The Famous 5 Foundation made a statement in downtown Calgary on Wednesday in support of public health measures.
After watching the COVID-19 case count increase, board members decided to put masks on the five bronze statues in Olympic Plaza — depicting Emily Murphy, Henrietta Edwards, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Nellie McClung, suffragists in the Famous Five — to raise awareness about slowing the spread of the virus.
Frances Wright, chair of the Famous 5 Foundation — a non-profit designed to “inspire women to become nation builders” — felt it was important to publicly support mask use for the sake of everyone’s health after watching the numbers climb.
“There has been a lot of publicity surrounding anti-masking protests, and hopefully, this will be a positive change to support the health measures,” Wright said.
“Wearing a mask seems like an easy ask that may protect our seniors and our vulnerable friends. If this helps in any way to slow the spread of COVID-19, we can be proud of our foundation.”
If someone sees a mask on a statue, it’s a reminder to wear one and physically distance, Wright said.
“When the Spanish Flu happened in 1918 to 1920, citizens were advised to cover their mouths and their noses, but they did it with handkerchiefs and sometimes masks and also socially distanced, and that’s what the Famous Five are doing today,” she explained.
“All five of the Famous Five survived the Spanish Flu and went on to campaign for women having the right to vote and run for elected office,” Wright said.
“Then they opened the doors to the Senate of Canada when the word ‘persons’ was redefined, allowing both men and women to help build Canada.”
The foundation is encouraging Calgarians to put masks on other statues throughout the city.
“We all need our masks,” Wright said.