Marianne Wilkinson (nee Berton) was born in Ottawa and raised in Ottawa and Calgary. After graduating from Trinity College, University of Toronto in Honours Geography she taught in Perth, Hamilton and Toronto before settling in Kanata in March Township with her husband Bob and family. They have three children and two granddaughters.
Within days of moving to Kanata she became a Director of the Community Association and a year later became the first woman elected to the March Township Council.
For 17 years, Marianne Wilkinson served as a municipal politician. During nine of these years, she was the Head of Council as Reeve of March Township and the first Mayor of the City of Kanata. These positions meant that she was also a Councillor for the Regional Municipality of Ottawa Carleton during that time.
Among her accomplishments, Marianne worked with volunteers in the community (KanPlan) to develop the planning system that provided the framework for future development, including assisting High Tech industries to locate in the Kanata North Business Park. She chaired the Regional Planning Committee and Budget Review Committee; served on the Social Services Committee, OC Transpo Commission, Transportation Committee and Economic Development Committee. During this time she was elected to the Board of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario serving in many capacities, including President in 1985.
Starting her career as a teacher of urban studies, she has also worked for Parks Canada, as a commercial realtor and for a number of non-profit organizations. Believing in a lifetime of learning, she received the degree of Master of Management Studies from McGill University, in June 2002.
She has been a lifetime volunteer, contributing extensively in a variety of roles at the local, provincial and national level. Her involvement in her community includes serving as Chair of the Steering Committee that established the Community Resource Centre for Kanata, Goulbourn and West Carleton; founding President of the Kanata Choral Society; and President of the Beaverbrook Community Association.
Among her recent activities has been serving on the Boards of both the local and provincial Councils of Women; as Chair of the Board of Director's of the Ottawa Talent Initiative, a grassroots movement to assist laid off technology workers; as Treasurer of both the Canada Day Committee and the Canadian Federation of University Women Kanata; as a Director of the Beaverbrook Community Association, contributing significantly on planning issues; as a member of the Steering Committee of the Ottawa Chamber of Voluntary Organizations; as Chair of the Kanata Food Cupboard and as Warden of St. John's Anglican Church where she also Chaired of the Committee for an addition to the church hall and represents the church on the Board of the Blue Heron Co-operative Housing Development that is being built on church lands.
A true pioneer woman in municipal government she has used that experience to help others and to start new organizations and activities. Her ability to define a problem, and inspire those around her to work towards a common goal has resulted in great achievements in community building. She has a unique ability to see the big picture clearly, without losing sight of the myriad of detail that is essential to bringing the vision to reality. Her awards include the Queen's Golden Jubilee medal in 2003 and the 2005 Y Woman of Distinction award for Lifetime Achievement.