Did you know there are dozens of landmarks across Canada that recognize strong women from our country’s history?
Some celebrate the progress we’ve made, while others are a reminder of the work we still have to do.
Add some feminism to your summer plans by visiting one of these landmarks in your province or territory – or planning a road trip to see them all!
Spirit of the Beothuk – Boyd’s Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador
This life-sized bronze statue recognizes the Beothuk woman Shanawdithit, likely the last of her people. She recorded detailed sketches and accounts of Beothuk history, culture, and traditions. Without her work, much of what we know about the Beothuk people would have been lost.
Roseland Theatre – New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
In 1946, Viola Desmond made history when she refused to leave the “white only” section of the segregated Roseland Theatre. While no longer a functioning theatre, the exterior of the building has been restored and features a plaque recognizing Viola’s contributions to the Canadian Civil Rights Movement.
Desmond’s story was featured on the front page of The Clarion, Nova Scotia’s first newspaper owned and published by Black Canadians. The founder, Dr. Carrie Best, was motivated to publish the newspaper after she had a similar experience at the Roseland Theatre in 1943.
Green Gables Heritage Place – Cavendish, Prince Edward Island
One of Canada’s most beloved authors, L.M. Montgomery was a feminist in her own right. She resisted the traditional gender roles that her family expected of her, and was passionate about her right to an education. This landmark in Cavendish inspired the setting of the novels she wrote there, including the Anne of Green Gables series.
Mount Allison University – Sackville, New Brunswick
Grace Annie Lockhart became the first woman in the British Empire to earn a Bachelor’s Degree when she graduated from Mount Allison University in 1875. Grace’s three older sisters all took courses at the university, which became co-ed in 1872, but she was the only one to graduate. Her achievement is recognized by a historical marker placed outside of the University’s chapel.
This monument celebrates three women who fought for equal rights for the women of Quebec. Their dedication to Quebec’s suffrage movement eventually helped secure women’s right to vote in the province. What makes this statue even more special is that it was unveiled by Pauline Marois, the first female Premier of Quebec.
Jane Jacobs House – Toronto, Ontario
Jane Jacobs lived in her home on 69 Albany Avenue in The Annex from 1971-2006. She excelled in the male-dominated field of urban planning, and is famous in Toronto for opposing the proposed Spadina Expressway. You can visit her house and walk around the neighbourhood that she loved.
Walker Theatre – Winnipeg, Manitoba
This famous theatre was the site of a 1914 mock parliament to gain support for women’s suffrage. This was one of the most famous of Canada’s multiple mock parliaments, and featured key activists like Nellie McClung and E. Cora Hind. The building has since been renamed the Burton Cummings Theatre, but has been preserved as a Heritage Building and National Historic Site.
Statue Honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
This new statue was unveiled in May 2017. The public voted in favour of the concept, which features a female fancy dancer whose shawl looks like eagle wings. The design was inspired by the dancing of Amber Redman, who reminded her mother of an eagle in flight. Amber was murdered in 2005, and the statue honours her and countless other missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Women are Persons! Monument – Calgary, Alberta
This statue celebrates the Famous Five – Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir – who successfully fought for women to be legally recognized as people and consequently to have the right to sit in the Canadian Senate. The statue was created by Barbara Paterson, and is meant to portray the women in conversation with each other. Similar statues were later erected in Ottawa and Winnipeg.
Emily Carr House – Victoria, British Columbia
Now one of Canada’s most famous artists, Emily Carr had to fight for her right to attend art school and pursue her creative passion. Her family home in Victoria has been converted into a museum where visitors can get a more intimate understanding of her upbringing and creative process.
North End Gallery – Whitehorse, Yukon
This waterfront gallery is a favourite destination for Yukon locals and visitors alike. North End carries many female Yukon artists who capture the natural beauty of the North in their art, including Nathalie Parenteau, Daphne Mennell, and Emma Barr.
Great Bear Lake – Northwest Territories
Visit beautiful Great Bear Lake and learn about the culture that Cindy Kenny-Gilday, a Dene First Nations woman, has devoted her life to protecting. Cindy grew up in Deline, a village on the shores of the lake, and was one of the first Indigenous teachers in the Northwest Territories. She was also the first Indigenous councillor in the IUCN World Conservation Union, and is currently the chair of the IUCN Task Force for Indigenous Peoples, which she established.
Tanya Tagaq – Cambridge Bay, Nunavut
Listen to throat singer Tanya Tagaq’s award winning albums while touring her hometown of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Her newest album, Retribution, confronts issues like rape, gender, and Canada’s changing environment. Her music has won Juno Awards, Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, and the Polaris Music Prize. In 2016, she was named a Member of the Order of Canada.
Have you visited any of these landmarks or do you know of any we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!