In Affiliation with the Provincial, National and International Councils of Women
The Toronto and Area Council of Women (TACW), then called the Toronto Council of Women, was the first local council formed. This occurred at the second meeting of the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) on November 2, 1893 which was several days after the foundation of the NCWC on October 27, 1893. The first public meeting of the Toronto Council of Women occurred on February 19, 1894 with about 3,000 attending, mostly women but there were a few men. This meeting was chaired by TACW’s first president, described as a woman of great ability, Sarah Macdonald, widow of J. Grant Macdonald. The wife of Canada’s Governor General, Lady Ishbel Aberdeen, the NCWC’s first president and a key figure in the formation of these two associations, was the featured speaker. All three meetings took place in the Horticultural Pavilion in Allan Gardens, Toronto.
Our Toronto and Area Council of Women boasts a long history of community involvement and achievements by many dedicated women volunteers. Today, the TACW remains knowledgeable about local issues and is also a member of Social Planning Toronto which focuses on the well-being of Toronto residents. As an advocacy and educational group, our Council lobbies our local government on topics of concern with petitions, letters, and/or presentations. Issues we have supported included making the TTC, the Toronto transportation system, an essential service and re-instating the City’s Hardship Fund created for those in need of financial assistance for their special health requirements. Together with others, we strongly, and successfully, opposed casinos in Toronto, and, at the provincial level, we fought and won the battle against the observance of shariah law in Ontario. More recently, at the federal level, we submitted a Resolution to the National Council of Women to reduce the amount of sugar content in processed food and soft drinks and juices by at least one-third. The NCWC ratified this Resolution and included it in its annual Brief to the Government of Canada.
Membership: Please Join Us!
A friendly non-profit and non-sectarian association that does not support any political party, the Toronto and Area Council of Women always welcomes new members, i.e., organizations as federates along with individuals, both women and men.
Why don’t you join us and meet other interesting and interested people?
Membership fees are modest:
- Individuals at $20
- Federates at $25
Members receive our monthly newsletter, The Councillor. (Please note we encourage contributions, especially updates from our federates. This publication provides an opportunity for these federates to promote themselves and their work.) Members also receive a Directory and the Annual Report that contains reports from the TACW as well as its federates.
Because of its affiliation with the Provincial and National Councils, TACW members may also serve as delegates to special meetings of these two Councils.
We invite you to come to our meetings. They are usually held on the second Tuesday of the month, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Meetings take place from September to June except in January. Guests are welcome.
After a business meeting, with the exception of the March meeting when we discuss the Resolutions submitted by the Provincial and National Councils of Women, TACW presents well-informed speakers on varied topics, such as the Arts, Education, Environment, Health, and Social Issues.
Location of Meetings
TACW meetings are held in a central location at
St. Andrew’s United Church, 117 Bloor Street East, (South side of Bloor between Yonge and Church Streets), Toronto, Ontario. Rear Entrance: 54 Hayden Street.
The church premises are wheel-chair accessible. You may take the elevator, located beside the front door, to the third floor where our meetings are usually held. The nearest subway is Bloor and Yonge. Drivers may park at the green “P” parking lot. They can access this lot either from Hayden Street, a one-way street eastbound from Yonge, or, from Charles Street, here a one-way street westbound to Yonge.
Notes on the Year
- Our year begins in September and two months later in November, we celebrate Founder’s Day: We have held lunches with guest speakers at various venues, such as the University of Toronto Faculty Club and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art. In November of 2015, we took a private tour of Massey Hall followed by lunch at a near-by restaurant.
An important part of the Councils’ work lies in the Resolutions which are designed to meliorate life for everyone. They highlight issues, such as health, social matters, and the environment, and form the basis for the Councils’ public policies. As well as remembering our founder Lady Aberdeen in November, our Council must also put forward our own Resolutions. Democratically chosen by our members, they are always well-researched and well-written. We send them to the appropriate Council, Provincial or National, for discussion and ratification and inclusion in Briefs submitted to the relevant government.
- In December, we and our guests enjoy a holiday pot-luck lunch following our meeting. After a short winter break, the first meeting of the New Year takes place in February.
- In March, we devote the meeting to discussing the Resolutions presented by the Provincial and National Councils on current concerns. After careful study, we may approve, suggest changes, or reject any Resolution. If ratified by the Councils, the Resolutions are presented to the relevant government, provincial or federal.
FYI: Individual and federate fees as well as all annual reports are due in March.
- Our Annual General Meeting is held in April when we distribute our Annual Report and install our new Executive. The Toronto and Area Council of Women is governed by this Executive; it includes Officers and Convenors. Individual members along with every federate representative have one vote each.
- In June, we conclude our year with a fundraising lunch that follows the meeting.
- Other events throughout the year, such as garden parties and outings, occur on an ad-hoc basis. Our members are welcome to invite guests to these as well as to our meetings.
The Centennial, 1993
In the fall of 1993 on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, the Toronto and Area Council of Women received letters of congratulations from:
- Gerda Hnatyshyn, wife of Canada’s Governor General
- The Honorable Henry (Hal) Jackman, Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor
- Alan Tonks, Chair of Metropolitan Toronto Council
- June Rowlands, Mayor of the [pre-amalgamated] City of Toronto and Honorary President of the TACW
- Hazel McCallion, Mayor of the City of Mississauga and Honorary Vice-President of the TACW
- Joyce Trimmer, Mayor of the City of Scarborough and Honorary Vice-President of the TACW
There were also memorable events to celebrate TACW’s centenary:
- These included the dedication of a bench in Queen’s Park on the morning of November 1, 1993 with a reception hosted by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, The Honorable Henry (Hal) Jackman.
- That evening, Honorary President of TACW, Toronto Mayor June Rowlands, along with Toronto City Council, held a reception for the association at City Hall on Queen Street West. A display and history of TACW remained on view in its rotunda for the week of November 1 to 5.
- On November 2, TACW’s actual birthday, Metro Chair Alan Tonks held a lunch to honour the group.
- Formal celebrations ended on November 4 with a dinner at the [now Fairmont] Royal York Hotel on Front Street West celebrating women who were “First” and who had served their community with passion, loyalty, and devotion.
(From Nothing New under the Sun: A History of the Toronto Council of Women, 1973-1993.)
Did You Know?
- The ribbon bow that appears on TACW’s pamphlet contains the words “Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you.” This Golden Rule concept is found in the National Council of Women’s 1893 constitution. The TACW adopted the bow from the NCWC and, you may have noticed, bows appear in National Council’s own Coat of Arms. (For more information, see the National’s website and click on “About Us” then “History” and finally “Coat of Arms.”) A bow is also present within the trillium, the floral emblem of Ontario, used by the Provincial Council of Women of Ontario.
- TACW donated money for a seat in Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto. It is number E 9 in the Right Parterre section.
- In June 1973, to commemorate the 80th birthday of both the National and the Toronto Councils of Women, a sugar maple tree was planted in Allan Gardens, Toronto where both Councils were founded in 1893.
- The archives of TACW are stored in the Archives of Ontario at York University, Toronto. If you wish to access these records, please contact the Archives ahead of time.
For more information, you may email the Toronto Council of Women: firstname.lastname@example.org