Jeanne Brault Laurin (1924 – 2012)

Jeanne Brault Laurin
© Editions du Vingt et Un

Jeanne Brault Laurin was Canada's first woman mechanic. She spent her childhood in the family-owned garage in Saint-Étienne-de-Beauharnois, Quebec, where her mechanic father instilled in her a passion for automotive mechanics. From the age of nine, Brault Laurin began assisting her father, first by handing him tools and holding lights, later by taking on more challenging tasks. When the Second World War propelled women into the workforce – many in professions traditionally occupied by men – Brault Laurin's father made her a full-time mechanic, entrusted with inspections and car repair. In 1943, the Association des marchands détaillants proclaimed Brault Laurin Canada's first woman mechanic, cementing her place in Canadian history. Her memoir, Ma vie pleine de vie, was published in 2012.

“Nothing pleased me more than to see my growing ease in the garage. Like my father, I enjoyed practicing a trade that was on the cutting edge. I was especially proud because I was practicing a trade traditionally reserved for men. It was like I was thumbing my nose at the overly narrow social norms.”

Page details

Date modified: