Image: First Graduates of Canadore, 1974.
From Left: Lorna Ryan, Bonnie Kerr, John Hicks, Jane Perry (Weaving Instructor), Jane Agnew (Ceramics Instructor), Unknown
North Bay has a long history of pottery making dating back to the nineteen fifties. In the early days, Tootsie Pollard operated her studio on Second Avenue East where she built the first gas reduction kiln in the area. Tootsie was joined by Delphine Large, Esther Marx, Mary Bon, along with Agnes and Ed McGee as members of what would become a thriving pottery community. An early and enthusiastic supporter of The North Bay Pottery Club was Sam Jacks who headed the North Bay Department of Parks and Recreation. He convinced the City to provide studio space at Kiwanis playground in the east end of the city. The club remained in operation until 1980.
In 1972, Tootsie successfully lobbied recently opened Canadore College to include a ceramics program in its curriculum. The Crafts and Design Program began in 1974 offering courses in weaving, pottery, silkscreen and design. The pottery studio was housed in the basement of the Downtown Campus at the former North Bay Teacher’s College, now a provincial government building. Jane Agnew, an accomplished Ceramic Artist and potter was head of the Ceramics Department where she taught studio courses, glaze chemistry and Art History. In 1977 Ceramics Master and porcelain artist Keith Campbell joined the faculty teaching studio courses and mold making. Both Jane and Keith were graduates of the renowned ceramics program at Sheridan College in Mississauga, Ontario.
Graduates of Canadore's program who went on to have successful careers in pottery, the arts, and education include Diane Bain (Sunbeam Pottery), Tony Oorschot (Rockcliffe Pottery), Pat Stamp (Ash Creek Pottery), Terryl Ryan (weaver), Lorna Ryan, Chantal Coulombe, Sharon Wright, Mary Bon and others.
Canadore's summer school for the arts Artsperience held its first classes the summer of 1978. The brain child of Paul Dudgeon, Artsperience would bring many talented teachers to Canadore while enticing eager students from across North America and as far away as New Zealand. Keith Campbell was both instructor and administrator for Artsperience for over twenty years. Artisperience ended in 2012 and shortly after Canadore ended all arts programming and closed the pottery studio.