Alberta Women's Institutes

April News and Notes

  • In this Issue:
    • Invitation to Stony Plain Constituency Conference
    • Update from Handicraft Coordinator
    • In Memory
    • News from FWIC

Women Inspiring Women

To Learn More

This is the Government of Canada’s Theme for International Women’s Day, which is today, Tuesday, March 8th. Take a moment to show your appreciation of the women in your life!

This theme: Women Inspiring Women: “celebrates all the women and girls who inspire us by demonstrating leadership in the choices they make in their day-to-day lives to contribute to the social, economic, cultural, and political spheres.

In Canada, unlike in many other countries, women are free to study and be leaders in the field they choose, care and provide for their family, express who they are, and fight for their beliefs.” To learn more about what Government of Canada is doing visit their website.

Personally, I am forever grateful for all those strong, inspiring women who came before me, who forged a path for me to walk so much easier. I am proud of the strong roots they planted and the guidance they provided. Additionally, I am inspired and humbled by those young women coming up behind me. I hope that in some small fashion, I can give them something to look up to and to be inspired by as well.

Amnesty International Canada provides some Reflections on International Women’s Day as we celebrate women. To learn more visit their website.

March News and Notes

  • In this Issue:
  • Reminders of upcoming deadlines: Resolutions, Creative Writing
  • Learning Opportunities – FWIC, District 3 Event, Hobbies & interests

Spring 2022 Home and Country


The Spring Issue of the Home & Country is now available! In this issue:

  • Celebrating 125 Years
  • District Reports
  • Volunteer Opportunity – Be our Editor!
  • Remembering WI

Human Trafficking Awareness: Joint Statement Issued

The House of Commons proclaimed February 22 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day to help bring awareness to the magnitude of modern-day slavery in Canada and abroad and encourage Canadians to take steps to combat human trafficking.

Today a Joint Statement was issued from Alberta’s Acting Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Sonya Savage, Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz, Community and Social Services Minister Jason Luan and Status of Women Associate Minister Whitney Issik on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

““Human trafficking is a dehumanizing and predatory crime that violates a person’s most basic human rights and dignity. Traffickers exploit their victims and rob them of their freedom – all for their own gain. We must do everything we can to fight this heinous crime and stand up for victims and those at risk of human trafficking.”

Read full statement here

Project Maple Leaf, supported by Courage 4 Freedom (, is taking the next step in bringing greater awareness to human trafficking in Canada.

Wellness Tips

Wellness Tips from Government of Canada

Below is a recent update from the Government of Canada, that I felt would be beneficial to our members. This pandemic has put a strain on all aspects of our life. Even our mental health.

Wellness Tips

Mental health is an essential component for living a healthy life and a main factor in overall health.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a profound effect on all of us, including on our mental health. To take care of it, you can:

  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Accept yourself and others.
  • Try new activities and hobbies.
  • Prioritize your physical health.

Working on your mental health can increase your coping skills, improve self-esteem and resilience, and help create healthy relationships with others.

To learn more about mental health and wellness:

Visit the Wellness Together Canada portal for confidential mental health and substance use resources, including counselling, by selecting the button “Get support”:

Editor Wanted for Home & Country

Email Application to the Provincial Office

Alberta Women’s Institutes is accepting applications for Editor of the Home & Country Magazine and Annual Report Book.

This position is appointed for 3-year term and may be appointed for an additional term at the discretion of Council.

The Editor sits on the Editorial board, along with the Provincial President and the Provincial President Elect. The Editorial Board has jurisdiction over any articles that may require decisions before printing.

  • The Home & Country Editor is responsible for the following:
    • The decision of which submitted articles will be printed in any given issue
    • The decision of which submitted photographs will be included
    • Editing the length of any article she feels is necessary
    • The layout of the magazine.
  • Prepares the Annual Report Book for printing in April or two months prior to the annual Provincial Convention each year.  It will be distributed at the Provincial Convention.
  • Submits a written report for inclusion in the Annual Report Book.
  • Attends the annual Provincial Convention, if possible.
  • The Editor may attend a Council meeting at her own request, or that of the Provincial President, should there be any issues to resolve.
  • Any expenses incurred for the publishing of the magazine will be reimbursed upon submission of receipts.
Read More

The News You Need To Know

The collection of news below has been compiled by Linda Toews, AWI President-Elect. Thank you Linda for all your had work in gathering this information.

Breaking COVID News

Premier Scott Moe has announced the end of restrictions schedule in Saskatchewan. As of Monday, February 14, the vaccine passport will be eliminated. Quebec has also announced a lifting of restrictions. Ontario is looking at their options.

In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney has announced that the Restrictions Exemption Program will end at midnight tonight. Capacity restrictions will also be lifted on venues accommodating 500 and less, including libraries and places of worship. Mandatory masking for all children and youth in schools and for youth aged 12 and under in any setting will end February 13 at 11:59 pm.

The Alberta Plan will proceed in 3 stages as given below.

Step one

Effective Feb. 8 at 11:59 p.m.:

· Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) ends, along with most associated restrictions.

· Entertainment venues will continue to have some specific rules in place:

o Restrictions on sale of food and beverages and consumption while seated in audience settings will be removed.

o Restrictions on closing times, alcohol service, table capacity in restaurants and interactive activities will remain in force.

· For all businesses, venues and facilities – whether they were previously eligible for the REP or not – capacity limits are removed, except for:

o Facilities with capacity of 500 to 1,000, which will be limited to 500.

o Facilities with capacity of 1,000-plus, which will be limited to 50 per cent.

Effective at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 13:

· Masks will no longer be required for all children and youth in schools.

· Masks will no longer be required in any setting for children aged 12 and under.

Read More

The AWI as a Social Outlet for Women


This is the next installment in looking back over AWI’s 125 year history. This excerpt again comes from the Many and Remarkable: The Story of Alberta Women’s Institutes by Catherine C. Cole and Judy Larmour, but from Chapter 2, “The Road to Self-Sufficiency, 1921-1928”, page 22-23.

Members of the Wetaskiwin WI Enjoyed the Jubilee Tea in George Wallis’ new garage in 1927. members in the foreground include: Mrs. Compton and Mrs. Knowlan, seated at the reception desk, Mrs. Albert Rodel at the display table, Mrs. Craig, Mrs. George Wallace, and Mrs. Burkholder seated at the tea table in the centre
The Wetaskiwin City Archives
(pg. 24).

The AWI as a Social Outlet for Women

The AWI continued to play an important roles as a social outlet for women in rural areas through the 1920s. The organization provided much of the social life for the community, and united families by hosting various events for young and old alike. The WI organized grandmother’s meetings, knitting contests for grandmothers, picnics for children, bachelors’ teas, oyster suppers, dances, and whist parties. Langdon WI was one of many that involved men in its organization. Once, the men made lunch and the women provided the entertainment for the family meal. At a meeting held by the men in Langdon, “the married men told why they were married and the single ones told why they were not,” as their roll call. Another evening the men held a kangaroo court, charging one another with “not raising a large family,” “having his supper before he came” and “growing a misplaced eyebrow.” At Rose Willow WI, “one man came out on his own and when asked about his wife, he said he had missed the last tow meetings because she was sick and wasn’t about to miss any more.” men drove their wives to meetings (and often stayed) , supported the fundraising and community development efforts of their wives, and benefited from the meetings by discussing with their wives things that the women had learned.

Read More

It all started back in 1909 …

The following is an excerpt taken from Many and Remarkable: The Story of the Alberta Women’s Institutes by Catherine C. Cole and Judy Larmour

Beginnings, 1909-1920 (page 1)

The first Women’s Institute west of the Great Lakes was founded in Lea Park, Alberta, on February 3, 1909. The Lea Park Institute was modelled on the Ontario Women’s Institutes that began in 1897. From the outset, founder Margaret Graham, who had been a member in Ontario prior to migrating to Alberta, wanted to establish the Women’s Institutes as a department within the provincial government, as it was in Ontario. Lea Park was the lone WI branch in Alberta (until Verdant Valley WI was founded in 1912), with a commitment to providing educational information, particularly in home economics, and economic assistance to women of the area. This branch encouraged the development of other branches, and, according to the Calgary Daily Herald, June 6, 1936, lobbied the government to support Women’s Institutes:

“So determined were they to make widespread their desires, they appealed to the provincial government for assistance…It is true that there was a restlessness among the women of the province as there was among these few in Verdant Valley, so it is not surprising that in the fall of 1912, under government employed organizers, women’s institutes sprang up in many districts in Alberta.”

In 1912, Roberta MacAdams, a home economist from Ontario, was asked by the Department of Agriculture to survey the needs of women. Her report led to the development of Women’s Institutes as a government-sponsored program. MacAdams was appointed superintendent and travelled around Alberta organizing branches under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture. Georgina Stiven, another home economist from Ontario, replaced MacAdams in the fall of 1912. She secured operating grants of five dollars for each Institute with at least twenty members and provided copies of the WI Handbook.

The educational aspect of the WI was important in attracting members to the organization. Begining in 1909, demonstration trains sponsored by the provincial government travelled throughout Alberta stopping at various towns for several days at a time. Lectures, talks, demonstrations, and exhibits were scheduled to educate farmers and their wives about their farms and housework. From 1912, one care was set aside to show the work of the Women’s Institutes. Georgina Stiven , and later Mary MacIsaac, brought women together on the demonstration train and provided information about the benefits of establishing WI branches, as well as offering demonstrations and lectures about various aspects of home economics. Elizabeth Bailey Price, who lived in Peace River from 1915-1918 and was the AWI’s publicity convener from 1918-1933, reminisced in the Calgary Daily Herald, March 23, 2935, about the demonstration train that went to Peace River in 1917

“One of the railway coaches was fitted up as a combined kitchen and school room, with an oil stove, table, cooking utensils, school seats and a black board. It was here we women of the village, just enough to fill the car, learned how to can meat, wild berries and vegetables by the cold pack method. Afterwards we organized the Peace River Women’s Institute. “

The train, called the “Mixed Farming Special,” resulted in the organization of a number of branches, 43 in 1917 alone.

Photo taken from Many and Remarkable with the following caption
Many Women’s Institute branches were organized on the “Mixed Farming Special”, a demonstration train outfitted with a women’s car and nursery. This train was used by CN on the prairies c. 1920
Canadian National Archives, Montreal, 73174