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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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The Work and Life of Eric Aldwinckle

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If I am sick the RCAF have plenty of medical attention and a hospital and they don’t allow anyone to be sick long. It is an offence. Frankly I am going to find it difficult to keep nourished properly as there is shortage of vitamin foods here.

-Eric Aldwinckle, on the Canadian forces, 1940