Burnstown WI


K0J 1G0

Renfrew South


Meeting Times: Evening

Main Focus:

To provide ongoing educational and social opportunities for members and guests at monthly meetings, featuring relevant and interactive Programs with interesting and knowledgeable guest speakers.

Additional Interest:

Friendship, social outings, funding for local worthy causes, maintaining community history semi-annual road clean up, support for local fairs, volunteer work at seniors’ homes, and other community services.

Branch Secretary: Helen Petrie

Phone: 613-408-2442

Latest News:

Latest News:

The Burnstown Women’s Institute

Our Year in Review

By: Georgia Quinn

Public Relations Officer


As the water flows along the banks of the Madawaska the sands of time have quickly yet gracefully swept away another year. It’s with this grace that the skillful hardworking women of the Burnstown Women’s Institute have been able to accomplish so much for their community.

Over the past year we’ve been able to enjoy and learn about so many topics. From being informed on how to become a foster parent, literary works and education to supporting local businesses by hosting one of our monthly meetings at Neat. We learned about interior decorating with HG Interior Designs, had a Chinese auction and were serenaded by Mr. Schaly as we enjoyed a picnic in the gazebo by the butterfly gardens at Barnett Park. But most of all it has been an honour to be part of a milestone in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the BWI. It was a pleasure to meet past members and host other Institutes and guests as we celebrated this special day. We also unveiled an Angel quilt to honour passed and current members.

The Federated Women’s Institute of Canada’s “Walk Across Canada With Us” happened from January through to the end of December. This challenge was in conjunction with the National Women’s Institute project “Women’s Heart Health”. Members everywhere took part by counting how many steps they took over the course of the year. Did you know that from the most eastern tip to the most western point of Canada is 9,306 kms wide? I didn’t either until I started counting how many steps I took a day. We had the most wonderful adventures from beginning to end and have continued our weekly outings on into 2012. Not only have we counted steps but have walked away doing our Adopt A Road program twice a year, a couple of us Hiked For Hospice and numerous road trips. Our members have explored Barron Canyon in Algonquin Park, the Eagle’s Nest, different areas of the K & P trail, Kennelly’s Mountain and have gone snow shoeing and cross country skiing. The BWI walked a total of 14,234.766 kms which is the width of the country and over half way coming back! And a huge hats off to everyone as we placed 1st in the province. Way To Go Ladies !! Do you like walking or would like to start? Come out and be our guest we’d love to meet you.

Continuing on into 2012 we’ve had a great informative visit from RVH’s Call to Action team, learned a lot about horti/agriculture, recycling fabrics, animal care and how to make home made pet food along with mental health, dementia and Alzheimer’s,  With dementia and Alzheimer’s  a group was developed to make Figit Blankets. Once a month some Institute members get together to make a blanket for people suffering. This blanket is made from different textured fabrics and other items are sewn on to “figit” with. Patients from Bonnechere Manor, Civic Hospital have benefited from these blankets with rave reviews from the families and staff and even as far as helping a local student. We would like to thank Stardust Upholstery for their help, kindness, and generosity in donating remnants to the program.

While some people are “Figiting” others have been crocheting “Plarn”. What is plarn you ask? Well it’s when you cut milk bags into strips and loop them together into balls so they can be worked with. Have you been noticing your milk bags dissapearing? Well this is what has been happening. The students of McNabb Public School have started The Milk Bag Club. They’ve been collecting milk bags and plarning them. Volunteers take the plarn and turn them into beds for both children and adults and bags are being made as well. The beds and bags are sent to Haiti as part of the Dr.’s Without Borders Program. To date three beds and two bags have been made by BWI to bring the total amount to ten being sent to Haiti by the students of McNab Public School.

As we progress our way well into the year we will be enjoying an outing to the Herb Garden in Almonte. We have a very informative and creative agenda bringing us into fall. First Responders, a fall art demo, mood disorders, citizenship, and an assortment of arts and crafts, recipes and cooking. Our 100th Anniversary Cookbook is still available. Not only do you enjoy wonderful delicious recipes but there is very helpful household hints as well to choose from.

Are you new to the area? Would you like to get to know more members of your community? Are you maybe interested in going for a leisurely walk or being a part of one of our groups? Maybe one of our topics interests you…Or simply just want to come out and have some fun! Our door is always open; come and be our guest. We’d love to meet you. For more information about us and our cookbooks please feel free to contact us at burnstownwomensinstitute@hotmail.com

In closing I’d like to share a poem…

Advice From A Tree

Stand tall & proud

Go out on a limb

Remember your roots

Drink plenty of water

Be content with your natural beauty

Enjoy the view



By: Georgia Quinn

Public Relations

As 2011 came to an end so did our treck across our beautiful country. Did you know that from the most eastern tip to the most western point Canada is 9,306 kms wide? I didn’t until I started counting how many steps I took a day. As I’ve said from time to time I belong to the most wonderful Women’s Institute in Burnstown. Of course we all think that….as I say with a smile but it is also said from the bottom of my heart… We had the most wonderful adventures from beginning to end and have continued our weekly adventures on into 2012. Not only have we counted steps but have walked away doing our road cleanup we do every six months, two of us Hiked for Hospsice, and numerous road trips…our members have explored Barron Canyon in Algonquin Park, The Eagles’s Nest, different areas of the K & P Trail, Kennelly’s Mountain just to name a few…here are a few pics for you to enjoy… and I would love to announce that The Burnstown Women’s Institute walked  18789891 steps which equals to 14234.766 kms

14234.766 kms – 9306 kms (width of Canada) = 4928.766

4928.766 – 4653 (the half way point across Canada) = 275.766 kms So not only did we succeed crossing Canada; but we made it 275.766 kms passed the half way mark coming back home!


Our First 100 Years

The Burnstown Women’s Institute
For Home & Country
Our First Hundred Years

Burnstown WI Public Relations

The Burnstown Branch of the Women’s Institute was organized on January 11, 1911 at the residence of Mrs. John Forrest with twenty-one members enrolled and Mrs. J. F. Blaine being President.

Burnstown was the first branch in Renfrew South to be established and as time went on not only did it grow but other branches formed as well. Glasgow, Lochwinnoch and Calabogie were developed, and in 1913 Bonnechere Valley and South Horton W.I.’s joined in.

Since winters were harsh it was decided that the meetings should be held at the Forrest home as it seemed to be a central point for everyone at that time. Programs in the branch were first planned from month to month and then in 1912 committees were appointed every three months. Topics that were vital at that point in time were “How to get hens to lay in winter”, “How to make hard and soft soaps” and “What can an individual do to stomp out Tuberculosis and Prevent it”. Also to mention discussing and debating current events of the news and legislation. Book reviews were introduced. And the Institute would also purchase to be circulated to other Institutes, and most importantly it was stressed that Canadian authors were to be supported.

The Women had drinking fountains installed in their schools and after much lobbying, medical inspections were introduced as well. In 1912, a rink was built for the community. For safety for everyone the Institute drew up a 25 Rules of Conduct so that “ no roughness” was allowed. Season tickets were $2.25, family rates $6.00 and one night of skating was .10 cents. The caretaker’s salary for the season was $15.00 and lanterns were purchased at $7.50 per dozen, as soon hockey matches would begin . To follow, carnivals were held with prizes being given by the Women’s Institute.

In 1916 work for the Renfrew fair was started and as years past on this grew and the branch offered special prizes. They revived the Burnstown Library and canvassed the community to obtain fifty subscriptions towards a traveling library. The sick and shut ins were always remembered with fresh fruit and flowers. Flowers cost .50 cents and members gave a special offering to cover such expenses.

Socials were held as another form of fundraising. The cost of admission was .15 cents and were held at the Good Templars Hall. Today, we know this building as the Burnstown Post Office. In 1916 an organ was purchased for the hall and the cost was $15.00. The Good Templars paid $12.00 rent for use of the organ for two years at their meetings.

By 1917 a donation of $214.00 was donated to “War Work”; two dozen pillows were made for the Red Cross along with bandages, knitted socks and quilts made as well. Gold signet rings were also purchased for the ones enlisted. The boys in the trenches were remembered with boxes sent overseas as they still are to this day.

1918 is now upon us and Children’s Aid was generously supported as was the Canadian Institute for the Blind. The women’s Institute discussed buying the church for $125.00, but since items were needed to support the troops it was decided to purchase the kitchen equipment in order to help the church. Events could now be held not only at the hall but at the church as well. More domestic demonstrations were presented at meetings, such as “Cheese and Candy Making”, “Baking Bread” and “How to make items out of Flour bags.”

The time is 1933, and looking back the women saw how much they had accomplished and how much more they could offer; it was decided that since the social events had been such a success at .15 cents it was decided that price be raised to .25 cents. This would not only be for the price of admission but refreshments for all as well.

As the water flows along the banks of the Madawaska; the sands of time have quickly yet gracefully brought us to the current date celebrating the 100th Anniversary of The Burnstown Women’s Institute. We have an amazing group of women ranging in the ages from 30-90 years of age. We not only have the love, respect, and broad knowledge to share with each other, but for our community as well; as we continue to learn, teach and assist our growing community with treating everyone as a whole. As we continue traditions and set new goals to accomplish, this year alone has been very busy and we are only halfway there. At Christmas and Easter the BWI managed to make special dinners for the less fortunate, we continue to do sewing at Bonnechere Manor, contribute to the Adopt a Road program doing roadside cleanup along Calabogie Road and a couple of us Hiked For Hospice raising $530.00. An annual fundraiser was hosted at the church. Events throughout the day consisted of a yard/plant and baking sale, luncheon and silent auction, Mary Cooke and a Celtic Tea by Mayor Campbell.

Our programs to date have been quite fun and educational. The re-enactment of the first Women’s Institute meeting 100 years ago, Foster Parenting, the support of Local Businesses, Interior Decoration and Chinese Auction just to name a few. Also at the beginning of the year we have been keeping count of how many steps we take each week and so far we have accomplished 5 476 063 steps which converts to 4 148 kms; almost halfway across Canada!

But most of all, it’s the excitement and enjoyment of working together to celebrate 100 years of history. And to commemorate it a beautiful quilt has been made by Institute members and will be unveiled at the anniversary celebration on June 25th. This quilt will be in honour of our past, but yet also our present and future generations to come. We welcome you to join us as we always welcome new members.

“ We aren’t just a few people; We are a community”


100th Anniversary Meeting


The Buggy Ride: Marlene Schaly and Lillian Trask re-enact a buggy ride to the first WI meeting in Burnstown, 1911.

Photo by Anne Burnette.

Burnstown WI 100th Anniversary Meeting


Public Relations Officer

On January 12, 2011 the Burnstown WI celebrated their 100th Anniversary Meeting at the home of Cari Forteath-Wade in Burnstown. This was the exact location of the first BWI meeting held in 1911, then at the home of Mrs. M. J. Forrest . The ladies met every third Wednesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. forming the beginning of the Burnstown Women’s Institute.

Two of our members, Marlene Schaly and Lillian Trask delighted us with their acting skills by doing a short play of a buggy ride to the first Burnstown WI meeting in 1911. They then involved all the members in a reenactment of the first meeting by singing the Maple Leaf Forever, Roll Call (show your favourite item) program ideas and business of the day. Some of the subjects that were on the program were: Quotations from Robert Burns, How to get chickens to lay in the winter and Community Socials. The meeting closed with our Mary Stewart Collect and grace followed by a luncheon of homemade pies and tea.

We would like to thank Cari Forteath-Wade for being our guest and letting us have our 100th meeting in her home. All of the members are looking forward to our 100th anniversary celebration that will be held in June at the Burnstown United Church.