Adelaide’s Legacy

Adelaide is credited as being one of the co-founders of the Women’s Institutes, the National Council of Women and the Victorian Order of Nurses. She was also a major force behind the formation of three facilities of Household Science. All of her accomplishments have had a profound and long lasting effect on Canadian society and all of these organizations are still in existence today.

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The Victorian Order of Nurses is Canada’s largest, not-for-profit home care organization. With a staff of more than 7000 and supported by more than 14,000 volunteers, it is a daily presence in the lives of many Canadians.

There are Councils of Women in 20 cities, in 5 provinces, along with 27 affiliate organizations. The National Council of Women has met formally with the members of the federal Cabinet since 1924 to advocate for policies developped through a grass-roots process of consultation and debate.

The Women’s Institute, internationally organized through the Associated Country Women of the World, has a membership of over 9 million member societies in over 70 countries.

Adelaide’s achievements were indeed very substantial, and they signalled a new era of activism for women at the dawn of a new century. Her death in 1910 was deeply felt at the time yet her legacy lives on today and she has been commemorated in numerous ways throughout the century since her death.

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Noestheden’s Sculpture

In 1911, the year after she died, one of Hamilton’s new schools was named after her. Her beloved husband, John Hoodless, laid the cornerstone.

On October 27, 1937, 300 people gathered to pay homage to this remarkable woman and watched as Lady Tweedsmuir (wife of the then current Governor-General of Canada and herself a member of the Women’s Institute in the UK) unveiled a cairn dedicated to Adelaide’s memory. The cairn can still be found at the intersection of Blue Lake Road and Highway #24, near St. George, Ontario. To this day it is still being cared for by the Brant District W.I.

In 1975, Dr. Henry Heard Marshall developed a rose that he named after Adelaide. The rose is deep pink, with a mild fragrance, and is able to withstand very cold winters. A fitting tribute to a strong and inspirational woman.

In 1993, Canada Post issued a portrait stamp, designed by Heather Cooper.

Postage Stamp Photo

In 2003, the Hoodless Garden, was created as a part of numerous celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the MacDonald Institute in Guelph, Ontario. As one looks out over the Hoodless Garden, one is struck by a silver outline of Adelaide’s face. Cut out of 1/4″ aluminum with a jigsaw, the sculpture by artist Jan Noestheden towers over the close observer. Jan stated, “I designed the aluminum portrait of Adelaide Hoodless in 2000, as an homage to a great woman, larger than life”. Jan mounted it 6″ away from the wall, allowing light to shine through the image, casting a shadow onto the wall that moves with the sun. This sculpture is not only beautiful; it is a metaphorical statement on Adelaide’s historical accomplishments and her enduring impact.

Adelaide’s childhood home was acquired by the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada (FWIC) in 1959. The home was owned by the Hunter family for 55 years, and in the century since Adelaide’s death, it has been owned by the FWIC for 51 years.

One hundred years after the death of Adelaide Hunter Hoodless, her commemoration does not exist in quantity, but it does exist in quality. Women around the world know her name, and through the organizations she founded, people are cared for, women have increased mutual support, and those who work in the home are well-supported and respected.