The Favourite Five of Réal Bélanger,
Former Directeur général adjoint
Marie-Anne Barbel (Fornel) by Dale Miquelon. Despite the limits imposed by available resources, this brief biography reveals the role played by women of the merchant class in New France. Until the death of her husband, Louis Fornel, a merchant and entrepreneur, Marie-Anne Fornel managed the household and above all looked after her 13 children while, at the same time, taking an interest in her husband’s business. In 1745 she assumed complete control of her deceased husband’s enterprise, shrewdly diversifying and expanding it. The English conquest diminished her drive and, in debt, she sought to consolidate what remained of her assets.
Louis-François Laflèche by Nive Voisine. Catholic priest, educator, author, and bishop of Trois-Rivières, Laflèche remains “one of the most important figures in French Canada in the second half of the 19th century.” The course of his life led him to take part in the great intellectual debates of his time – religious, political, and social – on which his forceful character left its mark. An uncompromising ultramontane and a fierce opponent of liberalism of any kind, his battles got him into trouble with the very heart of the Quebec ultramontane wing and the Vatican, even though he had always devoted his energy to defending them.
Félicité Angers, known as Laure Conan by Manon Brunet. This captivating and nuanced biography illustrates in great detail the life of “the first woman in French Canada to pursue a literary career.” This novelist, biographer, journalist, and playwright with strong beliefs and a complex personality pursued an unusual path for her time, winning prestigious awards, and blazed an invaluable trail for others to follow.
Sir Robert Laird Borden by Robert Craig Brown. In the Canadian collective memory the eighth prime minister of Canada is unfairly subjected to the aura surrounding some of those who came before and after him and who wear an almost untarnishable halo of fame. Employing perfect mastery of the biographer’s art, historian Robert Craig Brown restores Borden’s reputation. Making the most of a considerable number of diverse sources, he presents the man, the lawyer, the mp, the unflappable head of a disorganized party, and the prime minister who, during the Great War, confronted one of the worst political and social crises in Canadian history. Not all of his policies were the most prudent: imposing conscription divided the country as never before. At the end of the war his key role in emancipating Canada within the British empire would be hailed as his most outstanding contribution.
Emily Carr by Maria Tippett. This biography, based on numerous and varied sources, reveals the key factors in the rich and surprisingly eventful life of the country’s most important female painter. The most famous of the non-indigenous artists of the Canadian west was also an art teacher and a writer. Drawing on her training, which was as thorough as it was rigorous, and the powerful inspiration of a small number of masters, Carr, in the second decade of the 20th century, developed a personal style that would single her out. She brought modernism to Canada’s west coast and, through her art and short stories, introduced the culture of the First Nations. Her paintings of the coastal forests of British Columbia and the totem poles and indigenous villages of the area left their mark on the Canadian imagination.