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MSS 189, PC 193 (A.03-117)

Title: Mary A. Wawrykow

Dates: 1926-1977

Extent: 12 cm of textual records, 55 photographs

Biographical Sketch: Mary A. Wawrykow, the prominent judge and community leader of Winnipeg, was the first woman of Ukrainian origin to practice law in Canada, and only the second Manitoba woman. She was born in Wakaw, Saskatchewan in 1911. Her parents Mykyta and Anna Zakus had emigrated from Ukraine and settled on the Canadian prairies. Mary graduated from the University of Manitoba law faculty in 1934. In her student years she was a president of the Ukrainian Students Club Prometheus. She married Daniel G. Wawrykow and started practicing law in Gimli, Manitoba in 1940. Prior to that, from 1936-1940, she was employed in the Attorney General's Dept. In 1942 couple moved to Winnipeg. Mary became a prominent figure in Winnipeg’s law community. In 1955 she became a president of the Women Lawyers Association of Manitoba and was named “Women of the Year” by the Winnipeg Tribune. In 1959 she ran for the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba in the provincial constituency of Inkster. She was left to support three children, Marianne, Donna, and Dennis, when her husband passed away in 1960. She was a dedicated professional who in 1965 was appointed Queen’s Counsel. For her achievements she received the Community Service Award of the City of Winnipeg. The Roblin government appointed her a part-time judge of the Winnipeg juvenile and family court in 1968 and in 1975 Mary was appointed a judge responsible for the Provincial Judges’ Court of Winnipeg (North). She was very active in many Ukrainian Canadian organizations: the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League; Ukrainian Benevolent Association of St. Nicholas Mutual; Business and Professional Women’s Club of Winnipeg; and St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Parish. In 1971 she received Taras Shevchenko Medal during the 10th Congress of Ukrainian Canadians in Winnipeg. Mary Wawrykow received many honors and tributes during her lifetime. In 1976 the Council of Christians and Jews recognized her work in human relations by giving her “Human relations and brotherhood award”. Mary A. Wawrykow passed away on April 15, 1977.

Custodial History: The fonds was donated by Marianne Wawrykow, Dennis Wawrykow and Donna Spanu to the Archives and Special Collections, University of Manitoba in 2003.

Accruals: Further accruals are expected

Finding aid available