This morning Heritage Park officially opened the Famous 5 Centre for Women – housed in a replica of the Calgary home of Nellie McClung.
The Famous 5 are McClung, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Emily Murphy who petitioned and won the right for women to be considered “Persons” under the British North America Act in 1929. Calgarians may recognize them as the five bronze statues who call the southwest corner of Olympic Plaza home.
The Centre is now home to a number of artifacts that belonged to McClung, including her original writing desk.
Here’s some remarks from the event:
Alida Visbach, president and CEO, Heritage Park
“I think that we can all agree that this house and the story it will tell is a legacy to the people of Canada and something of which we can all be very proud.”
“Nellie had a full and colourful life while here in Calgary and we will recreate that sense of discovery and discussion in the Famous 5 Centre of Canadian Women. We’ll offer immsersive programming daily to all our guests through our costumed interpretive staff that will be on hand to answer questions, provide tours and engage guests in rousing conversations. We will offer education programming to 1000’s of school children in the lower level classrooms and visitors to the park can enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea served every Sunday during the summer right here on this veranda.”
Richard Starke, minister of Tourism and Parks and Recreation
“This is truly a milestone day in the 50 year history of this incredible facility and the Famous 5 Centre for Canadian Women tells a story of five brilliant, amazing, courageous women that as Alida says, we really as Canadians and, especially as Albertans, really should know more about them.”
“Each very accomplished in their own right, each accomplished in their own field but these five Alberta women were pioneers of social justice and together were an unstoppable force.”
Gian-Carlo Carra, deputy mayor, City of Calgary
“…reflect on the first wave of feminism that the Famous 5 embodied. I think it was the spirit of optimism, a deep, deep spirit of optimism and irrepressible nature that comes with that sense of optimism and I think that is something we can ascribe to this city on the anniversary of the flood. I think it’s something we can ascribe to a city that celebrates our heritage in this amazing park looking forward, I think we can ascribe it to our amazing donors who have done very well in this part of the world and have reinvested in telling its story and thank you so much for that.”
David McClung, grandson of Nellie, on hand from Toronto
“It’s a great honour representing the McClung family at this opening of the McClung house and the Famous 5 interpretive centre at Heritage Park. Nellie herself would be pleased to see her family home has been reproduced to provide the public with a picture of the residence in which all her writing took place and was a well spring of her political and family life.”
* Read more in the June 27 edition of the CREBNow real estate news