An Emily Carr watercolour painting called Indian Encampment, Vancouver is up for auction at this fall’s Heffel auction of Fine Canadian Art and it offers a rare view of the old Kitsilano Indian Reserve.

Carr painted this delicately observed, atmospheric scene on the shores of False Creek during her Vancouver period of 1906 to 1910. She shows us several families, probably Coast Salish, who have beached their canoes and rowboats and set up tarpaulin tents to cook their meal between a railway embankment and some industrial storage sheds.

They may have been camped here in order to use their traditional fishing grounds – the sandbank that was later filled in to become Granville Island was still a location where the Squamish and the Musqueam set their fish traps – or to earn cash by selling fish and game to Vancouver’s settler population, or to find work in the local sawmills.

Behind them is the CPR rail bridge, the famous “Kits trestle,” which spanned False Creek between Granville Street and the Kitsilano Indian Reserve, carrying trains south to Steveston and Lulu Island. Beyond the bridge is a jumble of roofs – warehouses, lumber companies and factories.

Indian Encampment, Vancouver is expected to sell for between $50,000 ~ $70,000 at the November 22nd auction.

Last modified: November 8, 2017

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