An Historic Event in an Historic Setting

You may recall the announcement earlier this year when we reported the unveiling of the plaque denoting Margaret “Madge” Watt as a Canadian Woman of Distinction. What follows is the account of the August 14th, Parks Canada ceremony designating Mrs. Margaret “Madge” Watt as a Person of National Historic Significance.

Mrs. Watt, born in Ontario and a former resident of Metchosin and Victoria, initiated the Women’s Institutes in Great Britain and went on to gather the rural women’s groups from around the world into the Associated Country Women of the World of which Mrs. Watt served as the first president, from 1933 to 1947. She passed away in Montreal in 1948 and is interred there.

Under the Canadian Federal Elections regulations, no publicity of events such as this may be distributed during an election campaign as it could give the impression of favouring one political party over the others. Hence the delay.

*** *** ***

Madge WattAn Historic Event in an Historic Setting
On August 14, 2015, the historic Colwood Community Hall rang with laughter and joy, as Parks Canada joined with the Women’s Institutes everywhere to celebrate the designation of Mrs. Margaret “Madge” Watt as a Person of National Historic Significance. Nearly 70 members and friends joined together to celebrate the life and achievements of this remarkable woman.

Special guests for the event included British Columbia Provincial President Janet Bangs and Vice President Colleen Hooper, Past World President Lyndsay (Hackett-Pain) Mundy, Sharon Hatten, current Chairman of the ACWW United Nations Committee and Joan Holthe, President Elect of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada. Lyn Gough of the Victoria Chapter of the Women’s History Month group, as well as Maureen and Nina Duffus. The Duffus ladies represented the Watt family – Maureen’s cousin was married to Robin Watt, Madge Watt’s eldest son.
Special messages were received from the Associated Country Women of the World, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes of England and Wales, Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada and Dr. Helen Geissinger of New South Wales, Australia, great-niece of Mrs. Watt.

The hall was adorned for the occasion with table décor of greenery and small Canadian flags. The 100th anniversary Women’s Institute display, prepared by the Royal British Columbia Museum was enjoyed by many attendees, as well as a display of quilts, and of course, one on Mrs. Watt. A historic British Columbia Women’s Institute flag was graciously loaned to us for this occasion by the Sunshine Valley Women’s Institute. This flag was a hand-painted rendition of the BC Women’s Institute official emblem. Members from Kamloops went to the effort of bringing one of the Provincial banners for the occasion. Ladies in turn of the century costumes greeted guests at the door and added a touch of Mrs. Watt’s time in history to the occasion.

Chairman for the day was Dr. Hal Kalman, from Parks Canada, who introduced the panel and spoke about the appellation Mrs. Watt has been granted. This was followed by speeches by BCWI President Janet Bangs, BCWI Provincial Historian Ruth Fenner, and Dr. Helen Davies of Parks Canada, all of which celebrated Mrs. Watt’s life and achievements. Dr. Helen Davies cited a quote from Mrs. Watt as “service to humanity is the finest flower of civilization”. We believe this is true today of the efforts of Women’s Institute members everywhere.

Next, the plaque was unveiled, and the cameras all came to the fore. The message on the plaque is inscribed in both English and French, and the English text reads as follows:

MARGARET “MADGE” WATT

In 1909, Mrs. Watt helped found the first Women’s Institute in British Columbia, bringing rural women together to learn agricultural and domestic skills and to promote civic reform. After moving to Britain in 1913, she used the Canadian model to establish Women’s Institutes there, leading women during the First World War in a critical campaign to alleviate food shortages. Following the war, Watt became a driving force behind the foundation of a major international rural women’s organization, the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW), serving as its first president from 1933 until 1947.

Just when the plaque will reach its final public site is, at the time of this writing, unknown. But members everywhere can rest assured that those of us who have worked on this project since it was first suggested by the Women’s Institute, Lyn Gough and the Women’s History Month group will be watching and asking until this too, is achieved.

Our thanks to all who attended, and all those who have in whatever way, contributed to the success of bringing this about. Mrs. Watt may no longer be with us in body, but her spirit will live on through this and other sites where we and other Women’s Institute members have helped to establish public plaques and cairns to commemorate her life and worldwide accomplishments.

Another milestone achieved — may there be many more!

Ruth Fenner,
BC Women’s Institute Provincial Historian

***

Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

 

F.W.I.C. Quilt “A Story in Patchwork”

Wanted

A piece of your fabric

Not just any piece.

Looking for one of your favourites that tells a story.

100% cotton

Any shape piece of new fabric will do.

Up to 3 entries per person

Deadline for submission of fabric August 30, 2016

Attach your name and story of the piece and send to:

Donna Henderson

725 Napier St W.

Listowel Ontario

N4W 3M2

Questions? email donnahenderson80@gmail.com

You may recall Donna’s quilt that she created and donated as a fundraiser for FWIC just this past summer. That one was special. This one will be too!

patchwork quilt

***

Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Stanstead Journal Profile of Linda Hoy, FWIC President

The following article is reprinted with permission by Victoria Vanier of the Stanstead Journal. The original was published in print on August 5th and will be available online at a later date.

Local woman begins FWIC presidency

DSC_0153Earlier this summer, Linda Hoy, of Sand Hill, took over the reins of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada (FWIC) , the national organization that ‘umbrellas’ the individual Women’s Institutes across the country. Ms. Hoy officially became the president at that organization’s Annual Convention, held in New Brunswick in June.

Asked what her priorities will be as the new president, Linda commented: “We will continue to work on the seeds of change that were planted in the last triennium by “Making Change Count”. That is the theme chosen by my new board at the Post Convention Board meeting.”

“We want to continue the partnership we have with Vesey’s Bulb fundraising program, the International Peace Garden and the Scholarship and a new award called the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Canadian Women of the Year Award. It is the premier national award of Women’s Institute celebrating the achievements of the most successful in this inspiring group. The award recognizes a woman for demonstrating excellence – from leadership to social change, from local to global reach, across multiple sectors. We are honored to shine a spotlight on her.
Plans to celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary are being talked about with a year-long party.”

“The Strategic Plan for the next three years will be for the organization to be more visible by publicizing and promoting our organization in the local newspapers. The Stanstead Journal has always been a support to the WI in the area and we hope that it will continue for many years to come. By promoting and publicizing we are hoping to recruit new members. I have challenged each of our 9,000 members to recruit one new member a year. We have seen a new branch formed in Paris, Ontario, with 45 members. Social media (Facebook) played a big part in getting 100 interested ladies to come to an information night. The Women’s Institute is not just for the rural ladies – there is a need to bring the WI to the urban cities.”

Linda as Willie the Worm
Linda as Willie the Worm

As President, Linda has been invited to visit each province during her term. It could be for an annual convention, Anniversary or special event such as the Board in Quebec in 2017. Linda will be appearing in her Willie the Worm costume as she travels across the country to raise funds for the organization rather than raising the membership fees.

 

“I am proud to represent all Women’s Institute members from my branch here in the Eastern Townships to Quebec and all across Canada – from Coast to Coast to Coast,” concluded Ms. Hoy.

***

Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Membership Monday – Meet Reta MacDonald

If you live on the east coast, you have probably come across Saltscapes.  It is a magazine produced in Halifax.  While the content usually concerns the Atlantic Provinces, it is widely read. Barb Taylor alerted us to the July/August issue that features a profile of WI Life Member Reta MacDonald. In her email, Barb wrote, “WI doesn’t get a lot of publicity, so I thought this was noteworthy.”

I heartily agree.

Since the story is not yet available on the Saltscapes webpage, here are some tidbits to tempt you to seek out your own copy. Once you’ve read Reta’s story, I hope you will be tempted to submit your own!

Reta MacDonald
“The organizations I belong to, we always try to do some good for someone” by Reta MacDonald, as told to Philip Moscovitch for Saltscapes

You could call Reta MacDonald of Ebenezer, PEI a “joiner.” At 82, she is out-going and remains committed to the many community organizations she belongs to. A former teacher – who thought nothing of teaching 10 different grades herself – and a mother of three, MacDonald values the old-fashioned bonds of family and community.

She is particularly proud of her lifelong association with the women’s Institute in PEI. She first joined as a teacher, and eventually served as provincial president. While she jokes that “people have a picture of the Women’s Institute as that tea-drinking group of old ladies who meet, bake and gossip,” she values the way the group has connected her not only to her local community, but also to national and international charitable and educational efforts.

Reta was born in Milton, attended Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, and she taught in East Wiltshire, North Winsloe, and East Royalty.

In the early days, teachers were expected to join the WI. Local branches maintained the schools. The WI bought toilet tissue, they bought chalk, they bought blackboard erasers – they supplied the school with those essentials. Reta recalls when the WI came to the school and washed the floors and walls in preparation for the new school year.  Reta joined the WI in each town she lived in.  Her mother was also a member.

Reta and her husband Douglas entered their home in the Rural Beautification Society’s annual contest and won the prize — for three consecutive years!

She explained how inclusive WI is – there is no barrier to being a member. For instance, a church club membership is defined by the religious denomination, but we [the WI] welcome everyone. Someone might belong to a church family, but WI is a community family.

Reta worries about the future of the WI with the aging membership and weaker community bonds. Her WI holds an annual “meet your neighbour” night in order to make new friends and a stronger community.

***

Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Winner of the Federated Women’s Institutes Quilt Draw

Winner of the Federated Women’s Institutes Quilt draw at the Triennial Conference in Fredericton New Brunswick is Denice Glaze of Fordwich Ontario, pictured here with her husband Joe and children Ashley and Matthew. She is absolutely thrilled as her 2 children greatly resemble the ones in the quilt.

DSCF0358-002 photo 2
Second photo with the quilter, Donna Henderson. Congratulations, Denice!

 

Making Change Count!

Planting Seeds of Change - Looking Forward
Planting Seeds of Change – Looking Forward

Making Change Count! A letter of introduction from President Linda Hoy. Please share with your membership.

Hello WI,

Welcome to the new Triennium.

The FWIC Convention was a wonderful opportunity for WI to come together to share and plan for the future of this organization. We held a plenary session where we asked for input from all convention attendees on how to ensure the viability of our organization. These key words and phrases were repeated many times:

• Be more visible • Publicize • Promote • Recruit • Reach out

Many of our members at the branch level may not realize how uncertain the future of our organization is. We continue to lose members at a steady rate that even our most successful recruitment strategies at the provincial and national level have not been able to combat. In many branches, WI continues to function as it always has. It is perceived that there is no need to do anything differently or that change will come from above: the provinces or the national level. The truth is, we must all be proactive to revitalize this great organization for women. As a grassroots organization, the power to thrive lies is in the hands of the individual members and the WI branches themselves. The future of WI lies within you and must happen in your community first.

It is imperative that you understand that we need to do things differently. We need to market and promote and be more visible.

Here’s how you can help: if WI is to survive, we need to make ourselves available and open to attracting new members. We need to be visible to gain credibility among other nonprofits and for-profit agencies and funding bodies. This means we must be proud of our organization and promote ourselves.

Get into the habit of alerting the public of upcoming meetings and special WI events by writing press releases and reports before and after your events. Designate someone in your branch as Media Coordinator: it could be considered THE most important role if the WI is to succeed.

In most areas, the local newspapers are eager for content and will print your meeting and event reports in their entirety. Take pictures and include them. Remember to smile!

Once you’ve tackled print media, set your sights on social media. Facebook has been credited over and over for outstanding marketing success. It’s free, it’s fun. It’s folly to ignore it.

Let us all continue to work together, For Home & Country,
Linda Hoy, President
Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada

***

Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Adelaide’s Cookies

By special request! Visitors to the homestead today asked for Addie’s cookie recipe. I am happy to oblige, but must warm you: the recipe does not indicate an oven temperature. Compared to other recipes, I’d say about 350 degrees. But watch the first batch to make sure the oven is not too hot.

Cookies (plain).

1/2 cup butter.
1/4 cup milk.
2 even tsps. baking powder.
1 cup sugar.
1 egg.
Flour to roll out thin. (at least two cups)

Cream the butter, add the sugar, milk, egg beaten lightly, and the baking powder mixed with two cups of flour, then enough more flour to roll out. Roll a little at a time. Cut out. Bake about 10 minutes.

Reprinted with permission from

PUBLIC SCHOOL DOMESTIC SCIENCE

BY

MRS. J. HOODLESS,

President School of Domestic Science, Hamilton.
This Book may be used as a Text-Book in any High or Public School, if so ordered by
a resolution of the Trustees.
TORONTO:
THE COPP, CLARK COMPANY, LIMITED,
1898.
Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, by The Copp, Clark Company, Limited, Toronto, Ontario, in the Office of the Minister of Agriculture.

***

Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

HURRAH & HALLELUJAH!

The unveiling of the plaque denoting Margaret “Madge” Watt as a Canadian Woman of Distinction will take place on August 14, 2015.

This award was initially applied for in 2008 – 2009 and we are delighted to see it coming to fruition. Do you want to be there to see it for yourself? Then let us know at your very earliest convenience, so we may arrange for your invitation to be issued.

Who: The Federal Government and the British Columbia Women’s Institute

What: The Ceremony to unveil the Plaque for Mrs. Watt

When: 10:00 am August 14, 2015

Where: Colwood Hall, 2219 Sooke Road in Colwood

Why: To seal Mrs. Watt’s position as a Canadian Woman of Distinction, and one whose efforts have contributed enormously to the betterment no only of early British Columbia, but also many nations throughout the world.

Looking forward to seeing you there!!

Donna Jack, President
South Vancouver Island Women’s Institute
Donna_Jack@telus.net

Ruth Fenner
British Columbia Women’s Institute, Provincial Historian
landrfenner@shaw.ca

Please RSVP your name and complete postal address, or email to Donna Jack or Ruth Fenner by Friday July 10, 2015

New Exhibit at the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead Museum

What a perfect day we had for the new exhibit open house at the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Museum!

Joanna Rickert-Hall, in her new role as Curator of the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead, guided visitors through the new exhibit, “The Empty Crib: Legacy After Loss”.

For the last eight months, Ms. Rickert-Hall has been working at the museum as the Exhibit Developer under the Job Creation Partnership grant from the Ontario government. In that time she has conducted in-depth research, and asked contemporary questions about Adelaide and her legacy. The result is a transformative new look at the driving force behind the establishment of the International Women’s Institute Movement, the National Council of Women of Canada, the VON and the YWCA in Canada.

The Hoodless Homestead season runs from May 3 to Oct 31, 2015.

Please enjoy the images here courtesy our volunteer extraordinaire, Sara Naim!

***

Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Spring in Saskatchewan

SWI logoThe Spring 2015 Newsletter of the Saskatchewan WI landed in my inbox last week. Click SWI0415 for a PDF copy.

President Lynn Ballhorn writes:

Greetings Ladies
The sun is out and I think spring has finally arrived. Winter seemed to last forever. I’m on the mend from knee surgery and doing okay.
The executive have been busy getting organized and ready for the Rally-Annual Meeting on May 22. Hope you can attend. It will be held at the Western Development Museum on Highway 16A West, in Yorkton.
The agenda is on the last page of this newsletter. Please call Lynn at 306 782 3570 or e-mail wlballhorn@sasktel.net if you are coming.
The scholarship is available, please e-mail Karen if you need an application form.
We are in need of a Vice President, as my term is up and Marian is moving up to be President.
Hope everyone is in good health and has survived the winter. Looking forward to seeing you at the meeting.
All my best, Lynn

The newsletter is full of information and lots of anecdotes that will bring a smile. Here’s a sample:

Biology exam

A newsletter wouldn’t be complete without a recipe. Here’s this season’s contribution:Cinnamon_Roll_Cake-2

Cinnamon Bun Cake

Base
3 cups flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
4 Tsp. Baking powder
1 ½ C milk.
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
½ C melted butter (I used marge.)

Mix these ingredients all together adding the butter/marg. last.
Pour into a 9 X 13 pan

Topping

1 C softened butter
1 cup Brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tsp. cinnamon

Mix together, drop by spoonful on base as evenly as possible. Swirl into base with a knife (as for a marble cake)

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Glaze while still warm

Glaze

2 C powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

It seems like a lot of work but it really tasted good and my curling friends loved it!

***

Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.