Sketch of Agnes Macphail
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.”


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 as the first female to be elected 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.

In 2017, as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary, her image was featured on a $10 bill. The 100th anniversary of Agnes Macphail’s election to Federal Parliament was commemorated in 2021.

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. The recipient is recommended to Toronto City Council by the East York Agnes Macphail Recognition Committee.

The 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.

2024 Agnes Macphail Award Recipient Susan Scandiffio
Susan Scandiffio
2024 Agnes Macphail Award Recipient

The recipient of the 2024 Agnes Macphail Award is Susan Scandiffio.

Susan is a passionate and driven community leader, actively supporting issues that were important to Agnes Macphail.

Having helped to establish the Thorncliffe Food Collaborative serving over 2,000 in Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park, she continues to collect food and toiletry donations, and rallying community and corporate support. She volunteered with the Out of the Cold Program and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, helping individuals facing homelessness and food insecurity.

She was instrumental in raising over $400,000 in toys and in-kind support for the Leaside Community Toy Drive which provides Christmas gifts to over 6,000 children in the Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park neighbourhoods, and helped raise over $1 million to renovate a local playground.

She rallied a neighbourhood team to support the Fill a Purse for a Sister Campaign, donating necessity-filled purses to social service agencies supporting women, and has worked over the past 11 years with a team of women collecting thousands of dollars for the Terry Fox Foundation.

Susan is co-Chair of the Metrolinx Impact Committee, established to secure community benefits around the Metrolinx train yard project, and she is also a contributing writer to the community publication Leaside Life, providing local news to the community.

The Agnes Macphail Award Ceremony was held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, 2024, on Agnes Macphail Day. The Ceremony took place at the East York Civic Centre, and the public was invited to attend.

The recipient was recognized with a medal, framed certificate of recognition and their portrait on an honour wall in the East York Civic Centre along with previous recipients.

At the ceremony, guests were also invited to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Township of East York, which was incorporated on January 1, 1924. Prior to its amalgamation in 1998 to become part of the new city of Toronto, East York was Ontario’s last remaining borough.  A commemorative online exhibit created by Toronto Archives was previewed at the Ceremony.

Donations to the Agnes Macphail Fund

Each year, the Agnes Macphail Fund receives donations from citizens to a registered charity of the recipient’s choice, where is presented by the Award recipient at the ceremony.

Please send your contribution to the Agnes Macphail Fund

c/o The East York Foundation

50 Merritt Road

East York, ON M4B 3K6

A charitable income tax receipt will be issued for donations over $20.


Award Recipient Year
Shakhlo Sharipova 2023
Kam Babulal 2022
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

**The 2020 Award Recipients were chosen in 2020 and their awards were presented in 2021.