Memorable Manitobans: Mary Aileen Garland (1892-1985)
Born at Portage la Prairie on 5 November 1892, daughter of Martha Huston (?-?) and Charles R. Garland (1868-1954), at the age of 17 she was granted a permit to teach in a one-room school near Kelso, British Columbia where she had lived since 1900. That was the start of a long teaching career that ended in 1966. After receiving a BA degree from the University of Toronto in 1914 (she later received BEd and MEd degrees from the University of Manitoba), she taught at Treherne, Minnedosa and from 1919 to 1938, at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg where she taught Latin and History. In 1939, she became the Principal of the William Whyte School. After retirement in 1953, she taught at the Manitoba Teachers’ College from 1954 to 1966.
She was the author of eight books, including Adventures of England on Hudson Bay (1943), Canada Then and Now (1955), Britain and the Commonwealth (1958), Canada Our Country (1960), Let’s Enjoy Poetry (1961), and Trails and Crossroads to Killarney (1967). She participated in educational radio and television programs. She was President of the Winnipeg Little Theatre, a founding member and President of the Manitoba Drama League, life member of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, President of the Winnipeg Teachers Society, and First Chairman of the Women’s Committee of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She was also active in the Family Bureau, United Way, Age and Opportunity Bureau, Children’s Aid, Manitoba Historical Society, and Canadian Institute of International Relations. In the 1960s, she was a member of the Historical Committee of the Manitoba Centennial Corporation.
She received many honours, including an honourary doctorate from the University of Manitoba (1964), Good Citizenship Award (1973), Manitoba Centennial Medal from the Manitoba Historical Society, awards from the Red River Historical Society and from the American Association for State and Local History, Margaret McWilliams Award (1967), and was one of the Women of the Year in 1954, selected by the Winnipeg Free Press.
She died unmarried at Winnipeg on 13 February 1985 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. A collection of her research materials is held in the Aileen Garland Fonds at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
Her articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:
Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“School principal quits task to undertake new career in Montreal,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 June 1953.
“Charles Garland dies here at 86,” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 November 1954, page 30.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 29 November 2022