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Memorable Manitobans: Mary Irene Gurney Evans (1869-1951)

Musician, community activist.

Born at Toronto, Ontario on 13 March 1869, a daughter of Edward Gurney and Mary Frances Cromwell, she was educated at the Toronto Model School, Toronto Collegiate Institute, and New England Conservatory of Music. She was Vice-President and one of the founders of the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto, and after coming to Manitoba in 1901 was President of the Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg (1903-1906), and First President of the Women’s Canadian Club (1908 to 1910).

She played piano, solo and concerted, in clubs and concerts. She was an active supporter of the Winnipeg Little Theatre and helped to develop the Canadian Institute for the Blind. On 24 January 1900, she married W. Sanford Evans; they had one son (Gurney Evans) and three daughters: Katherine Jeanne Evans (b 1900, wife of Alan B. Harvey), Eleanor Evans (b 1902, wife of George B. Binns), and Mary Margaret Evans (b 1912, wife of Chris Sanford).

She died at Winnipeg on 29 August 1951 and was buried in St. John’s Cemetery.

Sources:

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.

“Mrs. Evans, club founder, dies at 84,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 August 1951, page 28.

We thank Keith Jones and Katherine Maki for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 February 2014

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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