The Victoria Council of Women of Canada was founded in 1894 to facilitate communication among women and women's organizations on issues important to the community. While these issues focused primarily on the health and welfare of women and children they also included a wide range of other matters dealing with the environment, education and government. The Council -- sometimes referred to as a "parliament of women", provides a forum for discussion and action. Resolutions passed at the local level are forwarded to provincial and national councils for presentation to government.


The main impetus for the formation of the Victoria Council was to get women elected to local school boards. Mrs. Louise Baker, wife of the provincial minister of education, was acclaimed as first president at a public meeting presided over by Lady Ishbel Aberdeen, national president and wife of the Governor-General of Canada. In January 1895, the Council petitioned the government for "female representation on school boards". Within a few weeks the School Act was amended and a special election held to fill a vacant seat. The Council's candidate, Mrs. Maria Grant, was elected and became British Columbia's first school trustee.

The Victoria Council of Women also has the unique distinction of being the first Council in Canada to endorse women's suffrage, which they did in 1908. Women's suffrage was granted in B.C. in 1917. In 1987, the Victoria Council of Women presented a plaque to the provicial legislature honouring two members who had worked for over 30 years for women's suffrage. They were Maria Grant and Cecilia Spofford.

Other highlights in history: the Council formed the "Friendly Help Society", a charitable organization, later taken over by the City of Victoria during the Great Depression of the 1930's.


The Council is comprised of local community organizations - - "federates" as well as individual members. Federates have included political parties, church groups, business and professional groups, poverty action groups, etc. The Local Council is an affiliate of the Provincial Council, National Council, and the International Council.


Membership is open to women interested in local, provincial or national affairs, such as education, health, housing, safety, arts, environment, pensions, etc. Members can join as representatives as a club or association, or as individuals.


"Do unto others as ye would have that they should do unto you".


The aim of the Council of Women is to work for the betterment of conditions pertaining to families, the community and the country.
How the Council Functions
National Council
International Council


The Victoria Council of Women meets the 2nd Monday of every month at noon. Meetings consist of a speaker, followed by a business program. Bring a brown bag lunch. Tea and coffee are provided. Guests welcome.

Location First Baptist Church, 877 North Park (corner of Quadra and North Park). Info: Denelda Peterson, 385-0238

How the Council Functions

The Local Council is composed of organizations within its community in federation, and is responsible for action with respect to the welfare and progress in its area.

The Provincial Council is composed of local councils in its area, and provincially organized societies in federation. It taks action on provincial matters.

National Council of Women Of Canada

The National Council is made up of national organizations, provincial councils and local councils, in federation. Its function is to take action on national matters, and to inform and serve its members.

The International Council of Women is composed of representatives of National Councils in many countries around the world.

Projects may be initiated and resolutions introduced by any Federated Association, Special or Standing Committees, by Committee of Officers or by Executive Committee, but NOT by individuals.

After study and a majority vote by Council, action may be taken on a resolution. If action by Government is required for implementation, Parliamentary Committee are interviewed. Local Councils meet with the Mayor or the City or Municipal Councillors.

The National Council of Women was founded in 1893, and locally, by Lady Aberdeen on a visit here in 1894. The Council consists of individual members and representatives of women's organizations and is affiliated with the U. N. Nationally it presents briefs and resolutions to the Federal Government.

The National Council of Women assisted in the formation of the Victoria Order of Nurses, Children's Aid Society, and the Consumer Association of Canada. Locally there are monthly lunchtime programs with speakers on the second Monday of every month.