Through educational curriculums and commemorative projects, our Legacy Programs work to ensure the story of the Famous Five is told and celebrated.
Each year since 2009, when the Famous Five women were posthumously named as honorary Senators, the Famous 5 Foundation hosts a ‘Persons’ Day celebration on October 18 that commemorates the Famous Five women and honours women of past, present, and future.
For ‘Persons’ Day 2016, we partnered up with Critical Mass to unveil the #WomenBelong campaign at the monument in Olympic Plaza. To learn more about the campaign and see photos from the event, click here.
$50 Bank Note
From 2004–2012, the Famous Five were celebrated on the $50 bill, becoming the first identifiable women—with the exception of the Queen—to appear on Canadian currency.
The bill depicted the Famous Five triumphantly celebrating the 1929 Privy Council of England’s decision to officially declare women as ‘persons’. The bill was aptly launched on October 18, 2004 - the 75th anniversary of the victory of the "persons" case.
The ‘Persons’ Case was a landmark ruling which recognized the equality of women in Canadian society, and throughout the entire British Commonwealth. The decision enabled women to participate in all facets of public life, including being appointed to the Senate.
Famous 5 Curriculum
The Famous 5 Foundation worked with the Departments of Education across Canada to ensure that the history of the Famous Five was included in social studies school curriculums. Launched in the fall of 2007, the new Western Protocol for Social Studies now has a component dedicated to chronicling the lives and achievements of the five visionary Albertan women who have become known, simply, as the Famous Five.
To commemorate the Famous Five and to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the ‘Persons’ Case, the Famous 5 Foundation commissioned and installed larger-than-life bronze monuments in Calgary’s Olympic Plaza and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Five contributions of $200,000 covered the costs of the monument and remain the largest donations made by women to a women’s project in Canada - Ann, Roxanne & Jane McCaig; Lena Ann Hanen; Kiki Delaney, Senator Vivienne Poy; and Heather Reisman.
The artist, Barbara Paterson, was selected by a national jury who was captivated by her depiction of the five women as they hear about their victory. Nellie McClung is shown holding up the October 18 newspaper headline that announces this world-changing news, while Irene Parlby stands beside her. Henrietta Muir Edwards lifts her teacup in a toast to their success, as Louise McKinney excitedly clasps her hands. Emily Murphy, the woman who led their fight, stands beside a chair inviting you to sit with them and to make the best contribution you can to the generation in which you are living.