The Host Files: Why Carmela Likes Oshawa

This blog series comes from our dedicated and awesome Visitor Host staff, and topics range from favourite artifacts, thoughts on our latest exhibits, and anything else in between!

By Carmela D., Visitor Host

Being a new resident in Oshawa, Ontario, I am constantly learning about all the places there are to enjoy in this beautiful city.  The city is surrounded by farms and the lake, yet it has plenty of shopping, restaurants, and interesting places to see. Before I even arrived in the Fall of 2013, I was so excited to explore the city online, so that when I arrived I could start experiencing all that Oshawa offers.

Three places that excited me most were the waterfront and the museums, particularly  Lakeview Park and the Oshawa Museum, as well as Parkwood Estate.  Within about 5 days of arriving from our long distance move, I left rows of cardboard boxes lining the hallways of my home, picked my children up from their new school, and headed down to the lake, in the hope of having our first tour of the OM. It was so exciting to be there and Lisa did a fabulous job giving us our first tour! We learned all about the three 1800s homes and drive shed that are situated along the lakefront.  We got ice-cream at the Oshawa-famous Tommy’s across from the sandy beach area. We walked the pier, enjoying the sound of the waves and the warmth of the sunshine.  My children played on the different playgrounds, we walked the pathways, and enjoyed the peaceful scenery. We were in our happy place which was such a nice memory for our early days in Oshawa.

Winter came quickly so I couldn’t wait for Spring, when I envisioned myself at Parkwood Estate, strolling through the gardens that I had explored online.  It was so exciting to drive into the grounds, seeing the mansion on my left and then the former carriage house on my right.  My husband and I had pre-booked a lunch in the Tea House, at the back of the gorgeous fountains.  What a fantastic view and tasty meal! We had a tour of Samuel and Adelaide McLaughlin’s former home, where they raised their 5 daughters.  I can only imagine the splendor that those girls experienced. The home was full of the family’s belongings, the guide was very thorough, and it was interesting to see the indoor pool and bowling lane.

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Carmela at Parkwood in 2015, attending the Victory Garden Party outreach for the Oshawa Museum

It was now the second Fall here, after a year of settling in, when we came to the OM for another tour.  We thought we’d make it a tradition!  I have always taken my young ones to historic places where ever we have found ourselves.  I believe it’s important to understand the history of where we are in order to fully appreciate how the present has come to be. We were so excited to go back to the place that we remembered so fondly just one year prior.  We had another wonderful tour, this time with Jill.  I happened to ask if the OM hired at all, as I was working very part-time jobs around my children and had room in my schedule to work in a place I enjoyed so much.  I was in the right place at the right time and was hired not long afterward! I was so excited and now I enjoy the history of Oshawa on a regular basis and from a different viewpoint.  I feel privileged to work at the home of Oshawa’s history with such a lovely group of staff and volunteers.

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The OM Crew after Lamplight 2015! Carmela is second from right

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