Buffy Sainte-Marie has been singing songs of protest, peace and understanding for more than a half century. She’s inspired or woken up countless people along the way. Who better to speak with to kick off our issue highlighting inspiring women?
Now a quartet of Rosedale’s Ed Robertson, Kevin Hearn, Jim Creeggan and Tyler Stewart, the band is back with its 12th studio album, Fake Nudes. Barenaked Ladies also plays a concert at Massey Hall on Dec. 9 with special guest Ron Sexsmith.
When it comes to making a difference in our city, Jen Agg did the work. She’s not a dilettante — she built her restaurants, she wrote her book, she told hard truths and stomped on everyone’s toes and told them to wake up. She gave voice to the frustrations that a lot of people were feeling. She was clear from the start that she wasn’t going to play nice with bro culture.
Rachel Parent has been an incredible force in spreading awareness about genetically modified ingredients, not just in Canada but around the world. Not a lot of kids — or adults for that matter — are driven to start a non-profit organization, but she founded KidsRightToKnow when she was just a young teen, and has been tirelessly campaigning to have GMOs labelled in Canada ever since.
On the field, Kadeisha Buchanan [player on the national women’s soccer team] is definitely a trailblazer right now for the sport across Canada. She has been shortlisted as a finalist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or, was named the Best Young Player in the 2015 Women’s World Cup and won the UEFA Women’s Champions League this year with her team in Europe.
At Women’s College Hospital, we are driven by a deep commitment to closing the health gaps that exist within our health system. Dr. Danielle Martin has been integral to that work. Her passion for justice and equity in health care is infectious.
If you haven’t heard Colombian-Canadian Lido Pimienta’s music (she won the 2017 Polaris Music Prize for her incredible breakout album La Papessa), you may have seen some of the vitriol over how she operates from the stage, bringing brown folk to the front and blasting that message from the mic like a boss.
When it comes to inspiration, Aisha Ahmad packs a punch. I have followed her career for over a decade, and she never ceases to amaze me. She is a rising star professor at the University of Toronto, an expert in her field and an avid boxer with elite training, who is also a force of nature who has a transformational impact on those who cross her path.
Around the den, we like to say that entrepreneurship collided with perpetual motion and created a force called Michele Romanow. She exploded into the den not even 30 years old but already a seasoned entrepreneur. She launched her first business as a Queen’s engineering undergrad and never looked back. In 2015, Groupon came calling and snapped up Snapsaves, her coupon redemption app.
As proof, their detractors point to the phenomenon of the YouTube star — a new breed of celebrity who rise to fame by broadcasting their lives across the Internet. It’s like a giant shout of “Hey everybody, look at me!” The pinnacle of narcissism. Then you run into someone like Lilly Singh, and the stereotype comes tumbling down.
Of the many reasons I admire [Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder] Sandy Hudson, the precision of her work stands out — Hudson doesn’t play. I have repeatedly witnessed her stand up to those who attack her advocacy, not by returning fire, but by asking more genuine and relevant questions than her interrogators.
Marie Henein enjoys the collective admiration of our community not only because she is one of Canada’s most skilled and respected lawyers, but because she is at the vanguard in promoting a deeper appreciation and recognition of the fundamental principles of criminal justice. She is a zealous defender, not only of those accused of criminal offences, but of the pivotal role of the criminal lawyer.
Margaret Atwood is fiercely intelligent. She is gracious, humble and irritatingly elegant. She also has quite a mischievous sense of humour. But the thing I admire most — the one characteristic that I desperately try to nurture in myself — is how forthright she is.