In Emily Carr’s footsteps

Carr novelsI would like to say a special hello to everyone who has been reading my novels about the childhood of artist Emily Carr (Discovering Emily and Emily’s Dream) — especially Mrs. Fung’s class at Lord Nelson Elementary School!

During Spring Break last week I spent a day in Victoria, the city where Emily Carr was born and spent most of her life (1871-1945). Walking around her old neighbourhood, I tried to imagine what it looked like when she was a girl playing in the cow yard beside her house, cutting through her family’s back field to Beacon Hill Park, walking along the road to the James Bay Bridge…. and later, being a landlady at the House of All Sorts (a house built on a piece of her family’s property), raising her bob tail sheep dogs, walking along the streets with her monkey, Woo…..

Carr house

Above: Carr house in the 1860s and me in front of the house last week.

House of All Sorts

Above: The House of All Sorts (at left), which is around the corner from Carr House (Carr House is now a museum you can visit, but the House of All Sorts is a privately owned house with apartments, and there is still a mural that Emily Carr painted on the attic ceiling). The house on the right is where I lived during my last year at University in Victoria (a room-mate and I rented the top floor, just a block away from Carr House, and no, Emily Carr was not still alive when I lived in her neighbourhood).

Empress HotelThis street in front of the Empress Hotel (photo at left) used to be the James Bay Bridge, which Emily would walk across with her father. The hotel is sitting on what used to be the water of James Bay (the bay was filled in with earth, but sea water still sneaks into the hotel basement at high tide).

Parliament Buildings

Above: The parliament buildings (behind the whale), which are across from the Empress Hotel and overlooking Victoria’s inner harbour (Emily Carr’s old neighbourhood is right behind them).

Below: Me dressed in 19th century costume, reading in the Emily Carr section of the Vancouver Art Gallery a couple years ago (my daughter, sitting on the floor at left, is dressed like Emily Carr would have dressed when she was a girl).

reading at VAG

7 Responses to “In Emily Carr’s footsteps”

  1. Ms Cin Says:

    What a beautiful tour – thank you. I’ve been to Victoria a number of times, but never got a chance to visit either of the Carr homes.

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  3. Rochelle Pearce Says:

    It brought back memories of various visits to the house. I particulary enjoyed your reading at Christmas with the house decorated. I did appreciate reading the two books, informative good reading for children.

    • Jacqueline Pearce Says:

      Interesting that you should comment on this post today, as two things happened yesterday to make me think of Emily Carr and my Emily books. I got an email from a school in Ontario where a grade 4 class is reading Discovering Emily (HELLO to anyone from Bishop Strachan School who makes it here!), and a new statue of Emily Carr was unveiled in front of the Empress Hotel:

  4. A Discovering Emily discovery « wild ink Says:

    […] Past blog post about walking through Emily Carr’s old neighbourhood: In Emily Carr’s footsteps […]

  5. Lotus C Says:

    Thanks for this blog entry! I visit often Emily’s grave and the Carr House, and have sat outside the “House Of All Sorts” wishing I could take a look around inside and wondering if the attic paintings were still there. I am glad to know they are! I really think this house needs to be a museum also, not rental units. Though of course if I lived there I’d be singing a different tune!

    • wildink Says:

      Yes, I’ve often walked past the House of All Sorts and wished I could see inside (friends of a friend used to live there in the 1980s and told me about the mural still being there, but I never did get to see inside the house).

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