Date: 1937

Origin: CNE Archives

Toward the end of the 19th century, the Women’s Department began operations in a small space on the upper floor of the old Crystal Palace. While starting out as a small, simple committee, within a few years the Women’s Department had grown and moved from the Crystal Palace into a large white frame building that stood south of the Art Gallery. Women’s exhibits continued to grow, and so did the demand for more space. Urgently needed was an auditorium where lectures and demonstrations could be given. In 1908 the Women’s Building, which was adjoined to the south side of the Manufacturers’ Building, was built, answering these needs. The building featured a spacious balcony on which a great many guests were entertained at tea every day. There, the Directors’ wives acted as hostesses to representatives from women’s organizations from across Canada. In 1956, the CNE began construction on a new Women’s Building. The plans, however, were changed and the building was named the Queen Elizabeth Building. Unfortunately, many of the events that took place under the Women’s Department were not transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Building. In 1961 the Manufacturers Building, as well as the Women’s Building, were destroyed by fire.

Women‚ Buildings and location of selected Women‚ programming

1879-1902 Ladies‚ Work exhibits in Main Building (Crystal Palace)
1901 Annual Report mentions proposal to move Women‚ activities to the Music Pavilion
1903-1911 The large, white frame building south of the Art Gallery, (possibly the former Music Pavilion?) is designated the Women‚ Building. See 1906 Catalogue site map for location.
1909 New Women‚ Building proposed in Annual Report.
1911 New Women‚ Building construction delayed due to late delivery of structural steel (Annual Report)
1912 New purpose-built Women‚ Building opens attached to the Manufacturer, Building (Annual Report)
1916 The overseas troops housed during the winter‚ precluded the possibility of rearranging the Women‚ Building so as to adequately represent the more modern activities of women. (Annual Report)
ca. 1929-1960s West Annex of the Coliseum houses overflow Women‚ Activities
1958 New Building (QE) opened. Women‚ Division uses the change of space to weed out second-rate exhibitors. (Elsa Jenkins in the Annual Report)
1968 World for Women created in BLC. Fashion shows held at band stand.