Miss Gwendolen Harrison of Southampton, Nova Scotia would later become Mrs. John Alexander McIver of Maple Ridge. This training certificate was among the archives donated by her grand-daughter to the museum.
Gwen was born in 1894 and was just 17 when she left her tiny home community of Southampton, Nova Scotia for the big city of Pictou, Nova Scotia. While there, perhaps while attending school or working, she obtained this certificate as a physical training instructor.
Prior to WWI, physical training methods and exercises were the province of military organizations who were preparing troops for the hardships of war. When Canadians were routinely refused by the Boer War recruiters due to their lack of fitness, it was decided that this physical training had to be brought into the school system where exercise and drills would prepare the population for military service. That appears to have been far more a concern than overall health.
After qualifying as an instructor by doing this six week course in 1911, the next we see of Gwen, she has registered for Normal School in Vancouver in 1914 and is clearly on her way to being a school teacher. In 1921 she was teaching at a school in Maple Ridge where it seems most likely she met her future husband, John A. McIver. They were married on October 23 of 1923, while he was Reeve of Maple Ridge.
Album cover of autograph book – The album was autographed with little rhymes by Gwen’s friends as she left Southampton for Pictou, Nova Scotia.
Mr. and Mrs. John A. McIver in what could be a wedding picture in 1923.