Honouring Women of Lethbridge 4

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 Grace Dainty and Agnes Short, both important in healthcare in Lethbridge and area.

Grace Dainty was Matron of the Children’s Shelter from 1905 to 1909, and the Provincial Government declared her shelter the best in Alberta. As a registered nurse she opened a private maternity hospital in 1909 in north Lethbridge. It became a general hospital during the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, when it helped treat the influx of sick residents. Even before her hospital shut its doors in 1923, Grace Dainty served as the first public health nurse in Lethbridge, Coalhurst, Shaughnessy, and Picture Butte, until 1929. In her will, she left funds to build a Parish Hall for the Anglican Church of St. Mary the Virgin, which was named in her honour.

Agnes Short was one of the foremothers of the public health nursing field in Lethbridge. She was the nursing supervisor of the Galt Hospital from 1939-1945, as well as head of the nursing staff of Lethbridge School District 51. On top of this, she was the Director of Nursing at the Lethbridge Health Unit from 1964 until she retired in 1982. Agnes Short was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, the Quota Club, Lethbridge Housing Authority, Keep-in-Touch Society, Horticultural Society and Lethbridge Family Services. She won both the Woman of Distinction award from YWCA and a gold award from the Canadian Red Cross.

The last two Daytime Galt Workshops at the Galt this spring, presented in partnership with Alberta Health Services, will take place on April 8 and 15. For details visit www.galtmuseum.com.