Herstory

Learn about the herstory of the St. John's Women's Centre!Our Facility

Marguerite’s Place houses the offices and programs of St. John’s Status of Women’s Council and the Women’s Centre. We opened the doors to Marguerite’s Place at 170 Cashin Ave. Ext. in the fall of 2011. At this location we offer affordable, fully accessible programming and supportive housing in a women-centered environment. The Women’s Centre has been offering programming as well as support since 1972 to women in the community. We now have this wonderful new building that gives us larger spaces to assist even more women. Today, we are still open to ALL women and designed to empower, encourage and inform women through different sessions and programs. The new facility, named in memory of friend and volunteer, Marguerite Dyson, operates under independent living philosophy and in a manner that respects diverse experiences and needs of individual women.

Marguerite Dyson

Marguerite lived on Holloway Street in downtown St. John’s and had a place in the life of the Women’s Centre, known to many as a volunteer and as a friend. When Marguerite was murdered, at age 51, in an unsafe, run-down boarding house, SJSWC began to research housing needs for women in St. John’s and across the province.

Through the experiences of Marguerite and others who shared their experiences in conversation with us, in 1997 SJSWC decided to make housing a greater focus of our work. Research has shown that in St. John’s and surrounding areas, the needs of single women, particularly for those over the age of thirty seeking women-only housing, are not being met by existing housing programs.

After more than a decade of involvement in research, lobbying, and province-wide organizing on the issue of women’s housing, SJSWC is building a facility where we can expand our housing supports, and honour the memory of Marguerite’s life.

Initial funding was obtained from the Bronfman Family Foundation and later attracted funding from both Health Canada and Status of Women Canada. Over the past several years of work in this area, several extensive housing research studies have been produced. Our research has shown that many women needing affordable housing are falling through existing gaps. With the addition of eight new units of affordable, supportive housing included in our plans for our new facility, Marguerite’s Place, we are addressing these gaps.

The mission statement of the St. John’s Status of Women Council:

Working within a feminist framework, the St. John’s Status of Women Council (SJSWC) is dedicated to the empowerment of all women. As a pro-choice organization not aligned with any political party, the St. John’s Status of Women Council actively promotes the social, economic and personal equality of women, working to ensure that existing social structures and practices support this goal. SJSWC’s affiliated initiatives (the St. John’s Women’s Centre and Marguerite’s Place) also adhere to this Mission Statement.

About the St. John’s Women’s Centre

The Women’s Centre is a non-profit charitable organization that serves women in St. John’s and the Avalon Region. We offer a safe and comfortable space where women can meet one another and receive information and support.

Self Empowerment for Women

The St. John’s Women’s Centre is a project of the St. John’s Status of Women Council. As a forerunner in providing women-centred services, including self-empowerment, health and wellness, we have much experience in working with women, who are in violent situations, and who have been marginalized or stigmatized. The St. John’s Women’s Centre offers many different programs and services. Have a look at our programs to see what interests you.