Parkwood House Christmas tea

Parkwood is one of Canada’s finest and last remaining grand estates, featuring architectural, landscape and interior designs of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Once home to auto baron R. Samuel McLaughlin (founder of General Motors of Canada), it is a rare surviving example of the type of estate developed in Canada during the inter-war years. Essentially still intact it is presented as a living museum ie. furnished and in a “lived in” condition. In fact as the family home of the McLaughlins from 1917, it was only vacated by them as recently as 1972. It is now a National Historic Site and open year-round – see below. As a huge fan of the “British” stately home and an ex member of the UK “National Trust” society, I used to pass many a delightful day exploring the gorgeous – now bequeathed to the Trust – historic homes of Britain’s bygone land owning aristocracy. It’s one of the things I moss most about having moved from the UK.
Well Parkwood – whilst not even close in terms of age – comes close as it simply reeks of privileged lives well lived. It exudes great taste, advanced 20th century technology and all the up to the minute comforts of the 1920’s. It was never commandeered during the war as many British Stately homes were although it saw it’s fair share of VIP’s pass through during this time. Colonel Sam McLaughlinIn 1989, Parkwood was officially designated a National Historic Site and R.S. McLaughlin was named a person of significance to Canadian heritage by Parks Canada, the agency responsible for Canada’s program of historical commemoration. As with many North American heritage sites, any visit is enhanced by on-site room by room interpreters telling the stories of the lives and accomplishments of the McLaughlin family.
Check out the billiard/recreation room with its fabulous wraparound murals depicting the Mclaughlins and their out-door pursuits (canoeing/hunting/riding/fishing/snow-shoeing etc). Members of the family appear in these murals. The conservatory (used in the winter as a tea-room) is utterly gorgeous. The swimming pool (very old style Raffles decor) and very warm (mega radiators here) change-room – mmm you can almost imagine stepping out of the pool , to a waiting maidservant with a warm fluffy towel, having a lovely shower and then into the family dining room for the breakfast buffet – Sigh……………
Open January 1, 2011. House Tours & Tearoom are available from 1:30pm to 4:00pm on the dates that the historic house is open

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