In 1997 the Metcalfe Women's Institute produced a booklet called A Historical Walking Tour of Turn of the Century Metcalfe, in honour of the centennial year of the founding of the Women's Institutes in Ontario. Capturing local history through Tweedsmuir history activities has been a mandate of the Women's Institute since the 1940s.

In 2011 the Metcalfe Women's Institute, in cooperation with the Osgoode Township Historical Society and Museum and students from Algonquin College, put together this web site to share the contents of this booklet with a wider audience.

A great many people helped to collect the information for this booklet, including all the members of the Women's Institute who contributed to the Metcalfe Tweedsmuir History album over the years, and all the members of the Osgoode Township Historical Society and Museum who have built up a wonderful collection of local history records.

Special thanks were given to:

  • Ann Van Berlo
  • Bessie Quinn
  • Bessie Windsor
  • Cheryl Bunda
  • Cynthia Boyd
  • Darlene Scarf
  • Donna Bowen
  • Edwin Stanley
  • Irene Wallace
  • Jane Cooper
  • Jean Reaney
  • Jim Rowan
  • Kathy Kelsey
  • Marie Cooper
  • Myra Kelly
  • Nelda Isaac
  • Peggy Scarf
  • Robert Usher
  • Ruth Reaney
  • Ruth Stanley

All the quotes in the main text are from the reminiscences of Frances Iveson which were unpublished in 1997, but have since been published by the Osgoode Township Historical Society and Museum.

All historical photographs come from the collection of the Osgoode Township Historical Society and Museum.

Thanks to Corie Seed for book design, and to Corie, Neha Patel and Gurpreet Singh for producing he companion web site.

Metcalfe Women's institute

The Metcalfe Women's Institute has been meeting on the second Tuesday of the month, every year since 1928.

The Metcalfe Branch of the Women's Institute is one of over 700 branches that make up the Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario. Through our affiliations with the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada and the Associated Countrywomen of the World, we connect to seven million women around the world.

The Women's Institute is a rural women's organization whose concept and growth is based on fulfilling its member's needs.

Education is part of our organization, as well as family and community concerns and issues. As with many "new ideas", we are born from tragedy – the death of a child, due to a lack of knowledge about food safety. In 1897 the first Women's Institute was formed, and the determination of those early members was rewarded when widespread pasteurization of milk became a reality.

In this way our reputation and reliability began to expand. As we spread across Canada and around the world, the diversity of our membership assured us an unprejudiced view of society and its needs.

ur voice is respected and listened to by government and other organizations that work for change. On a more personal level, our most valued asset has proven to be fellowship.

We won't ask you to change the world – or yourself. We'd like you to come and experience the supportive family atmosphere shared by women around the world. The rest is up to you.

Student Questions

See how many of these questions you can answer as you walk through the tour:

  1. How many local men are named on the war memorials beside the old Town Hall?
  2. How long was the bus ride to Ottawa in 1900?
  3. Who stayed in Metcalfe hotels 100 years ago?
  4. Why were metal roofs safer in earlier days?
  5. Why was harness making a good business in 1900?
  6. Why was the Anglican Church built with limestone?
  7. Where are the two lion faces on the front of the old garage building at 8188 Victoria Street?
  8. What kind of ceiling does the kitchen in the pizzeria have?
  9. Why would stores in Metcalfe have false fronts?
  10. Why did the Rowan house have a "summer" kitchen?
  11. What information is recorded on the corner stone of the United Church?
  12. How did children get to school in 1900?
  13. How old was Colonel McDonnell when he fought in the war of 1812?
  14. Why was wind the best way to pump water in 1901?
  15. How is the construction of the Old Hall Agricultural hall different from the newer buildings at the Fair Grounds?

Copyright © 1996, 2011 by the Metcalfe Women's Institute