WOMEN have been able to vote in Manitoba for a century, and it's a right that should continue to be exercised.

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This article was published 10/1/2016 (1949 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WOMEN have been able to vote in Manitoba for a century, and it's a right that should continue to be exercised.

It's why Carlee Quiring, 25, said she makes sure whenever there is an election she gets out and votes.

"I can vote now because of all the work women did in the past," she said. "People worked so hard for me to vote, and I want to use that right and influence society. It's your choice if you don't vote, but I believe it's important for young people and women to vote. It is important."

Quiring was at the downtown Archives of Manitoba Saturday to view a special one-day exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in the province.

Manitoba, on Jan. 28, 1916, was the first province in the country to grant women the right to vote in provincial elections.

The exhibit, put together in conjunction with the Manitoba Legislative Library, showed how the suffrage movement began in the province in the late 1800s before culminating with the amendments to the Manitoba Elections Act.

The original documents on exhibit included 1893 and 1894 petitions from Manitobans signing in Winnipeg, Stonewall, Gimli and Hnausa, archived pages from the Manitoba Free Press and the original amended act signed by lieutenant-governor Douglas Cameron.

Gary McEwen never expected to find his great-grandmother's signature on one of the petitions.

"There it is -- Mrs. D.W. McEwen," he said, pointing to the signature on a page filled with names from people living in and around Stonewall in 1894. "It's just awesome. To come here and see that is just awesome."

McEwen said his great-grandmother lived on a farm about six kilometres north of Stonewall. He said he never knew her, but he remembers speaking with his grandmother about her early life.

"Politics never came up," he said.

Kathleen Epp, the senior archivist at the archives, said Manitobans know about the role of Nellie McClung in the province's suffrage movement, but many would be surprised to discover the movement started years earlier.

Epp said even McClung's mock Parliament wasn't the first one -- an earlier one was organized in 1893.

"It was very serious. They were trying to show women could do Parliament," she said.

Sheila Reid said she wanted to see where her right to vote began.

"If you think about it, 100 years ago -- that's my grandmother's generation," she said. "It's not that long ago."

Trish Aubin made the drive in from Carman to see the exhibit.

"This is an important piece of history," Aubin said.

"I'm amazed at the hundreds of people who signed petitions and took the initiative to try to take on something so huge. And to have it done 100 years ago, you don't think of it happening 100 years ago.

"It's pretty amazing."


Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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