McIntosh attended the University of Toronto and the American Repertory Theatre Institute at Harvard University, in which she trained for acting in theatrical productions. For a time she taught students of theatre at the National Theatre School in Montreal, Quebec and at Toronto, Ontario's Humber College.
Yanna McIntosh's theatre credits include Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Hedda in Hedda Gabler, Mary in Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart, and Condoleezza Rice in David Hare's Stuff Happens.
McIntosh's most notable recurring roles in television series include Dr. Currie in the short-lived 90's medical drama Side Effects, Jenni Hernandez in Riverdale, Edna Myles in The Eleventh Hour, Dr. Rollins in Blue Murder, Zona Robinson in This is Wonderland, and Ms. Dymond in the Canadian teen drama The Best Years. She has starred in a number of made-for-television movies, such as Atomic Train (1999), in which she played Christina Roselli, Strange Justice (1999), in which she played Jeanette, Deliberate Intent (2000), in which she played Elaine, Crown Heights (2004), Chasing Freedom (2004), in which she played Ruth, Reversible Errors (2004), in which she played Genevieve Carriere, Doomstown (2006), in which she played Pat Barrows, Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy (2006), in which she played Dr. Crone, They Come Back (2007), in which she played Naketha, and Matters of Life and Dating (2007).
Some of her appearances in movies and direct-to-video films include Nicole in Spooky House (2000), Penny Mills in Full Disclosure (2001), Teddy Vargas in The Sentinel (2006), and Diana in Finn's Girl (2007). Other roles include Down in the Delta (1998), John Q (2002), and Heaven on Earth (2008).
In his 2007 article on Yanna McIntosh's role as Mary Stuart in the Friedrich Schiller play of the same name, chief theatre critic Richard Ouzounian of the Toronto Star described McIntosh as capable of good performances on difficult stage roles, titling his article "No role too bold for Mary Stuart star". In his later review of the play, Ouzounian, who rated the play with two stars out of four, stated that McIntosh's role as Stuart and Nancy Palk's role as Elizabeth I of England were among the few highlights he saw in the play.
Her performance as Pat Barrows in the 2006 made-for-TV movie Doomstown won Yanna McIntosh the 2007 Gemini award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series. For her theatrical acting, she has received six Dora Mavor Moor award nominations in the Best Actress category. She won the award twice; once for Florence Gibson's Belle and again for Athol Fugard's Valley Song.
In 2011 McIntosh became the first ever person to win the Toronto Theatre Critics' Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in Ruined. For this role she also won the 2011 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female in a Principal Role.
- Blinkbox profile for Yanna McIntosh
- "Yanna McIntosh". Northern Stars. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
- Ouzounian, Richard (6 September 2007). "No role too bold for Mary Stuart star". Toronto Star. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
- "Theatre review: ‘Ruined’ is, in a word, magnificent, The Star.com". 25 January 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- "Great Scot, Mary's a bore". Richard Ouzounian, The Star.com. 13 September 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
- "Toronto critics name The Middle Place and South Pacific as best productions of the season". Richard Ouzounian, The Star.com. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- "2011 Dora Mavor Moore Awards Recipients". Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- Yanna McIntosh at the Internet Movie Database
- Edinburgh Festival 2001: Theatre: Lambton Kent / Traverse Theatre