Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 142 years

Memorable Manitobans: Edward Arnie Johnson (1902-1994)


Born at East Kildonan on 15 January 1902, one of 11 children of Gudmunder Jonasson and Katrin Griemsdotter, he was educated at St. John’s High School and the Manitoba Medical College, graduating from the latter in 1928. He then joined the medical staff of the Selkirk Mental Hospital, serving as its Medical Superintendent (1943-1959). He did postgraduate studies in psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts), and Henry Phipps Psychiatric Clinic of Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore, Maryland).

He pioneered the open-ward policy in mental health facilities. In 1955, he became a lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Manitoba, serving there until retirement in 1967 but continuing to hold a faculty appointment until 1971. After leaving the Selkirk facility, he was Director of Psychiatric Services for the Province of Manitoba and Superintendent of the Psychiatric Institute at the Health Sciences Centre. He was actively involved in the establishment of the Eden Mental Health Centre at Winkler, the first such community-sponsored facility in Canada. He was also involved in development of the St. Amant Centre and he established forensic psychiatric services for the province. He was a council member of the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons for 20 years and President in 1949. He was a member of the Board for the Manitoba Medical Association for ten years and President (1950-1951, 1958-1959). Following his retirement, he maintained a private practice in Winnipeg.

On 7 July 1931, he married Eleanor Cadwell Emes (?-?) at Winnipeg and they had three children. He was interested in photography and was a member of the Elmhurst Golf and Country Club.

He died at Winnipeg on 16 October 1994.


Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 18 October 1994, page 29.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 6 September 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.

Search the collection by word or phrase, name, place, occupation or other text:

Custom Search

Browse surnames beginning with:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Send corrections and additions to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban  | Firsts | Acknowledgements

Support the MHS

MHS YouTube Channel

Back to top of page

For queries on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations

© 1998-2021 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.