Sixteen | Arts & Culture

Gairloch Gardens is a hidden gem in Oakville’s downtown. While set away from the original core of the community and the historic downtown, I first discovered this quiet space thanks to my good friend Bill Smith. And it proved to have a unique history intertwined with Oakville’s cultural scene.

Sixteen | Cultured
Graflex Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W S 1:5.6/150 – Arista EDU.Ultra 400 @ ASA-200 – Ilford Ilfotec HC (1+47) 7:30 @ 20C

William Gordon MacKendrick, born in Galt, Ontario, in 1864, is best known for his service in the Middle East during the First World War. MacKendrick, as a Lieutenant-Colonel, seconded to the 5th British Army in the Sinai & Pallistein Theatre under the command of Field Marshal Sir Edmund Allenby. Colonel MacKendrick would command the construction of roads to help move the army around the theatre. MacKendrick was known as a Road Builder during the war, but they also took the time to put pen to paper as an author. A career he would pick up after the war. In 1922, he purchased a plot of land on Lake Ontario and built a home. Using the Tutor Revival architectural style, a beautiful stone and stucco exterior with iconic visible beams. The design style was completed by tall, narrow, multi-paned windows, a steeply pitched cross-gable roof, and visible internal beams. Here MacKendrick wrote several books, mainly on religious topics, from 1927 to 1943. After the death of MacKendrick in 1959, his estate was purchased by Toronto investment banker James Gardner. Gardner would give the name Gairloch to the estate after a Scottish village. Gardner, an amateur artist, undertook improvements to the landscaping around the home and constructed a clapboard studio to practice his art. In 1977, Gardner bequeathed the house, studio and gardens to the Town of Oakville for use as a gallery and public part. The town took ownership upon his death a year later. Renovations transformed the main floor into a four-room gallery space, while the second floor became offices and education spaces. At the same time, the studio transformed into an event space. Oakville Galleries and Gairloch Gardens opened by the decade’s end and quickly grew in popularity. Like many galleries, the collection grew quickly and soon outgrew the space at Gairloch. Efforts to purchase and transform the former Oakville-Trafalgar High School in 2009 fell through. And while the collection remains on display across several sites, efforts continue to establish a more extensive gallery space while maintaining Gairloch and the gardens for public use.

I’m happy with this image, despite its flaws. First being the wheelbarrow and sprinkler, and second, I should have moved in closer or used a longer lens. I should have used the 180mm instead of the 150mm lens. But I feel if I had used that longer length would have lost some of the surrounding contexts. Setting the exposure was easy, metering the bushes in front of the building and under-exposing by a stop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.