Archives Awareness Week 2013

The Durham Region Area Archives Group is hosting a show and tell night on Wednesday, 3 April from 6:00pm-8:00pm at the Pickering Public Library. Libraries and archives from Durham Region will display and discuss strange and interesting items from their collections to celebrate Archives Awareness Week 2013. The objects on display will include a note signed by Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, magic lantern slides, Victorian era postmortem photography, a circus flea, Second World War shells from the DIL plant in Ajax, and a stunt book from a student at Ontario Ladies’ College.

Plane Crash at the Four Corners of Oshawa

Plane Crash at the Four Corners of Oshawa, 1918

The RMG’s Sonya Jones, Assistant Curator and Curator of The Thomas Bouckley Collection, and Barb Duff, Library Services Coordinator are preparing our contribution to the display. The RMG’s contribution will include various historical images of a famous plane crash at the Four Corners of Oshawa, Alexandra Luke’s and Aleen Aked’s painters boxes, Isabel McLaughlin’s Order of Canada and Order of Ontario and various other oddities from our archives!

Residents from Durham are invited to attend and bring with them interesting historical items from their personal collections. There will be a meet and greet following the presentations and refreshments will be provided.

The Durham Region Area Archives Group was formed in 2011 and is the newest chapter of the Archives Association of Ontario. Its members represent libraries, archives, and historical societies in Durham Region and surrounding areas.

RMG Friends Ignite Durham Announce Start-Up Boot Camp!

We recently hosted the DATCA awards at an RMG Fridays event. During the evening our friends from the Spark Centre announced this new initiative that is designed to encourage start-up business in Durham Region. 


New business boot camp has $25,000 cash for entrepreneurs in Durham Region.

WHITBY, ON November 12, 2012 – Entrepreneurs in Durham Region have until January 11, 2013 to apply for Ignite, a brand-new start-up boot camp that will set two local companies on the path to success.

Ignite is presented by Spark Centre, a not-for-profit organization that offers services and support to local entrepreneurs; The Region of Durham; and VentureStart, a program that helps technology entrepreneurs in Southern Ontario. “We are on the hunt for exciting, high-potential start-ups,” said Martin Croteau, executive director of Spark Centre. “We know that Durham is full of inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs. We are going to throw the support of the entire community behind the top two companies we can find.”After a rigorous selection process involving a public Pitch Night and boardroom presentations, two “Ignite Start-ups” will be announced in early March. These two companies will then enter an intensive four-month boot camp, which includes the following: a $25,000 cash award; access to a Power Panel of high-profile entrepreneurs; and in-kind professional services from local experts in areas such as finance, marketing, and law. In addition to accelerating the success of the two chosen companies, Ignite will showcase the exceptional local resources available to all entrepreneurs in Durham. The boot camp will culminate in a public event, the Ignite Finale, on June 25, 2013 at The Regent Theatre in Oshawa.

“Durham Region is proud to partner with Spark Centre to launch Ignite, the powerful next step for the Art of Transition to continue to support a strong local creative economy,” said Kerri King, Tourism Manager for Durham Region. “Through Ignite, we will continue to promote Durham’s innovative culture, and create more well-paying jobs in our community.”Applications are available online and must be received by 5 p.m. on January 11, 2013. Please visit for more information on the application process, eligibility criteria, and important dates.  

Spark Centre is a not-for-profit that helps to start and grow innovative technology-based companies in Durham Region and Northumberland County. We are one of fourteen Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) that are part of the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE). Together we support the commercialization of ideas right across Ontario. Spark Centre’s services are provided thanks to the generous financial support of the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, Durham Region, the Durham Strategic Energy Alliance (DSEA) and the Northumberland Manufacturer’s Association (NMA).

The Curator’s View: Revealing Spaces

Sonya Jones is the RMG’s assistant Curator and Curator of the Thomas Bouckley Collection. In this post she shares a reflection from artist Kate Wilhelm.

Revealing Spaces, is a current exhibition featuring three emerging Durham Region artists, Kate Wilhelm, Shaun Downey and Andrea Carvalho. One of the woman depicted in Kate Wilhelm’s photographs of derby girls sadly passed away just this past April. 

Here’s the artist’s reflection about Kiss My Ashlinn:


Kiss My Ashlinn
July 2, 1957 – April 5, 2012


She was in treatment when we first connected by email. We had to keep rescheduling visits because my family was a walking petrie dish all winter and her immune system was in no shape to protect her. If it wasn’t me suffering pinkeye, it was my six-year-old’s scratchy cough and runny nose or my baby’s diarrhea. When I finally managed to squeeze a visit in between illnesses, she told me her lung cancer was incurable. She also said she would skate again. “I just need to get off this damn oxygen, and then I will.” The way she said it, I believed her.

I photographed her and Thom just before Christmas. I was about to reschedule because I was still coughing, but she encouraged me to just wear a mask. She couldn’t keep her eyes off my baby, and she wrote me about a month later to tell me how much she enjoyed having him in her home. She had one granddaughter, whom she adored, and she couldn’t wait for more. 

I did see her once more, before she died, at a party. I hadn’t been expecting her or I’d have brought the copy of Spontaneous Healing I’d been meaning to give her for months. The book sat on the floor by my front door for ages so I wouldn’t forget. Around the end of March, I dreamed about her. I can’t remember now what happened in the dream, but I know I didn’t want to tell her the details. I think I dreamed she died before I gave her the book and I felt awful. I woke up determined to give it to her that week and thinking of another woman’s miraculous recovery from cancer. I tried to make a time to drop the book off, but she never replied. I found the silence ominous, and sure enough, 5 days later she had passed.


I only put the book back on my bookshelf a couple of weeks ago. As I type this, the mask I wore when I photographed her hangs on the window right next to me. I don’t know why I’m keeping it.

Revealing Spaces is on at the RMG until August 26.



Creative Centre Naming Competition Announcement




14 June 2012 

Creative Centre for keen Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Artists needs a name. Reward Offered.

For years there have been rumblings in Durham Region about the need for a flexible and dynamic space where the like-minded can collaborate, exchange ideas, expand networks, find an affordable office or studio, share amenities, teach a class or stage an event.  It felt like it was never going to happen.  

But now it is coming. It will occupy a happening spot in the centre of Downtown Oshawa.  It will be a home for like-minded entrepreneurs, innovators and artists.  

BUT, therein lies the problem.  It cannot be referred to as an “it”.  What should it be named?  There’s always calling it “Creative Centre”; well, that’s boring.  “Flying Bananas”, maybe.  What would you name it? 

Your idea may be worth $500.  Please submit your royalty-free concept(s) by June 26th, 2012 in a SINGLE email and mark the subject line as NEW NAME to: [email protected]

A panel of judges will review your submissions,  these are: Erin Elliott, OshaWhat Magazine‘s editor; Gabrielle Peacock, Robert McLaughlin Gallery CEO; David Tuley, Downtown Development Officer; and Chris Baylis, Independent Project Managers VP.  Lobbying or contacting the judges will result in disqualification.  Of course, any and all submissions can be denied.

The winner will be contacted prior to and then publicly announced at the Creative Social event, Thursday, June 28th, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa. For more information or tickets for the event see


The Curator’s View: Maralynn Cherry’s Retirement Farewell

From the desk of Linda Jansma, Curator.


It’s a word that Maralynn Cherry brought up different times in her talk at Bowmanville’s Visual Art Centre last Friday evening.

The context was Maralynn’s farewell fête as she is retiring from her position as the art centre’s Curator. I felt privileged to be one of some 75 people who came to wish Maralynn well and thank her for what she brought to the visual arts in the Durham Region.

I’ve known Maralynn for many years having curated her work into a two-person exhibition, as well as engaged her as a writer for one of our publications. We also participated in a series of Curatorial workshops many years ago that were held at the VAC. Maralynn is an intelligent, creative, inquisitive and compassionate individual and all of those attributes were made clear through the work of the artists she brought into the VAC and the beautifully crafted essays that she wrote.


Maralynn speaks with Sean McQuay at her farewell event. Photo by Jean-Michel Komarnicki

Back to hospitality. Maralynn has made the VAC a place where both artists and visitors are made to feel welcome. She was able to encourage and accommodate visions and share those with the curious, the inquisitive and the knowledgeable. She finished her talk by stating that in the end, it’s about the artist. It sounds obvious, but in the midst of grant writing, fund raising, facility management, programming, etc., we can lose sight of the fact that without the artist and the art, there’s not much for us to work with. Maralynn understands that and deeply values and respects the artistic vision. As an artist herself, this may be one of the reasons she’s moving beyond the VACshe has spent years encouraging artists and now needs to more fully and deeply engage with her own artistic practice.  

From one Durham Region curator to another: thank you Maralynn.


Hot Topics: Museum Education & Social Media

Hot Topic posts come from the desk of Jacquie Severs, our Manager, Communications & Social Media. 


Last night I went to Whitby to meet with a group of art gallery and museum workers known as the Museum & Art Gallery Educators Collective – Durham, or MAGEC-D. This collective is aimed at those who live and work in Durham Region in the Museum and Art Gallery field, but it is open to all who are interested and includes members from Peterborough as well as recent graduates from programs such as Fleming College’s Museum Management. 

I attended the meeting last night at the request of Christine Castle, a Museum Education Consultant and publisher of the Museum Education Monitor. I was pleased to lead a discussion on social media within educational efforts at museums and galleries. It was a fun, chatter-filled night with each institution who attended sharing their ideas and progress, challenges and triumphs. 

From my perspective social media can offer insight into what happens behind-the-scenes and bring the collections out to the community in new and engaging ways. It helps us open up our vaults, so to speak, to show what it is we do and educate our friends locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally about our collection and historic significance. Social Media is often thought of as purely marketing but the educational components are so inspiring as well. 

Two examples of using social media in the education department here at the RMG are our Youtube page, which offers behind the scenes looks at installations and the projects that our summer campers create, and our Facebook fan page, which shows student work from our many classes and camps each Tuesday

Here are all the institutions that participated last night and their various homes on the web. If you are interested in history, culture and the arts in Durham Region, following along with each profile will provide you with loads of interesting and educational content.

Museum Education Monitor


Station Gallery, Whitby


Oshawa Community Museum


Art Gallery of Peterborough


Pickering Museum


The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

Blog (you’re here!)

What would you like to see your local gallery and museum do using social media websites? What kind of content interests you? We’d love to hear from you in our comments section.

Our first Juried Gig Poster Show!

The RMG’s ArtReach department funtions as an educational outreach program which brings understanding and passion for art to our community. ArtReach, in collaboration with our music event series RMG Fridays, is pleased to present this opportunity for illustrators, graphic artists, musicans and others to participate in showcasing the talent in the music promotion community in Durham Region.


Posters are an art medium with a rich history. Many well known fine artists have completed famous examples: Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s ads for theatre productions are art history staples, while more recently notable graphic designers such as Milton Glaser created designs for rock icons like Bob Dylan. 


We’re very excited to see this exhibition of posters by local talent come together in May. For the past few months, we’ve been seeking submissions from graphic designers, artists, painters, illustrators and other creatives who have designed posters advertising musical performances. We were pleased to receive diverse entries and our jury has made their top 15 selections.

Meet our jury:

Jenn Shadbolt, RGD is a Toronto-based graphic designer with a specialty in delicious food & beverage retail package design. Her work can be found in groceries & drugstores across Canada and the US. She loves to see how good design improves our everyday lives.

Luke Despatie is an award-winning graphic designer, illustrator and printmaker living and working in the bucolic town of Port Hope, Ontario. A true design nerd, Luke is inspired by all things aesthetic – art, architecture, film, theatre, food, toys and comics. His past and present clients include Survivorman, The Northern Pikes, Oak Heights Winery, Random House, Harper Collins, PEN Canada, Yahoo! and Chatelaine, among others.

Chad Mitchell started his career in the music industry 13 years ago at BMG, building websites and riding the social media wave. Eventually he moved into his current position, Video Production Manager at Sony Music Canada, where he has been filming and editing Canadian and International talent for the past 9 years. He has also done gigs with CRIA, Universal Music and The Songwriters Association of Canada.

In addition today we were able to announce our prizes. They are:

The JMS Audio Best Overall Prize
$150 cash, $100 Oak Recording Studios gift certificate, 
membership to the gallery & RMG Fridays swag bag 

The Aked Second Overall Prize
$100 cash, $25 Long and McQuade gift certificate, 
membership to the gallery & RMG Fridays swag bag

The RMG Fridays Third Overall Prize
$50 cash, membership to the gallery & RMG Fridays swag bag

(Winning entries will be announced on the evening of the event.)

Read More:

Oshawa Express Article: Posters Foster Artistic Expression

RMG Fridays Event- Friday 2 May, 7pm: Facebook
Event features performances by Marvelous Beauhunks, Viva Mars.
Book launch: Do Not Resuscitate: The Marvelous Beauhunks: Cautionary Tales from the Best-Looking Band in the World  by Stephen C. Wright 
Art opening: Adrian Norvid: Showstoppers, Whoppers, Downers & Out-of-Towners 




DRAAG – Durham Region Area Archives Group

The Durham Region Area Archives Group (DRAAG) is an advocacy and support group for the history of Durham Region and surrounding areas. The group, made up of Durham’s archives and libraries, works to promote and preserve the shared documentary heritage of Durham Region along with some neighbouring communities. This press release announces their upcoming Archives Awareness Week.

For Immediate Release 20 March 2012

Oshawa – Are you the unofficial family archivist? Join the Durham Region Area Archives Group (DRAAG) as we celebrate Archives Awareness Week (April 2-6) with our Preserving Your Family History event on April 4 at the Northview Branch of the Oshawa Public Libraries from 2:00pm – 8:00pm.  Professional Archivists and Local History Librarians will be on hand to answer questions on genealogy, document and photograph preservation, digitization, and document repair. Residents of Durham Region are invited to drop in for digitization and encapsulation demonstrations. There will be helpful information on how best to store your family collection to ensure it lasts for generations to come! Residents are encouraged to bring along their photographs and documents.

For more information please contact the Oshawa Community Museum and Archives at 905-436-7624 ext. 100.

Become a fan of DRAAG on Facebook.
Visit DRAAG on the Web to see participating institutions and partners. 
Follow on Twitter @DurhamArchives 


The Intern Files: Amy Weir

In this edition of The Intern Files, we hear from Amy Weir. Amy is a library and information science graduate student from the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. In the past, Amy has interned at the RMG Library and Archives, and is currently working on a special project for the Thomas Bouckley Collection.

Compiled by local historian Thomas Bouckley, the Thomas Bouckley Collection at the RMG depicts the history of the City of Oshawa – providing visual insight into Oshawa’s past. The collection’s catalogued component consists of over 2280 photographs and negatives, but in addition, the RMG possesses a wide range of supporting files from Thomas Bouckley’s personal collection: over 2000 items including uncatalogued photographs, documents, artefacts and ephemera.

            As some may be familiar, much of the catalogued component of the Thomas Bouckley Collection has been organized and filed in proper storage, frequently displayed in exhibitions and accessed for research purposes by the public. However, the other items that make up the collection currently remain in the condition received in 1985, with little organization, improper storage, and a lack of archival-quality housing. The uncatalogued materials, while stored in folders that have been numbered and named, are also difficult to locate due to a lack of description in the accompanying finding aid. This is where I come in. Over the course of three months, I’m working toward the goal of establishing order and appropriate storage for the uncatalogued portion, with the ultimate objective of facilitating ease of access, longevity, and ongoing preservation for the entire collection.


Re-housing files in archival-quality folders, before and after.

            Currently, the project’s first stage is just wrapping up: the records within nearly all of the files have been ‘re-housed,’ and placed in archival-quality storage to enhance their preservation. Some files have simply required new, archival-quality file folders, while others have required more careful intervention – removing damaged photos from dated photo albums, for example.


Damaged photos to be removed from unstable photo albums.

Doing so has involved an analysis of every item in the collection, which has provided a great opportunity to discover the treasures that Bouckley collected as part of his research. Items, such as the original postcard with inscription shown here, tell the stories of the families who lived in early Oshawa.


1917 postcard and note on verso. Man in photo is identified as Frank Mallet of Mallet House Hotel, Oshawa. 
TBC File no. 013A

What’s more, some of the items within the collection speak to not only the history of Oshawa, but the history of other areas in Ontario, with research and artefacts dating as far back as the aboriginal settlements of today’s Durham Region and Southern Ontario. Once the collection has been properly re-housed, organization and the eventual production of a digital finding aid (and collection inventory) is created, access to the collection will be significantly enhanced while contributing to Bouckley’s endeavour to continually augment and to preserve our knowledge of the region’s history.

The Durham Art of Transition Creative Awards & Tourism Summit


This Friday staff from the RMG will be at the UOIT/Durham College campus in Oshawa at the Durham Region Tourism Summit, which is followed by the DATCA’s, (Durham Art of Transition Creative Awards). We’re proud to be part of this event as an exhibitor and a DATCA nominee!

Two of our projects were nominated this year. One is our First Fridays event series, the other our public art installation by Douglas Coupland. We are so proud of both of these accomplishments and we look forward to learning about all of the other interesting and exciting projects that have happened in Durham Region that led to other businesses, artists and organizations being nominated.

We hope you will be attending the event!

November 25, 2011
TIME: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Durham College/ UOIT Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre
ADDRESS: 2000 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa, Ontario

Links From the Art of Transition:

Summit and Awards


YouTube Page with many speaking about the importance of this project


The Art of Transition on Facebook

Facebook Event Page – Tourism Summit

Facebook Event Page – Creative Marketplace