Taking up the torch

Sheila Lacroix earns Agnes Macphail Award


Sheila Lacroix’s work for the community was recently rewarded

The echoes and spirit of 20th-century political trailblazer Agnes Campbell Macphail are still resonating through East York citizens.

On March 24, Leaside-area resident, volunteer and social activist Sheila Lacroix was honoured as the 21st recipient of Macphail’s award for her stalwart support of the community.

“I’m touched and I feel humbled,” Lacroix said. “I mean, who can really ever live up to what Agnes did and those who came after her?”

Lacroix is the chair for the issues and actions committee with the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) and chair of its provincial body’s legislation committee. She volunteers with the Leaside United Church and works at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Through her job, she sees to the annual International Women’s Day events that support some 300 homeless or impoverished women every March. She said it can be hard work, but she does not consider this toil nor chore.

“I think a lot of people would say, when you volunteer, you get so much more out of it than what you put in,” she said. “The one thing about volunteering though is to not be complacent. When I think of what Agnes and the other people who have won this award before me, they were not complacent in creating change.”

In 1921 Macphail (1890–1954) was the first woman elected to the Canadian House of Commons and became one of the first two women elected to the Ontario legislature, representing the East York riding in 1943. In 1994 the award was established in her name to honour those in East York who have helped advance human rights.

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