In the News...2015-16

Sept. 28, 2015

CFUW Orillia recently celebrated its 60th birthday anniversary at a welcome back social at Orillia Museum of Art and History. The club’s membership supports the pursuit of knowledge, the promotion of education, and the improvement of the status of women and human rights. With a focus on education, CFUW opens doors to possibilities nationally and internationally to make changes happen and recently hosted an All Candidates Meeting for the upcoming Federal Election. Kaarina Tulisalo, Regional Director of Ontario North commended CFUW Orillia for hosting the Fall Gathering for all Northern Clubs on October 24. The theme of “Empowerment : Letting your Power Out“ will be given by keynote speaker Annabel Slaight, founder of Owl magazine, Ladies of the Lake and the Ontario Water Centre.


            Each meeting for the upcoming year promises to be exciting and stimulating with an archival snippet highlighting some of the achievements of the club in years past. Diverse groups within the club such as bridge, hiking, golf, skiing, gardening and lunch and dinner clubs encourage friendship, fellowship, and fun. Environmental issues are always  concerns of the club, and this year, the club will be promoting and selling the book , “Do Fish Fart?” to help educate the public about our precious resource of water. For the past two years, the Ladies of the Lake-helping Lake Simcoe since 2004—have been gathering over 3,000 kids’ questions about the lake, water and life in the watershed. Experts provided answers, and a book headed by Keltie Smith and Deryk Ouseley was created that tackles concerns about ecology, science, history, technological and social innovation, urban planning, plants, fish and animals, geography and lore. Most importantly, it discusses how to help Lake Simcoe make a full recovery. CFUW welcomes new members and for more information, visit, .


Oct. 27, 2015

CFUW Orillia was very pleased to welcome Dr. David Town, local chiropractor and author, as guest speaker at a recent meeting. Dr. Town spoke about a local project he is involved with, called Mariposa Exposed. The original idea was that of Ross Greenwood and Dennis Rizzo who believed that both Canada's and Orillia's 150th anniversary should be celebrated in a special way, and they invited a group of local historians to seek out stories of old Orillia. Our city is a remarkable place explained Town, as many people do not realize that 61 sports champions are from Orillia; as well as lesser known events have been told in submitted stories, such as The Brechin Riot, The Y'smens New Years Ball of 1950, Camp 26, located between Brant and Park Streets during World War Two, and the Cross Lake Couch Swim, when the rescue boats sank and all the swimmers survived.

Dr. Town mentioned a booklet that is available for the public to see called Mariposa Exposed, which has an explanation of the project, submission details, and several example stories. The group is still looking for stories with a submission deadline of Christmas 2015, as time is needed to edit, create layout, and publishing plan to be ready for 2016. Stories not included in the book will be at the library and accessible to the public. The committee has applied for a Canada 150 Grant as well as a grant from Rama First Nation; as the project is not intended to be a fund raiser, but a community spirit project. Profits from the book will be used to set up a data base at the library and OMAH for all the various archival information in Orillia, for example the Y, OMAH, and the Library. Dr. Town affirmed that many of the stories submitted are sad, funny, remarkable and heroic, and anyone with a story to share can contact the group at, Facebook at Mariposa Revisited, or by completing a form at OMAH or the Orillia Public Library, Attn: J. Turvey. CFUW Orillia welcomes new members, and for more information visit


Nov. 24, 2015

CFUW Orillia was very pleased to welcome Miriam Goldberger, co-founder and owner with her husband Paul Jenkins, of the Wildflower Farm, for a delightfully informative and visual evening.  Goldberger, a celebrity in the gardening world, has been on the road for her book tour all over North America for the last 18 months. She told the audience that she had always dreamed of picking bouquets of flowers in a colourful meadow, wandering in her white dress with her little daughter by her side.


Twenty seven years ago their Wildflower farm became a reality in Schomberg, and twelve years ago the farm moved to the Coldwater area. Initially their business began as a pick your own flower farm and then grew into a wildflower garden centre combined with a website for wildflowers and Eco-Lawn seed orders. Three years ago the wildflower garden centre was retired – though the Wildflower Farm online business, continues.


This allowed Goldberger the time to write her book “Taming Wildflowers” which was published in Canada in 2014. The book is intended not only to educate gardeners but the general public also, about the beauty and sustainability of wildflowers and how vital they are to our local ecosystems. She shared interesting information---every flower was originally a wildflower, wildflowers are very low maintenance , by definition a wildflower is a plant that existed prior to European settlement in North America, and weeds are introduced, invasive species. Wildflowers are pollinating partners and sustain bees, birds, and butterflies, which protect the security of our food system. Without wildflowers, life as we know it would not exist as 75% of plants rely on pollination to reproduce. Another fact she shared was that since European settlement, over 90% of our wildflowers have been eradicated. Goldberger shared a video and photos that encourage people to grow native plants and her book helps identify early seedlings as well as give ideas for DIY natural bouquets for weddings and home decorating. Goldberger’s passion and extensive knowledge made for a most enjoyable evening. CFUW Orillia welcomes new members and for more information visit .



Jan. 26, 2016

Liz Riley, former Liberal candidate in the recent Federal election, spoke to CFUW Orillia about her experiences of being a woman candidate. Coming from a non-partisan perspective, she shared her personal reaction to being approached by a Liberal Party member who asked if she was interested. Recently retired and traveling, she felt she had the necessary qualifications and skills, the support of her family, was bilingual, and had held public positions. Once her decision was made to run, she needed to "learn the ropes" to qualify as a contestant. Working with mentors from the local riding association and the chief financial officer, she then had to be screened by the party in order to avoid embarrassing gaffes as a candidate as everything is in the public arena. Police and credit checks, visiting public events and places and developing support were all necessary. Receptions and coffee parties hosted by friends and supporters enhanced her public profile and on May 3, she won the nomination for Liberal candidate of Simcoe North.


On August 3,2015, the Election Writ was dropped and she continued to meet people and work to become known. She stressed how important it was to stay grounded and healthy and spend time with family and friends. After the Election Writ was dropped, her life became very busy. An election office was opened, there were increased costs, signs needing to be distributed and she had to learn how to use social media-selfies, tweet, Facebook, Instagram and snapchat, mostly taught to her by her son. Community events, door to door canvassing, All Candidates Meetings, and research on the policies and positions of the other parties for debates were also necessary. Finally it was election night on Oct. 19 and it was a nail biter to the end. Despite her loss in her riding, Liberals celebrated a majority, and Liz affirmed she wouldn't change a thing, as she enjoyed every moment of the experience. Reflecting back, she has enormous gratitude for all the hardworking and dedicated volunteers. She also became aware of how large and diverse the North Simcoe riding is, stretching from Bayshore to Christian Island with a mixture of urban, rural, First Nations, and French speaking communities. She was also amazed by the large number of local entrepreneurs in the area. Liz remains involved with the local Liberal riding association and encourages all Canadians to participate in and support our precious democracy - especially young people. CFUW Orillia welcomes new members and for more information, visit

Feb. 23, 2016

CFUW Orillia was pleased to welcome at their recent meeting, guest speaker, Jennifer Jackson of The Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka. The Centre is one of only four in Ontario (there are 900 in USA) and has 4 employees -- the executive director Jennifer Jackson, a child and family advocate, an Abuse Prevention Coordinator, and a Marketing and Fundraising Associate. The Centre opened with a 3 year grant from the Trillium Foundation and is located at West and South Streets in Orillia.The Centre has received funds from Justice Canada which covers half of the operating budget with the rest being covered by fundraising. The purpose of the Centre is to provide a safe, comfortable, child friendly place for children and youth who are going through a physical and sexual abuse reporting process. Statistics show that before the age of 18, 1 in 6 boys suffer some kind of sexual assault, and girls, 1 in 3 some form of sexual abuse prior to age 18. The Centre partners with 5 police services, child protection workers, health care practitioners, and multiple victim service organizations as it is required by law to report child abuse. Prior to the opening of the Centre, Police and CAS were first responders, and interviewing of children and youth occurred in police detachments and offices which were often intimidating. At the Centre, with a warm, home-like setting, the child and family can meet the Police and CAS for a forensic interview, with a child advocate present to offer support to the non-offending parent if required. Only victims, are interviewed at the Centre. Youth are served up to age 18 and some young adults, although CAS is not involved after age 16. Since on-site therapy is not offered, referrals to other services and community supports are provided, along with a follow up. If the initial referral does not meet a victim’s needs, a different approach and referral is provided.


The Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe Muskoka also offers a variety of abuse prevention presentations for youth and parents, such as Minor Hockey Associations and high schools, in order to safeguard children from online sexual exploitation, sexting issues, child sex predators, and changes in the dating world. It helps them know where to go for help or advice. Jackson affirmed that domestic human trafficking is a big problem, with statistics showing that 95% of the victims are Canadian and many of them are indigenous. A CACSM Prevention Coordinator works to alert youth to the tactics used by predators and make them aware of the harsh reality of human trafficking. For more information about the Centre please visit . CFUW Orillia welcomes new members and their website is

April 26, 2016

CFUW Orillia was pleased to welcome local artist, teacher, curator, historian, and writer Joanne McEwen as guest speaker recently, where her focus was “Two Centuries of Women on the Penetanguishene Road-Musings Past and Present. Although the historical background of British settlement in present day Simcoe County began in 1759 with thedefeat of French troops at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham,

Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe’s long range goal was to oversee the development of Upper Canada into a model British colony. One initiative was road building and the promotion of settlement. Simcoe discovered that theharbour at Penetanguishene would be suitable for a government post from which supplies could be sent to other military posts in the upper Great Lakes.

A military establishment was constructed at Penetanguishene in 1815. A road following an old Indian path leading fromKempenfelt Bay on Lake Simcoe to Penetanguishene Bay was explored by Samuel Wilmot in 1808 and surveyed in 1811; settlement began on the Penetanguishene Road in 1819 after a trail road was cut. This road, which was impassable during spring and fall, was constructed under the leadership of General Gordon Drummond. This was theearliest road in Ontario and the first registered in Simcoe County. Line 2 was set aside for settlement of the Black Community in Simcoe County.

Serving in the military was one of the settlement duties referred to in order to qualify to receive the land grant. The land was divided into string farms with a narrow frontage on the road and long lots. This ensured defence by numbers as well as proximity of neighbours and community. Women settlers played an important role in the development of commerce and progressive initiatives in society. One of these women was Mary Gapper O’Brien who was married to Edward O’Brien, emigrant agent for Oro Township in 1831,who lived in Shanty Bay. They had several children, one of whom was Lucius Richard O’Brien, a prominent painter. The Orillia Public Library has a small watercolour painting of Lucius O’Brien‘s in the Orilliana Local History collection on display. Check with library staff to view as Local History room is open limited hours. Another well known woman on the Penetanguishene Road was Catherine McDonald who was the youngest daughter of John McDonald (known also as McDonald le Borgne), fur trader and Marie Poitras, a Métis. They had at least six children. McDonald, his wife, and their family settled in Upper Canada on a North Westcompany land grant assigned to him by William McGillivray; it was situated on the Penetanguishene Road, near present-day Barrie on Kempenfelt Bay. He maintained his interest in the Fur Trade until his death in 1828 followingthe death of his wife, Marie, during childbirth. “John McDonald died intestate, and court negotiations about his estate continued for more than 20 years. The disputes involved McDonald’s brothers James and Finan and their expenses and claims concerning not only his lands but also their care of his children during his fur trade service and – in the instance of Catherine, his youngest child – after his death. The law of the time named Catherine as the sole inheritor of John McDonald’s 6000 acre estate as she was the only child to be born after John and Marie were officially married. Catharine married Angus M. Grant.

The third woman, McEwen mentioned was Nanny Bruce, quoting from” The History of Simcoe County,” “John Bruce and his wife, a pair of Scotch Presbyterians, located in 1819, and opened the first store in 1829. He also kept travellers; and in addition to this, their house was used as a place of public worship, thus making a threefold purpose for which the edifice was used. In July 1835 (aged 46 years) Mr. Bruce died and the care of the household devolved upon his widow, Agnes, who remained hostess of the place for many years afterwards. She is described as a jolly, muscular woman, and is said to have on one occasion rolled a barrel of flour from Kempenfelt to her own place, although this story lacks confirmation. Almost everyone acquainted with the settlement was familiar with the wayside tavern of "Nanny" Bruce, where Lord Elgin, Governor of Canada, once called.”

“Nanny” Bruce operated 37 taverns on the ‘Penetang’. One of her inns was also used as a Court of Petty Crimes where cases of domestic abuse and assault & battery were aired.

Many women who lived on the Penetanguishene Road and many other rural communities became members of Women’s Institutes to work together for family, home, community and country.

The objective of the first Women’s Institute Branch, formed in Stoney Creek on February 19, 1897, was to improve women’s skills in the art of homemaking and childcare. One of the founding members, Adelaide Hunter Hoodless, was instrumental in advocating for pasteurization of milk after her infant son Harold died at the age of 14 months His death was believed to be the direct result of dairy practices of the time. She spoke out publicly about the importance of hygiene, cleanliness and frugality as well as the scientific care of care of sheep and cattle. There were 101 women in attendance at this first branch meeting of the Women’s Institute and 500 branches had been organized across Canadawithin the next decade including those rural communities along the Penetanguishene Road. The history of communities has been recorded in the Tweedsmuir History Books capturing rural life by its members.

Starting with Adelaide Hunter Hoodless who advocated tirelessly for better health, better education and better farming practices, Women’s Institute members have continued to support beneficial social change. Listed here are just some oftheir past projects:

1980 – To have Canadian products marked “Product of Canada”.

1958 - 1963 - That all babies automatically get a birth certificate.

1962 - To make mandatory the use of a breathalyser and blood tests to determine sobriety. Response: became law in 1969.

1972 – The mention of an earlier resolution that bread should be wrapped.

1981 – To discourage junk food in school cafeterias and promote nutritional foods.

1992 - To have "Best Before Date" on all food products and have it more visible.

1958 - 1975 – A law requiring that all railway cars be marked on the sides with fluorescent strips or paint to reflect auto headlights - response in 1975 said it was being implemented.

1959 - To study and remedy inadequate posting of rural railroad crossings.

2001 - To urge the government to remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from feminine protection products. Provincial part of HST which is 8% is a point of sale rebate.

1960 – To have reduced speed limits near schools and to provide crosswalks.

1971 –To complete a study of light - that reflective and long wearing paint or other methods of imbedded markers be used on the centre lines of highways.

McEwen’s enjoyable presentation was enjoyed by all. CFUW Orillia welcomes new members. For more information visit