Cougar Annie Tales chronicle settler’s life homesteading in coastal rainforest

NANAIMO - Cougar Annie Tales chronicles the life of a woman who carved a homestead out of the wilderness of a coastal rainforest.

Cougar Annie carved herself a home out of the wilderness of the Clayoquot coastal rainforest in the 1900s.

Ada Annie Jordan earned the name Cougar Annie for her hunting prowess, having trapped more than 70 cougars in her lifetime.

She was a woman of determination who created her homestead in a rainforest bog, opened a remote post office and outlived four husbands.

Katrina Kadoski brings her play, based on the settler’s life, to the Cedar Community Hall Saturday (April 6). The play covers Cougar Annie’s life from childhood to old age. During her senior years Cougar Annie went blind and rigged a rope system around her home to navigate around. Eventually the loss of sight forced her from the home and she died in Port Alberni at 97.

“She was on the edge of her culture because she was creating a culture unbeknownst to herself … it wasn’t a woman’s world,” said Kadoski.

Kadoski said while many settlers were trying to create community her efforts were leading her in the opposite direction.

“Instead of leading to the warmth of community it led to the bitterness of isolation,” said Kadoski.

The play originated with Kadoski’s songs she created while working as a caretaker of Cougar Annie’s garden. It has evolved with the help of Ross Desprez and Kate Rubin and the Other Guys Theatre Company in Victoria.

She travelled around the country interviewing people and gathering information about Cougar Annie’s life for the play.

It includes a multimedia presentation about Cougar Annie’s life. After the tale there will be a discussion about the settler. Kadoski said it gives people a glimpse of the sacrifices Cougar Annie made.

“I would lovingly welcome anyone who has stories, especially if I haven’t heard them or if they had photos,” said Kadoski.

Doors for the play open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door or in advance by calling 250-924-3405.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com