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Memorable Manitobans: Henry Enns (1943-2002)

Community activist.

Born at Burwald, Ukraine on 29 May 1943, son of George and Anna Enns, he contracted rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 15, which led him to a life-long career in raising the profile of people with disabilities.

Beginning with the Manitoba League of the Physically Handicapped, where he worked from 1976 to 1979, he was one of the founders of the Coalition of Provincial Organizations of the Handicapped. He initiated the first Independent Living Centre in Canada at Kitchener, Ontario in 1982 and was a founding member of the Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres in 1985. In 1980, he was instrumental in moving Disabled Peoples International headquarters from Stockholm, Sweden to Winnipeg, serving as its Deputy Chair, Chairperson, and eventually Executive Director (1990 to 1995). At the time of his death, he was Executive Director of the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies.

In 1988, he was recognized by the Canadian Government with a Citation for Citizenship. In 1992, he received the President’s Award for Humanitarian Service, the first non-American to be so honoured. He was given honorary doctorates by Queen’s University (Kingston, 1992) and the University of Manitoba (1993).

He died at Colombo, Sri Lanka on 13 August 2002.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 August 2002.

“They will never be forgotten,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2002, pages A8-A9.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 12 July 2015

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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