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McConnell Women'S Institute



The following is from pages 53 to 55 of
McConnell Little Town Lost, 1982

(Click on Picture to Enlarge)

There has always been organizations of one kind or another in this small community. After the Second World War the women felt they would like to broaden their horizons and have another outlet for their energies and perhaps interest other women to join with them. On Nov. 21, 1946 Miss Frances I. McKay of Winnipeg was contacted to organize a Women's Institute here in McConnell. Twenty women indicated their interest and a board consisting of seven directors was drawn up.

On November 25, 1946 the appointed directors met and elected the first slate of officers:
President - Mrs. J.C. Richardson
1st Vice-President - Mrs. J. Killoh
2nd Vice-President - Mrs. R. Watt
Secretary Mrs. R. Knight
Treasurer Mrs. J.C. Scott
Pianist - Mrs. J.S. Wright

The first meeting was held December 3, 1946, along with our first regular program, Provincial Convention in Winnipeg, our first area convention at Basswood, etc. Our W.I. was well and truly launched with thirty-six names on the register.

We have had many presidents, secretaries and treasurers along with the other officers, since. They served us very well. Our present president, Mrs. George Pollock has served the longest, since 1963.

The W.I. has promoted many improvements in the community - in 1950 furnished a ward for the new hospital, pay a yearly allocation to the hospital, took over management of the local hall (since moved) and now the community centre (old school), landscaped and maintained the grounds around the church, made charitable donations to many local and non-local societies, celebrated Canada's Centennial with a Re-Union and dance, arrange Red Cross and Cancer collections and are presently sponsoring a history book of the McConnell village and surrounding farm community.

Money for our enterprises was raised in various ways, and we also have received many cash donations. The W.I. may have sponsored many of these events, but without the response and backing of the community, they wouldn't have been so successful.

Our membership has dwindled to seven and we are trying to maintain the group, as in this way those that belong can be a catalyst to help or promote a need in the area. It also lets us keep in touch. Perhaps we're not a community any longer in the real sense of the word but as our W.I. creed goes "we are large in thought and word and deed."

WI 1971 W.I. 25th Anniversary Family Picnic at Lake Audy 1971:
Standing L. to R. - Bill Thompson, George Pollock, Andy Little, Bruce Paterson, Mac Hamilton, Earl Newton
Centre Row - Gwen Hamilton, Inza Pollock, Mabel Wright, Jack Wright, Mary Little
Front Row - Olive Newton, Mary Thompson, Harvey Pangman

WI Meeting W.I. Meeting Day:
Nora McConnell, Olive Newton, Mabel Wright, Mary Little, Dorothy Pangman, Inza Pollock, Mary Thompson, Gwen Hamilton (kneeling)

WI Bus Tour W.I. Bus Tour to Peace Gardens 1979:
L. to R. - Olive Newton, Margaret Boyd, Andy McBain (bus driver), Inza Pollock, Agnes Pollock, Mary Thompson, Mary Baldwin, Vera Skayman, Irene Wilson

WI Bus Tour At Boissevain Enroute to Peace Garden 1979:
Back Row L. to R. - Dorothy Pangman, Vera Skayman, Inza Pollock, Olive Newton, Mary Baldwin, Mary Thompson, Agnes Pollock
Seated - Irene Wilson, Margaret Boyd

WI Provincial Convention W.I. Provincial Convention - International Inn, Wpg. 1980:
L. to R. - Vera Skayman, Inza Pollock, Mary Thompson, Olive Newton, Irene Wilson, Eileen Paterson, Mabel Wright