Smiths Falls recognizes first woman councillor for International Women’s Day

Margaret Frances Graham
Margaret Frances Graham was the first woman to sit on Smiths Falls council. She was elected in 1951 and served until 1957. She lived on 52 Maple Avenue North. Photo credit Town of Smiths Falls.
Posted on: March 10, 2020

Margaret Frances Graham was the first woman to run for Smiths Falls council and win. 

Councillor Wendy Alford made a speech at Smiths Falls town council’s committee of the whole meeting on Monday, March 9 in honour of all the work Graham had done for the town during her time in office from 1951-1957. Alford noted that Sunday, March 8 was International Women’s Day, an appropriate time to honour the achievements of this pioneer in local politics.

“There have only been six other women elected to town council since Margaret Graham held this office. Three of them are currently sitting on council,” Councillor Alford said. “I encourage all women to consider running for office at the municipal level.”

Graham was the finance chair and sat on many boards including the board of education and the library board.  She also ran for mayor in 1957, but was defeated. 

One of her most noteworthy contributions was leading the charge to drop the apostrophe in Smiths Falls. 

The ceremony held Feb. 21 at the Craine House in honour of Agnes Craine, one of the first female doctors in Canada, inspired Councillor Alford to look into the history of women on council. 

“I always thought Joyce Brennan was the first woman councillor in Smiths Falls,” Councillor Alford said following the meeting.

Brennan served as councillor from 1977 to 1994.

Article by Emilie Must