Did you know that October is Women’s History Month in Canada? A great time to inspire Girl Guides with stories of some amazing Canadian heroines.
I grew up in a small Alberta town, where I belonged to Brownies and then Guides. I don’t remember learning about many notable women as a kid, but through my work and travels across the country I discovered wonderful stories. So I wrote 100 Canadian Heroines and 100 More Canadian Heroines.
A few of the heroines include:
1. The original De Grassi kids, Charlotte and Cornelia, were teenagers when they helped save Toronto during the 1837 rebellion.
2. Ann Harvey, a Newfoundlander, was just seventeen when she risked her life to save the passengers of a sinking ship.
3. Eileen Vollick dared to fly, becoming Canada’s first licensed female pilot in 1928.
4. Phyllis Munday climbed about a hundred mountains, becoming the first woman to scale the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. And she began the Girl Guide movement in British Columbia.
5. Lady Pellatt, first chief commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada, was so devoted to Guiding that she was buried in her uniform.
6. Tookoolito was a remarkable Inuit guide and interpreter in the Arctic.
Here’s what I did in giving presentations to Sparks, Brownies and Girl Guides about Canadian heroines:
- Pick a variety of women from the Heroines books (mainly heroines from the past) and from my heroines.ca website (includes info about cool Canadian women who are making history now).
- Bookmark or copy images of the women from the book, and print pictures from the website.
- Introduce Women’s History Month and ask the girls what qualities they think a “heroine” would have.
- Share selected stories and pictures.
- Ask the girls who their favourite heroine is, suggesting she could be a historic heroine, someone making history now, or a person they know and admire.
- Provide the girls with a template for drawing their favourite Canadian heroine on a commemorative postage stamp honouring that person, and display the printed pictures as references. (Check out some of the Girl Guides artwork.)
And if you decide to try the commemorative stamp activity or another art project I’d be glad to display the work on my heroines.ca website.