This virtual exhibit was created by the Royal Alberta Museum in 2010 in accordance with the standards and best practices of the time. It may include outdated applications that may not be compatible with more recent browsers and other technologies, including assistive technologies. It is being retained for research and reference purposes although information contained within the exhibit, particularly links to other content, may also be out-of date. Any enquiries or comments related to this exhibit should be directed to the Royal Alberta Museum.

The Government of Alberta, Royal Alberta Museum gratefully acknowledges the financial investment by the Department of Canadian Heritage in the creation of this online presentation for the Virtual Museum of Canada.



  • The Virtual Museum of Canada
    Alberta Employment and Immigration, Francophone Secretariat
  • Young Canada Works

The Edmonton Cultural Capital Community Arts Program, City of Edmonton, and Department of Canadian Heritage supported the development of a video/ballad by singer/songwriter Maria Dunn and filmmaker Don Bouzek of Ground Zero Productions.

Maria Dunn

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GWG: Piece by Piece multimedia show, with songs written by Juno-nominated songwriter Maria Dunn and video by filmmaker Don Bouzek, tells the stories of immigrant women who worked in Edmonton's GWG clothing factory over its 93-year history, interweaving songs inspired by their stories with clips from their video interviews. Music performed in Edmonton May 7, 2009 by: Maria Dunn (vocal, guitar, accordion), Shannon Johnson (vocal, violin), Sharmila Mathur (vocal, sitar, percussion). (1:17)

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The following organizations supported earlier research within the Piece by Piece collaboration:

  • Alberta Historical Resources Foundation
  • Alberta Museums Association
  • Edmonton Community Foundation
  • University of Alberta.

Thanks to...

Nellie Engley being interviewed by Catherine C. Cole the many former GWG and Levi Strauss plants workers who agreed to be interviewed or provided information, artifacts or photographs during this study.


Susan Gamble of the Brantford Expositor who wrote a column about this project, and to the former workers and their family members who responded, including: Brenda Bridgewater, Don Camp, Dorothy Caskenette, Clare Churchward, Debbie Dowling, Karl Edmison, Norma Farrish, Patricia Grikinis, Nirmala Jilka, Lloyd Kitchen, Gregg Lloyd, Harry Lloyd, Kim Mannen, Ada Near, Paul Near, and Larry Wilson; as well as to the Brant Historical Society and the Brantford Public Library.


Levi Strauss for generously allowing the Piece by Piece project to document manufacturing processes in the Edmonton plant in the weeks before the plant closed and for introducing researchers to plant workers willing to be interviewed, and to Local 120 UFCW (formerly UGWA) for providing access to archival records. Thanks also to former workers Helen Allan (nee Schwindt); Merlin Beharry; Kulminder Bolina; Susan Bui; Anne Broad (nee Baranyk); Janet Cardinal; Mee Chan; Assunta Dotto; Nellie Engley; Don Freeland; Emma Gilbertson; Eileen Hatch; Barb Heath; Hilary Hellum; Norah Hook; Zi Hua Hu; Sadat Khan; Bhubinder Kullar; Meena Jassal; Shirley Law; Suet Lee; Chee Luck Mah; Jo-Anne Mack; Hang Sau Mah; Julie Mah; Virginia Mah; Kim Ngo; Joyce Nimrichter; Anne Ozipko; Dale Pearn; Hana Razga, Annette Richardson; Bob Robinson; Mary Romanuk; Virginia Sauve; Sarojni Siwami; Giuseppina Tagliente; Chris Tigeris; Sum Yuk Wong; Tommy Wong; Elizabeth Kozma; Emily Waggott (nee Gale); Beverly Walker; Beulah Williams (nee Nelson); Yeandle Ilene; Lillian Wasylynchuk; and Judy Sillito.


Patrick Hayes at the University of Saskatchewan Archives; the staff of the Saskatoon Local History Room; Jeff O'Brian at the Saskatoon City Archives; staff at the Saskatchewan Western Development Museum; to former GWG workers: Helen Faulkner, Aleta Jorgenson, Anita Messaros, Barb Money, Bernie Rousell and Terry Wishlow.

Team Members

Project Management

Cathy Roy, Curator of Western Canadian History, Royal Alberta Museum

Conceptualization & Project Management

Catherine C. Cole, Principal Consultant, Catherine C. Cole & Associates

Audio/Video Development

Don Bouzek, D.Active Productions

Content Development

  • Jessica King, Program/Volunteer Coordinator, Provincial Archives of Alberta
  • Irene Jendzjowsky, Director, Access and Preservation Services, Provincial Archives of Alberta

Web Design & Development

  • Bryan Kulba, Kobot Industries Digital Media
  • Stefan Duret, Kobot Industries Digital Media
  • Matthias Reinicke, Lime Design

Editing & Translation

English Editing & Coordination of Translation

Lou Morin

French Translation

Bérengère de Guernon

French Editing

Geneviève Beullac

Photography & Scanning

  • Andrena Shaw, who photographed the Levi Strauss plant in February 2004 shortly before it closed
  • Lucie Heins, Assistant Curator, Western Canadian History, Royal Alberta Museum
  • Carrie Lunde, Jennifer Weir, Rebecca King, student assistants on the GWG collection
  • Kirsti Tamblyn, Ariane Lemire, Randy Robinson for D.Active Productions
  • Katie Roth, Reprographics Technician, Provincial Archives of Alberta


  • Maria Dunn
  • Lan Chan Marples
  • Marlena Wyman, AV Archivist, Provincial Archives of Alberta
  • Nichole Quiring, Catherine C. Cole & Associates
  • Joan Schiebelbein, University of Alberta
  • Sara King, Provincial Archives of Alberta


Royal Alberta Museum Web Committee: Albert Finnamore; David Parama; Hannah Aaron; Heidi Hoflin; Mike Luchanski; Sean Moir; Todd Crawshaw; John Bender

Front End Evaluation

Wally Diefenthaler; Douglas Davis; Jonathan Midgely; Tim Marriott

Content Review

Don Bouzek; Dorothy Caskanette; Catherine C. Cole; Maria Dunn; Raymond Glenn Eliott; Alvin Finkel; Don Freeland; Ian McDonald; Louise Duguay; Jessica King; Harry Lloyd; Lan Chan Marples; Dale Pearn; Cathy Roy; Virginia Sauve; Keith B. Smith; Linda Tzang; Beverly Walker


Lucie Bettez graduated from Concordia University and is currently completing her Masters in Applied History at Université du Québec à Montréal. She wrote "Cent jours dans la vie des Campivallensiennes" published in Labour/Le Travail Fall 2008, and has an interest in women's history and early 20th century Canadian history.

Catherine C. Cole, MA, is an Edmonton-based heritage consultant. She has written "Working Conditions in Edmonton's Garment Manufacturing Industry, 1911-1945," in Edmonton: The Life of a City, B. Hesketh & F. Swyripa eds., Edmonton and District Historical Society, 1995; The Great Western Garment Company, 1911-1939: 'Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy's Chowder?' Alberta Museums Association, Occasional Paper 1, 1989; and Garment Manufacturing in Edmonton, 1911-1939, MA Thesis, University of Alberta, 1988.

Victoria Lamb Drover graduated from Mount Allison University in 2005 with a BA Honors in History. She is currently completing her MA in History at the University of Saskatchewan.

Raymond Glenn Elliott developed an extensive collection of GWG clothing and paraphernalia while working on an identification guide.

Ian McDonald grew up in Alberta in the 1950s and recently retired from a long career at the University of Toronto.

Katherine Milliken is a western Canadian history researcher and writer. She has worked on Alberta history websites and a book project and, while at the Royal Alberta Museum, she assisted in the curating of exhibitions. Katherine has an MA in History of Art, Design and Visual Culture from the University of Alberta and is interested in local history, photography and painting.

Murray Peterson has been a freelance historian, writer and educator for over two decades. From his Winnipeg office he has travelled across western Canada researching a wide range of topics and telling the stories of the people, places and themes that make our history rich and interesting.

Cathy Roy, BA, MSc History of Dress, is Curator of Western Canadian History at the Royal Alberta Museum. She had a career as a tailor and cutter of men's wear prior to becoming interested in historic dress and museums.

Keith B. Smith, M. Photog., is the son of the late Hall K. Smith. Keith Smith has received numerous honours and awards in Canada and internationally for his creatively distinctive professional photography.