Into a New Term – History in the Making!

Now that September has arrived, we start a new term of activities and of making history. The coming term of 2018 – 2019 will have some momentous events marking memorable events, and creating some new history for the Women’s Institutes.

In July of 2018, the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada Convention was held in Winnipeg, and among the numerous items discussed are the celebrations to mark the organization’s 100th Anniversary. It is fitting that this Convention was hosted by the same city that hosted the initial meeting in 1919 where this body was formed to unite the women from across Canada under one umbrella. Representing British Columbia at this meeting was Mrs. Blackwood-Wileman of Duncan. Sadly, enroute home she passed away in Calgary. Her role with FWIC was taken over by Madge Watt – both women left their mark on the organization and are respected here, and in Mrs. Watt’s case, around the world. What all may be in the planning stages remains to be revealed, but this will be a huge event, for 100 years of activities are worthy to be celebrated. Undoubtedly there are many members planning to attend this convention, and too, remember that British Columbia Women’s Institute member Joan Holthe will assume the National President’s role at this meeting.

At the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) Conference in April 2019, in Melbourne, Australia, members will be making decisions on future projects and events. A World Conference is a gathering of friends and officers who will guide us to future achievements and provide women who will provide vision and leadership. Here in Canada, fabric has been gathered to make our share of the wall hangings that will be for sale in Melbourne – raising funds for the organization’s needs. An update to the ACWW history is in the works, and since the Projects Committee has now been functioning for 40 years, another reason to celebrate.

Here at home in BC, we will be completing and presenting the quilt to former Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon. I have seen some of the blocks and they are beautifully made – I am sure the final product will be something with which all members will be well pleased. As well, the British Columbia Women’s Institute will be marking our 110th Anniversary – I will be watching to see what events and projects will be held to commemorate this anniversary.

We have an exceptional year ahead of us – each one of us needs to participate and see that these twelve months are duly remembered and celebrated! In remembering, we will recall members we have known and have gone before us, blazing a trail we have used as guidelines in our own Women’s Institute journey. I cannot help but wish we could share this time with members like Past Presidents Mollie McArthur, Freda Mertler and Marjorie Palmer; with other well known members such as Doreen Haughton, Betty Golata and Jean Robinson. There are many more members who have served, inspired, instructed, given leadership and are now serving in another realm.

So let’s get our plans together for a wonderful centennial year to match the occasion!

Ruth Fenner, Provincial Historian, British Columbia Women’s Institute


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