Monday, July 10, 2023

Orillia and Stephen Leacock Home Photos

Last week I visited the beautiful city of Orillia, Ontario, about 30 kilometres (18 miles) northeast of Barrie in Simcoe County.  I photographed the sculpture of the great Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot.  Lightfoot was born in Orillia in 1938.  He passed away on May 1, 2023 in Toronto.  He was 84 years the time of his death.

In addition ro Lightfoot's accomplishments as a singer and musician, Orillia is represented in the field of art by Franklin Carmichael of the Group of Seven, and in the field of literature by celebrated Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock.  Carmichael, known primarily for his water colours, was born in Orillia on May 4, 1890.  He died in Toronto in 1945 at the age of 55.

Carmichael in 1930

Stephen Leacock

Stephen Butler Leacock was born on December 30, 1869 in Swanmore, Hampshire, England, the third of the 11 children. of Peter Leacock and Agnes Butler.  When Stephen was six years old, he immigrated to Canada with his family.  They settled on a farm close to the village of Sutton, Ontario, near the shores of Lake Simcoe. In 1878, Stephen's father abandoned the family, leaving his mother to raise the faimily.  

Between 1915 and 1925, Leacock was the most well-known humorist in the English-speaking world.  In 1928, the success of Leacock's books allowed him to buy a summer estate.  He then spent the summer months at Old Brewery Bay, his home in Orillia, across Lake Simcoe, where he grew up.  It borders Lake Couchiching.  Leacock enjoyed boating and he was an avid fisherman.

Stephen Leacock died in Toronto in 1944 at the age of 74.  His summer estate was converted into a museum and was designated a National Historic Site in 1992.  I toured the museum and the boathouse.  Here are some photos.


The photo below shows Stephen Leacock's boathouse in the distance.

Below are chairs outside Stephen Leacock's boathouse.


- Joanne