The History Of Bob Barton

Bob Barton was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. Although he has now lived in Toronto for over thirty years he still feels a close bond to his birthplace. Bob credits his lifelong appreciation of the arts with three individuals in particular. His grade three teacher, Miss Horne, was an oral storyteller whose repertoire included the Norse Myths and sagas of the Vikings. Bob recalls being taken on amazing journeys as she sat hunched over on the edge of her desk holding her class enthralled.

Madeleine Francis, a Hamilton artist who taught Saturday classes at the old Hamilton Art Gallery near Main and James Streets was also influential. Bob says, "We children would sit on the highly polished hardwood floor with large sheets of sugar paper, tins of watercolor paints and jars of different sized brushes spread in front of us. Madeleine Francis would put on some music to stimulate our imaginations and encourage us to paint whatever images floated into our minds. It was so liberating, soothing and exciting. To resist highly structured activities with predictable outcomes was bold teaching in the 1940's.

The gift of poetry came courtesy of William H. Moore who was Supervisor of Oral English when Bob met him as a young teacher. Bob says, "The Hamilton Board of Education must have been the only jurisdiction in North America with a supervisor of oral English. Imagine! In those few precious years before Bill was promoted to Coordinator of English, he taught those of us who appreciated his talents enough magic to see us through our careers and beyond."