PAULINE CHARRON,
BUSINESS WOMAN AND COMMUNITY LEADER
 
Born Pauline Lefebvre on 25 September 1920 in Orléans, Ontario, she was the 14th of 17 children. Her father died at 44 and she had to step up very early to help her mother meet the family’s needs. Member of the Jeunesse Ouvrière Catholique (JOC), she first did social work with the teams of social workers from the Centre catholique d’Ottawa. In 1953, she married Jean-Louis Charron and, from 1954 to 1979, lived in Eastview, renamed Vanier in 1967. After her children were born, she ran “chez Joanne”, a small baby clothing business in Eastview, while she worked with the elderly, organizing their leisure activities. In March 1963, with the cooperation of some friends, she founded Le Club “60” in Eastview, with a view to improving French-language services for seniors. Her determination and dedication to seniors enabled her to achieve a dream of hers: to establish a centre where seniors could work out to stay in shape, and participate in social and cultural activities. This well-known centre in Vanier has borne her name since the early 1980s. In 1963, she was proclaimed Eastview Citizen of the Year. That same year, she organized the first Trade Show in Eastview and, at the same time, succeeded in having a segment of Beechwood and Genest designated a commercial zone. In 1974, a commemorative plaque bearing her name inaugurated the Savard Street seniors’ centre in Vanier. That same year, she was involved in several projects to provide assistance to handicapped persons in Eastern Ontario. In 1976, during the Julien-Daoust Sports Gala sponsored by the daily Le Droit, she was named “meritorious citizen” and later the ACFO of Ottawa decorated her for “services to La Francophonie in Ontario”. She was guest speaker at various meetings and symposiums on aging in Ontario and training advisor for Francophone social clubs (1974-1978). She was also one of the founders of La Fédération des aînés francophones de l’Ontario in 1977. Pauline Charron had two sons (Mario and Jean-Marc) and died in Ottawa (Vanier) on 30 March 1979 at 59. At its annual congress, La Fédération des aînés et des retraités francophones de l’Ontario (FAFO) postumously dedicated a plaque in her honour. A foundation, a retirees’ drop-in centre and a street in Ottawa (Vanier) bear the name of Pauline Charron today.