Clanmother Emily Carr Emily Carr House Thursday Doors Victoria

A Walk in Emily Carr’s Garden

Dan Antion from No Facilities blog has an open invitation to participate in Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world.

Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post. For more information, connect with Dan’s latest Doors’ post, From a Small Seed.

I have accepted Dan’s invitation and look forward to sharing “door moments” that have led to adventures and meaningful events in my life. In my experience, doors have come to symbolize transitions and passageways, beginnings and endings, of risk and reward.

As Bilbo said to Frodo in Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo. Going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

Emily Carr House, Victoria B.C.

Emily Carr (December 13, 1871 – March 2, 1945) is considered a Canadian icon. An artist and writer, she was inspired and influenced by the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. She is considered one of the first writers and chroniclers about life in British Columbia.

When Emily was 27, she traveled to a village near Ucluelet, located on the west side of Vancouver Island. This was the home of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. It was a pivotal moment, which made a profound and lasting impression, marking the beginning of the sketches of and visits to Aboriginal villages.

Emily Carr House, Victoria, B.C.

Emily’s paintings captured the spirit of Canada in a modern style. As she aged, her paintings reflected an increasing fear of the environmental impact of industrial logging and the ecological effects on the lives of Indigenous people.

Emily Carr House, Victoria, B.C.
Emily Carr House, Victoria, B.C.

More than ever was I convinced that the old way of seeing was inadequate to express this big country of ours, her depth, her height, her unbounded wildness, silences too strong to be broken – nor could ten million cameras, through their mechanical boxes, ever show real Canada. It had to be sensed, passed through live minds, sensed and loved.”

Emily Carr, Growing Pains: The Autobiography of Emily Carr
Thursday Doors – Poster by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

By Rebecca Budd

Lifestyle Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

47 replies on “A Walk in Emily Carr’s Garden”

I confess that I have been to Victoria many times over the years, but I didn’t know about Emily Carr house until a couple of years ago. I’m hoping to return to Victoria this coming spring, travel permitting. I discovered Woo on my visit to ECH. I had often wondered about the sculpture of Emily Carr by The Empress Hotel. What the monkey, I wondered. I continue to learn and learn and learn. Many thanks for joining me at Emily Carr House.

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Emily Carr is a Canadian icon. What amazes me was that she saw the future clearly, and was able to identify the issues that we would face decades in the future. In the next couple of weeks, weather permitting, I’m going to take photos of the new Emily Carr campus. You may remember my video on Kim Dorland. He was a graduate of Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.

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What a beautiful house and lovely gardens, Rebecca. The Pacific Northwest alone is too much to describe or capture in pictures. Canada is boundless by comparison. I was not aware of Emily Carr before now. When settlers visited the northwest, most only saw “resources” to be exploited. I don’t think they saw the beauty. They certainly didn’t consider the impact that logging and dam building was going to have on indigenous people and the environment. The little bit you have shared about Emily reminds me of Rachel Carson – women who we able to see beyond enterprise and speak out against the damage being caused.

But we’re here for the doors, and the front door of her house is quite lovely. The subtle contrast of soft colors and the simple Victorian-ish layout of the house gives it a beauty that can’t be matched by the excessive approach of modern building trends.

Thank you for joining Thursday Doors. I hope you have a wonderful weekend,

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I am very excited about Thursday Doors. Teagan’s poster is perfect, isn’t it? When I stepped through the Doors of Emily Carr House, I felt I was going back in time. The mission of Carr House came through in the detailed work that was completed to bring the house back to life. “The centre celebrates Emily Carr’s work and life by offering encouragement and space for community creativity and innovation.” Rachel Carson continues to influence and inspire. Have you ever read her poignant letter to her friend?

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You have the most compelling writing style Dan. I am saving your article and will be in contact with you about a discussion on Rachel Carson. How interesting that Rachel Carson’s name has come up in my readings and thoughts of late. Many thanks!!

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I know exactly what you mean, Peter. I have visited Victoria many times over the years but I didn’t know about Emily Carr house until a few years ago. You will enjoy the visit immensely. I felt that Emily was just around the corner in the next room. Many thanks for your visit and comments – very much appreciated.

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You would love this house, Teagan. I felt I was traveling back in time when I entered the door. The most surprising discovery for me when I visited Emily Carr House was Woo, a Javanese macaque whom Carr adopted in 1923. Woo has become associated with Carr in the popular imagination. According to Grant Hayter-Menzies in his book “Woo, The Monkey who Inspired Emily Carr, “in her short lifetime Woo became equally connected to Carr’s life and art.” I continue to learn….


Thank you for your insightful comments, Martina. It seems that creative endeavours foreshadow events and outcomes. I recently read that Emily Carr met Georgia O’Keeffe in 1930. Wouldn’t that have been a great conversation! One of my favourite Emily Carr quotes is: “I think that one’s art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows.”


Absolutely, Rebecca:)
When googled Georgia O’Keeffe’s name I found out that there is at the moment an exhibition about her paintings in Basel, where I have lately been to see Goya! I copied the following sentence:«Man nimmt sich selten die Zeit, eine Blume wirklich zu sehen. Ich habe sie gross genug gemalt, damit andere sehen, was ich sehe.” (We rarely take the time to really look at a flower, that’s why I painted it so big that others can also see what I see!)

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What a beautiful glimpse into the life and gardens of Emily Carr. She sounds like a treasure. I don’t know why, but this post made me burst into tears, Rebecca. Maybe because her worries about the threats to the environment and indigenous peoples (all people) have proved true. Maybe because she saw beauty and the video clip captured that so exquisitely. Thanks for the lovely post. Now I need a tissue to blow my nose. ❤

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Oh, Diana – I know exactly what you felt. The garden has stations every few yards with placards that include a quote by Emily Carr. I read the quotes out loud and felt her presence with me. I know it sounds fanciful, but words are the memories of those that lived. Such power in each of them. This was one of quotes: “I am always watching for fear of getting feeble and passé in my work. I don’t want to trickle out. I want to pour till the pail is empty, the last bit going out in a gush, not in drops.” Thank you so much for joining me in the Emily’s garden.

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A visit with Emily Carr in her garden is a meditative experience, Robbie. What I find interesting was that Emily Carr left Victoria, which was quite isolated at the time, and traveled to France. She wanted to study in Paris, knowing that this was the epicenter for new modernist art in the early 20th century. She spent 16 months in Paris in 1910 – 1911. I read that this was a pivotal time when she realized that she should depict the unity, vibrancy and structure of the landscape and be less concerned with the structure. I continue to learn….

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Hi Rebecca, that is fascinating. I discovered so amazing facts about the oldest cultivated trees/plants in SA during our recent road trip which I will also share in due course. Life is a series of learning events. PS I am finished Part 1 of War and Peace.

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