City Celebrates Canadian Heroine

City Celebrates Famous Canadian Heroine with Exhibit and Lecture
Posted on 11/01/2019

The City of Charlottetown invites the public to explore the fascinating life of Georgina Fane Pope (1862-1938) in an exhibit being launched today (November 1) at City Hall.

Georgina Fane Pope, a national historic person and nursing heroine, served in two South African Wars and the First World War. This exhibit entitled, ‘Georgina Fane Pope: Inspired by Nightingale - Dedicated to God’, will run until Friday, November 22 on the second floor of City Hall (199 Queen Street).

In addition to the historic exhibit, Katherine Dewar, award winning historian and author, will be giving a lecture entitled ‘Georgina Pope – The Making of a Canadian Military Nursing Heroine’ on Friday, November 8 at 12 noon. Dewar is the author of Called to Serve: Georgina Pope, Canadian Military Nursing Heroine. The free lecture will be held on the second floor in City Hall and everyone is welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be provided.

Georgina Pope was born in Charlottetown to Father of Confederation, William Henry Pope and his wife, Helen DesBrisay – both members of the Island’s elite. Although her social status would have allowed her to lead a comfortable and quiet life, she instead decided to follow in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale and become a nurse. After training in the United States, she served twice in the South African Wars under unimaginable conditions, before returning to become the first Canadian to receive the Royal Red Cross for meritorious and distinguished service in the field.

During peacetime in Canada, she continued to labour to advance the nursing profession, and in 1908, Pope was appointed the first Matron of the permanent Army Medical Corps giving her charge over all Canadian military nurses. In 1917, despite poor health, she went overseas and served near Ypres. A year later, she was sent home with PTSD, or what was then referred to as shell shock. She made her home in Charlottetown and lived on West Street and the Great George Hotel, where she traveled and pursued philanthropic activities. Upon her death, she was waked at Government House and given a full military funeral. Since her passing, she has been honoured by the Federal Government as a national historic person, and a bronze bust of her has been included in the Valiants Memorial in Ottawa, a monument including 14 key figures from the military history of Canada.

All are welcome to visit the exhibit and attend the lecture on the life of one of Charlottetown’s true heroines and a daughter of confederation. The exhibit will be open during regular business hours of City Hall, Monday to Friday – 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The exhibit was produced with research by author and historian, Katherine Dewar, with support from the Prince Edward Island Regiment Museum, Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation, and City of Charlottetown Heritage staff.