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.
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.