The Imaginary Friend of Emily Carr

207 Government Street,  Home of Emily Carr

Did you know Emily Carr (Millie), British Columbia's renowned artist, had an imaginary friend as she was growing-up?

She was born on a stormy winter's night, at 207 Government Street not far from the historically haunted Beckley Farm on Dallas road in Victoria. Now, both places a fraction of their original size, now claim to be haunted.  

I've taken the tour.

Emily didn't seek out friendship with others as a little girl, preferring to be by herself. She often played make believe with imaginary friends, roaming the property and playing games. One imaginary friend was so believable to her later in her life, she reflected that maybe he was a male ghost. 

Many visitors today, when touring the home, get a sense of it being haunted. Some get so worked up that they cannot complete the tour and flee to the outside of the house, especially when they go up the stairs to the completely refurbished bedrooms on the second floor.

When asked about the house, it is determined the ghost that resides there is not Emily Carr's ghost at all, but her mothers. The story goes that Emily as a child was afraid of climbing the stairs. Her mother would always stand at the top landing and beckon for Emily to come up. This is the ghost that haunts the house today, which explains that everyone who ascends the staircase today, gets a queasy feeling near the top. Her mothers bedroom is supposedly the only room in the house that is haunted and it's the first door at the top of the stairs. 

Emily spent her last days at the James Bay Inn at 270 Government St. in Victoria. She died on March 2, 1945. The ghost whomever it is, has been spotted by staff, many times rattling the dishes.

The ghost of Emily has never been spotted in the house but has been seen at the nearby St. Ann's Academy, a girls school and convent. Many times during art exhibits in the house, paintings would apparently fly off the walls for no apparent reason. Two witnesses confirmed a sighting of her in 1991 and 92, one a neighbour of the property, Greg Hartnell and the other, a cable guy, James Fry a television producer who made attempts to interview the ghost but to no avail.

A year before that, a man named Arthur Knight supposedly photographed two ghosts on the property in the wee hours of the morning but after much careful research, I haven't found them.  Apparently, Emily Carr is not alone even after death.

Emily Carr lives on, through her paintings.

Dog Brindle

Emily Carr House 207 Government St.

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