Armand Ali’s Co-Op at the RMG

Armand Ali is a Grade 12 Co-Op student from Ajax High School who has been working with our curatorial team this winter. We were looking for a new work from our collection to hang in our elevator lobby space, and asked Armand to select one from the vault. He chose Arnaud Maggs’ Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, 2005, due to his interest in colour theory and patterns.

Born in Montreal, Maggs trained as a graphic designer and worked as a commercial photographer in the 1960s. At the age of 47, he became a visual artist concentrating on photography and conceptualism. Maggs’ work often references historical documents and his interest in systems of classification.

This work is 2 of 13 plates referencing an 1821 book, Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, used by Charles Darwin to observe, identify and catalogue nature in South America. The charts, organized according to colour terms, reflect a colonial view of the world.


Armand Ali during his Co-Op placement


My name is Armand Ali, and I am a grade 12 student attending Ajax High School. I chose to do my Co-Op placement at the RMG because I wanted to work somewhere that was relevant to my interests. I am a young artist seeking to learn more about art, and the art world in general. Working at the gallery has given me insight to the day to day operations of an art gallery. Some of the things that I have had an opportunity to work on are: assisting with exhibition design and installation, database work, event setup, social media organization, along with assisting with merchandise management in the gift shop.

I have learnt many useful skills at the gallery, for example how a collections management database works, how to navigate through the vault, as well as how to install artwork. I’ve had the opportunity to do research on various artists, which gave me the chance to learn about contemporary and historical Canadian artists.

Most recently, the curatorial staff asked me to choose an artwork to put on display outside of the elevators. I chose two works by Arnaud Maggs. This was a thrilling experience for me because they gave me freedom to choose whatever I wanted, and I was in charge of not only the selection but preparing the space, and installing it myself. While doing research on Arnaud Maggs, I learnt some pretty interesting information about his work and his life.

It has been I wonderful experience working at the RMG. I have learnt a lot and the people here are very kind and enjoyable to work with.

Expand your mind at the RMG!

While the RMG is full of art classes and camps for kids, we haven’t forgotten about parents and adults! The gallery invites art enthusiasts of all ages – young and old – to learn something new with us! Our adult classes range from artistic to physical, and we’re positive you’ll find something that strikes your interest.

If you feel like winding down after a busy day, the RMG knows just what you need! Yoga in the Gallery is the perfect way to calm your nerves and settle your mind after a long and busy Thursday at work. Meg Cox, our zen-tastic instructor, opens the class up to people of all levels, from beginners to seasoned yogis. With her down to earth and approachable attitude, and the beautiful art surrounding you in the Isabel McLaughlin Gallery, anyone can feel welcome and relaxed in our spacious yoga studio – and what better studio than an art gallery? The current session is running until April 21, with drop ins welcome, and the next session will be starting on May 5, and running until June 23.

yoga instructor

Changing pace, we are offering a different kind of class dynamic with Open Studio Mondays. Starting May 2 and running until June 27, our studio will be open from 10am to 4pm for artists who are encouraged to bring their own materials and work independently and freely in an open studio space.

art studio

We are also hoping to expand your mind, create inner peace and connect you with the deeper parts of yourself with Mindfulness Mondays, a six week course starting May 9 and running until June 20 from 12pm to 1pm. With Randi-Mae Stanford-Leibold, explore meditation and reflective writing using inspiration from the gallery. This is a great opportunity to slow things down and take a minute for yourself.

We have a number of exciting and unique workshops coming in spring and summer. These workshops are a great place for beginners to learn some new techniques and for artists to finesse their skills.

On Sunday, May 29, join us for Found Drawings with artist Ruth Read from 1pm to 3pm. Using various found materials, this workshop focuses on serendipitous artwork – art that happens by accident. This unique approach to art will stimulate your creativity and challenge you to look at art from different perspectives, as well as encourage you to work harmoniously and collaboratively with other artists to stumble upon some found imagery.

art installation

Ruth Read; The Garden in Winter

A couple weeks later on Sunday, June 12 at the same time, we have another intriguing workshop, Cartography of Process with Jessica Field, which hones in the theory of creativity, helping artists examine their creative process and make the most of their artwork.

If you’re looking for a mini camp experience for yourself, from August 15-19, the RMG has an exciting NEW opportunity for 19+ artists, Intro to Video! Without any experience necessary, we will teach you the basics of video and film making so you can be on your way to the next big film festival!

This spring and summer, the RMG is the creative mind’s oasis! You can relax with yoga, open your mind with mindfulness courses, and learn some awesome new artistic skills! It’s everything the creative bug in you could want and more! For more information, call us at (905) 576-3000 or visit for a full list of everything happening at the RMG!

Museum Week Fun

Samantha Pender and Jessica Moffitt are second year Public Relations students at Durham College and the RMG’s communications interns for the winter.


It’s that time of year again! Museums and art galleries around the world will be coming together on the Internet to celebrate one of the most exciting calendar weeks. That’s right, it’s time for #MuseumWeek!

exterior of gallery

Photo by Michael Cullen

Museum week is a social media gathering of museums and galleries across the world to share cool things with their audience. There are seven days with seven hashtags, each a different theme that dictates the tweet/fact about the museum. Here is this year’s lineup:
Monday – #SecretsMW

Tuesday – #PeopleMW

Wednesday – #ArchitectureMW

Thursday – #HeritageMW

Friday – #FutureMW

Saturday – #ZoomMW

Sunday – #LoveMW
Our communications interns, Jessica and Sam have been preparing for this exciting week, learning all the in’s and out’s of the RMG to share with you on Twitter. With about three to five tweets a day, fans of the RMG can expect to learn plenty of new and exciting things about their favourite Oshawa art gallery!

Monday through Wednesday was researched and planned by Sam, who had a great time digging into rich, Oshawa history and learning about architecture. The gallery is deeply rooted in the McLaughlin family history, so you can expect to learn a bit about one of Oshawa’s most famous families and their affiliation with the RMG on Tuesday’s #people.

Queens Hotel, Oshawa

Queens Hotel, Oshawa

The building itself is also touched by fame, designed and built by a famous Canadian architect – don’t worry, you’ll find out who during Museum Week on Wednesday’s #architecture! Sam was able to really learn about the bare bones of the building, exploring not only the physical architecture, but also the culture of the building and architect as well.

Sam also searched up some little known facts about the RMG that we will be sharing to kick off the week on the first day of #secrets!

Unidentified Portrait

Unidentified Portrait from the Thomas Bouckley Collection. Collection of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

Jess, who planned out Thursday through Sunday, had fun diving into her hometown #heritage and learning all about Oshawa! Seeing old black and white photos from The Thomas Bouckley Collection was a highlight for her, getting a glimpse of what the city looked like long before we were here.

After going back in history, Jess looked forward to the #future of the RMG – we don’t want to ruin anything, but it the future looks bright. She also digs deep into a few key pieces in the gallery for #zoom, sharing interesting stories while she takes a closer look. Sunday is all about #love, and Jess had plenty of that to share. What’s not to love about the RMG?

RMG Friday

Museum Hack. Photo by Mat Calverley.

Jess and Sam can’t wait to share everything they learned about the RMG with you during #MuseumWeek! Make sure you check out our Twitter feed @theRMG so you can learn it all too!

Interview with ArtLab Artist Sally Thurlow

Sally Thurlow is our Gallery A ArtLab Artist in Residence from March 2 to 27. During her residency, she will be working on a series of sculptures and paintings exploring subconscious themes on major change, dislocation, and relocation which have personal meaning and may also relate to the universal, continuing, and recurring theme that refugees are always on the move. However, this project is only just getting underway, so it is open to huge change…

In an earlier Reclamation sculptural series she stated “Memory is embedded, the process of ageing ennobles. From being tossed away or lost, then washed up, then recovered and restored to dignity and purpose, these driftwood forms represent a deeply human longing for reclamation. Like us, they are simply travellers through time, looking for meaning. How have we come here? How do we react to our environment?” Her attention now is more toward envisioning forms that speak of intense emotional states – making visible the invisible, allowing for new possibilities. She has moved from placing her figures to blend into the environment to making them stand out. Consequently, Thurlow started working with paints, stains, and manufactured additions to her figures. Here she will be working on the second sculpture of a trio.

As a member of the IRIS Group, Thurlow’s residency in the ArtLab is completed in conjunction with the Gallery A exhibition IRIS at 20. We sat down with Sally to learn more about what she has been up to during her residency.

The RMG: Hi Sally! Please tell us a bit about yourself?

Sally Thurlow: I was born and raised in Toronto but moved to the lakeshore of Newcastle 30 years ago with my young family and now live by the Whitby lakeshore. Observing daily such a great body of water has been very influential on my life and work. I received my BA majoring in Fine Arts from U of T in 1999 finishing at Trent U for some Environmental Science and Cultural Studies courses, also very influential, plus earlier significant studies at OCA. In 2006 the RMG gave me my first solo show called Canoe Dreamings and helped me get it to travel to five other galleries in Ontario. The Ontario Arts Council awards were very helpful for this exhibition from a starting boost to crating expenses for shipping. I have been fortunate to be part of the Iris Group in Durham Region and The Red Head Gallery in Toronto. Both are great groups of artists to collaborate with. I have since had solo shows at The Visual Arts Centre in Bowmanville and The Red Head Gallery, and have been involved in many group shows. I am very pleased that the RMG now has one of my works in their permanent collection.

studio set up

Sally Thurlow: Day 1…where I started from, a pruned and stained evergreen,
fresh cut cedar branches

RMG: Why were you interested in Gallery A’s Art Lab residency? What will you be making while working as an artist in residence?

ST: I thought it would be interesting to see and hear the flow of visitors through The Iris Group’s Iris at 20 anniversary show while I worked around the corner. I enjoy engaging with people about all the work and if they come in to the studio space, we can talk about my process and some may even critique it. Beyond this, the RMG is a great gallery to work in.

I decided I would work on a sculptural piece that I hope will be going in to the Bluseed Studio Gallery in Saranac Lake – a 5 person show curated by Margaret Rodgers, former Visual Arts Centre curator and director, and Iris Group founder/member. Also it will be part of my Red Head Gallery show in September. At my own studio I am presently beginning to paint again and I wanted to separate the painting from my messy sculptural process but I have had to bring it home a couple of times when I needed to use stains or to clamp it in my vice for intricate work. It is a sculpture that is intended to relate to two other sculptures.

studio work

Sally Thurlow: Day 3 …pruning branches… still more pruning to do

RMG: What materials do you work in?

ST: I work in a multi-disciplinary way to make the work in whatever way I feel suits, using whatever kind of materials relate to the work. For this sculpture I will be using a discarded Christmas tree trunk which I had already worked on for another idea but have decided it could be better used for my present idea. Also, freshly cut cedar branches (from my hedge) that I am denuding of the cedar greenery and I am steaming, staining, and attaching to this tree in a particular form which has already been viewed as insect-like because of the way I have pruned the branches bringing out innate equivalences between all living things.

bending branches

Sally Thurlow: Day 4 …bending branches after soaking them in very hot water

RMG: Can you please tell us a bit about your artwork in IRIS at 20, on view in Gallery A?

ST: This exhibition is highlighting numerous “souvenirs” which women have offered over 20 years of International Women’s Day events we have held in various community places. The artists have each chosen a souvenir to respond to and since I had given a little extra paper canoe from my solo Canoe Dreamings show, and had shown this fibreglass vessel earlier empty, I decided to show it with my new work in it. The environment, and a sense of responsibility to its well-being has been a constant part of my life, and art-practice. Since I have long been exploring the dynamic range of natural shapes using driftwood, I spend considerable time on beaches and they all have plastic debris. While I pick driftwood, I pick garbage. Other life forms are also attracted to these appealing colours and forms, ingesting the broken down bits and absorbing their poisons. Within this illuminated translucent boat form, its lacy edges mimicking the frothy tide, the plastic debris placed inside may simply remind us of pretty kaleidoscope bits. But in a personal narrative written on disposable plastic wrap (part of the dilemma), I question our cultural and environmental practices reflected in our exploding throw-away societies. The abundance of plastic bits in my vessel functions to partially obscure the message just as the monstrous plastics problem is partially hidden by being out in the middle of the oceans, even though some of these giros of plastic are twice the size of Texas. They are often brought there by enormous container vessels.

cutting branches

Sally Thurlow: Day 7 …having cut the trunk in segments and drilled into each to fit a dowel

RMG: What inspires you? Is there a particular artist’s work that has influenced your practice?

ST: Walking beaches, experiencing life and death in the raw, the power of the water, what it hides and exposes, my children… so much inspiration. There are many artists whose work I admire. I grew up across the road from Elizabeth Wynwood Hahn and her husband Emanuel Hahn – both important Canadian sculptors whose work can be found at the AGO, the National, other galleries and in public places. Elizabeth wrote “Sculptural form is not the imitation of natural form any more than poetry is the imitation of natural conversation… It is the juxtaposition of masses in space,… a clarification of experience.” That speaks to me as my work comes from my gut, my experiences. Louise Bourgeois, Andy Goldsworthy, Betty Goodwin, Jenny Holzer, Anselm Kiefer, Suzy Lake, Gerhard Richter, and many more, all have such different, brilliant artistic expressions that I admire.


Sally Thurlow: Day 9 …branches stained and inserted, shortened branches to spikes, still lots to do, mostly details


Artist Biography:

Sally Thurlow is a multidisciplinary artist based in Greater Toronto. For some years she has been exploring the dynamic range of figurative forms using driftwood, within a wide range of other media. The questioning of our cultural and environmental practices is a constant focus of her work. She holds a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Toronto, with courses in Cultural and Environmental Studies at Trent University and significant earlier studies at OCA. She has given numerous artist talks and workshops at educational institutions and public galleries.

Her work has been shown internationally and she has been the recipient of various Ontario Arts Council awards. She is a member of the IRIS Group and the Red Head Gallery artists’ collectives. Her work is held in private collections across Canada, and at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario.

For more information please visit

RMG Fridays April – HIP HOPera, what?!

Next month, RMG Fridays is on April 1st, and the killer line up is no April Fools joke! We are combining two classic genres of music for one amazing night. This April, RMG Fridays is bringing together hip-hop and opera, the ultimate mash up!

This exciting mash up will be a one-of-a-kind experience for RMG Fridays guests, and the music and dancing will be bringing down the house! Turning the RMG into an opera house will be Jennifer Mizzi, a Soprano singer, and Kristine Dandavino, a Mezzo-Soprano, from the Oshawa Opera Association.

RMG Fridays - Opera Singers

Jennifer Mizzi – Soprano; Kristina Dandavino – Mezzo-Soprano. From Oshawa Opera Association

Switching gears, we have an awesome emcee Shaheen rapping in the gallery. We’re also turning the space into a dance floor with Judi Lopez, a b-girl who will be breakdancing. That’s not all, though; DJ Mark V. Campbell will be demo scratching as well!

RMG Fridays - Judi Lopez

B-girl Judi Lopez. Photo from www.

We have a little visual art tying into our theme as well as some interesting themed history for you curious folks. Paul Paget (Praxis) will be explaining the roots of graffiti, and will also be doing a collaborative art project as our studio activity for the night! Showing the same love to our opera fans, Friday Film Features will be screening a short documentary about opera that night.

Durham Folklore Storytellers will also be joining us with a performance as we say goodbye to our exhibition Their Stories: Unidentified Portraits from the Thomas Bouckley Collection. You will also have the chance to meet our new ArtLab resident Ruth Read!

vintage photo

Unidentified Portrait from the Thomas Bouckley Collection

On top of the amazing music, rapping, dancing, and scratching, we have some community partners appearing at RMG Fridays. Crayons for Change will be in the gallery, where you can donate your used crayons that night as well as the City of Oshawa, launching their “Our Oshawa” Campaign, where our guests are encouraged to participate and take a photo, revealing what Oshawa is to you.


Bring your used crayons to Crayons for Change at RMG Fridays in April

So bring out your favourite MC Hammer parachute pants, your strongest singing voice and best tagging paint, the RMG is turning into a graffiti and HIPHOPera house!

Get to Know Us – Senior Curator, Linda Jansma

At the RMG, we often get asked about what we do each day, how we got into the crazy museum world and also what skills would be needed to do our jobs. With graduation looming for many college and university students, we will be profiling members of our team to shed some light on what it is we do behind the scenes!

Today we sat down with Senior Curator Linda Jansma to learn more about her daily routine and how she came to the gallery.

The RMG: What’s a typical day like for you?

Linda Jansma: A typical day – well, I’m in the gallery at 7 a.m. – I’m an early riser and it’s amazing just how much one can get done between 7-9am! I always think I’m going to get writing done in those early hours of the day, but that rarely materializes. Email tends to come first, and with that, answering a myriad of questions from artists, the public or institutional colleagues. How did we do our jobs before email!!

My days can include:

  • A studio visit
  • Writing grants
  • Researching or writing an essay
  • Working on the installation of an exhibition
  • Connecting with donors of works of art
  • Bringing new works into the collection through donation or purchase
  • Writing artist, curator or guest writer contracts
  • Giving tours of exhibitions
  • Jurying exhibitions at other institutions
  • Critiquing student works at colleges or universities
  • Reading current magazines, articles, books on contemporary art or museum practices

Linda Jansma poses for Museum Selfie Day 2015

RMG: How did you get into this field? What skills or training do you need for your job?

LJ: I have an honours BA and a MA, both in Art History. Being able to multi-task is an important part of being a Curator:  dropping what you’re doing to pick up something else (like writing this blog!), is key.

artist and artwork

The installation of Group Portrait 1957 with artist Douglas Coupland, Senior Curator Linda Jansma and former CEO Gaby Peacock

RMG: What’s your favourite part of your job?

LJ: The favourite part of my job is connecting with artists. It is wonderful to work with artists to assist in bringing their visions to fruition through exhibitions and to see the development of their work.

Linda Jansma speaks about Jock Macdonald.

Linda Jansma speaks about Jock Macdonald.

RMG: What are 5 things you couldn’t live without in your job?

LJ: The five things I couldn’t live without include:

  1. My amazing RMG colleagues
  2. My computer
  3. The combination to the vault
  4. Art websites, Art Books, Art magazines + the RMG library
  5. The internet

RMG: What do you get up to outside of the RMG?

LJ: This past weekend I took a road trip to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. A lot of my “down” time involves going to other galleries! I also love to go to the theatre, travel, hop on my bicycle or hang out in my gardens.

Louis de Niverville and Senior Curator Linda Jansma examine Sunset Farm #3

Louis de Niverville and Senior Curator Linda Jansma examine Sunset Farm #3

Make the RMG Your Event Destination

The RMG is a spectacular place to hold your next event. Whether it’s a wedding, party, or meeting, you will be impressed by the atmosphere and versatility of the gallery. With multiple spaces available for rent, including galleries, the lobby, a community meeting room, the studio and Arthur’s on the 4th, we can accommodate (almost) every event. The RMG also offers event consulting, audio visual equipment, gallery tours, catering, décor rental, on-site parking and free Wifi. To ensure your event goes as smoothly as possible Cheryl-Ann, our onsite event coordinator will be there every step of the way. Below are a few of our most popular events and personal stories to inspire you!

couple getting married

Photo by

Weddings and Receptions

Tie the knot surrounded by friends, family and artwork as beautiful and unique as you are! With bright natural lighting and a modern and elegant atmosphere, the gallery is great for both large or intimate ceremonies and receptions. To ensure that your wedding is the one of your dreams Cheryl-Ann, will be on hand to assist you with all your wedding day needs!

After your reception in the gallery, head upstairs for your reception in Arthur’s On the 4th. An elegant dining space for up to 99 people, Arthur’s has a panoramic view of the city centre and is a comfortable space to host your guests.

“In December of 2014, we hosted our entire wedding (ceremony and reception) at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery. The staff is extremely helpful. Cheryl-Ann, the event coordinator at the gallery, is amazing. The recommended caterer, Pilar’s Catering, is both yummy and spectacular to work with. It was a nice opportunity for the guests to be able to explore the gallery during the reception and enjoy the beautiful art work. It was a fantastic location for pictures. Dancing the night away under the atrium ceiling is so much fun. If you are looking to host a one-of-a-kind wedding, or any event really, consider the Robert McLaughlin Gallery. You will not be disappointed!” – Melody, Bride (Trip Advisor)

Suggested Rooms
Arthurs on the 4th
Isabel McLaughlin Gallery
Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Nurse Lobby
Alexandria Luke I Gallery
R.S McLaughlin Foundation Gallery

full room

Photo by Grant Cole

Meetings and Corporate Events
Inspire your business, club, or organization with a creative atmosphere. We have The Lookout, The Studio, and Arthur’s on the 4th  that can accommodate meetings, large or small. We are flexible and meeting rooms can be booked for a full or half day, depending on your needs with meals and refreshments by our preferred caterer for your guests. The RMG is also a great venue to host seminars with plenty of spaces for different topics and activities, making the gallery a great alternative for getting out of the office! After your meeting, why not engage your employees with a team building studio activity, or invite them to attend a community group tour to break up the day.

The RMG is also a great place to book company parties for families, with gallery tours and studio activities available for anyone regardless of age. If networking events and cocktail parties are more suited to your company, the RMG can provide various layouts and options to make your event a success and please your employees.

“We have rented space for our business function twice at this location and have had good experiences both times,” says Lauren. “Parking nearby is free after 6 pm which is perfect for our evening events… it is a unique venue good for cocktail receptions and small weddings, birthday parties, etc. Catering is available. Staff is extremely helpful and accommodating. We would not hesitate to use them again.” – Lauren (Trip Advisor)

Suggested Rooms

The Lookout
Arthur’s On The 4th
Alexandra Luke I Gallery
Mr. and Mrs. W.S Nurse Lobby
Isabel McLaughlin Gallery
Art Studio


Arthurs of the 4th

Photo by Brilynn Ferguson

The RMG also offers a variety of opportunities to host any kind of special event for your friends and family such as baby and wedding showers, retirement parties, birthdays, or engagement parties. Whatever the celebration may be, the RMG can accommodate you and ensure your event runs smoothly with our many services.

“The RMG is a “Very stylish place. Very elegant dining – The food was very tasty and hot. I was there for a retirement diner for a coworker. I would recommend to family and friends and look forward to going again.” –  Attendee (Trip Advisor)
Suggested Rooms

Arthurs on the 4th
The Lookout
Isabel McLaughlin Gallery
Alexandra Luke I Gallery

bride and groom

Hourglass Imaging –

Family or Wedding Photos
Looking for a stunning, modern venue to take your wedding or engagement photos? Hoping to take a fun and creative family portrait? The RMG is a photographers dream with soft natural lighting, modern architecture and artwork for the perfect backdrop for any photo shoot. The gallery also has an outdoor space for summer shoots featuring a footbridge, the Oshawa Creek and public art. Take a look at the links below to get a taste of how others have been inspired by the gallery for their events and photos.

Alexandra and Albert by Haley Photography
Sarah and Ryan by Ten 2 Ten Photography
The Walker Family by Images by Kerri Photography
Shelly and Allan by Johanna Nichola Photography

Suggested Spaces

Alexandra Luke I Gallery
Mr. and Mrs. W.S Nurse Lobby
Isabel McLaughlin Gallery
Outdoor areas around the gallery
For more information about booking your event at the RMG visit our Venue Rentals page and fill out the Venue Rental Request Form or contact Cheryl-Ann with any questions at 905.576.3000 or [email protected]. We look forward to hosting your next event!

RMG Fridays Celebrates International Women’s Day – Wonder Women

Samantha Pender is a second year Public Relations student at Durham College and is completing her first communications placement at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery this winter.

When I look at art, I see beauty. I see the creative inner workings of a mind spewed onto a canvas or into a photo or object that beams with inspiration and magnificence. What I don’t see is the months of long hours, late nights and early mornings that went into this work. I don’t see the blood, sweat and tears, and the immense strength and effort that are integral ingredients of this work of art. We don’t see that because that is not what the artist is intending to show. They want you to see the beautiful aftermath of domineering strength, hard work and unwavering persistence they endured.

When I see women, I see the same beauty; and again, I am shielded from the remarkable strength those women exude in their lives. We see beautiful women of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities, but they never let us see their struggles before their triumphs. This month, the RMG is celebrating International Women’s Day with women in art, both behind the canvas and in front of it.

In the Upper and Lower Luke galleries, we are exhibiting The Other NFB: The National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division, 1941-1971. On display are photos of a timeless female Canadian icon, Veronica Foster, or ‘Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl’. She was a Canadian woman working at John Inglis Co. during the second world war, a time when approximately 250,000 women around the country were finally able to work on equal ground with men by getting into overalls and into munitions factories, taking the place of the men at war.


Unknown photographer
Veronica Foster, an employee of John Inglis Co. Ltd. and known as “The Bren Gun Girl” posing with a finished Bren gun in the John Inglis Co. Ltd. Bren gun plant, Toronto
10 May 1941
Contemporary print from vintage negative
National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada e000760453

In Oshawa, the GM plant ceased production of cars to begin making military vehicles and weapons, and the brawn behind those machines were our own woman, who called themselves ‘Rosie’s the Riveters’, after the American propaganda poster of Rosie the Riveter flexing her arm and chanting, “We can do it.” Rosie the Riveter, an American inspiration to woman everywhere, was created after Canada’s own Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl appeared on the cover of New York Times a few years before Rosie popped up (

Rosie's the Riveters, c. 1943.

Rosie’s the Riveters, c. 1943.

Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl can be found in the NFB’s exhibition, photographed both in the factory as well as in her personal life, a wonderful contrast of a hard working woman on the line to one dressed up and having a good time.

The RMG currently has a number of female artists on display in different galleries, including Holly King’s exhibit Edging Towards the Mysterious as well as the two female artists on display in the Painters 11 gallery, Hortense Gordan and Alexandra Luke.

Installation photo by Don Corman

Installation photo by Don Corman

RMG Fridays Film Features is playing into the Women’s Day theme as well. We will be screening “Clearing Spaces” by the talented Broadbent Sisters, a beautifully shot film exploring Greek mythology with a modern twist revolving around the seemingly normal rituals in a woman’s life.

Clearing Spaces V by the Broadbent Sisters.

Clearing Spaces V by the Broadbent Sisters. Film Still.

RMG Fridays will also welcome the IRIS Group, an arts collective from Durham Region featuring ten amazing women: Maralynn Cherry, Rowena Dykins, Laura M. Hair, Holly McClellan, Judith A. Mason, Janice Taylor-Prebble, Mary Ellen McQuay, Margaret Rodgers, Sally Thurlow and Wendy Wallace. They are exhibiting IRIS at 20, a celebration of their 20th Anniversary in which they will paying homage to Women’s Day by revisiting Women’s Day pieces as well as creating new artworks with collected objects from Canadian and international women. The IRIS group is opening in Gallery A on Friday, March 4th, where you can help welcome them during RMG Fridays. They will also have an artists’ talk on Sunday, March 6th as well as a workshop on Sunday, March 20th.

The IRIS Group

Filmic – The IRIS Group

There’s no doubt that visiting the RMG for RMG Fridays Wonder Women will encourage you to consider how female icons and artists are reimagining gender roles throughout their art. I have been inspired by surrounding myself with such amazing artwork and I hope you will be too.



Their Stories: Final Stories

For the last blog posting featuring three Their Stories submissions, it includes 2 of the most popular portrait subjects. In choosing the unidentified portraits that would be the options, I was looking for ones that were intriguing or suggested a narrative. I was at times surprised at the amount of submissions received for some portraits while others weren’t as popular, which just goes to show that the process is very subjective. Everybody is going to relate to a portrait differently depending on their own experiences. Thanks once again to everyone that participated! – Sonya Jones, Associate Curator and Curator of the Thomas Bouckley Collection


Portrait 2:


This 1921 picture of Roderick, shows him recently arrived from England, where he was an avid cricket player.

Here he always chose to wear the post game attire typical of a gentleman; he eschewed clothes that made him look scruffy. Always the gentleman.

Roderick was a triplet in an age when these family birth groupings were a relative oddity in the pre invitrio fertilization age. Rodney and Rupert remained in England.

Roderick first stayed at the Queens Hotel in Oshawa.   No records of just how long he chose to live here are to be found.

Queens Hotel, Oshawa

Queens Hotel, Oshawa

Now in Canada, Roderick chose to try tennis and to continue to wear the post game attire. He was not stodgy per se, but he did have personal standards.

Along with tennis, he decided to give sailing a go, and revive a passion long ago put aside.

The oval picture lends a sense of formality to Roderick and it quietly pleased him.

I wonder who “my Roderick” really was, and what was his real story

By: Donna George
Portrait 2

Daniel Underhill

If you were to ask any resident of Hampton, Ontario, what they thought of Daniel Underhill, you would always hear the same thing: “A nice lad. A bit slow, but he means well”. Raised by his doting mother and stern father, Daniel was the second of three sons, and by all accounts, the least impressive. His older brother, Richard, was an athlete without equal in the small town, breaking school and regional records in most disciplines of track and field. Steven, the youngest, was as brilliant a scholar as Richard was a sportsman. Following in his father’s footsteps, the boy courted the world of academia, becoming a lawyer, and eventually a judge. Daniel, on the other hand, stuck out by not being extraordinary at all. Awkward and uncoordinated in athletics, and more than a little slow in school, the poor boy was often ridiculed for his inability to step from behind the shadows of his far more successful kin. A constant headache to his father and an embarrassment to his brothers, Daniel felt most at home in the company of his loving mother, the only person who truly understood him. A kind boy, Daniel was happiest making others smile.

By: Spencer Baron


Portrait 1

vintage portrait

Unidentified Portrait from the Thomas Bouckley Collection. Collection of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.


He was a farm boy, resigned to stay in Columbus for all his days. He was never a wanderer; his younger years were filled with hot summer days in the fields, and cold winters in the kitchen by the fire. A trip to the Falls changed him. At sixteen, in search of a thrill, he set forth to conquer Niagara. The traveller—he boarded a westbound train at Oshawa with a roundtrip ticket in the pocket of his shirt. It was four years before he returned to the farm to console his father, and grieve his mother. Wanderlust, he spent his mornings on Clifton Hill, spinning mystical tales of adventure to wide-eyed people, and his afternoons on the water, amid the shadow of the mist. In 1922 he followed the tourist boom south to the Florida Keys. Land speculator by day—drinker, talker, and dreamer by night. A tycoon by forty, he lost it all in the crash. He made the trek home to Columbus, riding the rails with the rest. A farmer by day, a writer by night. He settled into his life, welcoming the pace of a place set apart from the rapid changes of a new age.

By: Amanda Robinson