This wonderful photo from the archives of the Ontario College of Art and Design University shows  students gathering at Molson’s Mill in Port Hope in the summer of 1924.  
The mill, located on the banks of the Ganaraska River, was the site of 
O.C.A.’s summer school from 1923 until 1941.
Here is the mill as it appears today. Molson’s Mill is now owned and beautifully maintained by the Benson family of Port Hope. It is used by Christine Benson and Mike Woods of Journey Through the Arts for a children’s summer arts daycamp. Lucky kids!

Historic Canadian artist and O.C.A. professor J.W. Beatty (1869-1941) was the founder and principal of the Ontario College of Art Summer School in Port Hope.

Walking trails along  Lake Ontario in the Port Hope area look much the same today as nearly a century ago:

            John William Beatty: Lake Ontario, Near Port Hope, oil on board, 10″ x 14″

Port Hope and the City of Toronto have strong historic ties.  Then as now, the village and the metropolis may feel worlds apart, but are separated only by a short and leisurely train ride (or these days, if you prefer to drive, a one hour eastbound commute on Highway 401)

J.W. Beatty’s summer school students described their time in Port Hope as restorative, formative and inspirational. One of the goals of Critical Mass is to see ties with the urban arts community restored, for the mutual benefit of artists and art supporters in downtown Toronto and in Northumberland County alike.

Click here to read more about the Critical Mass vision.

Contact us at criticalmassart(at)gmail(dot)com