Bookstore Icon Passes
Margaret Phillips, operator of Canada’s last standing feminist bookstore, passed away on November 4, 2015.
Born on April 12, 1931, in Ottawa, Phillips began her career managing recreational arenas.As recreation director in Kenora, Ontario, from 1960 to 1967, she was elected the first woman president of the Society of Directors of Municipal Recreation of Ontario.In 1965, the Anishinaabe Grand Council Treaty #3 placed Phillips’ name on its honour roll for her participation in a historic anti-racism march to Kenora City Hall that year.
She then became active in a variety of social justice causes.
In 1973, Phillips was part of a collective that founded the Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre and from 1982 to 1992 she was a member of the feminist journal collective that published the Northern Woman’s Journal, at the time the second-longest-running feminist newspaper in Canada. Phillips later worked as executive director of the Lakehead Social Planning Council, advocating for a wide range of community services including transit for people with disabilities, a low income housing co-op and regional daycares.
In 1984, Phillips and Anna McColl co-founded the Northern Woman’s Bookstore in Thunder Bay, which has been Canada’s lone women’s bookstore since 2012.Phillips was actively involved in Inter Pares, a Canadian organization that partners with organizations around the world to advance women’s equality.She also travelled internationally in support of its goals.In 2008, Phillips was honoured with the Elizabeth Kouhi Award by the Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop for her outstanding contribution to the writing community. Phillips was also a generous financial contributor to Herizons magazine.