Looking Back


Onoway's Women's Institute

Onoway has a long history of clubs and organizations. Sadly, some of them are no longer around. It's hard to know what brings people together to create a "formal" organization. Is it because of common interests, the pleasure of good company? The wish to do good for the community? Or just to get out of the house?


In May 1916, 27 women who lived on farms around the settlement of Onoway met t Farrell's Hall and set in motion the founding of the Onoway branch of the Alberta Women's Institute. Mrs. Crafts was elected president. Members met monthly taking on activities to support the community and other worthwhile causes while including an education component in each meeting as well as tea and socializing. They met in member's homes, at the Onoway Hospital, the community hall, Mr. Bramley's room and eventually in Beaupré Court, then the Seniors Centre (where Chateau Lac Ste. Anne now stands). Then in December of 1992, the Onoway W.I. disbanded. Beryl Cruickshank was president.


At the very first meeting, members agreed that all money raised in the first six months would go to St. Barnabas Hospital, near Onoway.

In 1917 the members pieced a quilt (76" x 66") to raise money for the Red Cross ("for patriotic purposes"). People paid to have their names written on the quilt which was then raffled. The winner later donated it back to the Onoway W.I.

Red Cross

Red Cross quilt

 On the white strips of the Union Jack in the centre of the quilt are names of people who made donations which would go to the Red Cross.

Over the years the W.I. held dinners, catered for functions, sold refreshments at events, held whist drives, teas, etc. to fundraise. The W.I. even started an ill-fated library. Their fundraising benefitted local efforts as well as provincial and national organizations.


But as time passed, the membership decreased and in 1992, the remaining 10 members held their final meeting and Christmas party thus ending a long history of rural women joining together to socialize, to learn and to give to our community.


(And the minutes of their meetings are fascinating reading!)


Mrs. Book's Banner 1980
                                  Court lunch
                                  Prize Money

Mrs. Boog's banner

Mrs. Theresa Boog made
this banner in 1990

Opening of Beaupré Court

Lunch was served at the official opening of Beaupre Court in January 1979.
Members: Edith Apoll, Jean Payne, Agnes Evanchuk, Elizabeth Turnbull,
Marina Yeoman, Esther Kettle, Elsie Hook, Eileen Perrault,
Anne Edwards, Clara Johnson.

Onoway Fair

The W.I. paid for prizes for
some exhibits as well as selling
lunch at the Onoway Fair.


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Last updated: September 16, 2019