Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 140 years


Pay & Donate in the MHS Online Shop

Manitoba History No. 89

No. 89

AGM 2019

Summer Field Trip 2019
Field Trip

Fall Field Trip 2019
Field Trip

War Memorials in Manitoba
in Manitoba

This Old Elevator
This Old

Abandoned Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans

Historic Sites of Manitoba
Historic Sites
of Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans: Joan Mary Vassie Foster (1900-?)

Click to enlarge

Joan M. V. Foster
Click to enlarge


Born at St John, New Brunswick on 8 May 1900, daughter of New Brunswick Premier Walter Edward Foster (1873-1947) and Joan Mary Vassie, she earned a gold medalist at Toronto’s Havergal College and graduated from McGill University with honours in English and History. She was then Assistant Warden (1927-1928) at Royal Victoria College (RVC) at McGill University, earning her MA and Moyse Scholarship in 1925. She entered Sommerville College at Oxford University, attaining a BA and returned to McGill University as an assistant in the History Department as well as Residential Assistant and Librarian at RVC.

In 1929, she came to Winnipeg on the recommendation of McGill University Chancellor Sir Arthur Currie and the request of J. A. M. Aikins to become Principal of the Riverbend School for Girls (1929-1934). She resigned in favour of further academic pursuits, and completed a Doctorate of Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College (1935) in Pennsylvania. She taught Bible and American history classes (1937-1940) at St. Agatha’s in New York and was Headmistress [Principal] (1940-1965) of Trafalgar School for Girls at Montreal, after which she retired on account of ailing health.


“Riverbend Principal,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 22 June 1929, page 14.

Birth registration, New Brunswick Vital Statistics.

“New Riverbend School for Girls will open in Winnipeg, September 18,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 June 1929, page 5.

“New School for Girls to be opened in September,” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 June 1929, page 28.

“Riverbend’s new enlargement is near completion,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 August 1930, page 23.

“Principal resigns,” Winnipeg Tribune, 23 April 1934, page 6.

“Miss Joan Foster new Principal Trafalgar School,” Ottawa Journal, 13 April 1940, page 9.

“Miss Joan Foster named Principal of Trafalgar School,” Winnipeg Tribune, 17 April 1940, page 9.

“Joan Foster retires from Quebec school,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 May 1965, page 30.

“Traf: Quebec’s oldest English Girls’ School,” Heritage Quebec, Fall 2012 Vol. 6, No. 7.

Biography [Walter Edward Foster], - Government of New Brunswick.

Speakers of the Senate of Canada, - Parliament of Canada.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 9 November 2014

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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 | 2017

Send corrections and additions to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban  | Our Inspiration | Acknowledgements

Support the MHS and

Back to top of page


To report an error on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

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

© 1998-2019 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.