Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

Personification of Canada by British Pre-Raphaelite John Byam Liston Shaw

Monday, June 18, 2012

Trip to Lucan


Lucan is a small town approximately 30 minutes West off St Marys. It's mostly known for the Donnellys, a family of ruthless criminals, murdered by the towns people. This link will bring you to The Donnelly Murders history page. This happened in the later part of the 19th-century so I'm in keeping with my Victorian theme here. But the purpose of my visit to Lucan is for this store, Lucan Architectural. Let's browse...


I have to say that when we first saw this shop four years ago, it was filled with authentic architectural salvages. Tons of antique and vintage doors of all styles, pillars, Victorian gingerbread details, windows and stained glass, light fixtures, furniture and hardware from houses that were long gone. There are a few of these items left such as this filling cabinet, but most of the store is now filled with Asian-made reproductions.


I'm not passing judgement, business survival in this global economy is certainly more complex than it was during the Victorian times.
  


There's something for every taste and budget, from the tacky whimsical...


... to the grand estate items. These huge pieces could look very impressive given the right architectural context - in scale, proportion and land size. This being said, it's surprising to see these 'old world chateau style' items sold in a small farm town. They most certainly cater to the new 'monster home' developments popping up in the London sub-divisions.


I wouldn't mind having this lion sleeping on my front lawn, surrounded by a bed of wild roses. I can totally see it, but it's not in the budget for now.  



These Victorian style hanging basket would look very nice around my porch as well.


Of course, I had to include this cutie pie. 

Aside from The Donnelly Museum, there's not much else to see in Lucan, so we headed back after eating our ice cream cone, slightly disapointed that the authentic old stuff was gone.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Casting St Marys' Past

Postcard of our Town Hall, written in 1906 - Image courtesy of St Marys Museum 
St Marys' Town Hall plaque
Visiting St Marys is something to write home about.

In previous posts, such as The Grand Trunk Trail BridgeLayers of HistoryVictorian Building Blocks (Part II), you got a glimpse at our historic town of St Marys. This post will be about those understated, but elegant plaques affixed to its buildings and other structures. They say so much in such a restricted space. Although inconspicuous, they carry the weight of history and convey a message of respect. Below, you'll see some of the plaques we pass by on our daily dog walks, there are many more all around town.

The old water tower
The St Marys Grand Trunk Station is still in operation.
The Opera House is now a rental apartment building with commercial businesses on the main level.
The Mill Race runs between a park and a nature trail walk way.
The St Marys Public Library
The first home of our local newspaper, The Journal-Argus, is now occupied by The Chocolate Factory, a popular candy store.
The Andrews Jewellery building was occupied for many years by Anstett Jewellers, an Ontario family owned chain, but they have left town and put the building up for sale. 
Canada's first Eaton family store is now The Flower Shop.
The Hutton-MacPherson Block is home to MacPherson Art supply store.
The privately owned Myers' House has been lovingly restored and is impeccably maintained.

It's admirable and quite surprising that such a small town has so many historical plaques. Our Canadian big cities should be embarrassed. When Brian completed his biography on Montreal poet John Glassco, a joint effort was made to commemorate him with a plaque. He took advantage of his family connections, The Alloy Foundry, to have one cast.


The effort has resulted in the establishment of the Writers' Chapel at Montreal's St James the Apostle Anglican Church. You can see photographs of the interior (and Brian) taken at a recent event here.


Brian recently spoke with Nigel Beale about literary Montreal and the importance of recognizing historical buildings, significant people and events through historical plaques. Obviously, a subject St Marys understands very well. Brian's audio interview

Saturday, June 9, 2012

North Side Windows & Shutters


Yes, I've been procrastinating on this last side of the house, but it's been conveniently wet and gloomy here. Still, weather permitting, I managed to do some prep work.


The hardware was removed on all five windows. Have you ever seen such a long hook? When the shutter lays flat along the wall it locks into place (most of them do), but because this window is right beside a wall at a 90 degree angle, it needs this hook to keep it from flapping in the wind.


My witches brew jar containing the remaining hardware.


Here are the ones that were refinished during winter.


The bottom portion of the window is where re-glazing is mostly needed. It now has to cure for a little while. On the left is the window that needs that long hook.


Studio window. Notice the dark green paint drippings on the brick - one day I will write about "The Green Paint Nincompoop from the Past" that left his clumsy signature workmanship all around the house.


Dining room window. I didn't take shots of the two upper level windows, the angle was too sharp and it's kind of 'the same old' anyway.


My working station on the side porch where I will be found when I'm not in my studio or in my garden. I won't bore you with progress shots, but I will show you when I'm done. Until then, stay tuned for some miscellaneous summer posts on things mostly relating to the Victorians and the DV.

Wishing you all a great summer!
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