AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The 2023 Agnes Macphail Award is officially open for nominations. The award is an annual recognition of an individual from the East York community who has best represented the beliefs of Agnes Macphail through her trailblazing career.
The annual award is presented to a resident who has made significant contributions as a volunteer in the community. Nominees must have exemplified Macphail’s motto, “Think Globally, Act Locally”, by making an impact in women’s rights; fairness to seniors; criminal justice reform; international peace and disarmament; or access to housing, healthcare and education.
Last year’s recipient was Kam Babulal who was nominated by fellow East Yorker Justin Van Dette.
Babulal is well known in the community for the East York Seniors Christmas Day Dinner, an event she has organized for the past 22 years.
Once described as “the most important woman in public life that Canada has produced in the 20th century”, Macphail led Canadian women into the federal and provincial political systems.
In 1921, at just 31 years of age, Macphail became the first woman to be elected as a member of the federal House of Commons. Continuing down her path as a pioneer in Canadian politics, she subsequently became the first woman elected and sworn to sit in the Ontario Legislative Assembly in 1943 after being elected to represent York East.
To commemorate her influential legacy which consisted of fights for equal rights and other forms of social activism, former East York Mayor Michael Prue proclaimed the first annual Agnes Macphail Day in 1993.
Further cementing her legacy was her appearance on the $10 bill in 2017 –Canada’s 150th anniversary year.
Macphail has also enjoyed much more recognition post-mortem. In Toronto, a few landmarks such as Agnes Macphail Public School, Agnes Macphail Square, Macphail Avenue, and the Agnes Macphail House have been named in her honour.
Completed nominations for the 2023 Agnes Macphail Award must be received by midnight on Jan. 5, 2023.
For more information on sending in a nomination or about the award, please visit https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/awards-tributes/awards/agnes-macphail-award/
Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.