Honouring Women of Lethbridge 3

Legacy Ridge in north Lethbridge is one of few Canadian communities featuring only names of women on streets and parks. Many in the city – led by the Centennial Committee for Recognition of Women – championed the idea. Priority was given to those who were ‘first’ in an achievement and had not been recognized previously. The exhibit Honouring Women of Lethbridge recently shown at the Galt Museum & Archives highlighted fifteen women, including Lettice Perry and Pearl Borgal who both led busy lives.

Though not much information has been found on Lettice Perry, we know she was born in 1849 in England and moved to Coalbanks in 1885 with her coalminer husband and four small children. Their first home, until local miners built them a wood frame home, was in a dugout carved into the base of a coulee. Many more children were born to the Perry’s in the following years. The life of a coal miner was difficult; the work dangerous and intermittent. Miners’ wives struggled to buy food, clothing and pay rent on the salaries their husbands received. Coal mines were often closed during summer months and miners then looked for other work which sometimes took them away from their families.

More details are available for Pearl Borgal, who said, “Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it” and was a shining example. Borgal set the standard for women in local sports throughout her life. She started the Lethbridge Figure Skating Club in 1948, and became the first woman sports broadcaster in Canada while working for CKXL radio in Calgary. Borgal was, among other things, president of the Officers’ Wives Club at Lethbridge during World War II, President of the Canadian Girls Rodeo Association, and President of the Ladies Organization for Civic Improvement. She established the Keep-In-Touch Society to connect elderly people through a telephone network; and helped bring the Calgary Wranglers (which evolved into the Lethbridge Hurricanes) to Lethbridge. Oh, and Borgal actively participated in the saddle club, speed skating, swimming, hockey, basketball and golf.

A new exhibit now on at the Galt focuses on members of the Kainai Chieftainship, including Joyce Fairbairn and Adrienne Clarkson. For details visit www.galtmuseum.com.