Chrissy Troy's Blog

Manitoba's Most Admirable Women

Posted By: Chrissy Troy · 3/7/2011 4:39:00 PM

In honour of International Women's Day, we're compiling a list of Manitoba's Most Admirable Women.

Some of our choices are below and we're gonna keep adding to it.  Tell us about the Manitoban women you admire most in the comments section below and help this list grow!


Lived for a time in Swan River Manitoba, she was the first female magistrate in the British Empire and Canada and part of The Famous Five who in 1927 asked the Supreme Court of Canada to answer the question ‘Does the word ‘Persons’ in the British North America Act include female persons?



Lived in both the Souris Valley and Winnipeg, was part of The Famous Five.  Nellie was a politician and activist.  She helped launch the Persons Case and helped in making Manitoba the first province to grant women the right to vote. 


Member of the Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation.  She established an agency that would later become the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program in Portage la Prairie.  The Gladys Cook Education Centre at Agassiz was named in her honour.  She was also honoured with the Governor General’s Award, the Premier’s Award, the Order of Manitoba and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award. 


Founded the Ladybug Foundation when she was 8 years old to spread awareness and raise fund to assist charitable organizations which provide food, shelter and other needs of the homeless and near homeless in Canada.  The National Film Board of Canada has produced “Hannah’s Story” and she has been honoured with a Humanitarian Award from the government of Canada. 


Novelist, wrote the ‘Stone Angel’.  Dedicated to presenting a female perspective on contemporary life. 


A champion to the Canadian country music industry.  Was president of the Canadian Country Music Association and used her own money to put up the $100,000 needed to spearhead the association’s first live awards show in 1986.   The CCMA honoured her with the Hank Smith Award of Excellence in 2008.

She was on the board of the Children’s Aid Society and the Women’s Auxiliary of the Manitoba Pharmacists Association and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.  She served with the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League and was the Manitoba Diocesan president. 

President of the Canadian Ladies Golf Association, a member of the women’s council of the World Amateur Golf Council and vice-chairwomen of the 1999 Pan Am Games Festival Committee.  She was inducted into the Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.  

She was the founding editor of Swerve, the city’s first gay and lesbian newsmagazine.  

Came to Winnipeg with her family from Scotland and was believed to be the last surviving witness to several of the violent events of the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919.  She witnessed Mike Sokolowski being shot.


She taught as schools in Mountainside, Rondeau and East Kildonan and was assistant principal in Winnipegosis.  During the Second World War, after seeing the names of four of her former students from one town in the list of war casualties, she decided to improve the survival chances of soldiers.  She responded to a newspaper ad from the government and became involved in the AA Predictor project, a device that predicted the path of oncoming planes for anti-aircraft guns before radar was invented.

A nurse who along with her husband bought their first nursing home, called the Baron Nursing Home in 1960.  They went on to build the Arcadia Nursing Home, the Maples Personal Care Home, River East Personal Care Home and the Irene Baron Eden Centre.

She was the province’s best female athlete in 1953.  She won the bronze medal as part of the Canadian women’s relay team at the British Empire Games in 1954.  She was part of a relay team that broke a Canadian record at the 1956 Olympics in Australia.  That same year, she broke the Canadian record for women’s broad jump. 

A teacher who fought the Winnipeg School Division regarding human rights.  She became a high school business education teacher at 50, but when the school division said she had to retire at age 65, she fought all the way to the Supreme Court to stay.  She was successful, opening the door for other Manitobans to retire later.  

She helped set up the United Church’s national audio visual education service, and chaired the committee that led to the Riverside Lions Club constructing a new personal care home.  She served on the National Parole Board.  

A teacher who became a community builder.  She retired in Stonewall and helped initiate REACT, an environmental organization which preserved a patch of tallgrass prairie in the town.  In 2008 the town named it the Ruby Roe Tallgrass Prairie.  

Lived in Starbuck, Mb and became a baseball star.  She played with the Winnipeg Ramblers in 1937 and then the Regina Army and Navy Bombers playing in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1.  She was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown N.Y as well as the Canadian and Manitoba Hall of Fames.  

Graduated in law from the University of Manitoba, she is responsible for drafting The Divorce Act, The Canadian Grains Act, and a portion of the Canadian Constitution containing women’s rights.  

Successful businesswomen who began at Manitoba Hydro and later became the president and CEO of CentreVenture.  While there, she was instrumental in the development of Waterfront Drive. 

Starred in the Peggy Neville Show, the first program broadcast in colour in Canada in 1966.


She was a driving force in putting works of art on the seawall at the Gimli Harbour.  Served several terms as president of the Gimli Art Club.

Mother and Grandmother known for her baking, especially her Clodhopper Candy recipe.

Spent two years in the Ninette Sanatorium while in her teens, for more than 50 years, she volunteered to help with children’s health care.  She was a founding member of the Children’s Hospital Book Market and longtime board member of the Children’s Hospital Foundation

Grew up near Niverville, she became the first lone Girl Guide in the province.  She also successfully fought for a precedent allowing women to continue teaching after getting married.  She helped change other gender inequalities including the rule that female teachers had to retire five years earlier than men.  She helped found the Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre.  She was honoured with the Federal Order of the Persons Award and the Order of Manitoba.  

She was crowned the Flin Flon Trout Festival’s first beauty queen in 1951; opened Blake Jeweler’s and was involved for more than 20 years with the Minnedosa Christmas Cheer Board, many of those as chairwoman. 

Taught social work at the University of Manitoba and became head of the social work department at the University of Botswana.  When her daughter Jocelyn died of cancer in the family home in 1980 she along with her husband created Jocelyn House Hospice, Western Canada’s first freestanding hospice in their former home. 

After being diagnosed with cancer when she was 15 she organized Kendra’s Walk to raise money to refurbish the teen room at CancerCare Manitoba, raising more than $160,000.  

Once known as “The Mayor of Main Street” was an aboriginal activist who was a played a very large part in building the Thunderbird House at Higgins Ave and Main Street.  She opened the city’s first aboriginal restaurant Bungee’s Teepee on Carlton Street.  She was honoured with the Order of Manitoba and the Order of the Buffalo Hunt. 

Before passing away from Cancer at 17, she volunteered with the Children’s Hospital Foundation and was involved with Coast to Coast Against Cancer.

She worked with the Canadian Hostelling Association, starting with an office in her home and ending up with the city’s first permanent youth hostel on Maryland Street.  When she retired it was name Ivey House in her honour.

Responsible for audible cues at pedestrian crossings.  A disability advocate, she filed a complaint against the City of Winnipeg and with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission resulting in all intersections with pedestrian traffic signals being changed to eventually have audible cues.  


She was the mother of home care in Canada.  She was the executive director of the Age and Opportunity Centre and launched a public home-care program.  She received the Order of Canada and Order of Manitoba.  The Canadian Medical Association presented her with its Medal of Honour.

Born in Neepawa, Lula blazed the way for women in banking.  She was appointed the first female bank manager in Canada in 1967.


Author of ‘In Search of April Raintree’, the novel is read by students across the country every year and it remains one of Canada’s most popular and well-known works of Aboriginal literature. 


Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. James moved to Manitoba in 1960 and became the first black woman admitted to the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Medicine.  She was instrumental in founding Manitoba’s Family Allergy Program and has served as a councilor of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba and also as president.


An activist and a professor of law at the University of Manitoba, Karen worked to change sexual violence laws and worked with the equal marriage for same sex couples campaign.  She’s led a lobby advocating change to Manitoba’s laws that discriminated against women, gays and lesbians leading to Manitoba having the most comprehensive changes to legislation aimed at ensuring equal rights in Canada. 


Co-founder with her American-born husband of Reader's Digest, she was born near Virden to a clergyman and his wife.

A teacher, lawyer and nun who founded Rossbrook House, a 24-hour drop-in centre she started from her basement.


Liberal MLA who became the first woman to lead a Manitoba political party.

The British-born nurse who settled in Winnipeg in 1903 was the driving force behind the establishment of Winnipeg's Children's Hospital in 1909. She remained dedicated to the facility for life.

Olga Fuga

Director, Manitoba Region, of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, she is active in her municipality, Winnipeg, as well as in the Canadian Ukrainian community. She has been a political commentator on radio and television for provincial and municipal elections and she supports and serves many organizations, including the United Way, the Red Cross, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Children's Aid Society.

Betty Havens

During her career with the Manitoba provincial government, she was instrumental in the establishment of the Manitoba Home Care, Pharmacare and Support Services to Seniors Programmes and in extending provincially insured services to include personal care homes. She initiated and has maintained the Aging in Manitoba (AIM) longitudinal study which, thirty years later, continued to be a valued resource for researchers worldwide.

Clara Hughes,

Cyclist and speed skater, and has won multiple Olympic medals in both sports. Hughes won two bronze in the Summer Olympics in 1996 and four medals (one gold, one silver, two bronze) over the course of three Winter Olympics. Known as much for her humanitarian efforts as for her medals.

Verna J. Kirkness

Her passion for improving education for Aboriginal people has led to the creation of several learning centres. She is the founder of the First Nations House of Learning. A unique facility in Canada, it serves as a "home away from home" where students may study in surroundings reflective of Aboriginal traditions and culture.

Anne Glaz Ross

Born in Winnipeg’s North End, she attended United College and the University of Manitoba. She studied nursing at Winnipeg General Hospital and psychiatric nursing in New York City. She was first employed by Mount Carmel Clinic in Winnipeg in 1948 as its only full-time staff member, and she built up the clinic through her personal efforts. She was known as “Anne of the Milk Subsidies.” In 1995 she established AGR Health Services for seniors. She was the author of several books, including Teenage Mothers Teenage Fathers (1982).

Elizabeth Willcock

Senior Citizenship Judge for Canada, she has directed countless volunteers in assisting citizens with language training, cultural adjustments and material assistance.

Jane Polak Scowcroft

Co-president; Engineers Without Borders Manitoba
A paramedic, who volunteers her time with Big Brothers and Big Sisters and various shelters in the city.
Born in Vita she moved to Chicago to complete her education and after graduation
she married and bought the Tolstoi Hotel where she and her husband operated it together for 43 years until he passed away.  Elsie continuted to run the business for the next 25 years for a total of 68 years.
Home Renovation Specialist
Nigerian born who goes by the name Tito immigrated to Canada with her mother 20 years ago began volunteering in elementary school.  She was the first student from her elementary school to be admitted to St. Mary's Academy where she maintained an A average to university level.  She now works with several community organizations tutors children and works as a youth facilitator at the Spence Neighbourhood Association.
Most helpful friend ever.
Grandmother, loyal, beautiful...and she's in a band at age 74. 
An active volunteer with the student council at St. John's College, the University of Manitoba's Disability Service, Circle K, the Siloam Mission, the YMCA-YWCA's youth program and the Chidlrens' Wish Foundation. She is working toward a career in medicine. 
A physical education teacher at Portage Collegiate Institute and founder and coach of the PCI Saints female hockey team. 
Dancer, teacher, founder of Sol de Espana fold dancers and co-founder of the Spanish Club of Winnipeg.  Her work perserving the Spanish cultural earned her an award from King Carlos of Spain.
These two women own and operate Tiber River Naturals.  Adriana was taught the old ways and recipes for soap by her Italian grandmother.
Mom who is really awesome...completely aweseome.
Social activist, leads the Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women every Feb.14th.
Jennifer Botterill
One of Canada's greatest hockey players EVER. A silver and THREE gold medals in Women's Olympic Hockey.
The JH Bruns High School student started the website aimed at improving the communication of climate science which allowed her to interact with scientists worldwide and make presenations to the PowerShift conference in Ottawa. 
She was a member of the Canadian National cycling team for nine years where she took part in multiple world championships including the Pan Am and Commonwealth Games.  In 2003 Erin helped found the women-only cycling group called the Veladonnas. 

Manages the wonderful North Star Drive Inn with her wonderful family. They make the best burgers ever!
Co-owner of Berns and Black Salon, local fashion icon, all around great lady
Professor & Head Department of Pediatrics and Medical Director, Child Health Programs, WRHA is one of the kindest, smartest ladies in Winnipeg and a huge asset to Children's Hospital and the local medical community.
Creator of 'Muckies,' a line of stunning mukluks with a twist which have been featured in fashion magazines like Elle and Flare to name a few. 



A ciminology graduate, Karne started with the Winnipeg Police Service in 1988 when less than 3% of the police force was female.  She's worked the beat for 13 years before traveling to Ottawa and Edmonton for training in forensic identification.  She's attended over 750 crime scenes.


Served on the Assiniboine South School Board and later was appointed Minister of Education in 1981.  She increased state support for private and parochial schools despite the NDP's objections to this funding.


President of Pardon Services, has been in business since 1994.  She has a solid understanding of cross border issues and protocol. 


Cindy is a long track speed skater and a 6 time medalist at the Winter Olympics.  She is the most decorated Winter Olympian in Canada.



Linda has worked in the the Winnipeg School Division teaching history, English and women's studies.  As principal of St. John's High School, she established the Gowns for Grads program, Empowering Young Women's Support Group for sexually abused girls and help grab $80,000 worth of scholarships to help students obtain post secondary education. 



Patricia is the director of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and is an internationally known researcher and one of the first in Canada to show the health care and status differences between First Nations and all other Manitobans. 




Click here for International Women's Day Events around Winnipeg


  • I would like to nominate my daughter Katie Powell. She will be a Saint some day. She is a paramedic, works at the homeless shelter, volunteers at Big Sisters, and helps anyone in need. Her compassionate for people is beyond what most people are capable of. She puts everyone first and is always willing to lend a hand. She has volunteered in many fundraisers across Ontario, British Columbia and now Manitoba. She is so deserving of Manitoba's most deserving women....
    Posted By Cathy Powell On 3/8/2011 7:56:29 PM
  • LYNN BOYD- she was instrumental in the building of what was then Unicity Fashion Square – and St. Vital Centre and was the first woman manager of both of these entire malls.  She was a promotions manager, and the most amazing fashion show announcer you have ever heard – and was tremendously well respected by ALL of her peers and the senior executive at the Bank of Montreal.  She was a Bank Manager, a Call Centre Manager – for both external and internal relations.  She loves her grandchildren more than anything on earth, would/and does, do everything in her power to convey that unconditional love and support at all times.     
    Posted By Alexander On 3/8/2011 3:47:14 PM
  • LYNN BOYD- She is an amazing person who is constantly giving her time and work to people. She is an excellent grandmother, and I can't say enough great things about her.
    Posted By Alexander On 3/8/2011 2:55:56 PM
  • My mother Teresa, is an outstanding woman whos main focus is helping her family and friends.This last year her youngest child (me) has been in and out of the hospital with her mother standing by my side every step of the way, mother herself is a cancer survivor. Teresa is a kind hearted woman who works as a nurses aid. Teresa is an amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend.
    Posted By vanessa On 3/8/2011 1:01:02 PM
  • Terry Sakiyama is owner of Patal Vocational School and The Chocolate Shop. A visionary, Terry is the founder of Winnipeg's first ever training restaurant for First Nations and Aboriginal students. Based in one of Winnipeg's oldest restaurants, The Chocolate Shop offers opportunity for students and has great fare! Additionally, Terry recently took on running a cafeteria at the University of Manitoba. She has been a recipient of the Mayor's Volunteer award and a receipient of Manitoba Women Entrepreneur of the Year award in the category of Contribution to Community. In her spare time she volunteers with Main Street Project and still takes the time to enjoy her dance class!
    Posted By Marli On 3/8/2011 11:31:24 AM
  • Debbie Simpson is one of the most amazing women I know. Despite a tough couple of years with health and family issues that many others may not be able to handle. She is a best friend to many and is always helping others.
    Posted By Dennie On 3/8/2011 10:35:18 AM
  • Jen Saunders... 2010 Manitoba Female Athlete of the Year as voted by the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Jon Montgomery was the Male Athete of the same year voted by the Manitoba Sportswriters, and Jen is very similar to Jon in her character. Athlete to the core.
    Posted By Jan On 3/8/2011 9:54:05 AM
  • Corinna Fehr Children's pastor at the Morden alliance church
    Posted By Jenn On 3/8/2011 9:44:52 AM
  • Kelly Miller - 25 + yrs providing helpful services to individuals experiencing mental illness - 1yr ago started Fairfax Com... Resources Inc
    Posted By Yay Kelly On 3/8/2011 9:40:42 AM
  • The most admerable women I know is my wife cassandra houle she is the derector of pregnency and family support sevices, she helps under privaliged familys in the citys core area and she really deserves to be honoerd and if you could let her know that I love her and what she does for so many people.
    Posted By miguel houle On 3/8/2011 9:38:55 AM
  • My late-grandma, Catherine Frances Ross, was the first female Chief of Cross Lake
    Posted By Love Women's Day On 3/8/2011 9:37:27 AM
  • Lynn McLeod Hobson She is a mother of four and the most amazing woman I know. She is kind and caring and the most loving person I have ever encounters. She never lets anything or anyone set her back and always seems to land on her feet. She is my mama and I just want her to know how much I love her and to me she is my most admirable woman.
    Posted By Danielle Rougeau On 3/8/2011 9:25:25 AM
  • The Metis Women of the Red River Settlement....critical to the fur trade, and development of Metis as a separate nation, but left out of documents, that speak of male figures.
    Posted By Cataine On 3/8/2011 9:10:47 AM
  • Tahl East - A single mother who is the Director of CDI college who uses this platform to promoting special special causes - Right now they are running another blood drive. She was also the spearhead to Bra's for the Cause, very active in food drives and numerous other charities.
    Posted By Tamara Wood On 3/8/2011 9:08:59 AM
  • Hey Chrissy and Ace!!! Please add Dr. Charlotte W. Ross to your list of women. She was Manitoba's Pioneer Woman Doctor and she had a practice in my little town of Whitemouth Manitoba. We're talking 1. When dog sleds were actually used to get around. Whitemouth was a booming little town of loggers and railway workers then. Google her, she's an incredible woman, with a great historic story.
    Posted By Karen Conroy On 3/8/2011 9:08:00 AM
  • Andrea Weichel, Jessica McCreary, Christine O'Donnell, Jana Taylor, Carol Whitman, Patricia Eko-Davis, Charlene Mash-Hadlow, Amy Mohr, Kathy Calancia Manitoba Players on the first ever Canadian National Women's Tackle Football Team. Brought home Silver from Worlds last summer!
    Posted By WP On 3/8/2011 9:04:13 AM
  • Ducky My amazing grandmother. A founding Member of the Winnipeg Chamber Orchastra and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Her mother died when she was only a baby and she was sent to boarding school in grade 4 during the war. Never failed to make a beautiful home for her children or grandchildren. Turned 75 this year and still rides horses many times a week, plays tennis many times a week, takes care of a large energetic springer spaniel, works in her garden, swims with me at the cottage, cooks, plays piano for hours, sings, travels and takes care of my grandfather who is getting older and can not walk very easily . I love spending time with her. She recently got sick and spent a few days in the hospital. She is feeling better after about 5 weeks (now she is at home) I miss her and love her! although she had very few happy times as a child i have never seen her upset or dissapointed. she is a positive and beautiful person. She is so strong and idependant. XoXoX We Love you Ducky!
    Posted By Brady Klapman On 3/8/2011 9:01:19 AM
  • Rosann Wowchuk is Deputy Premier and the first woman in Manitoba's history to ever be Finance Minister
    Posted By Jen Anthony On 3/8/2011 8:55:37 AM
  • Lianna McDonald, the fearless leader of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
    Posted By Lindsay On 3/8/2011 8:49:07 AM
  • Susan Thompson First female mayor of Winnipeg. Read Dancing Backwards: A Social History of Women in Canadian Politics by Sharon Carstairs and Tim Higgins, Heartland Publications, Winnipeg,
    Posted By Char On 3/8/2011 8:47:22 AM
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