top of page

Michelle Harrison

Image by Nick Andréka


September 4, 1958 - April 17, 2024

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Michelle Harrison in Winnipeg, Canada. Born on September 4, 1958, in Edmonton, Michelle was the cherished daughter of Mary (née Winder) Fortin and John Fortin. Her formative years, marked by frequent moves, taught her the value of resilience and adaptability.

Michelle's deep commitment to service was ignited at St. Mary's Academy in Winnipeg, an all-girls school where she found her first stable ground and formed lasting friendships. Here, she was profoundly influenced by Sister Geraldine McNamara, who taught her the importance of compassion and active community involvement. These lessons guided her throughout her life, especially during her tenure at Rossbrook House, where she connected deeply with marginalized youth.

In 1983, Michelle co-founded The Rainbow Society, which was later renamed The Dream Factory in 2011, dedicating her life to granting wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses. Her career included leadership roles in several nonprofits such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Winnipeg, The Winnipeg International Children's Festival, The Kinsmen Reh-fit Centre, and Camp Manitou. Michelle was also a talented artist, creating beautiful acrylic and watercolour paintings.

In the last months of her life, Michelle bravely faced lung cancer with the grace and resilience she admired in the children she served. After learning her diagnosis was terminal, she launched a fundraising campaign as her "last wish" to raise funds for The Dream Factory.

Throughout this challenging time, Michelle was lovingly supported by her close friends and family. Our family extends a heartfelt thank you to all the healthcare workers who supported us during this difficult period.

Michelle is survived by her adored grandsons, Ethan and Hudson; her daughter Shaena and son-in-law Peter; her sisters, Jeannine and Jacqueline; her nieces, Emily (and husband Mike) and Julia; great-grand niece Grace; and her mother, Mary. Her love, creativity, and indomitable spirit will be deeply missed.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Dream Factory in Michelle’s memory, to continue her legacy of giving hope and joy to children and their families.

Michelle’s legacy is not just in the lives she touched, but also in the courage, compassion, and commitment she exemplified. She inspires us all to recognize the profound impact one person can have through dedicated service to others. Michelle's legacy is one that will undoubtedly inspire others to give back and serve their communities.

To donate to Michelle’s last wish, please click on this link:

Michelle’s family kindly requests that all of her friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by sharing photos, memories, and stories, using the comment section on this page.


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St. Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

Memories, Stories and Condolences


Please share a story, photo, memory or condolence for the family by completing the form below and clicking "Post Comment"

Thank you for your comment!


Leave a Comment

↑ Both fields are required ↓

Upload Photo(s)

Jocelyn Greenwood

May 9, 2024 at 5:33 PM

That is beautiful and I love the picture. I just thought of her not being here to advise me in what to order from Good Earth. And then talking to her about the day. I also thought who is going to call me on my home phone anymore? I have a pic of Michelle that she looked at and said how long ago it was. Fly with the angels, Michelle. I miss you.

Colleen K.

May 9, 2024 at 5:29 PM

It is said that if there be any truer measure of a woman than by what she does, it must be what she gives. And Michelle gave so abundantly of herself. I am grateful to live in a world where a warm smile, a kind word, and a thoughtful act can make a profound  difference. Not because such gestures are rare, but because goodness is powerful.  And we are so very grateful to have known the goodness of Michelle.  

Sandy Bernhard

May 9, 2024 at 4:20 PM

I miss Michelle's big beautiful smile and laughter.  We would text back and forth during tennis matches.  I loved her. She was family to me. RIP Michelle❤❤

uncle Tom

May 9, 2024 at 4:15 PM

Michelle was my sister in law for a time when she was a young mother., and I  was soon to be a father.

It was easy to enjoy her pleasure in being with  and caring for Shayna.. Michelle  loved to laugh and frankly Shayna was very funny  as a toddler!  She wanted to be silly and Michelle had a lot of fun with it.  Bath time with Shayna and my new daughter Emily,... Just a lot of little bodies running wildly. My heart goes out to Shayna for all that she has gone through.

bottom of page