Ryerson University

Cynthia Downe was born in 1924 in the Calgary home in which she still lives. Her parents met in Calgary after coming from England at the end of World War I. They found a common interest in history and books, and gave their daughter her first book at the age of four. It was "Just So Stories" by Rudyard Kipling which began her own library. 

When she was nine years old she had read Emily of New Moon and wrote to L. M. Montgomery sending a poem of her own. She received a wonderful reply which she has treasured all her life, along with the Emily and Anne books her parents provided. Pat of Silver Bush, Marigold, Kilmeny, Jane, and others also joined the collection over the years. 

Cynthia was educated in Calgary schools and at the University of Calgary, obtaining a Bachelor of Education degree, as well as an L.R.S.M. degree in piano. 

She became a teacher and later a music consultant, having gained a Master’s degree in Music Education at the University of Oregon followed by a year of study in Germany. 

As a music consultant in Calgary she visited elementary schools assisting classroom teachers with music programs. She wrote a curriculum guide for teachers in Alberta and in recognition of this work received an Excellence Award from the Provincial Government. 

Cynthia also served as president of the Fine Arts Council of the Alberta Teachers' Association, and later as president of the National Carl Orff Society of Canada. She was invited to meet Carl Orff in Austria and attend the celebration of his 80th birthday. 

Since her retirement years began she has remained in her home with assistance from friends. Like Anne, she is fortunate to have found kindred spirits all her life.

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

MLC Themes

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

Amid the unprecedented social change of World War I, women renegotiated their identities by dramatically changing the way they engaged with the arts. But how did they do so? And how did everyday citizens engage with the war?

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

MLC Themes

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, considered by many to be the mother of Dada, was a daringly innovative poet and an early creator of junk sculpture. “The Baroness” was best known for her sexually charged, often controversial performances.

Modernism in the World

MLC Themes

Modernism in the World

Recent research has departed from the Euro-centric and national view of Modernism to include approaches and methods studying Modernism across national boundaries and across different art forms to include fashion, dance, performance, technology, and visual culture.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

MLC Themes

Lucy Maud Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery is perhaps Canada's most important literary export. She was prolific writer of over 500 short stories and poems, and twenty novels, including the beloved Anne of Green Gables.

Canadian Modernism

MLC Themes

Canadian Modernism

The works of numerous Canadian authors who lived during the modernist era may well constitute the most central and experimental articulation of Canadian modernism in prose, allowing authors to stage cross-cultural, controversial, and even conflicted identities.

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

MLC Themes

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

Life writing, including autobiographical accounts, diaries, letters and testimonials written or told by women and men whose political, literary or philosophical purposes are central to their lives, has become a standard tool for communication and the dissemination of information.