Trailblazers and nation builders

Famous 5 Foundation celebrates women's successes, promotes women's equality

It’s about moving, shaking, fighting, advocating, and innovating—to the power of five.

In 1929, five strong-willed Alberta females, including Nellie McClung and Emily Murphy, won the right for women to be included in the legal definition of “persons” in Canada. The historic so-called Persons Case decision, by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of Great Britain, paved the way for women to sit in the Senate, forever altering the Canadian cultural landscape.

Nearly a century later, the Famous 5 Foundation continues to celebrate those pioneers and nation builders. Thursday morning in Ottawa, five trailblazing Canadian women were presented with the 2015 Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case at Rideau Hall—and were then honored at a Famous 5 Ottawa luncheon across town.

“These are the highest awards presented to Canadian women, and they celebrate a body of work that spans a lifetime,” says Isabel Metcalfe, who chairs the Famous 5 Ottawa chapter.

“The original Famous Five (McClung, Murphy, Louise McKinney, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Irene Parlby) were described as clever, tenacious and diplomatic,” adds Metcalfe. “Those words are as relevant today as they were 85 years ago. They’re timeless. Really, they describe modern-day women.”

Thursday’s 2015 winners are:

“These 2015 award recipients are inspiring role models to all Canadians—and especially to young women,” says Metcalfe.

Enbridge fuels people’s quality of life in North America, and we also strengthen communities near our projects and operations by partnering with non-profit organizations, like the Famous 5 Foundation, that champion solutions for social issues.

Since 2000, Enbridge has worked with Famous 5 to foster a culture that embraces different perspectives, experiences, skills and abilities, and to honor prominent women who are distinguished by their leadership. Our support includes:

  • The Enbridge Famous 5 Speaker Series in Ottawa, Sarnia-Lambton, ON, Edmonton, Calgary and Fort McMurray, AB;
  • The annual Enbridge Youth and History Awards;
  • Various fundraising galas and events; and
  • An annual luncheon for the recipients of the Governor General’s Persons Case awards.

“We’re proud to support the inspiring women who were recognized in Ottawa,” says D’Arcy Levesque, Enbridge’s Vice President of Enterprise Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility. “Enbridge has been a longstanding partner with the Famous 5 Foundation, and we admire their dedication in encouraging, supporting and promoting women’s leadership.”

The Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case have been presented annually since 1979.