Opening the Vaults: Mountaineer, explorer and Girl Guide Phyllis Munday

Girl Guides of Canada–Guides du Canada was thrilled to hear that former member, and famous mountaineer, Phyllis Munday has been nominated as one of the iconic Canadian woman to be featured by the Bank of Canada on a new bank note.

Phyllis Munday, born in 1894, was enrolled as a Guide in Vancouver in 1910 and became a Guider in 1915. She organized the first Lones unit in 1924. Munday was an active member of Guiding throughout her life as a member of the British Columbia Training Committee and as Wood Craft Consultant and Nature Adviser.  As a mountaineer, Munday was the first woman to climb British Columbia’s highest peak, Mount Waddington. She continued to be an active member of Guiding until her death in 1990.

Some of our earliest photographs are contained in an album titled, “Canadian Guiding 1924-1935.” These photos are from that album.


1925 Christmas greeting card with the inscription, “Taken just at my front door.”


Munday took many of her own photos. She notes on the back of this postcard, “Part of Vancouver by night from our door. This is an exceptionally beautiful sight on a clear night. They are all our own photographs. Don and I do all our own work from developing to enlarging and making our own lantern slides.”


“Grouse Lake. Edith my little girl and I are in the foreground. You can see the tent where we used to live before our cabin was built. We lived there up to 10 days before Christmas last year.”


The inscription on this photo (c. 1923) reads, “Backpacking. When the pack train (horses I mean) are off the run. This is how all our provisions etc. come up. Don took this last winter just as I arrived home. This pack weighed 54lbs – I  never come with less than 25 or 30 and have brought 60.”

See some of the previous posts in our Opening the Vaults series from our national archives: Creative camp gadgets;  1920s and 1930s Campfires and CookbooksWarning! Cute Animal Alert!Our Chief Commissioners; The Maple Leaf Forever.

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