Happy 100th Birthday, Eleanor!

“She could start fires by rubbing two notes together!” – Vancouver Sun columnist Jack Wasserman on Eleanor Collins (December 1953).

Eleanor Collins Photo: Franz Lindner

There are not enough adjectives to describe the luminous, talented, inspiring… Ms. Eleanor Collins. Jack Wasserman does a pretty good job (above) describing her singing performance. And in an article from 2006, Red Robinson said that “[Eleanor] lit up our city by her very being”. On November 21, 2019, Eleanor Collins celebrates her 100th birthday. Time to celebrate and honour this amazing centenarian.

I first wrote about Eleanor, in 2014, in a post called All That Jazz which was about the history of jazz on CBC-TV in Vancouver. 3 years later, I wrote a longer biographical post about her that you can read here. A version of that same article appeared in Scout Magazine  February 22, 2017.

Since that time I have discovered some new (old) photographs of Eleanor and found some great newspaper clippings and links. I’ve gathered them all together to share on the occasion of Eleanor’s 100th birthday. Let’s go!

Eleanor Collins, 1965. Photo: Franz Lindner


By 1963 Eleanor had earned the epithet “Vancouver’s first lady of Jazz”. The Flat Five jazz house was located at 3623 West Broadway.


This article from the Vancouver Sun (July 16, 1955 p50) appeared at the time she got her own nationally broadcast TV show. This made Eleanor the first Black artist in North America and the first Canadian woman to host a nationally broadcast television series.


Publicity print of Eleanor Collins ca. 1950s.


In the 1970s the kind of music that Eleanor sang went out of popular favour, so an article like this one appeared “whatever happened to singer of yesteryear, Eleanor Collins.” Fortunately, by the end of the 1980s and early 90s Eleanor’s type of music was re-discovered and became popular with a new generation of Canadians. Source: The Province, August 16, 1973, p36.


Eleanor Collins on the set of Quintet, April 1962. Photo: Alvin Armstrong, CBC Vancouver Still Photo Collection

I was in love with her then as now. It isn’t just her music; it’s the whole package. Collins has a magical personality and a wonderful philosophical view on life and living, and to her, family is everything. – Red Robinson, 2006

Red Robinson (a Vancouver icon in his own right) wrote this ‘love letter’ to Eleanor Collins in 2006. Source: Vancouver Sun, Feb 16, 2006 p.44.


CBC Television News Career Highlights and Investment into Order Of Canada November 21, 2014


More recently, at the Yucho Chow exhibition opening last May, an unidentified author at the Ollie Quinn blog did a Q&A with Collins and her daughter Judith Maxie.

One Hundred Years of Jazz: A conversation with Canada’s First Lady of Jazz, Eleanor Collins, C.M.
Eleanor Collins and her daughter Judith Maxie at the Yucho Chow exhibit, May 2019. Source: Photography: Garfield James, Lori Vance – Ollie Quinn blog

So then, what is the key to living a long life like Eleanor has? I think one aspect must be a lifelong love of singing and music that keeps one young. Just look at another Vancouver music icon Dal Richards he lived to the age of 97 and Ms. Eleanor Collins at 100 is still going strong. Eleanor practices healthy living and carries a positive spirit as part of her daily routine, filling her days with “lots of good music, good television, good food, and good family and friends”. And, of course, an overall joie de vivre is essential.

Ever since  I first saw Eleanor sing on an old CBC TV Kinescope over 13 years ago I have been a big fan of hers. Her elegance, her stage presence, her beauty (both inside & out), her voice! It was magic! Eleanor, you are an inspiration to me with your energy, positivity, and enjoyment of life.

Happy Birthday, Eleanor!

P.S.  Here is the link to the CBC Vancouver TV news story on Eleanor Collins’ 100th.

And the link to the CBC Radio jazz program Hot Air’s hour-long tribute to Eleanor Collins on the occasion of her 100th Birthday! Of course, the best part of the show is not only hearing her singing voice, but to hear her speaking today, which is just as entertaining! (Special thanks to CBC radio host Paolo Pietropaolo for giving props to the local CBC Vancouver Archives staff for introducing him to the wonderful Eleanor 10 years ago.)



Art Show Confidential -Part 2

Christine Hagemoen – East 10th human scale, 2019, Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

Happy to announce that I have another exhibit of (mostly) new works up all this month at the Whip Restaurant & Gallery on East 6th at Main St. The works are a continuation of what I was working on earlier this year, which I described in an earlier post.

Many people have been asking if there was any online catalogue of my work, so that has inspired this post. Here you go!

Christine Hagemoen – Dominion Building dames, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

So, if you are unable to visit The Whip (209 E6th Ave. Vancouver) to see my show, or missed the last one, here is your chance to not only view my works, but an opportunity for you to purchase one (or, two, or three…)

The holidays are coming up, and these would make great gifts for the historyphile, fashionphile, Vancouverphile, or sewingphile on your list ,or even a great gift to yourself! Many of the collage “scenes” are situated in historic Mount Pleasant, East Vancouver, or Chinatown.

Christine Hagemoen – When You Marry, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

Here’s the offer: Order a print by no later than December 1, 2019 and I can have a framed print ready for you by December 16th, 2019 (local pickup/delivery only)*.

The images are 12″x16″ ink jet prints on archival fine art photo paper, matted and framed in Ikea Ribba 16″x20″ frames. You have a choice of a black (my preference) or white frame.

Christine Hagemoen – Cinderella never had it so good! Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150.  My ode to “Pop Art” – the imagery in this collage print was sourced from vintage magazines.


Other prints for sale. All are 12×16 inches matted in a 16×20 frame. Click image to enlarge.

1. Christine Hagemoen East 10th human scale, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

2. Christine Hagemoen East side auto service, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

3. Christine Hagemoen Off to School, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

4. Christine Hagemoen B.C. Sugar Refinery, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

5. Christine Hagemoen I love you, booth, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

6. Christine Hagemoen Chinatown alley, 2018. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

7. Christine Hagemoen Mount Pleasant Demolition, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

8. Christine Hagemoen East Georgia Street, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

9. Christine Hagemoen Window Shopping, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

10. Christine Hagemoen Mount Pleasant Pulp Fiction, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

11. Christine Hagemoen Breeze block backdrop, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

12. Christine Hagemoen Helen’s Cafe, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150

Christine Hagemoen – East side auto service, 2019. Inkjet print on Prestige Fine Art paper – $150


*I am able to mail the artworks framed (or unframed) for additional postage costs. Last summer I mailed a framed print to Toronto via regular parcel mail (cheapest) it was about $30 for the postage. Contact me and we can discuss options. Please Note: In 2020, the prices for my artworks will be going up (inflation baby!)