Wallacetown WI 100th Anniversary

Pictured (L-R) in the back row: Kathy Minnema, Amarilis Drouillard, Doris Barber, Darlene Ford, Ruth Rueger, Joan McLandress, Mary Gillett, Sally McIntyre, Connie Rose and Helen Van Brenk.  Front row: Joan Johnston, Ruby McGugan and Louie Lackey.  Absent: Kay Waite, Dorothea Monteith and Kay Lilley.

Wallacetown Women's Institute turns 100

Whatever it takes to make a community group last 100 years, the Wallacetown Women's Institute has it.

On July 12, 2012, Members and guests of the Wallacetown WI gathered at the South Dunwich Hall in Wallacetown to celebrate the group's centennial, having been founded July 3, 1912.

"One hundred years. That is truly an historic event," said Cameron McWilliam, mayor of Dutton/Dunwich. "Through all the various projects and volunteer efforts you make, you truly make our community a better place to live, and our country."

Other guest speakers included MP Joe Preston, MPP Jeff Yurek, and Elgin County Warden Bill Waters.

Louie Lackey spoke on the history of the Wallacetown's WI.

"In the year 1912, Wallacetown and District had a group of women interested in rural and cultural activities. The men had their own organization, the Farmer's Corps, which did not include women," said Lackey.

The Wallacetown WI had 36 Members in its founding year. During World War I and World War II, the Institute contributed to the war effort by knitting quilts for Canadian soldiers. Today, Wallacetown WI supports organizations such as the Talbot Teen Centre, Fresh Start Maternity Supports, Second Stage Housing, the Elgin Museum, 4-H Club, the Daffodil Society, among many other groups, with donations.

In June 2002, the Wallacetown WI donated $5,000 to upgrade the South Dunwich Hall, much of which was raised through the sale of Tweedsmuir History Books, which the Wallacetown WI was able to publish thanks in part to an Ontario Trillium grant.

"Our WI meetings are very educating and worth-while," said Lackey. "We look forward with anticipation and hope for the continuation of the Wallacetown Women's Institute and we give thanks to all the great ladies who paved the way."

As published in the West Elgin Chronicle
By Jesse Cnockaert