Winnipeg River Heritage Museum

International Women’s Day March 8, 2019

In honour of International Women’s Day, we’d like to recognize two women who really made an impact on this region.

The first is the late great Edythe Ehrlich of Lac du Bonnet (b. 1913, d. 2008). Among her many accomplishments, Edythe had the distinction of becoming the first female mayor in the province of Manitoba, having served the Town of Lac du Bonnet between 1952-1957. A modernizing force in the town during her mayoral term, she was noted for successfully “obtain[ing] a sewage system for the town, free of charge, in compensatory negotiations with the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board, as a result of Winnipeg River flooding caused by the McArthur Falls Generating Station” (Manitoba Historical Society). Her drive and good-natured character made her a popular figure in Lac du Bonnet: she won a landslide victory in her reelection as mayor, and on her 90th birthday in 2003 she was awarded the key to the town.

The next woman is Fran Thompson moved to St-Georges in 1972 to work at the L.G.D. of Alexander as an administrative assistant and went on to run for office and was elected Reeve of the LGD of Alexander in 1977-80 and re-elected again in 1983-86. In 1982 to 1983 Fran along with many community volunteers worked to create the first municipal library in our area, Library Allard.

Fran sat on many boards in her lifetime and felt that it was her civic duty to do so. The North Eastman Health Authority was one of her last where she served for over three terms as a board member and as an active committee member. You could find her studying budgets and committee meeting minutes in her suite at Foyer Chateauguay. Fran passed away in 2017.

A rendering of the Welcome Wall that will greet guests as they enter the museum

Edythe Ehrlich and Fran Thompson are just two of the many remarkable individuals past and present that have made an impact on the Winnipeg River region and beyond and who will be featured in the new Winnipeg River Heritage Museum. Located in the entrance way to the main gallery, the “Welcome Wall” exhibit will greet visitors with a collage of faces from the past with a video of present residents welcoming them into the space.

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we’d like to open it up to you. Do you know a remarkable woman, past or present, from the Winnipeg River region who would be a fitting addition to our exhibit? Let us know! Find us on Facebook and Instagram @WinnipegRiverHeritageMuseum. Or email us at winnipegriverheritagemuseum@gmail.com

Sources:
http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/people/brown_em.shtml
https://passages.winnipegfreepress.com/passage-details/id-140602/Ehrlich_Edythe
Logs and Lines, p. 392.