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Barbara Elizabeth MERCER


1933 - 2019
Barbara Elizabeth MERCER Obituary
BARBARA ELIZABETH MERCER May 13, 1933 - November 18, 2019 Barbara a painter, poet, and long-time resident of Cabbagetown, Toronto, passed away after a short struggle with pancreatic cancer. Born in Galt/Cambridge, she studied art in New York, San Francisco, and Toronto. She worked at various times for the CBC Television, TV Ontario, The Saint Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts, The Canadian Opera Company, The National Ballet of Canada, and other theatre groups. As an artist, Barbara drew inspiration from her surroundings, especially the Cabbagetown neighbourhood where she moved permanently in the early 1990's following the death of her partner Gerry Moses. Her dream-like paintings - mainly still-life and portraits - were distinctive for their brilliant colours and sharply outlined features. In 2003, her "My Canadian Icons: Nine Portraits in the Shape of a Diamond" was chosen as Canadian representative at the Biennale Internatzionale in Florence, Italy. Although she had been writing poetry since she was a child, her first publication came only in 2004. Since then she has produced thirteen books of poetry. In 2008, Barbara was invited to launch her book, "Secrets" in Oslo, Norway, at the International Literary Festival. Many of Barbara's books were specifically addressed to Cabbagetown and its inhabitants - and not just the human ones. She celebrated, for example, a " furniture chewing dog" and a "circus jungle" of squirrels that raced around her yard. A few lines from one of her last poems captures her exuberant and loving spirit: Imagination - wonder - awe It is my Garden of Simple Delights My privilege - to be an observer To the world A special thanks to the doctors, nurses and staff, especially Joanna, of the Palliative Care Unit at Toronto Western Hospital for their tender and compassionate care of Barbara during her two weeks there. According to Barbara's wishes there will be no funeral. She will be missed.
Published in The Globe and Mail from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, 2019
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