Join us virtually or in-person at Oshawa Public Libraries – Delpark Homes Centre Branch on Saturday June 18th from 10:30 – 11:30 am for a morning of stories and songs with Anishinaabekwe Melody Crowe. Learn the Anishinaabemowin names for the animals living around us. This event is hybrid with limited in-person capacity. To participate in-person, please email Erin Szikora at [email protected]. To participate virtually, please register with the link above. Each participant will receive a printable colouring book. This event is for all ages and is presented in partnership with The Robert McLaughlin Gallery and Oshawa Public Libraries.
Melody Crowe is a Michi-Saagiig Anishinaabe Woman from Alderville First Nation which is located on the South Shore of Rice Lake, Ontario. She has dedicated her life to creating a deeper understanding and appreciation of First Nation culture, knowledge, language, and history, and has more than 25 years of teaching the Ojibway language to children, youth, adults, and Elders. She works from the place of honouring her Ancestors and honouring the importance of Indigenous Peoples and ways of knowing. In 2007, Melody received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in the preservation of language and culture from the Union of Ontario Indians, and in 2015, the Honouring Our People Award from the Ogemawahi Tribal Council. Melody is also an eagle feather carrier, a jingle dancer, and a photographer.
Mamanaw Pekiskwewina | Mother Tongues: Dish With One Spoon Territory is presented in partnership with TRUCK Contemporary Art.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Trillium Foundation for this project.
Registration required. A link to access the talk will be sent to you via email on the day of the event.
Join us for the premiere of an online programme featuring a conversation between Tim Whiten and Erika DeFreitas at Whiten’s Toronto studio. During this recorded talk, both discuss their creative process, reflect on influences, and share recent work related to their shared interests in metaphysics, art and ritual practices.
Co-presented by the McMaster Museum of Art (M(M)A) and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG), this special event is hosted in conjunction with the collaborative survey Elemental currently on view at their respective venues.
Elemental is a multi-venue collaborative retrospective bringing together four Ontario presenters, including the Art Gallery of Peterborough (AGP), Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), McMaster Museum of Art and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery. Celebrating Tim Whiten’s broad and prolific career as an image maker and educator, the exhibitions draw on over fifty years of Whiten’s creative production devoted to studying the nature of consciousness and the human condition through material transformations. Curated by Chiedza Pasipanodya (AGP), Liz Ikiriko (AGYU), Pamela Edmonds (M(M)A) and Leila Timmins (RMG), and showing between 2022 and 2023, this series of separately curated exhibitions are thematically united by the classical elements of air, water, earth, and fire – referencing Whiten’s interest in alchemical processes.
Elemental: Ethereal is on view at the McMaster Museum of Art until May 13, 2022 and Elemental: Oceanic is on view at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery until August 28, 2022. The exhibitions at AGP and AGYU are forthcoming.
About Tim Whiten
Tim Whiten was born in Inkster, Michigan in 1941. In 1964, he received a B.S. from Central Michigan University, College of Applied Arts and Science, and in 1966 completed his M.F.A. at the University of Oregon, School of Architecture and Allied Arts. After immigrating to Canada in 1968, he taught in the Department of Visual Arts at York University for 39 years. An award-winning educator, he was also Chair of the University’s Department of Visual Arts where he is currently Professor Emeritus. Since 1962, he has had work presented in exhibitions throughout North America and internationally and it is included in numerous private, public, and corporate collections, such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (both the de Young and the Legion of Honor/ Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts). Based in Toronto, Tim Whiten is represented by Olga Korper Gallery.
About Erika DeFreitas
Erika DeFreitas’s multidisciplinary practice includes performance, photography, video, installation, textiles, drawing and writing. Placing emphasis on gesture, process, the body, documentation and paranormal phenomena, DeFreitas mines concepts of loss, post-memory, legacy and objecthood. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including: Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery; Platform Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts, Winnipeg; Gallery TPW, Toronto; Project Row Houses and the Museum of African American Culture, Houston; Fort Worth Contemporary Arts; and Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita. She is a recipient of the 2016 Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Finalist Artist Prize, the 2016 John Hartman Award, and was longlisted for the 2017 Sobey Art Award. DeFreitas holds a Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto.
Attendance at both sessions is not mandatory; however, if you’re new to grant writing and you’re interested in taking part in the guided peer review session, we strongly encourage you to attend Part I: Grant Writing 101. Please note that the deadline to register for the peer review session is April 20.
Closed captioning and live transcription will be available through the built-in Zoom CC and Transcription features. ASL Interpretation can be arranged upon request. Please contact Hannah Keating at [email protected] to submit an interpretation request by March 30, 2022. All efforts will be made to fill a request, but if an Interpreter cannot be secured, we will let you know before the event takes place.
Is there anything else we can do to support your participation? Please reach out to Hannah at [email protected].
Part I: Grant Writing 101 with Daniella Sanader
Offering an overview of the funding landscape, this workshop will highlight how grants can support your art practice and projects, how to prepare and manage your time, and where to find key funding opportunities. We’ll also review best practices for budgets and support material and read through a successful grant application to explore useful writing tips you can use in your own applications.
This workshop will be hosted as a Zoom webinar, with a short mid-session break and an opportunity to ask questions at the end.
Part II: Guided Peer Review: Project Proposals
In this facilitated session, you will be paired with another artist to exchange project proposals and provide mutual support through questions and suggestions. We will provide structure and advice for the peer review that will guide your 1:1 breakout rooms and Daniella Sanader will join the call at the end to address any additional questions.
Each participant should come prepared with ONE of the following:
Option A: If you are preparing to apply for a grant and already have a project proposal prepared, bring that draft text for review. The text should be no longer than 500 words.
Option B: If you don’t currently have a grant in mind, you can prepare a hypothetical project proposal using the following prompt: Describe your project. Explain the inspiration for your project or why you wish to undertake it at this time and how this project will contribute to your artistic development. The text should be no longer than 500 words.
Option C: If you recently applied for a grant, but were unsuccessful, you can bring your project proposal from that application. You may have an opportunity to reapply or submit the project for consideration in another grant application. The text should be no longer than 500 words.
This workshop will be hosted as a Zoom meeting and will have the following schedule:
6:00-6:10 Welcome and housekeeping
6:10-6:30 Breakout rooms in pairs – participants introduce themselves and exchange texts; read and reflect independently.
6:30-6:45 Partner 1 offers feedback to Partner 2
6:45-7:00 Partner 2 offers feedback to Partner 1
7:00-7:20 Return to the main Zoom room – pairs or individuals can bring questions to the group for more input; Daniella Sanader will join the call to answer questions as well.
About the workshop leader
Daniella Sanader is a writer and reader based in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in Canadian Art, Artforum.com, C Magazine, BlackFlash Magazine, Border Crossings Magazine, Maclean’s, The Brooklyn Rail, esse magazine, and others. Her texts have also been published by a number of galleries and artist-run spaces across Canada and internationally. In January 2018, she was named the annual Emerging Cultural Leader by the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO). She was also a participant in the Critical Art Writing Ensemble III at the Banff Centre in 2018. Currently, she works as a freelance editor, supporting artists, curators, and arts organizations to realize a variety of texts.
If you have any questions about this event, please contact Hannah Keating at [email protected].
The RMG would like to acknowledge the RBC Foundation for their generous support of the Artist Professional Development Workshop Series.
RMG Virtual School is a FREE synchronous learning opportunity for Kindergarten to Grade 8 students! One of our Educators will visit your classroom virtually and provide a directed and social interactives using artworks from the RMG’s permanent collection. Each virtual engagement is designed to build students’ visual literacy skills, nurture problem solving and communication skills, and encourage imaginative and creative thinking.
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery has an extensive collection of modern and contemporary artworks, in particular, abstractions by the Painters Eleven.
This year, we will take a deeper dive into abstractions to facilitate discussion on themes such as identity, mental health and wellbeing, environmental advocacy, and social justice. While abstraction will be at its core, integration of historical artworks (such as works by members of the Group of Seven) will be used for a holistic approach to our innovative and multi-disciplinary learning offerings.
Starting February, these programs will be offered Wednesday to Friday. They can be booked to suit your classroom and school scheduling needs. Each program is approximately 30-45 minutes in length and can be extended to include a 45 minute studio workshop. Studio activity kits will be available at a nominal fee ($75 for a class set for up to 30 students), pick up at the RMG.
Kindergarten, Grade 1-3
Abstract Portraits: Communicating our Thoughts and Feelings
Mental Health and well-being is at the forefront of our daily lives and affects even the very young. Looking at and reflecting on portraits is a great way to identify various emotions in ourselves, encourage empathy with others and build healthy social relationships. In this program, we will play, discuss and explore realistic and abstract portraits by Canadian artists. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their experience through a grade appropriate basic drawing exercise. The optional extended studio workshop will encourage students to consider the use of patterns and textures to create their own whimsical water-soluble oil pastel portrait.
Grade 4-6, Grade 7-8
Abstract Portraits and Identity
Art is a connector between us, artists often use the theme of relationships as a subject of their artwork. What can art teach us about ourselves? How can art help us enhance our emotional and social intelligence? How do our identities inform our values, ideas, and actions? In this interactive program, we will consider not only our own development of identity and self-advocacy but also explore how we handle social justice issues using abstract concepts and artworks. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their experience through a grade appropriate basic drawing challenge. The optional extended studio workshop will encourage students to create a mixed media self-portrait.
To book a session, please contact Learning and Engagement Lead, Jennifer Welch at [email protected].
Perspective refers to an outlook and point of view, while prospective is future-oriented, suggesting a vision of what is to come. Both this personal and aspirational approach, encompass the spirit of this student photography project. Presented in partnership with the School of Media, Art and Design at Durham College, this exhibition showcases photographs taken by students in the first year Photography and Video Production program. For the project, the students explored photovoice, a process through which photography is used to reflect lived-experience and connect through the sharing of personal perspectives. They were then invited to tell a personal story through images, documenting their environment and daily experiences.
This project was part of an integrated learning experience where the students learned about the history of the Thomas Bouckley Collection, the power of using photovoice, and the value of looking inward. The Thomas Bouckley Collection, housed at the RMG, has over 3,500 photographs that visualize the history of Oshawa. However, the collection lacks the stories and perspectives of many of Oshawa’s residents. Installed in the Thomas Bouckley Collection corridor, this project is part of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s ongoing effort to present diverse perspectives from the community.
The resulting photographs shared similar themes, reflecting the students’ realities and observations: empty streets or paths, solace in nature, changing environments, the visible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and exploration of community. We want to thank all of the participating students for sharing their lives with us through the power of photographs.
Please be sure to visit both the onsite exhibition at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery on display until June 5, 2022, as well as the online exhibition that includes all of the student’s work here.
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) teamed up with Community Development Council Durham’s (CDCD) Community Connections Program to highlight the experiences of newcomers and immigrants in Durham Region. The Thomas Bouckley Collection, housed at the RMG, has over 3,500 photographs that visualize the history of Oshawa. However, the collection lacks the stories and perspectives of many of Oshawa’s residents. This community project is part of an ongoing effort to address these gaps, and to celebrate the community in its entirety.
The CDCD is a not-for-profit organization that has focused on enhancing the quality of life for individuals, families and communities in Durham for more than 50 years. CDCD’s Community Connections Program gives opportunities for new immigrants to Canada to practice English in conversation circles, learn about their community, meet new friends, and enjoy social events celebrating equity and inclusivity. Together, the RMG and the CDCD developed a community project aimed at giving participants an understanding about the history of their new community, as well as making them feel connected and a part of it. Following virtual workshops, the participants were tasked with taking photographs that capture their lives in their new community, and consider their important role within it. Their contributions are celebrated in this exhibition and will be added to the Thomas Bouckley Collection, upholding Bouckley’s vision to collect images that reflect the continued evolution of Oshawa.
Participants submitted a wide range of photographs including quiet moments, intimate interior views, community events, special locations and family gatherings, reflecting their experiences and daily realities of living in their new community. The RMG would like to thank all the participants for their incredible enthusiasm and willingness to share these important images of their lived experiences.
In November 2019, the RMG invited members of the community to share photographs that represent LGBTQ2+ histories and stories for inclusion in the Thomas Bouckley Collection. This project, presented in partnership with the AIDS Committee of Durham Region and The Totally Outright Program, is part of an ongoing effort to address the lack of diverse representation in the collection, and in historical accounts of Oshawa and Durham Region as a whole. While the Thomas Bouckley Collection has over 3,500 photographs that visualize Oshawa’s history, the collection lacks the stories and perspectives of many marginalized communities. This exhibition, featuring a selection of the submissions, celebrates these underrepresented stories and addresses the omission of LGBTQ2+ representation from institutional archives by adding these contributions to the Thomas Bouckley Collection for future generations.
Currently, the Thomas Bouckley Collection contains images of everything from plane crashes and floods, to snowy backyards and family picnics, capturing a wide spectrum of life in Oshawa. Similarly, the photographs in Come Out, Come Out comprise a range of images from vernacular snapshots of loved ones, to more documentary-style images of community outreach and events, most of which were taken in the last ten years. When Thomas Bouckley gifted his collection of historical photographs, he did so with the intention that the collection continue to grow and document Oshawa’s ongoing evolution. Because history is being made every day, we hope these new additions to the collection will allow future viewers to look back on the Come Out, Come Out contributions and have a better understanding of Oshawa’s shared history.
The need to collect LGBTQ2+ histories and stories does not end with this online exhibition; there is more work to be done. We continue to encourage the public to share stories and photos with us by using the hashtag #ComeOutComeOutRMG. We hope to build upon the images we have already received to continue this important project.
Marc Hall and Jean-Paul Dumond attend prom at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School in Oshawa, 2002. Marc Hall successfully sued the Durham Catholic District School Board for the right to bring his boyfriend to his high school prom. The case made international headlines and Hall’s story has been featured in documentaries, television movies and his story adapted to stage. His efforts were supported by various community organizations, and as a result, he became an icon for LGBTQ2+ rights in Canada.
In the 20th century printmakers began to move beyond the small, intimate, and monotone works of earlier centuries to explore scale, colour, and experimental techniques. Spurred largely by wider access to materials, the 20th century saw a burgeoning print scene begin that still exists today. This exhibition features artworks from the RMG’s Permanent Collection that showcase a variety of approaches to printmaking. The works display not only the main methods of printmaking, but also many of the artists included have combined techniques or pushed the medium’s limits in ways that make the works unique and exciting to view. As a printmaker myself, I am drawn to the various techniques, labour intensive processes, and potential for experimentation that is evident in these works.
Printmaking, as a term describes the artistic process of transferring an image from a matrix (the object on which the image or design is formed) onto another surface, often paper or fabric. There are four main printmaking methods: relief, intaglio, planographic, and stencil. Relief printing, such as woodcut and linocut, is when ink is applied to the surface of a block (stone, wood etc.) resulting in graphic images. This technique also offers the possibility of more refined line work, such as in Eric Nasmith’s Great Horned Owl (1980) where carved linework is used to create delicate textures in the foliage and owl’s feathers. Joan Marie Dean’s Isis (1977), with its smooth tones and line work is a great example of intaglio techniques – a process where ink is held in the incised lines of a plate such as with etching or engraving – allowing for a wide tonal range and fine detail.
Planographic methods such as lithography are unlike either relief or intaglio as they are printed from a flat surface. In doing so they offer unique opportunities for fine linework, details and a quality similar to drawing, exemplified by Kenojuak Ashevak’s Sun Owl and Foliage (1979) which shows has a quality similar to coloured pencil, combined with smooth planes of colour. Finally, stencil methods such as serigraph use a stencil to block out areas that are not to be printed; passing ink only to the areas that are part of the image, as seen in Lawren P. Harris’ Chevrons #3 (1973) which has layers of coloured lines laid out over the toned paper.
In each technique, there is a high level of technical process involved, from creating the image, preparing the materials, and printing the finalized artwork. Repetition of the steps becomes a type of meditation, yet at each point of the process there is opportunity for exploration and experimentation, allowing artists to push the limits of the medium. Some artists combine more than one technique. For example, Noboru Sawai’s Antique Birdcage (1979) makes strategic use of woodcut and etching techniques to create a highly detailed and colourful image held within the black lines of a cage. This captivating combination of techniques uses various formal strategies to highlight the central image.
From woodcut to etching, serigraph to lithograph, each of the artists in this exhibition have thoroughly explored and experimented with how printmaking can be used to create spectacular imagery. As a fellow printmaker, I see in these works the labour of love behind the brilliant, bold and colourful images that capture life, storytelling, and visual expression.
My fascination with Lake Ontario took hold during the winter of 2019—the first season I spent living in walking distance of the lake. As a white settler who grew up in the Oak Ridges Moraine, I certainly was aware of the lake but, up until that winter, had largely taken for granted its vitality as a life source to the region. Though it occupies the smallest surface area of all the Great Lakes, approximately one quarter of Canada’s population inhabits its watershed. The lake provides drinking water to over nine million people, and is home to countless wildlife and plant species. Over the course of that winter, I began reflecting on how those of us who live in this watershed relate to this body of water, and what shifts when we take time to listen to it.
When presented with the opportunity to curate a selection of works from both the RMG’s Permanent Collection and Thomas Bouckley Collection, I wondered what stories of the lake I might find, and how artists’ perspectives of the lake had shifted over time. What would artists’ past and contemporary perceptions of Lake Ontario reveal about our present relationship with it? This question is considered throughout the exhibition’s 29 works—ranging across painting, photography and printmaking—which emerge from both collections and span the last 150 years. It is important to note that early to mid-20th century works by European-descendant settler artists make up a significant amount of the portrayals of the lake in the collections and in this exhibition. I find it critical to bring attention to whose lived realities with the lake are largely missing from these portrayals; namely, the profound relationships Indigenous nations have had with this waterbody for millennia. I have intentionally bookended the exhibition with two works by contemporary Indigenous artists from the Great Lakes region, which are featured in the Permanent Collection. Beginning and concluding the exhibition with these works aims to impart a reminder of Indigenous nations’ relationships with the Great Lakes, and their ongoing stewardship of the region.
This exhibition attempts to construct a snapshot of how the lake has been viewed during the last century of settlement and industrialization, from the vantage point of the lake’s north shore in Durham Region. The title Water Sign: Echoes of Lake Ontario surfaced from the strategy I implemented in selecting the artworks, which involved foregrounding representations of the lake where the waterbody seemed to be telling its own version of this history. In looking and listening for signs of life from the lake in the archives, I endeavoured to highlight it as a living force. The works have been grouped by theme as well as medium to bring into focus the lake’s different geographies, and are presented in the following sequence: “Beginnings,” “The lake in front of the lens,” “Reflections in colour throughout the 20th century,” “Oshawa Creek,” “Expansive geographies of the Great Lakes,” and “The lake’s present and future ecologies.” Together, these themes narrate this recent history of representation in the collections, and provide reflection on the historical contexts that shape how we sense the lake today.
This theme considers different beginnings in relation to the lake. The first work, Nanabush and the Giant Pike (n.d.) by Blake Debassige, an Ojibwe artist from M’Chigeeng First Nation on the Georgian Bay, anchors the Great Lakes as vital to Anishinaabe culture. Here, Debassige vividly portrays Nanabush travelling across water, a protagonist in Ojibwe storytelling who is both a culture hero and trickster figure. Although it is unclear which lake this is situated on, Debassige’s work points to how the Great Lakes have sustained and been home to Indigenous cultures and ways of understanding the world for millennia. Juxtaposed with this self-representation of Indigenous culture is British-born settler artist Frederic Waistell Jopling’s idealization of French voyageur Étienne Brûlé’s travels of the Great Lakes thanks to the guidance of Indigenous tribes in Etienne Brule’s Last Lap of the Portage to Lake Ontario, 1615 (n.d). Brûlé was likely the first European to arrive to Lake Ontario four centuries ago.
Blake Debassige (M’Chigeeng, b. 1956), Nanabush and the Giant Pike, n.d., acrylic on canvas. Gift of David and Suzanne Peacock, 2014.
F. W. Jopling (Canadian b. England, 1859 – 1945}, Etienne Brule’s Last Lap of the Portage to Lake Ontario, 1615, n.d., etching on paper. Gift of Serry and H. Max Swartz in honour of Sybil and Manning Swartz, 1987.
Lotti Thomas’s Prima Terra Nova (1984) narrates the ensuing colonization of Canada by European settlers arriving via waterways and the beginning of mass European settlement. Finally, two maps from the mid-1800s are the earliest representations of the lake in the collections, which both depict the lake as a void, negative space. These maps exemplify a settler-colonial way of seeing water and land from an elevated bird’s-eye view, as something to be controlled.
The lake in front of the lens
Taken in the early 1900s, these photographs from the Thomas Bouckley Collection reveal some of the earliest imprints of the lake itself in the gallery’s collections. Presented in black-and-white, with humans largely omitted from view, the lake is foregrounded as a living force. For instance, in Oshawa On The Lake In Winter (1919), a light leak on the photograph’s film can be interpreted as the lake transgressing the image frame; in Ice Formation, Lake Ontario (n.d.), a wave has monumentally crystalized in mid-break. Meanwhile, in Shipwreck (1921), a suspended wave occupies the bottom frame of the image, almost as if, only moments later, it overtook the photographer’s lens. Showing the wreckage of a wooden vessel in the middle ground—likely from a coal barge—the image attests to the power of the lake.
Reflections in colour throughout the 20th century
Here, an array of paintings from the Permanent Collection depict bodies of water during various seasons and times of day. Although not every painting is directly representative of Lake Ontario, these works by Southern Ontario-based artists provide reflections on the nature of water as always being in flux. The sun is dazzlingly reflected in the seascape of William Blair Bruce’s Lake Ontario (n.d.), while Florence H. McGillivray’s Moon Magic (1933) highlights the lunar influence on water’s movements. Season of Frost (1962) by Gustav Weisman uncovers a lake’s icy depths in the cold of winter. Emma May Martin’s Breakers – Ocean or Lake (n.d.) speaks to how easily Lake Ontario could be mistaken for an ocean when looking out at its wide expanse.
William Blair Bruce (Canadian, 1859 – 1906), Lake Ontario, n.d., oil on canvas. Purchased with the assistance of the Government of Canada through the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, 1986.
Florence H. McGillivray (Canadian, 1864 – 1938), Moon Magic, 1933, oil on board. Gift of Joan and W. Ross Murray, 1994.
E. May Martin (Canadian, 1865 – 1957), Breakers – Ocean or Lake, n.d., watercolour on paper. Donated by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, 1988, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Lande.
Gustav Weisman (Canadian b. Lithuania, 1926), Season of Frost, 1962, oil on masonite. Gift of the artist, 1995.
This selection of photographs spans a 100-year history of Oshawa Creek, Oshawa’s main watercourse into Lake Ontario. These images of the creek provide glimpses of the broader history of the city’s relationship with the lake and its waterways: as the backbone of industry, as a site of recreation and, at times, an infrastructural hazard. During the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century, the Oshawa Creek Valley was home to booming industry. Many of the industries made use of the creek’s waters for its production and, like in the Don River westward, unleashed high levels of pollution back into the stream, which eventually flowed out into the lake. The creek endured throughout these different periods of the city’s economic activity and today, as we see in Fred Sewell’s photograph Oshawa Creek at William Street (2011), the creek continues to flow south, sustaining the plants and beings that rely on its watershed.
Expansive geographies of the Great Lakes
Lake Ontario is critically connected to the wider Great Lakes’ network. Several works in the collections speak to this interconnection through the movement of water, as well as people and goods, across the lakes. In Jopling’s Whirlpool Rapids Illuminated – New York Side (1916), we get a sense of the sheer force of the Niagara River’s enlivened motion, which cascades between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. In Ed Bartram’s Island Forms (1973) depicting the Georgian Bay, and Valerie Palmer’s Perpetua (1993) set by Lake Superior, we are shown suspended moments of transition set against the rocky terrain of the Canadian Shield, which envelops both northern shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior. Concerning the industrialization of the basin over the last century, large steam vessels and cargo ships—as pictured in Steam Vessel Leaving Harbour (1910) and Robert Bourdeau’s Ontario, Canada (1985)—have travelled to and from Lake Ontario’s ports throughout the decades to exchange goods across this network, on both sides of the Canada-US border.
Steam Vessel Leaving Harbour, 1910. The Thomas Bouckley Collection
F. W. Jopling (Canadian b. England, 1859 – 1945), Whirlpool Rapids Illuminated – New York Side, 1916, mezzotint and drypoint on paper. Gift of Joan and W. Ross Murray, 1976.
F. W. Jopling (Canadian b. England, 1859 – 1945), Whirlpool Rapids Illuminated – New York Side, 1916, mezzotint and drypoint on paper. Gift of Joan and W. Ross Murray, 1976.
Valerie Palmer (Canadian, b. 1950), Perpetua, 1993, oil on linen. Anonymous Gift, 2015.
Robert Bourdeau (Canadian, b. 1933), Ontario, Canada, 1985/86, silver gelatin print on paper, mounted on mat board 1/30. Gift of Sean Bourdeau, 2016.
The lake’s present and future ecologies
Ecological awareness around the importance of the lake and its integral role in sustaining a complex ecosystem has only increased in recent decades. Eric Nasmith’s Whimbrel Moving West on Lake Ontario (1976) and Barry Smylie’s Communication should come this naturally to everyone (1991) portray examples of the many species who rely on this ecosystem. Don Wotton’s Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (2011) documents the authority’s headquarters near the Oshawa Creek, established in 1958 to redress the environmental impacts of industrial activity in the region. Today, the organization continues to ensure the health of Durham Region’s watersheds. The photograph The Delegate Visits the McLaughlin Gallery (2007) by Jeff Thomas, an Iroquois artist from Six Nations Reserve and Buffalo, NY, speaks back to the stereotyped representations of Indigenous peoples and their erasure from contemporary urban spaces. Taken on the front lawn of the RMG, Thomas presents his protagonist Chief Red Robe standing next to the beavers of Mary Anne Barkhouse’s public sculpture Grace (2007) as a testament to ongoing Indigenous presence. Finally, the most recent depiction of the lake in the gallery’s collections is Morris Lum’s Diptych 3 (2017). Lum leaves us with a bisected conclusion with which to consider the future of the lake, its evolving industries and changing climate.
Don Wotton, Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, 2011. The Thomas Bouckley Collection
Jeff Thomas (Iroquois, b. 1956), The Delegate Visits the McLaughlin Gallery, 2007, colour photograph on paper. Gift of the artist, 2009.
Barry Smylie (Canadian, b. 1948), Communication should come this naturally to everyone, 1991, lithograph on paper. Gift of the artist, 1991.
Morris Lum (Chinese Canadian b. Trinidad, 1983), Diptych 3, 2017, archival pigment print on paper. Purchased with the financial support of the Isabel McLaughlin Acquisition Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program, 2017.
Part of Oshawa’s charm comes from its natural and architectural heritage, which is heightened by the community’s beautiful landscape and gardens. This collection of photographs from The Thomas Bouckley Collection looks back at Oshawa’s historical gardens and celebrates the community’s long and continued tradition of producing beautiful private and public gardens.
Oshawa has various associations that promote community and public gardens, including The Oshawa Garden Club, formerly the Oshawa Horticultural Society, established in 1931. The society has long encouraged horticulture throughout the city and promoted the creation and upkeep of public gardens to enhance Oshawa’s green spaces. Its membership has always had a passion for gardening and are devoted to maintaining Oshawa’s horticultural beauty.
The City of Oshawa is also dedicated to this cause. The landscape team grows all of their own flowers in city greenhouses, designing, planting, and maintaining Oshawa’s many public gardens, flower displays and hanging baskets that brighten the downtown and park spaces. Over the last few years, the city has also increased the number of community gardens located on city-owned land. These gardens are community driven projects run by volunteers and local community groups, with a deep commitment to community engagement and learning. Additionally, Oshawa has been designated a Bee City by Bee City Canada for its commitment to maintaining and developing pollinator-friendly public gardens and amending by-laws to encourage planting and reduce mowing.
For over 20 years, Oshawa has participated in the Communities in Bloom competition. The organization evaluates communities based on landscape, gardens, community involvement and overall cleanliness, and has recognized Oshawa with numerous Provincial, National, and International awards. While these awards honour the recent history of Oshawa’s landscape, these photographs show there is no doubt that the city has always been home to beautiful public and private gardens.
George McLaughlin Home, c. 1905
Formal flowerbeds of perennials decorate the front of the house. This house was torn down in 1910 and G.W. McLaughlin had a new home built in its place.
Robert McLaughlin Home, c. 1880
Hanging pots and window boxes adorn the verandah. The curved driveway is lined by trees, shrubs, and a neatly edged lawn. This residence later served as the St. Andrew’s United Church manse for some years before it was torn down.
F.W. Cowan Residence, c. 1915
In the front of this house is a grand curving driveway and formal gardens. The house is located at Simcoe Street and McGrigor Street, the current site of Adelaide House, YWCA.
War Memorial, Memorial Park, c. 1930
The war memorial that stands today in Memorial Park is due to the efforts of Dr. T.E. Kaiser,, who along with the memorial committee, undertook a massive fundraising drive to ensure a memorial that honours those who served in WWI. It was unveiled on Nov. 11, 1924. The memorial and the surrounding gardens is called “The Garden of the Unforgotten.”
Backyard of King Street East Home, 1960
A rare glimpse of a backyard garden located at 339 King Street East.
John Ritson Home, c. 1905
Located at Ritson Road and Olive Avenue, this clapboard house has a large clematis vine covering a trellis beside the front entrance. A well cared for flower garden boarders the perimeter of the house. A wooden walkway leads past the house towards the side yard where there is a wooden windmill, which was built in 1890.
Guy House, c. 1880
This clapboard house located on Sydenham Farm at Bonniebrae Point, near Henry Street and Lakeview Park Avenue has a large front yard full of pruned shrubs and flowerbeds. Two chairs are set on the front porch for looking out to the garden.
Mothersill Home, c. 1890
A picket fence surrounds the Mothersill property that was located at Cedar Street and Thomas Street. Mature trees bracket the view of the front verandah and garden where several family members are seated. All are identified, left to right: Fred Mothersill, Mary Robinson Mothersill, Charlotte Mothersill, Howard Mothersill (son of Eugene), and Eugene Mothersill.
King Family Residence, 1890
William King, a major property owner in Oshawa, purchased this property. Later it became a hostel for men called “The House of Friendship” and later still it was used as a children’s shelter.
The matriarch of the family is sitting in a rocker on the lawn in front of the verandah decorated with hanging baskets.
Mothersill Home, Cedar Dale, c. 1905
Without the space for a garden in the front, this family decorated their home with potted plants and a cascading window box.
Children Posed in Front of Home, 1960
Four children pose in the front garden of their home at 339 King Street East.
Prospect Park, c. 1910
This privately owned park is now the site of Parkwood Estates and Gardens. The grounds were first owned by J.B Warren, who built a large wooden home here. It then came into the possession of W.H. Gibbs, who built his palatial residence that is known as “Prospect House” on this block. Succeeding owners were Colonel Mulligan and Eli Edmondson. R.S. McLaughlin had Prospect House torn down and erected the present Parkwood residence c. 1915.
Note the decorative pathways, gazebo, and electric lights.
Oshawa Fair – Robert Brooks Display, c. 1906
Members of the Brooks family are shown here in front of their vegetable display at the Oshawa Fair, which was held at Alexandra Park.
Blinkbonnie, c. 1883
Owned by John Wilson, this two storey “Regency Style” house located at the south-west corner of King Street east and Wilson Road. The former sea captain had a pond installed in his garden and named the estate Blinkbonnie. In the image, trees and shrubs fill the garden and a man can be seen in the background enjoying a ride in a steam-powered paddle-wheeler.
Robert McLaughlin Funeral, 1921
This photograph was taken at the memorial service for Robert McLaughlin at the Parkwood estate gardens.
Cedar Arch over Simcoe Street North, 1919
A vine covered cedar arch is mounted over Simcoe Street North, directly in front of Parkwood estate.
Ellesmere Hall, c. 1880
Ellesmere Hall, built c.1870, was the home of the T.N. Gibbs family. Mr. Gibbs sold the house in 1889 to the Church of England who turned it into a school for girls, Bishop Bethune College.
Ellesmere Hall, c. 1880
View of the walkway leading to the T.N. Gibbs family home. The path is lined with formal gardens. The property was located at Simcoe Street and Gibb Street.
Isabel McLaughlin in the Conservatory, Parkwood, Oshawa, 1948
Parkwood estate has long boasted one of the most beautiful gardens in Oshawa, and at one point had eleven greenhouses and a gardening staff of twenty-four. Isabel McLaughlin is shown sketching in her family’s conservatory, which was built to entertain guests.
Adelaide Mowbray McLaughlin, c. 1950
Adelaide McLaughlin poses in front of a lilac tree in her Parkwood estate garden. She was an avid and knowledgeable gardener who loved to study flower varieties. She would often host charitable events at her Parkwood gardens, and oversaw all of the estate’s gardens and greenhouses.