Friday, 24 July 2015

Postcards from Canada: 4

We had a brief period of respite yesterday between lunch and returning to our temporary home so I knocked off this sketch without thinking about it too much. It was on the property of the Leacock Museum and very close to the gracious boathouse which overlooks Old Brewery Bay on Couchiching Lake, Orillia. This had been the home of Stephen Leacock who was both an economist and a humorist and became famous for his books 'Sunshine sketches of a Little Town' and 'Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich' while his textbook 'Elements of Political Science' sold well for many years.

Museums back home in the UK tend to have barriers beyond which visitors must not stray. 'Do not touch' notices are everywhere along with scowling room warders. Here, we were able to stroll in and around without being herded along in a group. We were able to get a sense of what it was like to live in the house with its extensive rooms. There were framed photos of Mr Leacock in different locations and he seemed an affable sort of chap. The house felt very much the domain of a bachelor who liked to have his friends around. Although he had been married I didn't feel the presence of the lady of household although there was a portrait of a lady in the hallway who could have been his wife.

The museum also has a restaurant in a separate building where we were informed that this attraction "is Orillia's best kept secret". This was hard to believe given the number of people queuing for a table. We found ourselves sharing a table with two retired couples who were old friends. There was Barb and Dennis and Norman with his wife Helen who we were told is part witch (you'd never know it to look at her). We spent the better part of two hours in their genial company listening to what's important in their lives and them laughing at our English accents. By the time we parted company I was convinced that I'm not anywhere near ready for retirement.
I was using watercolour paint for this sketch but have realised it's the wrong
type of paper for this medium 

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