Friday, October 1, 2010

Canadian Women

As a child, I was OBSESSED with all things Lucy Maud Montgomery. Well, make that, Kevin Sullivan's interpretation of Lucy Maud Montgomery's work. My favourite movies were the Anne of Green Gables ones (the first and the sequel, the continuing story didn't come out until I was in high school) and I never missed an episode of Road to Avonlea (except as the show got a bit older and I did as well, and Gus lost his eye sight and it became like a soap opera??) but essentially, these works of Canadian art were a stabilizing force in an often shaky childhood... I won't go more into detail about that but lets just say that these series were some of the things my Mom and I enjoyed together. Not only that, but they showcased an extraordinary amount of Canadian talent. From Sarah Polley (met her when I was 13, best day of my life) to Mag Ruffman (saw her at second cup on yonge street near silver city in high school) to many, many others I could go on and on about but for now I will just mention two women in particular. The first is, Colleen Dewhurst.

She passed away when I was in grade 3 and my Mom likes to tell the story of how I wrote a letter to the newspaper proclaiming "The World has Lost A Great Canadian Actress" I loved Colleen. To me, she was always Marilla, the hardened lady with the softened heart who gave second chances while maintaining stability. She was no-nonsense, deliciously sarcastic and had an ironic sense of humour (as most true Canadians do). This week, another "Great Canadian Actress" was lost by the world. Jackie Burroughs, also known as Aunt Hetty on Road to Avonlea passed away in Toronto at the age of 71.

Even though she was born in England, she was very much a Canadian actor, dedicated to Stratford and starring in a number of Canadian films. To me, she will always be strict, sarcastic Aunt Hetty, rough around all edges, choked by the slightest emotion which conceals the most tender heart. A fighter, a protector and a pillar of good values and morals.

These women are a part of something so very special to me. These women make me proud to be Canadian. Their work and legacy will never be forgotten.

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