Aida Flemming, a Canadian educator, author, and animal welfare advocate, was the founder of the Kindness Club and wife to Hugh John Flemming, the Premier of New Brunswick from 1952 to 1960.
Her father, Charles Whitfield McAnn, originally from Kent County, held a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Allison University and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Michigan. After practicing law in Moncton, he relocated to Kaslo, British Columbia, with his wife Ada Boyer. Tragically, Ada passed away three months after their daughter Aida’s birth in Victoria Corner on March 7, 1896. Aida, initially named Ada, later altered the spelling of her name to match the Verdi opera “Aida.”
Aida McAnn resided with her father, his second wife, and their two children in Kaslo, where Charles was a prominent lawyer, Queen’s Counsel, and Kaslo’s mayor until his death in 1907. Aida, then 11, returned to New Brunswick to live with her uncle L. Wesley McAnn, who later became Moncton’s mayor. She attended Netherwood School in Rothesay in 1910, excelling academically.
She started her career as a teacher at Mount Allison University, teaching English and History, and later at Dongan Hall in New York City. Aida then worked as a freelance advertising copywriter before returning to New Brunswick to write for the Department of Tourism.
In 1938, she published “The New Brunswick Cookbook” and directed the radio program “The Cooking School of the Air” on CHSJ. Aida began reporting for the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick’s official records of debate in 1944.
Aida married Hugh John Flemming on August 20, 1946, in her third marriage, as her previous two ended in divorce. Hugh was Premier of New Brunswick and later a member of the Parliament of Canada.
As an active community member in Juniper, Aida organized a local Canadian Red Cross Society branch, established a public library, and promoted reading and libraries. She served on the board of directors of various organizations, including the Fredericton SPCA and the Fredericton Children’s Aid Society.
In 1959, Aida founded the Kindness Club, which grew to 2000 members in over 100 chapters by 1961. She received numerous awards, including “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Humane Society of the United States in 1964, and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1978.
Aida Flemming passed away on January 25, 1994. In her will, she bequeathed a 27-hectare property to the province of New Brunswick and then the town of Woodstock. In October 2022, the City of Fredericton unveiled two benches at the Hugh John Flemming Forestry Complex to honour her many achievements and her founding of the Kindness Club.
In October 2022 the City of Fredericton unveiled two benches to honour her many accomplishments and her founding the Kindness Club. They are located by the pond at the Hugh John Flemming Forestry Complex.
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