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McGill, Ruth Switzer (1909–74)

Ruth Switzer McGill was a prominent barrister and solicitor in Regina, as well as an influential community leader. She was born on December 31, 1909, in Ontario; her family soon moved to Regina, where she attended school before going to the University of Saskatchewan. After receiving a BA (English), she studied law, becoming the seventh woman to graduate from the University of Saskatchewan Law School (1932). She was admitted to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1933. Her father, Arthur McGill, had founded the Debenture Company of Canada, which specialized in the administration of insolvent farms, and served as its president until 1955; Ruth McGill then took over until her death. In 1965 she established with James Robb the law firm of McGill and Robb. McGill was active in community affairs from 1933 to 1964. She had numerous leadership roles in women’s organizations, including the Provincial Council of Women, the League of Women Voters, and the Women’s Canadian Club. Long involved with the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Club, she served as national president from 1948 to1950, and in 1962 she held the position of second vice-president of the International Federation. In 1946, she became the third woman elected to the Regina City Council. She served in this position for four years while simultaneously holding a position on the Regina Hospital Board. In 1948 she was also the chairperson of the Board of Health. Until her death on May 26, 1974, McGill continued to play a significant role in numerous women’s organizations, while at the same time maintaining control of the Debenture Company of Canada and running a successful law firm.

Tracy Tomlinson

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