The first record we have of organised vegetarianism in Canada is the
formation of the Calgary Society in 1943, then Toronto Vegetarian Association
in 1945 (referred to as the Calgary and Toronto Units below). For a brief
history of TVA see: http://www.veg.ca/newsletr/mayjun95/history.html
The was also a note in the report of the 1947 IVU Congress, held in England:
A telegram was received, from the Secretary of the CALGARY VEGETARIAN
SOCIETY with the message :- "Vegetarians owe a debt of gratitude
to the founders of The Vegetarian Society and to those who have upheld
its principles since its inception."
This refers to the Centenary of the original Vegetarian Society, founded
1847, which was celebrated during the Congress.
At that time IVU only accepted national societies as members and it seems
likely that the Canadian Vegetarian Union was formed to overcome that
restriction, with local societies joining the CVU.
From The Vegetarian World Forum, Spring 1948:
Canadian Vegetarian Association (now applying to join the I.V.U.)
April 19th is a date for celebration for the Calgary Unit of the Canadian
Vegetarian Association. This year we shall be five years old, for our
Society was organized in 1943. Although still a mere infant in comparison
to our sister societies in England, we feel that we have accomplished
a lot in making our voice and influence heard in the community.
During these past five years, we have held three vegetarian banquets each
year. These are our main activity, and we know from the large numbers
who attend that there are many who are ready and anxious to hear what
we have to offer. The average attendance is around one hundred. The dinners
are held in the dining hall in one of Calgary's largest down-town churches.
The ladies' group of the church cater for us and, having become familiar
with the type of meal required, serve delicious, home-cooked dinners,
plentiful and varied. We have recently had the good fortune to hear two
distinguished out-of-town speakers, Dr. Scott Nearing and Mrs. Corinne
Heline of Los Angeles, California.
The Society's News Bulletin, edited by the Secretary, is published every
three months. It is usually a four-page (sometimes six) mimeographed paper,
containing a lengthy article on one of the many aspects of vegetarianism,
a poem, news items - both local and international - a page on health,
diet and vegetarian recipes. The present circulation has reached four
hundred, and goes to distant parts of the world.
On occasions during the past years we have expressed our views on national
and international matters through letters of protest and recommendations
to our own Government representatives in Ottawa; also to the United States
Government, as on the occasion of the atomic bomb tests, when our members
expressed in no uncertain terms their disapproval of the use of the four
thousand animals in the experiment.
Because Canada is the only country in the world where the sale of margarine
is prohibited, our Society sent recommendations to Ottawa that this ban
be lifted so that those who desire margarine he able to buy it.
During the war-time rationing of meats, our members requested the privilege
of using their meat coupons for extra rations of butter. During the month
of January, letters of protest have been sent to all leaders and the Minister
of Health at Ottawa, vigorously protesting the now-existing embargo placed
on the importation of fruits and vegetables into Canada from the United
States. As a result of the ban, all citizens, and especially vegetarians,
are finding it extremely difficult to obtain the proper balance of vitamins
and minerals when lettuce, celery, tomatoes, parsley, grapes, etc., cannot,
be bought in Canada to-day.
JUNE KIMBALL. 2211-14 A Street, West, Calgary, Alberta.
From the reports of the 1950 IVU Congress, held in The Netherlands:
... The Canadian Vegetarian Union was vigorously represented by Professor
Arthur Stevenson. of Toronto, ...
... Brief speeches were made by delegates from the countries represented.
... Professor Arthur F. Stevenson (Canada), ...
... Brief reports of work accomplished in the various countries -given
by delegates from ... Canada, ....
... The following applications for membership of the International
Vegetarian Union were confirmed: ... (2) Canadian Vegetarian Union;
... [resolution passed] "That representation should be
made to all national Governments requesting that provision should be
made to enable vegetarian soldiers, sailors, and airmen to maintain
their fleshless regimen. " (Professor A. F. Stevenson, Canadian
Vegetarian Union) ...
... At the concluding session Mr. Sibly, said that the Congress had
been a very successful and happy one and that it had been distinguished
for the first time by the presence of delegates, as distinct from visitors,
from North America and Canada. ...
... Mr. Sibly was followed, in his expression of thanks to our Dutch
hosts, by ... Prof. Stevenson (Canada), ...
Some Canadian Societies listed by the first mention we have of them as
- 1960 - Calgary Unit Vegetarian Union
- 1960 - Toronto Unit Vegetarian Union
- 1993 - Winnipeg Vegetarian Association
- 2003 - Northern Vegetarian Society
- 2003 - Atlantic Veg Association
If you have any more information about anything on this page please contact
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