John Walter Grant MacEwan was born August 12, 1902, of pioneer parents who farmed north of Brandon, Manitoba, and later at Melford, Saskatchewan. He attended the Ontario Agricultural College, Toronto, graduating with a B.Sc. (Agric) in 1926, followed by post graduate work at Iowa State University, earning a M.Sc. (Agric) in 1928.|
From 1928 to 1951, Grant MacEwan held senior positions with the University of Sakatchewan and the University of Manitoba. Before taking the post of Dean of Agriculture at Manitoba he was Professor of Animal Husbandry and Farm Superintendent at the Saskatchewan University. Through the years he became widely known across Western Canada for public service, especially in judging livestock, writing, lecturing, and conducting of fairs and exhibitions.|
Appointed lieutenant-governor of Alberta, he took office on January 6, 1966, and remained in the office for the next eight and one half years.
He has been the recipient of the following honourary degrees: Doctor of Laws from the University of Alberta, 1966; Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary, 1967; Doctor of Laws from the University of Brandon, 1969; the University of Guelph, 1972; and the University of Saskatchewan, 1974. In addition, Edmonton's new community college Grant MacEwan Community College was named in his honour when it was established in 1971. In 1972, he was recipient of the Grant MacEwan Community College Honourary Diploma; 1974 the Order of Canada; 1982 he received the Alberta Order of Excellence; 1985 the Govenor General's Conservation Award; in 1987 the SPCA Zeke Young Memorial Award; and in 1988 the Sir Frederick Haultain Prize.
Associated with many groups and organizations, Grant MacEwan is honourary chairman of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, patron of the Calgary Burns Society and Alberta Naturalists Society, past president of the Calgary Foundation, North American chancellor of the International Society for Animal Rights, affiliated with the MacEwan Wilderness Hikers Association and the SPCA in Calgary, Red Deer, and Edmonton, Alberta representative of the Canadian Organization for Development Through Education, honourary fire chief of the Calgary Fire Department and honourary member of B'nai Brith. He was elected to the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame and is an Honourary Bus Driver on the Grant MacEwan Greyhound Bus, Greyhound Lines of Canada Ltd.
As an author, Dr. MacEwan has been a regular contributor to various publications and has seen over 55 books published, most of which relate to the history and development of western Canada, western biography and conservation and include such works as:
Married to Phyllis Cline (now deceased) of Churchbridge, Saskatchewan, their family included one daughter Heather, now Mrs. Maxwell Foran of Calgary, and two granddaughters, Lynwyn Foran-Aebei and Fiona Foran. Their great granddaughter, Kelsey, was born on MacEwan Day, February 9, 1995. The Honourable Grant MacEwan passed away on June 15, 2000 at the age of 97. He will be missed by Albertans and all Canadians alike.