Elizabeth Wyn Wood

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Elizabeth Wyn Wood
Elizabeth Wyn Wood (Mrs. Emanuel Hahn) (I0007898).jpg
BornOctober 8, 1903
Orillia, Ontario, Canada
DiedJanuary 27, 1966 (aged 62)
Willowdale, Ontario, Canada
EducationOntario College of Art
Art Students League of New York
Known forSculptor
MovementArt Deco
SpouseEmanuel Hahn (m.1926)

Elizabeth Winnifred Wood RCA (October 8, 1903 – January 27, 1966), known as Elizabeth Wyn Wood, was a Canadian sculptor and advocate of art education. A notable figure in Canadian sculpture, she is primarily known for her modernist interpretation of the Canadian landscape in her works.

Early life and education[edit]

Elizabeth Wyn Wood was born at her family's cottage on Cedar Island, just offshore from Orillia, Ontario, on October 8, 1903. She was the fourth child of Edward Alfred Wood (1860–1915) and Sarah Elizabeth Weafer (1864-1952). There was a ten-year gap between Wyn Wood and her next youngest sister Elmo. She had an older brother named Edward and another older sister named Fern.

Edward Wood Sr. was the proprietor of a dry-goods and women's clothing store in Orillia, Ontario. The same year that Elizabeth was born, the Woods moved into their home at 136 West Street in Orillia. The family also had two summer homes on Lake Couchiching. During the summer months, the family spent the majority of their time on the lake, and Wyn Wood learned how to swim and canoe at an early age.[1]

Wood demonstrated an affinity for sculpture at a young age, using plasticine and clay to create art as a child. From the age of seven to 1917, Wood attended St. Mildred's College in Toronto, Ontario. She returned to Orillia every summer to spend time with her family, and in the wilderness surrounding their summer homes. Wood graduated from Ontario College of Art (OCA) in 1925. While at OCA, Wyn Wood studied under Group of Seven artists Arthur Lismer and J.E.H. MacDonald.[2] She studied sculpture under Emanuel Hahn. In November 1926, Wyn Wood began a two-month placement at the Art Students League of New York, studying under Robert Laurent and Edward McCarton. While in New York she spent time studying Ancient Egyptian art and sculpture.

Notable works and affiliations[edit]

Among her major public works are the Welland-Crowland War Memorial in Chippawa Park, Welland, Ontario, dedicated in 1939, and the 1962 bas-relief sculptures at Toronto Metropolitan University in Toronto.

The Welland-Crowland War Memorial[edit]

The Welland Crowland War Memorial designed by Elizabeth Wyn Wood, features 2 heroic figures, Man the Defender and Woman the Giver, set against the Canadian landscape. Planned as part of a regional beautification plan for the lands along the Welland Canal, the memorial was intended to be visible and intelligible to passengers on passing boats. The Welland Crowland War Memorial was unveiled on 2 September 1939.[3]

Professional affiliations and awards[edit]

Together with Alfred Laliberté, Frances Loring, Florence Wyle and Henri Hébert, Wyn Wood was a founding member of the Sculptors' Society of Canada. In 1945, she was a founding member of the Canadian Arts Council (renamed the Canadian Conference of the Arts in 1958). As a Council member, she served as Organizing Secretary (1944–45), Chair of the International Relations Committee (1945–48), and Vice President (1945–48).[4] As chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, she participated in the organization of, and wrote the catalogue foreword for, an exhibition of 74 artists entitled Canadian Women Artists at the Riverside Museum, New York, N.Y. (April 27 – May 18, 1947).[5]

She was made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (1948)[6] and a member of the Ontario Society of Artists (1929).[7] She was inducted into the Orillia Hall of Fame in 1966.

She taught at Central Technical School, Toronto, for some years.[7]


  1. ^ Baker, Victoria (1997). Emanuel Hahn and Elizabeth Wood: Tradition and Innovation in Canadian Sculpture. Canada: National Gallery of Canada. pp. 37–38. ISBN 0-88884-670-3.
  2. ^ "Elizabeth Wyn Wood". www.gallery.ca. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  3. ^ "Monuments, World Wars I and II - the Canadian Encyclopedia". Archived from the original on 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2011-08-29. Canadian Encyclopedia Monuments, World Wars I and II
  4. ^ "Elizabeth Wyn Wood". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  5. ^ Elizabeth, Wyn Wood (April 27, 1947). "Canadian Women Artists". Canadian Women Artists. New York, NY, USA: Riverside Museum. Exhibition Catalogue: 4.
  6. ^ "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  7. ^ a b Bradfield, Helen (1970). Art Gallery of Ontario: the Canadian Collection. Toronto: McGraw Hill. ISBN 0070925046. OCLC 118037. Retrieved 2021-04-13.

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