In 1976, four members of University Women’s Club North York proposed the idea of starting another club at a location closer to where they lived. A request to form a club in the North Toronto area was submitted to the CFUW Provincial Director for Ontario West.
There was an informal discussion (over lunch at someone’s home) with the Provincial Director and representatives of the University Women’s Clubs of North York and Toronto (located at U of T). The purpose was to seek advice and cooperation of the other clubs, and to ascertain if there were any concerns that a new club in North Toronto might impact their membership. There were mild reservations, but no objection.
The first meeting of the Planning Committee was held. Nine women attended; two are current members of CFUW Toronto. Each person gave a brief outline of her personal experience and her conception of the new club. The discussion included purposes of the club and draft constitution and by-laws.
April 21, 1977
In spring of 1977, the women initiating the new club put up posters in the neighbourhood and invited friends to join. At the first meeting on April 21, forty- four women paid a fee of $10 to become “charter” members.
In the early years, meetings were held at Northern District Library, and later at Bedford Park Church. Guest speakers the first year included Dr. Esther Greenglass, a York University psychologist who presented her research on gender and Laura Sabia, a social activist and feminist.
The First Year
In her year- end report, the President described the first year as “exciting and frustrating”. The outlook for the next year was to have a smaller club, but one with a more active membership. Over the years, new members have contributed to the growth of the club through their fresh ideas, personal skills and enthusiasm.
The first newsletter (April 1978) noted the AGM potluck dinner, general meeting guest night, and the upcoming tour to the Shaw Festival. Another item was an invitation to a seminar on Canadian unity at Glendon College, organized by the North York and Etobicoke clubs. The registration fee for the all-day event was $5 and included lunch.
Long-standing membership in our Club demonstrates the importance of CFUW in women’s lives. Those who served as President from 1977 to 1982 are members of CFUW North Toronto today. Three of these women were previously involved in clubs elsewhere and for each, CFUW membership spans more than fifty years.