When the Bank of Canada announced its short list of 5 women candidates to appear on a Canadian banknote, I was a bit surprised to read that Lotta Hitschmanova (1909-1990) wasn’t on the list. I wondered, perhaps I had been mistaken, and Lotta’s story no longer resonated with Canadians to the degree I thought it did.
Recently the Bank of Canada has published the full details of the cross-country survey of 2,000 Canadians who voiced their opinions about the women (including Lotta) who had made it onto the long list of 12 “bank-notable” Canadian women.
In my upcoming series of Lotta56sparks.ca blog posts, I will highlight some of the results of this cross-Canada survey. Here is today’s key finding:
“More than half of survey respondents include Elsie MacGill (54%) and Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova (52%) in their top four nominees based on their biographies. The remaining nominees have a range of support from respondents, from 22% for Gabrielle Roy to 40% for Viola Desmond.”
This confirmed for me, in a striking way, the underlying hypothesis that has led to the creation of this blog in honour of Dr. Lotta. Her story does still resonate with Canadians, to this very day, and inspires them in multiple ways. More survey results to follow in the coming days……
NB: If, like me, you were curious as to what survey respondents were given as Lotta’s biography, here it is (with no reference to her name):
“Humanitarian. She came to Canada as a Czech refugee during the Second World War. In 1945, she founded the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada (USC Canada) to help those suffering in the aftermath of the war, especially children. Her compassion struck a chord with Canadians. Thousands gave food, clothing and money, making USC Canada one of the first international development agencies in our country. She dedicated her life to relief work. For 36 years, she spoke, wrote, travelled and raised funds for the needy. The work of USC Canada continues today.”
PS The detailed Bank of Canada survey results can be viewed here.