Category Archive: Things From My Travels

Preston Springs Hotel – The sad end of a historic hotel

August 2020 The Preston Springs Hotel, an abandoned luxury hotel in Cambridge, Ontario, has been an iconic landmark in the area for 137 years. Opened in 1888 as the Del Monte Hotelt Walder by Robert Walder, in what was then called the Village of Preston, an area populated by German-speaking Mennonites from Pennsylvania. Standing at …

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Gibraltar Point Lighthouse – The historic lighthouse on Toronto Island

August 2020 Lighthouses have served as essential navigational aids for shipping for centuries. Although its light was extinguished long ago, the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on Toronto Island is the oldest lighthouse still standing on the shore of the Great Lakes, and one of the oldest buildings in Toronto. Built in 1808 using stone quarried in …

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The jewel of Centreville – the Centreville Antique Carousel

August 2020 Carousels, or merry-go-rounds, have been popular amusement park attractions for around two centuries. These circular rides commonly feature wooden horses, but may also feature an assortment of other wooden animals like pigs, zebras, lions, tigers, mythological creatures like dragons or unicorns, bench seats, aeroplanes or cars. While the ride is in motion, the …

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Grimsby Park – A colourfully beautiful historic cottage community

August 2020 The quaint, colourful, lakefront cottage community of Grimsby Park in Grimsby, Ontario, Grimsby Park has its beginnings in 1846, when John Bowslaugh, a Methodist, offered up his lakeside property to host large Temperance gatherings; events that soon became quite popular with over 2000 people regularly attending. These gatherings were not just religious gatherings, …

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Former Whitby Junction Station lives on as an art gallery

August 2020 The Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) is long gone, but many of the architecturally significant stations built to serve this one grand Canadian railway company endure to this day. Built in 1903 and originally standing at the corner of Station Street (now Galt Street) and Grand Trunk Street, the Whitby Junction Station replaced an …

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Woodcester Villa – Gravenhurst’s historic octagonal home

August 2020 On a hill, overlooking the Muskoka River in Bracebridge, Ontario, sits the historic octagon house built in 1882 by wool manufacturer Henry J. Bird. Known both as Woodchester Villa and The Bird House, the house has 16 inch-thick walls, each section of which alternates between 14 feet 8 inches and 16 feet 5 …

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Restoring the past – the Canadian National Railway station in Jarvis

August 2020 A sad reality as the years march by is that some of the buildings and structures in our communities are demolished and replaced by new buildings; sometimes even historic buildings. It’s called progress. Even some that aren’t purposely demolished are left abandoned and allowed to deteriorate to the point that it’s too expensive …

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Gone but not forgotten – The Hamilton Studebaker Plant

July 2020 Hamilton, Ontario, is a proud, working-class city that is best known for its steel production, leading to its nick-name, “The Steel City.” Hamilton was also home to a Studebaker automobile factory, established in 1947, in the former WWII Otis-Fenson anti-aircraft gun plant on Victoria Street North, built in 1907. Studebaker was originally founded …

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Memories of a grand era – the Maple Grand Trunk Railway station

July 2020 The Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) disappeared from the railway landscape 97 years ago, but fortunately, many of the former GTR stations remain standing today; mostly being used for non-railway functions. In Maple, Ontario, just north of Toronto, one of the former GTR stations is still a very busy railway station. Currently owned by …

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The Guild Inn – A treasure along the Scarborough Bluffs

July 2020 The Guild Inn, also known simply as The Guild, is a historic former hotel along the Scarborough Bluffs, that now operates as a banquet and special events facility. Originally known as Brickford Manor, this white stucco, Arts and Crafts-style manor house, was built in 1914 by Colonel Harold on his 40 acres property. …

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