Women's Institute celebrates 100 years

Brittany Reid
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Doreen Cole, left, president, and Audrey Farquharson, P.E.I. Women’s Institute, look at one of the commemorative displays exhibited at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown Tuesday as part of the annual Founders’ Day celebration. This year, they are also celebrating 100 years of PEIWI.

The Women’s Institute on P.E.I. celebrated its 100th anniversary with an open house and special ceremonies during Founders’ Day events Tuesday in Charlottetown.

A morning workshop featured guest speaker John Barrett, who discussed how to market non-profit organizations.

Members also heard about a new bulb fundraiser taking place across Canada.

It’s great for people who are working or for people who don’t want to do a lot of fundraising, said Doreen Cole, president of the provincial board of directors for the Women’s Institute on P.E.I.

“People in each branch will sell items and they will come from Vesey’s, and half of the profit from selling the items will stay in that group.”

The group had kicked off its 100th anniversary year with the first-ever levee on New Year’s Day, which had 200 people attend. Cole said that was a great turnout.

“We have a function every month, with Founders’ Day always being on Feb. 19.”

Next month, there will be a history book launch at the Farm Centre, where the Women’s Institute members normally go for their functions.

“In April, we have our Founding Day on April 2 or 3 and we will be having a variety of things at that

function,” said Cole. “We are very pleased to have the Women’s Institute on P.E.I., we’ve raised $250,000 for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital throughout the years.”

WI is among the largest contributors to the QEH, which helped buy new medical equipment, including a mammogram machine.  

The WI does lots of fundraising for both major hospitals on the Island, said Cole

Most of the branches of the Women’s Institute, with hundreds of members, are located in rural P.E.I., but they are hoping to develop one in Charlottetown, with the hopes of taking over a building for it.

“We’re even trying to start one on the computer, so that members can join that way and we can even hold conferences (through the Internet),” said Cole.

“Most of the branches are rural because that’s where the farms were and that’s where the branches started.”

Cole is a member of the Springbrook branch in the New London area, which is 80 years old this year.

The very first branch WI branch on P.E.I. was in York with Marshfield close behind.

The members of each branch are great at helping and whenever a function comes up, WI members are always there, said Cole.

“We’ve had some members stop being a part of the branches due to sickness or just because their interest has shifted from it, but they are always willing to help.”

Organizations: Institute on P.E.I., Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Farm Centre New London

Geographic location: Canada, Charlottetown, Springbrook York

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  • Congratulations, WI
    February 20, 2013 - 17:51

    My heartfelt congratulations to members of the Womens Institute, past and present, both here on PEI and across Canada. I am a youngish woman, never a member myself, but have seen first hand so much of the good they have created around us. PEI is one of the cleanest places in Canada because of the WI spring clean-up efforts done every year. It is an amazing organization, still having a positive impact on our communities, adapting to the times and carrying forward into the next century.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    February 20, 2013 - 10:32

    I urge everyone to support their local Womens Institute. They have been here providing and building up of our community spirits across the Island. I salute the members of the Womens Institutes across PEI. Keep up the good wholesome work. We appreciate all that you do.