“Montreal Letter” was one of the first columns written by a female writer in Canada

By Aeman Ansari, Reporter

One of the first columns penned by a woman in Canada “Montreal Letter,” was cancelled on Oct. 23, 1888. Lily Lewis began writing the column for Toronto newspaper This Week in November 1887 from her home in Montreal under the pseudonym Louis Lloyd. She used it as a platform to comment on people, places and culture. After she stopped writing her column, she moved to Paris and continued to contribute to This Week in the form of sketches that described the Paris Exposition and other events. Lewis is known for inspiring a fictional character in Sara Jeannette Duncan’s novel, A Social Departure: How Orthodocia and I Went Around The World by Ourselves, which was based on their trip around the world. Duncan and Lewis are remembered as two of the earliest female journalists in Canada, and they took on male pseudonyms to mock the gender discrimination in the journalism industry.

With research from Women Who Made the News: Female Journalists in Canada, by Marjory Lang, and Lily Lewis: Sketches of a Canadian Journalist: A Biocritical Study, by Margaret Martin.