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Copyright © 2004 2017 Dawn E. Monroe. All rights reserved.

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Famous Canadian Women

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The names appearing below are just a fraction of the Canadian women of accomplishment. Check out The Famous Canadian Women 's section ON THE JOB  which contains mini profiles of 2000 Canadian Women of Achievement.


Esther Marjorie Hill.  Born Guelph, Ontario May 28, 1895. Died 1985. This Canadian architect was the first woman to enter into and graduate (1920) in this profession. This was the era of women's suffrage and it was a tough time for women in male dominated professions. She encountered considerable discrimination both during her studies and while attempting to work as a professional architect. She had problems finding a job and her application to be a registered architect was denied and only accepted after legislative changes forced acceptance.  She survived the depression years with her own resourceful talents by selling handmade gloves and handmade greeting cards.  She would go on to become a prolific and valued member of her chosen profession.                          


Catherine Mary Wisnicki. (née Chard).  Born Winnipeg, Manitoba September 19, 1919.  She was the first woman to graduate from the prestigious Schools of Architecture at McGill University in 1943.  She would leave her architectural mark with modern designs in the post World War II era on Canada’s west coast. She began to teach architecture in 1963 and retired in 1986.


Blanche van Ginkel .  Born London, England December 14, 1923. Blanche and her husband are architects and urban planners.  In 1957 they established their own firm which is known for “Modernist” design. They have worked on plans for old city of Montreal, new Montreal, New York City, Calgary, and even development sites for the Canadian Arctic. Blanche was the first woman elected as an officer and “fellow” of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. She was also the first woman and the first Canadian to be president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.   She was Dean of Architecture at the University of Toronto, 1977-1982, the first woman to hold such a position in any Canadian school of architecture.

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