Welcome home, Nellie McClung.
Manitou, Man., officially opened two of her homes to the public Friday so more can learn about her story and legacy.
Best known for her role in giving some Manitoba women the right to vote more than a century ago, McClung lived in the town, located about 150 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, for more than 20 years where she taught and wrote some of her bestselling books.
The two homes join a third log cabin visible from Highway 3 and form the Nellie McClung Heritage Park.
About 350 people — including students from Manitou’s schools — took part in a ceremony to officially open the homes to the public.
“It really went well,” said Bette Mueller, co-chair of the Moving Nellie Home committee.
Among those in attendance were Manitoba Lieutenant-Governor Janice Filmon and Premier Brian Pallister, who spoke highly of McClung and project organizers.
“Standing up for your values is what built Manitoba,” Pallister said. “Standing up for your values is what makes you the person that advances through this world and helps to influence others as Nellie McClung did.”
“She advanced the causes of advancing others’ lives.”
Originally located inside the town of Manitou, for years the homes sat on a property outside of town. They’ve now been restored and are back along Highway 3. It was no easy feat — the homes date back to the late 1800s and are fragile.
Manitou’s high school already bears her name and a display was set up to pay homage to her in the town’s opera house.
Committee members described the project as a labour of love.
“We all worked hard and the community worked hard with us,” Mueller said. “We had so much support from so many different people … just many, many people.”
Both homes are filled with turn-of-the-century furniture, artifacts and McClung’s books. They will be open until winter, when committee members will decide the hours for next summer.
For now, restoration work still needs to be finished in one of the homes.
Mueller said the committee has other plans in the works to help Manitobans learn more about McClung’s legacy, including a smartphone app that will help people guide themselves around the homes.