Elliot Lake Funeral Chapel
& Cremation Centre
With great sadness, we announce the passing of Aideen on May 31, 2019 at St. Joseph's Hospital, Elliot Lake at the age of 92. Predeceased by her brothers Cathal and Sean (Kathleen), survived by her sisters Maeve (Bob Floyde) and Blathnaid (Michael Carmody), nephews, nieces and extended family in Ireland, Canada, UK, and USA. Especially mourned by her loving friends, the Speed family. Born in Ireland in 1927, Aideen and her siblings were raised by their widowed mother, the principal of the local primary school, a first for women in Ireland at the time. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin and the London School of Economics, she came to Canada in 1957 with a plan to work for short period, then return to Europe, preferably on a slow cargo boat with many ports of call. She worked as a social worker and taught various courses at University of Toronto, George Brown College and Sheridan College before joining the Ontario Department of Correctional Services in 1965 as Director of Women’s Reformatories. In 1969 Aideen became Executive Director of a Toronto child care agency and she is a past president of the Ontario Association of Professional Social Workers - Metro Toronto Branch. In recognition of her contribution to the field of corrections in Ontario, she was awarded the 1967 Centennial Medal. She was a founding member of the Ontario Committee on the Status of Women, a member of the Boards of the Hincks Treatment Centre, the Ontario Welfare Council, the Ontario Association for Corrections and Criminology, and a member of the Advisory Committee of the George Brown College Child Care Course. In 1974, she was elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament for the Toronto riding of Trinity and was re-elected in 1979, 1980 and 1984. She served as parliamentary secretary and chaired various committees including Public Accounts. She led delegations to the European Parliament, the O.E.C.D, Council of Europe and was a delegate to U.N General Assembly. In 1989, she was appointed to the Immigration and Refugee Board where she served until moving to Elliot Lake to take up residence and become a Northerner (NOT to retire!). She was an active participant in the local community (Chair White Mountain Academy of the Arts, Trustee St Joseph’s General Hospital, Board Member Women’s Crisis Centre and the Family Life Centre and President Rotary Club). In 2003, she was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal and the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians Distinguished Services Award. Tributes received testify to her legacy. She was a strong, capable, dynamic woman with a formidable intellect which, in a woman, wasn’t as appreciated as it should have been at that time. She will live on in the many lives she has touched and changed. Special thanks to the wonderful neighbours and friends in Elliott Lake, especially Nicole and Marilyn who were with Aideen at the end, as well as all the friends who supported her.
Cremation has taken place. A Celebration of Life will take place at The University Club of Toronto, 380 University Avenue, Toronto on Monday August 12th from 4.00pm to 6.00pm. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the CNIB Foundation.