History of The Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre
The Issue of battered women was first identified locally by the Grand Kinosoo Community Council of Concerned Citizens, the Four C’ers, in 1979. Early in 1981, a study regarding the need for a women’s shelter was undertaken with input obtained from all the “helping agencies” in the community. The number of battered and abused women was found to be high and as a result, a volunteer committee was formed involving the Four C’ers, Alberta Social Services, Community Health and Preventative Social Services. This committee began working on the establishment of a shelter.
The centre itself opened in September of 1982, and was run on a volunteer basis until March 1983 when staff were hired. The Dr. Margaret Savage Women’s Crisis Centre Society was registered with the provincial government in March 1993.
A ten-member Board of Directors was established under the auspices of the Four C’ers, but subsequently functions independently and is responsible for the operation and promotion of the centre.
About Dr. Ella Margaret Strang Savage
The centre was named in honour of Dr. Ella Margaret Strang Savage who was born in 1907. She graduated from medical school in 1929 and was the only woman in her graduating class. She was appointed by the Presbyterian Home Mission as the physician for the Alberta Peace Country.
She moved to Cold Lake in the mid 1940’s. Appointed by the Women’s Missionary Society as a doctor to John Neil Hospital, Dr. Savage’s practice included Cold Lake, Grand Centre, Riverhurst, Ethel Lake, Beaver Crossing, Cherry Grove, Elizabeth Settlement, Le Goff Reserve and Pierceland, Saskatchewan.
In addition to her medical duties, Dr. Savage served as a minister of the United Church as well as establishing several youth groups such as Sunday Schools, Trail Ranges and Wolf Cubs. Her remarkable energy enabled her to play an active role in the establishment of the John Neil Hospital, the nurses’ residence, and the United Church Manse.
Her courage and determination remain an inspiration long after her passing in 1970. She was named Physician of the Century in 2006 and we commemorate her and the incredible work she accomplished within our organization.