My Visit to Stoney Creek and the Erland Lee Museum on 10th July 2012.
During a visit to my family in Ontario, Canada, I made contact (through the equivalent of their Federation Office) with Mary Dean of Stoney Creek Charter WI. Mary is the Correspondence Secretary for this WI which was where the organisation began in 1897. When I spoke to Mary on the telephone, she explained that the WI was on its summer break but she would be delighted to meet me and some of my family and show us where the Erland Lee Museum is located in Stoney Creek. We were not able to gain entry into the museum as it has a few health and safety issues and is in need of some restoration and refurbishment.
Mary was a charming hostess and a very lively soon to be 90 year old. We collected her from her home on a lovely sunny warm day and she guided us to the museum. Since the Lee home was first constructed by John Lee in 1808 there have been enormous developments in the region with the great industrial steel producing city of Hamilton in the distance. However it is not difficult when driving through huge isolated, rural areas of Ontario to understand the need, as Erland Lee did, for rural women to be educated and to have a more stimulated social life. With the help of Adelaide Hoodless he was responsible for establishing the first Women’s Institute.
It was quite an experience to wander around the site, feel the atmosphere and to read some of the commemorative plaques. The worldwide organisation which the WI is today owes everything to the foresight and determination of those people from 125 years ago.
We deposited Mary back at her home and were invited to inspect her lovely garden of which she is extremely proud. A warm invitation was extended to me when on my next visit to Canada (it is hoped that the refurbishment will be complete by then) to return to the Museum and also to attend a meeting of the Stoney Creek Charter WI. I shall look forward to that with real pleasure. Before leaving I asked Mary to convey warm wishes from Casterton WI members to the members of Stoney Creek. Mary and I have promised to keep in touch.
|ELM Road sign|
|Carriage house Erland Lee Museum|
|ELM Circle made of stones with plaque in center|