OurDigitalWorld is very pleased to have been involved in this project, working with the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario for more the past 4 years, processing the materials for full text search and hosting the materials for search and discovery via the VITA Digital Toolkit.

From a Press release from Irene Robillard, Federation of Women’s Institutes of Ontario:

The Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario completed its three-year project through the Documentary Heritage Communities Program of Library and Archives Canada on March 31st, 2020. During this time 225,000 pages have been digitized and added to our Virtual Archives, most being our Tweedsmuir Community History Collections.  These collections, with many starting in 1947, contain the history of a local community and can include farm and family histories, biographies, and photos.  

Books from as far north as Cochrane in the northeast and Kenora in the northwest, down to beyond London in southwestern Ontario, the Ottawa Valley in the east, and many books in between were brought to a central digitizing site and then returned.  Some books were found that we were not aware of, and one book was saved from destruction.

We have fostered positive relationships with archives, museums, libraries, and historical societies throughout Ontario, with a few using our Virtual Archives to put their previously-digitized Women’s Institutes (WI) documents online. As well, some WI branches and districts have self-funded digitizing.

About half of the documents have not yet been opened to the public, as they need to be reviewed for privacy concerns. This will happen over the next year or two. As well, there are many more books to be digitized [with] a waiting list for digitizing from branches, districts, and holding organizations.

The public can freely access the Virtual Archives at http://collections.fwio.on.ca/search. As well, the FWIO records as well as Women’s Institutes records from other organizations can be found through the WI portal: http://portal.fwio.on.ca.

If you have a suggestion of other resources to be added to the collection, please contact the FWIO or OurDigitalWorld at info@ourdigitalworld.org.