About the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa
There are Churchill Societies in Edmonton (the first and only such society formed in Churchill’s lifetime), Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto, as well as other cities in the United States and abroad. That such a Society did not exist in Ottawa seemed odd, particularly because Churchill visited Ottawa more frequently than any other Canadian city. And so, in September 2011, the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa was established.
Our mission statement
While best-known for his inspirational leadership during the Second World War, Sir Winston Churchill was also a soldier, journalist, artist, orator and Nobel Prize winning author. The mission of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa is to commemorate Churchill's life by reflecting his values, qualities of leadership, writing and oratory, and his commitment to the lessons of history, democracy and citizenship. The Society's goal is to meet in convivial circumstances in order to ensure the relevance of his example to the generations that succeed him.
You might ask:
It is because he remains relevant 50 years after his death. It is because he remains a role model in so many respects. It is because we continue to look up to the person he was and what he achieved in his long life. In short, he resonates today.
In the terribly stressful days following the events of September 11, 2001, the intuitive reaction of many political leaders was to remember Churchill's poise, courage, refusal to be cowed, inspirational example and brilliant oratory during the Blitz.
He was bold, resolute and honest with the people and their Parliament. His spirit kept the British people and the Great Dominions invigorated and ready to battle on, if necessary alone. When the brave English and their makeshift flotilla brought back more than 338,000 French soldiers and members of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk, nothing short of a miracle, Churchill did not strut or sugarcoat that success. Indeed, he reminded the people that "wars are not won by evacuation".
In addition, he demonstrated remarkable foresight. Moreover, he was not afraid to practise his politics in the wilderness, which he did through much of the 1930s.
To say that he had a way with words would constitute classic British understatement. He served as a reporter from the Spanish-American conflict of 1895 through the Boer War, wrote nearly 60 volumes, more than 200 reports from battlefields, about 630 magazine and newspaper articles, and more than 9000 pages of speeches. He earned his living by his pen and in 1953 won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
You might also ask:
Why a Society?
A Society provides a structure and a forum for people of like mind to gather together and to explore matters of common interest in, one hopes, convivial circumstances.
The SWCSO is attracting members from across the political spectrum who admire Churchill's life and work as soldier, adventurer, traveller, politician, statesman, historian, journalist, author, orator, and painter. Our plan is to have an informative website and to meet no less frequently than quarterly to celebrate him through lectures, seminars, and publications. We of course intend to discuss Churchill, as well as current subjects related to his values and beliefs, such as parliamentary democracy, modern history and national citizenship.
And finally you might ask:
Churchill visited Canada more often than any other country except France, Morocco and the United States (nine times in all). And within Canada, he visited Ottawa six times, more than any other Canadian city. It was here that Yousuf Karsh's iconic scowling portrayal of the Prime Minister was taken and here that Churchill delivered one of his most inspirational speeches during the entire war, which included his famous admonition to the French, which generated considerable parliamentarian applause and laughter: “But their generals misled them. When I warned them that Britain would fight alone, whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided cabinet, ‘In three weeks, England will have her neck wrung like a chicken.’ Some chicken! Some neck!”
The Patron of the Society is Randolph Churchill, the great-grandson of Sir Winston. Born shortly before the death of Sir Winston, Randolph is a principal spokesperson for the Churchill family and a regular speaker at Churchill conferences and dinners. He is also the Trustee of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, an Honorary Fellow of Churchill College Cambridge, Director of the Armed Services Charities Advisory Company (that oversees the investment for over 100 service charities) and Trustee of the Churchill Centre (UK and US).
As President of the Chartwell Branch of The Churchill Centre (UK), the Churchill Society with which the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa is twinned, Randolph already has a special connection with the Ottawa Society. He and his wife Catherine and their four children live near Chartwell, the family home that Sir Winston purchased in 1922, and that, since the death in 1977 of Clementine, Baroness Spencer-Churchill, has been a part of the National Trust.