The Community Remembers
Agnes Macphail (1890 –1954)
85th year of election to Federal Government.
An overflowing crowd packed the side of Grey County Road #9 (Lot 7, Con. 12, Southgate Township) on June 24th, 2006 to watch Larry Miller: Member of Parliament, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound and Jodi Hooker: a student from High Point Elementary School, Dundalk, unveil a five-foot fieldstone cairn in honour of Agnes Macphail, the first woman elected to Canadian Federal Parliament (1921).
After Rev. Donna Mann read the Holdfast Prayer, she commented, “When we as God’s people know words like these are being rained over us as gentle as a spring shower over a farmer’s field, how can it not quench our thirst, nurture and strengthen us as individuals and as a community.” One could easily appreciate the words as we looked over the lush greenness of the fields and tall trees in the background illustrating the legacy of time.
Jean Clunas, (daughter of Lilly, Agnes’s sister), and also Agnes’s closest living relative, was the first observer to park her car on the road side, pull her lawn chair out of the back seat and adjust her sun hat for the festivities to come.
Later in the tent at Hopeville’s Community Park, an even larger crowd of more than 350 people settled themselves for an afternoon of entertainment, speeches from local and government dignitaries (both Federal and Provincial Members of Pariliament), readings, music and anniversary cake to mark Agnes Macphail’s 85th year of election to Federal Government. Michael Smith, fourteen-year-old great grand nephew of Agnes played the bagpipes. The crowd applauded with appreciation.
“And what is this I hear?” Agnes Macphail impersonator Elizabeth Myers interrupted Donna Mann reading accolades from Senator Lorna Milne’s official letter, and then spoke from the platform in Agnes Macphail style. .
Leona Irwin followed as an Ollie Irwin (a 47-year member of Agnes’s Holdfast Club), impersonator and talked about club duties, issues and service. Victoria Johnston, from Mount Forest Public School read her essay chosen as the finalist in the competition. This kind of casual and real life action kept the day moving. Interested people and dignitaries attended from as far away as Pennsylvania and Saskatchewan.
Donna Mann, Project Organizer, is grateful for the financial donations made before and during the day. However, due to government shortfall of funding, that she was counting on, she welcomes further contributions from interested people. “One way or the other, we could not let this year slip by without celebrating Agnes Macphail.”
Elizabeth Meyers impersonating Agnes Macphail
Leona Irwin impersonating Ollie Irwin (Holdfast member)
Victoria Johnston: of Victoria Cross Public School in Mount Forest - winner of the first Agnes Macphail essay contest & Rev. Donna
Cairn built from local barn foundation stones
A portion of the gathered crowd
Rev. Donna and husband Doug with
Calley & Chesley (granddaughters)
Jean Clunas - Agnes Macphail's neice
- first person at the special day
AGNES MACPHAIL 1890-1954
CANADA’S FIRST WOMAN ELECTED TO PARLIAMENT This cairn erected on Lot 7, Conc.12 Proton Township, the birthplace of Agnes Macphail is dedicated to her memory in gratitude for her love and service to all peopleJune 24, 2006
Picture of Michael Smith, great grand nephew of Agnes Macphail. Piper in Hopeville Park
Honoured guests including Federal and Provincial members of parliament.: