Elsie Polly SAWCHUK
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SAWCHUK, Elsie Polly - Elsie Sawchuk, a true pioneer of Canadian culture, has died. At her passing February 28, 2015, she was 86. Born in Winnipeg to working class parents, Elsie was a powerful mezzo-soprano and after studying voice as a young woman, she joined the Canadian Opera Company during its early years, touring North America twice. In addition to a stint as a member of the company of the Stratford Festival, she also, on occasion, designed for the Canadian Opera Company and when the time came for her to give up her singing career, she pursued her interest in stage design professionally. She became a proud member of United Scenic Artists and served as resident designer for the Ohio Light Opera Company for many years, creating productions of Orpheus in the Underworld, The New Moon, The Student Prince and many others. She also designed many productions for the Royal Conservatory's Opera School and her designs for many Canadian productions are included in the Toronto Public Library's Design Collection. Except for a brief stint on Prince Edward Island, Elsie made her home in Toronto, more latterly in the company of other artists at the Performing Arts Lodge, where she was amongst the inaugural residents. A woman of impeccable taste, Elsie was a gifted painter who treasured her Ukrainian heritage and in a world where many do not suffer fools gladly, Elsie suffered them not at all. An only child, she was predeceased by her parents and by her dear friend Ron Hastings. A private interment has been requested, but remembrances in Elsie's honour will be gratefully received in her name by Performing Arts Lodge Toronto at 110 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON M5E 1X9.


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Published in Toronto Star on Mar. 6, 2015.
Memories & Condolences
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10 entries
March 20, 2015
Elsie and dear friend Ron Hastings
March 10, 2015
Elsie as 'La Bellicosa' for TVO
March 10, 2015
I admired Elsie's talent and her outrageous personality. She always made me laugh.
Maxine Graham
March 10, 2015
March 9, 2015
Elsie and I shared a lot of adventures from Butterfly in Thunder Bay to Una Voce Poco Fa in her living room. She sang with me at the piano. Her energy was infectious.
Ed Kotanen
March 8, 2015
Elsie was my dear friend and neighbour for over 20 years. I will miss her stories and her company. RIP.
Edward Karek
March 8, 2015
Mona Kelly . Elsie will be missed.
March 7, 2015
Elsie was one of my earliest mentors, while I was still a student Elsie tok me under her wing at the U of T opera school where she was designing at the time. She showed me her tireless dedication as well as the humanity that she brought to her work in design. She'll always be in my heart
Karyn McCallum
March 6, 2015
I have been trusted to spread my dear friend Elsie's ash on her favorite beach here on P.E.I.This will take place this summer time and day t.b.a. contact me 902-658-2641 for info. Paul Smitz.
March 6, 2015
Elsie Sawchuk At Home
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