Mother's Day: you're invited to our imaginary dinner for 10 inspiring Canadian women!

In honour of Mother’s Day, we're hosting an imaginary dinner for 10 inspiring Canadian women! Get inspired to make these recipes together for the mom in your life, and make this a truly historic Mother's Day.

This Mother’s Day, we’re hosting an imaginary meal for 10 incredible Canadian women who made history. While you read about them, why not pick a recipe or two to make in honour of the women and mothers in your life? Better yet, have a potluck with friends in honour of Mother’s Day: invite your guests to bring a dish that honours a woman who inspires them, either from their family or from history. To get you started, here are 10 groundbreaking Canadian women we’d love to cook for. We’ve picked one or two recipes that honour them, but check out our recipe archives for more fun ideas while you read about these amazing women.

Don’t forget—if you film your recipe before May 15, you can enter it in our annual Hands-On Cook-Off to be eligible to win fantastic prizes! Details are in the link.

World leaders:

Julie Payette (Astronaut and Governor General)
Michaëlle Jean (Journalist, humanitarian and Governor General) 

These two Governor Generals have a lot to teach us: after all, Julie Payette has studied the world from the space station, and Michaelle Jean’s dedication to humanitarian causes has made the world a better place. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could try your hand at some of the elaborate recipes posted by Rideau Hall (the Governor General’s residence), but we bet they would both be big fans of ice cream—after all, we know it’s one of the most requested items on the International Space Station! (you can read more about how astronauts don’t eat “astronaut” ice cream in our earlier post on food of the future


Dr Jennie Smillie Robertson (Canada’s first female surgeon)
Elsie MacGill (World’s first female aircraft designer)

These two groundbreaking women made history in each of their fields. Dr. Jennie Smillie Robertson overcame numerous obstacles to become Canada’s first female surgeon in 1909, and in 1911 she helped found the Toronto Women’s College Hospital, where she was the chair of gynecology from 1912 to 1942. Elsie MacGill—nicknamed Queen of the Hurricanes—also achieved numerous firsts. She was the first Canadian woman to earn a degree in electrical engineering, the first woman in North America to earn a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering, and the world’s first female aircraft designer. The Hurricanes—the fighter planes she helped modify for cold weather flying—gave her her nickname, and were used worldwide (your kids might know that Roald Dahl flew one during World War II!). In honour of these incredible scientists, try cooking up some of these fun science-themed recipes. Or have your budding engineers read more about Elsie while they hone their skills with these Lego-inspired build-your-own meals.


Shirley and Sharon Firth (Cross-country skiers)

Identical twins and members of the Gwich’in First Nation, sisters Shirley and Sharon Firth were among the first Indigenous athletes to represent Canada at the Olympics. Members of the first Canadian women’s cross-country ski team, the twins went on to compete in four Olympics, and won numerous awards and championships (48 championships, and 79 national medals!) We’ve got plenty of recipes to honour the athletes in our lives that we could make for these incredible women: try our meal ideas to fuel up for after-school sports, and while you cook, read about how eating together may help athletes of all ages perform better. When you’re ready to up your game, we’ve got some fantastic Olympic-themed meal ideas here to try!


P.K. Page (Poet and author)
LM Montgomery (Writer, OBE, best known as author of Anne of Green Gables)
Joy Kogawa (Poet, activist and author, OBC, OC, best known as author of Obasan)

These writers are famous around the world for their uniquely Canadian contributions to the arts. Governor-General’s award-winner P.K. Page was the author of more than a dozen works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, including three books for children. As a nod to “After Rain”, her wonderful poem about her kitchen garden, try these kitchen garden projects and recipes together. Of course, for Anne of Green Gables author L.M. Montgomery, we’d make Anne’s raspberry tarts! Finally, Joy Kogawa is most well known for Obasan, her heart-breaking novel about the Japanese-Canadian internment during World War II. For her bravery in telling this story, we’d offer her kibi-dango, the magical dumplings that sustain the hero of the Japanese fairy tale Momotaro The Peach Boy (you can find the recipe for kibi-dango along with other food from children’s books in our post on food in books).


Mary Pratt (Artist)
Kenojuak Ashevak (Artist)

You can see some of artist Mary Pratt’s luminous food paintings in our post on cooking and art history, and in honour of two of her most famous paintings, we’d make her honey-glazed walnut salmon—and we know she’d enjoy this recipe from one of our readers for Grandma’s raspberry jam. Acclaimed Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak is most well-known for her print The Enchanted Owl, which was featured on a Canada Post stamp in 1960. Here’s a northern-style bannock recipe she’d be familiar with, or you can experiment with this campfire version from our archives.

If reading about these incredible women has you feeling inspired, try reading our cooking through history posts to learn more recipes honouring historic women (we’ve even got links to Julia Child’s shark repellent!) For more creative ways to celebrate Mother’s Day, try these Mother’s Day-themed cooking projects, or check out this list of ten great ways to celebrate the mothers in your life beyond tea and crumpets. And don’t forget to check out our Hands-On Cook-Off, we’d love to see some Mother’s Day-themed entries before the contest closes on May 15!

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