Grey County Celebrates Agnes Macphail Day on Saturday June 24th
Donna Mann, Project Organizer
May 29th, 2006 Committee Meeting
Snowstorms on Agnes’s important days were no surprise. She was born in a snowstorm, lost her election because of a snowstorm and was buried during a snowstorm.
“The wind and snow were still blowing fiercely when the services at Priceville ended, but a township plow had spent much of the day breaking open the road a mile south to the McNeil Cemetery (Agnes Macphail: Reformer, Doris Pennington p.11).
“It might rain on us as we celebrate Agnes Macphail’s 85th anniversary of her election to Canada’s Parliament, but we’re pretty sure it won’t snow,” the Agnes Project Committee jokes. It was a difficult decision to change the date for the Agnes Macphail Day to June 24th but it was absolutely necessary since we had started to spend money we didn’t have. The Celebrate Canada funding application guidelines clearly states: “the event must be held between June 24th and July 1st in order to qualify for financial assistance.” The committee realizes the date change doesn’t work for some people but for others it is actually a better choice and we will encourage our guests to take in some of the other events being held in the Dundalk area for the remainder of the weekend.
June 24th has been set aside for a day of celebration to recognize the first woman elected to Canada’s hallowed halls of parliament. Agnes Macphail came into parliament wearing a blue surge dress, hoping not to stand out among the blue suited male population. Her deep voice resonated with the men’s but her opinions and perspectives clearly stood alone. She spoke for the silent, stood for the disenfranchised, cried for the wounded, and walked the corridors of the imprisoned. She drew on the humour and determination of her parents and showed a deep pride in her Scottish heritage, her roots of Grey County, and was especially proud of being born in a log house.
It is here that interested people, kin, kith and friend, will gather on June 24th to unveil a field stone cairn dedicated to Agnes Macphail, and her love and service to all people. A special afternoon of entertainment and refreshments will follow at the Hopeville Community Park– rain or shine, and even snow if it should happen. Three new road signs on Grey County Road #9 and #4 welcome people into “Agnes Macphail Country” and it is the hope of the Macphail Project Committee that many people will indeed come on June 24th at 1:00 to Agnes’ birth site (one concession west of Hopeville on Grey County Road #9) and celebrate.
May 29th, 2006
THE LADY FROM GREY COUNTY
(1977, 26 min)
On March 8, 1922, Agnes Campbell Macphail became Canada's first woman Member of Parliament. For the next nineteen years, the Independent MP used her wit, courage and honesty to fight for prison reform, old-age pensions, the co-operative movement and the many other causes she believed in. Made up of old photographs, archival footage and quotations from her speeches and writings, this film documents a significant Canadian and the turbulence of her times.
Director: Janice Brown
Producer: Kathleen Shannon, Margaret Wescott