There’s a little time left for East York residents to honour their regional heroes by submitting their nominations for the 2023 Agnes Macphail award.
Nominations for the annual award are open until midnight, Jan. 5.
The Agnes Macphail award recognizes an individual or individuals from the East York community.
The award is given to somebody who has “exemplified the causes that Agnes Macphail championed in her long and distinguished career,” according to the City of Toronto’s website.
This means an East York resident who has made volunteered and made outstanding contributions in one or more of the following areas could qualify:
- Women’s rights
- Fairness to seniors
- Criminal justice system and penal reform
- International peace and disarmament
- Access to adequate housing, health care and education
While nominees from previous years can be re-nominated, previous recipients are ineligible.
An East-York heroine
Macphail, a significant figure in the history of East York, is regarded as a very accomplished woman in Canadian politics.
In 1921, Macphail became the first woman to be elected to the federal house of commons.
Then, in 1943, she became the first woman elected and sworn to sit in Ontario’s Legislative Assembly, representing York East.
This included the Borough of East York as well as the surrounding rural area.
Former mayor of Ottawa Charlotte Whitton once described Macphail as “the most important woman in public life that Canada has produced in the 20th century.”
The Agnes Macphail award was first established in January 1994 by the former Borough of the East York Council.
Former winners share their appreciation
Rev. Jim Parker was the recipient of the Agnes Macphail award in 2017.
He said receiving the award meant a great deal.
“Agnes Macphail is a significant person in Canadian history, and it was an honour to be associated with the good work that she did,” he said.
2018’s recipient, Carol Burtin Fripp, who is co-president of the Leaside Residents Association, has similar sentiments.
“Agnes Macphail accomplished so much in her lifetime and to be compared in any way to her by East Yorkers and Leasiders whom I admire is a great honour,” she said.
Realtor Patrick Rocca was the winner in 2016, said what is ultimately mostly rewarding being an active East Yorker.
“Awards are nice, but for me it’s more about giving back. My reward is being able to help people,” he said.
“I have to say that I’m in a very, very extremely exceptional good group of people,” Rocca said.
The nomination form for this year’s award can be found here.