Flashback Friday – Henry House Through the Years

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

One of our commonly asked questions is about our houses and whether or not they were moved to Lakeview Park.  Visitors are often surprised to learn that the three museum buildings, Robinson House, Henry House, and Guy House, are still standing on their original foundations, or, simply put, they are standing where they were built over 150 years ago.  The three homes were built close together, close to the lot lines; the reason for this is unclear, but one could imagine it would have been handy having neighbours close by.

The documentary evidence for the houses not being moved is overwhelming.  Take Henry House: in our archival collection, we have the land deed which shows Thomas buying the land from his father in 1830.  The 1852 Census of Canada East/West, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia records the Henry family residing in a stone house on Lot 7 Broken Front East Whitby Township, and the 1871 Atlas of Ontario County is dotted throughout, representing building locations.  The Thomas Henry Memoirs also makes mention of the family living in a stone house by the lake.

We also have photographic evidence, and really, who doesn’t like a good, vintage photograph.

One of the earliest photographs that we have are from the Mackie family, who lived in the house from 1917 to the early 1920s.  In the photo below, Doug Mackie is pictured, sitting by the back door.


This photo, as interesting as it is, does not provide any indication that house was located in Lakeview Park.

This panoramic photograph, however, does.

Ax006.4.2 - Copy - Copy.jpg

Click on the photo to have it open in a new window.  It’s simply overwhelming the width of it and the amount of people being photographed! This is the General Motors Annual Picnic, August 1926, taken in Lakeview Park.  When you take a closer look:

Ax006.4.2 - Copy.jpg

Henry House is unmistakable!

In the 1930s, Lakeview Park was the place to be, as evidenced by a fantastic photograph collection we have in the archives. Nicknamed the Lowry Lakeview Park collection, it is a series of photographs documenting summers at Lakeview Park, staff who worked at the pavilions, bands who played, and life at the time.  The Jubilee Pavilion opened in 1927, and this photograph of the south facade was taken only a few years later; look to the right of the pavilion, and Henry House is again unmistakable.


This image of Henry House was captured in the Oshawa Telegram in 1937.

Scan 013c

The caption reads: Built from ballast of Kingston limestone, this house of Elder Thomas Henry, early harbormaster and president of the Oshawa Harbor Company, still stands in old Port Oshawa.  In the great days of the grain trade, schooners landing at Oshawa used to come back light from Kingston, or ballasted with the local limestone to be had there for the loading.  They would throw their ballast overboard to make room for the grain. Elder Henry thriftfully acquired enough of it to build the walls of his second home.

It was in the 1930s that Henry House was inhabited by Ned and Lina Smith; Ned helped care for the buffalo that lived in Lakeview Park for a short time and helped plant many trees in Lakeview Park.

By the 1950s, there was growing concern over the state of Henry House.  The Oshawa and District Historical Society was founded with the intention of creating a historical museum in the City.  Henry House was well suited to accomplish this task; permission was granted in March 1959 to use the home, and it opened to the public in May 1960.


The Holodomor

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist

On Monday, July 17th the Oshawa Museum will be hosting the Holodomor National Awareness Tour mobile classroom exhibit.  The state-of-the-art mobile classroom will be stopped in Lakeview Park to allow members of the community to learn more about this dark time in world history.

What is the Holodomor?  The word Holodomor refers to the genocide of Ukrainian citizens by forced starvation between 1932 and 1933. During this period, Ukrainian villages were forced to provide mass quantities of grain to the Soviet State.  The quotas were set so high that there was nothing left for those who lived in the villages.  When villages were no longer to meet the quotas, they were fined.  The fines took the form of confiscating meat and potatoes, leaving the villagers with nothing for themselves.  These policies resulted in the death of millions of Ukrainians as they were not   permitted to leave the country and were forced to remain to starve to death. It has been referred to as a “man-made famine” and is considered a response by Stalin to a growing democratic movement amongst Ukrainians.

It has been difficult to determine just how many Ukrainians died in the period between 1932 and 1933; however, estimates have placed the number at 3.3 million. Some scholars feel that number is low.

When the Holodomor National Awareness Tour stopped in Ottawa in November 2016, the Honourable Peter Kent noted that Canada became one of the first countries to officially recognize the Holodomor as genocide.  In May 2008 the Federal Government, along with the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, proclaimed the fourth Saturday of each November to be Holodomor Remembrance Day.  It has been a long struggle for Ukrainian Canadians to have this dark period in their history recognized and remembered. The mobile exhibit is part of the work being done by members of the Ukrainian community.

Oshawa is home to a large Ukrainian community. By the start of WWII the Ukrainian community in Oshawa had already been established for forty years.  Newspaper articles from 1928 note that there were more than 1000 Ukrainians living in Oshawa and had become an important part of the community as a whole. Census data collected in 1941 shows that that number had grown to over 1600. The largest influx of Ukrainian immigrants came after WWII, when many arrived in Oshawa as Displaced Persons.


This exhibit highlights that history is filled with difficult stories to tell but that each story is important and can help us learn more about how the past has shaped our lives today.  Learn more about the Holodomor on Monday, July 17 when the Holodomor National Awareness Tour stops in Lakeview Park.

Letter Poster

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.

Picture 7
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.

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

Curator’s Community Reflections

By Melissa Cole, Curator

A few years ago, one morning during the month of June while sitting at my desk, which is located in Guy House looking out onto Lakeview Park, I heard a gentleman talking on his cell phone outside my office window,

“…there is a large playground, sandy beach, a museum, snack bar, wow this park is beautiful”

Lakeview Park, from Melissa's office window
Lakeview Park, from Melissa’s office window

I couldn’t agree more with this statement.   I spend most of my days at Lakeview Park and quite often I am treated to stories of lazy days spent down at the lake whether it was learning to swim or taking a ride on the Ocean Wave.

The Ocean Wave
The Ocean Wave

As a child I also spent many summer days down at the lake, with my dad, going for walks, stopping at Tommy’s for fries and watching the waves crash on the beach!  Of course I always wanted to stop and play at the wooden playground that had these amazing bridges that moved when you ran across them.

Tommy's Fries, August 1988
Tommy’s Fries, August 1988

At the time, the Oshawa Marina was located off Harbour Road.  We would stand on the pier and watch boats coming and going from the marina.  After we left the park, Dad always loved driving over to the Marina and looking at all the boats.  I remember thinking how large all the boats looked when they were out of the water and parked on shore.

Today I bring my daughter down to the lake to frolic in the park and at the playground!  She seems to enjoy it just as much as I did and still do.  Hopefully Lakeview Park will bring fond memories to her as well, when she is older.

Early morning hours of Lakeview Park
Early morning hours of Lakeview Park

Reflections of Oshawa: Celebrating 90 Years as a City opens September 26, 2014.

Student’s Museum Musings – Emily

By Emily Dafoe, Visitor Host

Over the past few months I was able to spend my time working on the upcoming Guy House book, the next book in the If This House Could Talk collection. Similar to the Henry House and Robinson House books, this upcoming book focuses on the various stages that Guy House has gone through over its lifetime. Through the time I’ve spent designing this book, I have been able to take a look at the history of Guy House as told through photographs held here at the OCM. I have truly enjoyed the experience that working on this book has provided me with. The history of Guy House differs greatly from that of Henry and Robinson House, which can be seen throughout the book.

Some of the most interesting aspects of Guy House’s history that I have discovered while working on this book, are the many different stages that this building has gone through in its time. For instance, during the mid 1900s Guy House was used as a triplex, and contained three separate apartments. While mapping out where the apartments were located can get quite confusing, I find it fascinating that this building was once used in such a way.

Guy House, May 1965
Guy House, May 1965

My favourite photograph that I came across this summer was the one pictured above. I really enjoy this photograph because it paints an atmosphere of Guy House for the audience that is so vastly different from Guy House as I came to know it when I was first introduced to this house. The combination of the house, street sign, and vehicles that are present in the photograph, it is clear that there is such a rich history to, not only Guy House, but the park as well. While this is not the oldest photograph of Guy House being featured in the book, this photograph creates such a different of the park and area than what I grew to know it as today.

By reflecting on my time spent working at the OCM these past two summers, it is clear that the time here has provided me with immeasurable experience within the information field. I have gained so much through my experience at the OCM, whether it be my speaking and interpretation skills that I have gained through the numerous tours I have given, or the software skills I’ve gained through my time spent on the Guy House book and in the database, or even the skills I’ve have gained for the information field in general. These are skills that I will be able to take with me into my future in this field, and the value in that is immeasurable. I never truly understood how important and interesting the concept of local history was prior to my time here, but I can now say that I will take my new-found appreciation for this type of history into my future.


On behalf of the OCM, thank you Emily for your hard work! Best of luck with your new school year!

%d bloggers like this: