Museum Month: Visit our Neighbourhood Museums

In celebration of Museum Month, we’re shining a spotlight on the other galleries and museums around Oshawa and the Durham Region.

The Whitby Station Gallery and the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington also play important roles in the cultural community of Durham Region. The Oshawa Community Museum and Archives(OCMA), Parkwood Estate, the Canadian Automotive Museum and the Ontario Regiment RCAC Museum are sharing the cultural history of Durham Region.

The Oshawa Community Museum and Archives:


Oshawa Community Museum and Archives, Guy House.
Photo courtesy of the OCMA

The Oshawa Community Museum and Archives works to preserve and present Oshawa’s history and help the public better understand and appreciate the City’s heritage. The OCMA tells Oshawa’s story from the first native settlements and to the present day.

The OCMA holds a photograph collection from Thomas Bouckley, artifacts from the Henry, Robinson and Guy families, a medical instrument collection and vast artifact and photograph collection showing historic Oshawa. The Oshawa Historical Society administers the OCMA to ensure all funding received from the City of Oshawa goes to support the operation and administration of the OCMA.

The OCMA is a leader in promoting Oshawa’s history and connecting people and communities with their past. Now that the weather has gotten nicer the Heritage Gardens are perfect place to go to enjoy the history behind some of Oshawa.

Parkwood Estate:


Parkwood Estate, Oshawa.
Photo courtesy of Parkwood Estates.

Parkwood Estate is a mansion located in the heart of Oshawa, decorated in classic period representation of the early 20th century design. The rooms are made to highlight the lifestyle of a wealthy family and their guests. The collection is so complete it gives an impression that the family still lives there!

In 1915, the McLaughlin family had gained notability and achieved “First Family” status in Oshawa. They purchased Prospect Park to be the site of their new home, Parkwood Estate. The mansion was designed by Darling and Pearson, a team of architects who had a large influence on Canadian institutional architecture. The mansion began construction in 1915 and finished in 1917.

The gardens around the house provide an elaborate distraction for families and visitors to the estate. Parkwood Estate offers an opportunity to see the last and finest remaining residential gardens designed by Harries & Hall, Dunington-Grubb and John Lyle.

Whitby Station Gallery:

Whitby Station Gallery

Train car outside the Whitby Station Gallery.
Photo courtesy of the Whitby Station Gallery.

The Whitby Station Gallery started as a community gallery run by a group of art enthusiasts in Whitby as Whitby Arts Incorporated. The group, along with benefactors and supporters, purchased Whitby’s Grand Trunk Railway Station in 1969. The station was set to be demolished, but the purchase by the group saved the building and it was moved in 1970 and given the name Whitby Station Gallery.

The gallery’s permanent collection houses more than 300 original pieces, including works by Anne Meredith Barry, David Blackwood and Kim Ondaatje. The gallery is also about to start its SG Pop-up Studio, which brings free art experiences to events in the community. The events start on the weekend of May 14 at the Food Truck Frenzy in the Iroquois Park Sports Centre and Artfest on the Esplanade in Pickering.

Visual Arts Centre of Clarington:


The original Mill that was later turned into the Visual Arts Centre.
Photo courtesy of the VAC.

In 1973, the town of Bowmanville purchased the Mill, a historic landmark of Bowmanville with rich history, and council agreed to turn the building into a Visual Arts Centre (VAC). Mills were seen as a life source for towns in the past, and now that hasn’t changed, except the type of life it brings to the town. The VAC still brings life to the community in the form of art, something that most people didn’t have the luxury in taking part of in the past.

The VAC of Clarington is located along Soper Creek, along a path through the Rotary Centennial Gardens and along the Soper Valley. The VAC is currently exhibiting Maralynn Cherry’s Water Stations (a pilgrimage). Cherry is a non-status indigenous artists of Odawa heritage.

Ontario Regiment RCAC Museum:

CVRT Scorpion

A CVRT Scorpion on display at the Ontario Regiment RCAC Museum.
Photo courtesy of the Ontario Regiment RCAC Museum.

The Ontario Regiment RCAC Museum is home to Canada’s largest collection of operational military vehicles. They host a program called ‘Tank Sundays’ which lets visitors of all ages experience the world of tanks first hand.

The museum also hosts a static display to display their collection, including medals, manuscripts, photos, uniforms and more. The display tells the story of the Ontario Regiments 150 year history, spanning through the World Wars, the Cold War and modern times. The museum also focuses on the Militia’s evolution from the early 19th century, while highlighting the historical relationship between the industrial development of Oshawa, General Motors, and the Regiment.

Canadian Automotive Museum:


The historic Canadian Automotive Museum.
Photo courtesy of the CAM.

The Canadian Automotive Museum maintains a former car dealership from 1921 at 99 Simcoe St. South. While the main floor holds mostly European vehicles, the second floor keeps the history of automotive manufacturing in Canada. The museum is also home to an extensive library, and a lot for drive-ins and car shows.

The CAM currently has the European Masterpieces from the McDougald Collection on display on the main floor and the Cars Built in Canada – 1900-1980 exhibit on the second floor. Also the exhibit A Rolls-Royce for Royalty: Canadian Aristocracy after the Great War opened on May 5. The exhibit shows the story behind the 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the vehicle Edward, Prince of Wales used during his 1919 Royal Tour of Canada.

Public Art Guide of Oshawa

Have you picked up your Public Art Map of Oshawa yet? This guide features images and maps of public sculptures and murals through the city!

We are proud to have partnered with the City of Oshawa, Parkwood Estate, the Oshawa Community Museum, Durham College and University Institute of Ontario (UOIT) to realize this project!

McLaughlin Day in Oshawa

This blog post is from Joan Murray, Director Emeritus.

Billiard Room. Image courtesy Parkwood Estate, copyright the Challener estate.

Billiard Room. Image courtesy Parkwood Estate, copyright the Challener estate.

Frederick Sproston Challener’s inspired mural paintings in Parkwood Estate, commissioned in 1924, are particularly well done. Located in the billiards room and hallway, the murals have a strangely perfect, yet ineffably wry quality which combines romanticism and history. His narrative includes the five daughters of Colonel Sam McLaughlin, including the patron of the Gallery, Miss Isabel McLaughlin, outdoor sports events engaged in by Mr. McLaughlin and his family, and a vision of arcadia with wholesome-looking young children, McLaughlin’s grandchildren. The entire effect is joyous, with just the right mixture of Twentieth-century details to balance the artifice before us with its woodland setting of birch trees and panel of Pan playing his pipe.

Enchanted Wood. Image courtesy Parkwood Estate, copyright the Challener estate.

Enchanted Wood. Image courtesy Parkwood Estate, copyright the Challener estate.

Challener was an artist who returned from a trip to Europe in 1898-99 with a passionate desire—to make murals. Fortunately for him, his wish fell in with a period of expansion in the theatre and architectural scene in Canada and he soon found himself hard at work executing murals in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, London, and Winnipeg. At the same time as his architectural commissions, he painted many easel paintings.

In celebration of McLaughlin Day, we honour here not only Colonel Sam McLaughlin and his wife Adelaide, but Miss Isabel McLaughlin, who was always deeply interested in mural painting, as well as the McLaughlin family, our friends.

Visit Parkwood Estate on McLaughlin Day on the August long weekend, for their wonderful Basement Tours. The tours are held August 3, 4, & 5, do not require pre-booking and will be available from 10:30 to 5:00pm. Admission is $10.00 per person, regardless of age. ($11.30 with the HST)

Click to read more about the basement tours.

Visit Parkwood Estate online.

Hot Topics: One Weekend in June

Hot Topics come from the desk of Jacquie Severs, the RMG’s Manager, Communications & Social Media

Oshawa’s Downtown revitalization project is an ongoing venture, one that has some starts and stops (as do most worthwhile projects) but it is exciting to watch. In the past three years I’ve worked at the RMG, I’ve seen dramatic change. In this post, I thought I’d share a to-do list for events this coming weekend in the downtown area, all free to attend, all artsy, and all incredible opportunities to participate in the transition of this community.


Core21 Oshawa

Core21 Oshawa

Friday evening from 5:30-7pm, drop into CORE21. This new co-working space is the result of many years of discussions around arts incubators and collaborative work spaces, with participation from many community stakeholders and the City of Oshawa economic developers. After an extensive renovation to the former Honest Way department store, CORE21 is opening its doors for guided tours to the facility on Friday. While there you can enter to win a 25 Hour, One Month Co-working Membership.

Check out the facebook event for CORE21.
Visit CORE21 online.

The Coachlites

The Coachlites

The draw for the CORE21 membership will happen at RMG Fridays, our monthly event held here at the RMG from 7-10pm. This event is themed “Welcome Summer”. It will feature live musical performances by Tim Watson and The Coachlites. I realized just today that The Coachlites are named after the Coachlite Roller Gardens, a roller skating rink downtown Oshawa. Have a listen to their debut performance this week and decide for yourself if the name fits! This event also celebrates the opening of two new art exhibitions, we’ll have interactive augmented reality posters from the War of 1812 Oshawa Project, and we’ll be talking about our Vintage Oshawa: Summer in the City project as well.  It will be a busy and diverse night with an incredibly fun crowd. Remember, there’s a cash bar!

Check out the facebook event for RMG Fridays.
Check out the webpage for RMG Fridays.

Wasted Space logo

After RMG Fridays, if you’re interested in seeing more art happening in the community, visit Wasted Space. It is a new art cafe and lounge located just a short walk from the RMG at 74 Celina Street. This comfortable venue is decorated with art by local artists, a plethora of lava lamps, and comfortable sofas. Chantelle Lacoursiere is showing her artwork there on Friday, and they’ll have live music, a DJ, and finger foods to keep your energy up. This is a licensed venue.

Check out the facebook event for this opening.
Become a fan of Wasted Space on facebook.


Saturday is the start of the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden’s Annual Peony Festival! I’ve been told the peonies are perfectly timed this year and will be spectacular on the weekend. With over 300 varieties to view, this is the 9th Annual event, and it runs 10am to 4pm both Saturday and Sunday at 155 Arena Street. This festival was voted one of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals and Events!

Peony Festival Logo

Learn more about the Oshawa Peony Festival.
There is also a Bomb Girls Garden Party at Parkwood Estate as part of the festival!

 Sneak peek of Foreclosure at The Vault. Photo by Will McGuirk.

Sneak peek of Foreclosure at The Vault. Photo by Will McGuirk.

After a stroll in the gardens, stop by a new collaborative art space downtown Oshawa called The Vault. Located on the site of a former bank, the space became available to the Oshawa arts community when landlord Zal Press contacted City Hall to inform them he wanted to open the space to local artists. Opening at 1pm on Saturday, Transition Saturday will have a featured exhibition titled Foreclosure by Mike Berube, a photojournalist. Other artists participating in the show are Jay Dart, Dani Crosby, Grant Cole, Tammy Gay, Shannon Sosoon, Brian Vince, Steven Brown, Erica Podlowski, and Janice McHaffie. The event is at 19 Simcoe Street North and is a fundraiser for Feed The Need. Non-perishable food items will also be collected at the door. 

Read more about Zal Press and his desire to ReNew Oshawa.
Check out the facebook event page for Transition Saturday.


OPG Second Sundays

Sunday the RMG hosts OPG Second Sundays. This is a monthly event for families of all kinds and sizes. Drop into the gallery from 1-3pm, explore our exhibitions, and try a hands-on art making activity! This month, inspired by the exhibition Falling in Place and the Oshawa Peony Festival guests can build their own cities and imaginary worlds in full bloom while making big beautiful paper peonies. This monthly series is generously sponsored by Ontario Power Generation.

Learn more about upcoming OPG Second Sundays.
Sunday will be a busy day downtown Oshawa as the Peony Festival continues.
Parkwood Estate’s Bomb Girls Garden Party continues to rage throughout the weekend!

Pride Logo

Pride Durham is a non-profit organization that hosts Pride and social events in Durham Region. Sunday 9 of June is the final event in Pride Week, which includes the 3rd Annual Durham Pride Parade. The parade travels through the downtown area travelling on Centre Street starting at 2:30pm.

Get more details about this year’s Pride festivities at the website.
Become a fan of Pride Durham on facebook.