William Bruce

(1832-1927) A prominent Hamilton Centre observer.

William Bruce was born in 1833 in Scotland, and emigrated with his family to Canada in 1837, settling in Hamilton. He picked up his keen interest in astronomy early in life, while attending achool,and maintained this interest the rest of his life. In 1867 he established a Patent and Designs Registration Office, which he operated for over thirty years. (One office, being located across from Gore Park, about the location of the now, "Bank of Nova Scotia".) In 1898 he was appointed a justice of the peace. Then in 1909, shortly after his retirement from business life, he became the Hamilton Centre's "first" Vice-President, again in 1910, and President of the Hamilton Centre from the year 1911 to 1915, finally he was Honarary President, for may years there after.

Mr. Bruce was often referred to as Hamilton's Astronomer, because of his many astronomy lectures,and keen astronomical interests. But he was also interested in the arts. He was instrumental in founding Hamilton's first art gallery in 1907, by donating thirty-two paintings by his late son, William Blair Bruce, to form the nucleus of the collection.

Mr. Bruce was also very well known both locally,and abroad, due to his many ornate writings and lectures. He was often in great demand to speak to church groups and various societies, using such titles as "The Artistic and Poetic side of Astronomy".

He had even been invited to entertain many important dignitaries, such as Queen Victoria, The Price of Wales, and Kaiser Wilhelm, among others.

The observatory, that Mr. Bruce built for himself, (see cover of this issue of ORBIT), was located on Hamilton mountain in the area now just a couple of blocks east of Upper James, bounded by the streets Brucedale and Queensdale Avenues. This property was later gifted to the City of Hamilton in 1936,by Mr. Bruce's daughter, as a memorial to him and is now appropriately known as Bruce Park.

—Robin L. Allen (from ORBIT, March 1985)

Further Reading:

Bruce, William