The women of Niagara-on-the-Lake are a force.
That’s not news to anyone who is paying attention to what gets done in town, but it IS worthy of note. And celebration.
Over the past week or so, we have seen what a force of nature these women are.
It started as a simple idea: What should we do to mark International Women’s Day.
Last year we produced a package that included stories about immigrant women, our town council’s women and then-mayor, and a young dynamo, Maya Webster, who had convinced the province to cover the cost of glucose monitors for many people with diabetes.
So, how to follow that up?
What if we reached out to women in the community and tried to get 20 or 30 notable movers and shakers – community contributors – and take a photo of them on Queen Street in front of the town’s iconic clock tower cenotaph? They’d be representative of the women of NOTL.
Talk about an idea that caught on, developed a life all its own and exploded into what we plan to publish next week: our regular edition with a keepsake Special Section saluting and celebrating the women of NOTL. Dozens and dozens of women.
That initial foray seeking a few women from the community has morphed into a full-fledged movement as now well over 200 women are engaged and participating in some way.
The idea for a photo of a few dozen women has now become a mass photograph of scores of NOTL women – from a wide range of community organizations, churches, agriculture, business, sports, education, government, general volunteers and women who have contributed to the community by making their mark on Niagara-on-the-Lake and environs.
We haven’t connected with everyone who is deserving of recognition and for those we might have missed, we apologize in advance. (But if you are interested in taking part, reach out to us at email@example.com and we can send you the details.)
As well, not everyone we’ve contacted can make it for the photo shoot next Monday morning. Some have other commitments, are away and several are just plain shy about receiving recognition for what they do. And that’s OK. We understand.
But this celebration, in conjunction with International Women’s Day, is destined to be a unique and memorable event here in NOTL.
And it’s fitting that many women are involved in helping us organize and stage it.
We can’t name them all, but we want to especially note the help of NOTL’s chief administrator, Marnie Cluckie. Because of the sheer number of women who have said they will take part, we will have to close Queen Street for part of Monday morning (which is also garbage pickup day for downtown businesses; an added wrinkle).
Normally, the town needs four to six weeks advance warning for a special event like this (so businesses etc. can be advised and prepared), but because this idea only came to life 10 days ago, (and we planned it, uh, before seeking all the permissions), they cut us some slack.
Who knew it would catch on like wildfire?
So, thank you to all participants – and welcome to those who still might like to join the crowd.
NOTL women are a force and deserving of recognition.
May the force be forever with you.