March 8, 2019
In honour of International Women's Day, we wanted to take a little time to shine a light on some of the amazing ladies who called and call Oakville home! Keep reading to learn more about these incredible trailblazers:
Lorrie Dunington-Grubb 1877-1945:
Though Lorrie Dunnington-Grubb is not an Oakville native, she moved to Canada in 1911 with her husband and business partner Howard Dunington-Grubb (they combined their surnames) and founded Oakville’s Sheridan Nurseries in 1913. Lorrie studied garden design at Swanley Horticultural College in England then sought out private lessons and technical courses on her road to becoming a landscape architect. Alongside her husband, Lorrie went on to design such beautiful landscapes as Oriole Park in Toronto, the Old Mill Tea Room, the Rainbow Bridge Gardens and Oakville’s Erchless Estate rock garden - an early private residential garden design project for Sheridan Nurseries. She acted as president of the Women’s Art Association of Canada from 1925 to 1930, spoke on issues such as urban congestion and affordable lodging for women and gave lectures on housing and town planning at the University of Toronto. Lorrie and her husband are honoured annually by being the namesakes for Landscape Ontario’s Dunington-Grubb Award of Excellence.
Amice Mary Calverley 1896-1959:
Musician, composer, artist, Egyptologist, nurse and humanitarian are just a few ways to describe the amazing Amice Mary Calverley. She studied at the Royal College of Music before becoming involved with the Egyptian Exploration Society, where she was instrumental in recording and publishing reports of the decoration in the temple of King Sethos I at Abydos. Amice also dedicated her life to humanitarian work, serving in the Intelligence during World War II and acting as a paramedic in Abydos and Greece. While patching up soldiers on the front lines, Amice was able to make a film called “Who Dares Victory” that showed the conflict in Crete and it’s repercussions as a way raise awareness and aid for those suffering. Rubbing elbows with the likes of Prince Philip and the Rockefellers, Amice was a one-of-a-kind soul who is survived in Oakville by Sybil Rampen, founder of Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre.
Hazel Chisholm 1897-1978:
Part of the Chisholm Family, Oakville’s founders, Hazel was responsible for a great deal of the historic preservation throughout the town. She was born and lived much of her life in Oakville at Erchless Estate which is now the Oakville Museum. Her interest in local history led her to help with the preservation, relocation and restoration of the Old Post Office and the Thomas House to Lakeside Park on land that Hazel and her sister Juliet deeded to the Town of Oakville. Hazel was instrumental in the formation of the Oakville Historical Society and the Oakville Museum, and she authored a detailed history of Oakville: Oakville and the Sixteen: The History of an Ontario Port.
Juliet Chisholm 1902-1964:
Juliet Chisholm was a woman of many talents and interests. She studied fine arts at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris during the 1920s before returning to Canada to pursue a medical career. She received a license to practice medicine from McGill University in 1940 and went on to complete a three-year internship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Juliet served as a Captain in the Royal Candian Army Medical Corps and was stationed in Canada and the United States during World War II. In 1946, Juliet was part of the medical staff stationed in China with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). Upon her return, Juliet opened a pediatric practice in the Coach House at Erchless Estate. Art remained a lifelong passion and during this time, Juliet created the illustrations for her sister Hazel’s book.
This triple threat, often recognized as cafe owner Fatima Dinssa from Little Mosque on the Prairie, is one of Oakville brightest stars. Arlene Duncan has had an incredible career in theatre, television and music, all beginning when she won the Du Maurier Search for the Stars competition in 1979. As a result, this Sheridan College Musical Theatre grad represented Canada in the Pacific Song Contest in New Zealand and won the Artistic Merit Award. Her singing career did not stop there, as she has since taken home awards as Female Vocalist of the Year at the Canadian Black Music Awards, the BLAC Female Vocalist of the Year and the Hall of Fame Award for Dance/House Music. Arlene is a veteran of stage work and was even bestowed with the Dora Award and Toronto Theatre Critics Award for best actress in a musical for her performance in Caroline or Change. Arlene continues to work on television and stage and has received the Four Pillars Award from the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton and the African Canadian Achievement Award for her contributions to the arts.
Sandra Post is truly one of the biggest golfing legends in Canada. This Oakville native began golfing at the Trafalgar Golf & Country Club at the age of five and turned pro by 19, becoming the youngest to win a women’s major title at the 1968 LPGA Championship. She was the first Canadian to play on the LPGA Tour and to win multiple times in the same season, which she did twice in 1978 and 1979. Sandra racked up nine professional wins and was the only Canadian to win an LPGA Major for 48 years before Brooke Henderson won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2016. Sandra won the Lou Marsh Award in 1979 and has been elected to the Canada Sports Hall of Fame, Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, Ontario Sports Hall of Fame and Order of Canada. She has continued her involvement in the golf world through coaching, commentating and running the Sandra Post School of Golf.
Kara Lang began playing soccer with the Oakville Soccer Club at the age of five and quickly accelerated to become one of the best soccer players in Canadian history. She became the youngest woman named to Canada’s National Women’s Team at age 15 and spent nine years with the team elevating women’s soccer in Canada. Kara competed in two FIFA Women’s World Cups, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and won the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s Cup. She broke many records throughout her career, becoming the youngest player to reach the 50-match milestone and joining the exclusive ranks of Canadian players who have scored four goals in a match and 10 or more goals in back-to-back seasons. She has retired from the game but now works as a sports analyst for TSN.
These strong women are only a few of the many who hail from Oakville, and we will take any chance we can get to celebrate their achievements and contributions.
If you're interested in learning more about these women and Oakville history, take a tour through the historic Oakville Museum!