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Meet Chatelaine’s 2021 Doris Anderson Award Recipients

We’ve renamed our annual Women of the Year to celebrate our most iconic editor-in-chief, who had grit, grace and tenacity in spades—as do our 2021 honourees.
Illustration of Doris Anderson Ilustration by Katie Carey

Chatelaine has had quite a few editors in its 91-year history—I’m number 14—but no one has broken ground and busted expectations quite like Doris Anderson.

Anderson grew up in Depression-era Calgary, where her mom ran a boarding house and her dad wasn’t always around. She put herself through teachers’ college and university, eventually making her way to Toronto. There, she landed an entry-level job at Chatelaine before rising through the ranks to become editor-in-chief in 1957 (taking over from a man!). She bristled at the expectations society held for women at the time, writing in her 1996 memoir, Rebel Daughter, that she realized she “would go mad with boredom and frustration at the effort to be the perfect, little hem-stitched housewife that the magazines, including Chatelaine, were urging me to be.” Instead, she set out to create a women’s magazine that armed its readers with the information they needed to reimagine their lives. During her 20-year tenure as editor, she published features on topics previously ignored by women’s media: the work world, abortion rights, divorce, universal child care, sexual fulfillment, the wage gap and many more. She also doubled Chatelaine’s readership in the process.

Anderson, who passed away in 2007, paved the way for Chatelaine to become the magazine it is today. That’s why we’ve decided to rename our Women of the Year—an annual celebration of Canadian women who inspire us—the Doris Anderson Awards. Prepare to be awed by their accomplishments, just as we are by Anderson’s.

The Canadian National Women’s Soccer Team

The Canadian women’s soccer team has lots to celebrate this year, but they’s also using their platform to address a dark side of the sport. Before agreeing to play two exhibition matches in October, they demanded that Canada Soccer—the governing body of the sport—improve player safety and apologize to those who have been victims of sexual abuse and misconduct. Click here to read more about their work, both on and off the field. 

Canada's women's soccer team stand on a podium with their gold medals and flowers.

Giulia Di Giorgio

For years, Giulia Di Giorgio has been working to bring harm reduction strategies to drug users in Cape Breton, located in the eastern Nova Scotia region with the highest rate of deaths from drug use in the province. Click here to read more about her life-saving work. 

A picture of a woman with blond hair against an illustrated background
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Phyllis Webstad

In April 2013, Phyllis Webstad shared her orange shirt story for the first time—a story that led to the creation of Orange Shirt Day, which is now commemorated annually across Canada to raise awareness about the legacy of the residential school system. Click here to read more about her work, which includes a years-long effort to create a federal holiday to honour residential school survivors and their families.

A black and white image of Phyllis Webstad against an illustrated background

Sandra Oh

Sandra Oh is the first Asian actor to win multiple Golden Globes, the first to be nominated for an Emmy in a starring role, and the most-nominated Asian actor in Emmys history. Need we say more? Click here to read more on her groundbreaking work.

Image of Sandra Oh in a red dress posing next to an award

Melissa Lantsman

Melissa Lantsman is the Tories’ only openly lesbian member of Parliament, and just one of two LGBTQ+ women elected to the House of Commons. Her goal? “I want people to see that there is a place in the Conservative Party no matter who [they] are.” Click here to read more about her work.

Melissa Lantsman standing, wearing a red and white coat and a white shirt with her hair tied into a bun.(Photograph: Carmen Cheung)
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Sabrina Craig

Thousands of Canadians secured vaccination appointments thanks to Sabrina Craig and the rest of the volunteers at Vaccine Hunters Canada. Click here to read more about how Craig—a financial analyst who, prior to joining Vaccine Hunters, had very little experience in public health—got involved in the effort.

A black and white image of Sabrina Craig in which she wears her long hair done and is wearing glasses.

Dr. Nadia Chaudhri

In the six months between her diagnosis and death, Dr. Nadia Chaudhri shared vital information about ovarian cancer from her palliative care bed, while also raising $645,000 to support neuroscience students from underrepresented backgrounds. Click here to read more about her life and work. 

A woman stands with her arms crossed in a black blazer and short hair with a streak of white.(Photo: Lisa Graves/Concordia University)

Dr. Vivian Stamatopoulos

In March 2020, Dr. Vivian Stamatopoulos started tweeting information about COVID outbreaks in long-term care homes. Today, she’s one of the most well-known LTC advocates in Canada. Click here to read more about her relentless work.

A woman with long hair in black and white wearing a black blazer.(Photo: Erik Putz)
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Leylah Fernandez

This Montreal-born tennis player is has tenacity and outside talent,  knocking off three of the world’s top five players at this year’s U.S. Open. Click here to read more about the rising star.

A woman with dark curly hair wears a black and white striped dress

Dr. Roberta Timothy

In the absence of a policy on collecting race-based data in health care—something she had been calling for throughout her 30-year career—Dr. Roberta Timothy launched Black Health Matters, with surveys to determine the impact of COVID-19 on Black communities as well as to identify systemic barriers to effective and dignified care. Click here to read more about her work. 

A woman in a yellow leopard print dress stands against a dark brown wall.(Photograph: Carmen Cheung)

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