Emily Pauline Johnson

Canadian First Nations author Emily Pauline Johnson (1861-1913), also known as Tekahionwake, imagined an inclusive and tolerant nation with strong ties to British Empire. She wrote nature poetry in the tradition of William Wordsworth. The Legends of Vancouver were told to her by Chief Joe Capilano. They first met while visiting London in 1906.



“the river still sings on--sings on”
The title of Johnson’s short story about the Capilano River refers to Wordsworth’s unfinished masterwork The Recluse as well as The River Duddon where he published the second edition of his Guide to the Lakes. Johnson uniquely blends aboriginal oral tradition with Wordsworth’s poetic legacy.






"Lure of the Lost Lagoon"
Johnson moved to Vancouver in 1909 and composed her acclaimed tribute to Stanley Park, “Lost Lagoon.” The poem opens Johnson’s retelling of the Salish Coast oral legend of Deadman’s Island in Stanley Park.












"Deadman's Island, Stanley Park and snow capped mountains", published by Norman Caple & Co., Vancouver, B.C., no date.





Lost Lagoon at the entrance to Stanley Park (below) was the subject of Thomas Mawson’s ambitious designs. One of his ideas was to fill in the muddy waterway to build a grand civic centre, complete with a museum, sports stadium and round pond. 


Stanley Park entrance arch. Coutesy Vancouver Public Library, 19796, Bailey Bros, 189-.