Their Majesties Visit to Canada

The Spring 1939 cover story of the Home & Country highlights the special interest that Ontario Women’s Institute Members had in the British Royal Family’s upcoming tour of Canada.  Members drew much inspiration and encouragement from Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary’s interest and involvement in the Women’s Institute in England, a tradition that has continued with Queen Elizabeth II.

Their Majesties Visit to Canada 1939.jpg

Portrait of Adelaide Hoodless Placed in the Archives of Canada

So that her fame will remain for posterity, a portrait of the late Mrs. Adelaide Hoodless, co-founder of the Women’s Institutes, a movement that began in Ontario and spread to the United States, Great Britain and around the world, was unveiled on May 8, 1950 in the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa and later placed in the Archives of Canada.

The unveiling ceremony was attended by many, including Prime Minister St. Laurent, Hon. Gordon Bradley, Secretary of State, Mrs. Raymond Sayre, World President of the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW), Mrs. J.R. Futcher, President of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario (FWIO), Mrs. J.B. Peck, daughter of Mrs. Hoodless and Miss Muriel Bostwick, granddaughter.  In the audience were WI members from various parts of Ontario, all gathered together to honour the memory of the founder whose vision and understanding meant so much to rural women.

Speaking of Mrs. Hoodless, Prime Minister Laurent said, “She is a distinguished Canadian whom we are all proud to honour.  It is not only the Women’s Institutes throughout the world who recognize the beauty and strength of that little acorn she planted so many years ago.  Its branches now cover the world.”

Pictured: Secretary of State Bradley and Mrs. J.B. Peck look on as the portrait, painted by Miss Marion Long of Toronto, is unveiled by Mrs. Raymond Sayre, ACWW World President.

Source: FWIO Provincial Tweedsmuir Collection

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The Bicentennial Quilt

On June 11, 1984, FWIO President Charlotte Johnson presented the Ontario Legislature with the Bicentennial Quilted Wall Hanging, created by WI Members across the province. On behalf of the legislature, Deputy Premier Robert Welch (left) accepted the quilt, which hung on display on the third floor of the legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto. Agriculture and Food Minister Dennis Timbrell and Chairman of the Bicentennial Cabinet Committee Margaret Birch were also on hand and both thanked WI Members for the wall hanging.

So what ever happened to the quilt? FWIO Board Director Glenna Smith did some digging and learned that the quilt is currently in storage as part of the Ontario Art Collection at the Archives of Ontario.

Ontario's Bicentennial 1784 - 1984    
Federated Women's Institute
183 x 245 cm / 72" x 96 1/2"
Government of Ontario Art Collection, 661759

Currently located in the Archives of Ontario vault and can be viewed there if needed.
It has been in storage since 2009 but was previously installed in the Legislative Assembly dining room, public areas and LG offices. It has also been on exhibition loan to Hamilton and Oil Springs in the 1990's.

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