Monday 14 August 2017

Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead

This is a bit late in appearing on my blog but, shortly before we left Ontario, we travelled to visit friends and stopped off at Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead.  Unfortunately, the visitor hours had not been updated on their website and we arrived on a Friday, only to discover that the house was closed.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with her story, Adelaide Hunter Hoodless was born here in 1857,  and she was the youngest of 13 children.  She grew up on the family farm, which was run by her widowed mother (her father had died when Addie was only a few months old).

Addie met and married John Hoodless and in the process, became known as Adelaide.  She became a Victorian socialite, living in a grand house in Hamilton, Ontario and bearing four children.  Tragedy struck when the youngest son, John, died from drinking contaminated milk at fourteen months of age.

Adelaide began public life from a desire to prevent other women experiencing a similar tragedy.  She wrote a book about domestic science and spoke to women about the importance of hygiene.  My readers may recall that she featured in my previous post about Erland Lee House.  She was a founding member of the first branch of the Women's Institute in Stoney Creek and honorary president.

Adelaide went on to collaborate with the British Governor-General's wife, Lady Aberdeen, in setting up the Victorian Order of Nurses, which provided health services to women and children who lived a distance from any surgery or hospital.

Lady Aberdeen left Government House in Toronto and travelled home in 1898, after five years of residence.  The following year, Adelaide Hoodless travelled to London as Canadian delegate to the International Congress of the Council of Women, where she spoke about 'technical education' for girls (domestic science) and also mentioned the Women's Institute.  Her British audience were interested and Adelaide was inundated with enquiries about the organisation.  However, it would be some years yet before the Women's Institute as we know it today, would come into being.

The site of the original homestead is  marked by a commemorative stone and a time capsule.

There is a shelter in the garden with benches and I think that talks are held here in the summer - the site is also the official headquarters of the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada.

 The garden is filled with plants which are butterfly-friendly and there were many butterflies and other insects visiting.

 Another view from further down the garden.

A beautiful Monarch butterfly enjoying the flowers.

Some beautiful colours on this fine summer's day.


Although I was disappointed not to have the opportunity to visit the house, in order to complete the story of the Women's Institute, we still enjoyed the grounds and the sight of some beautiful mature trees.



  1. What an interesting post. Adelaide Hunter Hoodless sounds like a caring and thoughtfull woman, with enthusiasm for the things she believed in. I've enjoyed all your posts about the women of the first WI:)

  2. Rosie - thank you for your comment. I'm so glad that you have enjoyed the posts about the WI. I think that many in the UK believe that its roots were home-grown, but I think that it is interesting that it started here and then spread across the world. Marie x

  3. Goodness, she sounds like quite a lady. What a tragedy to lose your toddler to contaminated milk. It doesn't bear thinking about. But I guess it was a hazard of everyday life back then. She's to be greatly admired for taking such a terrible experience and using it as her inspiration to try and prevent the same thing happening to others. The house and grounds look beautiful in your photos. I'm all for butterfly-friendly plants. xox

  4. Adelaide, that's just a sweet old-fashioned name. :) And what a lovely property! It's a pity you weren't able to go in, but so nice you were able to walk the grounds on a summer's day. :) Very much enjoyed learning about this woman and her connection to the WI. It's awful how tragedy is the way things come to be reformed, things not thought of in the first place. Adelaide is still a role model for us all, I think! ((HUGS))

  5. Wow, what an amazing woman! Llanfair PG on Anglesey is very proud of the fact that it was home to the first WI in the UK in 1913 but I didn't realise that it was in Canada so long before that. Very frustrating though that the house was closed, especially when you had done your research beforehand. Grr! x

  6. Mrs Tiggywinkle - I read that the WI in the UK started in Wales. It does have a long and interesting history on both sides of the pond. Marie x

  7. Tracy - it is a lovely property and I had long looked forward to seeing inside. Friday seems such an odd day to be closed, especially in the height of summer, but I think that it is run by volunteers. Adelaide was a very determined woman and she helped to bring about much-needed reform. Marie x

  8. Bonny - she does sound like a force to be reckoned with and a agent for change. Little wonder that she was a founding member of the Women's Institute. Marie x