Emily Carr House – Victoria, British Columbia - Atlas Obscura

Emily Carr House

This Italianate house was the childhood home of the prominent Canadian painter, Emily Carr. 


The childhood home of the eccentric Canadian painter and writer Emily Carr is now a museum dedicated to her life and works.

Emily Carr (1871-1945) was a painter whose works were heavily inspired by the indigenous people and landscapes of the Pacific Northwest Coast. She was an adventurer and a feminist, often traveling alone and in rugged conditions in order to reach remote villages. She recorded these adventures in great detail and published several books of her accounts. Emily was also known for her eccentricities, notably owning a pet monkey who she dressed up and took for walks.

Carr grew up in this upper class home in Victoria, British Columbia, which was designed in 1863 by famed local architects Wright and Saunders. Throughout her life, Carr would draw strength and inspiration from her childhood home and the area surrounding it. In her “The Book of The Small” she described her idyllic recollections of the house:

“Our street was called Carr Street after my Father. We had a very nice house and a lovely garden… Carr Street was a very fine street. The dirt road waved up and down and in and out. The horses made it that way, zigzagging the carts and carriages through it. The rest of the street was green grass and wild roses. …In front of our place, Father had made a gravel walk but after our trees stopped there were just two planks to walk on…The house was large and well-built, of Californian redwood, the garden prim and carefully tended. Everything about it was extremely English. It was as though Father had buried a tremendous homesickness in this new soil and it had rooted and sprung up English. There were hawthorn hedges, primrose banks, and cow pastures with shrubberies.”

After 1913, Carr built a house nearby her childhood home where she spent many happy years running an art school.

Today, the Emily Carr House is a museum celebrating the life of this fascinating Canadian artist. Keep an eye out for the Carr House cats, who are known to have the run of the entire museum.

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