Famous 5 Ottawa Celebrates 15th Anniversary Of The Women Are Persons! Monument On Parliament Hill And The Canadian Museum Of History

OCTOBER 15, 2015

The 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 the 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.

Famous 5 Ottawa Honours Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne As Nation Builder

Premier of ontario

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne takes centre stage at the National Arts Centre (NAC) April 30, 2015 where she will be honoured as a nation builder by the Famous 5 Ottawa.

“We are proud to honour Ontario’s 25th Premier and the first woman to serve in that role, Kathleen Wynne, as a nation builder in the legacy of the Famous 5,” said Isabel Metcalfe, chair of the Famous 5 Ottawa.

“Premier Wynne has shown strong leadership by introducing practical progressive solutions to make Ontario stronger and equal for all, as originally demonstrated by the actions of the Famous 5.”

Wynne, who was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003 as the MPP for Don Valley West, became the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party in January. She has served as Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Minister of Transportation, and Minister of Education.

The Famous 5 Ottawa luncheon will also acknowledge the women who have been awarded theLeading Women Building Communities Award by the province of Ontario.

Wynne will also attend the NAC’s Ontario Scene while in the nation’s capital, as well. The event celebrates the province’s dynamic culture represented by some 600 artists from all disciplines who will be performing at the NAC from April 29 to May 10, 2015.

The Famous 5 – Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Irene Parlby – opened the doors of the Senate of Canada to women through the Persons Case, a milestone in Canadian legal history.
Famous 5 Ottawa honours women who, like the original Famous 5, are Nation Builders; women who through their leadership and courage have advanced the cause of equality for all in ways that have enriched our communities and our country.

Famous 5 Ottawa Honours Three Women Heading National Political Party Campaign Leaders As Nation Builders

march 9, 2015

Following in McClung’s trail blazing footsteps, for the first time in Canadian history, the 2015 federal election will see the campaigns of all three leading political parties run by women.

The Famous 5 Ottawa will honour these women – Jenni Byrne, the Conservatives’ campaign manager, Anne McGrath, the NDP’s campaign director and Katie Telford, the Liberals’ campaign co-chair – as nation builders at a luncheon March 9, 2015 at The Westin Ottawa Hotel.

“As women leading their respective political parties for the upcoming national election, The Famous 5 Ottawa will celebrate their achievements at the national level and the work they do to support those in public life,” said Isabel Metcalfe, chair of the Famous 5 Ottawa.

The luncheon will be attended by McGrath, Telford and Conservative Sen. Marjory LeBreton. Byrne has accepted the honour but is unable to attend.

LeBreton is a good friend of the Famous 5 Ottawa. In 1998, she seconded the motion for the Senate of Canada to approve the placement of the Women Are Persons! monument on Parliament Hill. It commemorates the efforts of the original Famous Five Alberta women – Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Louise McKinney – for the political battle they fought to secure the right of women to serve in the Senate of Canada and beginning a long road of constitutional change in Canada.

Famous 5 Ottawa Honours The Right Honourable Kim Campbell


Famous 5 Ottawa Honours Aboriginal Women

April 29, 2014

Read more

Famous 5 Ottawa Celebrates The Recipents Of The Governor General Persons Case Award

October 30, 2013

Famous 5 Ottawa with the generous support of Enbridge and in partnership with Norton Rose Fulbright and CGA-Canada celebrates the 2013 Governor General’s Persons Case Award Recipients.

In 1929, women became “persons” under the law when Canada’s highest court of appeal declared that the word “person” included both women and men.

The Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case were created to celebrate that historic legal decision and to recognize individuals who have shown the courage and determination to significantly advance equality for women and girls in Canada.

Each year Famous 5 Ottawa honours these five individuals, including two in the youth category, who are chosen to
receive the awards.

Premier Eva Aariak Joins Mary Simon And Sheila Watt-Cloutier On April 30th 2013

April 30, 2013

To the beat of Inuit drummers and with the soaring music of Susan Aglukark, Famous 5 Ottawa was able to honour 3 great nation builders from Canada’s Arctic. Mary Simon, Sheila Watt Cloutier and Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak – in partnership with the NAC Northern Scene and the ITK – held a sold out highly successful luncheon which was attended by deputy ministers, MPs & Senators from coast to coast to coast and international representatives to Canada. Norton Rose Mentorship Recipient Kathleen Merritt described the lives of young Inuit women and what they need to get ahead.  Rosemary Thompson, as always, was able to draw from these northern pioneers some of the most interesting aspects of their lives. All raised in the traditional way (including travelling by dog sled) they talked about their commitment to their people and how they enhanced Canada’s place in the northern hemisphere. Famous 5 Ottawa was proud to host this dynamic, informative and relevant luncheon.

Famous 5 Ottawa’s outreach program also had Sheila Watt Cloutier speaking to over 60 post-secondary graduates at Algonquin College, Mary Simon speaking at Ashbury College and all three nation builders on CTV’s Power Play, hosted by Don Martin.

Governor General's Person's Case Awards 

OCTOBER 19, 2012

Audrey Mclaughlin, Sen. Catherine Callback & Deborah Grey: Celebrating Firsts

June 5, 2012


Sheila Fraser

Former auditor general

March 27, 2012


Jane Taber


october 19, 2011


Louise Arbour

Former Supreme court justice

june 2, 2011

Hazel McCallion

Mayor of Mississauga

march 2011

Hayley Wickenheiser

Olympic Gold Medalist

MAy 2010


Sheila Copps

Former Deputy prime minister

March 22, 2010

Pamela Wallen


JUNE 17, 2007

Jean Augustine


June 2007

Hon. Flora Macdonald

Former Cabinet Minister

March 8, 2007