Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Firsts

This is a list of Manitobans who did things first.

Person

Year

First

Gerta Elisabeth Allison (1913-2006)

1957

First woman in Manitoba to be certified as a psychiatrist

Ida Cates Steel (1866-1953)

1883

First woman in Manitoba to work as a telephone operator

Sharon Carstairs

1984

First woman in Manitoba to lead a political party

Aileen Alexia Allingham Clarke (1881-1972)

1921

First woman in Manitoba to serve as a Magistrate

Ruth Johanna Eden (1966-2021)

1988

First woman in Manitoba to work as a highways engineer for the provincial government

Thelma Bessie Brown Forbes (1910-2012)

1963

First woman in Manitoba to serve as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly

1966

First woman in Manitoba to serve as a cabinet minister

Ella Cora Hind (1861-1942)

1901

First woman agricultural columnist with the Manitoba Free Press

Isabel Ross MacLean Hunt (1894-1990)

1953

First woman in Manitoba to be appointed a Queen's Counsel

Margaret MacTavish Rogers Konantz (1899-1967)

1963

First woman in Manitoba to serve as a Member of Parliament (MP)

Lillian Kowalchuk

1990

First woman in Manitoba to be certified as a plumber

C. Ruth Krindle

1970

First woman lawyer in Manitoba to serve as a prosecutor

1971

First woman lawyer in Manitoba to serve as a Crown attorney

1980

First woman in Manitoba to serve as a judge

Eileen Magill (1906-1964)

1928

First woman in Manitoba to hold a private pilot’s certificate

Pearl Kathryne McGonigal

1981

First woman in Manitoba to serve as Lieutenant Governor

Mary McIlvride

1923

First woman in Manitoba to attend the Union of Manitoba Municipalities annual convention as a delegate

Margaret Stovel McWilliams (1875-1952)

1919

First woman in Manitoba to serve as President of the Canadian Federation of University Women

Marion Ironquill Meadmore

1978

First Indigenous woman in Manitoba called to the Manitoba Bar

Jessie Livingstone Holmes Munro (?-1950)

1889

First woman graduate from the University of Manitoba (Manitoba College)

Florence Edith McTavish Rogers (1876-1947)

1920

First woman in Manitoba to serve as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA)

Charlotte Whitehead Ross (1843-1916)

1881

First woman in Manitoba to practice medicine

Mrs. Rowe

1916

First woman in Manitoba outside Winnipeg (Mossey River) to served as a school trustee

Edna Georgia Mary Russell (1913-?)

1946

First woman in Manitoba to receive an engineering degree

Ellen Ann Melrose Sissons (1887-1973)

1915

Called to the Manitoba Bar, she was one of the first two women to practice law in Manitoba

Susan Thompson

1993

First woman to serve as Mayor of Winnipeg

Winifred Maria Wilton (1891-1952)

1915

Called to the Manitoba Bar, she was one of the first two women to practice law in Manitoba

See also:

MHS Features: Manitoba Time Line

Some Manitoba Women Who Did First Things by Lillian Beynon Thomas
MHS Transactions, Series 3, No. 4, 1947-1948

Sources:

“682 university graduates get degrees Wednesday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 May 1946, page 13.

“Heroines emerge from Manitoba’s history,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 March 1994, page 15.

We thank David Ennis and Ryan Eyford for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 8 October 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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