Student Museum Musings – Caitlan

By Caitlan Madden, Summer Student and Visitor Host

Over the summer Lisa and some volunteers have sat down with citizens of Oshawa to gather their memories of Oshawa. These past few days I have had the pleasure to go through all the memories and got a glimpse of peoples love for Oshawa.

The Four Corners, June 2013
The Four Corners, June 2013

Although being born and growing up in Oshawa, I never thought of it being this special place, and never knew it had history until coming to this museum. To me Oshawa was just a place I lived and nothing special at all. Once I started to learn about the history I grew an appreciation for this city, but going through all these memories made me feel a bit bad because you can just see the love people have for Oshawa. For many people Oshawa is just not a place they live, it’s a place that they call home and their community they call friends and family. One similar aspect they all had was how as kids they would just be with their friends exploring Oshawa on their bikes made me think of a memory I have as a child.

My Grandma lived not even a 10 minute walk away from us and pretty much every day we would go to her house. Her street mostly consisted of people her age with Grandchildren of similar ages to me and my brother, which meant there were always kids to play with. A typically day was about 10 children outside playing hide and seek on the street. We could wonder in the neighbours backyards to hide and if they were outside they would even help hide us. A lot of the neighbours also had vegetable gardens so sometimes we would pick a few and eat while we were hiding.

The other day I was at my Grandmas and on the street all I saw were these kids playing outside doing a similar thing I did. It is strange that whenever I thought of Oshawa it was just a place I lived but thinking back to my memories as a kid, it really has been a place I called home and truly is a special place.

Caitlan in the Henry House Kitchen
Caitlan in the Henry House Kitchen


Thank you Caitlan for your hard work this summer, and good luck with your future studies!

My Reflections of Oshawa

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

Earlier this year, the Oshawa Community Museum began a project to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of Oshawa being a City.  We’ve called the project Reflections of Oshawa, and we are collecting memories from the community of what Oshawa means to them and their memories of the City.  Recently, a great deal of my time has been dedicated to this project, whether it’s co-ordinating the AMAZING youth volunteers we have, or scheduling interviews with community members.  With ‘Reflections’ being such a dominant theme right now, it has given me the opportunity to do my own reflecting on Oshawa.

Firstly when I think of Oshawa’s history, I can’t help but think of my beloved Grandpa.  He was born in one of the row townhouses on Olive Avenue, worked for Duplate, lived in Oshawa his entire life; to me, he represented all that is positive and good about Oshawa.  He would often share stories about his childhood growing up, and I think one of my favourites is how during the hot summer nights, he and his sisters would take blankets and sleep outside in Cowan Park rather than in the hot, un-air conditioned townhouse.  What a different world he lived in!

Me and my Grandpa at my university graduation
Me and my Grandpa at my university graduation

Another favourite Reflection for me involves the Museum!  I have fond memories of visiting the Oshawa Community Museum when it was the Oshawa Sydenham Museum on a school trip! I was in Grade 4, and we went to school in the schoolroom exhibit in Robinson House, and we churned butter in the Henry House Kitchen.  Today, when school tours come through, students get the chance to ‘go to school’ in the schoolroom exhibit, and many churn butter in the Henry House Kitchen! While somethings change, the good things stay the same.

The schoolroom exhibit in Robinson House and I'm playing the role of the teacher, a different role from when I visited in Grade 4.
The schoolroom exhibit in Robinson House and I’m playing the role of the teacher, a different role from when I visited in Grade 4.

What are your Reflections of Oshawa? What makes Oshawa the city you know and love?

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