Canadian Institue Of Planners

Shaping our Communities
Sustaining Canada's Future.

Blanche Lemco van Ginkel CM, FCIP (d)

Blanche Lemco van Ginkel can truly be described as a pioneering woman in the fields of planning and architecture in Canada. Highlights from her planning career, which began in the 1940s, include work on early plans for Bowring Park NL, Bathurst NB, Meadowvale ON, Regina SK, influential studies of the Port of Montréal, Midtown Manhattan and Vieux Montréal, and serving as a member of the planning team for Expo 67 in Montréal. An engaged citizen, Blanche, together with Sandy (H.P.D.) van Ginkel, was the earliest opponent of the demolition of Vieux Montréal, organizing planning professionals to oppose an expressway that would have eliminated the historic heart of the city. Blanche taught for over 30 years at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard GSD, Université de Montréal, McGill and the University of Toronto, where she was Dean, mentoring hundreds of students and becoming an inclusive role model for young professionals. This trailblazer was one of the first female members of the TPIC (now CIP) and the first woman elected as a TPIC Councillor in 1962. Blanche was the first female Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1973, and, in 1977, became the first woman to be appointed as a Dean of Architecture in Canada. She was a founding member of l’Ordre des urbanistes du Québec, which established the Prix Blanche Lemco van Ginkel in her honour. A Member of the Order of Canada, Blanche has received numerous practice, academic, service awards, including the International Federation of Housing and Planning Grand Prix and the Massey Medal.