I’m repeating this story from last Christmas because the house and village are both charming examples of ‘Canadiana’ at Christmastime.
Christmas is a special time in Unionville, a village just north of Toronto.
The main street sparkles with decorations and, starting this Friday, Christmas activities.
Locals and visitors alike will enjoy the Olde Tyme Candlelight Christmas Parade, skating on Toogood Pond, shopping in the stores and farmers’ market.
Christmas is also a special time in local homes, and perhaps none more so than at this home, below. The family who has lived here for 23 years is selling and moving on; this will be their last Christmas in this home.
Interested buyers may visit the “open house” on Sunday Dec 14 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Homeowners Lorrie and Mark created the large addition that connects the original brick house, above left, to the old barn, extreme right and below.
The original house was built in the 1870’s by Charles Stiver, a carpenter whose family ran the local mill (now the site of the local farmers’ market). Its history is recorded in documents and paintings, such as this one above the fireplace.
Every Christmas here has been special, says Lorrie.
“Our most memorable Christmas was undoubtedly last year with the ice storm! We were without power for five days and hosted Christmas dinner for 21 by candlelight! The three fireplaces kept us toasty and the food was heated by stove-top and a nearby neighbour’s oven.”
Three children have grown to adulthood here.
Lorrie’s fond memories include baking with the children and “the kids banging pots in the kitchen”. There have been many meals and discussions; homework; celebrations; laughter, tears, arguments and hugs.
She remembers extended family visits, especially her mother’s. Everyone — adults, kids and dogs — loved walking the nearby trails, stopping at the ponds.
Mark and Lorrie honoured their home’s heritage in the addition.
The results earned the couple a heritage award. Their work has been “a pride and joy” for Mark:
“The 12-inch baseboards in the addition were milled to match the ones in the old house. The antique barn beams in the addition mimic a post & beam structure. The pine floors are milled from 100+ year old pine barn beams. The stairs, railings and fireplace surround were milk painted and distressed on site.”
There are whimsical touches in several rooms, including the mural in the master bathroom, painted by an acclaimed artist.
After 23 years here, the family is moving on with mixed emotions.
They can never forget this place. They hope that the new owners will love it.
Christmas decorations by Jan Corbett.
Thanks to Karyn Boehmer, Lorne Chapman and the Unionville BIA for their images.