Mission Community Archives hosted an event celebrating some amazing local women.
The 25th Annual Women of Mission Gala was held on Oct. 1 and is an integral part of the Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program. It’s a celebration of local women’s diverse achievements, hopes and dreams ranging from entrepreneurs, educators and politicians to artists, athletes, caregivers and community activists.
This year, they are hosting a joint celebration for their newest honouree — a community volunteer extraordinaire and documentary photographer Margaret Peake. She will be joined by the 2021 honourees. They are Barbara Strachan, who is a community environmental activist, and Ann Mohs, who is tireless advocate of Indigenous culture, a publisher, and an award-winning competitive paddler.
This event is held in October during Women’s History Month in Canada to acknowledge both the exceptional and every day real life contributions of women, but like other events has been cancelled for the last two years due to the pandemic.
Here are the three women being honoured:
Ann’s philosophy on life is simple: “…what I do today shapes my tomorrow.”
Ann worked in the Media Department at Fraser Valley College, followed by a position at Coqualeetza Cultural Education Centre in Chilliwack, where her long career working with Indigenous communities began, completing many projects aimed to document and preserve Indigenous culture – notably, through photography and multi-media production.
Volunteering for the Mission District Historical Society for Heritage Week, Ann especially enjoyed working with Mission schools’ Art Departments and senior citizens. Longhouse Publishing – a venture which Ann considers a “bookend” of her career – began as a way to publish her husband’s Indigenous murder mystery novel and other FN related works.
Later in life, Ann found her heart belonged to the sport of competitive Outrigger racing, and so began her new journey.
In August 2022, Ann won gold and set a world record in her solo event at the IVF World Sprint Championships in England, 29 seconds ahead of 2nd place - surpassing her “holy grail” to be on the podium.
Margaret’s lifelong interest in photography resulted in her establishing a business in Mission called JMJ Photography Services. Specializing in portrait, events and documentary photography, she received numerous awards for her work. For many years, she published a highly treasured 12-month calendar comprised of memorable photographs she had taken of Mission, including: scenes, landmarks, events, and historic sites.
Margaret has also volunteered a great deal of her time providing photographic services to individuals, groups and organizations. This included teaching local youth grounded in her belief that “it is not the expensive camera but the person behind the camera that takes great pictures.”
Serving on numerous committees, including the Fraser Basin Council, Barbara has helped shape the path of sustainability in Mission. She participated in important discussions and projects, including pressuring federal fisheries to remodel farm fishing practises.
Many of Barbara’s contributions have revolved around the creation of green spaces in Mission. She has been instrumental in the protection of wetland environments through the Stave Valley Salmonid Enhancement Society as well as the creation of the Mission Rain Garden and the student built garden at Hatzic Middle school.
When asked about the value of this work, Barbara says, “Green spaces remove people from the reality of life that can be challenging… people need that third space where they can connect with other people.”