Ontario's Historical Plaques 

Discover Ontario's history as told through its plaques

2004 - Now in our 15th Year - 2019

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William Blair Bruce 1859-1906

William Blair Bruce

Courtesy of Joe Mielko and Wayne Adam, from the book Mountain Memories
Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society, 2000

William Blair Bruce

Photo from Google Street View ©2015 Google - Posted March, 2015

William Blair Bruce

Photo Source - Wikimedia Commons

William Blair Bruce

Photo Source - Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec / 52327/2074688

Plaque Location

The City of Hamilton
Near the southwest corner of Bruce Park
near Brucedale Ave. East and Empress Avenue
(Missing as of March 2015 - only the post remains)

Coordinates: N 43 14.308 W 79 52.307


Plaque Text

A distinguished Canadian artist, Bruce spent his childhood in a house which stood on this property. He was educated in Hamilton where he studied draughtsmanship and painting. In 1881 he entered the Académie Julien, Paris, to study art under Fleury and Bouguereau. Working in oils, he became a painter of great versatility, and was a frequent exhibitor at the Salon de Paris. His canvases included landscapes, sea-scapes, portraits and subject pictures. Although Bruce lived in France and Sweden until his death, many of his well-known works, including "The Smiths", "Bathers of Capri", "La Joie des Néreides" and "The Phantom Hunter" are held by the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the National Gallery of Canada.



Hamilton Plaques

Here are the visitors' comments for this page.

Posted March 25, 2015
This provincial plaque has been missing for several years, and the Ontario Heritage Trust has been aware of it.
According to the book Mountain Memories (Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society, 2000), the plaque "...was stolen shortly after the dedication and replaced.... This photo is of the replacement plaque which was also stolen. The province has declined to replace it a third time. This photo may be the only opportunity for interested people to read the inscription on the "vanishing plaque" of Bruce Park."
In 2014, the City of Hamilton erected a plaque near where the provincial one had stood, in part to coincide with the Art Gallery of Hamilton's centennial. The Hamilton Historical Board erected others around the same time (2013-14) related to the Battle of Stoney Creek, whose bicentennial was in 2013. The text of the plaque to W.B. Bruce is clearly inspired by that of the original provincial plaque. Here's what the City of Hamilton plaque says:
"A distinguished Canadian artist, William Blair Bruce, the son of William Bruce and Janet Blair, spent his youth at "Elmwood", the family home built in 1869. It stood in the southwest corner of the Bruce estate, now called Bruce Park. It was donated to the city in 1958 by his sister, Bell Bruce-Walkden. William received his early art training from his father and after attending the local Mechanics Institute he was employed as a draftsman. In 1881 he entered the Académie Julian in Paris to study art. Working in oils, he became a painter of great versatility and was the most frequent Canadian exhibitor of paintings at the Paris Salons in the 19th century. His canvases included landscape, seascapes, portraits and subject pictures. Although Bruce lived in France and Sweden, his legacy to Hamilton has been extensive. Upon his death at the age of 47, his widow in Sweden along with his father and sister in Hamilton, made a gift of 29 of his paintings to the City of Hamilton on condition that a permanent municipal art gallery be established. That modest gallery opened on June 30, 1914, and has become the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The Bruce Memorial Collection includes well-known works such as The Phantom Hunter and Summer Day, France. Joy of the Nereids and The Smiths are paintings held by the National Gallery of Canada." -Wayne

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