Mavis Westgate

Posted by on Jul 15, 2015 in Tributes |


A Community Project to honour women who have enriched our lives

The Ban Righ Centre supports mature women who are starting or returning to education at Queen’s University. In taking this significant step, these women found role models, advocates and inspiration in other women. Then, as they engage in their studies and in their activities beyond Queen’s with friends, family, peers and colleagues, these students effect continual and positive change, extending the reach of their mentors and the Ban Righ Centre. Through “Who Is She?” we honour women who make a difference.

Mavis Westgate

Honoured by: Valerie Westgate

My mother was an only child, growing up in St.Lambert, Montreal during the depression where her father worked selling insurance door to door for pennies a policy, to eke out a living for his small family. He wanted better for his daughter though and saved enough to put her through University.

She started at Bishops University in 1944 – the first year they accepted women – and then finished a BLS at McGill. After a few years with a travelling library, she married and had 4 children – putting her library career on hold for a number of years. Once they moved to Kingston, in 1966, she started at the Kingston Public Library in reference then was the branch manager for both Kingscourt and Calvin Park up to her retirement.

Although I mainly rebelled against my mother’s advice, in many respects, the untraditional choices I made when choosing to be a filmmaker and a single mom paralleled what she did early on in her life by attending University at a time when women rarely achieved degrees. At 45 years of age, my desire to achieve a university degree was a much less rebellious move in her mind and one she encouraged me in. I graduated in 2005 with a BAH in Sociology.