Inspiration of Nellie McClung

“The real spirit of the suffrage movement is sympathy and interest in the other woman, and the desire to make the world a more homelike place to live in.”

Inspiring words from the inspiring Nellie McClung whose Calgary home is being replicated at Heritage Park as the future home of the Famous Five Interpretive Centre.

McClung, along with Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards were Canada’s Famous Five, the group who petitioned for the word “person” under the British North America Act to include women.

Though the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against them, the group took their appeal to the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and won the right to be called “persons” as well as the eligibility for appointment to the Canadian Senate in 1929.

“These incredible women made a tremendous impact on the political, social and cultural development of our province and our nation,” said Heather Klimchuk, Alberta Culture Minister. “The story of their determined effort and triumph on behalf of all Canadians will continue to be shared as students and visitors connect to their past at the Famous Five Interpretive Centre at Heritage Park.”

The centre will in part be funded by a $1 million grant from the Government of Alberta through the Community Facility Enhancement Program. The home where McClung spent her time in Calgary, commuting back and forth from Edmonton where she was on the Alberta Legislative Assembly, is located on a 1.6-hectare lot in the Beltline. The home sold for $1.5 million last November. Historicplaces.ca said the home features Tudor Revival architectural elements, including asymmetrical massing, half-timbering in-filled with stucco and a steeply sloped roof.

The Heritage Park reproduction, currently in construction, will feature three floors of interactive and engaging space. The lower level will include a classroom and library for school groups while the main and upper floors will share stories of the Famous Five as well as other influential Canadian women. The space can also be rented out for
weddings and other private functions after hours.

“Heritage Park, in its quest to fulfill its mandate of ‘Connecting People with the Settlement of Western Canada’ has embarked upon an exciting project that will fulfill this directive and bring to life the stories that have not been well told before,” said Alida Visbach, president and CEO of Heritage Park. “The new Famous Five Interpretive Centre, the cornerstone of Heritage Park’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2014, will give us this opportunity to not only share the stories of the Famous Five but of all influential women in Canadian history.”

The total cost of the project is an estimated $3.4 million with support other than the provincial government coming from the City of Calgary, Shane Homes, Newalta Corporation, Macquarie Private Wealth Inc. and the Macquarie Group Foundation, Dick and Lois Haskayne, Scott and Kim Sargeant and the Brawn Family Foundation.

Nellie McClung – Dominion Institute

Nellie McClung Foundtion

Heritage Park

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