The Women's Institute (WI) was founded in Stoney Creek, Ontario, in 1887 by Adelaide Hunter Hoodless who assembled the wives of the members of the Farmers' Institute to discuss forming an organization to provide education and mutual support to rural women. "Addie" was a young mother who was motivated by the loss of her son due to unpasturised milk. Branches of the WI grew quickly and the organization spread to Great Britain and beyond.

The first Quebec Women's Institute (QWI) was organized by Elizabeth Ann Beach in the Eastern Townships, more specifically in Dunham, Quebec, on January 27, 1911.

From there, word spread through the province and many counties formed branches with an average of 30 members or more.

Mrs. Beach's goal in starting the QWI was to teach and inspire women - particularly those living in rural areas, with little access to the information available in larger cities - through reading, writing, painting, art, languages, quilting, child care, nutrition, home economics and teaching.

Today, we have 33 Women's Institute Branches in Quebec, organized into 13 Counties.

Link between Macdonald College and the QWI

The QWI has always been affiliated with Macdonald College in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, from our very first meeting to the present day. Members of the college inspired and helped initiate the first WI in Quebec, and they have provided various and significant support for QWI activities over the years. The College supplied staff to rural Quebec to assist in the formation of WI groups, conducted courses in food management and other domestic activities, and provided office space. The QWI continues to provide funding for scholarshipas and bursaries, and our annual convention is held at the college.

Click here for a sample of the QWI section of the college's 1991 magazine.

Some of the Things That the Quebec Women's Institutes Have Been Involved With . . .

*Having bread wrapped

*Having fowl graded for sale

*Giving "Abbie Prichard Throws"

*Teaching sex education in schools

*Contributing to "Wool Gathering"

*Presenting the Erland Lee award

*Requiring the pasteurization of milk

*Supporting the agriculture community - 4H

*Having "STOP" signs placed at railway crossings

*Encouraging War Memorials and War Services

*Affiliating with Macdonald College since 1914

*Requiring breathalyser and blood tests for motorists

*Supporting the introduction of Agriculture in the classroom

*Making the law mandatory for traffic to stop when a school bus is stopped

*Requiring car owners to purchase liability insurance before getting a


*Establishing the International Peace Gardens on the border between

Manitoba and North Dakota

*Implementing Literacy Projects

*Getting garments labelled as to quality

*Making hot lunches available in schools

*Putting music on the school curriculum

*Enhancing Safety for Home and Country

*Supporting hospitals and nursing homes

*Having poison containers clearly marked

*Having dental and medical inspections in schools

*Having staples abolished on packaged food products

*Getting fluorescent paint used on sides of railway cars

*Enacting legislation on dimming car lights when meeting

*Having white line painted on centre of Provincial highways

*Sponsoring essay competitions in local elementary schools

*Making it necessary for persons handling food to have "T.B" tests

*Establishing a course in Household Science at Macdonald College

*Establishing the Macdonald Institute, University of Guelph (Adelaide Hoodless)

*Supporting scholarships and bursaries to students attending Macdonald College

*Erecting the QWI cairn at Dunham in 1964 to commemorate the first WI in Quebec in 1911

*Conducting annual Remembrance Day services at the WI cairn