For me, one of the more surprising results of the Bank of Canada’s survey on 12 “bank-notable” women was how few people (29%) recognized Lotta Hitschmanova’s name.
“What does it mean to be Canadian? Well, for one thing, if you’re of a certain age (Mike Myers is 53), it means you have stored away in your memory banks one of Canada’s most famous addresses, 55 Sparks Street, Ottawa 4 – or was it 56 Sparks?” Continue reading
Seldom has a newcomer to a country left such a nation-wide legacy as Lotta Hitschmanova has in her adopted land.
Indeed, I have argued that she was a refugee who literally changed Canada, for the better.
Peter Lockyer, who directed Soldier of Peace, Lotta’s film documentary, has reflected on the impact that Lotta and many other newcomers have had and concluded that “immigrants make the best Canadians.”
If you’d like to learn more, or hear Lotta’s voice again, have a viewing of Lockyer’s excellent video, Soldier of Peace.
Why is it that so many visitors come to Ottawa from across Canada, and after taking a tour of Parliament Hill, they find themselves strolling down the Sparks Street Mall, when all of a sudden, they catch sight of a big door with the number 56 on top of it, their eyes pop out with incredulity, they come to a quick stop and then they start taking souvenir snapshots – to show the folks back home – to prove that there really was, and is, a 56 Sparks Street?
Millions of Canadians still remember that unique and iconic voice of Lotta Hitschmanova.
For who can forget her distinctive Czech accent (and unique uniform) during those TV and radio PSAs that were broadcast almost daily in the 1960s and 70s? Continue reading
A special note from Peter Lockyer, producer of Lotta’s documentary, Soldier of Peace:
“I think it’s a wonderful site and thanks so much for thinking of me and the documentary program we did on Lotta Hitschmanova of the USC so many years ago.
“Lotta was an amazing individual and there will never be another person like her. Continue reading
Welcome to the launching of Lotta56sparks.ca – on this, the 107th anniversary of one of Canada’s most beloved humanitarians!
Though Dr. Lotta did not make it onto the Bank of Canada’s short list of five women banknote candidates, there is still much cause for celebration, and indeed for reflection on the lasting impact that she has had on our Canadian society. Continue reading