When Emily Stowe was born in Ontario in 1831, every girl's life followed a set pattern. Regardless of her personality, intelligence, capabilities or creativity, her future was limited to housework and childcare. Emily Stowe was determined to change that pattern. Sydell Waxman, a writer, researcher and lecturer on women of the 1800's, tells of the events in the life of the young Emily Stowe which caused her to become, not only the first woman school principal and the first woman to practice medicine in Canada, but a pioneer in the fight for women's rights. With the help of original sketches and archival material, Changing the Pattern also creates a vivid picture of Canada in the late 1800's as it follows Emily's crusade to create new patterns for girls' lives.