Horses, tea parties and one woman’s determination: that’s how the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) began in 1907.
Rosetta Graydon moved from Winnipeg to Edmonton in early 1894, when her husband George was asked to take over a drug store on Jasper Avenue, across from the Alberta Hotel*.
Each day, Rosetta watched travellers tie up their horses in the frigid winter temperatures, without food, water or shelter, while horse owners spent the night in a warm hotel bar.
After witnessing this inhumane treatment, Rosetta decided something had to be done.
She walked down the street to a local stable and asked if hotel patrons could bring their horses to board overnight for a smaller fee to cover the costs of feeding, watering and sheltering these horses. The stable hand agreed and from that point on, the horses were taken care of.
But Rosetta’s animal welfare work didn’t stop with horses.
Concerned for the welfare of companion animals, Rosetta started the Alberta Humane Society in April 1907, which later received its charter in July 1912. This small, dedicated group of volunteers ran the organization out of their homes, hosting tea parties where potential adopters could meet animals and adopt them. The organization has evolved greatly since then, and today is known as the Edmonton Humane Society.
But we wouldn’t be where we are today without Rosetta Graydon: the driving force behind the establishment of humane societies in Alberta and Edmonton’s first humane educator. Her dedication to making a positive change in our community, paved the way for future generations of women to also stand up for injustice and make a difference.
Not only has Rosetta’s legacy inspired other women and helped countless animals for more than a century, she also helped to weave the concepts of animal welfare into the fabric of Alberta’s society.
*Both buildings can be visited today at Fort Edmonton Park.