Museum of Civilization, Trudeau’s Talking Portrait

Canadian Museum of Civilization exhibits Face to Face: Pierre Trudeau’s Talking Portrait Canada Day in Quebec, 2008.


The Canadian Museum of Civilization exhibited Sherry Tompalski’s and Graham Thompson’s multimedia installation Face to Face: Pierre Trudeau’s Talking Portrait in  Gatineau Quebec on July 1, 2008.


The installation was part of a ongoing virtual exhibition entitled Face to Face  which presents outstanding Canadians – men and women whose ideas and contributions have transformed this country.


Grouped under five key themes, 27 individuals have been selected from thousands of potential candidates. Some are well known, others are not, but they have all helped shape Canada. This virtual exhibition reflects the information presented in the former Canadian Personalities Hall of the Canadian Museum of History.

Historic Canadian Personalities that Tompalski has Painted


Lotta Hitschmanova was an early icon of Canadian international humanitarianism. She was born in Prague, in what is now the Czech Republic, and came to Canada as a refugee in 1942. Grieving for the death of her parents in wartime Europe, she channelled her hope for the future into relief work. To help the world’s helpless – especially children – she founded the Canadian branch of an aid agency, the Unitarian Service Committee. For 36 years, she worked relentlessly – speaking, writing, travelling and raising funds for the needy. The work of USC Canada continues today. It is when I think of those youngsters that truly I feel I am the mother of 2,000 children. Lotta Hitschmanova, 1949


Pierre Trudeau appeared suddenly on the political horizon, blowing in with
the exuberant spirit of the 1960s. Not everyone liked this brilliant, enigmatic man,
but no one was indifferent. Winning his first election as Prime Minister in 1968,
he set out to remake Canada. Though generally failing in the economic arena, he had a strong and coherent social vision.


He fought for a powerful, centralized state, equality of French and English as official languages, multiculturalism and social tolerance. His legacy is crowned by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, enacted in 1982: the same year that Canada repatriated the Constitution under his leadership. The past is to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be worshipped. It is our future in which we will find our greatness. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1970.


Trudeau Timeline – 1919 Born on October 18 to a wealthy, bicultural family in Montreal. 1940–1948 Studies political science, economy and philosophy at the universities of Montreal and London, at Harvard and at the Sorbonne in Paris, and returns to Montreal to practice law. 1965 Is elected to Parliament as the Member for Mount Royal, Montreal. 1967 Is appointed Minister of Justice and reforms the Criminal Code, decriminalizing  homosexuality and abortion. 1968–1979 Serves as Prime Minister in three successive governments. 1970 Invokes the War Measures Act in response to political violence in Quebec. 1971 Marries Margaret Sinclair, with whom he has three sons. Some years after his divorce in 1984, he has a daughter with lawyer Deborah Coyne. 1979–1980 Serves as Leader of the Opposition. 1980–1984 Returns to power as Prime Minister for a fourth term. Implements major constitutional reforms. 2000 Dies on September 28 in Montreal.

British High Commission, Ottawa Ontario

Trudeau Talking Portraits, Sago Palms and Jeweled Body Parts  exhibited at British High Commission’s 2007 Art in the Garden party.


Pierre Trudeau by Sherry Tompalski

The Trudeau Talking Portraits along with the Sago Palms and Jeweled Body Parts series were exhibited at the British High Commission in Ottawa Canada in the summer of 2007. The  Art in the Garden group show was organized by Mrs. Clare Cary, spouse of the British High Commissioner, in conjunction with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa and the show was curated by Elaine Sa

Mrs. Clare Cary, spouse of the British High Commissioner, in conjunction with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa, invites you to the 10th anniversary of Art in the Garden. Held in the historic gardens of Earnscliffe, home of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, this 150-year-old property is the perfect back-drop for an evening of music, wine, food and art.


Sir John A by Sherry Tompalski

From the British High Commision’s 2007 Press Release

This year we are pleased to have as our honoured guest the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. Engage your senses! Enjoy the New York-style jazz harmonies of Rob Frayne, Garry Elliott, and Petr Cancura.


Rt. Hon. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

Sip on cool wine and tantalize your palette with mouth-watering canapés as you walk through the elegant gardens of Earnscliffe for an exhibit featuring some of Canada’s most accomplished artists. Meet the artists in the garden and if something tempts you, take home a piece of Canadian art and support the efforts of the Elizabeth Fry Society in our community. All proceeds go to support the programs and services of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa.


Earnscliffe the British Ambassador’s Residence

Earnscliffe is a Victorian manor in Ottawa, Ontario. It is currently used as the residence of the British High Commissioner to Canada, and it was home to Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. The manor overlooks the Ottawa River just east of the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge. It is located just to the northwest of Sussex Drive across from the Lester B. Pearson Building.


From Tompalski’s Jeweled Body Parts Series

The house is a National Historic Site of Canada, and the location of a plaque erected by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, but since it is a diplomatic residence, it is closed to visitors. The manor was built by Thomas McKay company for his son-in-law John McKinnon in 1855.  McKinnon died suddenly in 1866 and the house was purchased by another of McKay’s sons-in-law, Thomas Keefer. Two years later he sold it to railroad developer Thomas Reynolds. Reynolds resided there for several years, and it was during this period that it got the name “Earnscliffe,” an archaic term for “eagle’s cliff.”

Reynolds died in 1879, and in 1883 his son sold the house to Sir John A. Macdonald. Macdonald had earlier stayed with Reynolds, and there are some stories that he gave it its name. In 1888 Macdonald made several additions to the structure. In 1891 Macdonald fell ill, and he died in his room in Earnscliffe. His widow, Lady Macdonald briefly continued to reside in the manor after his death and Queen Victoria made her Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe. Soon, however, Agnes and her daughter departed for England and leased the house to Lord Treowen, commander of the militia. Over the next decades the building was home to several local notables including Mrs Charles A.E. Harriss. In 1930, William Henry Clark, the first British High Commissioner to Canada, arranged to buy the house for the British government. It has been the home of the High Commissioner ever since. On October 4, 2011 a fire damaged the building. British High Commissioner Andrew Pocock, living in the house at the time, was fine and no one was injured in the fire