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.

The recipient of the 2023 Agnes Macphail Award was honoured in a ceremony that took place on March 19, 2023.

The recipient received a medal and a framed certificate of recognition and will have their portrait placed on an honour wall in the East York Civic Centre.

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. The charity selected by the 2023 recipient is The Neighbourhood Organization.

The Foundation is accepting donations through Canada Helps for the charity chosen by the 2023 award recipient.

Shakhlo Sharipova

Image of the 2023 Agnes Macphail Award recipent
The 2023 Agnes Macphail Award recipient, Dr. Shakhlo Sharipova.

Dr. Sharipova is a skilled ophthalmologist specializing in the treatment of glaucoma. She is a mother of four and a grandmother of two who came to Canada from Tajikstan in 2009. She has lived in East York since 2010.

Dr. Sharipova founded the Thorncliffe Park Autism Support Network (TPASN), after seeking supports as a mother with a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. TPASN provides education and healthcare advice for parents with children living with autism. It creates safe spaces in the neighbourhood, bringing families together to plan inclusive activities for children. Through TPASN, Dr. Sharipova has organized a summer camp for children in the community.

Dr. Sharipova is also heavily involved in caring for the various needs of community members. She organizes a community toy drive for low-income families. Her Ramadan Free Hot Meal Project has delivered 4,240 meals with the help of a team of volunteers, since the start of the program.  She also fundraises to provide food and supplies to families and seniors in need and is dedicated to creating opportunities for youth to become engaged in community development.

Previous Award Recipients

Award Recipient Year
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.