The Lowry Collection

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist

In 1996, Marjorie Lowry donated a photograph album filled with amazing images of Lakeview Park in the late 1930s. The photographs are a glimpse into the lives of a group of friends who spent the summer of 1938 at the lake. They can be seen playing on the beach, joking around with one another and just enjoying Lakeview Park.

Lloyd and Bill White (A996.20.97)

What was Mrs. Lowry’s connection to the photograph album? The connection is the White family, specifically Lloyd White, who can be seen in numerous photographs throughout the album. Lloyd was Mrs. Lowry’s paternal uncle. There is a further connection to the Jubilee Pavilion , as Lloyd’s sister Ruth was once married to Owen McCrohan, proprietor of the pavilion during the time of the photographs.

Throughout the album, friends and members of the White family can be seen enjoying Lakeview Park and all the amenities the park offered. The album features photographs of bands who played at the Jubilee Pavilion, large picnics, and carnival rides. The majority of the photographs appear to be from the summer of 1938, just after Owen McCrohan and Tom Bouckley took over as proprietors of the Jube. It is a unique glimpse into the summer fun before the world faced war in 1939.

Ruth White with Owen McCrohan(A996.20.98a)

The album is not only a snapshot of Lakeview Park in the late 1930s but also a photographic snapshot of the White family. The photographs show Lloyd, his sister Ruth (not yet married to McCrohan), and his brothers Bruce and Bill (Mrs. Lowry’s father). The captions hint at some hard times in the family and also indicate that the Second World War would impact the family as we know for certain that Lloyd served overseas.

Personally, this photograph album is one of my favourites in the archives. I love the light-heartedness in the images. I thoroughly enjoy that this is one of the few photographic examples of the ethnic and racial diversity that has been a part of Oshawa for much of its history. Friendship, love, and fun are documented throughout the album, and that is why it is such a wonderful part of our archival collection.

Oak Crawford with The Tramp Band (A996.20.125)

Barnhart’s Pavilion

Now that winter firmly has its grip on southern Ontario and throughout Canada, we’re turning our thoughts to warmer summer days, sharing the history of Barnhart’s Pavilion, once a fixture at Oshawa’s lakefront.

Barnhart's Pavilion
Barnhart’s Pavilion

One of Oshawa’s most popular recreational pavilions, Barnhart’s, was established in 1920 by William Harold and Viola Rebecca Barnhart.  William Harold Barnhart was born April 21, 1883 and Viola Rebecca was born on September 8, 1880 to Charles and Rebecca Hooper.   In 1906 Harold moved from Brockville to work at the McLaughlin Carriage Factory.  This was also the same year that Viola and Harold met.  They met at a skating rink and from there, their courtship began.  In 1908 they were married.

Harold Barnhart moved to Detroit in 1909 to work as a varnish rubber where he made $20.00 a week.  That same year the Barnhart’s first child, Joyce, was born.  Throughout the following years Viola saved the family’s money to buy a lot on a short street, which was 65’ by 140’.  In 1910 their second daughter was born and she was named Lillian Yvonne.

By 1913, Mr. Barnhart was tired of working as a varnish rubber and began to develop rheumatism in his arms.  The Barnharts decided to sell their home and buy a candy store in downtown Oshawa that Mr. Barnhart managed.  In 1917 Mr. Barnhart and his father built a house which they were able to pay cash for.  When the Barnhart’s candy store lease ran out, they decided to purchase lakefront property in Oshawa in 1920.  The property they purchased consisted of a dance hall, sixteen rooms for campers, boats and twenty cottages.

The Pavilion, north elevation
The Pavilion, north elevation

The property Barnhart’s purchased once belonged to Mr. M.C. Mallory.  Mr. Mallory hosted large dances, concerts, games and other sorts of activities at his pavilion for the general public.  He was also the owner of cottages that surrounded the pavilion.   Mr. Mallory put his pavilion and cottages up for sale on October 1, 1891 after an incident that occurred where several young men broke into his pavilion to hold a bachelor party.  Mr. Mallory was extremely appalled by this incident and as a result of this disgraceful treatment; he closed the pavilion off to the general public and decided to sell his business.

Barnhart’s became a well-known “hangout” for the Oshawa locals and campers.  The Barnhart’s held dances in the pavilion and rented out four apartments and cottages.  The Barnharts also resided in one of the cottages.

The Barnhart's Cottage
The Barnhart’s Cottage

The Barnharts were also well-known for their ice-cream parlour and snack bar.  Betty Mac of Oshawa recalls purchasing all sorts of one-cent treats at Barnhart’s, such as liquorice babies, hard hars and marshmallow cones.

The Barnharts also owned several boathouses.  Mrs. Helen Hill of Oshawa recalls Mr. Barnhart taking people over to his boathouse to launch his yacht, where he would take them on a ride.

The boathouses at Barnhart's
The boathouses at Barnhart’s

During the 1930s and early 1940s, the Barnharts held square dances at their pavilion. They were able to keep their business alive during the 1930 Depression and finished paying for the lakefront property by 1943.  In 1951 Mr. Barnhart suffered a severe heart attack while shoveling ice from their sidewalk.  In 1953 he caught a serious illness which led to his death in October 1954.  In 1958 the Barnharts youngest daughter, Lillian took sick and passed away.

Mrs. Barnhart sold the cottages and one acre of their land to the City in 1968.  On March 19, 1975 Mrs. Barnhart passed away.

Although the Barnharts have passed on and the pavilion and cottages they once owned have been taken down, the memories of the fun-filled summer spent at the Barnhart’s have lived on.  Many elders of Oshawa today still recall the many dances, they tasty ice-cream and the exhilarating boat rides they participated in during their youthful days.

Oshawa on the Lake
Oshawa on the Lake