Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Joan Mary Harland (1914-2016)

Interior designer, educator.

Born at Leeds, England on 10 December 1914, daughter of Thomas Henry Harland (1884-1936) and Louise Mary Isabel Simmons (1885-1976), sister of Robert Thompson Harland, she came to Winnipeg in March 1915 and attended St. Mary’s Academy, graduating in 1932. After receiving a degree from the Toronto Conservatory of Music (1933), she attended the University of Manitoba, graduating with an Architecture degree in 1938. In 1939, she became the first instructor for interior decorating classes at the University, leading to the estabishment of a four-year Interior Design degree in 1949. She was the first Chairman and later, Head of the Department of Interior Decorating, the first of its kind in Canada. During the summers from 1945 to 1947, she attended summer classes at Columbia University to obtain a Master of Fine Arts degree. She stepped down as Head in 1967 and retired in 1980. In retirement, she took classes in religion at the University and wrote essays on early Christians. Other writings include the History of Interior Decoration/Design at the University of Manitoba 1938 to 1997, A Guide to the Parish Church of St. George, Crescentwood, Winnipeg (1995), Carvings on the Main Entrance Doors Parish Church of St. George (1997), and St. George’s Church Architecture (2008). In 2016, she was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt. She died at Winnipeg on 17 July 2016 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery. She was selected posthumously as a Manitoba Women Trailblazer.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 July 2016.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 10 September 2016.

Biography, Winnipeg Architecture Foundation.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 February 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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