DCB/DBC Mobile beta

Your “Favourite Five” Picks of 2020

A few weeks ago, we invited readers to send us a list of their five favourite biographies. We received many responses, via e-mail and through our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Some biographies were submitted by multiple readers:


We also received some lists of biographies that were built around particular themes, ideas, or areas of interest – a great way to streamline the process! These themed lists included:

Biographies that “showcase the lives of folks who are not normally included in history classes or dominant historical narratives”:

Esther Brandeau/Jacques La Fargue
Angelina Napolitano
Isabel Gunn (known variously as Isabella Gun, John Fubbister, and Mary Fubbister)
Maria Mahoi (Douglas; Fisher)
Susannah Augusta Stokes (Maxwell)
Alice G.

Biographies with a focus on black history:

Olivier Le Jeune
Jack York
Mary Ann Camberton Shadd (Cary)
Josiah Henson
Richard Pierpoint
James Robinson Johnston
Henry Walton Bibb
Mifflin Wistar Gibbs
Joseph Seraphim (Joe) Fortes

Biographies related to Toronto newspapers:

George Brown
Catherine Ferguson (Willis; Watson; Coleman), known as Kit Coleman
Edmund Ernest Sheppard
Sir John Stephen Willison
William Lyon Mackenzie
Charles Alfred Riordon
John Ross Robertson
George Gurnett
Sir Joseph Wesley Flavelle

Biographies with a railway theme:

Sir Sandford Fleming
Sir Casimir Stanislaus Gzowski
Charles Melville Hays
Walter Shanly
Sir William Cornelius Van Horne

Biographies related to Canadian military history:

Henry Duncan Graham (Harry) Crerar
Sir Arthur William Currie
Henry Norman Bethune
Laura Ingersoll (Secord)
William Lyon Mackenzie King

Biographies of Canadian prime ministers:

Sir Wilfrid Laurier
Richard Bedford Bennett
Louis-Stephen St-Laurent
Sir Robert Laird Borden

Other favourites included:

William Allen Pringle, Flora MacDonald Merrill (Denison), René Lévesque, Esther Cox (Porter; Shanahan), Oronhyatekha, Jane Bruce, Joseph Guibord, Anna Harriette Edwards (Leonowens), Marie Guyart, named de L'Incarnation (Martin), John Butler, Robert Kerr, Samuel de Champlain, Lucy Maud Montgomery (Macdonald), Pītikwahanapiwīyin (Poundmaker), Hannah Peters (Jarvis), Anne Murray (Powell), Ellen Cashman (also known as Nellie Pioche and Irish Nellie), George Allan Kennedy, Emma Lajeunesse (Gye), known as Emma Albani, Thomas John (Tom) Thomson, Seneca Ketchum, Jesse Ketchum, John Wilson Murray, Louis-Joseph Papineau, Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Sir James Douglas, Sir Allan Napier MacNab, John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton, George Anthony Walkem, and Frederick Augustus O’Meara

Your interest was a pleasant surprise. We hope to repeat this project on an annual basis!