Anna Pavlova, the most famous woman dancer who
ever lived, came to Vancouver November 17, 1910. She would visit
us twice more, but that first visit made the greatest impression
locally. The audience went gaga. Reviews went beyond rave, flirted
Pavlova returned the enthusiasm. She described
her first visit to Vancouver in a short autobiographical note, Pages
Of My Life.
"We stayed at little towns in Canada; at Vancouver
among other places. An incident which took place there, although
trifling, amused me greatly; it illustrates the delightful courtesy
of the Canadians.
"After having danced at the theatre, I wished to
go and have some supper at a restaurant. I found every table occupied,
and not one seat vacant. Several people, having recognized me, offered
their seats to me; and I was feeling so tired that in the end I
accepted one. When I had finished my meal, a gentleman who was seated
at another table stood up, and in an extemporized speech asked all
present to drink my health.
"His kind attention pleased me greatly. But I remember
that my chief concern was for the old travelling suit I was wearing—I
am not ashamed to acknowledge as much: any woman would have felt
the same under similar circumstances. But my old clothes did not
stand me in bad stead: all responded to the invitation, and drained
their glasses in my honor.
"The next day, the incident was described in the
newspapers. The Americans, eager not to be outdone in the matter
of courtesy, paid me a similar compliment at Portland."
One tiny memento of Pavlova’s appearances in Vancouver
came to light in a curious way many years after she died in 1931.
It happens that, during one of her visits here, she had performed
at the now-vanished Empress Theatre (it stood at the northwest corner
of Hastings and Gore.) When they tore that theatre down in 1940,
one of the workmen noticed a flash of soft color in the debris.
He reached down and picked up a tiny powderpuff.
Stitched on it, in faded golden letters, was a single