September, 2018:

Owen Sound, Ontario – Book 2 – My Top 9 Picks

Owen Sound, Ontario – Book 2 – My Top 9 Picks

Owen Sound is located on the southern shores of Georgian Bay in a valley below the sheer rock cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment.  The city is located at the mouths of the Pottawatomi and Sydenham Rivers.  It has tree-lined streets, many parks, and tree-covered hillsides and ravines.

In 1814-1818, the first Admiralty Survey of Lake Ontario and the coastal waters of Georgian Bay was undertaken by Captain William Fitzwilliam Owen, Royal Naval Officer, surveyor, land-owner, politician, author and justice of the peace.  He named the bay and the future site of Owen Sound after his family.  His successor, Admiral Henry Wolsey Bayfield, completed the first survey of lakes Erie, Huron, and Superior in 1817-1825.  The work of these officers rendered great service to Canada by increasing the safety of navigation.

The city was first known as Sydenham when it was settled in 1840 by Charles Rankin.  Prior to his arrival, the area was inhabited by the Ojibway people.  In 1851 the name was changed to Owen Sound.  For much of its history, it was a major port city known as the “Chicago of the North.”

Owen Sound Bay is a valley in the Niagara Escarpment formed by rivers that cut through the escarpment limestone.  The valley begins where the Sydenham River cuts down through the escarpment at Inglis Falls and extends out through the bay beyond Bayview Point for a total distance of 16 kilometers.

As the Niagara Escarpment winds its way across southern Ontario, it is interrupted by many deep valleys carved out by the erosive forces of water and ice.  Like Colpoy’s Bay to the north, Owen Sound Bay is a drowned valley partially hidden under Georgian Bay.  Other escarpment valleys like the Dundas Valley are buried under glacial sediments, while the Beaver and Bighead Valleys are occupied by rivers.

Today the Niagara Escarpment continues to slowly erode back from its present position.

John Harrison, born in Staffordshire England, emigrated to Canada at the age of six with his widowed father, three sisters and three brothers.  It was 1830 and they settled in Puslinch Township near Guelph.  Eighteen years later, John and two brothers, William and Robert, arrived in the Village of Sydenham (now Owen Sound).  They acquired the mill dam site on the Sydenham River and operated waterpower grist, woolen and saw mills.  In 1866, John moved his sawmill to the Pottawatomi River and established the steam powered Owen Sound Saw Mills.   He prospered and expanded the saw and planning mills and the range of products offered.  In 1861 he married Emma Hart and they raised their family of six children in a white roughcast house beside his mills.  In 1875-76 they purchased the land now known as Harrison Park.  The mill operation included horses.  When the mills were slack in depressed times, John sent the men to work and exercise the teams on this land.  They built roads, bridges, paths and buildings, gradually bringing his vision for the parkland to life.  John and his family and employees transformed this land and created Harrison Pleasure Grounds where everyone was welcome.  Between 1909-1911 while John’s eldest son Frederick served as Mayor of Owen Sound, the parkland was transferred to the town for half the value of the land – as long as it remained a public park forever.

The park today includes picnic facilities, basketball courts, heated twin swimming pools, canoe and paddle boat rentals for use on the river, a bird sanctuary, a mini-putt golf course, playground, campsites, cycling and walking trails, and the black history cairn and Freedom Trail.

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

935 2nd Avenue West – built in 1912, Second Empire style – 3-storey turret, mansard roof

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

#869 – Gothic Revival, verge board trim on gables, cornice brackets

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

Vernacular style – 2½ storey tower-like bay, pediment above entrance

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

Edwardian – Palladian window, pediment, cornice brackets, two-storey bay windows

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

#452 – Gothic style, verge board trim, cornice brackets, corner quoins, bay window

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

Old Post Office – 1907 – Beaux Arts style featuring harmony and balance; positioning of windows, Ionic columns, pediments project vertical and horizontal symmetry; shapes and materials echo across all three floors in pleasing proportions; varied texture of stone graduates from rough and solid rock face limestone to slightly inset and smoother stone above, providing a lighter feel the higher the building climbs; window sills are continuous cut stone, walls are lined with brick; a brick vault was constructed on each of the first and second floors; mansard roof with dormers; voussoirs and keystones over windows and doors on first floor.

Falls on Weavers Creek, Owen Sound, Ontario

Weaver’s Creek feeds into Sydenham River.

Falls on Weavers Creek, Owen Sound, Ontario

The falls on Weavers Creek in Harrison Park is an opportunity to see a miniature plunge falls flanked by cascading falls – two types of waterfalls in one.

Inglis Falls, Owen Sound, Ontario

Inglis Falls – The Sydenham River pours over a fan-like rock formation of limestone shelves creating an eighteen metre high cascade that has carved a deep gorge at the base of the falls.
In 1845 Peter Inglis, a newly immigrated young Scottish millwright, bought the 300-acre property and built his gristmill on the very brink of the falls. It was powered by river water which was controlled and harnessed by a wooden dam, flume and water wheel. Inglis also used the river to power a sawmill which he built on the east side of the river opposite the gristmill.
Peter, his wife Ann with their three small children Eileen, John and George lived in a one storey frame house to the east of the mill until a larger two-storey stone house was built in 1852; three more children had been added to the family by this time, William, Mary Anne and Sarah. The small frame house, along with two others nearby, was used to house mill workers. At this time Inglis also built a new four-storey mill.
In the 1870s the sawmill at the falls was torn down and replaced by a woolen mill which produced cloth, flannels, and blankets.

Owen Sound, Ontario – Book 1 – My Top 7 Picks

Owen Sound, Ontario – Book 1 – My Top 7 Picks

Owen Sound is located on the southern shores of Georgian Bay in a valley below the sheer rock cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment. The city is located at the mouths of the Pottawatomi and Sydenham Rivers. It has tree-lined streets, many parks, and tree-covered hillsides and ravines.

This area of the upper Great Lakes was first surveyed in 1815 by William Fitzwilliam Owen and Lieutenant Henry W. Bayfield. The inlet was named “Owen’s Sound” in honor of the explorer’s older brother, Admiral Sir Edward Owen.

The city was first known as Sydenham when it was settled in 1840 by Charles Rankin. Prior to his arrival, the area was inhabited by the Ojibway people. In 1857 the name was changed to Owen Sound. For much of its history, it was a major port city known as the “Chicago of the North.”

The Old Mail Road was the first into the County, running from Barrie to Meaford. The Toronto-Sydenham Road (Highway 10) was constructed in 1848. In 1868 the first telegraphy system was established connecting the County with Toronto.

The Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery is located in Owen Sound. Tom Thomson was born in 1877 and grew up in a home that appreciated literature and music. He worked as an engraver. In 1912, he sketched in Algonquin Park and canoed the Spanish River. The result was a full size canvas, Northern Lake. He returned each year to Algonquin Park where he supported himself as a ranger and guide as he continued to paint, producing masterpieces such as Autumn Foliage, The West Wind, and Northern River.

William Avery “Billy” Bishop was born in Owen Sound in 1894. Given a .22 rifle one Christmas, Billy was offered 25 cents for every squirrel he shot. “One bullet – one shot” became Billy’s motto. Bishop flew planes in the First World War. Courage and marksmanship made him one of the war’s greatest fighter pilots.

Norman Bethune was born in 1890 in Gravenhurst. From childhood he dreamed of becoming a doctor like his paternal grandfather, one of the founders of the University of Toronto’s Medical School. The family moved to Owen Sound where Norman finished high school. In 1914, one year short of finishing his medical training, he left for France as a stretcher bearer, Navy surgeon, and as a senior medical officer in the new Royal Canadian Air Force. After returning home to Canada, he was appointed to the McGill University teaching staff where, as a thoracic surgeon he invented new surgical instruments. He supported a universal health insurance plan for Canadians. While in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, he organized a mobile blood transfusion service, the first of its kind. In 1938, Bethune went to China to work in Mao Tse-Tung’s 8th route army, performing surgical operations in field hospitals. He cut his hand and it became infected and led to his death in 1939. The Gravenhust home where he was born has been restored as the Bethune Memorial Home.

Agnes Campbell Macphail was born in 1890 in Grey County. In 1921, she became the first woman to be elected to the Canadian parliament. She was later elected to the Ontario Legislature where she was responsible for the province’s first equal pay legislation.

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

#948 – Edwardian style with 2½ storey tower-like bay, pediment above verandah

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

932 3rd Avenue West – Former U.S. Consulate – 1890 – Vernacular example with Italianate influence, tower

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

948 3rd Avenue West – Billy Bishop Home and Museum – built 1884 – Queen Anne Revival style, asymmetrical proportions, a variety of window shapes and decorative millwork – While not overly extravagant, the Bishop family home is a relatively large estate. The Bishops wished to show their stability while being careful not to flaunt their wealth and thus the lavish details were kept to a minimum. Mrs. Bishop received a sizable inheritance from her family which helped fund the construction of the house, while Mr. Bishop worked from home as a lawyer.

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

261 9th Street West – Victorian style

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

Victorian style – dichromatic brickwork, banding

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

Victorian style – banding, verge board trim on gables, fretwork, dichromatic brickwork

Architectural Photos, Owen Sound, Ontario

The grain elevators caught in the golden glow of sunset

Goderich, Ontario – My Top 24 Picks

Goderich, Ontario – My Top 24 Picks

Goderich is located on the eastern shore of Lake Huron. The town was laid out in 1828. The unique layout of Goderich’s core encompasses eight primary streets radiating from an octagon bounded by eight business blocks. This civic square, with a park at its center, is popularly known as “The Square”. Four streets intersecting at right angles – Victoria, Nelson, Waterloo and Elgin – form the outer edges of the core with the octagon in the center.

The Square reflects a vision of a town center of classical design and elegance. From the 1840s to the 1890s, the growth of Goderich centered around the development of the Market Square. For nearly 100 years the original Huron County Courthouse, an Italianate brick building of imposing scale and elegance, stood in the center of The Square. The current courthouse replaced the original which was destroyed by fire in 1954.This fast growing town was the center of a prosperous agricultural region. The Sifto Salt Mines are located under Lake Huron.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

92 The Square – Hotel Bedford – 1896 – three-storey hotel with thirty-five rooms – Romanesque arches on the ground floor and restrained Italianate decorative elements such as the large cupola and projecting balustrade above the entrance.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

Huron County Court House – After the tornado with no trees left

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

Sifto Salt Mine

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

52 Montreal Street – Goderich Public Library was opened in 1903 as a Carnegie library. It is in the Romanesque Revival style with the large round tower, the round-headed windows, and the irregular roof.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

65 Montreal Street – The “Garrow House” was built around 1850 and was the residence of James Thompson Garrow who later became Supreme Court Judge and local Judge of the Canadian Exchequer Court. It is in the Italianate style with unusual bracketing, a two-storey veranda, large front windows and two end chimneys, a central Palladian window and decorative stone lintels and keystones.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

57 West Street – Port of Goderich Municipal Offices in 2007 – It was built in 1890 of stone in the Romanesque style with massive gables. The building was designed by Thomas Fuller, one of Canada’s leading early architects. The rusticated stone coursing and wall capping add to its monumental appearance.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

20 Wellington Street South – The “Strachan House” was built by Adam McVicar, builder of the lighthouse, in 1880. A schooner brought 40,000 bricks to Goderich to construct this mansion for Donald Strachan, a prominent businessman. The Second Empire house features a mansard roof of patterned slate, and a tower crowned with iron cresting, and intricately molded window headings.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

1 Beach Street – Canadian Pacific Railway station – The station is built of red brick with limestone foundation. It has a hipped roof over the central portion with a cross-gable and lunette trackside. Restored slate tiles top the conical roof of the round waiting room. The station house was opened for service in 1907. Passenger service ended in 1956, and mixed train service in 1961. One of the last CPR trains stopped on the bridge on August 3, 1988 and blew its whistle for a final time.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

5 Cobourg Street (the MacDonald House) was the office of the Bank of Upper Canada from 1859-63 and the home of its manager “Stout Mac”. It was built in 1858 in the Georgian style with balanced façade; transom and sidelights are around the front entrance

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

85 Essex Street – “The Judges House” is a white brick High Victorian structure with a Gothic Revival flavor with Tudor Revival or Italianate features built in 1877. It derives its elegance from the symmetry of the three-bay façade. The symmetry is further emphasized by the square bay windows on the first floor as well as the central porch under the central dormer. The delicacy of the wooden barge boards and rails over the bay windows add pleasing touches.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

135 Essex Street – c. 1880 – lakefront cottage in the Picturesque style – distinguishing features include the prominent pyramidal roof, which extends over the main façade verandah and the glazed sun-chamfered wood columns with decorative brackets.

 

56 Wellesley Street – Gothic Revival, bay window

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

82 Wellesley Street – erected in 1888, the Tom House is an Italianate structure built for Mr. John Elgin Tom, a public school inspector for West Huron. The most notable features include iron cresting on the roof peak, decorative brackets and fascia boards under the soffits, decorative fretwork around the center gable, metal roofing tiles, brick chimneys, and the square bay on the west side.

 

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

203 Lighthouse Street – The Wellesley or Wilson House was built by William Bennett Rich, a former Grenadier Guard who later served on Town Council. The house was built around 1845 and combines Georgian and Neo-classical influences. Mr. Rich had several outstanding homes built in town as wedding presents for his many daughters. It has a hipped roof, shutters on the windows, and a verandah with open railing

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

126 North Street, the Baechler House, was built in 1882 for druggist James Wilson, but it was in the Baechler family for 60 years. The tower with curved glass windows and the deep verandah wrapping around the building are typical of the Queen Anne style.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

53 North Street was built in the Queen Anne style by George Acheson about 1905. Features include the pleasing proportions of the three-storey tower, frontispiece with gable, deep veranda with Doric pillars, and pediment with decorated tympanum

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

38 St. Vincent Street, the Johnson House, was built in 1863 for Hugh Johnston who married one of the six daughters of William Bennett Rich. It is vernacular Georgian in its massing and proportions but with Regency influences in the French doors, a Classical verandah and windows, and Italianate cornice brackets.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

Widow’s walk on rooftop, 2½-storey frontispiece with semi-circular window in gable, one-storey wing with flat roof

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

92 St. George’s Crescent, McDermott’s Castle, begun in 1862 in an attempt to replicate the owner’s Irish castle, sat empty until 1904. A new owner added the third floor and finished the roof and tower which contained an elevator run by water from a cistern on its roof. Tower to the right has corbels on the corners and a parapet.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

103 St. George’s Crescent, the Donnelly House, was built about 1880 for Horace Horton, a local businessman, mayor and MP. Second Empire style has both convex and concave mansard roof lines with round-topped dormers, elaborate keystones, a 3½-storey tower, corner quoins, and a second floor semi-circular balcony.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

150 St. George’s Crescent was built for Joseph Williams, importer of fine timber which was much used in this home. Italianate – hipped roof, chipped gable with verge board trim, second floor balconies above entrance and side bay windows, corner quoins, prominent keystones above windows

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

28 Nelson Street West – built around 1870 – The bracketed trim beneath the eaves and the disposition and shape of the windows are Italianate in style. It has a hipped roof, frontispiece, keystones and drip molds.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

80 Hamilton Street – “Thyme on 21” is a restaurant in a Victorian heritage house built in the late 1870s with iron cresting on the porch and roof peak; scroll work on the bay window and the porch is unique to this community.

Architectural Photos, Goderich, Ontario

#181 – Italianate – hipped roof, 2½-storey tower-like bay with verge board trim on gable with diamond-shaped window; paired cornice brackets, fretwork, decorative veranda entrance with stenciling