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.Historic Sites
History Month
Statues and Monuments

'Our Emily'
Emily Carr Statue

Victoria, British Columbia

Project History

Barbara Paterson
Barbara Paterson with maquette of the Emily Carr statue (Copyright M. Forster)

The Emily Carr Commemorative Statue was developed to honor the renowned Canadian artist Emily Carr in her hometown. The gifted sculptor Barbara Paterson, who created the impressive Famous 5 Monuments in Calgary and Ottawa, created a bronze model of the proposed statue. Barbara prepared the maquette at the suggestion of Jan Ross, curator at the Emily Carr House in Victoria.

As Barbara Paterson explained to heroines.ca, her vision was to sculpt a statue that would be "1.25 lifesize of Emily Carr seated on a rock (bronze) with a sketchpad on her lap. She has her monkey 'Woo' on her shoulder and her dog 'Billie' at her side. I have suggested, to add to the interaction of Emily and the viewer, that several large rocks be placed around the site."

Chronology of the 'Our Emily' Project

Molly Newman
Emily Carr, as portrayed by actress Molly
Raher Newman (Copyright M. Forster)

The "Emily Carr Statue Fund" was created in May 2004 by the Victoria Parks & Recreation Foundation.

On October 12, 2006 the provincial government of British Columbia announced it would contribute $5,000 to the statue fund. A statement about the provincial funding was made by Ida Chong, the MLA who was Minister Responsible for Women's Issues in British Columbia. This financial support for the project was given to celebrate Women's History Month in Canada.

Official Unveiling of Bronze Maquette in Victoria

Emily Carr House
Heritage Day event at Emily Carr House (Courtesy Dale Mumford)

On February 19, 2007 artist Barbara Paterson came to Victoria to attend the official unveiling of the 'Our Emily' maquette. An enthusiastic crowd showed up for the special Heritage Day event at the Emily Carr House. Participants huddled under umbrellas before the impressive maquette was unveiled, then enjoyed refreshments in the historic house while sharing hopes that sufficient funds would soon be available to create this important statue.

Guests at unveiling
Guests at the Heritage Day event at Emily Carr House
(Courtesy Dale Mumford)

In April 2008 the BC provincial government provided $15,000 for the project.

Empress Supports Project

Empress Hotel
Fairmont Empress Hotel (Copyright Merna Forster)

In 2008 Roger Soane, General Manager of the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, confirmed that the completed statue would be erected on the lawn of this famous hotel, at the corner of Belleville and Government streets. On August 19, 2008 the Fairmont Empress Hotel, now a founding partner in the initiative, hosted a special event to dedicate the site and launch a fundraising campaign to complete the project. The Times Colonist newspaper, represented by Peter Baillie, also joined the partnership and agreed to publicize the Emily Carr statue project. Sculptor Barbara Paterson, who planned to create the statue in her Edmonton studio, came to Victoria to participate in the site dedication. Following the presentations and ceremony on the grounds of the Empress, guests enjoyed refreshments and music which was provided by "Emily".

Ann Geddes
Ann Geddes welcomes guests as Emily Carr impersonator Molly
Newman looks on
(Copyright Merna Forster)

Roger Sloane with sketch
Roger Soane, Charlene Thornton-Joe with Barbara Paterson and
statue sketch (Copyright Merna Forster)

Peter Baillie with photo
Peter Baillie with photo of Carr statue maquette
(Copyright Merna Forster)

Denise Savoie, Barbara Paterson
MP Denise Savoie with Barbara Paterson
(Copyright Merna Forster)

Barbara Paterson
Barbara Paterson with maquette
(Copyright Merna Forster)

Savoie, Newman, Chong
MP Denise Savoie, Molly Newman and MLA Ida Chong
admire photo of statue maquette
(Copyright Merna Forster)

The Emily Carr Statue Project Progresses

Feb 2009: The statue takes shape in Barbara Paterson's studio.

Barbara Paterson in studio

Barbara Paterson with Emily's shoes

August 2009: The Emily Carr Statue sculpted by Barbara Paterson was ready to be cast in bronze.

October 2, 2009: Retired Senator Pat Carney became Honorary Chair of the Emily Carr Statue fundraising committee.

February 9-18, 2010: The Art of All Sorts Fundraiser for the the Emily Carr Statue, featuring the sale of paintings and art-related wares, was hosted by Fairmont Empress Hotel. This event was organized by Bonnie Hardy and other volunteers supporting The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Victoria.

March 2010: Victoria artist Pat Martin Bates donated an enhanced giclee composite of her piece of art entitled "Emily: A Steppin' Footed Woman", the sale of which contributed to the Emily Carr Statue fund.

Emily Carr shoes

March 2010: "Our Emily" is in the molding stage at the foundry. See Emily's shoes above.

September 2010:Fundraising is completed and the statue is ready to be transported from the foundry in Calgary to Victoria.

October 13, 2010: The Emily Carr Statue is unveiled in Victoria, overlooking the harbour.


Our Emily
Maquette of the Emily Carr statue (Courtesy A. Switzer)

The Victoria Parks & Recreation Foundation succeeded in raising over $400,000, achieving their campaign goal in September 2010 when Shaw Communications of Calgary made a generous donation of $100,000. Frank and Elizabeth Garnett and family donated $50,000 to the Emily Carr Statue Project and The Audain Foundation for the Visual Arts matched this. The federal Department of Canadian Heritage contributed $40,000. The B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Arts contributed $20,000, as did actress Clarice Evans of Calgary. Enbridge Inc. of Calgary donated $10,000.

The Edwards Charitable Foundation, the W.Garfield Weston Foundation (Toronto) and the John C. Kerr Family Foundation of Vancouver each contributed $5,000. Many generous donations were also given by the public and the Victoria Parks & Recreation Foundation organized a number of fundraising events, uncluding an art show and garage sale.

The Times Colonist was a partner in the Emily Carr Statue Project, through support for media and promotion. The 'Our Emily' advertising campaign in the newspaper, which included donation forms, brought in about $50,000 in donations from 325 Canadians;most of the donors were from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia.

The Fairmmont Empress Hotel was also an important partner in the project, donating the land for 'Our Emily' in perpetuity as well as providing support throughout the initiative.

The Victoria Parks & Recreation Foundation would like to thank everyone who contributed to this important project that recognizes Emily Carr, one of the most significant artists in Canadian history.

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