Arthur Racey is probably the best-known Anglophone cartoonist from Quebec City. He was the son of John Racey, first physician and co-founder of Jeffery Hale’s Hospital, and grew up in the old city on rue Saint-Louis. Racey was featured in the pages of the Montreal Star from 1899 to 1941. Some of his humour, which reflects an ultra-conservative upper-class Protestant perspective of the time, has not aged well. Caricatures of Jews, Blacks, and Indigenous people play on negative stereotypes. Women fighting for the right to vote are depicted as hideous British foreign agents seeking to corrupt Canadian mothers.

Racey also wrote the first Canadian graphic novel, The Englishman in Canada (1902), which mocks the simplistic views the English had of Canada. An English immigrant comes off the transatlantic ferry in Montreal wearing furs and snowshoes, and looking for “Indians and bears.”  While dispelling some myths, Racey also promotes the imperialist idea that Canada had become a “civilized” nation that no longer had “Indians.”

Arthur G. Racey, “Montreal Women’s Answer,” Montreal Daily Star, 12 October 1912, 21.
“He lands in Montreal”
Arthur G. Racey, The Englishman in Canada (Montreal: Montreal News Co., 1902), 14.
LHSQ Special Collections 741.5 R118
“He completes his purchases”
Arthur G. Racey, The Englishman in Canada (Montreal: Montreal News Co.1902), 9.
LHSQ Special Collections 741.5 R118

Further Reading

For more drawings by Arthur Racey, see the McCord Museum Archives.

Hardy, Dominic, Annie Gérin, and Lora Senechal Carney. Sketches from an Unquiet Country: Canadian Graphic Satire, 1840–1940. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018.