Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Parkwood Estate, Oshawa -- July 26th, 2011

We went to Parkwood today to walk the grounds-- it's only a few blocks from home but we hadn't been there in a long while.

It was the home of R. S. McLaughlin (aka Colonel Sam), who effectively started General Motors of Canada. It's a long story. Our visit got me interested again in the history of Colonel Sam & GM so a quick look on the Net found:
    1. Parkwood was built in 1916-1917.
    2. Colonel Sam died in 1972 at the age of 100.
    3. As a philanthropist, he gave away about $200 million.
    4. Many studios have used Parkwood in their films. Actors who have filmed at Parkwood include Drew Barrymore, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler, Ben Affleck, Alan Alda, Maureen Stapleton, James Garner, Peter O'Toole, Jeremy Irons, Angela Lansbury, Jane Seymour, Shirley MacLaine, Richard Gere, Peter Fonda, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Plummer & Mike Myers to name a few.

If you can afford to give away a couple hundred million dollars, you can live in a home like this, on a property that covers a city block. Originally the property was a city park.

The sun room overlooking the grounds.

The mansion has 55 rooms, an indoor swimming pool, an indoor bowling alley and a room with a barber chair & supplies where his personal barber cut his hair.

This would be your front door. I heard stories when we first moved to Oshawa that kids trick-or-treated at the mansion on Halloween.

The reflecting pool with the Tea House at the end of it. We had iced-tea and scones today. They were served English style... "sort of" English style Jane said. They were great.

This is the opposite end of the reflecting pool to the Tea House.

Another view of the  opposite end of the reflecting pool to the Tea House. This woman yelled at me... something about "trespassing on her property". I figured it was ok to ignore her.

I've seen 100s of plaques on garden benches over the years but this is my favourite so far-- because of the last line.

Jane resting in one of her favourite spots on her property.

Some of the sculptures on the grounds... I love sculptures, especially emotional ones, like the first two.

It was good to revisit Parkwood, relax at the Tea House and see the exotic trees that Colonel Sam imported for the estate.

It's so hard trying to imagine living in a mansion like Parkwood with enough property to entertain a couple 1000 guests.

Next time we go we plan on taking the indoor tour again. It's fascinating too.

- fini -



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