Ottawa History

Mrs. Bigger Profile

Mrs. Bigger

‘The Whatsoever Circle’ was the first The KDS Circle in Ottawa, founded in February 1889 by Mrs. C.A. Bigger, just three years after the Order of The King’s Daughters was founded in New York City.

Ottawa proved to be fertile ground for the Order. By the end of 1889, the city hosted three Circles, with many others founded throughout the 1890s.

From the very beginning, Ottawa’s Circles were involved in social action. Members visited the sick and the needy. They sewed layettes for needy babies. They even made warm flannel shirts for newsboys.

In 1901 the Ottawa City Union began a Girls Club, where working women would have a place to read and find a friendly welcome. As the club grew, successively larger buildings were purchased by the Ottawa City Union. Berwick Hall at 219 Laurier Avenue West was home to hundreds of women over its 50 years of service, with living rooms, a kitchen, laundry, and 32 rooms for the young women who chose to live there. Berwick Hall enabled the economic independence of women by allowing them to earn a living and live safely.

The Ottawa City Union also played an important role supporting gender equality by providing access to education. Courses in English, Domestic Arts, Business, Music, Languages and other subjects were offered throughout the week at 219 Laurier Ave. W.

As well, the Ottawa City Union provided a summer holiday Fresh Air Cottage for underprivileged children, mothers and babies from 1912 to 1946.

In the 1950’s, the Ottawa City Union sold its property on Laurier Avenue, creating the funds to build The King’s Daughter and Sons Apartments. Since 1964, this residence has been a safe, comfortable and affordable home for thousands of seniors.

While each of these endeavors has left an important legacy to the social fabric of the Ottawa Region, perhaps the Ottawa City Union is best known for The King’s Daughters Dinner Wagon.

Established in 1967, and inspired by the instruction of our Savior to “Feed my sheep”, this meals-on-wheels program provides nutritious dinners to those unable to cook for themselves, but wish the independence of staying at home.

Today, we continue to build upon the generosity and contributions of our present and past members. The Ottawa City Union remains the driving force behind The King’s Daughters Dinner Wagon, while also supporting causes that include autism and literacy, and providing learning opportunities to students through scholarships.