Hear tales of hauntings and history, stories and spirits, ghosts and genealogy! For more than 200 years, the people of Bowmanville have been building a repertoire of spooky local stories. The time has come to open Bowmanville’s historical vault and share some of our tales of eerie and unexplained phenomenon.
Join Clarington Public Library, Museums, and Archives on famous our bone-chilling, evening tours through the streets of Bowmanville. Over the course of the walk, you will hear ghostly accounts while being introduced to the town’s early history. Tours start at the Bowmanville Library Branch (163 Church Street) at 6:30pm and will finish there. Spirit Walk tickets must be purchased in advance through Eventbrite.
Spirit Walks are available on:
Monday, October 17th;
Wednesday, October 19th;
Monday, October 24th; and
Wednesday, October 26th.
Advanced registration recommended; space is limited. Register online, in person at any location, or by phone. Cost $13.25 + $1.36 non-refundable Eventbrite fee. Caregivers and support staff for people with disabilities are admitted free of charge.
Please note: This walking tour will take place outside, rain or shine. Tours will start and end at the Bowmanville Branch (163 Church St.); there will be no access to Waverley Place or the Sarah Jane Williams Heritage Centre during the tour.
Ticket sales begin Monday, October 3rd at 10:00 a.m.
Clarington Public Library, Museums, and Archives would like to share an update on the Charles Bowman and Family painting and provide a sneak peek behind the scenes of this exciting conservation project!
Conservation Treatment Update
As possibly one of the only surviving images of Charles Bowman and his family, this portrait is important to the history and artistic heritage of Clarington. Clarington Public Library, Museums, and Archives is pleased to be working in conjunction with leading industry professionals to conserve, display, and interpret the Charles Bowman and Family painting for future generations.
As this work of art is over 170 years old and has passed through several generations of the Bowman family, it requires conservation care that is different than most museum artifacts. The Clarington Public Library, Museums, and Archives have taken extra measures for the work’s safety by commissioning a specialty case which will provide proper environmental controls to ensure the painting remains stable while being displayed.
The painting is currently with a professional painting conservator, who is working on repairing, cleaning, and framing the canvas. We are happy to share these photos of the progress being made below, as the Clarington Public Library, Museums, and Archives understand the community’s vested interest in this project.
Please click/tap on each image below to view a larger version.
Upon completion of the conservation treatment later this year, the Clarington Public Library, Museums, and Archives will make a public announcement of the unveiling of the official Charles Bowman and Family painting display. We thank everyone for their interest and continued support of the Clarington Public Library, Museums, and Archives and look forward to sharing this important artifact with the public.
Bowmanville was named after Charles Bowman (1790-1848), but an interesting fact is that he never lived in Bowmanville! Charles Bowman was a merchant who came to the area of Bowmanville (then called Darlington Mills) in 1824, however, he maintained his family home in Montreal. Bowman purchased 300 acres of land in Darlington Mills and purchased a general store that served the community well for many years. He also paid for a surveyor to lay out streets, donated land to churches, and people began to establish homes and businesses nearby. It is because of Bowman’s contributions to the town’s development that people began calling it Bowmanville by the 1830s.
Charles Bowman lived in the Westmount area of Montreal with his wife, Elizabeth (nee Savage), and their 5 children: Charles, Elizabeth, James, Anne, and Victoria Sophia. Sadly, only Elizabeth survived into adulthood. She married and in turn had 8 children with Captain Robert Raynes, while continuing to live in the Westmount family home.
Discovery of the Painting
A few local residents and past staff of Clarington Museums and Archives believed that a portrait of Charles Bowman and his family existed based on provenance records and anecdotes, but thought it was lost over the years.
In 2014, former Curator, Charles Taws, received a call from an individual who had information on the Bowman painting. With some research, it was discovered that the painting was given to a family friend of the Raynes (the Bowman granddaughters) and the painting went unrecognized for years. In 2015 the work was donated to the Clarington Museums and Archives and has been cared for as part of the permanent collection ever since.
The Portrait’s Significance
In this extraordinary work of art that dates from the mid 1840s, the Scottish merchant Charles Bowman and his wife, Elizabeth, are portrayed with their five children. Created by an unknown artist in oil on canvas, the relatively small dimensions of this portrait (67.3 x 85.7 cm) make the likenesses of the individuals even more impressive.
Seated to the right of centre, Charles Bowman is an engaging figure as he looks directly out at the viewer. Charles appears to have just taken a seat with his family, as a red silk-lined cloak is draped casually on his chair, and a newspaper has fallen on the ground at his feet. Not incidentally, the newspaper’s title reads “Montreal,” hinting at Bowman’s home and estate in Westmount.
Drawing on a theme of education and family legacy, the artist’s composition forms a V shape, with Bowman’s eldest son Charles as the tallest figure. Hinting at Bowman’s profession as a merchant, his youngest son, James, also holds a leather-bound portfolio that likely contains maps or drawings. A daughter, Anne, similarly pauses from her reading, while another book is found near her stool. In addition, the little dog at the bottom left of canvas is traditionally interpreted as a symbol of loyalty and domesticity. With these references, the artist implies Charles Bowman’s ability to balance professional duties with his dedication to family life.
Please see the below articles regarding the history of Charles Bowmanville and the return of the painting:
Marie Hubbard was one of Bowmanville’s most influential female politicians. She was the first female mayor of Bowmanville (then named the Town of Newcastle) and was inaugurated in 1988. Marie was born in Bowmanville and went to Central Public School then attended Bowmanville High School. She later graduated from the University of Toronto school of Nursing, and married Edward Derry Hubbard in 1971.
Marie was a councillor for the Town of Newcastle from 1980 to 1982, a councillor for Durham Region from 1982 to 1992, and then served as Mayor from 1988 to 1992. She then was appointed to the Ontario Municipal Board in 1997 and was appointed Interim Chair in 2003. Marie is depicted on a mural in downtown Bowmanville at 26 King Street East, along with other influential local women. The mural was painted by artist Allan Bender.
Marie sat on numerous boards and committees during her political career, including the Heritage Committee, Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committees (LACAC), the Bowmanville Museum board (Now Clarington Museums and Archives), the Ontario Municipal Board and the Assessment Review Board, the Durham District Health Council, the Durham Children’s Aid Society, the Durham Non-Profit Housing Corporation, the Newcastle Public Utilities Commission, and the Ontario Land Tribunals.
Click on each image below to see the full-sized image.
Explore Myths & Legends with the TD Summer Reading Club!
Summer has arrived! Clarington Public Library, Museums, & Archives is inviting children and their families to beat the dreaded “Summer Slide” or “Summer Brain Drain” with the annual TD Summer Reading Club, Canada’s biggest summer reading program for kids of all ages, all interests and all abilities. Children can boost their reading skills and stay sharp for school with awesome programs and activities! Registration is now open!
Registration includes a notebook with reading challenges, stickers, and more. You and your child can pick these up at any Library branch or at any TD Summer Reading Club program in July and August.
Venture into magical realms where fantastic creatures roam and anything can (and will) happen. Discover the power of stories and storytelling to entertain and illuminate important lessons. Be enchanted by fairy and folk tales, old and new and from far and wide, as you journey through suspenseful twists and turns. Whatever the stories may be, they are bound to inspire you to imagine and even tell your own story.
Sarah Jane Williams Heritage Centre (62 Temperance St., Bowmanville) Monday, July 11 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Drop in; no registration required. No charge.
Take a walk through the grounds of the Sarah Jane Williams Heritage Centre and Waverly Place to read the StoryWalk Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel! Show off your best animal impressions while learning about local wildlife!
Clarington’s Tall Tales!
Sarah Jane Williams Heritage Centre (62 Temperance St., Bowmanville) Wednesday, August 10 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Drop in; no registration required. No charge.
Hear the story of a mysterious creature said to live in Lake Ontario! Discover how stories are passed down through generations and create your own monster mystery!
Co-created and delivered by over 2,200 public libraries across Canada, this national bilingual program is developed by Toronto Public Library in partnership with Library and Archives Canada. Sponsorship is generously provided by TD Bank Group.
You are invited to celebrate the vibrant and rich arts community in Clarington. Mark your calendar to attend the newly-named 2022 Clarington Garden Party Gala in support of the arts on Saturday, June 4, 2022, on the grounds of the historical Sarah Jane Williams Heritage Centre in Bowmanville.
Arts and culture play an integral role in Clarington’s community life. The Clarington Garden Party Gala supports two exceptional, not-for-profit agencies – the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington and A Gift of Art. Both organizations promote and nurture the ongoing development of local, artistic talent.
The Clarington Garden Party Gala is an initiative that showcases and celebrates our local artists. Join us for an event filled with musical entertainment, delicious food, cocktails, assorted refreshments and a creative silent auction. The event will include displays of unique works of art as well.