From the Archives | Emily Carr was a Great Canadian Badass

Article by Shirley Stickle

EDVILLE—Here at the Edville Archives, I like to keep the wall art rotating on a somewhat regular basis, to show off the collection, and also to remind me to dust the frames.

Well, this week was the anniversary of the death of Emily Carr, one of my favourite painters. So, it only seemed fitting that I bring out our very own Emily Carr original and put it on display.

Betcha didn’t know we had one, eh? You can thank Gertie Palmer’s mom for that. She won it in the Ms. Prettiest Ankles Canada contest in 1952 and donated it to the Archives after she claimed it was cursed and gave her cankles.

In case you’re not familiar with Emily Carr, let me give you a wee rundown on this gem of a woman.

Much like your favourite Edville archivist, Emily didn’t make it big until her later years of life, when her paintings started to get recognition in her late 50’s. It’s something the two of us have in common. We age like a bottle of Gibson’s Finest, best served after hiding in a cupboard or an archival basement for over 50 years.

Anywho, the true essence of Ms. Carr was her “I don’t give a hoot” attitude. When she was teaching painting to the girls down at the Ladies Art Club in Vancouver her students boycotted her classes because she smoked too much and cursed at them. She didn’t like the gig anyway, so packed up and left after a month. A woman after my own heart.

Speaking of hearts, the poor thing had FOUR heart attacks and a stroke that eventually led her to retire from painting and switch her focus to writing. Her writing was just as amazing as her art—so amazing in fact that the planet 5688 Kleewyck is named after her 1941 memoir, Klee Wyck.

Come down to the Archives this weekend for a gander of her great work and give thanks to Gertie and her ankles for their role in procuring such a wonderful piece of art. We’ve sprung Gertie from the Retirement Home for the day, her and her ankles will be on display next to the painting, handing out free Werthers.

Editor’s Note: An article from The Edville Gazette appears in Cobourg Now once a week. There is also a podcast for your listening delight