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Memorable Manitobans: Marjorie Anne Chisholm Johnston (1919-2008)

Community activist.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, she attended Rupertsland School. Her father died when she was 16 and she used her dance training to support herself, at 18 going to New York on her own to teach and dance at the World’s Fair. Returning to Winnipeg she taught many of the city’s young men how to dance. She married her husband Arthur Johnston in 1941, who she met at Pine Ridge Golf Club, and spent the war years moving from Winnipeg to Victoria, then to Halifax. She drove ambulances during the day and passed her spare time playing craps at night, eventually winning enough money to buy a car. After the war the couple returned to Winnipeg.

As a young bride she served as Commissioner for the Girl Guides and then joined the Junior League of Winnipeg where she served as President and that led to opportunities to help develop public and seniors housing, children’s theatre, Age and Opportunity Bureau and others. She served many years on the Manitoba Theatre Center’s Board where she was President and active in the fundraising required to develop the new theatre building as part of the Province’s Centennial campaign. This lead to six years spent as a member of the Canada Council, where she had the opportunity to visit every corner of the country. In 1979 she was honoured with the Order of Canada for her work in the arts and the community. She was also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and the Canada 125 Medal.

She died at Winnipeg on 18 October 2008.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 30 October 2008.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 28 March 2016

Memorable Manitobans

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