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CNE Poster (1937) E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   
CNE Poster 1937, 56 x 34.5 cm :: Collection of the author
In my estimation, the finest example of Eric’s illustration work from the 1930's is his poster for the 1937 Canadian National Exhibition. This annual event, which in its heyday was the equal of any annual industrial/agricultural fair anywhere in the world, published posters designed by the best artists and illustrators in Canada at the time: J.E.H. MacDonald (1919), Franklin Carmichael (1920), Jules Laget (1931), Fred Finley (1936) and Grant MacDonald (1941) had produced posters for the CNE in this era.

Eric’s poster for 1937, in a year that was one of the most economically disastrous in the history of the country, is, as Robert Stacey describes it, “unfailingly optimistic, even when war or 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 of the CNE.

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Nothing Uninteresting

The Work and Life of Eric Aldwinckle

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…the place doesn’t look quite as awful as I was led to believe, and after all I have been to Oshawa… The town does look rather as though they stopped progress in 1890 and have made no repairs since. Everything looks as though a good coat of paint would do some good...

-Eric Aldwinckle, on Halifax in 1940