BC Women’s Institute historian Ruth Fenner (left) and Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples unveiled the plaque celebrating the Coronation Oak in McAdam Park on June 8. (Submitted photo)

BC Women’s Institute historian Ruth Fenner (left) and Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples unveiled the plaque celebrating the Coronation Oak in McAdam Park on June 8. (Submitted photo)

Women’s Institute celebrates 125th anniversary in Duncan

Plaque unveiled at special tree in McAdam Park

It was 85 years ago that Queen Elizabeth II’s father was crowned King George VI.

This year, Elizabeth II is celebrating her 70th year as queen, and it’s also the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Women’s Institute in Canada, a community-based organization for women whose purpose is to promote women’s voices and fellowships.

The international organization inspires change through education and advocacy for women and communities across Canada and the world.

On June 8, members of the Somenos Women’s Institute joined institute members from the South Vancouver Island District to celebrate the unveiling of a plaque marking the Coronation Oak that was planted in 2008 in Duncan’s McAdam Park to initiate the celebrations of 100 years of the Women’s Institutes in B.C.

The tree was a seedling of a British Oak from Windsor Great Park in England and planted in 1937 to commemorate the coronation of King George VI.

“The original seedling is now a magnificent tree in Slocan, B.C. and members of Slocam Women’s Institute who have cared for it for many years have supplied the Somenos Women’s Institute with seedlings from it, and hence this tree we now celebrate,” said Ruth Fenner, a historian with the Somenos Women’s Institute.

“In addition to unveiling the plaque for this tree, we will be celebrating 125 years of the Women’s Institute in Canada by donating a Brandywine maple tree, also in McAdam Park.”

Qwiyahwultuhw, of Cowichan Tribes, welcomed the gathering to Quw’utsun Land at the unveiling of the plaque with warm words about his late mother who did similar work in her community as the Women’s Institute does.

He and his drumming partner, Pamela, sang the Mother Earth song.

Speaking on behalf of the Somenos Women’s Institute, Sandy McPherson said the Coronation Oak is now thriving in McAdam Park thanks, in part, to a nurturing start by Sharon Jackson, a former Women’s Institute member and a former member of Duncan city council, who took motherly care of it after it was planted.

“We also greatly appreciate the helpful staff of the City of Duncan,” she said.

Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples and Donna Jack, president of the Southern Vancouver Island Women’s Institute, were also in attendance at the unveiling of the plaque.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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