator. This is also the time when she came out as a lesbian and decided to informally change her name to Lou, a shortened version of her middle name, in honor of the occasion. It is also when she became involved more actively in the feminist, socialist and unionist movement that prevailed in Vancouver in those years. For example, she joined the NDP in September 1974. The following year, she participated in the occupation of the Vancouver Canada Manpower Centre Office to pressure the Canadian Government to make real changes regarding women and work. She worked at and supported Press Gang by involving herself in numerous fundraising activities and helped organize the 1979 Conference on Women and Work. “In order to sustain herself”, she ran Simon Fraser University Student Society’s print shop for four years. While working at SFU, she also got involved with the feminist union Service Office and Retail Workers Union (SORWUC).

In 1983, she moved back to Montreal where she entered the Translation Program at Concordia University. During her studies there, she worked part time at Concordia’s student society print shop. She graduated in 1987 and became a freelance translator. Still loyal to her feminist beliefs in this new profession, she translated works from Anne-Marie Alonzo, Nicole Brossard, Louise Dupré and Monique Bégin.

Nelson’s love of words goes a long way back. For instance, she kept diaries for years. In 1978, she even wrote in one of them that she would like to become a fiction writer by age 35. Part of her diary was also published in the anthology Our lives, Lesbian Personal Writings (Second Story Press, 1991). She was actively involved with an organization called Women and Words throughout the 1980’s.

Lou Nelson left her last lesbian partner in 1989. She now lives with her husband in southern Québec and works as a freelance translator, with plans to retire in 2022.

Bazilli, Susan

  • Persona
Susan Bazilli is a lawyer, author, educator, social entrepreneur and advocate, who has worked globally on issues of women's rights for more than 30 years. A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School (LL.B.) and UBC (LL.M.), she lived and worked in South Africa from 1985-1991, and is the editor of the groundbreaking text "Putting Women on the Agenda: Women, Law and the Constitution in Southern Africa". From 1992 - 1997, she was the Legal Director of METRAC, The Metropolitan Committee on Violence Against Women in Toronto, Canada, and founded the Internet-based Ontario Women's Justice Network. In 1997 she became the first Executive Director of the California Alliance Against Domestic Violence. From 2003-2007, Susan was the Co-Director with Marilou McPhedran for the non-profit organization the International Women's Rights Project (IWRP) based in Vancouver, BC. Susan went on to become sole Director of IWRP from 2007 onwards (Susan is the Director at the time of writing in 2021). IWRP advocates for women’s human rights, strengthens Women’s NGOs in Canada and around the world, and encourages implementation of international human rights standards through collaboration, participatory research, and evidence-based advocacy on a project-by-project basis. In 2010 Susan was the Executive Producer and Writer for the documentary film Constitute!, a project of IWRP which documents women's constitutional activism for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Sections 15 and 18) on February 14th, 1981. Susan's international missions have included many UN missions and assignments on peace building, rule of law, gender based violence, sustainable development, international trans-boundary waters, gender mainstreaming within the Global Environment Facility, and gender equality laws in Mongolia and, South East Asia; women's human rights training in Bosnia, Lithuania and East Africa for Women Law and Development International; bilateral missions in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan for the OSCE; trainings in ICTs for development in the Baltic and Balkan regions for USAID and CIDA; evaluating the use of CEDAW by grassroots NGOs; managing the gender program for the American Bar Association - CEELI Program in Russia; developing and coordinating a seven country Southern African Women's Legal Rights program. D).

Mary Bishop

  • Persona
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.

Finkler, Evelyn Lilith

  • Persona
  • 1958-
Evelyn Lilith (now Chava) Finkler has been an activist, writer and academic. She was born in Toronto, in 1958, to a Polish father and Libyan mother, both of whom survived the holocaust. She is the granddaughter of a prominent Hassidic rabbi. For many years, Finkler was an orthodox Jew. Today, she belongs to a Conservative congregation. Members of her extended family reside in a Satmar community in the U.S.
Since 1976, Finkler has participated and organized in social justice movements dedicated to the liberation of women, lesbians, disabled persons and psychiatric survivors. She has often marched against apartheid in South Africa, Israel / Palestine and Canada. Finkler participated in feminist groups such as Women Against Violence Against Women, Lesbian Organization of Toronto, Women for Survival, Jewish Feminist Anti-Fascist League and the Disabled Womens’ Network-Toronto. She was also a co-founder and co-organizer of the very first Psychiatric Survivor Pride Day, now known and celebrated internationally as Mad Pride.
Chava has written almost fifty articles in academic journals, trade publications and the alternative press. Since 2000, much of her writing has focused on mental health and affordable housing. No matter the topic, however, Finkler has consistently presented an intersectional analysis, linking one form of oppression to others.
Finkler received an Interdisciplinary PhD from Dalhousie University in 2009. During her years of study, she received nine academic and / or community awards including the prestigious Trudeau Foundation Fellowship. During her retirement, Finkler continues to advocate for social justice in multiple political and activist arenas.

Morris Kates

  • Persona
  • 1923-2013
Morris Kates was born in Galati, Romania, in 1923. He came to Canada with his parents in 1924 and grew up in Toronto. He began his musical studies with violin lessons at the age of eleven and began composing music at sixteen. He discovered both science and music about the same time in High school. He studied music harmony, counterpoint, and composition as a hobby, along with his studies in science (physics, chemistry, and biochemistry) at the University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1948.
From 1950 until 1968 he worked at the National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, first as a post-doctoral fellow and then as a research scientist. In 1968, he was appointed Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa, and in 1989 he retired as Professor Emeritus. He was renowned in the field of biochemistry for his discovery of the isopranyl glycerol diether lipids of Halobacterium and other members of the Halobacteriaceae. Among biochemists, Morris Kates is also best known for his textbook ‘Techniques in Lipidiology’ (1972, revised in 2010). Altogether Morris wrote about 250 scientific papers on lipid biochemistry and lipid metabolism. He received the Excellence in Research Award (1981), the Supelco Award for lipid research from the American Oil Chemist Society (1984) and was nominated as Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1973).
Lipid biochemistry was one field in which Morris Kates was famous, music was the second. He published more than 20 compositions that include orchestral works, chamber music, choral works, and more. He showed an interest in his compositions in Impressionism, twelve-tone technique, neoclassicism, and more recently, Renaissance music. His major works are: Variations for Strings (1964), Symphonia for Strings (1967), Sonata for Cello and Piano (1973), Piano Trio “Hommage à Einstein” (1979), Elegiac Variations for Solo ‘Cello (1984), Woodwind Quintet (1988), Sonata for Double Bass and Piano (1989), and Festine Suite (1990). The first two of these compositions won him the CBC (Ottawa) Music Award for 1965 and 1967, respectively. Variations for Strings and Festive Suite have been performed by the University of Ottawa Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Currie. He was an Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre and a member of the Canadian League of Composers.

MacKay-Lassonde, Claudette

  • Canada
  • Persona
  • July 2, 1948-June 15, 2000

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.

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