July 10, 2011

Oshawa Gem: Parkwood Estate, Part 1

Parkwood Estate is located about an hour and a half drive from Toronto in the town of Oshawa. I'm breaking this post into two parts: 1. The House and 2. The Gardens.

R. Samuel McLaughlin was Chairman of the Board of General Motors(GM)-Canada and V.P. of GM worldwide. Parkwood was the family home of the McLaughlins (Sam, Adelaide and their 5 daughters) from 1917 until 1972. The 55-room house is one of the few surviving homes from the early 20th century and contains the majority of it's original interiors less some paintings that were donated to museums and some few minor bedrooms converted over to staff offices and storage.

Designed by the Toronto architectural firm of Darling and Pearson, Parkwood cost over $100,000 and the family employed 40 staff members to maintain the house and property.

I'll take you for a quick tour so please enjoy... I certainly did. Can I please go back now and move in?

The Billiard Room's woodwork is enhanced by the McLaughlin coat of arms.
The room is dominated by a large snooker table.

A sequence of upper-wall murals in the billiard room are based upon the McLaughlin family recreational activities, painted by well known Canadian artist Frederick S. Challener.

A portrait of Admiral Sir George Pocock, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, resides in the library... one of three paintings by Reynolds the family owned. (not shown)

The piano, bought at Eaton's was brought to the house. Thought to not be
'quite right'... it was shipped to Italy for painted ornamentation.

A room addition, the loggia was added onto and this sunny living room was
added for an additional entertaining spaces.

Note the parrots painted in the ornamentation of the ceiling.
Each bird is different... reinforcing attention to detail.

The arched loggia used to be the outdoor area.. the room addition was added only about 10 years after the house was built.
The back of the house shows the addition onto the loggia.

Three panels entitled The Enchanted Wood appears on the wall in the side hall. Painted by Canadian artist,
Frederick S. Challener.

Care for a game of bowling? This entertainment wing included a
family sitting room and greenhouse area (to the right of where this photo was taken).
This bowling alley integrated an early version of an automatic pin-setter for both five and ten pin bowling.

In the distance you can see the office area of Sam McLaughlin.
If you were standing where this photo was taken, behind you would
walk to the indoor pool and locker rooms

The walls of the Dining Room were adorned with portraits of his 5 daughters.
One of his daughters was a painter and was influenced by the Group of Seven,
a group of well-known Canadian painters in the 20th Century.

Below, the painting 'After the Bath', 1889 by Paul Peel acquired eventually by Sam McLaughlin.
This painting catapulted the Canadian artist to fame after winning
a bronze medal for the painting in the Paris Salon of 1890.
The original painting is now in the Art Gallery of Ontario. A copy is here in its original place.

Bedroom designed by John Lyle (note: he also designed the Novia Scotia Bank Building which is now part of the Parliment Library complex.)

In the next posting... I'll share the gardens.. you won't want to miss it. I've never seen anything like it.