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VOL. 78 PART 4 JULY 2020
weekly eNews blog and interactive Twitter account @BCProvCourt. In October
2019, she presented a workshop on the court’s work to journalists in
northern B.C. and hosted the Chief Justice of British Columbia and Jennifer
Muller, a self-represented litigant and fellow member of Access to Justice
BC, in a live Twitter Town Hall. The court received a 2019 Clawbie (Canadian
Law Blogs Awards) in the “Best A2J Resources” category for this event,
while its eNews received one in the “Best Blogs and Commentary” category.
Some biographical details may explain the influences that shaped this
Melissa Ann Gillespie made her debut in Calgary on August 28, 1963 to
the delight of her parents Roy and Mary Gillespie. That delight may have
been short-lived. The youngest of three daughters, Melissa was a going concern
from the moment she was born. Energetic, curious, fearless and mischievous,
Melissa was a handful. During her early school years, she was
either the principal or a co-conspirator among her pack of friends, and their
ensuing hijinks were legendary. Melissa graduated from high school in 1981
but has remained close to her Calgary friends, many of whom attended her
December 2018 welcoming ceremony
Roy and Mary Gillespie were both Depression-era children who were
determined to provide Melissa and her sisters Andrea and Sue with childhoods
different from those they experienced. While Roy became successful
in the Calgary business world, neither he nor Mary had had the opportunity
to attend university. As a result, they both considered education a priority.
Melissa and Sue were encouraged and supported in their academic pursuits
and both graduated with law degrees.
Education comes in many forms and teaches a wide variety of lessons.
Melissa’s eldest sister Andrea was born with significant developmental disabilities
and by Mary’s daily example Melissa learned the importance of
treating everyone with respect and dignity and of living one’s own best life
while helping others live theirs. When Roy remarried in the ’70s Melissa
gained four other siblings: Lani, Leslie, Ed and Molly.
Following high school, Melissa attended Queen’s University, graduating
with a bachelor of commerce degree in 1985. She returned to Calgary after
graduation and spent a few months working in the accounting department
of a large oil company before taking off on the first of her extraordinary
travel adventures. Melissa spent the rest of that year backpacking through
Turkey, Israel, Egypt, India, Nepal, Thailand, Bali, Australia and New
Not convinced a life in finance was her destiny, Melissa wrote the LSAT
and was accepted at the University of Toronto where in 1989 she received