Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Memories of Mrs. Irwin, 240 Minnesota Street

Growing up on the "East End" of Collingwood, there were many things to keep a young boy occupied.  Sunset Point, several playgrounds, and the railway yards were but a hop, skip and a jump (or bicycle ride) away, and I spent many happy hours exploring these sites.  But for a young artist and lover of history, I revelled in the wealth of architectural treasures that dotted our neighbourhood, and spent many afternoons wandering aimlessly looking to capture the perfect sketch.

For us "East Enders", Minnesota Street and Ontario Street were the motherlode of magnificent architecture.  As a "Junior Member of the Historical Society (thanks Dr. MacKay!), and a budding historian, my grandma would often pack me a snack and off I'd set to find something worthy to sketch.  Many times I was drawn to this wonderful white gem, aptly named "White Gate" sitting regally on the jog in Minnesota Street.

Constructed in 1873, this classic vernacular frame home is replete in Italianate detailing.  Squarish in style, it has the prerequisite hipped roof supported in place by an abundance of detailed brackets.  Tall multi-sashed windows, some in pairs, were also typical of this style, as well as the beautifully understated porch supported by a smattering of Doric columns.  

For many years this was the home of a wonderfully kind woman who I always respectfully called, Mrs. Irwin.  Like her beautiful home, she was part of the unique tapestry of our neighbourhood.  Whenever she saw me, either out riding my bike or out sketching, she would beckon me in for milk and cookies, and as I was somewhat advanced for my age, usually tea and dessert.  I remember well sitting in her beautiful sun dappled kitchen as she busied about making us a treat.  One always felt at ease in her home and her heart.

This sketch was done by me on one of my afternoon sketching sessions way back in 1980.  If memory serves me correctly, the tea & cookies were delicious, but most importantly, the company sublime.

I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed recalling the memories that inspired it!

No comments:

Post a Comment