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Home at The Grange – Part 3


Kendal, northeast of Toronto, has many heritage properties, some dating back to the mid-1800’s. That’s why it’s the focus of Clarington’s Doors Open architectural conservancy tour on June 10th 2017. 

Blog Photo - Doors Open Clarington Photo Kendal2

The Grange — Wendy and Nicholas Boothman’s farm property — will be a highlight of the tour. 

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange seen from Hill Hamlin

So will “Southwinds”, below.  Visitors will be be able to see these houses, barns and properties up-close and learn about their architectural and family histories.

Also known as “The Marr House”, Southwinds was built of cut-stone in 1845 for Scottish immigrant Alexander Marr and his family. 

Blog Photo - Doors Open Southwinds 2 CU of House
Above photos: credit Doors Open Clarington 

Marilyn Morawetz, leader of Doors Open Clarington, says The Grange and Southwinds are excellent examples of their era. 

“Both represent typical architecture at the time by or for families with much to contribute to the early development of the Kendal and Orono areas.  Even the barns on both properties are wonderful examples of architecture and life at that time.” 


But let’s return to the Boothmans’ grand adventure in country-living and renovating.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Sign and driveway Hamlin

The renovation would take 4 long years. 

But the family loved their home, even before it was completed. So did friends, who visited on weekends during and after the renovation. 

Blog Photo - Doors Open Nick Early Photo Ping Pong

Finally, all the major work was done. The barn foundations were repaired; the house was made comfortable; the pool and garden put in; the planned extension and verandah added.

The results were beautiful.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange House CU Hamlin



Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Wendy and Nick in front of painting in DRoom photo by Hamlin

With a comfortable house, a sturdy barn and farm animals, 140 acres and spectacular views, the farm was also a gorgeous setting. Nick says:

“After we were well settled at The Grange, the outdoor Shakespearean group Driftwood Theatre Group were looking for an outdoor venue for their first dress rehearsal and they found the beautiful settings at The Grange, perfect.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Barn Overlooking trees and Raod Hamlin

“So for 6 years in a row, we would have great fun inviting friends and their families from the area and Toronto to join us for an outdoor performance of Shakespeare.  Their first season was Romeo and Juliet. 

“It was fun and we like to think it gave Driftwood Theatre Group a good start on what has become a very successful annual attraction in Durham Region and beyond.”

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Nick looks at property Hamlin


Life, of course, has its ups and downs.

In 1998, Nick became ill. 

The children told Wendy: “Mummy, we’ll be okay. You focus on getting Daddy better.”

Wendy set a rule: there’d be no sadness and feeling sorry around Nick. At 5 p.m. every day, they held ‘happy hour’ in the bedroom and opened a bottle of red wine. She told visitors only funny stories and positive talk were allowed.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Magnolia CU by Hamlin

But one day, Wendy “needed to explode”. She drove up the hill to the spot where the whole family had gathered that first day for the picnic, got out of the car, dropped to her knees and banged on the ground with her fists, and screamed.

On her way back, a huge stag stood in one of the fields, staring at her. It didn’t flinch as she passed.  Wendy felt the stag was saying: “It’s all going to be okay”.

“And it was,” says Wendy.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Wendy on Screaming Hill

From that day, whenever anyone needed to scream about something happy or sad, they’d go to that spot. Today, friends still call to ask if they can go up there and “have a scream”.

That’s how the spot got its name: “Wendy’s Screaming Hill”.


Photos 1 and 3 by Doors Open Clarington

Photo 5 by Nicholas Boothman.

All other photos by Hamlin Grange

See More Photos of the renovated Grange in Part 4!

40 thoughts on “Home at The Grange – Part 3”

  1. I am really enjoying the story of the “Grange” – it looks stunning and you tell it so well.

    1. Thank you. I wish I knew more about the previous persons who lived there. Unless the individuals were prominent in some way, it’s hard to find out about their lives. Frustrating.

  2. This story of this house and property is very moving, and makes it all the more beautiful a home. If walls could talk, what a story each house could tell.

  3. I love the story of screaming and the message from the stag. And it’s nice that now there’s a place to go release that kind of thing. Marr house is quite beautiful, too.

  4. Such a treat to read this series Cynthia. I like the screaming hill! Can you hear me screaming from it. Your series is keeping me sane as I recover from a stomach bug.

  5. Love this story and great photos, have driven past the Grange many times, had horses boarded at a farm close by and met your daughter Kate who is lovely. We share a common love for horses, grays apparantly too.
    Love to see the heritage of our homes renewed, have a similar restoration story as well. What a beautiful property.

    1. Lovely to read your comment Donna, Thank you. I guess you boarded your horses at Kendal Hills? Next time you drive by come up for a drink – hopefully we will be home.

    1. Thank you, Amy. It’s been a challenging 4 months, but I think I turned the corner when we got the series started. I’m having to take the strong PK’s again, but it was well earned, and I am not complaining. Honest pain is worth it!

  6. Cynthia, I’m loving this series. “Wendy’s Screaming Hill” is what every person needs when life gets crazy. I’m in love with the house, barn, and land too.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

  7. Those house tours must be fabulous. I love Southwinds as well. We see houses like that down here every now and then. Usually Dutch. Hmmm … in fact there is a meetinghouse for Quakers not far away in a house something like that. Anyway, thanks for all these great photos … yeah, no screaming immediately around me – they’ll call the whitecoats!!

    1. You’re right — about the house tours, not the whitecoats, I mean! There are quite a few houses here built of cut-stone, and now you have me wondering if there are any Dutch connections?

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