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An award-winning columnist, staunch feminist, and tireless activist for social justice and progressive causes at home and abroad, Michele Landsberg was a well-known and prominent Torontonian during the mid-to-late twentieth century. According to a biography posted by the University of Windsor where Landsberg was a distinguished visitor in women's studies in October 2003, her "zest for wanting to change the world has its roots in her childhood: growing up as a Jewish girl in 1950s Toronto, where sexual stereotyping and objectification were rampant and overt antisemitism was acceptable." As a result, Ms. Landsberg tackled a wide-range of related issues, often grounding her columns in events, places, and issues of particular interest to Torontonians.
Born on 12 July 1939, Ms. Landsberg attended Toronto public schools, spent time on a kibbutz in Israel, and graduated from the University of Toronto with honors in English language and literature in 1962. She was dissuaded from pursuing a master's degree by her male professors and instead became a reporter at the Globe and Mail newspaper and launched a remarkable career as a journalist and writer. In addition to freelance and full-time stints with the Globe and Mail (1962–1965; 1985–1988), Chatelaine magazine (1965–1971), and the Toronto Star (1978–1983; 1989–2003), Ms. Landsberg frequently appeared on television and radio and wrote three best-selling books. She garnered awards, including the first National Newspaper Award for column-writing, the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, and the 2002 Governor-General's Award in Commemoration of the 1929 Persons Case, and received honourary degrees from several Canadian universities. She also served on the boards of many community organizations, such as CARAL (Canadian Abortion Rights League) and Opportunity for Advancement.
After her retirement from the Toronto Star in 2003, Ms. Landsberg planned to pursue other writing projects and to spend more time at home in her garden and with her family: husband Stephen Lewis, three grown children, and two grandchildren. In September 2005, she was acclaimed as the new Chair of the Women's College Hospital Board when the Hospital ended its partnership with Sunnybrook Hospital.
Anshei Minsk Synagogue (Toronto, Ont.)
Canadian author and journalist Michele Landsberg provides recollections of attending the Minsk Synagogue with her grandfather in the 1940s