Minden’s suffrage re-enactment

By Laurie Carmount

Published Aug. 28 2018

Margaret Haile may have been the first woman to run for major elected office within the entire British Empire. She ran in Toronto North in the 1902 Ontario provincial election. That may raise an eyebrow if you know women were not allowed to vote at that time – but Haile knew the law and there was nothing that said a woman could not speak at a political gathering or run for office.

Although her nomination was accepted and she received 79 votes (from men) a woman was not eligible to sit as a member of the Legislative Assembly.

However it matters little – she cleverly made her point.

Smart women like Haile were making headway at the turn of the century. They were holding mock parliamentary parodies across Canada that clearly showed blocking women from voting was absurd.

On Sept. 15 at 12 p.m. at the Village Green Main Street Minden Margaret Haile will be giving a rousing speech to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s federal vote. Even though the vote was technically only for a few this was a major push forward. It was only a matter of time before all women would be a part of this nation’s decisions.

The main street of Minden Bobcaygeon Road will be closed to traffic at 12 p.m. and after Haile’s speech all are welcome to victoriously march to the Minden Hills Museum and Heritage Village.

People attending are encouraged to wear period costumes that reflect times where women were at the forefront for peace and humanitarianism. This would be: Suffragettes First World War Red Cross Nurses Rosie the Riveter and ‘60s Hippie Movement. Costumes are not necessary however.

The march will end at the museum grounds where tables will be set up for an afternoon tea. Teatime played a vital role in the suffrage cause and this tea will be similar with speeches from prominent women of the community.

Where are we now the vote has been given? Has the dream of those strong women of the past been fulfilled? Have we improved and moved forward or do we need to also lift the banner of democracy as our fellow sisters did in the past? Most importantly is there a woman who has been an example of strength and determination in your life you wish to celebrate?

For this is a celebration of accomplishment – a time to express our gratitude to those men and women who had the forbearance to ensure future generations would be free to vote.

Come rain or shine we shall march. All are welcome.

For more information contact staff at the Minden Hills Cultural Centre at 705-286-3763 or email gallery@mindenhills.ca