Saturday, June 20, 2015

Stephen Leacock Museum a must-see in Orillia

Before Canwrite! in Orillia last week, I visited the Stephen Leacock Museum with fellow CAA member Jean Kay. We were directed to the house from the nearby museum office, and told that the student guide would give us a tour.

We approached  through a garden full of lilacs and peonies, and heard piano music pouring through the open window onto the verandah. Autumn, our docent, was a music student from Laurier University.

She rose from the piano to give us an interesting and detailed tour, telling of the sad death of Mrs. Leacock before the house was complete, and about their son's neurological illness. She also gave us fresh summer apples.

Above left, Jean Kay's head can be seen in the mirror as she studies something on the scullery wall. On the right, I face the main house from the garden path leading to the lake house.

 This lakeside home was another writing place. Below are his his main writing desk, his narrow bed, and a whimsical replica of his fictional pleasure boat, the Mariposa Belle, which later became a real one.

Such are the old-fashioned charms of Stephen Leacock's rambling summer home on the shore of Lake Simcoe.

The house also contains a large library of his works, and many other books considered important at the time.

The extensive collections of books by writers like Churchill and Gibbon may look odd to us now, but Leacock died back in 1944.

The house also contains a tribute to Terry Fallis, most recent winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour.

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