WAG Vansittart Park Public Consultation

Photo of a park

Renaming of the West Side of Vansittart Park at Ingersoll Avenue

To recognize two prominent local artists, the City of Woodstock is considering renaming the west side of Vansittart Park the Florence Carlyle Park and designating a portion of the park as the Bruce Flowers Sculpture Garden. For more information about these artists, please see the biographies below.

Vansittart Park is a natural entranceway into Woodstock and to date there is lack of recognition and acknowledgement of Florence Carlyle in the community. Artist and educator (Robert) Bruce Flowers passed away on September 10, 2018, and left the residual of his estate to the Woodstock Art Gallery with the provision that the funds be used “for the purpose of establishing an outside figurative sculpture garden.” The final transfer payment from the Flowers Estate will be used to commission a public figurative sculpture to be installed in 2022.

Click here to view the conceptual plan developed by City of Woodstock Parks & Recreation.

Your input is very important for the City to understand how you use the west side of Vansittart Park currently and your thoughts and ideas for the future. This survey is intended for Woodstock residents (particularly those that live in close proximately to this park), and should take approximately 5 minutes to complete. The survey is open until July 26, 2021.

Please complete one survey per household. Your participation in this survey is voluntary, and if you decide not to participate in this survey, you may withdraw at any time. All individual responses will be kept confidential and will be reproduced in summary form only. The results of this survey will be used for the purposes of this public consultation only to develop recommendations that will be considered by City Council.

For more information about this public consultation, please email the Woodstock Art Gallery or call 519-539-6761 ext. 2801.

The survey is now closed. Thank you for your participation.

Artist Biographies

Florence Carlyle (1864 –1923) was one of Canada’s most prominent painters which was atypical for a single woman during this time period. Represented in major public collections across Canada, the Woodstock Art Gallery is the caretaker of the largest repository of her work, along with her personal archive consisting of letters and short stories.

Carlyle was born in Galt, Ontario, in 1864 but moved to Woodstock, Ontario, when she was just seven. Carlyle’s budding artistic talent was nurtured by her mother who encouraged her to pursue her dreams.

Carlyle travelled to Paris in 1890 and spent the next six years studying with notable teachers such as William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905), Auguste Joseph Delécluse (1855–1928), Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1834–1912), Tony Robert-Fleury (1837–1911) and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845–1902). During the summers and holidays she made sketching trips to Barbizon, Normandy, Italy, and England. Carlyle became accomplished enough to have paintings exhibited at the 1893 and 1894 Paris Salons, quite an honour for the young artist. Her work also caught the interest of Lady Dufferin (1843–1936), the wife of the former Governor General of Canada. Carlyle briefly established a studio in London but she returned to Canada just before her 32nd birthday.

Although Carlyle had spent years overseas, she had worked to develop a presence on the Canadian art scene. From 1892 onwards she exhibited with the Art Association of Montreal. In 1895, the painting La vieille Victorine, which had been exhibited at Paris Salon, was included in both the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the Art Association of Montreal’s Annual Exhibitions. In 1897, Carlyle was elected an Associate Member of the Royal Canadian Academy. She supplemented her income by teaching in Woodstock, London, and Toronto and worked as an illustrator.

In 1899, Carlyle moved to New York for several months, traveling to Cape Cod before returning to Woodstock. In 1900, she was elected as a member of the Ontario Society of Artists (O.S.A.). Carlyle’s works were regularly exhibited in both Canada and the United States and often singled out for praise in various newspaper accounts.

At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, Carlyle’s painting, The Tiff, which had already been awarded the 1902 prize by the O.S.A., won a silver medal. That year, she also won first prize at Osborne Calendar Company’s annual competition and received a $500 prize, as well as a contract with Osborne in New York.

Over the next 5 years, Carlyle would alternate between Woodstock and New York and between her calendar commissions and non-commercial work.

In 1911, Carlyle and her mother Emily travelled to England where Carlyle met Judith Hastings. While mother and daughter were in England, Carlyle’s father died. Carlyle returned to the family home in Woodstock and remained there until her mother’s death the following year. In 1913, Carlyle moved to England, eventually settling in Crowborough where she lived in “Sweet Hawes” cottage with Judith Hastings. Carlyle continued to paint and exhibit but both her volunteer work during the First World War and her gradually failing eyesight significantly reduced her artistic production. After the war, Carlyle began to write; her story Mary’s Child was published in a British newspaper in November, 1923. Unfortunately, Carlyle never had the chance to see her work in print; she passed away in May of that year, at the age of 58.

Portrait of a seated woman in a long dress

(Robert) Bruce Flowers (1947–2018) was born and educated in Woodstock, Ontario. He grew up on Hatch Street and later his family moved to a home on Riddell Street at Devonshire Avenue. He attended Woodstock Collegiate Institute. His mother was a long-time member of the Friends of the Woodstock Art Gallery. Flowers was very familiar with the work of Florence Carlyle. His work is also represented in the Gallery’s collection and over the years he would purchase work specifically for the Gallery and donate them in his mother’s memory.

Flowers graduated with an Honors BA in Fine Arts from the University of Guelph in 1970 taking his teaching accreditation at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. After teaching for 10 years with the Oxford Board of Education, he pursued his dream of sculpting, taking his Master of Fine Art (MFA) in New York at the Pratt Institute between 1982 and 1984. He returned to teaching Visual Arts with the Thames Valley Board of Education in 1986 and retired February 1st, 2002 to pursue his sculpting full time. Flowers had been part of a number of exhibitions at the Woodstock Art Gallery. Bruce Flowers was a passionate and inspirational art educator in Woodstock for decades. He was also one of the founding committee members of the one of the longest-running Pride events in North America, the Pride London Festival Art Exhibition, established in 1992.

Portait of a man in a white shit and tie with a sculpture of two men embracing

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© 2017 City of Woodstock P.O. Box 1539, 500 Dundas Street, Woodstock, ON N4S 0A7


Phone: 519-539-1291
TTY: 519-539-7268
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