Born March 5, 1913 Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died May 13, 2001 Winnipeg, Manitoba.
daughter of architect Max
Blankstein, she grew up in homes designed and built by her
father. She earned her degree in Architecture University
of Manitoba. She worked as an architect for nearly 40
years, at a time when there were few women in the profession, first in her
brother Cecil’s office and then for Hobbs Glass (later Canadian Pittsburgh
Industries). She was the first of few women with a full membership in
Glendale Golf Club.
Winnipeg Free Press,
17 May 2001. Memorable Manitobans profile by Gordon Goldsborough.
Online (Accessed December 2011)
Born February 4, 1952 Cape Town, South Africa. In 1972 Shirley graduated
from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. In 1973 she left home and
went to London, England and in 1974 she immigrated to Canada. In 1976 she
graduated from the School of Architecture, University of Toronto and joined
Barton Myers Associates, Inc. Toronto. In 1987 she became a founding partner
forming the Kuwabara Payne Mckenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB). She has
directed a range of architectural projects that benefit society in Toronto,
Ottawa, Saskatchewan, Princeton University, U.S.A. She is a member of the
Toronto Community Housing Design. In 2013 she was appointed a Member of the
Order of Canada. Review Panel and served on the design review panel for the
memorial to the Victims of Communism. In 2013 she was appointed to the Order
of Canada. In 2012 she was a winner of the RIBA International Award. In 2014
she earned the Governor General’s Medal in Architecture. (2019)
Grace MacFarlane Craig
née Morris. Born February 20, 1891 Pembroke, Ontario. Died 1987. In 1912
she was turned down at the School of Practical Science when she applied for
studies in architecture because she was a woman. During World War l she
volunteered at the Petawawa Military Base in Ontario. After the war she worked as an
architectural draughtsperson with the firm of Craig and Madill, the 1st
woman in Toronto to work as a draughtsperson. She designed and supervised
construction of houses for several years. In 1923 she married one of the
firm’s founders, James Henry Craig. She went on to study at the Ontario
College of Art, Toronto and won acclaim for her work. She exhibited her
works with the Ontario Society of Artists and the Royal Canadian Academy.
She enjoyed sharing her knowledge to inspire younger generations.
Canadian Women of Note , from the Canadian Women’s Press Club 1994.
Esther Marjorie Hill
Born May 29,1895, Guelph, Ontario. Died January 7,1985, Victoria,
British Columbia. Esther earned
her Bachelor's degree at the University of Alberta in 1916.
In 1920 this Canadian architect
graduated from the University of Alberta
the 1st woman to enter into 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. In 1922 she took classes in Urban
Planning at the University of Toronto and then studied at Columbia
University, New York City, U.S.A.
In 1925 she was accepted into the Alberta Association of Architects
becoming the 1st Canadian woman to be a registered architect.
She survived the depression years
with her own resourceful talents by selling handmade gloves and handmade
greeting cards. In 1936 she relocated to Victoria, British
Columbia. In 1942 she won 1st prize for her weaving at the Canadian
National Exhibition in Toronto. After World War ll she opened her own
architectural firm. In 1953 she joined the Architectural Institute of
British Columbia and worked on city planning until to 1958. She would go on to become a prolific and valued
member of her chosen profession. She retired in 1963.
24, 1927 Montreal, Quebec. A trained and accomplished architect she designed the Saidy
Bronfman Center in Montreal and served as consultant for the Toronto
Dominion Center. She won the National Honor Award from the American
Institute of Architects for her work in Los Angeles. She is the founder and
director of the Canadian Center for Architecture, a world-class museum and
study center in Montreal. She is an officer in the order of Canada.
Janet Leys Shaw Mactavish
Born 1925. Died 1972. Janet earned her degree in architecture at McGill
University School of Architecture in 1947. While working for Marshall and
Merritt Architectural firm in the 1950’s and 1960’s he provided plans in
1958 for Beaconsfield High School, Montreal and for Valois Park High School.
In 1962 she designed Stirling hall, the circular physics building at Queen’s
University and in 1965 the McIntyre Medical Sciences Building, also a
circular design, at McGill University. Her modern designs provided cost
savings from reduction of exterior walls which focused on reduction of
windows, indoor congestion and corridor traffic.
Marion Bell Macrae
April 30, 1921
Apple Hill, Ontario. She attended the Ontario Collage of
Art in the 1940’s and did undergraduate work at the University of Illinois
from 1951-1954. She became a lecturer of history of design at the Ontario
College of Art from 1969-1986. She went on to lecture at the university of
Toronto. She has written several books about details of historic
architecture. She was involved with the historic restoration of Dundurn
Castle, Hamilton, Ontario. In 1975 her writing won the Governor General’s
non fiction award. Her works in the profession received additional
recognition in 1982 when she was made a member of the Order of Canada.
née Pupols. Born February 27, 1944 Latvia. As a youngster, Eva
immigrated with her family to the U.S.A. Young Eva would attend Cornell
University earning a Bachelor of Architecture in 1966. After working in the
U.S.A. for a few years, she found herself working in Vancouver, British
Columbia in 1972. She was project architect for several government buildings
and in 1984 she established the architectural firm of Matsuzaki Wright. This
group was responsible for numerous structures including the award winning C.K. Choi Building at the University of British Columbia. Her designs pay
attention to the environment along with an additional commitment to the
community in its entirety. The Choi building won the Lieutenant-Governor
Innovation Award of Excellence and is a benchmark in “green design”. In 1998
she founded Matsuzaki Architects. She has been on contributing member to
several Boards and Committees including the Vancouver Library Board. A
tutorial leader and mentor at the University of British Columbia she is a
founding member of Women in Architecture. She was the first woman elected
president of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1998.
Source: Eva Matsuzaki by Sherry Mckay. The Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica
Foundation of Canada, 2004.
Budapest, Hungary. Died December 2012. She and her parents survived the
horrors of World War ll in Hungary. During the Hungarian Revolution in 1956,
Magda, her husband and their infant son , Peter, escaped at night to Austria
and from there immigrated to Canada. Her 1st job, taken so she
could learn English, was as a waitress at a Hungarian restaurant. Artistic
and industrious she rose to become one of the most famous builders. She
built and renovated homes in the illustrious area of Roseate, Toronto and
Rockcliffe Park, Ottawa. She designed and built the homes herself with her
word and a handshake as her bond. Her son Peter Kellnen followed in her
footsteps. In 1989 she and husband Arthur Pennington returned to Hungary
where she found the use for her North American skills. She soon established
her reputation and was building spectacular homes well into her 70’s. After
a debilitating stroke in 2010 Magda and her husband returned to Canada.
Source: Magda Pennington. The Globe and Mail December 18, 2012
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon , Ottawa.
Blanche Lemco van Ginkel
née Lemco. Born
London, England. Blanche
studied architecture at McGill University, Montreal and graduated in 1945.
In 1950 she studied city planning at Harvard University, Cambridge,
Massachusetts, U.S.A. She was a professor at the University of
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Harvard University, the Université de Montreal
and McGill University. Blanche
and her husband, Sandy Van Ginkel (1920-2009) are Architects and urban planners. The
couple founded their own firm in 1957 in Toronto. .
They have worked on plans for old city of Montreal, new Montreal,
New York City, Calgary, and even development sites for the Canadian
Arctic. They were also involved in the planning of Expo 67. She was
the 1st woman to hold a leading position at a
Canadian School of architecture when she served as Dean of Architecture, University of Toronto,
1980-1982. She was elected as an officer and a fellow of the Royal
Architectural Institute of Canada and was the 1st Canadian woman to serve as
president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.
Catherine Mary Wisnicki
Chard. Born September 19, 1919 Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died October 21, 2014
Naramata, British Columbia. September 19, 1919 she
became first woman
to graduate from the prestigious Schools of Architecture at McGill
University in 1943. In 1945 she
married Paul Wisnicki and the couple had three children. After World War ll
she was employed at Canadian Wooden Aircraft Company, Toronto, where she
studied prefabricated houses, a discipline in which she became an expert.
She joined the Ontario Association of Architects in 1946 becoming the 4th
woman member. Relocating to British Columbia the following year she was the
second woman to register with the Architectural Institute of British
Columbia. She would leave her architectural mark with modern
designs in the post World War II era on Canada’s west coast. developing the
regional style known as BC Modernism. She began to
teach architecture in 1963 and retired in 1986.
top of page