Across The Pond by Paddy Duffy
My favourite story of 2011 - Ontario nursing home and an Ireland-mad Canadian girl
Posted on Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 06:00 AM
- "Guns & Roses" - How left wing coalition might be Ireland's Labour Party's only hope
- Home thoughts from abroad can cause serious January blues - New year blues for immigrants leaving their families again
- 2012 a tale of two Northern Irelands - from the celebrations of the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics to the violent Union flag protests
- The Irish langauge, the X-Case and youth voices heard: Being Young And Irish Seminar concludes
- Belfast's Marie Stopes clinic -- the last thing vulnerable women need is a culture war over abortion
|Tara Muzumdar and Edra Ferguson|
Edra Ferguson was 103 and living in Belmont House in Toronto when a member of staff who regularly spent time with her, Tara Muzumdar, started looking through some of her books. What she discovered came as some surprise. Edra, unknown to seemingly everyone, was one of the first women in Canada to go to law school, the first female judge in Ontario, the first woman elected to city council in her hometown, and also ran for Mayor. And she did all this in the 1920s and 30s.
Tara, a frequent and fervent visitor to Ireland, was struck by the pioneering achievements of the woman in her charge, and resolved to do something. So she nominated Edra for the Order of Canada and, in the word of Edra’s son, orchestrated a media interest that went first national, then global.
After a life of firsts that had over the years got buried, a couple of days before her 104th birthday, Edra then added another illustrious honor to the list: becoming the oldest ever recipient of the Order.
It’s been a news year with a disproportionate amount of challenge, tragedy and woe. And that’s why this marvelous story about the kindness and initiative of Tara, and the incredible woman she stood up for is my favorite of the year.
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