Raised on a farm in Manitoba, Bella Hall Gauld qualified as a teacher before studying piano in Germany. Back in Manitoba by 1905, she worked with German immigrants near Brandon. Gauld joined J.S. Woodsworth’s All People’s Mission in Winnipeg in 1911. On his recommendation, the Montreal University Settlement, a community agency, hired her as its first director in 1914.
Gauld studied at the Rand School of Social Science in New York City in 1919. The next year, she returned to Montreal to establish the Montreal Labour College. On its demise in 1924, she worked for the Women’s Labour League, which sponsored camps for poor children. Gauld joined the Workers’ Party of Canada in 1922 and served as president of the Montreal branch of the Friends of the Soviet Union from 1926 to 1939.
Did you know?
The Workers’ Party of Canada was first conceived in 1921 at a secret meeting in a barn in Guelph, Ontario. Gathered there were 21 Canadians and three representatives from Communist International, an organization dedicated to creating a global state led by the Soviet Union. This group established the Workers’ Party in February 1922. Two years later, it rebranded itself as the Communist Party of Canada.
In the 1930s, Gauld ran a soup kitchen and played piano at fundraisers for various marginalized communities. During the Second World War, she was a frequent soloist at Navy League concerts for servicemen. She remained active in the Communist Party until her death.