Ever visited a garden which made your jaw drop — repeatedly?
Parkwood does that to me… every time I visit. A national historic site, Parkwood is gorgeous.
You’ve likely seen Parkwood in the movies – many movies and television shows have been shot here, from X-Men to Hannibal.
Located only about 35 minutes from Toronto, Parkwood is the kind of place where you can lose yourself, meandering from one space to another. Time moves slowly and pleasantly on the 12-acre grounds.
Surprisingly, Parkwood is right downtown in the city of Oshawa.
It’s one of the few places I know that has a white garden — but then again, Parkwood has so many garden rooms, it could dedicate one to each colour and still have space left over.
Built for auto baron Robert Samuel McLaughlin (“Sam”), his wife Adelaide Louise and their five daughters in 1917, the house is a mansion by any definition.
Many features were rare at that time: indoor heated swimming pool, morning room for breakfast, large conservatory and an indoor bowling alley and games room.
As for life’s ‘little’ luxuries: Parkwood had an in-house telephone system, an elevator, a central vacuum system, remote-controlled outdoor lighting system, air conditioning, climate-controls for the art gallery, a walk-in refrigerator, and much more.
The family could well afford it. McLaughlin was president of his family business Canadian Motor Car Company which became General Motors of Canada.
The house is Classic Revival in style, with some Georgian features.
I’m impressed by the grand house and its history — it’s a Canadian jewel.
But I’m completely bowled over by the gardens.
Inspired by the great gardens of Europe, they were created by the finest landscape designers available.
And though Adelaide and Sam loved gardening, the expansive grounds and eleven greenhouses required a staff of 24 to look after them.
Today, people visit from all over Canada and the world. They tour the house or gardens or both, and some come for lunch or tea at the restaurant. I highly recommend the tea house-restaurant and tours. A great way to spend a morning or afternoon in a place of outstanding beauty.
To visit Parkwood or donate to the upkeep of this national treasure:
Tel: (905) 433-4311
All photos courtesy of Parkwood Estate