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“An accomplished author, musician, artist and sculptor, Mrs. Ella May Walker, of 11103 Saskatchewan Drive, died Wednesday afternoon after a long illness.”

So read the Edmonton Journal on April 7, 1960, a day after Ella May Walker passed away following a two year battle with cancer.

Though her life was at an end, her legacy had just begun. She touched the lives of many Edmontonians and her contributions would help shape the future of the city. Her pioneering role in preserving Edmonton’s heritage was recognized in 1975 when she was among the first winners of the Edmonton Historical Board Recognition Award.

Ella May Walker Memorial Award

The Ella May Walker Memorial Award is presented to students in the Residential Interiors Certificate Program at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension.

The award was made possible by a donation from Wilfrid and Jim Walker, Ella’s two sons.

The award is a fitting legacy to their mother, who was so active in the local art scene, serving as president of the Edmonton Chapter of the Alberta Society of Artists and as vice-president of the Edmonton Art Club. She was also active in campus life, teaching sculpture and painting through the U of A Faculty of Extension and as a member of the Faculty Women’s Club.

In 1971 City Council created the City of Edmonton Archives, and in 1973 the artifacts were removed from the Historical Exhibits Building, allowing for the space to be dedicated entirely to Edmonton’s documentary heritage.
One of Ella May Walker’s most lasting contributions to Edmonton was her efforts to preserve local historic sites. Today the City of Edmonton Historic Resources Program administers over 100 designated heritage buildings.

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