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Events & Exhibits

Due to the Toronto storm on March 4, 2023 the reception and lecture are rescheduled to Sat. March 11, 2023."

Clara at the Women’s Art Association of Canada February 22- March 11, 2023


After a long hiatus due to the Covid pandemic Clara’s work is back! The Women’s Art Association of Canada (WAAC) is hosting a legacy exhibition of artworks by its founder Mary Ella Dignam and her circle of women artists. This event coincides with this year’s International Women’s Day on March 8. Clara’s work has been chosen as part of this celebration and as a member of the Clara community you’re invited.  Join me as Clara collectors, art enthusiasts and supporters of women’s accomplishments unite for this noteworthy exhibit.  And don’t miss the reception and talk on March 4 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm by art historian Christine Boyanoski (

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And so..."The Show Must Go On..."

As they say “the show must go on” and despite two snow storms and one cancellation of the reception and lecture the exhibit was a success. Sadly because of the weather I couldn’t make it from New York but the Clara Community came through with photos and comments. Thanks to your efforts we can attend the exhibit from our homes.


But first things first.  As we all know an exhibit requires much planning and orchestration so the “finished product” looks “finished”.  WAAC member Dixie Allen independent art curator, photographer and author provided us with these photos.

Members of the Installation Team

View as you walk into the exhibit room

Clara was in good company surrounded by contemporary women artists of the time:
Caroline Armington, Eva Bradshaw, Florence Carlyle, Alice des Clayes, Gertrude Spurr Cutts, Mary Ella Dignam, Mary Bell Eastlake, Emily Orr Elliott, Lillian Freiman, Bess Larkin Harris, Alice Amelia Innes, Ottilie Palm Jost, Alexandra Luke, Laura Muntz Lyall, Bernice Fenwick Martin, Florence Helena McGillivray, Isabel McLaughlin, Mary Hiester Reid, Dorothy Stevens, Emily Bibbens Warren and Mary E. Wrinch.

Work in progress

Another vantage point of the exhibit

Clara collectors, John and Denise T.

(see: attended the event and here’s what they had to say:
We enjoyed it a lot. Nothing about Clara Harris in the presentation but Denise asked a question about her, and it became apparent that several people in the audience knew of her and of your work.

Dr. Christine Boyanoski, art historian, independent curator, writer and lecturer ( commences her talk highlighting the significance of Mary Ella Dignam.


A Studio of Her Own, On Her Own Account



The Presentation              

Christine describes some of the artists featured in the exhibit.

Clara Harris Paintings Chosen For the Exhibit               

* Glorious June on the Farm, 1933               

* Winter in Haliburton               

* Clara Perry, Self-Portrait

John and Donna L. Clara collectors (see sent these photos and comments:

It is about to start with about 60 people in attendance.


It’s about to start.

More shots of Clara’s paintings.

From Peter and Lynne F., regular attendees at Clara exhibits:

Yesterday's event was informative. The paintings, the stars of the show, are great. Such a rich heritage and legacy. One woman asked about information on Clara because she owned one of Clara's paintings. I suggested reaching out to you. Then a lovely woman offered so much more. It was Danica. We met after the formal part was done. The photos show random views of the exhibit... as expected, it was beautifully hung.

A look at Clara’s paintings.                          

• Glorious June on the Farm, 1933             

• Winter in Haliburton             

• Clara Perry, Self Portrait

Clara’s paintings grouped with her contemporaries.           Alice des Clayes, Seeing the Horses into the Barn              

Alexandra Luke, Trees

Assembling for the lecture.

Discussing the art.

Clara Collectors enjoying the event.

Enjoying the show.

From John M:

John ventured over to the gallery on the day after the blizzard:
I just left the exhibit, and the Harris’s looked good
Thanks John for braving the snow and ice.


From Danica L:

Some of the Clara collectors are familiar with Danica L. (see lower on this page The Evening at Art Works artist, former art school owner and active in the Baby Point Heritage Foundation who took this photo of two exhibit attendees. Here’s what she had to say:

I’m here!  Taking some shots.  Christine should be up soon.  Very decent attendance.  I believe there will be a video posted on line once it’s cleared with Christine.
….right now someone asking Christine about Clara. Several of your acquaintances sharing information about Clara and you. Interesting, animated conversation.

Danica has other shots of the exhibit and will send them shortly.  Can’t wait to see them.  Thanks Danica.

Another Clara fan, Ruth S. attended with her friend and canine in training and had this to say:

Anna and I attended the exhibit which was extremely well attended. I had brought Pella the Future Guide Dog along and we tried to stay out of the way. Being off to the side, I missed the slides but heard the presentation about a lot of female artists whom l had never heard of but of course that's the point.  

At the end of the formal talk someone asked about Clara Harris. A man about my age sitting with a woman of similar age answered the audience member's question saying she could get in touch with Verna McLean who had inherited some of Clara's paintings and was doing a lot to promote her work. Another audience member mentioned the Lambton Tavern and Montgomery Inn.

Once the audience broke up the three or four Clara folks were happily chatting together. I left with Pella and am considering joining WAAC.

And Ruth thanks for the photo of Clara's self-portrait.

Carol M. ( long time art instructor and education officer at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) had this to say about the exhibit:

Hi Verna,
I visited the exhibit today. The portrait by Clara was quite lovely. It had a sense of modernity.

I asked Carol what gave Clara's portrait a modern touch:

The application of the paint in a less traditional way for the time that it was created.
The AGO has an exhibit coming up in May that ties in with women in art in the early 20thc. It is Cassat-McNicoll: Impressionists between Worlds.

Carol thanks for attending the exhibit and heads-up on the upcoming AGO exhibit in May.


Clara at Riverbrink

Clara Harris:  Between City and Country Exhibit Update:

Great news!  The RiverBrink has reopened and Clara’s exhibit has been extended to October 24, 2020.  To plan your visit check this link for hours and protocol.
Curator Debra Antoncic reported that since reopening Clara has had over 109 visitors.  My response, “Well Clara has seen more people since the COVID outbreak than I have!”   
And visitors please send me your photos and comments.

From A Canadian Interior Designer Living in Italy:


While home to see family we visited the RiverBrink Art Museum.  The Clara Harris exhibit looks very good. Your paintings, the Molnar Family paintings and one by Adrian McInerney make up the exhibit. Just lovely.

Think you have to come to Italy and see us!

Anna-Marie and Justin Gill


From St Catharines Collector Les Molnar who loaned his paintings for the exhibit:


I got to The RiverBrink this morning and spent about an hour there.  The exhibit nicely fills the side room to the right of the entrance without looking cluttered .


Took a raft of photos which I will send later. There are 25 paintings on display and it’s a very nice mix which serves to highlight Clara’s work and style very nicely.


Had a nice chat with Colin.  He works for a local paper and was interested in Clara and why I liked her work,


From a NOTL Clara Collector Jim B.


Hi Verna

Susan and I toured RiverBrink today and we are very pleased with what we saw. RiverBrink gives you a good feeling when you open the doors, and the two staff there today were outgoing, friendly and quite knowledgeable about Clara.  And the room they have chosen is great.  Good atmosphere, open and each picture is very well displayed. I think there were about two dozen works of Clara's. There were many pictures (some of yours) that I have never seen before. I did expect to see more still life works of flowers. In fact, when I think of Clara Harris' work, I first think of large showy flowers in a still life setting. 


When you enter the room there is information about Clara posted (8x11) that introduces her work.  


The local media arrived today to take pictures and do a staff interview. 

So you should be pleased with the showing!  We will return to see it again.   


Thanks, Jim


And from Burlington, Ontario, Adrian McInerney who loaned his painting Old Mill:


My painting The Old Mill is exactly where Debra said she would hang it. Exhibit looks great. 


The exhibit photos and comments from attendees are enticing and my hope is for Clara collectors and followers to see the exhibit in real time.  I will keep you informed about the RiverBrink reopening.  And when it does let’s make a date, meet director/curator Debra Antoncic, administrator Rianna Ostryhon and see this beautiful gallery and collection together! 




Return to Niagara:  Clara at the RiverBrink Art Museum


Clara’s husband Fred kept a diary spanning five years shedding details on Clara’s life as an artist: May 6, 1938:Mrs. Eve, Clara & I drove to Niagara Falls for the blossoms.


Eighty-two years later Clara returns to the area through her landscape paintings.  The RiverBrink Art Museum is kicking off its spring exhibits with a strong focus on female artists and Clara’s work will be the first of these.  Beth Audet’s Friday, January 31, 2020 article in The Standard: NOTL Art Museum Showcasing Women in the Arts describes the significance of the event.


From Wednesday, February 26 to Saturday, September 6, 2020 you’ll have the opportunity to see Clara Harris:  Between City and Country. RiverBrink Exhibit Info:


Debra Antoncic, RiverBrink’s director and curator says it best:

Harris is a great example of a Canadian female artist who worked in the margins of where the attention was at the time.



See you at the exhibit.




Woman on Docked Sailboat, Centre Island Lagoon, Toronto, 1922.

Clara and the Rago Auction Evaluation


In June 2013 Clara’s unframed painting Port Hope Summer Art School (See Summer Section of Site) was appraised at the Antiques Roadshow in Boston.  Appraiser Alasdair Nichol, Vice President of Freeman’s Auctioneers in Philadelphia said Clara was a well-trained amateur painter and the painting was worth approximately $250.00.  If in its original frame the painting would have been worth more.


In November 2019 another opportunity to have Clara’s work evaluated presented itself right around the corner from my house at the Katonah Museum of Art.   Rago Auctions was offering a Fine Art Appraisal Day.  Coincidentally the exhibit Sparkling Amazons: Abstract Expressionist Women of the 9th St. Show featuring the contribution of women artists of the 1940s and 50s …was also on.  Here were two good reasons to go!  To make the most of this appraisal opportunity I chose two paintings of different subjects completed at different times during Clara’s painting career.  Her portrait Old Man With White Beard, signed “Clara Perry” was done before she married and winter landscape Jane Highway, Lower Riverside, Toronto in 1941.


Meredith Hilferty, Rago’s Director Fine Art Department examined Clara’s work.


Meredith explained the difference between primary and secondary market values. The primary market consists of transactions completed between individuals often based on personal preference.  These are not publicly recorded.  Some of these are referred to on Clara’s site in the Evaluation Section.  


The secondary market consists of the re-selling of artworks through a dealer or auction. These transactions are publicly recorded in indexes such as Anthony R. Westbridge’s The Canadian Art Sales Index. These records are the comparables on which the appraiser relies for the valuation.  Unfortunately Clara’s recorded “solds” are few and far between and the lack of hard numbers makes for a difficult appraisal.  Meredith’s conclusion: the paintings are in the $250.00 - $300.00 range.


There’s work to be done to increase the value of Clara’s work.  An experienced Clara collector summed up the primary market situation:


Looking at a few quick Ebay searches for Canadian landscape paintings as a quick reference point prices are all over the map from $79.00 - $12000.00.  But in general I think it provides a basis for supporting my belief that Clara’s work should be valued in the $500.00 -5,000.00 range.  The least impressive and least important paintings that have no distinguishable, outstanding features may be considered “commodity” paintings: interchangeable with similar paintings by other artists in the $250.00 – 350.00 range. There is no specific number that can truly represent the exact value – there is no liquid market for making such judgements – but there is a generally accepted norm for lesser known art of better-than-average quality in the $300.00 - 1000.00 range – and the fact that you have now catalogued and researched Clara’s work in such detail increases the potential greatly – I’m sure you have elevated the intrinsic value of her work by 100% because there is now a reference point to work from.


Keeping these comments in mind Clara’s website which continues to expand, provides a collective overview of her work, strengthening the significance of her work and contribution to the body of Canadian women’s art. 

Artists @ Work Recapped

The Artists @ Work Exhibit was a great success thanks to the coordinated efforts of Helson’s Curator, Judy Daley and Kara Bruce, educator and artist.  Paintings by historic and  contemporary artists  J.W. Beatty, Frank Black, Philip Surrey, Sonja Mortimer, Eduarda Sousa and Clara Harris made for an engaging presentation.  Clara collectors Terry and Nancy Dockrill generously loaned their paintings and ephemera.  The reception on Sunday, April 28, 2019 was well attended with many Clara contacts, collectors and Georgetown residents.  Musicians Liv and Pearl Schachter created an amiable atmosphere.  What fun to meet and receive feedback from those who came.


Here’s the breakdown: during the exhibition there were approximately 662 walk-in visitors, approximately 670 children who participated in the Helson Gallery’s school program which included a tour of the gallery.  So in total 1332 people saw the exhibition.  And in one collector’s words “That’s 1332 more people who have now seen Clara’s work”.  So true!


Kara’s slideshow captures the event.  Thank-you Kara.


Slideshow to come....

April 8, 2019 slideshow photos of the exhibit courtesy of Kara Bruce.

Clara and J.W. Beatty Reunite

Here’s an event you won’t want to miss at the Helson Gallery:  Artists @ Work, April 3 – June 9, 2019.   Clara’s work will be used to highlight the challenges historically faced by women artists.   Works by J.W.Beatty William_Beatty Clara’s instructor at the Port Hope Summer Art School, George Reid’s and Fred Haines’ will also be included.

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Clara at her easel


Clara’s “Port Hope Summer Art School

Women Artists Over 80 Exhibit at WAAC


Clara’s influence as an artist and instructor lives on through the stories and work of two of her students Florence Wright and Marilyn Coulter   Both featured on Clara’s site. 

On April 5, 6, 7, 13 and 14, 2019 you’ll have the opportunity to view their work as well as other women’s at the Women’s Art Association of Canada’s (WAAC) exhibit:  Women Artists Over 80.   Come and support the women who dedicated their lives to their work and contributed to Canada’s history.

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Clara's Self portrait

Clara Continues to Earn Her Keep at Montgomery’s Inn

And the weather cooperated beautifully! Over 500 people attended the corn roast and Clara exhibit at the Inn.  There was a hum of activity inside and out as different generations partook of the refreshments and viewed Clara’s art.   






Friends and collectors of Clara, museum curators and Montgomery Inn regulars shared their points of view:


Congratulations on the exhibition. I had a chance to stop in on the weekend. It was nice to see so many of her works hanging together. 

Debra Antoncic, Curator, Riverbrink Museum,


Went to see the exhibit on Saturday.  You’ve done such a great job of preserving and highlighting an important local artist and one who informs, through her work, the landscape that once was.  Beautiful. 

Rita Davies, Chair, Ontario Arts Council


What a fabulous connection you have - to Canada and history and women artists. It was interesting for me to teach Canadian art history until I bumped up against the walls surrounding women artists. As the father to two women and a creative person I was dismayed by the difficulties women faced (and continue to face in many ways) in the art world. 

Peter F.


Clara’s art captures a landscape and climate much altered and this makes her work more relevant today than ever before.  The Art Gallery of Ontario’s exhibit “Anthropocene” expounds on this and should be seen. 

Karen B.


“Clara” at her easel with Madeleine

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First Attendees


“Clara” describing her work


The exhibit seen from a different perspective


The exhibit in full swing


Attendees study map of Canada pinpointing Clara’s painting destinations and archival photos of painting sites


Attendees discuss Clara’s work

And better news still if you didn’t get to the exhibit it’s been extended to November 22, 2018.  


Keep up the good work Clara!


Clara With A Twist


Montgomery’s Inn regulars know there’s always something new mixed in with the old and this event by ArsMusica is “living” proof.  Come and see how Clara’s work is incorporated into this chamber opera series and brought to life “literally” and technically. That’s the only hint I’m giving you. 


Clara At The Inn


On Thursday, September 6, 2018 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm historic Montgomery’s Inn in Toronto’s west end

will host its annual corn roast – with an added twist.  As part of the launching  of the Inn’s restoration more than twenty of Clara’s paintings spanning her travels across Canada will be on exhibit in the Community Room.  Come and see “Not Your Typical Sunday Driver”.  It will give you a whole new perspective on women painters of that time. 


Can’t make it on September 6th?  Don’t worry the exhibit is on until

September 30th. 


Here’s the link from Montgomery’s Inn describing the event.  You don’t have to be a Facebook user.  Just click on this link or if that doesn't work copy and paste this link into your browser.


“Clara’s Art:  An Environmental Snapshot of Landscapes Lost”


Clara’s landscapes aren’t just pretty pictures.  Her titled works record the location, date, time of day and weather conditions.  This information adds valuable dimensions to her legacy that can be used to plan for the future:  particularly in this age of escalating global warming and expansive development. 


On April 7, 2018 you can see Clara’s “work in action”.  This poster featuring her painting Jane Highway, Lower Riverside, Toronto, January 1, 1941 describes the event in detail. 

Come and support the Etobicoke York Community Preservation Panel and contribute to our planet’s well-being. 

Historic Lambton House, 4066 Old Dundas Street, City of York, ON

The event was a success!  Approximately 50 people came to the Cultural Landscapes discussion and even with extra chairs some had to stand.   Speakers Victoria Lister Carley, Landscape Architect and Pleasance Crawford, Landscape Design Historian used Clara’s painters as the basis for their presentations.   Here are the photos documenting the day:

Madeleine McDowell of Lambton House welcomes the audience.

Pleasance Crawford with her slide on “Designed Landscapes”. On the wall to the left Clara Harris prints of paintings and photos displaying the landscape today.

Pleasance discusses “Graphic Images” using Clara’s “Spring Break-Up, Etobicoke Creek Before Hurricane Hazel” and accompanying photos of its awful aftermath. 

Victoria with Clara’s “Elms In Winter” in her discussion of the changing landscape.

Madeleine gives the title of the presentation: “The Cultural Landscape:  An Irreplaceable Heritage” with Clara’s “Jane Highway Lower Riverside 1941”.

Pleasance discusses “Vernacular Landscapes” using Clara’s paintings “Malton Road”; “Berry Road At The Bottom of The Humber”; “South Kingsway, Lower Riverside 1941”, and “Elms In Winter”.

Clara’s “Little Falls at Lambton” used to illustrate landscape and inevitable change:  “An irreplaceable landscape legacy?” 

Victoria addresses the loss of the beloved elm due to disease using Clara’s “Malton Road”.

Thought provoking discussion and illustrations describes the day best . Thanks to all who participated.

History Repeats Itself

For more than 35 years Clara lived at 23 Valleyview Gardens using her home as a studio and salon for exhibiting her work. 


On Thursday April 12, 2018,

Clara returns to her old neighborhood at

Art Works Art Gallery,

238 Jane St., Toronto.

Of course, not in person, but

in the form of her art.

See Clara's and Art Works students' work come together for this special event:

a celebration of creativity and community.

And here's some additional information about the show:



The Evening at Art Works


Thursday, April 12, 2018 proved to be an inspiring evening with art instructors, students and their work on exhibit at the place where it all happens:  The energy was palpable as proud students discussed their work with attendees.  But the evening had additional significance:  a piece of history was revived in modern times.  What could be more fitting than the inclusion of Clara’s art, as a past member of the Baby Point community, art student and art instructor whose exhibits were held at her home just around the corner from today’s Art Works Art  School and Gallery at 238 Jane St.


And there’s another link to this present-past-present circle.  In the early 1970’s at

230 Jane St. just four doors down from Art Works present location, Clara sold a substantial amount of her collection to the owner of Roost Antiques.  The story is described in more detail in the Welcome Page of this site.


Here’s my question:  If Clara hadn’t gone into 230 Jane St. in the 1970’s would we have seen her paintings at 238 Jane St. in 2018?  Whatever the answer Kristine Kowalyk’s donation of Clara’s still life painting to the Baby Point Heritage Foundation is appreciated now and will be enjoyed for future generations to come.


Visit the event at

The eighteen photos capture the evening at its best.


Special thanks to Danica Loncar, Director Art Works Art School and Baby Point Heritage Foundation’s Communications and Membership Contact; Mary Anne De Monte-Whelan, Chair of Baby Point Heritage Foundation; Kristine Kowalyk for her generous donation and all those who participated in and attended this event.

Clara at one of her sketching sites

“Clarathon:  May 2017”


Since the evolution of Clara’s website in 2010 readers and collectors have shared a mutual goal:  to view her paintings at a real venue in real time.  


This goal became reality in May 2017 when the exhibit “Captured on Canvas, Exploring Our Past Through the Work of Clara Harris” was featured in Toronto’s west end at Lambton House and Montgomery’s Inn Sponsored by MomenTO and on the itinerary of the Toronto Doors Open Weekend May 27–28, attendees came out in full force!  The success of these exhibits was the result of months of planning by the Lambton House and Montgomery’s Inn working committee, volunteers, collectors and friends.


Clara’s debut was highlighted in this Toronto Star article:  and for four days and four venues Clara’s art as history was celebrated opening the door for future exhibits.   


The Baby Point Heritage Foundation, Baby Point Club House, Thursday,  May 25, 2017.


Clara returned in spirit to her old neighborhood on May 25, 2017.

At the invitation of the Baby Point Heritage Foundation I had the opportunity to give a presentation about Clara and her historical contribution to their community.  It was held at the Baby Point Clubhouse.  This was my first visit and I was not disappointed.  The Club had been a focal point of Clara and her husband Fred’s social lives.  Fred’s 1930’s diary described evenings with friends playing bridge, lawn bowling, winning prizes and dining. I’d also read the book, Baby Point:  The Place Where We Live The picture of the clubhouse on the cover of the book was intriguing.  I now had the chance to see this historic building that holds memories of past events, a venue for present activities and welcomes the people who discuss preservation plans for the future. 


The Baby Point Heritage Foundation is a dedicated group whose mission statement is to preserve and protect the unique heritage of the neighbourhood.  The members were welcoming, familiar with Clara and extremely interested in her work.  Clara is featured on their website in the Notable Residents section .One attendee lives in her house while others knew “someone” who had known her back in the old days.  Local scenes of her work were well received:  the Humber River a favourite.   


Clara outside her home, 23 Valleyview Gardens.  Was she about to embark on a sketching and painting road trip?


At the end of the presentation I was given a hard cover edition of Baby Point: The Place Where We Live and this gives me a good reason to return to the clubhouse:  I need to get it signed by authors Pamela M. Slaughter and Robert D. Galway.

Thank you Baby Point Heritage members.  The “Clarathon”was off to a good start!

The Captured on Canvas Opening Reception, Lambton House, Friday, May 26, 2017.


The reception signaled the beginning of the two-day exhibit that had been months in the making.  The working committee of dedicated people from Lambton House and Montgomery’s Inn chose the articles and corresponding information to be exhibited. Lambton House was the reception site.


Friday, May 26, 2017 was installation day for Clara’s art, ephemera and accompanying contemporary photos at Lambton House and Montgomery’s Inn.  Each site had its own atmosphere, exhibit rooms and idiosyncracies.  The exhibits may have had the same theme but the ambiance of each was unique. 

By late afternoon the exhibits were ready to go and the final reception details were in place.  At 7:00 pm Clara collectors and volunteers started to greet the guests.  We were honoured to have members of Clara’s family from Michigan and Lindsey, Ontario.  Government officials, historians, environmentalists, members of the press, art professionals and enthusiasts, and local residents attended.


Madeleine McDowell of Lambton House gave a brief introduction acknowledging that we were meeting on the traditional territory of First Nations and that the exhibit was part of MomenTO, the City’s program of events during Canada’s 150th birthday.  I followed up with an introduction of Clara Harris, her work and its relevance to Toronto’s heritage. 

Lambton House Interior

During the reception there was also a surprise call prompted by the Toronto Star’s article from “Florence W” who was unable to attend.  Florence had been a student of Clara’s and had lots of information to share.  Her story will be featured in the “Blog” section of the site.   


The reception was a success thanks to so many people.  The acknowledgements are as follows:


Madeleine making her introductory comments

Verna at the podium

Special thanks to Etobicoke School of the Arts students Krystyna Poremba and Georgia Mackay who provided contemporary photos of Clara’s landscape scenes.  These complemented the exhibit in a meaningful way.

Clara’s relatives, collectors and volunteers who have contributed to these Doors Open Exhibits deserve special recognition.  The paintings, diary, sketchbook, genealogical research, photographs and stories could not have otherwise been obtained.  Sue, Jeff, and Pam Norton; June Read, Ann Moynes, Wayne Stickley, Linda Harp, Terry

and Nancy Dockrill; Dan McDonald, Lyn Christiansen, Clare Parfitt, Christine Kowalyk, Robert and Denise Bruyere; Grace Hallett, Adrian McInerney, Sandy Raskopf and Diana Starbuck shared their Clara stories and art. The list is endless.


And last but not least without the support of my family, husband Francis and children Alexa and Chris McInerney none of this ever would have happened……


Verna McLean


Acknowledgements:  The Creation of the Clara Harris Community and Doors Open 2017 Exhibits


The Clara Harris website is the product of many minds, hands and ideas.  The information forms an archive that belongs to the collectors:  the Clara community.  As Curator of the website it is my role, as conduit, to maintain the integrity of the site as an academic research tool and archive.


I could not have done this without the expertise of Kristine Knapp Czarnecki, graphic artist.  Her patience and artistic ability created and continue to enhance the look and feel of the Clara Harris website.


Special thanks to Rita Davies, Chair of the Ontario Arts Council and her husband John McGrath, Principal of the McGrath Group Strategic Communications, who encouraged me to undertake this venture.


Much gratitude to Alexandra Kim and her team at Montgomery’s Inn and Madeleine McDowell and her team at Lambton House.  Their professionalism and tireless efforts are stellar.

Clara’s work was well received.  The linocuts with corresponding greeting cards were extremely popular. 


Greeting cards made from the linocuts

Clara ephemera:  sketchbook, diary, photos and her portrait

The Captured on Canvas Exhibits, Lambton House and Montgomery’s Inn, Saturday, May 27 – Sunday, May 28, 2017.


The “Captured on Canvas, Exploring Our Past Through The Work of Clara Harris” exhibits were the product of months of planning and hard work by the Lambton House and Montgomery’s Inn committee.  A number of Clara’s paintings were considered based on their locale and relevance to the west end of Toronto.  The committee decided to exhibit eight paintings provided by five collectors.  The ones chosen were from the 1920’s and ‘30’s:  Malton Road, Church Street, the Kingsway, Morning, May 16, 1934; Royal York Road North; Spring Break-Up, Etobicoke Creek Before Hurricane Hazel; House in Snow, Raymond Avenue; Elms in Winter; Little Falls at Lambton in November; Humber River and Valley Road. To emphasize the change in the landscape as a result of urban growth, contemporary photographs of the same locations were provided.  This section was titled “Captured on Camera” the photographs taken by Etobicoke School of the Arts students Krystna Poremba and Georgia Mackay. 

Ephemera including linocuts and accompanying greeting cards; a sketchbook and diary were displayed and received much attention.  Clara’s portrait graced the exhibit. 

Elaine E., Organizer of Meadowvale Doors Open Art Walk, Mississauga and Verna

Clara’s Family and Verna

Clara’s sketchbook

Montgomery’s Inn exhibit room with attendees

Displays at Montgomery’s Inn

The exhibits represented a collaborative effort:  the combination of the two historic sites, Lambton House and Montgomery’s Inn, the paintings of the collectors and the photos by the art students.  This brought a lot of energy to the event:  older participants bringing their knowledge of the past while the younger ones with their enthusiasm, inherit what remains today and can work to preserve it.


An unexpected but logical occurrence was the number of attendees who brought pieces of Clara’s art, described how they were obtained and provided valuable information.   Their stories will be described in more detail in the Blog section of the site.

Exhibit room at Lambton House

Verna, her husband Francis and son, Chris McInerney

Claire P. volunteer and local resident and Verna

Clara’s family and Verna

Collector Emanuel and Verna

Collectors and volunteers Nancy and Terry D. with their painting “House in Snow, Raymond Ave.” and Verna

Montgomery’s Inn Assistant Curator Lauren McCallum and Verna

Collectors and Volunteers Christine K., Denise and Robert B.

Two days of intense work at two venues and approximately 2024 visitors later the exhibits were over, but not their significance.

These exhibits laid the foundation for future dialogue and exhibits of Clara’s work.  Attendees’ comments shape the direction of future events  - not just for Clara but for Toronto’s heritage:


Should be a visiting display at AGO and the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg.


I wish you would pursue selling some of the woodblock prints.  They are a wonderful collection of historic Toronto scenes.  A slice of life long gone.


So glad this has been archived.


Thanks for preserving her legacy and for the present residents of Etobicoke.


The McMichael gallery would be a good fit.


Fascinating to see these memories captured on canvas.


Good to see Clara’s work in two places.


Thank you for allowing me to meet Clara!  I am so thrilled to know that I now live in her house that had so much creativity in every room!


Love the photo comparison.


Thank you for a great display.  Congratulations on your hard work and dedication to the Inn and Etobicoke.


A permanent exhibit at Toronto’s Old Mill Inn illustrates this point.  We think Clara would have been pleased!

Closing day at the Lambton House exhibit, Ann M., Madeleine, Verna and Wayne S.

Clara Harris Exhibit , Toronto’s Old Mill Inn, Permanent Installation May 2017.


Researching Clara and her significance to Toronto’s history established an ongoing connection with the Old Mill Inn  for Clara and for me. 


Clara and her husband Fred painted by the Mill and met their friends there.  And found in their personal affects were photos of the Mill and descriptions of the Humber:







Photo of the Humber River and Bridge

From Fred’s diary: May 14, 1938 – out to Humber River in morning


Consequently when the Old Mill celebrated its 100th anniversary Clara was featured  in its March 14, 2014 blog “An Artist in Your Midst”  as well as on Clara’s site in the Monday, April 14, 2014, Curator’s Blog  “Is Clara’s art relevant to the 21st Century”?’s-Art-Relevant-to-the-21st-Century


And for me, over the sixth month period while working on the exhibits for the Doors Open exhibits, I stayed at the Old Mill repeatedly. I got to know the staff pretty well.  Natalie Bauer, Director of Marketing and Events and Michael Kachala, Managing Director, appreciated the contributions of Clara’s work historically and its value to the Mill not just in the past but for present and future visitors.  On Toronto’s Doors Open weekend they installed a permanent exhibit of Clara’s work on the second floor.  So repeat history:  just like Clara and Fred, make a trip to the Old Mill Inn you won’t be disappointed.

Photo of Tea Garden at the Old Mill Inn

Plaque of Clara’s Bio that accompanies the exhibit

Clara’s Permanent Exhibit of Eleven Local Scenes of the Area and Her Self Portrait taken from two angles.


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