UAlberta Faculty of Law's List of Firsts: Margaret Crang (Class of 1932), the first woman law graduate to serve on City Council in Edmonton

Article by Paula Simons (Edmonton Journal)

Katherine Thompson - 16 July 2013

Margaret Crang, as a young woman, in front of her family home in Garneau. The picture is from the collection of her nephew Robert Allin of Banff.

Margaret Crang, city's youngest elected official finally gets her name on a little piece of Edmonton (by Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal)

EDMONTON - "As a young girl in my teens, I found myself rather addicted to spasms of conviction. Like all adolescent youth, I was given to the projection of desperate ideals of personal and social perfection. The fact is that I really believed that I had a mission to save the world, and what is worse, I knew exactly how the thing was to be done. I was out to mould the world in conformity with the heart's desire."

Margaret Crang, "Where My Convictions Have Led Me"

Lawyer, journalist, teacher, politician, social activist. The youngest person ever to serve on Edmonton city council. A beautiful woman who turned down three marriage proposals, and who was rumoured, by some of her younger relatives, to have been Dr. Norman Bethune's lover. An eccentric aunt who grew marijuana on her windowsill, hoarded books and magazines, and spent her days in a ratty housecoat.

Margaret Crang, who died in 1992 at the age of 82, dedicated her life to causes she believed in, from women's rights to labour rights to anti-fascism. Whether in the courtrooms of Edmonton or the battlefields of Civil War Spain, she never hesitated to fight for her principles - even when her idealism was her political undoing.

She was one of the most intriguing, exasperating, and ultimately tragic public figures Edmonton has ever produced. Yet Edmonton has no memorial of her extraordinary life and adventures.

That could soon change. Last month, the city's naming committee approved a plan to name a road for Crang in the new southwest subdivision of Cavanagh. They also propose to name a park in the new district, south of Ellerslie Road and west of Calgary Trail, in her honour.

Click here to read more about the fascinating life of UAlberta Faculty of Law alumna Margaret Crang

Click here to read other fascinating "List of First" stories on the UAlberta Faculty of Law's Centenary website