Parks Canada

Parks Canada

July 07, 2009 11:47 ET

Government of Canada Celebrates the Historical Significance of Ethel Johns

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 7, 2009) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today celebrated the national historic significance of Ethel Johns, whom he designated a National Historic Person of Canada, on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

"Our Government is pleased and honoured to commemorate Ethel Johns," said Minister Prentice. "Johns' contribution to nursing and achievements in advancing the role of women in education and the workplace is something of which all Canadians can be proud."

"Ethel Johns became the first director of the Department of Nursing at the University of British Columbia," said the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade, Minister for the Asia Pacific Gateway and Regional Minister for the Province of B.C. "Her professional path was exceptional. From 1919 to 1925, she successfully established the first university degree program in nursing in Canada, thus laying the groundwork for the future of nursing education in Canada in the 20th century."

"The B.C. History of Nursing Society, along with the University of British Columbia School of Nursing, is thrilled to learn of the designation of Ethel Johns, whose extraordinary pioneering efforts in nursing education, international nursing, and nursing journalism marked her as an outstanding Canadian figure", said Kathy Murphy, president of the BC History of Nursing Society. "Her drive to improve education for women and nurses led to the establishment of the first nursing degree program in the British Empire at the University of British Columbia for which we are truly grateful."

Johns was a leader in the nursing field at a time when nurses were considered subservient to the medical profession. Her strong steady voice inspired confidence in the local nursing community, her crucial role in the introduction of university training established new standards and expectations in Canada and her participation in prestigious nursing projects abroad promoted the spirit of nursing on an international level.

Parks Canada works to ensure that Canada's historic and natural heritage is presented and protected for the enjoyment, education, appreciation and inspired discovery of all Canadians, today and in the future.

Also available on the Internet at under Media room.

Contact Information

  • Parks Canada
    Alison Manley
    Manager, External Relations, Coastal BC Field Unit