Popular ‘Cougar Annie Tales’ returns to Tofino

On Wed., Nov 26 at 5:30, a welcome reception and “Stormy Nights” talk with Katrina Kadoski will be held at Long Beach Lodge Resort.

This free event will be brought the Tofino Arts Council and Long Beach Lodge Resort. Then, on Thursday, Nov. 27 and Friday, Nov. 28, Kadoski’s show “Cougar Annie’s Tales” goes on at Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre. Doors at 7:30, curtain at 8 p.m. For more information, call 250-266-0133. Tickets at Mermaid Tales and Green Soul in Tofino.

“In 2007 I moved to an off-thegrid historical homestead /garden located 33 miles North of Tofino. It used to belong to a settler who became known as Cougar Annie. Shortly after arriving I began writing songs about her very interesting life,” Kadoski said in her blog.

“While most of my research happened during the three years I spent on her land. I have since traveled around Vancouver Island, Manitoba, and Alberta. I have been conducting interviews with relatives, collecting photos, news clippings, and letters. After 5 years of writing and researching there is now a show called Cougar Annie Tales. It has been recently adapted as a solo theatre piece with support from the Other Guys, Kate

Rubin, and Intrepid Theatre,” she said.

Kadoski now lives in Sooke, where she teaches voice, piano and guitar.

She told the Westerly on Monday that the play started as a hobby in 2007 when she worked as a caretaker at Cougar Annie’s garden. She gave tours, and sang the songs to guests at what she dubbed “kerosene lamp concerts.”

A script writing workshop gave her the impetus to produce the play.

“I was able to collect the materials and turned it into a play,” she said, adding that she continues finding places to show the work.

When she comes to Tofino, she hopes to touch base with more people who had made connections with Cougar Annie.

“There are still a lot of people who had experiences with her,” Kadoski said.

+++ According to Wikipedia, Cougar Annie (Ada Annie Rae-Arthur, later Ada Annie Lawson) lived from June 19, 1888 – April 28, 1985.

The California native was a pioneer near Hesquiat Harbour at Boat Basin in Clayoquot Sound.

She ran a five-acre farm, store and post office, and also shot cougars for bounty as they preyed on her livestock.

Like many pioneers in remote areas around North America, Cougar Annie (who married four times, outliving three of her husbands) depended on print advertising for matchmaking services.

Her ad in The Western Producer (now a sister publication to the Westerly News, under Glacier Media) promoted “BC Widow with Nursery and orchard wishes partner. Widower preferred. Object matrimony.”

According to Wikipedia, which sources Margaret Horsfield’s 1999 book Cougar Annie’s Garden (Salal Books), the same ad worked for Annie twice, gaining her the husband who died of an accidental gunshot to the leg and another who succumbed to pneumonia.