Following a month of bizarre and frankly embarrassing stories coming out of Canada, I thought it would be refreshing to read some good news for a change.
It seems we heard it all, from body parts being mailed to the federal Conservative headquarters, a shooting in one of the country’s busiest shopping malls, and just last week, we saw a collapse of another in northern Ontario. We are subject to a lot of negativity.
For this week’s entry I’ve turned back the clock as the residents of Peterborough Ontario recognized and remember a home that has been in their community over one hundred and fifty years.
The year was 1837, a doctor named John Hutchison had come to town. In order to persuade him to keep his practice in the city, the citizens of Peterborough built him a stone house. Their plan worked and Hutchison stayed. For the first two years Sir Sandford Fleming was in Canada (1845-1847), he also lived in the home. After Hutchison’s death in 1847, the home was owned by local business man James Harvey. When Harvey died in 1867, the home stayed within the family until 1969 when it was then handed over to the Peterborough Historical Society.
Today, the three story home operates as a living history museum and is set in a variety of time periods floor by floor, with each floor depicting early life in the city of Peterborough.
On June 3, an open house was held at the museum to celebrate the anniversary of the construction of the home. A teenage girl played bagpipes on the back terrace as a cool mist fell from the grey sky. Local dignitaries including MPP Jeff Leal, City councillor Dean Pappas, as well as the current and past Presidents of the Peterborough Historical Society were on hand.
Another face in the crowd was a man who knows the building inside and out, literally. Architect Peter Stokes has worked on a number of well known buildings across the country, Stokes was responsible for restoring the home back when it was donated in the late 1960’s. In a speech to the crowd, Stokes remarked about his time working on the house. “There were things when we were restoring, which the previous owners had added since the time Dr. Hutchison lived in the home, which we decided to keep, such as the wing at the back of the house” Stokes said. Stoke went on to say the strange paint colours throughout the house and choice of artifacts were all pieces from the doctor’s era.
After the presentations, I spoke to Stokes and he told me the home is a very loving place, a sense of community grows there he said.
From June until Labour Day the museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 9a.m to 5p.m.