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