Today is International Women's Day.
Dundern Press Tweeted the question, who's your Canadian heroine?
I was able to answer than in a heartbeat: June Callwood. Writer, social activist, and someone I had the chance to meet twice, and who I might 'credit' for one of the of speeding tickets I've ever received.
I was driving her to the airport after a conference presentation, quite caught up in her description of her recent passion of hangliding - she was into her seventies, by then. (And I remember was wearing a gorgeous yellow suit - though what that has to do with much, I couldn't tell you.)
A cop pulled us over, told me I'd been doing 80 when I should have been doing a lot less, then sent us up to Departures so I could drop JC off, where he then proceeded to write my ticket.
"Was that June Callwood?" he asked me, scribbling away.
"No," I said, wishing to deny him the opportunity to tell the story of his brush with celebrity once he got back to the station house or donut shop of wherever cops congregate. I mean, I was not going to pay $80 for the pleasure of increasing his status!
"Mmm," he said, still writing up the ticket. "I read that article about her in Saturday Night. And was pretty disgusted about that bad time they gave her over the Jessie's Place situation."
This was a young guy, a cop. The last person I'd have thought would have heard of her, read SN... How's that for prejudice?
I did relent. "Okay. I'm sorry. That was her," I said. "I was just being mean."
He grinned. "My wife will be thrilled when I tell her. 'f I'd known, it might have saved you a ticket," he said as he handed it to me, and ducked back into his cruiser.
Footnote: a few weeks later I got a note from her, voicing her regret about the ticket - but not offering to split the cost, I noted.
My other Canadian heroes might include:
The BC journalist Ma Murray
Carole Wahl - you won't know her, but she was my mentor and 'guru' and I miss her still. She's been gone about five years.
Author Jean Little
The Famous Five...
Maybe I'll think of more later. But I know these are all women I admire for their convictions, and work that made a difference to so many Canadians - men and women alike.