Old Ferry Makes a Crossing at Sundown [EAA-1-16]

The majority of Ella's artwork at the City of Edmonton Archives is about Edmonton's history.

She created these works out of a love of history and then started to use them to promote it. For example, she used her artwork to illustrate speeches she gave to all kinds of Edmonton organizations. Her clippings file at the Archives has several newspaper stories on these activities. One article reports of a talk to the South Side Rotary Club and describes how "she told of the need for creating interest in preserving the tangible aspects of the city's early days."

Ella May Walker recreated scenes, events and people from Edmonton's past. She also repurposed her work, using the same scene in different ways. For example, the cost to reproduce her paintings in her novel Fortress North was too high so she redrew them as black and white ink and watercolour drawings.


The Archives has two of Ella May Walker's sculptures: a bust of Chief Poundmaker2 and a bust of Big Bear3. In 1940 Ella was commissioned to sculpt these men by the Luxton Museum in Banff and it is possible that the works at the Archives were preliminary models for the finished pieces.

Painting the Past Photo Gallery


1. Father Lacombe Chapel – Canadian Encyclopedia

    Father Lacombe Chapel – Musée Héritage Museum

2. Chief Poundmaker – Canadian Encyclopedia

3. Big Bear – Canadian Encyclopedia

4. McDougall United Church - City of Edmonton Archives