Past Cafes

October 1st, 2017

Erland Lee Museum and stories about the history of the Women’s Institutes

Herstoriescafe is very pleased to partner with the Erland Lee Museum, in Stoney Creek Ontario; “birthplace of the Women’s Institutes” for an afternoon of women’s history stories, Sunday October 1st, 2017 from 1:30-3:30pm.  This is a free event and all are welcome. Please see poster for details.

Erland Lee Museum
552 Ridge Road, Stoney Creek


Herstories Cafe Poster_Erland Lee



Herstoriescafe presents Ontario Women’s Activism at the Archives of Ontario          Ontario Women’s Activism highlights how Ontario women have shaped and been shaped by their communities. A panel of speakers will present a variety of narratives that will give insight into Ontario women’s lives. After the panel, participants will view archival records about Ontario women who came from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives to shape the direcHerstoriesCafeMaryWaring-1tion of the province.

This free event will take place on February 25th, 2016 at the Archives of Ontario

(134 Ian MacDonald Blvd, Toronto, at York University) between 2-430pm

  • light refreshments will be provided prior to the talk
  • Panel of speakers and view of AO archival records

Panel of Speakers:

Rosemary Evans, Chair

Funke Aladejebi, “Not Quite Spaces’: Locating Black Women’s Activism Along the Margins”

Alison Norman, “Indigenous women’s activism in the early 20th Century.”

Gayle Reid, “The archive/classroom connection, supporting inquiry based learning and promoting women’s history.”

Rose Fine-Meyer “Toronto teachers activism to incorporated anti-war narratives into history studies to provide a ‘more honest’ portrayal of war.”



Spring 2015 HerstoriesCafe “Ontario Women in Education”

When: May 27, 2015     A celebration of the newly released Ontario History Journal “Women in Education” Spring 2015 Issue

Where: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Library, 252 Bloor St W., 5:00- 6:30 pm  Light refreshments. This is a Free event

Rose Fine-Meyer Introduction

Alison Norman: Six Nations Women Teachers at Grand River in the early Twentieth Century

Kate Zankowicz: In Search of Ruth Home: The Untold History of Museum Education at the Royal Ontario Museum

Funke Aladejebi: Black Female Educators and Resistive Pedagogies,1960s-1980s

Other authors in the collection include: Ruth Sandwell, Brittany Luby and Kathryn Labelle



Our 2014 fall HerstoriesCafe talk. It’s about a celebration of Ontario’s Free…and we provide refreshments… Hope to see you there.
“Finnish Import” with Presenter: Mervi Haapakoski

Location: Craft Ontario Shop, formerly The Guild Shop – 118 Cumberland Street, Toronto – 416.921.1721Time: 6:30 ~ 8:30, Tuesday September 30th, 2014

RSVP: Please RSVP with your name and phone number to

Artist Biography: Mervi is a glass artist from Finland, currently living in Toronto. She received her MFA from the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. She has also completed studies at Sheridan College School of Crafts and Design, and a three-year residency at Harbourfront Studios. She is loved for her intuitive approach to making, whether it be with glass, fabric or stone.About the Shop: Since 1932 the proceeds from Craft Ontario Shop (formerly The Guild Shop), as a part of the non-for-profit organization Craft Ontario (formerly Ontario Crafts Council), have supported individual craftspeople as well as the programs and activities of Craft Ontario. When you treat yourself to the handmade objects from the shop, you support a local craftsperson, connect to the maker’s vision and bring beauty into your life. The Shop represents 300 Craft Ontario members, showcasing jewellery, ceramics, glass, wood, textiles, mixed media work and Inuit and Native art.


HerstoriesCafe Proudly Presents…A special tour of Through the Body: Lens-based works by contemporary Chinese women artists

With curator Zhou Yan

Where: University of Toronto Art Centre, 15 King’s College Circle

When: Wed. June 25, 6-7 p.m.

Meet in the University College Quad at 5:30 p.m. for light refreshments prior to the tour.

This is a FREE event.

About the exhibition:

Through the Body: Lens-based works by Contemporary Chinese Women Artists

29 April to 28 June 2014

A Primary Exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
Organized by UTAC and CONTACT
Curated by Matthew Brower, Fu Xiaodong, Yan Zhou

Chen Zhe, Chun Hua Catherine Dong, Fan Xi, Fang Lu, Jin Hua, Ladybird Theatre, Lei Benben, Li Xinmo, Ma Qiusha, Ye Funa Through the Body will be the largest exhibition of lens-based work by contemporary Chinese women artists to be mounted outside of China. Focusing on photography and video, the exhibition is structured by the Chinese concept Ti Shi, which can be defined as the act of learning through bodily experience.

Each of the selected artists creates works that make visible an emerging range of Chinese femininities and offer new models for the contemporary experience of Chinese women. Gesturing toward new possibilities, this show foregrounds contemporary Chinese women’s situations and articulates new gender identities informed by the rapid changes in China’s traditional values and social and economic structures.

About Zhou Yan: Zhou Yan was born in China and currently lives in Toronto. She holds a Master of Museum Studies from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Chinese Language & Literature from Northwest University, China. As an art curator, she has co-curated The Transformation of Landscape In Canada: The Inside & Outside of Being for Xi’an Art Museum, China, 2014; Through the Body: Lens-based works by Contemporary Chinese Women Artists for the University of Toronto Art Center, 2014, Earthly Inspiration: The Expression And Process of Craft for Toronto Pearson International Airport 2011.


The Berkshire Conference, taking place here in Toronto this May 22-25 that will include an Educators Day. The University of Toronto is hosting the first Canadian “Big Berks” in collaboration with co-sponsoring units and universities in Toronto and across Canada.

Berks Conference

Please consider registering for either the full Conference or the special Teachers Day. And please forward this information to your various communities. I have attached a copy of the Teacher’s Day program here.
HerstoriesCafe is both a supporter of The Berks and will be providing resources. We look forward to seeing you there!

February Herstoriescafe presents:
February 12th talk at the OISE Library, main floor, University of Toronto. 252 Bloor Street West [St. George subway station] 5-730pm.
Guest speaker: Frieda Forman, “The WERC Collection: A glorious period in the history of Canadian feminism.”

Refreshments begin at 5pm. Talk at 545. Tour of the WERC collection, second floor of the OISE library.

BIO:Frieda Forman established and headed the Women’s Educational Resources Centre
at the OISE for over 2 decades. Her publications include Taking Our Time: Feminist
Perspectives on Temporality; Feminism and Education: A Canadian Perspective, edited
with Mary O’Brien; Found Treasures: Stories by Yiddish Women Writers and, The Exile
Book Of Yiddish Women Writers.

Pat Staton, first coordinator of CWSE and publisher of Green Dragon Press, will also speak briefly about the importance of the resource centre to the Women’s Centre and to teachers looking for resources.
She will also bring free posters for everyone in attendance!

November 27th: Malvern Public Library at 630pm 30 Sewells Road, Toronto, ON M1B 3G5

      This event is free and will include refreshments. Please register.

Nadia Jones-Gailani will be speaking on Iraqi women and issues of identity, sexuality, memory and religion. She is currently a postdoc fellow in Florida and will be coming to Toronto in November and has offered to speak.

Below is her abstract.

Veiled Truths: Negotiating Modesty, Religiosity, and Sexuality in Toronto’s Iraqi Muslim Community.

This paper explores new interpretations of modesty and sexuality amongst young veiled migrant women in Toronto’s Iraqi Muslim community. Recent refugees to Canada, Iraqi women find themselves at the intersections of new and old Muslim communities, first and third-world feminisms, and first and second-generation ideals of female modesty. In their interviews, some Iraqi women discussed their anxieties about maintaining a ‘good reputation’ and securing marriage partners from Iraq, while others believed that the veil provided an outlet through which to explore their sexuality and femininity. These women are often from moderate Muslim families, resulting in a growing disconnect across generations within families of Iraqi migrants. Growing up in diaspora and negotiating their identity within multicultural and multiethnic spaces, the veil as religious performance is also a means of protecting their reputation by providing an outlet through which to explore other aspects of sexuality and femininity. With the rise of the Arab Spring, the veil has become increasingly central to ideological debates about Islam and women’s rights in the Muslim world. Absent from these debates is an understanding of the complexity and fluid meanings that the veil embodies for young women living transnational lives. As the public face of Islam in the west, it is critical that we understand the multiple meanings of veiling and the new role that religion plays as Muslims in the diaspora come into contact with different expressions of Islamic traditions and ideas. This paper offers thoughts on how virtual networks create a broad and unfiltered ‘Muslim space’ (Naber, 2012) online which enables the circulation of politicized messages of Islam, and informs how young Iraqi women in North America express modesty, sexuality and religiosity.

30 sewells road scarborough,30+Sewells+Rd,+Toronto,+ON+M1B+3G5&gl=ca&ei=xxd5UtfwLZSqyQGXyoHoAQ&ved=0CCsQ8gEwAA


October is Women’s History Month in Canada. The month is filled with events that provide a wide range of opportunities to learn about women’s history. HerstoriesCafe will not be holding an October talk, but we will return with a talk on November 27th (venue TBA). We have provided a list of materials and links that recognize women’s history month. We welcome any suggestions you might have that would add to this list.

Happy Women’s History Month!   Rose and Kate


October: Women’s History Month; Many of us grew up learning and believing that history was made exclusively by men. History was about discovery, war, conquering peoples, geopolitical decisions all of which involved men but very few, if any, women.

Women’s History Month in October every year gives teachers a chance to change that perspective so that students begin to appreciate women’s contributions to history, and as part of that history, women’s fight for equality as a powerful social movement.

Women’s History Month Poster 2013; For 2013, ETFO’s Women’s History Month poster is called Food for Thought. It is a resource designed to launch discussions about women’s role in food production, historically and in contemporary societies. The poster has been developed in partnership with Green Dragon Press and the Ontario Women’s History Network.

Resource List

PDF version

Agarwal, Bina. A Field of One’s Own: Gender & Land Rights in South Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Cohlmeyer, David. “The Artisinal Garden” in Edible Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe #23, Spring, 2013.

Day, Sonia. The Urban Gardener. Toronto: Key Porter, 2003.

Duncan, Dorothy. Food, Fellowship, and Folklore: Canadians at Table: A Culinary History of Canada. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2011.

Fell, Derek. Vertical Gardening. New York: Rodale, 2011.

International Land Coalition.

Karsten, Joel. Straw Bale Gardening. Quayside Publishing, New York, New York, 2013.

Lipson, Elaine. “Food, Farming, Feminism. Why Going Organic Makes Good Sense” MS Magazine, 2004.

Mckelvey, Bill. Community Gardening Toolkit, University of Missouri,

Norman, Alison. “Fit for the Table of the Most Fastidious Epicure” Iacovetta, Franca, Valerie J. Korinek, Marlene Epp, eds., Edible Histories, Cultural Politics, p.31. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.

Palassio, Christina & Alana Wilcox, eds. The Edible City. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2009.

Simon, Paul & Charles Nardozzi. Urban Gardening for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: 2013.

“The Farm on Top of the Sky”, Macleans, October 18, 2012.

Why Celebrate Women’s History Month?

“We want women leaders today as never before. Leaders who are not afraid to be called names and who are willing to go out and fight. I think women can save civilization. Women are persons.
– Emily Murphy (1931)

Every October since 1992, Canada celebrates Women’s History Month, with the highlight being Person’s Day on October 18. October has been selected because of the historical significance of the “Persons Case” decision of 1929, a landmark victory in the struggle of Canadian women for equality.

For several years, Judge Emily Murphy and other women fighting for women’s equality urged the Government of Canada to appoint a woman to the Senate – without success. The Government cited Section 24 of the British North America Act (BNA Act) which said that only “qualified persons” may be summoned to the Senate. Declaring that women were not “qualified persons”, and women were, therefore, ineligible for the Senate.

In August 1927, Emily Murphy and four Alberta women – Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby, later known as the “Famous Five” – petitioned the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of Great Britain, for clarification on women’s eligibility for appointment to the Senate.

On October 18, 1929, the Committee ruled that Section 24 of the British North America Actshould apply equally to women. With that decision, women became eligible for nomination to the Senate. One year later, Cairine Reay Wilson became the first woman to take her place in the Senate of Canada.

This historic decision created a new precedent for women in gaining access to sectors of society previously reserved only for men. With women now eligible to sit in the Senate, the country’s highest male-dominated institution, they could no longer be denied access to other institutions and establishments reserved just for men.

Therefore, Women’s History Month represents an opportunity to highlight the past and present contributions of women to Canadian society and to recognize the achievements of women from all walks of life as a vital part of our Canadian heritage. It also provides an opportunity to highlight how we all benefit today from the achievements of the original Famous Fiveand other women activists in the quest for women’s equality. And, foremost, it represents an ideal opportunity to instill a sense of pride in our historic origins as well as to provide role models for all Canadian women – young and less young.

October 18: Persons Day

The Famous Five achieved not only the right for women to serve in the Senate, but they and their many contributions paved the way for women to participate in other aspects of public life.

The assertion of women’s rights is now honoured by the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case.

Recipients of these awards continue the tradition of courage, integrity, and hard work which the Famous Five of the Persons Case inspired. Their effectiveness and courage has advanced the cause of equality for girls and women in significant and substantial ways that have enriched their communities.

Five awards are given annually in October to candidates chosen from across Canada, in addition to one Youth award.

Nomination forms and complete awards eligibility criteria are available from  Status of Women Canada.

Source: Status of Women Canada

Resources On Women’s History

Status of Women Canada

Status of Women Canada is a federal government agency promoting gender equality and the full participation of women in the economic, social, cultural, and political life of the country. SWC provides resources and an organizer’s handbook for Women’s History Month.

Green Dragon Press

Green Dragon Press publishes books, videos, curriculum materials, and posters on women’s history and equity issues. Materials designed for teachers, librarians, and everyone who wants to know more about women’s stories and harassment prevention.

PAR-L Network

PAR-L (Policy, Action, Research List) is a bilingual, electronic network of individuals and organizations interested in women-centred policy issues in Canada. They have compiled a list of milestones in Canadian Women’s History.

National Film Board

The National Film Board of Canada has an extensive catalogue of films/videos on women’s history.

Government of Canada Official 2013 Theme:

Canadian Women Pioneers: Inspiring change through ongoing leadership

Each year, Women’s History Month celebrates the contributions women have made to shaping our nation, past and present.

This year’s theme – Canadian Women Pioneers: Inspiring change through ongoing leadership – highlights the history of women’s participation in various fields, such as science, technology and trades, as well as in sectors as diverse as natural resources and construction.