The following is from Irene Robillard, Federation of Women's Institutes of Ontario Digitizing Coordinator.
As of March 31, 2016 there is now a free online platform to allow researchers to access the many documents the Women’s Institutes (WI) of Ontario have created across the province since 1897, while the original documents remain within their communities. Funding for the project was provided through the Documentary Heritage Communities Program of Library and Archives Canada.
This is the start of our virtual archives and, at this point in time, the following documents are available for viewing and searching. More will be released on an ongoing basis.
§ The complete series of the FWIO newsletter, The Home & Country, from 1933 to present.
§ The WI original constitution, penned in 1897.
§ Award-winning Tweedsmuir Community History Collections which document the history of a community, from 10 Branches. (Private information has been removed.)
§ Three published books on the history of the WI, for our 40th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries.
§ Minute and record books for six Branches, including the minutes of Stoney Creek, the first WI Branch in the world. (Documents less than 50 years old are not available due to privacy considerations.)
§ Other miscellaneous documents, such as a photo album on a Stone Fence Project.
These documents are searchable across the platform, within a series, or within a document, as much as possible and if not hand-written. For those documents that are not searchable, they can be easily browsed.
Within this site is also a record for each branch, district, and area. Each record contains general information where available, such as location, whether active, when organized and disbanded, and the location of the actual Tweedsmuir Collections.
FWIO is applying for further grants to continue digitizing documents and adding them to their new archives. It will take a number of years to digitize and review all the various documents across Ontario. There have been approximately 2,000 branches through the years across Ontario. It is estimated 1,300 Tweedsmuir Community History Collections have been created, with about 1,000 collections not yet digitized. Links are being created to documents that have been digitized by other organizations and available online. Check out this virtual archives.
We gratefully acknowledge the Government of Canada’s support of this project.
Thanks to Irene for the update.