The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Nellie McClung Heritage Site, Manitou
Friday, September 8, 2017 – 12:00 p.m.
Fellow Manitobans, friends of education and history, friends of Nellie McClung and her legacy – it’s a pleasure to join you today for this special kind of homecoming.
We are gathered here on Treaty One territory, on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Métis people.
We are assembled today for a special kind of homecoming – for the return of the former homes of Nellie McClung to the community that paid such an instrumental role in her early development as a writer, a teacher and a leader.
To those of us who have been inspired by Nellie McClung for much of our lives, being here right beside her old homes, in the community where she lived for two decades, feels like visiting an old friend and mentor.
Here in Manitou, Nellie McClung taught school, raised her own family, and began a literary career that brought her the prominence to become the leader of the campaign to win the vote for women.
Last year, when we celebrated the centennial of Manitoba women becoming the first in Canada to have the vote, I had the great pleasure of participating at a number of educational events that introduced school children to Nellie McClung and the causes she worked for. This year, when we are commemorating the 150th anniversary of Confederation, this heritage site is a wonderful birthday gift for Canada and for future generations.
Nellie McClung would have been delighted to see her story used for educational purposes. And she would be filled with joy to learn that the mandate of this heritage site is to inspire young people today with the message that, regardless of their circumstances, a single person can change the world for the better.
As Nellie herself said: “If I were young again, I would spend my life as a teacher of young children, doing all in my power to give them a vision of the dignity and glory of being builders and planters, makers and menders.”
I would like to thank those builders, planters, makers and menders who made this heritage site possible. In a short time, I will be pleased to join you in planting a Regal Celebration Maple tree that will watch over this Nellie McClung Heritage Site for generations to come.
For decades to come, the distinctive leaves of this maple tree will be a reminder that Nellie McClung represents what Canada is all about.
Thank you. Merci. Meegwich.