Sketch of Agnes Macphail
Image of Agnes Macphail Credit: Irma Coucill

The Agnes Macphail Award is an annual award that recognizes an individual(s) from the East York community who has exemplified the causes that Agnes Macphail championed in her long and distinguished career.

Agnes Macphail

Agnes Campbell Macphail (1890-1954) was once described as “the most important woman in public life that Canada has produced in the 20th century.”

2021 marks the 100th Anniversary of Agnes Macphail’s election as Canada’s first female Member of Parliament in 1921. She was featured on the commemorative Canada 150 $10 bill in 2017. This milestone achievement was also designated an anniversary of significance by the Government of Canada in 2021.

Image of Agnes Macphail House
Image of Agnes Macphail House located in East York. Credit: City of Toronto photographer

In 1921, Agnes Macphail blazed a path for women with her election to the federal House of Commons. In 1943, she became the first woman elected and sworn to sit in the Legislative Assembly, representing York East (which included the Borough of East York and the surrounding rural area). For further information about her life and accomplishments, please visit the Related Links section on this page.

On March 24, 1993, former East York Mayor Michael Prue proclaimed the first annual Agnes Macphail Day in the Borough of East York, to honour the 50th anniversary of her election to the Legislative Assembly at Queen’s Park.

In addition to the Agnes Macphail Award, her legacy is recognized across Toronto with the naming of : Agnes Macphail Public School, Agnes Macphail Square, Macphail Avenue, and the Agnes Macphail House, which has been designated as a property of cultural heritage value under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The Agnes Macphail Award was established in January 1994 by the former Borough of the East York Council. The award recognizes the connection of the East York community to the causes Agnes Macphail championed in her long and distinguished career.

An annual award is presented to an East York resident who has made outstanding contributions as a volunteer in one or more of the following areas:

  • Women’s rights
  • Fairness to seniors
  • Criminal justice system and penal reform
  • International peace and disarmament
  • Access to adequate housing, health care and education

The nominee must be a resident of the former Borough of East York who lives by Agnes’ motto, “Think Globally, Act Locally”.

Nominees from previous years are eligible for re-nomination. Previous recipients are ineligible.

Each nomination should include the following information:

  1. 2022 Nomination Form
  2. Nominator’s testimonial – 100 words maximum – of the nominee’s accomplishments.
  3. Biography/profile of the nominee – detailed work and additional volunteer experience. Could be in the form of a Curriculum Vitae.
  4. Affiliations – names of organizations, associations, committees with dates and details of service provided by the nominee.
  5. Letters of support – from organizations or individuals, providing information specific to this award to support the nomination.

Please Note:

  • Please provide a list of all supporting documents enclosed for the nomination.
  • All material should be in a black and white,  8.5″ x 11″ format for the Selection Committee members.
  • Please do not send multiple copies or bound versions.
  • As we are unable to return anything that is sent in, please do not send original photographs or original copies of official documents.

We accept nominations through the following processes:

By mail:  Agnes Macphail Recognition Committee, c/o Strategic Protocol & External Relations, City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, 12th Floor, West Tower, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

By email:

Application Deadline

Completed nominations must be received by midnight, Friday, January 28, 2022.

2022 Agnes Macphail Award Ceremony

The Agnes Macphail Award Ceremony will be held in March 2022, near to Agnes Macphail Day on March 24, subject to public health regulations.

The recipient is honoured with a medal, framed certificate of recognition and their portrait on an honour wall in the East York Civic Centre with other recipients.

Award recipients are given the opportunity of designating a charity to receive donations from the Agnes Macphail Fund that is managed by The East York Foundation, a registered charity. Donations are now being accepted for the charities chosen by the 2020 award recipients.

Donations to the Agnes Macphail Fund

Donations can be made to the Agnes Macphail Fund of The East York Foundation by completing the donation form and mailing it to:

Secretary-Treasurer, East York Foundation

c/o 50 Merritt Road
Toronto, ON M4B 3K6

Donations made to The East York Foundation are deductible for Income Tax purposes. A charitable tax receipt is issued at the time of donation.

Previous Award Recipients

Award Recipient Year
Paula Davies 2020
Raymond White 2020
Karen Fraser 2019
Carol Burtin Fripp 2018
Rev. Jim Parker 2017
Patrick Rocca 2016
Muhammad Masood Alam 2015
Sheila Lacroix 2014
Alan Redway 2013
Alice Carriman 2012
John Carter 2011
Bill Pashby 2010
Patricia Moore 2009
Geoff Kettel 2008
Lorna Krawchuk 2007
Shamsh Kara 2006
George Hurst 2005
Vi Thompson 2004
Dorothy Rivers-Moore 2003
Bob Hart 2002
Grace Stephens 2001
Audrey Tobias 2000
Barbara Thompson 1999
Elisabeth and Robert Lister 1998
Ruth Goldhar 1997
Marjorie Lewsey 1996
Eileen Morris Adams 1995
J. Edna Beange 1994