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Jennie Trout

Jennie (Jenny) Kidd Trout, physician, teacher (born 21 April 1841 in Kelso, Scotland; died 10 November 1921 in Hollywood, California). Trout was the first female physician licensed to practice medicine in Canada. She received her licence from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario in 1875.

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Frances Gertrude McGill

Frances Gertrude McGill, teacher, bacteriologist, forensic pathologist (born 18 November 1882 in Minnedosa, MB; died 21 January 1959 in Winnipeg). McGill was Canada’s first female forensic pathologist and a pioneer in the field. She assisted police in solving numerous difficult criminal cases and unusual deaths, earning the nickname “the Sherlock Holmes of Saskatchewan.” She is often regarded as the first female member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Her personal motto is said to have been “Think like a man, act like a lady and work like a dog.”

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Henri J. Breault

Henri Joseph Breault, medical doctor, anti-poisoning advocate (born 4 March 1909 in Tecumseh, ON; died 5 September 1983 in Exeter, ON). Breault is known for spearheading a national campaign to prevent accidental childhood poisonings. He advocated for the development of the Palm-N-Turn, a safety cap that drastically reduced child deaths due to poisoning in Canada and around the world.

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Edith Monture

Charlotte Edith Anderson Monture (often known simply as Edith Monture), Mohawk First World War veteran, registered nurse, (born 10 April 1890 on Six Nations reserve near Brantford, ON; died 3 April 1996 in Ohsweken, ON). Edith was the first Indigenous woman to become a registered nurse in Canada and to gain the right to vote in a Canadian federal election. She was also the first Indigenous woman from Canada to serve in the United States military. Edith broke barriers for Indigenous women in the armed forces and with regards to federal voting rights. A street (Edith Monture Avenue) and park (Edith Monture Park) are named after her in Brantford, Ontario.

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Irma LeVasseur

Irma LeVasseur, MD, first French-Canadian female doctor and founder of the Hôpital Sainte-Justine in Montreal and the Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus in Québec City (born 20 January 1877 in Québec, QC; died 18 January 1964 in Québec, QC.) Dr. LeVasseur was one of the very few female doctors of her era and was a pioneer in pediatric medicine. She devoted her life to sick children, founding major institutions that continued her work after her death.

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Steve MacLean

Steven Glenwood MacLean, FRCGS, physicist, astronaut (born 14 December 1954 in Ottawa, ON). Steve MacLean was among the first astronauts recruited in Canada and in 1992 became the third Canadian to fly in space. On his second mission to space (2006), he became the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm2 robotic arm and the second to complete a spacewalk, after Chris Hadfield. He has also contributed to the country’s space programs as director general of the Canadian Astronaut Program (1994–96) and president of the Canadian Space Agency (2008–13).

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Onye Nnorom

Onyenyechukwu (Onye) Nnorom, family physician, specialist in public health and preventive medicine (born 27 February 1981 in Montreal, Quebec). Nnorom is the associate director of the residency program in public health and preventive medicine at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She also leads the Black health curriculum at the university’s medical school. Her work addresses the health inequities that racialized and immigrant communities face.

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Marc Garneau

Marc Garneau, CC, astronaut, military officer, engineer, politician (born 23 February 1949 in Québec City, QC).

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Reginald Fessenden

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, electrical engineer (born 6 October 1866 in East Bolton, Canada East; died 22 July 1932 in Hamilton, Bermuda). Fessenden was a pioneer in the field of radio communication. He made the first voice transmission over radio waves. He also laid the foundations of amplitude modulation (AM) and achieved the first two-way radiotelegraphic communication across the Atlantic Ocean. His 1906 transmission of a Christmas concert is considered the first radio broadcast in history. (See also Radio Programming)

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Guglielmo Marconi

Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi, electrical engineer, inventor and businessman (born 25 April 1874 in Bologna, Italy; died 20 July 1937 in Rome, Italy). Marconi’s early experiments in wireless telegraphy demonstrated the potential of long-range radio communication. He is generally considered the inventor of the radio. Marconi’s first reputed reception of a transatlantic radio signal occurred at Signal Hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1901. The following year, he built a wireless transmission station in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Half of the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics went to Marconi for his work in wireless telegraphy.

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Helen Sawyer Hogg

Helen Battles Sawyer Hogg (née Sawyer), CC, astronomer and educator (born 1 August 1905 in Lowell, Massachusetts; died 28 January 1993 in Toronto, ON). Recognized internationally for her research on globular star clusters, Helen Sawyer Hogg significantly advanced astronomers’ understanding of the location and age of stars as well as the origins and evolution of our galaxy, the Milky Way. She also contributed greatly to the Canadian public’s understanding of astronomy and inspired women to enter scientific professions.

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John William Dawson

John William Dawson, geologist, paleontologist, principal of McGill University (born 13 October 1820 in Pictou, NS; died 19 November 1899 in Montreal, QC). Dawson conducted an archaeological survey and recovery mission that revealed evidence of pre-European habitation on the island of Montreal. Though Dawson is generally credited with discovering the “lost” village of Hochelaga, subsequent investigations revealed that he might only have found evidence of a smaller, related settlement. Dawson is well-known in the geological community for finding a fossil of Hylonomus lyelli (the earliest known reptile). He also identified Eozoön canadense as a gigantic single-celled organism, though it is now considered to be a pseudofossil (fake fossil). Dawson is generally credited as being the first Canadian scientist of international renown, and for his transformative tenure as principal of McGill.

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Louis Deveau

Louis Edouard Deveau, O.C., O.N.S, P.ENG, L.L.D. (Hon.), businessman and advocate (born 13 October 1931 in Salmon River, Digby County, NS). Deveau is the founder of Acadian Seaplants Limited, a company that specializes in the cultivation, manufacturing and processing of seaweeds for plant, animal and human use. (See also Aquaculture; Biotechnology.) Deveau became a leading figure in the modern seaweed industry and is recognized for promoting research and sustainable development in the field. The recipient of numerous awards and honours, Deveau is also recognized for his lifelong efforts to support and promote Acadian culture and French language education in Nova Scotia (see Acadian French; French Language in Canada).

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John Cabot

John Cabot (a.k.a. Giovanni Caboto), merchant, explorer (born before 1450 in Italy, died at an unknown place and date). In 1496, King Henry VII of England granted Cabot the right to sail in search of a westward trade route to Asia and lands unclaimed by Christian monarchs. Cabot mounted three voyages, the second of which, in 1497, was the most successful. During this journey Cabot coasted the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador, possibly sighted the Beothuk or Innu people of the region, and famously noted that the waters teemed with cod. At the time, the land Cabot saw was thought to be the eastern shore of Asia, the fabled island of Brasil, or the equally fabled Isle of Seven Cities. Cabot and his crew were the second group of Europeans to reach what would become Canada, following Norse explorers around 1000 CE. Despite not yielding the trade route Cabot hoped for, the 1497 voyage provided England with a claim to North America and knowledge of an enormous new fishery.

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Sir Alexander Mackenzie (Explorer)

Sir Alexander Mackenzie, fur trader, explorer (born around 1764 near Stornoway, Scotland; died 12 March 1820 near Dunkeld, Scotland). Mackenzie was one of Canada’s greatest explorers. In two epic journeys for the North West Company in 1789 and 1793, he crossed the dense northern wilderness to reach the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. The first European to cross North America north of Mexico, he inspired later adventurers and traders, such as the famous Lewis and Clark expedition sponsored by the American military (1804–6). The Mackenzie River, named in his honour, symbolizes Mackenzie’s important place as a pioneer and fur trader in Canadian history.

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Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Laurent “Dr. Kill” Duvernay-Tardif, CQ, football player, doctor (born 11 February 1991 in Saint-Jean-Baptiste, QC). Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is an offensive lineman with the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He was the 10th player ever drafted into the NFL from Canadian college and university football, and is the first Quebec-born football player to win a Super Bowl championship. Duvernay-Tardif is also the first active NFL player to become a doctor. He opted out of the 2020 season to work at a Montreal long-term care facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was made a Chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec in 2019. In 2020, he was named a Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated, as well as co-winner (with soccer player Alphonso Davies) of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.