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1906::Kla-How-ya by John Innes

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

A painting created exclusively for Canadian Magazine.

"1906::Kla-how-ya by John Innes"

"1906::Kla-how-ya by John Innes"

Clip: Canadian Magazine (1906)


"In their black and red craft with red sail, its passengers decked out in shawls and shirts of gorgeous hue, these people make a highly picturesque appearance as they toss and plunge, with bellying canvass, over the brilliant waters of the Pacific." - John Innes, Artist (1863-1941)

The word Kla-how-ya, meaning "Greetings!" or "Welcome!" is a Chinook word that was often heard on British Columbia's trails and city streets long ago.


"1906::Returning From Lillooet"

"1906::Returning From Lillooet"

Photo Clip: (tbd)


Innes painted Kla-how-ya to recreate the scene of an unknown tribe who frequently appeared before him in their high-prowed canoes as he travelled along the waters of the coast. Each canoe, hewn and burnt from a single log, had large eyes carved and painted at its head to help its occupants see danger and to guide them accordingly.

*Boats of many cultures have eyes at the head of the prow to help guide the craft where human eyes might fail. A Chinese Junk is one example of this.


1900::The Education of a Bronco

"1900::The Education of a Bronco"

Sketch Clip: The National Gallery of Canada (40358.1-5)


As a London-trained artist, Innes painted and sketched some of the earliest scenes of British Columbia. He was an Ontario man with a passion for all things West Coast and painted Kla-how-ya after a several-month gold mining trek there in 1905. Along for the ride was fellow writer, friend and newspaperman John McConnell, whom he later joined as an illustrator for The Vancouver Sun. It wasn't the first time Innes had spent a long summer in British Columbia. His story of the West began in 1885 when he joined a team of surveyors hired to map out the young province before the railway was completed. From there, he spent time between Calgary and the coast picking up odd jobs as a horse wrangler, bartender, printer, choirmaster, inventor, soldier, telephone lineman and government official while working on his career as an artist, editor, author, illustrator, cartoonist, publisher and correspondent.


1905::The Reducing Lens of Indifference

"1905::The Reducing Lens of Indifference"

Clip: The Province (1905)

Vancouver, British Columbia


As Innes and McConnell travelled throughout the province, they shared their adventures in the local papers. They used the opportunity to prove the speed at which the coastal province was populating and advancing and felt that unless the West's urgent needs were tended to by the powers of Canada in the East, the situation might negatively impact the whole country. With McConnell as the trip's writer and Innes as the sketcher, their story unfolded in the local newspaper.


1938::John Innes

"1938::John Innes"

Clip: Vancouver Sun (1938)

Vancouver, British Columbia


The works of John Innes reflect his many journeys and adventures in British Columbia and Alberta. Like the painting Kla-How-Ya, he often submitted his sketches and paintings as exclusive entries in newspapers and magazines around the world. In 1913, he returned to the coast and finally settled in Vancouver where he remained until his death in 1941. His work is still highly sought after at auction houses today.


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