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Victoria's first female mayor honoured with tree in Mayor's Grove

Last Updated Jul 6, 2019 at 6:55 pm PST

(Source: City of Victoria)
Summary

A Garry Oak tree was planted to honour the career of Victoria's first female mayor Gretchen Mann Brewin

Brewin is the first female leader to be celebrated in this way

Current mayor Lisa Helps says it's a pivotal moment for her city, and sends a strong message to young women everywhere

VICTORIA (NEWS1130) — For the first time, a tree honouring a woman has been planted in Victoria’s Mayor’s Grove at Beacon Hill Park.

This morning a Garry Oak tree was planted to honour the career of  Gretchen Mann Brewin, who served as Victoria’s mayor from 1985 to 1990.

Current mayor Lisa Helps says it’s a pivotal moment for her city, and sends a strong message to young women everywhere.

“To be a woman leader in the 1980’s, to be the first woman mayor of the city of Victoria was obviously very challenging. I’m sure that she had many struggles. It’s also important symbolically because still–being a woman leader–there are many challenges and many struggles.”

Helps says Brewin has served as a role model for many women, including herself.

“I think it was appropriate that the first female mayor was commemorated by the second female mayor,” she says.

Helps also hopes that this public celebration of a female leader acts as an antidote to the misogyny that women in public life and on social media are too often confronted with.

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Thirty-five trees have been planted in the Mayor’s Grove since it was first established in 1927.

Helps explains that almost all of the trees planted over the years have been in honour of visittng dignitaries, like Winston Churchill.

“The extra significance of the planting of the tree today is that she is only the second local mayor to have a tree planted in her name. It was a remarkable morning,” Helps says.

Colleagues of Brewin’s came out to celebrate and they told Helps they are grateful for the time and space to pay tribute.