Rear-view Mirror – Six Girl Guides Who Made a Difference

This week’s look in the Rear-view Mirror…

All to often in the general name of “Scouting” we tend to forget the tremendous women whose leadership has helped bring us to this point in Scouts Canada! I would point out that female leaders contribute to all levels of Scouting and have come forward to make their mark as Scouters within Scouts Canada. The Scouting community has greatly benefited from their insight and owes a debt of gratitude to their involvement with the largest youth movement in Canada. Many of the of these volunteer women leaders were Girl Guides in their youth and come from a very strong ‘Guiding ‘ background.

This Rear View Mirror looks back to some of the Girl Guides who have made a difference in Canada (please note this list is by no means complete). There are many more Girl Guides who gone forward and enriched our country with diverse contributions for all Canadians and fortunately our Scouting community too.

Unfortunately some of us are unaware of this rich heritage which is helping transform Scouting today! Rear-view Mirror would like to share with you some of the many women who credit Guiding in making a difference in their lives and consequently in ours.

Six Girl Guides who made a difference –

Roberta Bondar – 1st. Canadian woman in space.

Ms.Bondar was made honourary life member of Girl Guides of Canada in 1986. She is one of the six Canadian astronauts selected in December, 1983 and began astronaut training in February, 1984. In early 1990, she was designated a prime Payload Specialist for the first International Microgravity Laboratory Mission (IML-1). Dr. Bondar flew on Discovery during Mission STS-42, January 22-30, 1992 where she performed experiments in the Spacelab and on the mid-deck.

Celine Dion – Singer

This Girl Guide was born on March 30, 1968, in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada, singer Celine Dion had recorded nine French albums and won numerous awards by the time she was 18. She recorded her first English language album, Unison, in 1990. Dion’s real breakthrough into pop music stardom came in 1992, when she recorded the theme to Disney’s hit animated feature Beauty and the Beast. She went on to record several hits, including four No. 1’s. In the ’90s Ms. Dion was the highest earning singer world-wide!

Karen Kain – Prima Ballerina

Long recognized as one of the most gifted classical dancers of her era, noted for her compelling characterizations and versatility as a performer, Artistic Director Karen Kain is one of Canada’s most renowned and committed advocates for the arts. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Ms. Kain received her training at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, joining The National Ballet of Canada in 1969. She was quickly promoted to Principal Dancer with the company after her sensational début as the Swan Queen in Swan Lake.

Maureen McTeer – Gender Equality Activist  

For thirty years, Maureen McTeer has been a leading advocate and symbol of gender equality, and an influential role model for other Canadian women, serving as an active participant in the successful campaign to have gender equality protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She was recently presented with both the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons case and the DIVA Award for Outstanding Contributions to Women’s Health and Well Being in recognition of her continued commitment to issues of equality. She has met and worked with community groups, and over the years has visited development projects in some 30 countries in the developing world.

Jean Sauvé – Former Governor-General of Canada

Jeanne Sauvé was elegant, quick-witted and dynamic. She made a number of breakthroughs for women in government and politics in Canada. In 1972 Jeanne Sauvé was one of the three first women members of parliament to be elected from Quebec. Other firsts that she has accomplished are –  the first woman cabinet minister from Quebec, the first woman Speaker of the House of Commons, and the first woman Governor-General of Canada.

Margaret Atwood – Writer

Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa, and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and in Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree from Radcliffe College.

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction, but is best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1969), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000.

Her newest novel, MaddAddam (2013) is the final volume in a three-book series that began with the Man-Booker prize-nominated Oryx and Crake (2003) and continued with The Year of the Flood (2009). The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short fiction) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, a collection of non-fiction essays appeared in 2011. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth was adapted for the screen in 2012. Ms. Atwood’s work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian.


*This Rear View Mirror attempts to look back at some of the diversity within Girl Guides; but cannot adequately acknowledge the many more Guides and Guiders who are still making a difference daily in our most valuable resource – Canada.

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