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.
Leela Gilday: I walk in two worlds. My music, my words, my life and my body are a reflection of where I’m from and who I have become. I am a singer/songwriter, proud member of the Dene Nation, northern girl, independent artist, advocate for social justice, teller of stories, family member. In my most cherished dreams my music uplifts and empowers my people, reaches across social and cultural barriers, breaks chains, enlightens, brings solace to sorrow, shines a light in the darkness and tells the truth. My hope is that I help to bring about a world where people find true justice, where our children have clean water, where we live in balance with our earth, where we respect and listen to one another, and celebrate our differences. And then we can begin. leelagilday.com
Maie Pauts: Broadcaster. boom 97.3 and going back 30+ years of radio at 104.5 CHUM FM, Mojo Radio, CFNY/EDGE 102.1, CKMW 790 AM. 88.1 CKLN. Spokesperson for Radio Trailblazers: Inspiring and Mentoring Women in Broadcasting. Interviewer. Voice-over Talent. Charity Events Host. Music lover. Concert goer. Gardener. Lover of British crime books and TV. Pretty good cook. Amazing shortbread baker. Mother. Sister. Friend. Happy to be here.
Riley Yesno: At 17, in what seemed like overnight, I went from being an average high school student from the north, to sitting in meetings with the Prime Minister and speaking to hundreds about youth and reconciliation. Since then, I’ve been able to meet incredible young leaders, learn, write, and share stories. My work has taken me to places I could have only dreamed of, and my community and my people rallying behind me are what keep me there. I’ve got a lot of gratitude.
I am honoured to be a part of this incredible series that Lisa MacIntosh has created.
Gerri Nakirigya Lutaaya belongs to the Ngonge clan within the Buganda kingdom.
In her pursuit of truth and justice, Gerri is working on her laugh lines alongside the leadership of extraordinary young people. gerrilutaaya.com
Julia Gray: Someone wise, many years ago, said to me "do what keeps you soft." I try and return to this idea of doing not necessarily what is easy, but what keeps me soft. I work to be in good relationships with family, in the broadest sense of the word. I am a writer, a mum, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a best-friend-to-one-guy-in-particular, and I work to be a most curious artist and researcher. possiblearts.ca
Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla: We are lucky to be going into careers in music at a time where things are shifting in such a positive direction. Women are looking out for one another and we have been mentored by some of the finest. Kritty Uranowski (Girls Rock Camp), Samantha Martin, The Good Lovelies, Leah Fay, Amy Cole, Amy Milan, Kinnie Starr, Liv and Anita Cozzola, Oh Susanna and many many more have encouraged us in various ways. We are so fortunate to be continually running into and finding connections with the many incredible inspirational women in Canada's music scene. moscowapartment.ca
I grew up in a small village in Jamaica, and from an early age I knew that I was an African child. My journey includes being a mother, counselor, advocate, activist, all the while being a teacher and travelling.
I fell in love with Ghana in 2006 and noticed that children didn't have access to books, so I began co-creating libraries with communities there. I founded Links Across Borders to formalize the work and coordinate volunteer groups to participate in the projects in Ghana. To date, we have completed 8 libraries.
Each time that I face a new challenge, or possible set back, I focus on the opportunities that will be on the other side of that challenge. I become still, ask for guidance, and turn my attention to the nudges from Spirit.
My life's work is to teach and facilitate transformational processes that connect individuals to the life of their dreams. Together we can make each other's dreams come true.
Jennifer Baichwal has been directing and producing documentaries for over 20 years. Among other films, installations and lens-based projects, she has made ten feature documentaries which have played all over the world and won multiple awards nationally and internationally. Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles won an International Emmy in 1999. The Holier It Gets, a documentary filmed in Canada and India, won Best Cultural and Best Independent Canadian Documentary at Hot Docs, 2000, and won Geminis for best writing, directing, and editing in a documentary series. Manufactured Landscapes won, among others, TIFF’s Best Canadian Film and Al Gore’s Reel Current Award. It played theatrically in over 15 territories worldwide, after a prolonged and successful run in Canada, and was named as one of 150 Essential Works In Canadian Cinema History by TIFF in 2016. Act of God, about the metaphysical effects of being struck by lightning, opened the Hot Docs Film Festival in May 2009. Payback, an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Massey Lectures produced by Ravida Din and the National Film Board, premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2012 and was released in Canada and the U.S. that spring. The feature documentary Watermark, made with Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas de Pencier, premiered at TIFF 2013, was released in Canada by Mongrel Media and won the Toronto Film Critics Association prize for Best Canadian Film in January 2014. It has since been released in eleven countries. Most recently, Baichwal and de Pencier were co-directors of Long Time Running, a feature documentary on the Tragically Hip’s 2016 summer tour. The documentary, produced by Banger Films, premiered at TIFF 2017, and was subsequently released by Elevation Pictures, and broadcast by Bell and Netflix. The Anthropocene Project, Baichwal’s most recent collaboration with de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky, includes a major touring exhibition which debuted simultaneously at the Art Gallery of Ontario and National Gallery of Canada, a feature documentary film which premiered at TIFF 2018 before playing Sundance and Berlinale, an art book published by Steidl, and an educational program in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Baichwal sits on the board of Swim Drink Fish Canada, and is a member of the Ryerson University School of Image Arts Advisory Council. She has been a Director of the Board of the Toronto International Film Festival since 2016, and is passionate ambassador of their Share Her Journey campaign, a five-year commitment to increasing participation, skills, and opportunities for women behind and in front of the camera.
Talli Osborne: Inspirational speaker, advocate, punk rocker.
Emily Mills: I work – aka hustle – hard. And I laugh hard too – especially in the presence of amazing women who bring me joy. This week, I’m celebrating 40 years of life surrounded by sisterhood – women who continue to wrap me in so much love and wisdom it’s hard to hold such enormous gifts. But I do so with a heart of gratitude. Because we all need to feel uplifted, especially as we take up space in the world. Without apology, I’m committed to taking up more space for diverse women, racialized women, women of colour right here in Toronto, Canada.
I’ve been doing this for almost a decade through my How She Hustles network – we host local events for women like me are often underrepresented by traditional women’s networks in the city. We hold space for us to gather, to share personal and professional experiences, to connect with like-minded women, to be paid and valued for our work, and to be to be the rule – not the exception.
I’m also a journalist and communicator by profession, so I’ve been intentional about taking up space in 'mainstream' media to amplify voices – and perspectives – that need to be heard more. I’ve tried to build bridges between communities to make way for positive change.
All this work matters, but not more than my family – I’m a proud wife and mom of two energetic little boys. On my 40th birthday, I am thankful for the journey thus far and I’m ready for the road ahead. Thanks so much for including me, Lisa, and to Carrie Martin for accommodating this photo shoot in her private loft. EM www.howshehustles.comwww.twitter.com/howshehustles
Autumn Peltier: Water ambassador, Chief Water Commissioner; Anishinabek Nation, anishinaabe kwe, environment activist, student, helper, sharer of original teachings - instagram.com/autumn.peltier
Kadey BJ Schultz: Award winning Canadian litigator and co-managing partner of Schultz Frost LLP (www.SchultzFrost.com) • professor at the University of Windsor Law School • champion for children with disabilities • mama fighting to end the monster of a disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy • member of the Board of Directors of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital Foundation • unrelenting advocate for women in leadership and #MeToo • WIFE • tweeter of gratitude and change making (@KadeyBJSchultz) • seriously curious, strategic, optimistic and full of energy.
Rusul Alrubail is the Executive Director of Parkdale Centre for Innovation. She launched the centre because she believes in the power of voice, community and supporting diverse talent, traditionally pushed to the margins. Rusul is also an author, educator, social justice advocate, and mom of two. twitter.com/rusulalrubail
The Women of WEP: (from left) Robyn Colangelo (art director, year 1), Julia Hambleton (distribution manager), Janet Morassutti (managing editor) and Melanie Morassutti (deputy editor) have what they believe to be the funnest job in Canadian journalism, cranking out the paper edition of the West End Phoenix from their office on the 2nd floor of The Gladstone Hotel. The high points include creative freedom, flexibility and the deep thrill of collaborating with people – writers, artists, volunteers, community members and colleagues – they love. www.westendphoenix.com
Cathy Crowe: Mother, grandmother and friend; street nurse and housing advocate; lover of film, baseball and High Park! Just wrote my story in 'A Knapsack Full of Dreams. Memoirs of a Street Nurse'. cathycrowe.ca
Lynn Bebee and Kerry Wade: Two like-minded punk rock chicks with a background in fashion, joined forces and created the iconic lifestyle brand, Blackbird Studios. 10 years later, they are manufacturing their label at the Cotton Factory in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and selling at their shop at 123 James Street North.
Made for a girl with a past and a woman with a history.
Shawna Woudstra: Competitive Race Car driver, adrenaline junkie and lover of all things motorized. Originally wanted to be a ballerina, now piloting a 200mph Top Dragster. 911 operator and dispatcher, adventure seeker and dog lover. Nothing without friends and family. Pretty good at turning a wrench, changing a tire and getting dirty, although you’d never know it by looking at her. Strong believer in inspiring girls to chase their dreams. www.instagram.com/shawnawanarace
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
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.
Osra Lindo: Mother, Grandmother, Sister, friend. A student, a university graduate at 79 years young, a lifelong learner. Old in age but young at heart. Lover of people. Believes that we attract what our hearts give out. Feminist. Rum punch fan. Always say thank you.
Jennifer Podemski: I’m honoured to be a part of this incredible campaign created by Lisa MacIntosh. To be recognized alongside women who edge stretch, challenge perception and rise above adversity is an honour.
I believe in the power of women and I know that when we come together without malice or judgement, we can move mountains and reinvent the systems that have held us from believing in our magic.
To all of my sisters across the globe - today and all days - may you recognize your magic and if you see another woman who is struggling to recognize hers please remind her.
Amber Gotzmeister: Single mother, avid traveler, business owner, cosmetic and paramedical tattoo artist.
Every January I step away from running my cosmetic tattoo shop in Kensington Market, Toronto to donate my time and skills to help restore confidence to people in India who suffer from hyperpigmentation disorders or have been victims of disfiguring burns, including acid attacks. I travel with The India Project, a nonprofit organization, to provide these services free of cost. When time allows, I find joy in painting, gardening, swimming, meditation, and spending time with loved ones. www.indiaprojectinc.org, www.goodgeisha.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
I'm Meghann. Northern-blooded (Finnish/Sami, Algonquin and French) with Indigenous roots on both sides. Proud mother of Harley Kaarina and fiancee of Ruston. Registered social worker; mental health clinician. Advocate. Passionate about addressing stigma in our society. Promoter of First Voice Perspectives. I acknowledge that lived experiences are unique and valuable contributions in the work I do. For me, it's power with, not power over.
I've been in the field for almost 20 years, encountering many problematic issues within various societal systems. I'm motivated to find ways to fight existing inequalities that create barriers for the most vulnerable, targeted folks out there. I currently work on an out outpatient mental health (psychiatric) team in a large rural area. I promote equal access to the necessities of life and the chance to participate in society in a meaningful, hopeful way. I'm doing what I believe I was meant to do - addressing the injustices. I honour my ancestors by walking my path with a strong heart and mind. The female influences in my life were strong growing up, instilling sisu in me which means to have inner strength, determination, braveness, and resilience. My Elder once spoke about this notion that we all have fires within our bellies. For some, the fire is almost extinguished, down to the last ember. I've been there before. I aim to be the fire starter in the lives of people. I speak out against domestic violence, intimate partner violence and abuse of all forms. I share my story and my own experiences hoping that it will encourage and help others. Regaining power is absolutely necessary in order for healing, recovery and post-traumatic growth to occur.
If you don't love yourself first, toxic people will enter your life. You will attract them. I know this because I've been broken before. A few years ago I got real with myself and reached out for professional help. I never reached out before because I felt ashamed being a helper who needed help. I learned about being assertive, setting healthy boundaries and how to say no. I really started to heal and grow. A door then opened that allowed the most wonderful person to enter my life. Much love to you Ruston (this spot where I'm photographed is where he took me on our first date and where the memorial tree for his parents is planted).
My unwritten rules include: use empathy, compassion and love. Speak the truth, be transparent and genuine. Be assertive and establish healthy boundaries. Help others without expectation. And travel - it's so humbling and absolutely necessary. Thank you/kiitos/chi miigwetch for ASKing and reading.
Liz Renzetti: Author, journalist, feminist. Trying to talk less and listen more. Grateful to all the sisters out there and the work they do. twitter.com/lizrenzetti
Rosanne Cash: singer, songwriter, author, activist, advocate for gun control, trying to live a fearless life.
Ceta Ramkhalawansingh: During Canada's centennial year, my parents moved our family from Trinidad and Tobago to a new home in Toronto.
I am or have been a volunteer, city builder, feminist, student, university lecturer, researcher, human rights advocate, publisher, student leader, public servant, city councillor. I am also a friend, a sister, a niece, an aunt and a daughter.
My values are rooted in feminist and human rights principles.
Personal rules: Be kind, Be generous, Be engaged, Be informed.
Anna Gustafson packed all of her everything’s and moved to a city 32,000 times the size of her hometown. All of her new everything’s come from the places in between.
Career comedian and producer with intentions to create live comedy and collaborative experiences where women are more fairly represented and heard, particularly those mid-career. Creating a community of these women through #firecrackerCOMEDYdept. Telling stories about “community” and “finding your people” through public speaking work and writing.
Producer at YYComedy Festival in Calgary and the Resident Comedian at Gilda’s Club Toronto. Currently experiencing a fierce renaissance. www.annagustafson.ca
Sara Froese: Artist, printmaker, press-woman. Violinist, lover of plants and tiny things, cat mom. allsortspress.com
Bif Naked: Performing artist, poet, bare-knuckle fighter, human and animal rights activist, goddess, survivor -
SarahRose Black: Music therapist, psychotherapist. Pianist, vocalist, songwriter. Health care provider, oncology and palliative care clinician, and researcher at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre & Kensington Hospice.
Passionate believer that to be human is to be musical. Devoted advocate for music therapy as a universal standard of health care. Committed to music therapy for people at any age or any stage of cancer. Enamoured with qualitative research methodology.
Captivated by live music. Inspired by spending musical time with others. Delighted by long-distance running. Happy on a yoga mat. Heart-filled on a piano bench. twitter.com/sarahroseblack
Dorothy Deane: Shining star. Canada's top female vocalist back in the Big Band era with all of the top dance bands and stage orchestras of those glorious times. Also a radio star and popular performer in the early days of television.
Dorothy started singing professionally at age 16, became Canada's 'Jingle Queen" in the 1950's and sang hundreds of memorable radio and tv commercials in the early 60's. An inspiration to female artists back in the day.
Dorothy is in her 98th year and remains a towering inspiration to her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and all who know and lover her.
Denise Donlon: As fearless as possible, author.
Dawn T Maracle: Mohawk woman & mother, corporate speaker, master trainer. Inspired, cancer survivor, educator, advocate, author, dancer, photographer, muse, cliff-jumper, scanner. Equity, diversity and inclusion: Indigenous and disability rights activist and consultant.
Dawn is an award-wining diversity activist/organizer who is a Mohawk woman from Tyendinaga. A single mother and cancer survivor; Dawn has worked with and for Indigenous communities and organizations for nearly three decades in the areas of Indigenous Education, Health and Governance, as well as Women’s causes and the Arts. Working locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, she is an in-demand speaker and writer in countries such as Canada, the USA, Italy, Germany and Australia. She has emceed to audiences of thousands at the Parliament of World Religions and spoken at numerous women’s marches in Toronto; and has sat as esteemed member of the UNESCO Arts and Education Roundtable. Dawn's company SKYroots provides Indigenous education, training and consulting to the private sector, while HOPES Indigenous Training Network (a not-for-profit) seeks to raise funds to bring leadership and cultural training to Indigenous groups and organizations, prioritizing access to Indigenous women, trans and two-spirit peoples. facebook.com/dmaracle1, Twitter: @dtmaracle Instagram: @dawnmaraclesky, DawnTMaracle.com
Cathy Barrick: Cathy is driven by purpose. You can see it come to life with an all-consuming passion that you might expect from a stadium-filling rockstar rather than charitable sector CEO. She is a big thinker and a big personality, but she never misses the little things that matter the most to the people around her.
As CEO of Alzheimer Society of Ontario, her resume includes social worker, fundraiser, social innovator and many accolades. But her deep empathy for people living with dementia is her north star. She is inspired daily by the memories of her own grandparents’ journey with Alzheimer’s and a childhood spent with them, close to nature.
She is committed day in and day out to funding innovative research and transforming policy and services in the fight against Alzheimer’s. But she never loses the opportunity to share the joy and celebrate a quiet moment, in the journey of a single client’s life.
It was an incredibly fortunate the day I met my colleague and friend, Lynn Courey, founder of The Sashbear Foundation in a sociology class six years ago. We quickly realized we are both on parallel mindful journeys and we found out very quickly when we collaborate, we prove to be a powerful team offering unconditional support of each other’s different strengths and creativity. Such as when we embarked on an enormously impactful project: the life changing, enlightening mindfulness 14-part documentary film series, ‘Having a Life Worth Living’! It continues to help countless of families and individuals around the world who struggle with the often misunderstood and misdiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder. Through the testimonies of 14 courageous individuals we offer hope to so many others who might be lost. Lynn and I stand united to break the stigma of mental illness and for a more mindful, compassionate society. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cAmuiFkE8Q
Karen Waddell: Professional Actor; Documentary filmmaker (‘Having A Life Worth Living’); Mental Health Ambassador for The Sashbear Foundation: advocate and educator; Forever Student: (Recently went back to school at age 50!! Graduating in Social Work Studies as well as honoured to be now recognized as a CFM Qualified Mindfulness–Based Stress Reduction Teacher from UMASS Medical School)!; Meditator; Painter; Adventurer; Always welcoming more simplicity, more listening, curiosity, new possibilities, laughter, music, books, and more profound connections into my life. Proud Mama of two excellent boys and wife of 30 years to John Ralston. https://karenwaddell.wixsite.com
Lynn Courey: Suicide prevention advocate, community service mental health provider, family support, caregiver, wife and mother.
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
Barbette Kensington: It was October, 1954, I was four years old and living on a dairy farm when Hurricane Hazel hit Ontario. I remember standing outside with my father staring at the sky, I have never seen one like this since. The horses were running around the paddock in a frenzy and the cows were laying in the pasture refusing to move. Suddenly, a tractor-pulled hay wagon pulled up in the yard full of neighbouring farmers. They immediately jumped off and helped secure our livestock into the barn. It happened so fast, then my father jumped on the wagon with them and they were off to the next farm. I think this was the pivotal point in my life that lead me to becoming a community worker.
In the mid 60s, I was at the University of Toronto but it was the Community Worker Program at George Brown that caught my attention. I did not want to be a social worker, I wanted to work along side of people making change. I have practiced community work for over 35 years; working with colleges and universities, churches, my Native community, community centres and various theatres and music events. Complications from Diabetes ended my full time work and I am content at this age to do volunteer work.
Eight years ago, I started the Kensington Kittypants Fund in partnership with Dundas Euclid Animal Hospital to assist seniors within their practice with the care of their pet companions. Every year we have a fundraiser featuring live bands, great gift certificates from more than 25 Kensington Market merchants and a traditional moose feast. I am so proud and honoured to see how many people get involved and share this vision. This to me is true community work.
Helen Paddle: First female car salesperson in Toronto, sensible farm girl, snappy dresser, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, frugal, tenacious, prudent, no-bullshit, excellent laugher.
Richa Gupta: Who am I? One of the hardest questions to answer when you are not just talking about what you do. I am ever evolving yet always rooted in the core values that I grew up with. My stance on a lot of things has changed over time as I matured into who I am today and I am not sure where it will be in the next few years. What hasn't changed is my love for meaning, authenticity and honesty. My search for meaning in my life got me to where I am today. Loving life and making a difference through food. goodfoodforgood.ca
Sharon Lewis: Artist, rebel, filmmaker, tv maker, performer, caribbean-canadian, mother, I tell stories but they aren’t lies.
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
Anne Woolger: A chance encounter with a refugee over 30 years ago changed the course of my life. His heart-wrenching story of escaping persecution ended with his account of feeling painfully unwelcome upon arrival in Canada. His story so deeply moved me that I decided to begin volunteering with refugees to help them feel more welcome.
Fast forward 30 years and I'm still helping make them feel welcome!
In the early years, my eyes were soon opened to the difficult plight of "refugee claimants" seeking asylum in Canada. I discovered there was a huge shortage of decent shelters geared towards their unique needs and they were often the scapegoat of much public misunderstanding.
Out of that came a vision of opening a home that would provide a warm welcome and holistic support for them. Hence, "Matthew House" was born. Since opening in 1998, by God's grace, we've welcomed thousands of refugee claimants from over 100 different nations, expanded to several homes in Toronto and inspired the opening of many others across Canada. It has been an amazing journey of faith, perseverance and gratitude.
I believe all people are worthy of dignity, honour, and respect and my heart's desire is to influence, model and inspire a positive response to refugees...in Canada and the world. www.matthewhouse.ca
Allison Dore: "Comedy in Canada is a very difficult landscape for everyone, as there is very little money or support; but I noticed that women in particular weren't recording albums at the same rate as their male counterparts. After being annoyed and stewing about it for about a year, I suddenly realized that I was in a unique position to make it easier for comics.
With 17 years as a comedian and 5+ in broadcasting, I have experience on both sides of the audio spectrum, and I have made lots of wonderful contacts that can help me with the parts I don't know. Plus my great friend Matt is one of the world's best sound engineers, so when he got on board I knew we could make top quality albums. And so Howl & Roar Records was born.
I wanted to be inclusive, so 80% of our focus and content is dedicated to women, with 20% left to support men, particularly men of colour and in the LGBTQ+ community.
We have so much talent here in Canada, but money and opportunity isn't always there. I am so happy to do what I can to help comics feel valued and supported."
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
Kathy Grant was born in Montreal to Barbadian parents Owen Rowe, a former WWII veteran, diplomat and Head of Social Development at the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario and Joan Rowe, a former school teacher. They instilled the value of history, education and service to each of their three children.
Before her dad passed away, Kathy promised him that she would bring Black Canadian Military History and Black Canadian History into public consciousness. For the past decade, Kathy has devoted her efforts to documenting, digitizing and videotaping the stories of Black Canadian veterans that donned the Canadian uniform in defence of Canada and also gathering stories linked to Black History in Canada.
She places an emphasis on interviewing veterans, inviting participation from the loved ones of deceased veterans, public engagement, and connecting Black veteran stories to Canadian history. Her social media page, Black Canadian Veterans Stories of War dedicated to this initiative, receives half a million views per year. Kathy has made educational presentations to municipalities, schools, and community organizations in order to promote inclusive storytelling and historical documentation. https://www.facebook.com/BlackCanadianVeterans
Her efforts were formally acknowledged in 2012, when Kathy received a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
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. www.solesurvivorshop.com
Tova: The first time I was on stage I was 10 years old. I performed a Holocaust monologue as a mother who had just seen her baby thrown into the air and shot by Nazis. Acting allowed me to make sense of the pain I felt growing up as a daughter of Holocaust survivors. It also allowed me an escape into worlds where I could be happy.
An award winning actor, writer and singer Tova is "An Artist Canadians should celebrate”... Toronto Star. Recognized by NOW Magazine as one the Top Ten Toronto theatre artists of 2017 for bringing two unforgettable mothers to the stage: the controlling, seen-it-all matriarch who put the “tough” in Tough Jews, then the woman caught between devout husband and restless artistic son in The Jazz Singer. As ACTRA Toronto President, she also proved an effective spokesperson working to change the culture of sexual harassment in the film and television industry.
Kim Thompson Steel: Teller of visual stories, people-loving introvert, supporter of women's voices, seeker of ways to uplift humanity through photography. Current project: shooting for the Chef-In-Training program www.sproutscookingclub.org/chef-in-training-program of Sprouts Cooking Club in the San Francisco Bay Area. They support underserved youth with hands-on training in the food industry, working with real restaurants under real chefs.
After telling stories as a character animator on award winning visual effects films and commercials for many years, Kim continues to create visual narratives through her photography and occasional video work. Her current projects encompass her love of natural light, food and environmental portraits of makers and creative entrepreneurs with their work.
Rev. Linda Wheler: For more than 20 years I have been privileged to work with congregations, creating places where people feel welcomed, accepted and included. As a Minister, I have been blessed with the opportunity to walk closely with people of all ages in difficult and tender moments, in times of joy and celebration, and in times of questioning and seeking. It is inspiring to witness God at work in simple yet powerful ways to give young and old alike the courage to live their faith and make a difference in the world.
Proud wife, mom, grandy. Woman of faith. Welcoming. Grateful. Lover of life and people. I am always grateful for the love and support of family and friends. www.trinityuc.ca
Books are how Jael Ealey Richardson came to understand what it means to be black in Canada. But books by black authors and writing workshops led by folks of colour were important to her and hard to find. So after publishing a memoir about her life and her father, CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey - THE STONE THROWER - Jael founded the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) where she continues to serve as the Artistic Director for Canada’s first literary festival centred around marginalized voices, which is held in Brampton, Ontario in May. Since the FOLD began, Jael has also published a children’s book (also called The Stone Thrower) and is a regular book columnist for CBC’s q. Her debut novel, Gutter Child is due in Fall 2020 with HarperCollins Canada. jaelrichardson.comtheFOLDCanada.orgtwitter.com/jaelrichardsontwitter.com/theFOLD_
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
Jadine Baldwin is an 18 year old aspiring author and advocate for people with disabilities. A daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter and lover of all things books and tea. She is a vibrant, humble, strong, independent woman who believes that she can change the world (one wheel at a time). Jadine wants to attend University and become the next John Green or Rupi Kaur (favourite authors). She knows that true beauty comes from within, but still enjoys a little bit of glitter on the outside from time to time. When she is passionate, you will hear her roar!
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."
Jill Daum: I'm a mother, a wife, a playwright, an actor and most recently a caregiver.
My husband John Mann was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's 6 years ago and my son was diagnosed with a mental illness 5 years ago.
I have been working as an actor and writer for over 35 years. I'm one of the performers and co-creators of the internationally acclaimed plays: Moms the Word, Moms the Word Unhinged, Moms the Word ReMixed and Moms the Word Nest 1/2 Empty. Our shows have been seen in 17 different countries and translated into 11 languages. I also wrote the drama/comedy Forget About Tomorrow which premiered at the Arts Club Theatre and the Belfry Theatre in 2018. It's a story close to home for me about a woman whose husband receives a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's.
Tara Slone is a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a friend. Lead singer of the Juno-nominated band Joydrop, a Rock Star: INXS alumnus, the co-host of Rogers Hometown Hockey, a lifelong student of Tibetan Buddhism, a feminist, a fierce LGBTQ ally, passionate about bringing attention to Canada’s First Nations. Relentlessly curious, a believer in kindness, compassion, vulnerability, and basic goodness. Always in search of good food. taraslone.cahometownhockey.com
Marcia Brown is a Woman of Distinction, an educator and Founder/Executive Director of Trust 15 Youth Community Support Organization where future leaders are mentored and given hope. Marcia surrounds herself with people who have the same passion for youth and the desire to restore greatness that is often hidden; striving towards breaking the shackles that have kept so many young people down and without hope. She is an advocate, a leader and feels most comfortable sharing her message on the street and in schools in her community. She has found peace in giving peace back to the people in her life. A favourite quote that Marcia shares is "Your crown has already been bought and paid for, all you have to do is wear it" - James Baldwin. www.trust15.com
Jaiden Dal Bello, an 18 year old aspiring Toronto filmmaker and photographer studying in New York City at the School of Visual Arts. Wants to share stories based on her real life experiences to hopefully inspire and try to change the world, even just a tiny bit. www.vimeo.com/jaidendalbellowww.jaidendalbello.com
Isabel Zatti: Early Childhood Educator, committed to inclusion, collaborator, facilitator, adapter, storyteller, actor, play advocate, lifelong learner, dreamer. Surrounded and inspired by amazing families and colleagues. Devoted daughter, mother, nonna, partner, friend, Italian, dwelling in possibility. Thank you to Lisa for including me in this awesome series.
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.
Jill Miwa: physicist, traveller, photographer
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
Halina Stopyra: Reinventing myself, bravely changing stale circumstances, forming new dreams and having a strong sense of purpose. Sharing, helping others and having JOY is my recipe for approaching a mature age; it also leads me to my most authentic self and my creative freedom. Being an artist and expressing my soul is what I'm most grateful for. The focal point of my paintings is a woman in settings that suggest inclusion and oneness. She is one with nature, she is creating life around her, her heart and mind are open and she can do it all and be everything.
Vuyiseka Dubula: former general secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa - tac.org.za
Christal Earle. Widlene calls me Mom and Augusto tells me that he loves me for who I am. I have a dream called Brave Soles that gets bigger and deeper with each new day. I am continually in awe at how ideas find us and invite us to join them to create beauty and hope. www.bravesoles.life
Joshna Maharaj: chef, activist, teacher, taste chaser, lover of the good life, happy wanderer - joshnamaharaj.com
Evie Bacopulos: Tattoo artist from Toronto, Canada. Bringing accessibility and raising standards of areola repigmentation to a community in need. www.instagram.com/tattoosbyevelyn
Jen Ochej: At my core, I’m a detail person who thrives under pressure and loves being the problem solver. I’m the one people come to when they need something done, figured out, or taken off their plate, and when I took on my first Tour Management gig (three weeks in the UK with Sarah Jane Scouten), I knew it was what I was born to do– a perfect culmination of my skills and passions. I always say if I'm doing my job right, the artist won't have to worry about anything except putting on their best show every night - I may not always succeed, but that's the goal every day. I'm a Tour Manager, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a comic book nerd, a total homebody who craves being on the road and loves living out of a suitcase on a tour bus, a wanderer; sometimes too serious, always thinking, and always up for anything with the people I love. I've worked hard to get where I am and do what I do, and consider myself lucky as hell every day to be - truly, genuinely - living the dream. twitter.com/jenochej
Rev. Alexa Gilmour founded the Stone Soup Network with the goal of helping to build a society that values the gifts of all individuals and that creates abundance through community. Whether standing in the mud with the Toronto Occupy Protest as a chaplain, offering sanctuary inside her church to Roma refugees facing deportation, or bringing her liturgical leadership to a city in mourning at the April 2018 #TorontoStrong vigil, Rev. Alexa is always looking for ways to break down the barriers between “us” and “them.” Most days you can find Alexa at www.windermerechurch.ca, www.stonesoupnetwork.ca or on www.twitter.com/Rev_Alexa
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
Christa Couture: singer, songwriter, mom, non-fiction writer, digital producer, mother of lost ones, cyborg, halfbreed, and then some - christacouture.com
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
Paula Coop McCrory: Who are you? I'm someone who has always believed in following your heart. I see art everywhere and am happiest when I'm making it. My life has been a series of adventures that brought me to where I am today. Teaching keeps me on my toes while challenging my own understandings of the world. I had no idea how much becoming a parent would change me. I'm okay not knowing what the future holds because I do believe everything will be okay. With more than 4 million followers, Paula Coop McCrory is considered one of the most influential pinners on Pinterest. Admired for her ability to uncover and curate the latest trends across art, design, food, fashion, travel and interiors, Paula's sharp eye is one of the reasons brands turn to her for curating, creating and consulting. Currently, Paula is teaching with the University of Toronto while creating her own work through screen printing, painting and photography. www.paulacm.com
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
Laurie Brown: mother, music journalist, radio host, writer, podcaster, dreamer - pondercast.ca
Kathryn Fudurich: I view my life as a series of choices that lead me closer to what success and happiness look like to me, not to fit anyone else's perception or projection of those things. Daughter. Partner. River's Mom. Sister. Caregiver. Friend. Alzheimer's Advocate. Musician. Solo Canoe Tripper. Business Owner. Whatever I Want To Be... I believe that giving back in a meaningful way in a world that's so wildly out of balance is what we're here for. I believe that carving out time for yourself and the really important things in a world that glorifies stress and being busy is a conscious choice that we are all accountable for. I strive to live a consistent practice of patience, gratitude, self-acceptance, and wider understanding of the varying lenses humans experience life through. kathfilms.commemoryball.org
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
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
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
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/shephardmmichelleshepard.ca
Rae Ellen Bodie: learner, teacher, meditator, breather, noise-maker, lover, fighter, crone - raeellenbodie.com
Gael Hannan: hearing loss consultant, author, advocate, public speaker - gaelhannan.com
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
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.cominstagram.com/bpollock
Sarah Dougall is the trail-blazing entrepreneur and brainchild behind Toronto's famous Made You Look Jewellery Studio and Retail Gallery. Sarah’s desire to push the boundaries has brought together makers and designers in a collaborative environment that supports the local arts community, the artists and the neighbourhood. She lives by the motto: create the world you’d like to see. madeyoulook.ca
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.
Alex Pangman: singer, equestrian, organ transplant advocate/recipient - alexpangman.com
Jen McCain: Entrepreneur & Investor, Master's of Business Administration and Bachelor's Degree in Business Management. "None but ourselves can free our minds." - Bob Marley saveourscruff.org, iriecapital.com
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. Volunteer. Warrior. Trailblazer. Motivational speaker. Resilient. Passionate and optimistic. Walks in gratitude. meaganswalk.com
Jane Harbury: "I am honoured to have been photographed by Lisa for this series. I'm a Gemini, which may not mean anything. My whole life has been a series of unplanned, unthought-out adventures, none of which I regret. Still fortunate to work with amazing artists. Perhaps most will say 'she posts great stuff on Facebook - mainly animals' or 'you should write a book'. I'm more than fine with the first comment but the book writing bit, too busy making a living." janeharbury.wordpress.com
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
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.
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.
Dana Bookman: Mother. Believer that anything is possible. Recognizes the power that comes from girls playing team sports. Founder of Canadian Girls Baseball. torontogirlsbaseball.com
Leslie Arden: I spent my youth trying to decide whether to spend my life with animals and nature, or with music. Now I divide my time between composing, writing, playing and singing at my grand piano, and boarding and fostering dogs on my beautiful ten acres in Ontario farmland. It’s all about balance. lesliearden.com
Hope Chigudu: co-founder of the Zimbabwe Women's Resource Centre and Network - zwrcn.org.zw
Dorothy Aitchison: Mom, grandma, great grandmother, friend. A feminist, artist, milliner, dressmaker, small business owner, baker, knitter, reader. A role model; respected and loved. Farewell, lovely Dorothy - November 9, 2018.
Suzanne Smoke: ginew kwe, golden eagle woman, mukwa dodem, sits with the bear clan, mother and life giver, water carrier, water protector, land defender
Rachel Rashotte: view from our balcony lady, lover of all things natural, healthy choices come first, seven years sober, compassionate mother, partner, friend.
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
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
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
Laura Maness: CEO of Havas New York. 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. lovebugcafeplay, Instagram: @lauramaness, twitter.com/pinkbird_biz
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.
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
Lizzie Violet: writer, ghost stories, horror fiend, redheaded girl with the crooked smile - lizzieviolet.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
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.
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
Michele Gare: kind, persistent, thoughtful, loving, strong, passionate, giving, music lover, optimistic, endurer, problem solver
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
Kate Drummond: professional storyteller, actor, writer, former school teacher, inspirational speaker, philanthropist, animal lover, dreamer *RIP Jackson katedrummond.com
Lisa Humber: stage manager, producer, dreamer
Bet Smith: artist-blacksmith, singer-songwriter, band member, craftsperson, devoted lover of the earth, betty of all trades - PersephoneForge.com
Margaret Wright: optimist, blessed, kind, grounded, loved, survivor
Vanessa Arscott: Plan V. Lover of live music. Coordinator of things. Auntie, sister, daughter, friend - planvproductions.com
Madeline Wilson Shaw: arts advocate, feminist, Mohawk, music lover, band manager, mother, bohemian, hamiltonian frontroomentertainment.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
Brenda Bronfman: mom, founder/ceo wishing well sanctuary, animal lover, peace seeker -
Candace Alper: mom, partner, writer, educator, brain-stormer, global citizen, coffee-lover
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
Mary Neilans: mother, health care educator and advocate, champion for Parkinson’s research, reader and writer - rocksteadyboxingtoronto.org
Kim Petrie: tiny, soft spoken, determined, strong, feisty. Taking Parkinson's disease head on. lets-shake.com
Dorothy Onyango: co-founder and executive director of Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya - wofak.org
Ashley Rowley: luthier, music teacher, problem solver, animal lover, organic gardener, listener, sensitive, accepting, camper, happy laidback hippie
Kelly Hadfield: global health change-maker, boundary pusher, adventurer, naturalist, canoer, basketballer - ghanamedicalhelp.com
Jocelyn Richards: photographer, lover of all things groovy, kick ass MS warrior
India Amara: tattoo artist, yogi, globe trotter, motorcyclist, wild at heart - indiaamara.com
Ellen Davidson: outlier, gambler on ideas & people, paylancer, mentor, mum x 3, honey over vinegar...most times