International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8. Here are some local ladies who have set the bar high.
I bet you didn’t know that the Vancouver Police Department hired the first female police officers in all of Canada. Well it’s true. Vancouverites Minnie Millar and Lurancy Harris were the first women on the force, joining the VPD June 18, 1912.
100 or so years later, the Vancouver Police Museum is honouring the achievements of these remarkable women, and all the VPD women since. Women in Policing puts the spotlight on landmark achievements of women on the force. The fascinating exhibit illustrates the struggle for gender equality in the VPD with anecdotes, interactive audio-visual elements, uniforms and photographs and other memorabilia.
You’ll find it all at the Vancouver Police Museum, located in the the historic City Morgue and Coroner’s Court in downtown Vancouver at 240 E. Cordova Street.
Get a sneak peek at the Women in Policing exhibit, including a shot of the notorious “Bunny Bus,” after the jump.
Among duties such as patrol and youth liaison work, the majority of the Women’s Division’s time was spent with car 39 – aka the “Bunny Bus” in the 1960s. The small van was used to take female prisoners to and from Oakalla Prison.
Lurancy Harris (pictured) and Minnie Millar were the first two women to be given the power and title of police officers in the VPD – making them the first female officers in Canada.
From the VPM blog: “Mrs. Harris and Minnie Millar were hired and assigned to duty with the Detective Department with the rank of 4th Class Constable, becoming the first women in Canada to be sworn in with “full police powers”.
In the course of their duties, they patrolled dance halls, cabarets, pool halls, beer parlours, parks, beaches and ‘any areas of amusement where women might get into trouble.’
Read more on Mrs. Harris’ first big case – the arrest of alleged murderer Lorena Mathews – here.
“The Women in Policing exhibit is a tribute to the trailblazing women who made everything possible,” say Kristin Fairbairn-Hardie, museum curator. “Today’s VPD is a great example of women’s empowerment and gender equality in a traditionally male-dominated institution.”
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