A Good Home, Doors Open Clarington, Heritage Homes, Lakeside living, March Cottage in Port Granby, March Hotel in Port Granby

Port Granby’s March Cottage

On Saturday, June 9, it will be Doors Open in Port Granby and Newtonville, east of Toronto. 

If you’ve never heard of Port Granby, you’re not alone. Once a thriving village and busy port, Port Granby is now a quiet hamlet on the shores of Lake Ontario. It’s home to several families.

Blog Photo - Doors Open - Hilltop farm
Hilltop Farm

Three of those homes, built during Port Granby’s heyday (between the late 1850’s and early 1880’s) are on the Doors Open Clarington tour this year: Hilltop Farm, the March Hotel and March Cottage. 

David March owned the latter two.

Blog Photo - Doors Open Clarington March Hotel old

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March Hotel today

The records from that time usually showed only men as owners and proprietors of homes and businesses. So while there were certainly women in Port Granby, and David March probably had a wife, I haven’t found her name.

Blog Photo - Doors Open Clarington Port Granby boat load of people

March, like many others of his time, was clearly a multi-tasker: between the late 1850’s to the early 1880’s, he was the local innkeeper, carpenter, builder, postmaster, grain dealer, elevator operator and “general merchant” (shopkeeper). 

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March Hotel today

I’m told he bought March Cottage for his mother.  

Blog Photo - Doors Open Clarington March Cottage (2)

Blog Photo - Doors Open clarington March cottage exterior
March Cottage today

Today, both the old March Hotel and March Cottage are residences — owned by families who cherish their history.

Paul Sahota’s parents bought March Cottage in 1993: 

Blog Photo - Doors Open Photo of snowy cottage by Paul Sahota

“They saw it in the dead of winter and brought me to come see it on their second viewing. My mother sat looking out at the lake over the snow as my father and I tromped down over the bridge to the shore. As we drove away I asked my parents when they were putting an offer in, being so sure that it was the right place for them.”

Blog Photo - Doors Open Photo of Cottage and Gate Posts by Paul Sahota

 

Paul and his wife Susan took over the cottage nine years ago.   It was a daunting task at first, but the family has enjoyed many happy times there.

“We love that it is spacious enough to host gatherings with family and friends in all seasons. 

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March Cottage Interior

“We love the soft shaded lawn for playing croquet, frisbee, baseball and cartwheeling.”

March Cottage includes original features ( e.g. the family-room’s fireplace),  and modern additions.

Blog Photo - Doors Open Photo of Cottage Garage by Paul Sahota

The family also loves the lake.

“We all spend hours watching the lake. We watch the waves (small and huge), the storms roll in, the many, many different shades of blue that the lake turns, the birds, ducks, loons, swans and heron come and go, the giant lakers, speed boats and sailboats move through the water and we watch for the calm when we can grab our kayaks and canoe and go for a paddle along the shore.

“The shore is a place to relax and get wet in the summer and, at times, an arctic adventure in the winter.”

Blog Photo - Doors Open Photo of Children in snow by Paul Sahota

The family will offer a warm welcome to visitors this Saturday:

“We have previously enjoyed other Doors Open experiences and are happy to share our little piece of Port Granby with the community.  We hope people get a sense of the history and the beauty of our community.”

For more information:

https://doorsopenclarington.wordpress.com/

Photo Credits: Paul Sahota; Bernice Norton & Christine McSorley (Doors Open Clarington) and Newcastle Village and District Historical Society.

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PARKWOOD: A Place of Astonishing Beauty

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.

Blog Photo - Parkwood house from west

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.

Blog Photo - Parkwood Fountains and teahouse

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.

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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.

Blog Photo - Parkwood Drawing room

Blog Photo - Parkwood Dining room

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.

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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.

Blog Photo - Parkwood - RSM and Family

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.

Blog Photo - Parkwood back of mansion.

I’m impressed by the grand house and its history — it’s a Canadian jewel.

But I’m completely bowled over by the gardens.

Blog Photo - Parkwood teahouse-restaurant

Inspired by the great gardens of Europe, they were created by the finest landscape designers available.

Blog Photo - Parkwood Garden layout

Blog Photo - B&W shot of garden and pavilion

And though Adelaide and Sam loved gardening, the expansive grounds and eleven greenhouses required a staff of 24 to look after them.

Blog Photo - Parkwood Garden and Pavillion

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.

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To visit Parkwood or donate to the upkeep of this national treasure:

Tel: (905) 433-4311
Email: info@parkwoodestate.com

All photos courtesy of Parkwood Estate