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Famous 5 Ottawa Celebrates 15th Anniversary of The Women Are Persons!

  • Foyer of the Senate of Canada

Monuments On Parliament Hill and The Canadian Museum Of History 

Famous 5 Ottawa will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the inauguration of the Women are Persons! monument placed on Parliament Hill.

The group of volunteer women that make up Famous 5 Ottawa will be joined by Senator Jim Munson and the 2015 Governor General’s History Award recipients at a reception in the Foyer of the Senate of Canada October 15, 2015, followed by an address by Famous 5 Ottawa Chair Isabel Metcalfe to Canada’s History Forum.

“We are proud to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the inauguration of the Women are Persons!Monument on Parliament Hill in honour of the great accomplishments of the original Famous Five,” said Metcalfe.

“The original Famous Five women from Alberta were true nation builders. The legal and constitutional challenges they faced in their battle to be appointed to the Senate and the barriers they overcame have had profound impacts on our lives and democracy today.”

Metcalfe will speak about the challenging all-party, all-women effort it took 15 years ago to fund the monument and get approval to locate it on Parliament Hill.

The larger-than-life bronze statues are a tribute to the original five visionary Alberta women on the victory of the 1929 “Persons” Case. These women – Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards – have become known simply as the Famous Five.

In that case, the court legally declared women as persons under the British North America Act and made them eligible for appointment to the Senate of Canada, a milestone in Canadian legal and constitutional history.

The Women are Persons! Monument in Ottawa is a popular Parliament Hill photo op for tourists and locals alike. There is a second identical monument in Calgary’s Olympic Plaza.

Both were sculpted by Barbara Paterson of Edmonton, who depicted the five women as they might have heard the news about their court victory. McClung is shown holding up the October 18, 1929 newspaper that announces the precedent-setting news and Parlby stands beside her. Muir Edwards lifts her teacup to toast their win and McKinney clasps her hands. Murphy stands beside an empty chair as if inviting you to join them, making the monument the first interactive monument on Parliament Hill.