A momentous Canadian human rights milestone took place on January 28th, 2016: 100 years ago on this day, Manitoba women were the first in Canada to be awarded the right to vote.

This enfranchisement of Manitoba women can be regarded today as the first of a series of sweeping changes that ultimately allowed women to take their rightful place in our democratic society.

The Centennial anniversary year was kicked off with the hosting of the Centennial Gala: Celebrating 100 Years of MB Women’s Right to Vote and The Nellie Awards.

Centennial Gala: Celebrating 100 Years of MB Women's Right to Vote

A momentous Canadian human rights milestone took place on January 28th, 2016.

100 years ago on this day, Manitoba women were the first in Canada to be awarded the right to vote.

In celebration of this pivotal milestone in history, on January 28th, 2016, the Nellie McClung Foundation, in partnership with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, hosted a Centennial Gala: Celebrating 100 Years of Manitoba Women’s Right to Vote at the RBC Convention Centre.

This once-in-a-lifetime event was hosted by ET Canada’s Cheryl Hickey, with Special Guest Speaker, The Right Honourable Janice Filmon C.M, O.M. A highlight of the evening’s program was the presentation of The Nellie Awards, presented in part by the Winnipeg Free Press, recognizing Manitoba women who have followed Nellie McClung’s footsteps through their contributions to social justice, the arts and democracy.

The Nellie McClung Foundation would like to thank all of the sponsors, donors, volunteers and attendees who helped to make the Centennial Gala: Celebrating 100 Years of Manitoba Women’s Right to Vote a tremendous success!

Manitoba Legislative Building Vote 100 Plaque

The Nellie McClung Foundation officially unveiled a plaque commemorating the 100th Anniversary of some Manitoba women being the first in Canada to get the vote at the Manitoba Legislative Building.

The Honourable Janice C. Filmon, C.M., O.M., Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba and Premier Brian Pallister delivered remarks at the ceremony. Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, Honourable Myrna Driedger, along with fellow members of The Nellie McClung Foundation Board of Directors past and present performed the official unveiling.

“Through the efforts of the Nellie McClung Foundation, Manitoba has embraced the Centennial anniversary in grand style. Today’s plaque unveiling is an excellent bookend to a year of celebration, begin in January with the Centennial Gala: Celebrating 100 Years of Manitoba Women’s Right to Vote“, said Lila Goodspeed, Board Chair. “Much like Nellie McClung and the Famous Five, the Nellie McClung Foundation is a group of women working with great passion to honour the legacy and work that came before them, to get the vote.”

 

Vote 100 Logo

100Years-Vote

100th Anniversary logo on the Legislative Building

The suffragist movement in Manitoba was firmly rooted in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and drink was the enemy. Nellie believed that if women got the right to vote, they would be able to change the liquor laws and there by the problems that arose from drunkenness. This firm belief in the evils of drink held true for the other members of the famous five who fought for the right of women to be considered persons: Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise Crummy McKinney, Irene Parlby and of course, Nellie. When they received word, in 1929, that the Judicial Council of Britain’s Privy Council (1929) has ruled that, indeed, women were persons, a celebratory drink was out of the question, so they celebrated by all going out and buying new hats.

Centennial Recognition Award

The Nellie McClung Foundation was recognized as a recipient of a Centennial Recognition Award. This award is given by the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW Canada) and acknowledged 100 Women’s Organizations for their work in 100 years of women’s suffrage.

The Centennial Recognition Award was presented at the BPW Canada’s 45th Biennial National Convention in Calgary, and pays tribute to The Nellie McClung Foundation’s vision of rights for women.

Nellie McClung was a founding member of the Calgary BPW chapter. First Vice-President Jenny Gulamani-Abulla, said “As the local chapter draws closer to its 90th Anniversary next year, we are reminded of Nellie McClung’s famous quote: “Women are going to form a chain; a greater sisterhood the world has ever known”.

West End Biz Women's Suffrage Mural

West End Biz Women’s Suffrage Mural
located at mural is located at 560 Sargent Avenue,
Winnipeg, MB.

The West End Biz mural celebrates 100 years since the vote was first extended to some women in Manitoba in 1916. The mural portrays a scene from the play “The Women’s Parliament,” a performance put on by Manitoba Suffragists in 1914, created by local Winnipeg artist, Mandy Van Leeuwen.