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WILLIE, ALLEN PATRICK – Volume XVI (1931-1940)

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation


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From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

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Women in Sports
Original title:  Honoured Member PHYLLIS DEWAR

Source: Link


After moving to Victoria, Wenonah MARLATT became involved with the Young Women’s Christian Association, an organization that promoted physical, moral, and spiritual well-being:

“In 1916 [Marlatt] applied for the position of general secretary of the local Young Women’s Christian Association at a salary of $50 per month and was accepted. In her report for April 1917 she hinted at her heavy responsibilities and expressed an interest in working with young women. ‘Down in the park any evening one may see many many half grown girls . . . and one realizes how their energies might be deviated into safer channels through an effective programme. This teen age girls work appeals to me just now as the greatest necessity of the association.’”


A secretary from Hamilton, Ont., and passionate about sports, Velma Agnes SPRINGSTEAD contributed to securing a permanent place for Canadian women in international competitions, a feat that was not accomplished without resistance:

“[In 1925] the all-male Amateur Athletic Union of Canada was invited to send a women’s team to London, England, to compete against the national teams of Great Britain and Czechoslovakia. Not wanting to organize it, but unwilling to risk public censure by turning the invitation down, the AAU asked Alexandrine Gibb*, a Toronto brokerage secretary and volunteer sports leader, to select and manage the team. In the hastily convened trials at Varsity Stadium in Toronto on 11 July, Springstead outleaped the Canadian high jump record holder, Innes Bramley, to make the team. Wearing a billowing tunic, she cleared four feet seven inches with the scissors kick. …

“The Stamford Bridge experience [in London] convinced Gibb and others that Canadian women deserved a permanent place in international sporting competition, but that they would need their own organization to ensure it. As soon as they could, in 1926, they formed the Women’s Amateur Athletic Federation of Canada, and began to spread ‘girls’ sports run by girls’ across Canada. In 1928, under Gibbs’s leadership, the WAAF took the first Canadian women’s Olympic team to Amsterdam in association with the [Amateur Athletic Union].”


The following biographies give more information about women’s participation in sports, the social interaction between women and men in sports, and the development of women’s organized sports in Canada:

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