Movement Arts and Crafts in Oshawa
We need things from the past to see, touch, smell, hear and taste so we can feel in our hearts and souls what history is; culturally, historically, architecturally.
What history meant to people in language, livelihood, domestic life, the arts of music, art, dance, recreation are represented by touchstones, tangible and intangible, that tell a story of who we are today.
House 30-31 Foreman`s House, built by significant Canadian George McLaughlin, is to Oshawa what history looks like and feels like. The pretty little cottage, on the right of Simcoe St. going north toward Columbus, is special. It is what caused Oshawa residents to open their door to a stranger, me, who asked their interest in saving it; then to offer a glass of water and invite me to sit at their table to talk about the house, spontaneously; and another man to show his back yard peonies and to tell how the older homes with character meant something to him, and were the reason why they moved here. Beauty in architecture speaks to our hearts, souls and imagination. It becomes a destination. A place to drive so when his little girl grows up, this place she remembers, is the same in feeling that inspired her father to return to Oshawa with his young family.
George McLaughlin`s house was the residence for the farm`s Foreman. Our George was a Quiet Canadian* heavyweight (think George Foreman) who made a difference. We need this house as a visual place to touch – a place where a man made Oshawa and Canada a better place.
McLaughlin`s house was built for him by Toronto architects during the original Arts and Crafts Movement in Canadian architecture. Oshawa remains a city built up during the Arts and Crafts movement when the automobile industry was beginning in the McLaughlin Carriage and then General Motors Canada businesses in the early last century. This style of house is Craftsman. The developer Minto has captured the mood and feel of a beautiful city still in growth and maturing with universities, courthouse, theatre, restaurants and quaint shops to its revival downtown area filled with wall murals. Its own architects were inspired to use this house 30 as their authentic source. On their purchased Windfield lands, from a time when George McLaughlin built the little house on his farm in the 1920s, a new community is adapting and reusing its environment, Kingmeadow.
In this period of Canadian growth in early 20th century the plans were designed for him in 1917 by Toronto architects who followed the Morris artistry and Arts and Craft architectural movement in their livelihood. Inspiration needs original and authentic sources to enhance life experiences for the people moving into this Oshawa north community called Kingmeadow.
Kathie Vanular, participating in the Positive Discussion (see www.positivediscussion.com) with Minto, Oshawa council and community.*Quiet Canadian is a book written about William Stephenson, who I believe George knew in Oshawa.