Ambrose Henry was the first child born to John Henry and Elizabeth Hait; he was the first grandchild. At the time of his birth, November 3, 1847, his father and mother were living in a 1 ½ storey frame home in Darlington Township.
Ambrose married Sarah Anne Tuer on January 14, 1869 in Bowmanville. In 1871, John and Sarah lived in Darlington Township and John farmed. They had two children during their marriage, Hortense, born in 1871, and Martia. It seems Martia was born in 1872 and possibly died in the same year.
By 1881, his father John is living with Ambrose and Sarah and acting as a land agent. Mary Tuer, Sarah’s mother, is also living with them and their daughter Hortense.
The 1891 Census lists them as being Methodist instead of Christian and living in East Whitby. Thomas Henry raised all of his children as Christians/Disciples of Christ, and Ambrose’s father, John continued this. It is unknown how they came about the decision to change denominations.
By 1901, Ambrose and Sarah’s parents who were living with them had both passed away. A woman named Edna Drinkle was listed as their servant and Ambrose was a merchant. In 1906, Ambrose was elected as Warden for Ontario Country.
In 1911, he worked at a local grocery; in 1921 he is recorded living at 66 Drew Street, Oshawa with his daughter Hortense and her husband John Herancourt.
Ambrose Henry died on May 26, 1929 of myocardia failure due to arteriosclerosis at the age of 81; he is buried in Union Cemetery near his parents. The following is Ambrose’s obituary from the Toronto Daily Star:
Pioneer is Dead
The death took place early to-day of Ambrose E. Henry, one of the most prominent citizens and pioneers of this district, at his home on Drew St. Mr. Henry was in his 82nd year and for more than half a century was connected with the Masonic order. He was born in 1848 on the Henry homestead at Oshawa-on-the-Lake, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Henry, and saw Oshawa grow from obscurity to its present position. He entered the grocery business, retiring twenty years ago to enter the employ of General Motors as foreman of stockrooms, and retired from that five years later.
To Mr. Henry is given credit for the building of the Masonic Temple here, and during his illness his suffering was mitigated by many tributes from local Masons. He was a grand steward of the Grand Lodge of Canada and in the Royal Arch Masons he was past grand superintendent of district number 10. Funeral service will be held on Wednesday, Rev. Ernest Harston officiating. Mrs. John Herancourt, a daughter, survives.
One of our regular series on the blog is The Month That Was. The OM started the MTW feature at least a decade ago when we used ‘Facebook Notes’ to share these newspaper stories, and when the blog got off the ground in 2013, the series migrated to this forum.
I am very grateful when our high school co-op students have helped compile the posts for various months, because this series can take quite a bit of time between reading, transcribing, finding images, and scheduling the posts. A few students especially enjoyed this task when it meant using the microfilm reader in the archives, dusting off this technology relic, and yet still a mainstay.
Every so often, when tasked with writing the MTW, I get lost in the articles. My interest piques when I see a familiar name or read about a well known historical event. Last month, I couldn’t help but share with my colleagues when I read a marriage announcement:
At the residence of the bride’s father by Rev. T. Henry, on Saturday evening, the 7th inst, Mr. Albert N. Henry and Miss Harriett T. Guy, both of Port Oshawa.
Sadly, Harriett died in 1866 due to a typhoid epidemic in the community.
And while I thoroughly the catchy songs in the movie musical The Greatest Showman, we know in real life, PT Barnum was not the sympathetic hero he was portrayed as by Hugh Jackman. This was remarked on in 1865:
Barnum’s expressed design of exhibiting Tom Thumb in France, has called forth a good witticism from Ledru Rollin. “Tom Thumb should exhibit Barnum,” said he, “for the latter is the greater curiosity.”
Often, I laugh at what the newspaper deems worthy to print, giggling as I type it out for others to read. For example, in 1872, the Ontario Reformer had an article devoted to the calendar make up, as follows:
The year 1872 contains 52 Sundays. September and December each begins on a Sunday; January, April and July on Monday. October is the only month beginning on a Tuesday. February begins and ends on Thursday; consequently we have five Thursdays, which will not occur again until the year 1900. In the year 1880, February will have five Sundays which will not occur again until the year 1920. The year 1871 began on Sunday and ended on Sunday.
And in our latest entry for the MTW, in the Oshawa-on-the-Lake column, the following was reported:
The lake water [can] get very cold, nevertheless, a number of campers take a regular morning dip. The first lady bather of the season is Mrs. Sparks of Toronto, who is visiting with the Misses King. She ventured out alone on Wednesday afternoon.
There are, unfortunately, gaps in Oshawa’s newspaper history, and we are very fortunate when hard copies exist and are donated to the archives. Because of this, we have sometimes looked to surrounding community’s newspapers for news items about Oshawa.
Pupils of Mae Marsh Delight Big Audience at Masonic Temple
Parents and friends strained the capacity of the Masonic Temple, Oshawa, on Saturday afternoon, to see the dance recital presented by the Lillian Mae Marsh School of Dancing. Picturesque costumes that would have qualified for a Broadway show and a smartly paced program held the interest of the audience.
Perhaps the MTW that looked the farthest afield was April 1937. This was the month of the strike that saw the recognition of the auto workers union, and the strike itself made headlines in Canada and the US. As reported in Indiana,
Premier Hurls New Threat in Oshawa Strike Oshawa, Ont., April 13 (AP) – A move by Canada’s minister of labor to mediate the Oshawa strike pivoted today upon consent by General Motors of Canada, Ltd.
Meanwhile, other developments added fuel to the already heated controversy of international scope: Hugh Thompson, John L. Lewis’s right-hand man in the Oshawa strike, asserted the US supreme court decision on the Wagner act would cast the United Automobile Workers’ union in the role of sole bargaining agent for the General Motors workers here and the in the United States.
Premier Mitchell Hepburn of Ontario accused Lewis of trying to become “economic and political dictator” of both the United States and Canada and declared that, if he came to Canada and sponsored any overt act, or if any of his aids should do so, they would be jailed “for a good, long time and there wouldn’t be any bail.”
Lafayette Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Indiana), 13 April 1937
When I randomly chose the Month That Was December 1872, I was highly interested to learn that it was during this month that a great fire affected downtown Oshawa, the paper remarking Oshawa had been ‘Chicagoed’ likening this disaster to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. I’d recommend reading this month in its entirety, HERE.
Be sure to watch our blog on the first of every month for the latest edition of The Month That Was, and I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I enjoy researching and writing them!
June is a month of celebrations. From National Indigenous Heritage Month, to Pride Month and Fiesta here in Oshawa, it is month of celebrating people and cultures of our community. Each of these celebrations look to highlight the amazing diversity within our community.
Pride Month’s history is connected to the gay rights protests held across Canada in the 1970s. The first protest march was held on August 28, 1971 in Ottawa on Parliament Hill. The march concluded with the protesters presenting a petition to the government outlining a list of ten equal rights and protections they wanted the government to enact. These protests came after years of the LGBTQ2S+ community striving to gain equal rights. Canada has a long history with criminalizing homosexuality, and the fight for equal rights was not easy. Over the year, laws against homosexuality actually became more harsh and worked to criminalize anyone gay who was not celibate. Bill C-150 was passed in May 1969 which decriminalized gay sex in Canada. This bill was only a first step towards the equal rights and the protection of those rights.
In August 1973, the first national Pride Week celebrations happened with events being held in several Canadian cities, including Toronto, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. The first “official” Pride Marches were held in 1979 in both Toronto and Vancouver.
Here in Durham Region, the first official Pride event was held in Whitby in 2004 by the Durham Pride Association. The event was held just two years after Marc Hall, a student at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School in Oshawa, made headlines across the country by taking the Durham Catholic School Board to court over discrimination.
Hall took the DCSB to court after he was prevented from purchasing a ticket for himself and his boyfriend to attend the prom together on the grounds that homosexuality was incompatible with Catholic teaching. The lawsuit thrust Hall to the forefront of the fight for gay equality as the story became international news. In an interview with Global News a decade after his lawsuit, Hall noted that he wasn’t someone who wanted to be the centre of attention, and that he found the media swarm to be scary. The Justice involved in the court proceedings issued an injunction ordering the school to allow Hall to attend prom with his boyfriend given that the suit would likely take years. Hall attended prom with Jean-Paul Drummond. In 2005, Hall dropped the case against the DCSB knowing that it would likely drag on for years. This experience helped Hall to become an advocate for gay equality. A documentary was produced examining his fight against the DCSB, and there was even a TV movie produced. Hall’s lawsuit helped shine a light on the ongoing fight for equal rights that members of the LGBTQ2S+ community faced and continue to face.
The first Pride event held by Durham Pride Association saw 150 people attend. Since then the organization has grown and became a non-profit in 2008. The organization works to support the LGBTQ2S+ community by hosting events in all the towns and cities in Durham Region. Like so many other events, this year’s Pride March had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. Organizers are already planning for next year’s event.
This year, 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of Lakeview Park. Today, this lakefront gem is approximately 44 acres in size and is used by walkers, picnickers, swimmers and beach-goers, recreational sports teams, events in the summertime, like Canada Day celebrations, and, of course, for those wishing to learn more about the history of Oshawa by visiting us here at the Oshawa Museum.
To celebrate the anniversary, the Oshawa Museum has launched a new online exhibit, Lakeview Park 100, where we will share stories of the park through the years. This post will have links to the online exhibit, or links to older Blog content, and we encourage you to visit and share your own stories!
Prior to the arrival of European and American settlers, the area was part of the traditional hunting grounds of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island. With the arrival of American settlers in the late 1790s, the land became divided and owned by names such as Annis, Smith, Lockwood and Perry. In 1840, the first efforts were made to develop the Oshawa Harbour with the construction of the pier and breakwaters by the Sydenham Harbour Company. The opening of the Harbour brought with it further settlement along the lakeshore, including the construction of the homes that comprise the Oshawa Museum. Much of Lakeview Park was part of the original Henry Family farm, land Thomas acquired in 1830.
As early as 1890, the area by the lake, referred to more generally as “Oshawa-on-the-Lake,” was used for summer recreation. The Oshawa Railway transported beachgoers with 11 trips per day for a fare of just 5 cents – considered to be very inexpensive even in those times. A popular place in these early days was Mallory’s hall, owned by a resident by the lake who rent it out for dancing, concerts, or religious services. Mr. C. A. Mallory tried to sell his property a number of times through the years, notably in 1896 and 1902, and his pavilion would later be purchased by William Harold & Viola Barnhart.
In 1920, Sam & George McLaughlin bought the land in the name of General Motors of Canada Limited and deeded it to the Town of Oshawa for just one dollar. There was only one restriction: that the land be used as a public park for the citizens of Oshawa under the control of the Council and Parks commission. The firm also forwarded a cheque for $3,000 to cover initial improvements and another $6,000 for a suitable park playground.
One of the first tasks undertaken by the parks board was the selection of a name for the new park. Approximately 240 names were submitted, and Lakeview Park was chosen. Although open for use by the public in August of 1920, the park was officially opened late in September by Mayor Stacey. Music was provided by Oshawa Bands, and the Oshawa Railway provided free transportation to the park.
In 1924 an attempt was made to install a zoo at the park. George W. McLaughlin provided a number of buffalo from Wainwright, Alberta that were confined in an area to the north-west of Henry House. They were there until 1931 when the herd began to look somewhat weather-beaten and the odor from the animal pen became offensive to those using Lakeview Park. As a result, it was decided to move them to the Riverdale Zoo in Toronto.
For decades through the 20th century, Lakeview Park was dotted with cottages which were lived in or rented through the year. In 1926, it was reported that many out-of-towners were from Toronto, and some were even American tourists. Many people in Oshawa have stories about living in the cottages, which were ill-equipped for winter with no insulation, electricity or running water. One of the cottages was built by the Oshawa Rotary Club and rented to the Red Cross for one dollar a year. The Red Cross operated it as a summer holiday cottage for wards of the Children’s Aid Society. As the years went on, these cottages slowly fell into disrepair as they were divided into apartments. The City decided that the only way to continue with expanding the park was to tear down the cottages when the leases ran out. The last tenants left in 1984. One of the last remaining cottages is was part of the Oshawa Museum complex. It was located beside the maintenance shed and is used as a storage unit for lumber and large articles until it was torn down in the winter of 2013.
Improvements and development of the park has continued since it was first deeded to the Town. In 1927, the Jubilee Pavilion opened to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Confederation. It was well known for its nightly dances throughout the year, boasting the best dance floors in North America.
The Lady of the Lake statue and fountain, which today is located between the Museum buildings, was originally located to the west of the Jubilee Pavilion. City Council spent $4,778 on the statue of a nude nine year old girl; this caused quite the controversy as many citizens did not feel it was appropriate for public display. The statue was made in Italy and imported by Whitby Stafford Brothers Monumental Works. It was put into an illuminated pool in the park and dedicated on May 24, 1959, commemorating the gift of the pool by General Motors of Canada. It was relocated in the fall of 2001.
In the late 1970s, a long-range plan of park improvements was to be slowly set into motion. The initial plans included a new and much larger playground, recreation areas (including those designated for baseball and soccer), and the expansion of the road. One important addition was the brick walkway constructed in 1984, extending from the pier to the end of the park. A plaque bears the following inscription: “This boardwalk was constructed and dedicated for the enjoyment of our citizens as a remembrance of Oshawa’s 60th anniversary and Ontario’s bicentennial, 1984.”
Finally, in the summers of 1993 and 1994, finishing touches on the park were completed. The pier was reopened, the beach area had been improved, and – significantly – the roads and parking had been upgraded in 1990. The old Henry Street that ran between the three historic homes was gone, replaced by efficient walkways. In 1997, after the passing of Princess Diana, there was a suggestion to change the name to “Diana Lakeview Park,” but this did not come to fruition.
The Oshawa Museum is a proud feature of Lakeview Park. All museums buildings are on their original foundations, surprising many visitors who assume that they were moved at a later date. The Museum began with the opening of the Henry House Museum in 1960; Robinson House Museum opened in 1969, Guy House opened in 1985 as the administrative centre, and our Drive Shed beside Henry House was a 50th anniversary project for the Oshawa Historical Society, officially opening in 2009. The Henry House Gardens are used for programs and events and are home to the Ritson Pear Trees, Durham Region’s only heritage designated trees.
The City continues improvements to Lakeview Park through the years by adding more walkways, an additional gazebo, old fashioned street lights, many beautiful and bright gardens and hanging plants, and playground upgrades and improvements.
Lakeview Park has been enjoyed by citizens of Oshawa and beyond for over a century, and as we celebrate its 100th birthday, we cannot help but be reminded of summer days gone by, cold wintry winds off the lake, and an excitement for the future of this waterfront park.
All articles originally appeared in the Oshawa Vindicator
June 4, 1862 The Municipal Election The Election held in Oshawa on Friday and Saturday last, for the purpose of filling the vacancy in the Village Council, resulted in the return of Mr. JW Fowke by a majority of 10 over Mr John Hyland. The votes, at the close of the poll, stood: for Fowke 99; for Hyland 89. Most of the voting was done in the afternoon of the second day. About 2 o’clock, Mr. Hyland was upwards of 20 votes ahead, and his friends were beginning to feel confident of success, which led Mr. Fowke’s friends to stir about, and for two hours the voting went off quite brisk, resulting as already stated.
Bill to repeal the Fugitive Slave Law A bill was introduced in the Senate, to-day, by Mr. Sumner, repealing the fugitive slave law and prohibiting slavery in the territories existing or to be acquired, and abolishing it in all the dock-yards, forts, arsenals, etc., located in the slave states, thus relieving the national government from any connection with slavery.
June 11, 1862 Eclipse of the Moon A total eclipse of the Moon takes place to-night, (Wednesday) or rather to-morrow morning. It will commence a few minutes before twelve o’clock, p.m.*, and end at fifteen minutes past three to-morrow morning – its duration being three hours and seventeen minutes. The moon will be wholly immersed in the shadow of the earth – totally eclipsed – for the space of sixty-two minutes *midnight
A Heavy Lamb – Mr. Alex Knox, of Clyde Bank, East Whitby, brought to Oshawa on Tuesday of last week, a lamb weighing 67 lbs, live weight, at the age of fourteen weeks. A pretty good specimen for the age, and hard to beat.
Married At the residence of the bride’s father by Rev. T. Henry, on Saturday evening, the 7th inst, Mr. Albert N. Henry and Miss Harriett T. Guy, both of Port Oshawa.
June 18, 1862 C. Warren & Co.’s Tannery A few days since we took a walk thro’ the above-mentioned establishment, picking up by the way, a few items of information which may possibly be interesting to some of our readers.
This tannery is not what might be termed a one-horse concern, in which no other power than that of one or two workmen, and one horse is needed to carry on its operations, but gives active employment to about a dozen workmen, whose labors are lighted by a six-horse power engine and a powerful water wheel, which do all the pumping, bark grinding, etc. At present, from fifty to seventy hides per week are “taken in and done for,” but a large addition upon the west and north sides of the old building, is in course of erection, which, when completed, will give a capacity for working up one hundred hides per week. Such a number of hides, as a matter of course, could not be purchased in this neighborhood, and therefore Messrs. Warren & Co. Have to draw upon distant points for stock. Most of their hides are purchased in Chicago, and the leather, into which they are manufactured, is chiefly sold in Kingston and Montreal. The new building, now enclosed, will contain nearly as many vats as the main one, and will be ready for operation in about a week.
Early closing. We are much pleased to observe that the Merchants of Oshawa have signed and published an agreement to close their shops precisely at half past seven o’clock every evening, from now to The first of October. This is a very proper move, and we hope it will be rigidly adhered to by all, whatever may be the temptation to violate it. The farmers come in and transact their business in the daytime, as do also, many who live in the village, and those of the latter class who cannot make it convenient to visit the stores in the daytime, can surely get there, and find parties to wait upon them, before half past seven. In some of our stores, for some time past, there has been no regular time for closing, nor for clerks to get an hour to themselves.
We have expressed a hope that the agreement to close at half past seven would be rigidly observed by those who are parties to it. We say this because it is well known that, when a similar agreement was made on a former occasion, some parties lived up to the letter, but grossly violated the spirit of it by keeping their doors unbarred, if not unlocked, and their stores were well lit up, for hours after other merchants had really and truly closed up. Such a practice is in the highest degree unjust to those who close punctually and completely, because it robs them of many casual quarters or dollars which they might get by pursuing a similar course.
June 25, 1862 Temperance Soiree The members of the Raglan Division announce their intention to hold a Soiree in Mr. Smith’s grove, a mile and a half east of Raglan, on Wednesday next, the 2nd of July. Several able and interesting speakers are engaged for the occasion, as also vocal and instrumental musicians, and everything promises a pleasant and profitable season.
East Whitby Division is also to have a Soiree in the grove a little north of Harmony, on the following day – Thursday the 3rd of July. A number of good speakers are also engaged for this occasion, and the music is to be supplied by the Oshawa Brass Band. The committee intend to use their best exertions to render the affair in every respect worth of large attendance. Tea to be served at Harmony at half-past two o’clock and at Raglan at one o’clock.