on the second Thursday of the month at the St. Catharines downtown library
at 7:15 pm for business and 8:00 for speaker. Fees: Group member: $30.00 (as of May 1st, 2003),
Individual member: $15.00
Jan 2013 Newsletter
History of St. Catharines & District Council of Women
The St. Catharines Council of Women was formed in 1918 and its first president was Mary Malcolmson, a very active woman in St. Catharines. She is most well known for starting the Girl Guides in Canada in 1910, but was also involved in the IODE, the WCTU, the National Council of Women, the Committee for Bowmanville School for Delinquent Boys, and several committees relating to the First World War. She was awarded the King's Silver Jubilee Medal in recognition of her service to her country.
In the early years the St. Catharines Council brought in the VON and started the Women's Canadian Club. They initiated Child Welfare Centres in local churches and this grew into Well Baby Clinics. Supervised playgrounds were established. Women were encouraged to take political office and join committees with much success. In 1929, a "Shop-at Home" exhibition became a yearly event with merchants displaying their wares and encouraging people to shop locally; it also gave the Council a hefty income.
Money was raised over the years to be donated to local charities and in 1930, the Council helped the Armenians raise funds to build the first Armenian Church in Canada. In 1931 there was a surplus of fruits and vegetables in the area and the Council distributed them to "indigent, thrifty housewives" along with sugar and sealers. Throughout the depression, the Council continued to give money and clothing to the unemployed. In 1932 they started a Maternal Welfare programme in which Mothers' Meetings were held weekly with various speakers from the Public Health Department.
During the Second World War, the Council sent many bales of clothing and linens to Britain. This was a time of great interest in the Council and at the Annual Meeting in 1942, six hundred women attended to hear two speakers from the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. Lobbying at this time included improving conditions in beer parlours, opposing commercialized Sunday sports, and asking for a Social Services Worker and a Policewoman.
Undertakings in the 50s included visiting the residents of Linhaven Home for the Aged and Linwell Hall for the Blind, and making layettes for the Children's Aid Society.
In 1967 a survey of Day Care Nurseries was completed and a city safety council was formed with Council women on the executive. Seven hundred and fifty coffee spoons were sold in honour of Canada's centennial enabling the Council to give several donations and scholarships.
In 1970 a survey of the poverty of the unemployed aged was undertaken. This was also the year that the Council began to serve refreshments at Canadian Citizenship Courts and this tradition continued for many years.
To commemorate International Women's Year in 1975 and Centennial Year of the City of St. Catharines in 1976, a book was written about the women who made a contribution to the life of the community from 1876 to 1976. The book was called "Women of Action".
In 1987 a brief was presented to St. Catharines City Council urging them to start a multi-material curbside recycling programme. It was passed and the Council of Women was actively involved in promoting it, receiving the Mayor's Award of Merit for work in this area. St. Catharines Council also joined with the Hamilton and Niagara Falls Councils to present a one-day symposium on Sexual Assault.
In 1991 a Read Canada project was set up with reading groups in two non-profit housing projects and a Reading Tent at a Day in the Park.
In 1993 the Council successfully urged the City of St. Catharines to recycle a greater number of items.
The Council became a "Friend of Malcolmson Park" in 1995. This is a naturalization park in the City of St. Catharines and the Council took part in planting wildflowers and produced a history of the park.
St. Catharines Council hosted the NCWC Annual Meeting in 1998 at Brock University.
In 2000, the Council joined with the YWCA and the Canadian Federation of University Women - St. Catharines to have a sculpture built to honour volunteer women's groups. Those groups that had been in existence for at least 35 years had their names engraved on the "Tribute to Women" sculpture and as groups reach the 35-year mark, their names will be added.
Throughout the years, resolutions were written for the Provincial and National Councils of Women and monthly meetings educated the members and the general public on current issues.
Organizations affiliated with St. Catharines and District Council: