Teach us to put into action our better impulses straightforward and unafraid.Mary Stewart – The Collect
The impact of the Triangle Women’s Institute on the South Country region is visible through the vast projects they have undertaken. The projects below demonstrate the actions of a group of devoted women dedicated to a higher ideal.
TWI’s actions revolve around the hall. Whether it be suppers, dances, card parties, or educational and health events – the hall was essential to the robust quality of life the South Country enjoyed.
Grasmere had three halls. The first resided on the Roo property, and the second arrived in 1935 on the Sinclair property. Then in 1968, Pioneer Hall was constructed using a loan from E.C. Letcher.
The hall has grown to enjoy a library, a new kitchen, and the post office. TWI puts a sizeable financial commitment into covering maintenance, utility costs, and insurance. It is the social heart of the South Country.
Elko Stock Sales
In May of 1939, the Waldo Stockbreeders’ Association was established. In 1942, the organization constructed corrals and chutes in Elko to undertake a live auction which ran yearly until 1953. They requested the Triangle Women’s Institute to cater the event.
Originally packing their home stoves onto trucks, the TWI soon graduated to a full kitchen/dining and dance hall at the Elko auction site. Serving full lunches and dinners to hundreds of gathered buyers and sellers became a significant commitment and fundraiser for the women.
The South Country is a rural area stretching from Elko in the north to the International Boundary in the south. The sparse settlement pattern in the area made it hard to secure services, such as telephone connectivity. Shortly after forming as a group, the TWI contacted their MLA, Mr. Uphill, requesting assistance with obtaining telephone service.
By 1940 they had approached B.C. Forestry, asking a telephone connection to their system in Western Pine and inquired about secondhand telephones and wire. Then they brought the significant weight of the B.C. Women’s Institute office to the question of rural telephone service needs in wartime.
Eventually the TWI involved the local police at Fernie, the Police Commissioner in Victoria, the Mounted Police, and the Board of Trade to have at least one telephone placed in Black’s store at Grasmere in 1942.
By 1945 the TWI was still reminding the MLA that phone service was not available to their area. Finally, in 1948 telephone service of a primitive nature was secured – after eight years of concentrated lobbying by the TWI women. To honour their creed, they remained apolitical but continued to apply the pressure to get the job done.