Date: 1937

Origin: CNE Archives;

Text: Michael LeBlanc, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design

The artwork for the CNE’s 1937 poster was created by self-taught Toronto artist Eric Aldwinckle (1909-1980), an instructor at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto.

As Associate Professor Michael B. LeBlanc (Nova Scotia College of Art & Design) has observed: “Eric’s CNE poster for 1937, in a year that was one of the most economically disastrous in the history of Canada, is as Robert Stacey describes it, ‘unfailingly optimistic, even when war of depression blackened the horizon’.

In the top half of the page, Eric presents a giant muscular robot-man, born to work (in those days many Canadians aspired to have a job — any job), and manipulating large levers. Behind this figure, the background is split between the patriotic blue and red of the Union Jack (it is, after all, the year of the coronation of George VI). In the lower half of the page is depicted the royal carriage moving through the Princes’ Gates at the CNE.” Professor LeBlanc considers this CNE poster to be the finest example of Eric Aldwinckle’s work from the 1930’s. Eric Aldwinckle, subsequently went overseas in March 1943 as an official War Artist, commissioned by the Royal Canadian Air Force to portray the war in the air.