Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, the daughter of Danishimmigrants who made pottery by hand, Harvour grew up in Saint John and on the Kingston Peninsula. She married Stig Harvor in 1957. The couple had two sons before they divorced in 1977. Harvour enrolled at Concordia University in 1983, receiving an M.A. in creative writing in 1986. She has also won many awards for her fiction and poetry. Fortress of Chairs, her first book of poems, won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best first book of poetry written by a Canadian writer in 1992. Her second poetry book, The Long Cold Green Evenings of Spring, was a finalist for the Lowther Award in 1997, and her first novel, Excessive Joy Injures the Heart, was chosen one of the ten best books of the year by The Toronto Star in 2000.Also in 2000 Mrs. Harvor won the Alden Nowlan Award, in 2003 the Marian Engel Award, and in 2004 the Malahat Novella Prize for "Across Some Dark Avenue of Plot He Carried Her Body."