Dr. William Hobbs, renowned railway artist
Dr. William Hobbs completed several works combining Brandon landmarks with trains that passed through the city during various eras.
He generously allowed the Brandon General Museum and Archives (BGMA) to develop a Brandon Heritage Print set as a fundraiser before he passed away in 2012.
William Hobbs emigrated from England to Gainsborough, Saskatchewan in 1959 to begin a career as a family physician. A secondary career as an artist wasn’t part of this plan.
Decades later Dr. Hobbs recalled the moment when he became dedicated to creating a visual record of the prairie landscape and its railway history:
“When I stepped off the train in 1959, I had never seen open spaces like the prairies where trains define the landscape.
The light forced me to paint. I had to capture it. I had to preserve it. I thought ‘I must save the history of this wonderful place’.
You have to live here 20 years to understand it. After nearly 50 years on the prairies I have almost captured the storms, the light, the skies, and the snow.
Trains and painting are my life. I must paint all the stations west of the Hudson Bay or the history will be lost. ”
Dr. Hobbs became one of Canada’s most highly regarded railway artists.
He painted the stations of tiny prairie communities, often donating money to their restoration. He regarded the structures as the jewels of prairie architecture.
After retiring as a physician, Dr. Hobbs moved to Brandon. He continued his artistic career, capturing in paintings a record of Canada’s railway history.
Dr. William Hobbs
He studied painting at the Banff School of Fine Arts, The University of Texas-Pan American and University of Saskatchewan Emma Lake Campus.
Brandon Heritage Print Series 6 of 6: Brandon Empire Brewing with Train
The Canadian Northern Railway built the Prince Edward Hotel in 1912. The venue offered over 100,000 square feet of First Class Accommodation.
The CNR station and Telegraph Office were located on the Ninth Street side of the building.
The Brandon landmark was demolished on February 24, 1980. The property was a city parking lot for 30 years.
It is now the site of the Kristopher Campbell Memorial Skateboard Plaza which has a Prince Edward Hotel theme incorporated into the design.
William Hobbs was born in Alderney in the Channel Islands in 1927. He passed away at his Brandon home on September 29, 2012 at the age of 85.
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