Blanche Macdonald

Oil on Canvas, 30 x 36, 1984
Blanche MacDonald
Entrepreneur, Educator

Blanche Macdonald
  • Born in Faust, Alberta.
  • Founder of Blanche MacDonald Centre in Vancouver.
  • CEO of Native Communications Society of BC.
  • Founding member of Vancouver’s First Woman’s Network.
  • Received YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Business and the Professions in 1985.

Blanche MacDonald, a Métis woman of French-Canadian and First Nations ancestry, left her mark on Vancouver. MacDonald was an amazing entrepreneur who started her own modelling agency and “self-improvement school” for young women in 1960 while a housewife and mother. That small school flourished and expanded into fashion and design as MacDonald dedicated her talents to helping First Nations women develop a strong sense of self-worth and security. MacDonald also co-founded and served as CEO for the Native Communications Society of BC, ensuring that First Nations voices were heard around the province, and she launched a journalism program for First Nations students.  She served on many boards and societies, and participated in First Nations and women’s business associations, including Vancouver's First Woman's Network, the Better Business Bureau, the Professional Native Woman's Association and the Vancouver Indian Centre.  For her business acumen and community service, the YWCA awarded MacDonald the Woman of Distinction Award for Business and the Professions (1985). Her best-known legacy is the “self-improvement school” she founded, the Blanche MacDonald Modelling School and Career College. It has grown immensely, and is now known as the Blanche MacDonald Centre. The school has become one of Canada’s premier fashion and cosmetology colleges, with two campuses in Vancouver and more than 1,000 students per year.

For more information about First Nations in B.C., resources available at UBC, or information about these individuals, visit the Resources section.