Each and every day I see women, without fame or fortune, commit acts of strength and love that impact people's lives; unseen and with quiet courage.
Every mother is a working-woman, every daughter a caregiver to someone, every sister a friend, and every grandmother a mentor. With small gestures and sometimes Herculean efforts they change, for the better, the lives around them.
Both the women in the limelight and the women whose names I do not know are the 'keel' in the ship of humanity.
My portraits salute those warriors who went before, are working for the cause of equality and love of community now, and the everyday woman who quietly inspires, engages and is a trailblazer.
And to those they may call 'ordinary' as they have neither accolades, medals, or recognition, I say you are: extraordinary!
This is my journey through Asking.
Penny Eizenga: “A filmmaker on the journey to trust my own voice, my gut, my intuition, whatever you choose to call it, more than ever.” www.dogearedproductionsinc.com
Lorena Agolli, owner of SOLE SURVIVOR SHOP an all-female operated shoe and leather repair shop. Sole Sister, Gypsy by Nature, Leather Craftswoman, Witch, Peace Warrior, Lover And Teacher through her life story.
Jo Orsatti is a forensic artist by trade, but in life she is much more. A Mamma and Nonna to human and animal children a plenty; she is guided by her compassion, caring, laughter and love. She sees herself as a resourceful and creative painter, illustrator and mixed media "Artist at Life."
Shirley Lum: Creator of A Taste of the World Neighbourhood Walks, where I get to combine the peeling back of Toronto's unique layers as Food Historian, Literary Detective and GhostWalk guide. New passion: Chocolatier curating tastings to share the magic of chocolate. Judging the International Chocolate Awards, the Canadian Competition as Guest Grand Jury. 2-wheeled adventurist. Pioneer. Avid rooftop gardener. CBC aka Canadian born Chinese who's voice has been heard on numerous CBC radio Fresh Air shows. instagram.com/A_Taste_of_the_World, instagram.com/SChocolateMagic
Kris Noakes: Anishinaabekwe. Finding balance with one foot in a canoe and one foot on the gas pedal. Mother, advocate, peacekeeper, lifelong learner, lover of green tea and smiles.
Beth Pollock: Exploring the world with a sense of wonder. Travel writer who has visited over 50 countries, and has stories to tell about each of them. Avid reader and author of three children’s books. Imaginative, gentle, tenacious. Mother, wife, daughter. If you need to talk, I’ll listen (and I’ll bring a plate of freshly baked ginger snaps). Loving the world and all the people I meet here. bethtravels.com instagram.com/bpollock
Isla Grady: Believer, wife, mother, adoring grandmother of Caitlin, Emma and Ava, caregiver, passionate volunteer for victim support, advocate for ending hate, hunger, poverty and supporting the disenfranchised. Can be found in the church kitchen. Believes preparing food together, and eating together, is a place of trust where love and hope can meet and all are Family.
Andrea Zackary - Oral deaf, event planner, social entrepreneur. Founder of Def Events & Beyond. Proud mother of 4 girls, wife, gymnastics mom, networker, mentor and motivator. Working hard to give back to the deaf community. Kids first, they are the future. Together we can make a difference! #thinkbig #dreambig #noexcuses
defeventsbeyond.ca FB, Twitter, IG @defeventsbeyond
Jayna Hefford: Hockey player. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018. 5 time Olympian & 7 time World Champion. Commissioner of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Professional speaker focussing on change, adaptability, resilience and culture. Mother of 3, loves to cook, believes in the power of opportunity. jaynahefford.ca, thecwhl.com
Laura Maness: CEO of Havas New York, the flagship agency of Havas U.S., driving a culture of creativity and innovation, and breaking tradition to create deeper meaning for some of the most recognized companies in the world. Wholehearted, servant leader that uplifts people and helps them grow, be and become (more like) themselves. Advocates for women and meaningful change as original signer and steering committee member of Time’s Up/Advertising. Lives with her husband Steven Brisson and young son in New York's historic TriBeCa neighbourhood. Enjoys SoulCycling, pilates, river walks, street art, pop up shops, bold California reds and HEYMAMA meet-ups. Passionate about building community and fueling imaginations as cofounder of Love Bug Café & Play—a “Soho House meets healthy Chuck E. Cheese” that is equally appealing to adults and children alike. lovebugcafeplay, Instagram: @lauramaness, twitter.com/pinkbird_biz
Michelle Peek: Photographer, artist, dreamer. Founder and Creative Director of Art Not Shame. Mental health advocate. PhD. Dancer at heart. Can’t stop thinking about love and belonging. Always learning. Potty-mouthed. Sensitive. Thoughtful. Imperfect. Vulnerable.
Denise Bebenek: Founder of Meagan's Walk: Creating a Circle of Hope. Advocate for families who are affected by the serious illness of a child. Compassionate wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend. Teacher. Musician. Philanthropist and volunteer. Warrior. Trailblazer. Motivational speaker. Resilient. Passionate and optimistic. Walks in gratitude. meaganswalk.com
Amanda Palmer: musician, mother, feminist, collaborator, composer, author, asker - amandapalmer.net
Cynthia Kinnunen: Passionate music educator and advocate for lifelong learning. Performer: voice, ukulele, piano. Community music festival director/founder. Volunteer. Firm believer in sexual health education. Mixtape maker. Apron collector. Most important roles: mum of 3, wife, daughter, friend. Gratitude always. cynthiakmusic.com, Instagram: @cynthiakinnunen
Sharon Lewis: artist, rebel, filmmaker, tv maker, performer, caribbean-canadian, mother, I tell stories but they aren’t lies thesharonlewis.com
Measha Brueggergosman: Servant. Diva. Muse. Mother. Flawed. Magnetic. Gobsmacked. Canadian. Inspired. Turnt up. Saved by grace measha.com
Jo-Anne McArthur is a photojournalist, author and educator, and the founder of We Animals Media, which focuses on the stories of animals within the context of the human environment. Jo keeps a gruelling travel schedule but is nonetheless eternally grateful that she gets to help animals every single day. weanimals.org
Sook-Yin Lee: broadcaster, musician, actor, filmmaker
Mary Walsh: mental health and addiction advocate, novelist, actor, satirist, director, mother, Newfoundlander
Michelle Shephard: journalist, author, filmmaker, traveler, life-lover, nerd; tries to shed light in dark corners, laughs easily and adores her goofy Labradoodle named Dorothy Parker, who shares none of the writers' cynical traits. twitter.com/shephardm michelleshepard.ca
Rosanne Cash: singer, songwriter, author, activist, embassador
Chief Lady Bird (Ogimaa Kwe Bnes): Rama First Nation and Moosedeer Point First Nation. Eagle clan, Illustrator, street artist, Aquarius, French Bulldog mom. instagram.com/chiefladybird
Aura: Oneida Nation of the Thames. Turtle clan, beadworker, street artist, Illustrator, Gemini, mother of 2 tabby cats and a German-Aussie Sheppard. www.instagram.com/monique.aura
Sisters, artists, lateral love, empowerment. Painting florals on everything as an act of love.
Josie Candito: Co-Owner of Master Mechanic High Park and their first female franchisee ever. She’s an animal rights warrior, women’s advocate, self-proclaimed ‘nerd’, hopeless romantic, loves to dance in the rain, loving wife, adores her beloved daytime family, a fairy godmother to Alex and Victoria, and proud Mommy of her fur-baby rescue, Charlie. One thing that does not define her, is her Fibromyalgia. She is Nicknamed ‘The Fixer’ and ‘Wonder Woman’, believes in spreading positivity and laughter through charity outreach, community involvement, and the uplifting messages she displays on her shop sign all year long. Keep up with all that she does and loves at mastermechanic.ca/locations/home.php?location=TorontoHighPark
Helen Paddle: first female car salesperson in Toronto, sensible farm girl, snappy dresser, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, frugal, tenacious, prudent, no-bullshit, excellent laugher
Denise Donlon: as fearless as possible, author
Vuyiseka Dubula: former general secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa - tac.org.za
Hannah Alper: Activist, blogger, author, kindraiser, change maker, traveller, eco-warrior, motivational speaker. "I believe we all have the capacity and responsibility to create change. I don't care how old you are or how young you are, where you live or how much money you have. The ability to create change does not discriminate, it's in everyone." callmehannah.ca
Reverend Dr. Cheri DiNovo: performed the first legalized same sex marriage in Canada in 2002 and as MPP before returning to Ministry at Trinity St Paul's United Church. Passed more LGBT Legislation than anyone in Canada's history - First Trans Rights, Banning Conversion Therapy for children, Parent Equality and Trans Day of Remembrance. cheridinovo.ca
Laurie Brown: mother, music journalist, radio host, writer, podcaster, dreamer - pondercast.ca
Annelise Noronha: Engineer, producer, composer. Teacher and mentor. Hopeful for the future of the Canadian Music Industry.
Marnie McBean: olympic gold medalist, mentor, speaker, author - marniemcbean.ca
Vivienne McMaster: photographer, body acceptance advocate, wonder seeker, nature nerd, creative entrepreneur. After realizing the camera was a powerful tool to heal her own deeply critical self-image and self-worth, she created the Be Your Own Beloved workshops that help people get back in the visual story of their own lives and make peace with how they see themselves in photos. beyourownbeloved.com
Tamoyah Morgan: boozhoo, positive, pilot in training, books, hard-worker, spirit indestructible, determined, tea lover, self love, music, honour & respect, resilient, happy, god, family, friends
Colinda Clyne: Nibi Biwajigan Kwe (Water Vision Woman). Anishinaabe kwe (Kitigan Zibi). Mother, educator, warrior, helper, friend, coffee connoisseur. Believes in the power of a single tweet. Living in gratitude. twitter.com/@clclyne
Bif Naked: performing artist, poet, bare-knuckle fighter, human and animal rights activist, goddess, survivor - bifnaked.com
Rachel Rashotte: view from our balcony lady, lover of all things natural, healthy choices come first, seven years sober, compassionate mother, partner, friend.
Gael Hannan: hearing loss consultant, author, advocate, public speaker - gaelhannan.com
Hon. Jean Augustine: the first black female MP and Cabinet Minister, Fairness Commissioner, social justice advocate, trendsetter, teacher, principal, trailblazer. Dr. Augustine's legacy includes the successful 1995 motion declaring February as Black History Month in Canada. A pioneer of the modern day era, at eighty! jeanaugustinecentre.ca
Irish Mythen: singer-songwriter, composer, artist, entertainer, teacher, student, daughter, sister, friend, lover, fighter, activist, traveller, mother-of-dachschunds, always in awe of this wondrous world. irishmythen.com
Ren Navarro: fan of cats, tattoos and craft beer. Resident trouble maker. Giver of epic hugs. Talk a LOT about the ongoing need for diversity in beer.
Pam Palmater (Blue Thunderbird Woman): Mi'kmaq, mother, warrior, activist, lawyer, professor, and author educating the next generation to live a warrior life in mind, body and spirit so we can restore justice to our people and the planet. #7futuregens #resist #rise #warriorup pampalmater.com
Thea Munster is the creator of the Toronto Zombie Walk, the first event of its kind, spawning zombie walks around the world. When not organizing odd occurrences Thea is a videographer, writer, traveller, tarot reader and aspiring thereminist - my1000moons.com
Karen Waddell: professional actor, documentary filmmaker, community volunteer, mental health ambassador, advocate and educator, mindfulness-based stress reduction teacher, meditator, proud mama and wife - karenwaddell.wixsite.com/website
Lynn Courey: suicide prevention advocate, community service mental health provider, family support, caregiver, wife and mother - sashbear.org
Hope Chigudu: co-founder of the Zimbabwe Women's Resource Centre and Network - zwrcn.org.zw
Margaret Wright: optimist, blessed, kind, grounded, loved, survivor
Jenn Harper: mother, wife, social entrepreneur, speaker. Working hard to show Indigenous youth that they can create the life they dream about. Believes that the key to real happiness is how much we care about others, but we can’t do that until we love ourselves. So grateful to live another day sober! cheekbonebeauty.ca
Angela Betts: inspiring, caring, positive, creative, kind, passionate, deadhead, life giver and lover, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunty, groovy entrepreneur and loyal friend, grateful. Young at heart. grasshopperimports.com
Liza Cohen: proud mother, partner, sister, daughter, friend, social worker and compassionate being. Grateful. Thankful. Blessed.
Eugenia Duodu: Scientist, leader, community advocate and soccer fan. She obtained her PhD in chemistry from the University of Toronto and is currently the CEO of Visions of Science. She works to provide meaningful opportunities for youth from low income communities to achieve their full potential. www.vosnl.org
Rae Ellen Bodie: learner, teacher, meditator, breather, noise-maker, lover, fighter, crone - raeellenbodie.com
Priya Ramsingh: author, thinker, creator of ideas, dreamer of a better world, optimistic that words can bring new insight that inspires change. I wrote Brown Girl in the Room to open eyes. I wanted this photo taken in High Park to celebrate my love of nature and all things real. I believe that we can learn from animals. Thanks to Lisa for including me in the series. priyaramsingh.ca
Sam Campbell: quietly understated, dreamer, doer, animal lover, farmer, hopeful environmentalist. Purveyor of connecting people, places and things. Having a blast with her mid-life "re-launch" as a B&B/Farm Retreat host. cobblestonefarmretreat.ca
Bet Smith: artist-blacksmith, singer-songwriter, band member, craftsperson, devoted lover of the earth, betty of all trades - PersephoneForge.com
Barb Nahwegahbow: Zhashkwabino Kwe - Blue Sky in the Morning Woman. Daughter of Art and Mary Nahwegahbow, sister to ten siblings, aunty to many, and citizen of Whitefish River First Nation where I grew up. All my life, I have believed in the beauty of our people and our culture and have conducted myself personally and professionally according to this belief. I describe myself as a community organizer, cultural activist, writer, jewellery artist, supporter of Indigenous artists, and loyal friend.
Alex Pangman: singer, equestrian, organ transplant advocate/recipient - alexpangman.com
Lizzie Violet: writer, ghost stories, horror fiend, redheaded girl with the crooked smile - lizzieviolet.com
Kate Drummond: professional storyteller, actor, writer, former school teacher, inspirational speaker, philanthropist, animal lover, dreamer *RIP Jackson katedrummond.com
Suzanne Smoke: ginew kwe, golden eagle woman, mukwa dodem, sits with the bear clan, mother and life giver, water carrier, water protector, land defender
Mary-Lynne Howell: mother, farmer, teacher, leader and mentor of youth, Jerseygirl, agriculture and environment advocate, adventurer, finder of fun, pioneer, nurturer, lover of life, loyal friend and extremely blessed.
Joanne Ramolo: woman, partner, mother, friend, kind, compassionate, brave, resilient, cancer survivor
Ellie Arscott: mom, artist, creator, nurturer, hopeful feminist, listener, connector, sister, daughter, friend - elliearscott.com
Charlene "Chuck" LeBlanc: animal lover, artist, nature worshipper, ukulele player, hippie, headbanger, introvert, empath, hugger. Uses axe throwing as a way to spread joy and build community. Thinks farts are hilarious! riotaxe.com
Mimi O'Bonsawin: dragonfly lady, Abenakis, Francophone, songstress, music maker - "I write songs and I share them", part time faerie, full time entrepreneur. www.mimi.ca
Michele Gare: kind, persistent, thoughtful, loving, strong, passionate, giving, music lover, optimistic, endurer, problem solver
Christa Couture: singer, songwriter, mom, non-fiction writer, digital producer, mother of lost ones, cyborg, halfbreed, and then some - christacouture.com
Savoy Howe: boxing name Kapow! Howe, boxing coach, New Brunswicker, former comedian, instigator, activist, out of the box thinker, safe space provider, softy - torontonewsgirls.com
Ellen Davidson: outlier, gambler on ideas & people, paylancer, mentor, mum x 3, honey over vinegar...most times
Alysha Brilla: artist, producer, yoga instructor, social activist, eternal optimist - alyshabrilla.com
Ashley Jacot De Boinod: food soldier, professional giggler, peppery, fungi enthusiast, lover of beasts, servant to all those in need, shop mum, pro cyclist wannabe, authentically me, hobbit, comedy addict - gloryholedoughnuts.com
Dorothy Onyango: co-founder and executive director of Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya - wofak.org
Vanessa Arscott: Plan V. Lover of live music. Coordinator of things. Auntie, sister, daughter, friend - planvproductions.com
Lisa Humber: stage manager, producer, dreamer
Hill Kourkoutis: recording artist, producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, director, actor, lightworker, alien trapped in a carbon-based molecular structure, coffee snob turned tea aficionado, gear nerd, proud auntie, lover of food, art, dreams, moondust, stars and space (the place) - hillkourkoutis.com
Martha Johnson: music creator and collaborator, mother, rock steady boxer, golden rule believer, adaptor
Kayt Lucas: high steel rigger, singer songwriter, industrial designer, waitress, retired dancer - kaytlucas.com
Kim Petrie: tiny, soft spoken, determined, strong, feisty. Taking Parkinson's disease head on. lets-shake.com
Jill Hall: barber, yogi, partner, supporter, lover, steadfast, hopeful - theniteowl.ca
Angela Demontigny: designer, advocate, mom, pioneer, mentor, zumba instructor - angelademontigny.com
Anne Innis Dagg: a life dedicated to the study of giraffes, scientist, feminist, activist, author - annedagg.net
Lynne Kittredge-Fox: virtuous rebel, life creator, author, literacy advocate, producer, fan of audacious experience, gratefully mighty, bam a lam
Ashley Rowley: luthier, music teacher, problem solver, animal lover, organic gardener, listener, sensitive, accepting, camper, happy laidback hippie
Piper and Maggie Hayes: exuberant, passionate, inclusive, whimsical, abundant - pipersings.com
Robin Zee: artist, mother, performer, writer, survivor, life skills coach who believes never underestimating someones ability to shine - robinzee.com
Kelly Grace: maker, hustler, enthusiast, brushpusher, stylist, time traveller, carnie - kellygracefineart.com
Dawn Maracle: inspired, Mohawk, woman, mother, cancer survivor, educator, advocate, author, dancer, photographer, muse, cliff-jumper, public speaker, scanner. Indigenous and disability rights activist and consultant. https://www.facebook.com/dawn.maracle.12
Joshna Maharaj: chef, activist, teacher, taste chaser, lover of the good life, happy wanderer - joshnamaharaj.com
Jocelyn Richards: photographer, lover of all things groovy, kick ass MS warrior
Madeline Wilson Shaw: arts advocate, feminist, Mohawk, music lover, band manager, mother, bohemian, hamiltonianfrontroomentertainment.com
Jill Miwa: physicist, traveller, photographer
Andrea Ramolo: musician, teacher, tap dancer, actress, road dog - andrearamolo.com
Annaleise Carr: swimmer, record holder, author, fundraiser, volunteer - annaleisecarr.com
Mary Neilans: mother, health care educator and advocate, champion for Parkinson’s research, reader and writer - rocksteadyboxingtoronto.org
Courtney Lee Yip: photo & film maker, writer, Babes Boardroom founder, California soul, Ontarian heart - https://www.instagram.com/coco_mccracken
India Amara: tattoo artist, yogi, globe trotter, motorcyclist, wild at heart - indiaamara.com
Helene Hadfield: optimist, animal lover, creator, wife, mother, grandmother, thinker, maker
Lisa S. Johnson: photographer/author 108 Rock Star Guitars, yoga enthusiast, entrepreneur - 108rockstarguitars.com
Peres Abeka: chairperson and co-founder of Young Women Campaign Against AIDS in Kenya - ywcaaids.org
Sandy Shaw: grateful, woke, feminist, nan, rock&roll mom, political pundit, governance guru, fair-weather sailor
Candace Alper: mom, partner, writer, educator, brain-stormer, global citizen, coffee-lover
Genna Bauder: creative free spirit, social innovator
Norah Jackson: entrepreneur, skateboard builder, volunteer, windsurfer, kettle bells, persian cats, making pies - roarockit.com
Dorothy Aitchison: mom, grandma, artist, milliner, baker
Kelly Hadfield: global health change-maker, boundary pusher, adventurer, naturalist, canoer, basketballer - ghanamedicalhelp.com
Collis Robinson: grandmother, mawm, singer, actress, activist, funny, humble
Natalie Panek: rocket scientist, explorer, champion for women in tech -thepanekroom.com