Maureen Forrester

Inducted in 1990

Before Celine or Shania, Canada had its own diva in the form of opera star Maureen Forrester.

Born of Scottish-Irish descent in a working-class French-speaking Montreal neighbourhood in 1930, Forrester sang in choirs as a child and studied the piano. She dropped out of school at age 13 to help pay for singing lessons by working as a secretary at Bell Canada. (Additional financial assistance came from the Montreal Social Club.) Her teachers included Dutch tenor Bernard Diamant, a teacher at Montreal’s École Vincent d’Indy and McGill University.

Career Highlights


Made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec


Awarded a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame


Inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame


Toured China with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Quick Fact

She taught master classes at the University of Toronto in 1971-72.


Awarded the Companion of the Order of Canada


Makes professional debut at the Salvation Army Citadel

Video Background


Quick Fact

She did not sing opera extensively until her 40s.