Elsie 150 Legacy Fund

Born in 1872, Elsie Reford dedicated her energy to improving Montreal and the life of Montreal women. She was the co-founder of the Women’s Canadian Club of Montreal. Through her inspired leadership of the Montreal Maternity Hospital, the Montreal Council of Social Agencies and the Victorian Order of Nurses, she demonstrated her commitment to women’s health. She led the fight for access to medical services for the underprivileged. Her example of philanthropy in action is today inspiring a new generation of women.

In 2022, Les Amis des Jardins de Métis is celebrating her 150th anniversary with a series of events and special projects. Our 150 celebrations feature women in various fields of endeavour. To perpetuate her memory after 2022, Les Amis des Jardins de Métis is establishing the Elsie 150 legacy through an internship program that will contribute to incubating the next generation of women leaders in various fields.


Elsie 150

The Elsie 150 Legacy Fund will support internships and mentoring opportunities for women beginning in 2023. We have selected two areas in which Elsie Reford showed inspired leadership and two others in which her legacy inspires women.

Horticulture and garden design were areas in which Elsie Reford excelled. Illustrating the joys of livelong learning, she began gardening at age 54. Over the following three decades she developed an expertise that was recognized in her day. Her reputation as a gardener has continued to grow since her gardens were opened to the public sixty years ago. Offering internships to students who excel in the fields of horticulture and garden design will be in our interest – allowing us to profit from the passion and expertise of women being educated at leading institutions. But an Elsie 150 fellowship will also provide those selected with a unique learning experience and a leg up as they enter their professions.

Elsie Reford’s passion for music and history has been one of the revelations of our research for the Elsie 150 project and book. The music internship will solidify the performance program developed with the Conservatoire de musique de Rimouski. It will allow for the creation of a residency program for young performers and composers and provide them with a venue to demonstrate their skills. The history internship will allow Les Jardins de Métis to continue its ongoing collaboration with the Université du Québec à Rimouski and McGill University. It will allow us to begin to explore one area of history to which Elsie Reford was blind, indigenous history. Indigenous women who lived in the region “were seen but not seen”. The history internship is part of an initiative we are leading to identify pathways for collaboration with First Nations communities and imaginative and sensitive ways to present our archaeological collection as a living testimony to the presence of indigenous peoples in the region for millennia.


Elsie 150 Internship/Fellowships

The Elsie 150 internships are fellowships that offer employment, a residence, mentoring opportunities and leadership learning. Through the residencies, four students at the university and college level will be selected every year to enjoy an internship/fellowship mentored by experienced staff. The paid intern will be provided with a salary for the duration of the 12-week internship, accommodation in the award-winning Résidence des stagiaires and a unique learning experience in a remarkable environment. In return, the interns will participate in outreach events for our members and visitors. The Elsie 150 Legacy fund will finance 50% of the cost of the internships; the balance will be funded by various government student employment programs.


Elsie 150 Campaign

Les Amis des Jardins de Métis is promoting the Elsie 150 Campaign through a series of guest lectures and roundtables over the course of 2022. These events will celebrate women leaders and offer opportunities for young women from the region to meet women of achievement. Our 2022 guests include environmentalist Laure Waridel, former premier Pauline Marois, author and film director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavallette, actress Christine Beaulieu, author and radio host Catherine Perrin and local gold medal Olympian Maude Charron. The proceeds from these events are earmarked for the Elsie 150 fund. So too are proceeds from the sales of the Elsie 150 book, a new book in both English and French that will highlight her storied life, to be launched at an event hosted by the Women’s Canadian Club of Montreal in September.


Campaign Objective

Our objective is to raise $150,000 for the Elsie 150 Legacy Fund; once achieved, we will be eligible for a matching contribution of $300,000 from the government of Quebec Mécénat Placements Culture program. The interest income from this new endowed fund will fund this program in perpetuity.

Les Amis des Jardins de Métis has secured commitments of $50,000 for the Elsie 150 Legacy Fund. The organization is inviting partners to join the project to reach the campaign objective by January 23, 2023, the last event in the Elsie 150 programming.

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