Friday, March 14, 2008

My Town

After reading about Carol's (iStitchaholic) town and seeing the beautiful pictures, I thought I would copy her idea and do one of my own. I have to warn you though, I love history so this little insight to where I live is more geared to local town history than what's going on today.

Whitby is located on Lake Ontario, about 30 km from Toronto. We now have a population of 110,000 people. Although settlers arrived in Whitby in the 1700's, most settlement took place after the American Revolution, as a British resettlement for the Loyalists, with the development of the downtown area starting in 1836.

A view of Lake Ontario from Whitby shores, one of my favourite places to head for an evening walk or bike ride, as we have km's of finished trails along the shoreline.

We have a castle in downtown Whitby ~ Trafalgar Castle. These are the best pictures, I'm afraid! I nabbed them off the web and as you can tell we're not in the midst of winter.

Trafalgar Castle was built in Elizabethan style in 1859 by Nelson Reynolds, Sheriff of Ontario County. It has 15 towers, a receiving hall that is 108 feet long, secret passageways and a tunnel to Lake Ontario (which is actually quite far from the castle - I can't imagine the state of it now!). The castle is currently home to an all-girls boarding and day school for 240 students.

My friend Marj attended Trafalgar Castle school for 2 years and gave me this cool info:
The stories of the tunnel is true. And it was one of the stops on the Underground Railroad and there are even "pits" for the slaves to hide out in , in case of people coming to the castle. I know that much is true as we were taken down by our history teacher and shown them for a fact.
It is a really cool place to check out and every May they have their May Day festivities and Open house, which is really nice to go and see the school. Some of the residents from the Whitby Psych would work there in the kitchens and do the groundskeeping, supervised of course by the saner members of society.
We have an award winning, state of the art, new library which opened in 2005 and is huge at 54,000 square feet. This is also where we now hold our Embroidery Guild meetings, since being given the heave-ho from the church around the corner.

However I confess to appreciating the original town library much more... the Carnegie Library which was built in 1913 with a grant from American industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Its a law office today.
I have to mention the Whitby Psychiatric Hospital, located on the shores of Lake Ontario, just because it has always been the butt of too many jokes. It was originally built in 1913 and called the Ontario Hospital for the Insane (gruesome!). However once it was finished, it was taken over by the federal government as a hospital for convalescing soldiers returning from World War I before reverting back to its true purpose. At its prime there were 1650 patients living in this facility, which consisted of numerous 'cottages' to house the patients and treatment areas, in all over 40 buildings. It finally closed in 1995, and became quite an interesting locale for movie sites, and of course local teens. Most of the cottages are demolished now with a couple remaining for posterity, once the new hospital took over.
One of the buildings, now empty. There are tons of stories of the various hauntings of this place, as you can imagine. I, ahem, steered clear of them! All of the buildings were painted yellow, with red roofs, so easy to spot through the trees. I have to admit though it was sad that they had to go, although most were falling down anyways.

We have had a few famous residents ~ Leslie McFarlane lived in Whitby with his family from 1936 on. He was quite a famous writer, and wrote the Hardy Boys novels under the penname Franklin W. Dixon. His son, Brian McFarlane, went on to become a CBC sports broadcaster for the NHL. And you all know how we love our hockey!

And the one of the most interesting history bytes for last~

Is there anyone cooler than Bond? ...that's James Bond. Take the401 Hwy east from Toronto for 30 minutes to Whitby, and you can find street signs relating to the James Bond character, such as Ian Fleming Cres. During WWII there was a secret agent training camp here called 'Camp X'. It was located right on the shore of Lake Ontario where it could be reached discreetly at night by water from the USA.
One of the spy trainees was Bond author Ian Fleming, who went on to create the famous James Bond '007' character using knowledge he aquired here. Camp X was also influencial in the development of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); five future heads of the CIA were trained there. Today the camp's location is marked by a small memorial in the 17-acre, watefront Intrepid Park, on the Whitby/Oshawa border. 'Inside Camp X'author Lynn Philip Hodgson leads occasional guided walks of the site. There's also a 'Camp X' exhibit at the Oshawa Municipal Airport (see original lipstick-container dagger and posion gas pen).

I hope you enjoyed my little tour. Have a great weekend!


'Berta said...

Love the tour; no wonder my niece loves living there. So close to the water...oh how I miss that in our land locked town!

Carol R said...

Loved reading about your town Wendy and I really hope other bloggers follow suit.

It's funny that you should mention Ian Fleming as he lived in St Margarets Bay which is a small village between Deal and Dover and wrote some of the James Bond novels there!

Yuko said...

Oh My! Wendy, you are living in very beautiful town!!
I love the first picture very much, did you take it by yourself???
It's absolutely stunning!
I'd like to see such a beautiful scene in person!

Kendra said...

Cool post! Thanks for sharing some of the history of your town.

At least your town kept their Carnegie Library building, even if it's not a library anymore. My parents' hometown (Paducah, KY) decided to tear down their Carnegie Library. Needless to say, many bibliophiles and history buffs were NOT happy...but the town tore it down anyway. What some folks do in the name of progress!

Annemarie said...

Thanks for the tour, Wendy. It was like visiting you personally!

staci said...

Loved the tour and history!

Twana said...

I enjoyed that! Thanks for taking the time to do it.

Vonna said...

Thanks for sharing your town! What a lovely place to live!!!

Karin said...

Love the tour! Sounds like a great place to live

Laura said...

What fun to come here and read a virtual tour of your hometown. It looks like an enjoyable place to live.

stitcherw said...

What a fun entry, loved the tour theme and pictures. Your previous finish of Sampler Lady turned out great. Also, what fun stash with the turtles, I'll enjoy watching you work on them they are so cute. Your new start of Love is going to be gorgeous, what a beautiful design.

Beatrice said...

It was fun to tour Whitby.
All of my Dutch relatives landed in the Whitby Bouwmanville and Oshawa area .so I spent a lot of time there growing up. It was lovely to see it through your eyes!
Thank you!

kVicknits said...

Hi Wendy,
I happened upon your blog because I was searching for stitching and Whitby to see if my Web site ( or blog (( were appearing in searches yet.
You may be interested to know that our stitching store is opening in Whitby on Brock St. N (north of Whitby Tile)very soon, in the same little green house as Kniterary is already open (samples are available to view and we are getting stock every day).

Your work is beautiful, and I would love to meet you and get your opinion on stock that we should carry.


lena-lou said...

This is such an interesting and enjoyable posting Wendy. Too funny that one of my favourite places near me is the original Whitby !! I loved the look at your home town maybe a bit moere as it is a Whitby too :-))

Have a wonderful Easter time and I'm going to be cheeky now a bit more on the Love one above, I love the look of it ;-)) and can't wait for your next piccy !!