Category Archives: Media Releases

The Art of the Sailor – Exhibit for 2016

Mosaic article- May 2016 — reprinted with permission

written by Wendy Tomlinson, Curator and Manager

Art of the Sailor logo

The Community Waterfront Heritage Centre’s fascinating 2016 summer exhibit, The Art of the Sailor celebrates the timeless techniques of the sailors’ traditional folk arts – tattoos, scrimshaw, and knot tying, through an entertaining blend of artefacts, archival photos, and interactive elements. Share the story of your tattoo, design your own ‘flash art’, and try you luck at the ‘6 Knot Challenge’.

Discover the link between today’s vibrant tattoo culture and the maritime history that influenced it. For sailors, tattoos were a method of making something permanent in an otherwise unpredictable lifestyle and to document their own histories- receiving certain tattoos for crossing the Equator or the International Date Line. Certain images were believed to be good luck talismans and would save them in a shipwreck.

Like tattoo art, scrimshaw requires highly skilled artisans and the use of pigment, but instead of skin, images are etched on whalebone, whale teeth and ivory. First practiced by 19th and early 20th century whalemen, traditional scrimshaw pieces of this rare art form depict maritime life and whaling.

Ropes and knots are among the most ancient technologies ever developed by man, and were an essential part of life onboard a sailing vessel. Fancy knotting on a sailor’s ‘ditty bag’ would serve as his résumé. The ditty would have been the first test of an apprentice seaman: before he could be trusted with the fabrication of a sail. Likewise, on a vessel, fancy knot work is something akin to “boat jewelry”. Generally made during idle hours, fancywork is a visible token of pride and respect for the ship.

The Art of the Sailor will be at the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre, from May 29, 2016 until October 10, 2016.

Community Waterfront Heritage Centre celebrates and preserves the marine, rail and industrial history of the City and surrounding communities. For more details visit, like us on FaceBook, call 519-371-3333 or email Community Waterfront Heritage Centre is located at 1155 1st Ave West, Owen Sound and is open daily from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving, or by appointment.


Media Release – Invitation to Annual Meeting — April 26

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Community Waterfront Heritage Centre Invites the Public to our Annual General Meeting & An Evening of Heritage


On Tuesday April 26th, in the Auditorium of the Owen Sound Canadian Legion at 7pm, the Board of Directors of the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre (CWHC) will host their third Annual General Meeting.
The evening will include reports of the activities for the year 2015-2016, nominate new members to the Board and honour retiring Board members, as well as a review of the year’s financial records. This is a great opportunity for the general public to find out about upcoming CWHC events & activities, how to become a member or volunteer, purchase a raffle ticket and make a donation.
A special highlight of the night is the unveiling of the donors plaque for the Dining Car Project’s “Be A Pane” fundraising campaign. CWHC is thrilled to be able to honour the donors who raised just over $21 000! The plaque will be installed permanently on the Dining Car this summer and available to visitors during business hours.
Following the Annual General Meeting, noted local author, Richard Thomas, will present an illustrated talk based on his book The Port of Owen Sound: 1840 – 1912.
Everyone welcome. Light refreshments served.

DATE of event: April 26, 2016

TIME of event: 7 pm

LOCATION of event: Auditorium, Owen Sound Legion

1450 2nd Ave West, Owen Sound, Ontario.
Community Waterfront Heritage Centre

1155 1st Ave West, Owen Sound, ON


CWHC receives the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation

CWHC receives Heritage Trust Award February 2016

The Community Waterfront Heritage Centre receiving the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation

Prof Thomas HB Symons, Chairman Ontario Heritage Trust, Wendy Tomlinson, Linda Droine, Jan Chamberlain, Wayne King and The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

The other award winners.

Ontario Heritage Trust Award Winners - February 2016


Special Donation

Community Waterfront Heritage Centre is pleased to announce that we recently received status as a registered charity! Owen Sound author Andrew Armitage will receive our first CWHC charitable receipt for his donation. Andrew donated the royalty proceeds from his newest book Vanishing: Lost Places in Grey and Bruce.

Jan Chamberlain and Andrew Armitage Dec 2015 donation


Pictured here with CWHC Chair Jan Chamberlain.
Thank you Andrew!