Copyright © 2004-2020 Dawn E. Monroe. All rights reserved.


  The names appearing 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 3000 Canadian Women of Achievement.


Esther Marjorie Hill.  Born May 29,1895 Guelph, Ontario. Died January 7,1985. Esther earned her BA at the University of Alberta in 1916.  In 1920 this Canadian architect was the 1st woman to enter into and graduate from 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.

Catherine Mary Wisnicki. née 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.

Blanche Lemco van Ginkel Blanche Lemco van Ginkel née Lemco. Born December 14,1923 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.

back to the top