Where The Streets Get Their Names – Lakeview Park Drive

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

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.

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Oshawa on the Lake

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

The Month That Was – June 1862

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.

June 4, 1862, page 1

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 4, 1862, page 3

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

June 11, 1862, page 3

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.

June 18, 1862, page 4

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.

June 25, 1862, page 3

Celebrating Henry House During COVID-19

By Melissa Cole, Curator

While editing our latest issue of Historical Happenings (our quarterly newsletter for Oshawa Historical Society Members) which is dedicated to celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Henry House as a museum, I began to reflect on my time here at the museum.  My career at the Oshawa Museum started 20 years ago.  I started as a Fleming College Museum Management and Curatorship intern in the archives, working with past Archivist, Tammy Robinson.  One of my first projects was to work on a display celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Henry House officially opening as a museum: a come and go tea was held in the garden of Henry House. 

Letter from former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien acknowledging the 40th anniversary of Henry House.

Twenty years later, I never would have thought we would not be on site to celebrate the 60th anniversary of what I consider one of our largest artefacts and that we would celebrate virtually.  Before Henry House became a museum, it was the home to many families such as the Henry Family, Smith Family, and Mackie Family.  The home is furnished in belongings from various families that once lived in Oshawa.  In this post I thought I would highlight a few of my favourite pieces that are currently on display in Henry House, artefacts you would see on a tour with one of our knowledgeable Visitor Hosts.  Some of the items I will highlight belonged to the Henry family. 

Lets go on a curatorial tour!

Walking in the front door, something I miss the most is the smell of Henry House.  I realized how much I missed this smell the other day when I walked into Henry to check on the collection.  The smell is comforting, and it may have to do with the fact it has become my home away from home over the last 20 years. 

In the study, as you walk into the room you will find a beautiful mahogany spinet desk that once belonged to Dr. Franklin Luther Henry, grandson of Thomas Henry.  This particular desk was once located in Dr. F.L. Henry’s home and dental practice located at 231 King Street East in Oshawa.  This building still stands and is now home to the Harmony Health Centre. 

As you enter the parlour there is a beautiful Edwardian settee along the south-east wall, that once sat in Centre Street United Church.

Settee that once was at the Centre Street United Church

Located nearby is a beautiful embroidered child’s folding chair that once belonged to Thomas and Lurenda’s youngest child Jennie Henry.  As you enter the dining room there is another lovely artefact that once belonged to Jennie as well, a vegetable warming dish that was a wedding gift for her and John McGill.  They were married in Henry House on January 1, 1873. As you leave the dining room on the south hallway wall is a frame containing six tin types of the Henry children,

Jennie (Henry) McGill’s vegetable warmer

One of the popular rooms in the house containing the most activity was the kitchen; my favourite artefact in this room is not attributed to any particular family member.  It is a common kitchen gadget that many people still use in their home today, likely in the form of an SOS pad.  If you have visited our site in the past you have probably already named it, the pot scrubber!  You just never know what guesses our visitors will come up with for this item. 

Not on display but within the corner cupboard is chinaware similar to what was found during the 2018 archaeological dig in the backyard of Henry House.

Lastly the main floor bedroom, on the east wall is a pair of oval framed tin types of Thomas and Lurenda Henry. Further along this wall is a bird’s eye maple dresser that once belonged to the Robinson Family.  I have to mention, on top of this dresser are three exquisite pieces of hair jewellery, made from human hair.  This was a great way to recycle hair.  After brushing, the hair would be removed from the brush and kept in ceramic hair receptacles.  Sometimes the hair may have been from someone who had died, and this was made in memory of them. 

I have to be honest, all the artefacts in the home are my favourites for different reasons because these objects assist us in sharing the unique stories about our community and the people that helped shape it.  I wanted to bring a few to life today. 

To discover more about Henry House, you can check out our blog archive which goes back to 2013; the handy search bar makes searching easy.

We also have videos on our YouTube channel featuring Henry House – Our Henry House Playlist is a curated list of videos about Henry House or the Henry family: Access it HERE

The Gales of November

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist; this was originally written for the Oshawa Express in 2013

November 2013 was the 100th anniversary of one of the deadliest storms to ever hit Lake Ontario. Early November 1913 saw a storm like no other storm hit the entire Great Lakes area.  Known as the White Hurricane, the storm lasted four days and brought with it deadly snow, ice and freezing temperatures.  When the storm finally ended, approximately 250 people had lost their lives and ships that were supposed to be “unsinkable” had sunk.

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William Percy Judge, a resident of Oshawa, wrote about this storm in his memoirs.  The following is Judge’s description of how the White Hurricane affected Oshawa.

I recall the impact of the great storm of November 1913 on Oshawa’s lakefront.  The storm changed the shoreline, ripped up the pier, tore out the bridge where the creek entered the lake, wrecked the boathouse and dock, tore down the Ocean Wave (and) destroyed the sandy bottom and the beach, left gravel in place of sand, tore down most of the trees in the picnic grounds, wrecked tables and benches and broke many windows in the pavilion.  Some waves were as high as the pavilion and water ran across the car tracks and road and into the cat-tail swamp.  I had heard of the storm from the telegraph operator at the Grand Trunk Station.  Before the storm was over, thirteen large ships had been sunk and more than two hundred people had lost their lives.

The morning of the storm, November 7, gave no indication of the terrible weather to come.  It was apparently, a beautiful warm, in fact unusually warm, and windy day.  However, an Arctic blast of extremely cold air was about to collide with the warmth of the Great Lakes.  In his memoirs, Judge provides an explanation for the terrible turn in the weather.

Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes but is very deep.  In the center (sic), the bottom is almost five hundred feet below sea level and because of this, much of the same water could remain near the bottom of the lake.  The current carries the water on top over it like a river.  Because of its depth, it takes a longer time and really big blow to cause Lake Ontario to go mad.  The conditions were right – so, mad she got.

The storm that so battered the Great Lakes concluded with blue skies and temperatures so warm that all of the snow melted by the end of the week.

Street Name Stories – Normandy Street

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

May 8 is the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the end of World War II in Europe. WWII lasted from 1939-1945; approximately 1,159,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders served, and the number of deaths totaled 44,090¹.  Looking locally, WWII impacted our community with 177 Oshawa residents who died during the conflict, while thousands more enlisted, served, were part of the ordinance corps, or did their part by working on the homefront.

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VE Day was not the end of World War II, which continued until September 1945 when the official terms of surrender were signed with Japan, however, VE Day was widely celebrated in the community.  As described by Oshawa resident Murray McKay, “That was a celebration. You wouldn’t believe it. People were dancing in the street downtown Oshawa.”

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Photo Credit: Oshawa Times- Gazette, Canada, Oshawa Community Archives

 

There were several complex campaigns of WWII taking place in theatres all over the globe; one of the best known was the invasion of Normandy in June 1944.  This co-ordinated attack by the Allied partners was intended to re-establish an Allied presence in Western Europe, and Canada was a full partner in the invasion.  The objectives of D-Day, 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings, were to take five beaches, and capturing Juno Beach was the responsibility of the Canadians, under the command of General Harry Crerar.  This victory wasn’t without cost; according to the Canadian War Museum, 14,000 Canadians were part of the Allied Troops at the Normandy invasion, and on D-Day, Canadians suffered 1074 casualties, while 359 were killed.²  The campaign lasted 10 weeks, and the casualty list grew to more than 18,000 casualties, 5000 of them fatal, and this number is just representative of the Canadians. There were substantial losses on all sides. It represented a turning point in the war – opening up the western front, leaving the German forces to defend to the west and east, but it was not without cost of life.  By September, the Normandy campaign, known as Operation Overlord, was over, and just over eight months later, Victory in Europe was being celebrated.

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Normandy Street is found north of Highway 401, west of Wilson and east of Ritson, along with Dunkirk Avenue, Dieppe Avenue, Sedan Court, Brest Court, and Crerar Street, all of which are related to the Second World War, be it battle sites or after General Harry Crerar. In terms of dating the street, due to emergency orders, access to the directories at the archives is challenging.  Thankfully, our friends at the Oshawa Library have digitized a number of City Directories, helping me with this research!   The 1955 Directory lists Normandy Street, but also notes that it is ‘Not Built On,’ and the same listing appears in the years 1957 to 1961.  This suggests this street dates to the mid 1950s with development taking place in the early 1960s.


  1. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/second-world-war/second-world-war-dead-1939-1947/Pages/files-second-war-dead.aspx
  2. https://www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/chrono/1931d_day_e.html