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.

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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

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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

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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.

Addie’s Apples II

About a year ago, I shared a couple of Adelaide Hunter Hoodless’ apple recipes with you. Click on this link if you’d like to re-read that post.

This year, I want to share with you (read: brag about) my recent triumph in the pie-making department. One of the members of the Women Inspiring Women WI is a prize-winning pastry maker. Elaine Tully will hold a couple of workshops later this fall for our WI, but first she wanted to have a technical rehearsal at the church kitchen. There I made my first ever peach pie. OH. EM. GEE. as they say. It was wonderful good!

Just peachy!
Just peachy!

Yesterday, I made an apple pie using Addie’s Apples. Literally. These apples were picked from the trees at the Homestead.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I don’t know the variety of apple, but the flesh is crisp and tart. It held up well in the baking. I’m going to pick more this week and make applesauce.
Addie's Apples before...
Addie’s Apples before…
... and after.
… and after.

My hubby tried an apple fresh and found them rather tart. When I told him that I had made a pie he asked, “Did you put in lots of sugar?” Of course, I did, we’re talking brown sugar here!

The secret to success? Cold ingredients and limit handling: keys to fantastic pie crust. I used the pie crust recipe on the Crisco box and Edna Staebler’s Double Crust Apple Pie filling, copied here:

  • 3 cups of peeled, cored, and sliced apples (I used 4 cups. Next time I will use more – the crust to fruit ratio can use some tweaking)

Toss the apples in with the following:

  • 2/3 to 1 cup sugar, depending on tartness of apples
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I omitted this – too lazy to grate the nutmeg)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Place in pie shell and dot with

  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of milk or cream

Cover with the top crust, flute edges, and slash the top to create vents for steam to escape.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until the crusts are a pale golden colour.

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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.

The Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Canadian Woman of the Year Award

The collective impact of our country’s female leaders cannot be understated.

Introducing: The Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Canadian Woman of the Year Award is the premier national award of Women’s Institute celebrating the achievements of the most successful in this inspiring group. This 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.

Nominations Now Open
We have a wonderful opportunity to recognize some of the top female leaders in Canada through the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Canadian Woman of the Year Award. These women do not have to be members of Women’s Institute. This Award seeks to acknowledge dedicated women whose contributions make their communities and our world a better place to live.

Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Canadian Woman of the Year Award recognizes the hard work, dedication, and support that these women have offered and continue to offer as they give leadership, inspire others, and make a difference while exhibiting the qualities of Adelaide Hunter Hoodless, the founder of the Women’s Institute Organization. Adelaide Hoodless dedicated her life to ensure women had educational opportunities. Adelaide Hoodless was called “one of the most famous Canadian women…yet one of the most obscure.” She is credited as being co-founder of the Women’s Institute, the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the National Council of Women, the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), and a major force behind the formation of three faculties of Household Science.

Adelaide Hoodless exemplified women supporting women, through education, encouragement, and social action.

To nominate yourself or a friend, please complete the one page nomination form downloadable from the FWIC website and submit it to fwican@gmail.com.

Nominees will be judged based on the leadership they have exhibited and the ways they have given back to community by mentoring or supporting other women.

Nominations will close at midnight on December 31st each year and winners will be notified in February.

Please contact your WI provincial office or visit our website for the one page application. Please note nominations are open to all living Canadian women who inspire others and work for positive change for their community or country. Applications are due to FWIC by December 31 of each year.

Dr. Ellen McLean being presented with the award in her home by Nova Scotia WI member Eleanor Lilley.
Dr. Ellen McLean being presented with the award in her home by Nova Scotia WI member Eleanor Lilley.

Congratulations to Dr. Ellen McLean of Nova Scotia for being the premiere recipient of The Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Canadian Woman of the Year.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

P.E.I. WI recipe for success: Beet Cake

 

After months of work, Helen Dawson, argricultural convener, left, and Miriam Lank, home economics and health convener, and show the results of their project – the Women’s Institute Island Product Cooking Contest Cookbook.
After months of work, Helen Dawson, agricultural convener, left, and Miriam Lank, home economics and health convener, and show the results of their project – the Women’s Institute Island Product Cooking Contest Cookbook.

If you have a surplus of beets in your garden, you might want to consider this prize-winning recipe. It was awarded “Best of” The Women’s Institute Island Product Cooking Contest Cookbook.  Copies are available at the WI office, 40 Enman Cres., Charlottetown, or by calling 902-368-4860.

Winning recipe: Beet Cake from the June 19th article in The Guardian, by Sally Cole.

3 egg yolks
1 ½ cup white sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. hot water
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded raw beets
½ cup raisins or nuts
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

Mix egg yolks, sugar, oil, vanilla and hot water together. Add shredded carrots, shredded beets, raisins, flower, baking powder and salt. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour in tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees C for one hour.

Icing

¼ cup margarine
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup icing sugar

Blend together in a bowl.

If you have a super surplus, give this recipe for Chocolate Beet Cupcakes a try, too!

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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.

 

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

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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.

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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.