With an architecture described as both “San Francisco Victorian” and “English Gingerbread,” all agree that the heritage Emily Carr House is on the must-see list of attractions in Victoria.
Centrally located only four blocks from Victoria’s Inner Harbour and the Provincial Legislature buildings, Emily Carr House offers its visitors a chance to gain an insight into Canada’s first, and best known, independent artist and writer.
Emily Carr was born here in 1871, a scant six months after British Columbia moved from British colonial status to becoming a province of the world’s newest nation. She used her brushes and pens to proclaim her pride in this part of Canada for the rest of her life.
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Emily developed a passion for nature, animals and art, and at age seventeen studied painting first in San Francisco and later in Paris and London. After teaching art to children in Vancouver, she returned to Victoria in 1913 and built the “House of All Sorts”, a boarding house for anyone who needed shelter. She undertook a series of ambitious journeys into the remote wilderness, visited isolated native villages, and drew inspiration from the hundreds of sketches and water-colours she brought back from these journeys.
Millie, as she was known to her family and friends, started writing in her later years as her health failed. In 1941 she published her novel Klee Wyck which won the Governor’s General’s Award. She wrote several other best sellers, including The Book of Small and The Heart of a Peacock. Emily Carr died on March 2 1945 and was buried on the Carr Family plot at the Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria.
In the restored rooms of the house, built in 1864, you’ll enter into the same Victorian ambiance the Carr family would have known in the 1870s, and upstairs are several of their actual possessions, including some of Emily’s pottery and sculpture.
One room is now used as the “People’s Gallery” to present the work of Canadian artists, and at the rear of the house a small gift shop offers a remarkably varied selection of items produced by Victoria artists and potters.
Emily Carr House is near the Inner Harbour of Victoria, at 207 Government Street, only a 10-minute walk south from the Royal B.C. Museum and the Legislative Buildings. The house is open to the general public from May to September; Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission fees are in effect. Special openings are scheduled at other times of the year, especially in December.
Emily Carr House
207 Government Street