Written by Heather Fitzsimmons Frey
Just prior to and during the First World War, the newly formed Girl Guides of Canada (established in 1909) did a wide range of performances to entertain, showcase skills, participate in rituals created by the Guides, and raise money for various causes such as the Red Cross, local hospitals, and going to camp. These included musical concerts, dance performances, 'Empire' pageants and tableaux as well as plays, operettas, and comedic sketches written by the girls or their troupe leaders. There were also 'spectacles' of physical culture (also called Swedish exercises or gymnastics), demonstrations of First Aid skills and military drills (such as flag signaling), and other forms of performance such as rituals, marches, and ceremonies directly related to the Girl Guides' activities and achievements (receiving badges or honours, “flying up” to a higher level, etc.). The culture and goals of the Girl Guides suggest that girls had a great deal of control over the content of these performances, and they probably built their costumes, props, and sets themselves.
The following documents are from the Girl Guides of Canada Archive where researches can find scrapbooks that contain images and reports from across Canada, including photographs, newspaper clippings, and performance programmes, starting in 1913 and reaching to the present day.
Click on an image to learn more.