By BRANDY HUFF
For Women’s History Month this October, let’s celebrate the women in Beaches-East York who inspire us, who have made a truly positive impact in our community and our city.
In big and small ways, these individuals are honouring those who have come before them: the pioneers who advocated for our right to vote, to own property and businesses, to be entitled to fair wages, pensions and equitable working environments, and so many more hard-won rights.
Let’s not forget that less than 60 years ago, a woman still needed a signature from her husband to open a bank account. We’ve come a long way, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
So each day in October, on the Beach Metro News website and on social media, I will be celebrating one woman who makes history in Beaches-East York.
Together we can lift each other up, give credit where credit is due, continue the hard work of those who came before us, and set examples for generations to come.
Happy Women’s History Month to all — we see you, and we celebrate you!
Oct. 17 – Michelle Aarts
Raised on a hog farm in rural Ontario with her five brothers, Michelle Aarts came from a family who prioritized education, hard work, and lifelong learning.
After attending Western University and McGill for degrees in Pharmacology and Endocrinology, Aarts moved to Toronto to pursue a research career in neuroscience, focusing on interventions and treatments for stroke.
Her neuroscience research then led her to the University of Toronto Scarborough, where she began teaching in Biochemistry and Molecular Endocrinology, taking on the roles of Biosafety Coordinator and Core Facility Director.
Aarts has also taken on advisory and board member roles across research, childcare, ethics, and education advocacy.
She is the parent of three children ages seven to 17 years old. When her children entered the public education system, Aarts became more involved in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). This eventually led her to her current role as TDSB Trustee for Beaches-East York.
Aarts is an active community volunteer, especially with groups that serve poverty and food security needs, and serves as a member of the Ontario Active School Travel Council.
When it comes to relaxing, you’ll find her backcountry paddling, camping and climbing with her family. She still enjoys returning to the farm and doing all the things she learned growing up – gardening, singing, knitting, sewing, and baking.
She can be reached on social media at @aartsward16
For our Oct. 1 story celebrating Julie Middleton, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/01/celebrating-the-impact-of-beaches-east-york-women-during-octobers-womens-history-month/
For our Oct. 2 story celebrating Julie O, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/02/julie-o-of-little-ones-closet-on-danforth-avenue-celebrated-during-womens-history-month/
For our Oct. 3 story celebrating Erin Binns, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/03/womens-history-month-celebrating-business-coach-and-realtor-erin-binns/
For our Oct. 4 story celebrating Ashley Evans, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/04/womens-history-month-celebrating-community-advocate-and-outstanding-citizen-ashley-evans/
For our Oct. 5 story celebrating Daneille Lewis, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/05/womens-history-month-celebrating-designer-danielle-lewis/
For our Oct. 6 story celebrating Mary Oliveira, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/06/womens-history-month-celebrating-mary-oliveira-of-marys-brigadeiro-on-danforth-avenue/
For our Oct. 7 story celebrating Amy Symington, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/07/womens-history-month-celebrating-nutrition-professor-and-researcher-amy-symington/
For our Oct. 8 story celebrating Emma Sam, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/08/womens-history-month-celebrating-entrepreneur-emma-sam-of-speedy-auto-service/
For our Oct. 9 story celebrating Vicky Tsorlinis, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/09/womens-history-month-celebrating-inspirational-volunteer-vicky-tsorlinis/
For our Oct. 10 story celebrating Erin Keaney, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/10/womens-history-month-celebrating-realtor-actor-and-community-member-erin-keaney/
For our Oct. 11 story celebrating Alexandra LeBlanc, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/11/womens-history-month-celebrating-local-soprano-alexandra-leblanc/
For our Oct. 12 story celebrating Dee Stoicescu, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/12/womens-history-month-celebrating-dee-stoicescu-of-bad-venus-vintage/
For our Oct. 13 story celebrating Sarah Severn, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/13/womens-history-month-celebrating-local-bagpiper-sarah-severn/
For our Oct. 14 story celebrating Reena Parekh, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/13/womens-history-month-celebrating-local-bagpiper-sarah-severn/
For our Oct. 15 story celebrating Moya Graham, please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/15/womens-history-month-celebrating-local-lawyer-moya-graham/
For our Oct. 16 story celebrating, Irene Sikiotis please see https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/10/16/womens-history-month-celebrating-local-entrepreneur-and-resident-irene-sikiotis/