Women's Institute celebrates 100 years

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The Women’s Institute is celebrating its 100th year in British Columbia.

The first branch in BC was founded at Gordon Head on Vancouver Island on September 28, 1909. The Peace River branch was established out of Dawson Creek in 1929.

The WI formed in the early 1900’s because many women were new to the area. The WI taught women skills of homemaking and all it entailed, giving them companionship through meeting together, and opportunities to work together for ‘community betterment’.

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Spokesperson Jill Copes says earlier this year, February 16-22 was proclaimed WI Week, and members celebrated with fundraising.

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Members throughout the province raised 6,500 dollars for the BC Children’s Hospital. There are nine branches in the Peace River Area; three are in the North Peace.

Copes says in the rural areas, the Institute caters to weddings, looks after the local cemeteries, prepares funeral luncheons, raises money for local emergency funds, and much more.

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Copes says if these economic times continue, Women’s Institutes will continue to be a valuable organization promoting social, environmental, cultural and everyday life skills as they have in the past.

In addition to the February celebrations, the WI is selling a book entitled, 100 years of B.C. Women’s Institutes 1909-2009.

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The 300 page hard cover book documents the story of the organization. To order a copy, call 250-554-5406.

Copes says the book costs 70 dollars.

On June 13, the Women’s Institutes will be at the Opening of the Walter Wright Pioneer Village in Dawson Creek, they will be serving homemade pies and goodies.

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