Looking Back


A Look at Onoway's Councils


The Onoway Museum/Archives has been gifted with a wide assortment of documents, photos, etc. that provide interesting insights into local history. One of these gifts came from the town of Onoway. The formal group photos of the village/town council that had hung in the council chambers were given to the museum when the council chamber underwent a major renovation. Looking at these photos and linking them to the recent election comes almost simultaneously. First, some background.


It's been almost 100 years since the Village of Onoway gained legal status (it had previously been just a part of the Municipal District of Woodford) and the first election of a council was held on July 9, 1923. Syd Yeoman Sr., T. J. Meeklem and Bert Evans were elected (Syd was chosen as mayor).


Jump ahead almost 50 years and there's another first Mary Mathewson was the first woman elected to the Village of Onoway council in 1971. Councillor Mathewson served one term. (Until 2017, councillors were elected for a three-year term; from 2017, the term was four years.)


About ten years later, the village council had increased to five members and Onoway's second woman councillor was elected in 1980. Nat Lewandowski was one of three first-time councillors elected, along with Terry Slemko and Chuck Thoreson. There were 10 candidates in this election where 239 of 350 possible voters marked their ballots. Nat served until 1989 under three different mayors and some changes in councillors; she worked with seven councillors all told.


Another 10 years went by with an all-male council until 1993 when a young woman won a seat on the Onoway council. Connie Hickey served one term.



Council 1971 Henry Struve, Mayor Roy Nerdahl, Mary Mathewson

Council 1980 Seated: Bert Galliford, Ed Miller,
Nat Lewandowski. Standing: Chuck Thoreson,
Mayor Terry Slemko

Council 1992 Mayor Lorne Olsvik seated between
Len Kwasny and Terry Slemko; Conny Hickey and
Al Watson to his right. Ron Leaf was the town administrator.

With the turn of the century, there were more changes ahead. Hazel Bourke was elected to council in 2003 and in 2004 was chosen as mayor. From that time on, there has been at least one woman elected to Onoway's council Maureen Medori and Corinne Feth were the sole women on council during their terms then in 2013, both Corinne Feth and Judy Tracy joined the team under Mayor Dale Krasnow. When Dale left Onoway, Judy assumed the mayor's position and the number of women on council upped to three of the five and, most recently, four of five.


The Onoway Museum/Archives town council photo collection unfortunately does not continue beyond 2005. It is good to see that way back 50 years ago, there were local women willing to stand up for office and local residents supportive of these women. Onoway keeps moving ahead!

Council 2002 Mayor George Jendyk seated between Hazel Bourke and Cathy Dunn (administrator). Behind them
are Fred Savoie, Karl Umstatter and Tony Williams. Hazel took over as mayor and served until October 2005.

Council 2005 - Mayor Pat Yuill between Tony Williams
and Gordie Vaughan. Behind him are Joseph Trapani (administrator), Len Kwasny and Maureen Medori.

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 Last updated: October 30, 2021