Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
July 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Girl Guides of Canada


[This article was written in the 1930's and published in 1948. For the precise citation, see the end of the document.]

Girl Guides Association. A year after General Baden-Powell had founded the Boy Scouts Association a number of girls from all parts of England went to a scout rally in London and presented a request that he should be also chief of a similar organization for girls. With his usual foresight, he saw the possibilities of such a step, and, overriding certain objections, consented to adapt the rules to the needs of girls. The Girl Guide movement thus had its origin in the desire of the members themselves. Soon a few influential women became interested, and furthered the first work of organization. At once the movement spread to Canada, and in 1910 the first two Canadian companies were formed in Toronto and St. Catharines. In 1912 the first chief commissioner for Canada was appointed, and Dominion headquarters were established in Toronto. In 1917 the Canadian Council was incorporated by Act of parliament, and in 1919 the Canadian government recognized the educational value of the movement by a grant which continued for several years. Now each company is self-supporting, and earns what it requires by its own efforts.


The aim of the movement is to develop good citizenship among girls by forming their character; by training them in habits of observation, obedience, and self-reliance; by inculcating loyalty and thoughtfulness for others; by teaching them services useful to the public and handicrafts useful to themselves, and by promoting their physical development. It is a system of voluntary self-education through which the girls of to-day are being prepared mentally, physically, and morally for the positions they will hold as the women of tomorrow. The Girl Guide pledges herself to do her duty to God and her King; to help other people at all times; to obey the Guide Law. The training of the members and their activities are directed along four main lines. Character development is achieved through self-discipline, responsibility, observation, through work and play together The handicraft activities are various: girls are instructed in cooking and sewing, in outdoor games and especially camping, in the care of younger children, in swimming and boating. The physical training consists of a degree of theoretical knowledge of the laws of health and a practical application of those laws through first-aid and home-nursing classes and an emphasis on outdoor life. The fourth sphere of activity has to do with the Girl Guide's relation to other people; she is trained to do her daily good turn, to take a small active part in some public service, thereby fitting herself for greater service later, to interest herself in church, hospital, or settlement work. There are five branches of guiding. The Brownie branch admits girls of 8 to 11 years; the Guide branch for girls of 11 to 16 years forms the greater body of the membership; the Ranger branch for older girls provides one means of training leaders; the Extension branch takes into the movement disabled and invalid girls in home, hospital, or institution; the Lone branch reaches the girl in isolated rural districts. In all these branches there was a membership of 46,000 in 1934. To train leaders there are classes and camps, notable among which is the Dominion training centre at Fettercairn island in the Rideau Lakes, a gift to the Dominion headquarters in 1929. In addition to various pamphlets and textbooks the publications committee issues The Canadian Guider, the official organ of the Association. To foster wider interests, the post-box department arranges for correspondence between members in different parts of the world; and to this end also the international conferences contribute. See Girl Guides Association, Canadian Council, Girl guiding in Canada; Girl Guides Association, Canadian Council, Annual report, 1934.

Source  : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. III, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 396p., pp. 32-33.



© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College