Last week Kevin and I took a trip to Guelph to give our granddaughters a tour of the university where we met and went to school. The girls will be going there in the fall. We had a great day and hope to make many more trips in the next few years.
I focused on the older buildings because they have so much more charm and character. The residences that were once all male or all female are now co-ed. The girls are actually in their second year so they didn’t qualify to live on campus because the residences are for first year students only. Last year all their classes were on-line so they studied from home.
South Etobicoke in Toronto where I live is divided into three areas along the waterfront. The area on the east side is Mimico, New Toronto is in the middle and Long Branch is on the west side. Last week I took a drive over to Long Branch to check out the waterfront.
Long Branch was originally owned by Col. Samuel Smith in the early 1800s. He had a large family and he tried his hand at farming after he left military service. He apparently wasn’t a very good farmer and five of his seven children never married and continued to live in their parents’ home after they died.
In 1861, James and Margaret Eastwood purchased the old house and 500 acres of lakefront property from the Smith Estate. They cleared the timber and farmed the land. In 1883, they sold 64 acres on the eastern edge of their property to a consortium which developed it into an exclusive summer resort area. The land was subdivided into 250 villa lots where the well-off could build summer cottages.(copied from the Etobicoke Historical Society). http://www.etobicokehistorical.com/long-branch.html
Many of these magnificent ‘cottages’ still stand today. It always amuses me to think that people who lived in Toronto travelled 10 to 20 kilometres in the summer to travel to their summer homes.
Most of the buildings on the south campus of Humber College are from the late 18th century when the grounds were the Psychiatric Hospital. Originally built as a branch of the Toronto Asylum for the Insane, the hospital officially opened its doors in 1890 as the Mimico Asylum — the first such institution in Canada to be built on the cottage system. After the hospital closed in 1979 the buildings stood empty and in 1988 it was declared a heritage site.
When Humber signed a 99-year lease for the land and buildings in 1991, it began a complete restoration of the cottage buildings. Today the buildings have been restored to their original beauty and serve as classrooms and studios for the students. In between some of the old building a few new modern structures have been built. It’s a nice contrast between new and old.
On our outing last week to Niagara Falls I noticed a grand building high up on the cliffs and my husband told me that it was Oak Hall. Once we explored the falls, the river and Dufferin Islands we got in the car and drove up to the top of the cliff to take a closer look.
Oak Hall is a 37-room, three-story Tudor-style stone mansion that was built in the late 1920s for mining tycoon Harry Oakes. The Oakes family lived there for six years before moving to the Bahamas. Oak Hall was purchased by the Niagara Parks Commission on May 25, 1952 and for a few years, it housed displays by the Niagara District Art Association. Oak Hall currently houses 23 offices, meeting and storage rooms. Displays of Niagara Falls art and the furnished rooms are still open to the public.
The house overlooks the Niagara River and the Dufferin Islands. I can only imagine that it is a lovely place to sit in the summer while enjoying the view.
On Saturday my husband I took a trip to Ball’s Falls Conservation Area. During our walk we came across this lovely heritage site owned by Mr. Ball and his family back in the 1800s. The windows pictured here are from the grist mill where grains were ground to make flour and the St. George Anglican Church which was moved to the site when the parish had to build a bigger church back in the 1960s. The actual move took place in 1974.
Walking through the old neighbourhood close to St. Joe’s Hospital I couldn’t help but notice how many of the old homes had new window put in as well as undergoing some major renovations. Some of the windows were clearly new but had kept the charm of the older house. Others were a complete departure from the older architecture.