Government of Canada Honours National Historic Significance of Margaret Laurence (1926-1987)

News release

August 10th, 2018                             Neepawa, Manitoba                Parks Canada Agency

An icon of Canadian literature, Margaret Laurence is one of this country’s most esteemed and beloved writers. Well-known and widely read, the quality and significance of her works were acknowledged during her lifetime and continue to be recognized today.

Today, Dr. Richard Wishart, Manitoba Member of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada commemorated the national historic significance of Margaret Laurence with a special ceremony to unveil a plaque at the Margaret Laurence House in Neepawa, Manitoba. The announcement was made on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna.

A key figure during a significant period in Canadian literature, Margaret Laurence contributed to Canada’s “literary renaissance” during the 1960s and 1970s. She made significant contributions to Canadian writing through her efforts to establish the Writers’ Trust of Canada and the Writers’ Union of Canada and through her personal support for many writers until her death in 1987.

Laurence’s writing style was rooted in the conventions of realism and the rhythms of ordinary speech, and her best-known novels, such as The Stone Angel, were defined by regionalism and feminism. Her later novels solidified her reputation for depicting strong female characters and the conflicts experienced by Canadian women, set against a backdrop of rapid social change.

The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizes significant people, places, and events that shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians and youth connect with their past. The commemoration process is largely driven by public nominations. To date, more than 2,000 designations have been made.

The Government of Canada is celebrating families with free admission to national parks and historic sites for youth 17 and under, and free admission for one year for new Canadian citizens, starting in 2018 and beyond. We invite Canadians to learn more about our history – from lighthouses to battlefields, historic neighbourhoods to Indigenous contributions to Canada, there is an amazing array of places and stories to discover. 


“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to commemorate the national historic significance of Margaret Laurence. Her best-known works, set in the fictional town of Manawaka, revealed her feminist voice by placing strong women at the centre of each of her novels, and helped establish the Canadian prairie as a literary setting. Historic designations reflect Canada’s rich and varied history and I encourage all Canadians to learn more about Margaret Laurence and her important contributions to Canada’s heritage.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Quick facts

  • Margaret Laurence’s hometown, Neepawa, Manitoba, had a great influence on the author’s writing and is now home to Margaret Laurence House, which was the author’s childhood home and is now a museum that pays tribute to her career.

  • A Tree for Poverty (1954) was Laurence’s first published work. It was also the first English rendering of Somali poems and tales and it has received respect and acclaim from Somalis and scholars worldwide.

  • Margaret Laurence won the Governor General’s Awards for A Jest of God (1966) and The Diviners (1974) and in 1972, she was made a Companion of the Order of Canada for her contribution to Canadian literature.

  • Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people and events that have marked Canada’s history.

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Trish Johnston
Public Relations and Communications Officer
Riding Mountain Field Unit
Parks Canada

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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