Thunder Bay

'A sad day for northern Ontario' - Thunder Bay remembers feminist Margaret Phillips

Margaret Phillips, the co-founder of the Northern Woman's Bookstore, and a respected feminist in Thunder Bay, Ont., died on Nov. 4.
In 1984 Margaret Phillips and Anna McColl co-founded the Northern Woman's Bookstore in Thunder Bay, Ont. (

People in Thunder Bay, Ont. are remembering Margaret Phillips, the co-founder of the Northern Woman's Bookstore, and a respected feminist in the community, who died on Wednesday Nov. 4. 

The bookstore she founded is known as the last remaining women's bookstore in Canada. 

Rosalind Lockyer knew Margaret Phillips for over two decades. She said Phillips, who was in her 80s, will be remembered as a community leader who was warm and caring.

"It's a sad day for northern Ontario," said Lockyer in an interview with CBC on Thursday.

"We've lost a really great woman."

"Her way of being a feminist was to support other women, and to make sure they knew they could do anything they wanted to do if they just tried."

Phillips managed an "extremely difficult" task in keeping her independent bookstore open for over 30 years, said Lockyer.

The store is a "one of a kind" community hub, she added, where readers can find feminist literature, and books by northern authors. 

Phillips ran the bookstore with the help of volunteers — many of them young women attending university, she said.

In 2013, PARO, the women's business organization run by Rosalind Lockyer, awarded Margaret Phillips an enterprising women award.

Earlier this year Phillips received an honorary doctorate degree from Lakehead University for her social justice work. 


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