Canadians across the country are gearing up to celebrate our nation’s sesquicentennial on July 1st. As Canada’s capital and self-proclaimed “place to be” for 150th celebrations, Ottawa is not disappointing with a long list of events being held through the year. Add to the list Famous 5 Ottawa’s recent evening with Charlotte Gray, author of “The Promise of Canada: 150 years – People and Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country”.
On February 21st Famous 5 Ottawa kicked off this year’s Speaker Series by honouring Ms. Gray, one of Canada’s most distinguished writers. Ms. Gray is the recipient of numerous awards, is a Member of the Order of Canada, and is the author of 9 other bestselling popular history books.
Ms. Gray was introduced by Rasha Al-Katta, recipient of the 2017 Norton Rose Fullbright Mentorship. Rasha, named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, holds an MA from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and passionately pursues philanthropic endeavours to better the lives of others. Her latest endeavor took her to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro as she raised awareness and funds to combat the global water and sanitation crisis.
In a packed room Ms. Gray took the podium to speak about the story behind her latest book and her inspirations for writing. Her book captures 150 years of history by telling the stories not often told – those of Canadian women. A lifetime advocate for women’s rights, Ms. Gray focused on the achievements and proud moments of Canada’s history. An immigrant from England, Ms. Gray used her own story to illustrate that while Canada’s past may have had some bumps our nation has become a beacon of hope and acceptance for the rest of the world. Canada’s history is something to be proud of and has laid a solid foundation for continued work towards gender equality.
Following her speech Ms. Gray took questions from the audience spanning a number of different topics - from women in science and engineering, to the plights of women pioneers in the late 19th and early 20th century, to the history of doughnuts.
And to end the evening Ms. Gray left us with an interesting tidbit – poutine is not in the scrabble dictionary, “which is a problem”.
Ms. Gray graciously signed copies of her book, taking the time to speak to each eager reader and leaving everyone a personalized message.