In July, 1976, the Ottawa Home Economics Association (Ottawa HEA) along with the Canadian Home Economics Association (CHEA) hosted the Xlllth International Congress of Home Economics and the Council meetings. It was the first and only time to-date that Canada hosted the event.
Held at the then-new Skyline Hotel, the theme would still apply today — Life, not just Survival: Home Economics and the Utilization of the World’s Resources. Linda Reasbeck, P.H.Ec., listed in the Congress Program by her maiden name, Linda Stepenoff, chaired the Organizing Committee. “What an incredible undertaking,” she recalled.
At the 90th Anniversary Luncheon of the Ottawa HEA on June 6, 2023, held at the Britannia Yacht Club, Linda reflected on memories and precious keepsakes from the 1976 Congress.
With 1200 delegates from 52 different countries and proceedings available in English, French and German, it was a major project to organize.
Approximately 50 Home Economists worked on various committees to coordinate essential activities. With the support of mentors such as Margaret Pope and Ruth Shaver, the relatively young, enthusiastic Home Economists did an outstanding job.
Given a budget of approximately a quarter of a million dollars (considerable for 1976) we exceeded the IFHE’s Executives’ expectations and were one of the first Congress hosts to stay within budget and return approximately $40,000 to the IFHE.
Most of our members hosted 5 to 10 delegates in their homes for dinner to provide a taste of Canadian hospitality. With military precision, Margaret Ripley organized the feat of grouping individuals from different countries and coordinating transportation to members’ homes.
Miss Isabel Horne of Australia, President of IFHE at the time, was wonderful to work with and as hosts we were determined to prove that we from “the colonies” were capable of meeting and surpassing expectations of the European and American delegates.
Many of us were young professionals at the time. Teamwork initiated friendships and appreciation of one another’s professionalism and skills.
Many of us remain very active in the Ottawa Home Economics Association to this day. Forty-seven years later.”
On display at the 90th Anniversary celebrations, Linda had memorabilia from the event including a handful of the registrations with fascinating postage stamps from around the world. Clearly, 1976was an era well-before online registration.
Many thanks to Linda for sharing memories of this special event in the history of Ottawa HEA, making the 90th Year Celebrations even more special.
In addition to chairing the AGM and 90th Year celebrations on June 6th, Elizabeth Lee, P.H.Ec. created an amazing timeline featuring highlights of Ottawa HEA events from 1932 to 2023. She researched minutes to capture the most fascinating details for the 80th year celebration and updated the paper history with the last 10 years for our 90th year.
A few highlights that Elizabeth recalls:
BRIDGMAN, YVONNE LOIS (nee BATEMAN) December 22, 1930 - June 6, 2023 It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our loving mother and grandmother. Yvonne was born on December 22, 1930, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and passed away on June 6, 2023, at Simcoe Hospice in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Predeceased by her parents, Gordon and Mayme Bateman; and her sister, Ira-Jane Wilton. She is also reunited with her life partner, Jim Feather. Loving mother of Wendy (Paul) and Shelley (Steve); devoted grandmother to Coleman (Ashley), Robin (Rory) and Carley; and fondly remembered by Jim's children and grandchildren.
A woman of many accomplishments, Yvonne graduated from the University of Toronto in Household Sciences and began her career with Enbridge, creating recipes in their test kitchen. A holiday to England instigated a career change, where she was instrumental in assisting with the launch of the family wholesale giftware business. At the age of 42, she attended Seneca College to brush up on her business and computer skills. Continuing her love of the giftware industry, Yvonne was involved in the creation of the Canadian Gift and Tableware Association (now called CanGift), and served as President for eighteen years until her retirement in 1996.
Yvonne also enjoyed curling and lawn bowling, being a member of the Thornhill Golf and Country Club and the Willowdale Lawn Bowling Club. She also served as the President of the Ontario Lawn Bowling Association for many years. She enjoyed nothing more than a good game of bridge, and was also a voracious reader and could almost always be found with a book in her hand, right up to her final days. For all of her accomplishments, the high- light of her life was her grandchildren. She was an active audience member for soccer games, dance recitals and at horse stables. Her joy was watching her grandchildren grow, and her love will stay with them.
Visitation will take place at the Steckley-Gooderham Funeral Home, 30 Worsley St., Barrie, on Sunday, June 11, 2023, from 2:00 - 4:00 and 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. A private interment will take place at the Queensville Cemetery, 20778 Leslie St., Queensville. Donations in Yvonne's memory may be made to either the Barrie Food Bank or Hospice Simcoe, and are greatly appreciated by the family. Online condolences and memories may be left at: www.steckleygooderham.com.
Obituary originally posted at The Toronto Star Obituaries.
It is my pleasure to write to you after a successful 2023 OHEA Annual Meeting. At the meeting, there were several OHEA Past Presidents present, and a couple of people who attended their their first Annual Meeting,
Then, reports were given, there was discussion about member engagement and elections were carried out.
After the elections, Jason Eaton, Cailin Whincop, Allison Teich, Cathy Enright, Roula Hawa, Mary Carver, and myself, Camille Naranjit remain on the OHEA Board of Directors to serve you.
I am giving a warm welcome to Linda Robbins, our newly acclaimed secretary-treasurer. She brings forth a wealth of experience from her past involvement with CHEA. We look forward to working with her in her term to come.
On a sadder note after serving OHEA well, we say goodbye to Brooke McLean, Taylor Page, Ranuri Kandumulla, and Shelby Weaver, and thank them for their dedication and service to our association.
At present, the branch representatives (except Ottawa Branch as Mary has decided to stay on) and the student liaison will be appointed and notify us prior to starting up again in September.
At present there are still vacancies (VP Communications, VP Social media, 1 VP Public Policy, VP Professional Development, 1 Member-at-Large) and we are looking to appoint members in good standing. Please, if you have a slight interest in stepping up in volunteering with a project or joining our Board of Directors, we would love to hear from you. Also, if you can think of a colleague who is a member of OHEA who may be interested, please invite the member to contact us. We will give you information with no strings attached.
Simply email Eileen for more information at EileenOHEA@outlook.com.
Have a wonderful summer.
At the Ottawa Home Economics Association (Ottawa HEA) 90th Anniversary Celebrations held on June 6 , 2023, Home Economist Elizabeth Larmond Elliot presented a ‘revisited’ talk she had given in 1967 forecasting what Canadian would be eating in Year 2000.
Elizabeth Larmond Elliot is former Director of Industry Services at the Canadian Gain Commission, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Retiring in 1999, Elizabeth has lived in Ottawa for several years where she stays active in several groups including Ottawa HEA.
Originally, Elizabeth’s talk projected 33 years into the future, but she clearly updated it for this occasion and compared — Then and Now.
Elizabeth took all 31 members in attendance for the Ottawa HEA celebration down memory lane in her review of Canadians’ eating habits over several decades.
Canadians basically went from a meat and potatoes diet in the mid-60’s where beef was the primary protein to an era where chicken ruled often served with rice or pasta instead of potatoes. Canned foods have been replaced by fresh fruits and vegetables.
Some promising developments of the 60’s such as food irradiation have been rejected by consumers while others, plant-based protein, for example, have been accepted. One unexpected development is ultra-high processed foods which are high in sodium, sugars and saturated fats. “In the end, consumers rule”, explained Elizabeth.
Trends were influenced when more women entered the workforce. The percentage of women working outside the home rose from 37 in 1964 to 82.8% this year. There was a new availability and taste for global flavours. International tastes increased as travel increased in the past 50 years and the Internet has influenced both eating and spending habits.
Quoting Dr. Malek Batal, Professor & Research Chair Human Nutrition, University of Montreal, Elizabeth explained, “A more diverse population, changing health trends and a globalized food chain have changed Canadians' palate in ways unimaginable in the '60s. When you look at demographic changes, economic changes, trade changes and health messages, you understand food changes." CBC News — 2018.
A special thank you to Elizabeth Larmond Elliot for sharing her knowledge and insight as she helped to make the 90th Anniversary celebrations even more special.
The OHEA Board of Directors would like to offer congratulations to the following members who were awarded the following 2023 awards:
OHEA Volunteer Award Certificates of Merit
OHEA President's Distinguished Service Award
Cathy Boucher graduated from the University of Ottawa in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics.
The Home Economics, Dietetics Department was located in its own small, two story, grey, building on Waller Street. There was a large food laboratory on the main floor, along with a library and a common room. Mme Dagenais looked after the lab, buying supplies and making sure everything was in its place as the labels on the cupboards and drawers dictated. The textile laboratory for sewing was located on the second floor with a few small classrooms which were also used by the Arts Faculty. The common room had green wicker furniture from the Estate of Mackenzie King, as we were told. It was very comfortable, and many students took naps there. We had our own library and librarian before the University amalgamated all the libraries into one. The basement had lockers and washrooms. We were across the street from the cafeteria housed in the basement of the administration building-easy to get there even in the winter. We did the daily long trek to the other side of the campus to take our science courses, biology, chemistry, biochemistry etc. We were fit.
The majority of our professors were Sisters who belonged to the Congregation Notre Dame. Sister Lucie Blondeau was the head and I recall fondly Sister Gisele Dube’ my foods professor. They were all awesome and cared about us as human beings. I enclose a letter of reference that Sister Gisele wrote for me to get my first job at Best Food/Canada Starch in Montreal. I also include a reference letter after leaving Best foods for the Government of Canada.
I was student president of the Department in third year. That meant I attended the faculty meetings which I enjoyed. I was there when the Sisters decided to give us a coffee spoon for graduation. We all received a pinky gold ring with ten facets which was sponsored by the Canadian Home Economics Association, which also came with a pledge.
With the textile courses came tailoring and a fashion show each year in the spring. I took tailoring, and flat pattern design but was never great at it. We had to make a gingham blouse, oh the stress. We had to do food demonstrations in third year and in fourth year we did a major research project. I can vividly remember the demonstrations; I did one on cocktails and Anne Gourley one on sandwiches and Carmen Smith on bannock. My research project was on canola, then known as rapeseed.
There was a holistic approach to home economics and although I majored in foods, I also took the textile courses and family management. That approach has stood me well in a career in the food industry and as a long-time public servant in communications.
Many of the graduates were dietitians who were, and still are, required to do an internship before they become an RD, registered dietitian. After graduation they went to hospitals for their internship. Some in the Home Economics stream went to teachers’ college, some to public service and some, like me, to industry. Twenty-five students graduated in 1973.
Although the Department was disbanded in the 1980s, its legacy lives on in the good works of its Home Economics and Dietetics graduates.
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario was invited to attend the 90th Anniversary and AGM of the Ottawa Home Economics Association, held June 6, 2023 at the Britannia Yacht Club.
Her Honour holds a Bachelor of science in Home Economics degree from U of Saskatchewan and a Master in Science in Behavioral Studies from Utah University.
She is an Officer of the Order of Canada. A member of the Order of Ontario, and the recipient of numerous distinctions and fellowships. She holds 12 honorary doctorate degrees and she is our current, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
Her office was unable to schedule an in-person visit to Ottawa; however, she did consider it seriously. Instead, she sent this letter read by Mary Carver, P.H.Ec., to open the luncheon celebrations.
Click here to see the letter.
I worked as a student with Home Economist, Anne Burns in the Brooke Claxton circa 1972. She authored the famous books—“The Canadian Mother and Child “ and "Up the Years from One to Six.”
What I learned could fill a very large book and her love of all things Home Economics remains with me to this day. Her niece and my friend, Elizabeth Larmond Elliot and I met through her Aunt Anne. May I add--- both very proud of their Saint John, New Brunswick roots.
Farewell to the Brooke Claxton Building — many, many Canadians are healthier and happier thanks to the excellent public servants who served there. A parting shot, the cafeteria was great and the public servants had the habit of eating delicious home made soup during the morning break. Anne told me that was the best example of how food habits rule our lives.
The Ontario Home Economics Association, a self-regulating body of professional Home Economists, promotes high professional standards among its members so that they may assist families and individuals to achieve and maintain a desirable quality of life.