Valley Women's Institute

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Valley Women's Institute

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        The Valley Women’s Institute was formed January 13, 1922 at a general meeting, chaired by Mr. McPhail. Mrs McKim moved that the Institute be called the “Valley WI” but it was called “The Valley Women’s Institute” for many years. First officers chosen were Mrs. Sophie Donnelly, President, and Barbara Edwards, Secretary Treasurer, as well as Eva Ireland, Martha Harbell, and Myrtle Kew. The motto “For Home and Country” was adopted and the membership fee was set at $1 per annum. The first regular meeting on February 14, 1922 focused on the Salmon Arm West school and community concerns, such as health, education and neighbourhood needs. The group met in homes until 1924, when it leased the Salmon Arm West School at Hedgman’s corner for $1 per year.

        The group purchased a small stove for the school so that hot drinks could be made for the children. They sponsored an annual flower show from 1925 to the 1950’s, when the Institute became involved with Fall Fairs. The group purchased school and playground equipment, had children’s teeth examined free of charge and purchased toothbrushes. In 1924 the group purchased a piano for the school and organized a Baby Clinic.

        The Valley Women’s Institute became the push behind surveying the old Salmon Arm West School at Hedgman’s Corner and renamed it “The Community Hall”. During WWII, the group provided support for the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Queen's Canadian Fund. Relief was sent to “The Lord Mayor of London Fund”, the Russian Relief Fund and Chinese Aid, as well as The 1918 Flood Relief and Ceylon Appeal. This Institute continued to support 4-H clubs over the years, a driver training course and a goat club.

        The hall burned in 1961. A new hall was opened in 1962. The mortgage was paid off in 1970, celebrated with a mortgage burning party. In commemoration of the Institute’s fiftieth anniversary, Mrs. Fred Irwin (Nancy) presented a gift of $1000 to the Shuswap Lake General Hospital in honour of deceased members. In 1974 the group sold the hall to the Sheltered Workshop for the mentally handicapped. Later meetings were held in members' homes. In 1982, a cheque for $5000 was presented to the Pioneer Lodge Society to celebrate Valley WI’s 60th anniversary.

        Regular meetings were held until June 2007, when the organization went into abeyance and disbanded by June 2010.


        Salmon Arm, B.C.

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        MS 79 (Salmon Arm Museum)

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        • English



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