Mary Edith Tyrell

Awards and Recognition

  • Inducted to the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, 2021

Words of Recognition

“I have been touched many times by the legacy of the founder of WAMIC. THat $2,000 was then a princely sum for a student. In the 80s and 90s I saw WAMIC members tirelessly support the PDAC and CIM conventions when those organization were so much more dependent on volunteers than today. I am grateful to both Edith Tyrell and the WAMIC orgnization she created”

– David Harquail, chariman of Franco-Nevada’s board of directors, noting that as a mining student he received an ‘Edith Tyrell’ scholarship


Mary Edith Tyrell (née Carey) was born in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1870. Due to being born weighing only three pounds, she was not strong enough to attend school. However, she spent a considerable amount of time in the family library. Her father believed in the higher education women. After 17 years in Saint John, the family moved to England and Mary attended high school there. Size years later, they moved back to Canada, this time to Ottawa, Ontario. This is where Mary met Joseph Burr Tyrell, who would eventually become her husband. He was a renowned explorer and map-maker with the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) and was often away on long expeditions.

Together, the Tyrells had 3 children and travelled extensively, including to the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush. In 1905, they moved to Toronto, where he could further his mining geology consultant business. By his side, she saw mane major discoevries being made in northern Ontario and across Canada. During the War, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers; she saw the need for a similar group in Canada.

In 1921, after having experienced many separations experienced by mining families, she, alongside 19 other mining wives, launched the Women’s Association of the Mining Industry of Canada (WAMIC). The organisation’s objective were, and remain to this day, to promote friendship among mining women, render service to the mining industry and contribute to the well-being of the community. She was WAMIC’s president for the first 3 years and members supported worthy causes that mirrored the times: war veterans in the 1920s, schools and disaster relief in the 1930s, and the war effort in the 1940s.

Since its inception, WAMIC has overseen the distribution of $1,800,000 in charitable donations and support for students and educational institutions. This includes more than $300,000 to charities, more than $300,000 in scholarships and bursaries, and over $600,000 to deserving students as part of the Sophia Wood bequest. More than $600,000 was also distributed to universities and the KEGS Foundation as the WAMIC Foundation wound down in 2010. WAMIC has helped the industry transition from a fraternity to an inclusive community.