Adelaide Hunter Hoodless has been called one of the most famous Canadian women yet one of the most obscure because she is known with such familiarity in some circles, yet completely unknown in others. From humble beginnings, Adelaide was born on February 27, 1857 and raised on this isolated farm in what was once known as Canada West.
Her public life began after she became a wife and mother. It was instigated by a tragic event: her fourth child died at the tender age of 14 months. Adelaide was devastated and seemingly blaming herself for this tragedy, Adelaide’s campaign sought to raise the level of education for girls and to put supports in place for women so that they might safeguard their families.
Her legacy is far-reaching. She is credited as a co-founder of the Women’s Institute, the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the National Council of Women and the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON). She was also a powerful force behind the formation of three faculties of Household Science. She achieved national recognition in her twenty years of public life. She died in 1910, one day short of her 53rd birthday.
1910 was also the year Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier stated, The twentieth century belongs to Canada. She had left her mark and her work had ensured that Laurier’s words applied to women and families.