Robertine Barry, an early feminist who became the first female French-Canadian journalist despite widespread backlash from her counterparts, may see her colourful literary legacy championed on the face of Canada’s new $5 bill. Born in 1863 in L’Isle-Verte, Qué., about 200 kilometres northeast of Québec City, Barry developed keen writing senses at a young age. The ninth of 13 children, she enjoyed a privileged upbringing with “a wealth of books and music,” according to Merna Forster’s 2011 book, 100 More Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces. “Unlike many children at the time, she received the best education available despite frequent visits to the Mother Superior for bad behaviour,” wrote Forster, who added Barry “loved to learn but felt stifled in the strict convent schools she attended.” Continue reading →
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