Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Honouring Women of Lethbridge 7

Legacy Ridge in north Lethbridge features only names of women on streets and parks: one of few Canadian communities where this is the case. Many in the city – led by the Centennial Committee for Recognition of Women – championed the idea. Priority was given to those who were ‘first’ in an achievement and had not been recognized previously. The exhibit Honouring Women of Lethbridge at the Galt Museum & Archives last winter highlighted fifteen women. In this final installment we meet Margaret Sillers Sutherland, and give a nod to the Centennial Committee.

Margaret Sillers Sutherland was deeply involved with the community.  She was a member of the Heart Foundation and helped create the first Home & School Association in Lethbridge in the 1950s.  Although it was rare for a woman to be on a hospital board, Margaret was nominated to the Galt and Municipal Hospital Boards (1951 and 1955, respectively).  As a member of the Dr. Mewburn Chapter of the IODE, Margaret helped make necessary items for soldiers serving overseas during the Second World War. She was also involved with the establishment of the YWCA in this city in 1949. For her community efforts Margaret received many awards, including the Governor General’s Medal in 1977. 

The Centennial Committee for Recognition of Women was chaired by the late Irma Dogterom, and included members Georgia Green Fooks, Patricia Hagen, Dr. Barbara Lacey, Patricia Marshall, Joan Nobelski, and Mary Oordt. They can also be counted among the many notable women who have called Lethbridge and southern Alberta home.

Whither Girls & Women? Research by Undergraduate Historians is the featured main level hallway exhibit this summer at the Galt Museum & Archives through September 27. It showcases the research of five students who were enrolled in the Women’s History course at the University of Lethbridge in the spring of 2015. Topics include WWII recruitment propaganda in the Canadian Women's Army Corps; women and commemorative hairwork from 1865-1965; experiences of Southern Alberta nurses during the 1918 influenza epidemic; community opposition to Lethbridge’s red light district, 1880-1920; and women’s roles on the family farm in Alberta . For details visit www.galtmuseum.com.

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