Louise Miriam Sylvester

August 15, 1872 – February 14, 1955

Photo taken by Barb Haslin who is also the artist who painted the stones

Louise Miriam Sylvester was born into the privileged home of Frank and Cecelia Sylvester. She was the second of eight children; the second of five girls. According the the 1881Census, she was listed as Louisa age 9.

Louise attended St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria from 1877-1882. The school was founded in 1858 and was recognized as the first school of art to be established in Western Canada. Early documents reveal that subject matters included crayon, oils, china painting and water color. Louise studied oil and watercolor. She was friends with Emily Carr and the two women painted together. They sometimes went on painting outings to Brentwood Bay. In 1915 Louise’s watercolor “Foul Bay” was listed as #169 at the Island Arts and Crafts Society’s exhibition. Many of Louise’s watercolors were on display at “Firleigh” the family home on Fisgard Street and also at 1716 Fort Street when the family moved there circa 1912.

Like her elder sister, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Eula Sylvester Menkus (1869–1937), Louise was a school teacher. She was certified to teach in 1894; the list of her certificates follow. She began teaching in January 1896 at Ducks on Campbell’s Creek. In August 1896 she was teaching in Grand Prairie, on Galiano in August 1898, in Round Prairie in 1899, in Lumby in 1899-1901 and Metchosin in 1900. In 1902 Louise began teaching at Boy’s Central School where she remained until she retired circa 1931.

Her salary allowed Louise to build two rental properties, and travel. She went to England and Scotland in 1907. She also visited China for a time. Some of her activities were recorded in the Daily Colonist and transcribed below.

Louise is remembered fondly by one of her nephews as having been fun loving and great at relating to kids. She was called Aunt Lou, even though she was the great-aunt. Aunt Lou was also an exceptional equestrian. She died of congenital heart disease at the age of 83 and is buried in Royal Oak Cemetery: Section 1

Daily Colonist, Saturday November 1, 1958
Pg 14 in the Clubs and Societies columns:
A meeting of the Lake Hill WI will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday at Quuadra Street Hall.
Camosun Chapter of IODE* held a successful tea and sale of work recently at the Fort Street home of Mrs. R.V. Campbell** and Mrs. R. F. Macrae*. Miss K. Agnew and Mrs. Warren Smith poured tea for the many guests. Tickets were sold on a painting by Louise Sylvester which was donated by her sisters Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Macrae
*IODE stands for Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire
**Rachel Valentine Sylvester Campbell (1884–1975)
***Rebecca Florence Sylvester Macrae (1889–1980)

Victoria Daily Colonist, Tuesday November 24, 1908
Pg 11 in the “Social and Personal” column
Miss Louise Sylvester of “Firleigh.” Fisguard street, returned on Sunday evening after a three months’ pleasure trip to the East, having visiting St. Paul, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, and other Eastern points as well as visiting her sister Mrs. Lorne Campbell* at Colbalt, Ont.
*Rachel Valentine Sylvester Campbell (1884–1975) (sister)

Victoria Daily Colonist, Wednesday November 25, 1908
Pg 11 in the “Social and Personal” column
Miss Louise Sylvester has returned from a delightful three month tour of eastern cities and visit to her sister Mrs. L. Campbell of Cobalt*, Ontario.
*Rachel Valentine Sylvester Campbell (1884–1975)

Teaching Certificates
(found in The Special Collections at the University of Victoria)

Public School of British Columbia Second Class Certificate 1 Oct 1902
Teachers Certificate Public Schools of British Columbia
Education Department of British Columbia
Third Class Grade B
31, July 1894
Entered in Certificate Register D

Teachers Certificate Public Schools of British Columbia
Education Department of British Columbia

Second Class Grade B
27 July 1895
Entered in Certificate Register D

Teachers Certificate Public Schools of British Columbia
Education Department of British Columbia

Third Class Grade A
30 July 1898
Entered in Certificate Register E

Teachers Certificate Public Schools of British Columbia
Education Department of British Columbia

Second Class Grade B
2 August 1899
Entered in Certificate Register E

St. John’s Ambulance Certificate January 1913 #448

Certificate of Physical Training Instruction Grade B Public School Teachers
Attended special class 2 July 1913-28 July 1913
Government of Province of British Columbia
Normal School Diploma
Summer Session 1902