International Women’s Day 2021: Jocelyn Koeneg, Lee Caron, Agnes Berchaminski and Ethel Stoke

by Braden Murray

International Women’s Day 2021—

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are highlighting the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of Kenora area women.

Jocelyn Koeneg, Lee Caron, Agnes Berchaminski and Ethel Stokes (from left to right) were Kenora telephone operators. c1957

In those earlier days of telephone, manual switchboards were used and operators connected calls by inserting a pair of phone plugs into the appropriate jacks, thereby connecting the necessary circuits. The job involved the technical task of connecting circuits, but also operators had to ensure that their voices were melodious and soft. Telephone operators were trained to use only certain phrases like “Number please” and “Thank you.”

Telephone operators like Jocelyn Koeneg, Lee Caron, Agnes Berchaminski and Ethel Stokes were essential to a growing town and helped connect Kenora to a new and exciting outside world.

Photographer unknown

Did you know?

In 1870 the Wolseley Expedition went through this area on route to the Red River Valley. Major General Garnet Wolseley got impatient and set out to cross the lake in a storm.  He got lost on the Lake of the Woods for two whole days!

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