This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
The insight readers wait for.
Anyone who grew up with Ann Landers and Dear Abby may be forgiven for thinking that advice to the lovelorn is an American innovation, but they’d be wrong. The honour must be given (among many others) to Toronto’s Kit Coleman, who in 1889 began penning her regular column “Woman’s Kingdom” in the Toronto Mail. While the bylined feature was styled “for women only,” it was avidly read by men too, notably Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, who, by his own admission, would never miss it. Immediately celebrated for her frank advice and uncommon insights into the complexity of human personality, Kit was later dubbed “Queen of Hearts.” Kathleen Willis Watkins Coleman was a relentless innovator and pioneer. She was the first woman to be a page editor of a newspaper, the first accredited woman war correspondent when she covered the 1898 Spanish-American War in Cuba, first president of the Canadian Women’s Press Club, and, with her internationally read “Kit’s Column,” the first syndicated journalist in the world.