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About Mary Filer

Mary Filer is remembered as a talented artist and master of several mediums, including drawing, painting, glass sculpture, and mural work. Born in Edmonton (AB) in 1920, she was a gifted student with a love for music, acting, art and costume design. She moved to Regina (SK) and attended Lakeview Elementary School. After that, Mary moved on to Balfour Technical School, where she was encouraged to develop artistic skills under the tutelage of Garnet Hazard from 1939-1941.

Upon completing nursing studies at Regina General Hospital in 1944, Filer began training at McGill University’s Neurological Institute (QC). Here, she completed a large wall mural, The Advance of Neurology (1954), on a boardroom wall where it remains to this day. She continued her artistic training in parallel, studying at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ School of Art and Design under Arthur Lismer. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at McGill in 1950, where she later taught.

In 1952 she moved on to Pennsylvania State University, where she graduated with a Master of Education. She taught there before accepting a teaching position at New York University until 1956. This appetite for travel became a major aspect of Filer’s life.

After living in England for several years, Filer returned to Canada where she lived on the west coast. There, she produced her most celebrated work in glass. These large-scale sculptural works are bold, colourful and dynamic and can be found in public and private collections, in the foyers of businesses, private homes, universities and places of worship. Filer became a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2005, was awarded an honorary degree from Simon Fraser University and received recognition from the Royal Canadian Architectural Institute for her glass design. She died in Vancouver (BC) in 2016.

About this site

This digital exhibit was launched in March 2021 to promote the Mary Filer archival collection at the Dr. John Archer Libary and Archives. It features a sample of pieces from throughout Filer’s career, all of which are now available for research use in the Archives (Accession Number 2020-2).

Items from the archival collection will continue to be added to this exhibit. For questions about this collection, please email

Terms of Use

Materials in the Mary Filer collection are copyright protected and made available with appropriate permissions. Copyrighted materials may not be used for commercial purposes but may be used under the fair dealing or educational exemptions outlined in the Canadian Copyright Act, as long as the materials are cited properly. If there are questions or concerns about any of the materials provided in this collection, please contact