In remembrance of The Great War during this centenary year, this blog will explore the intriguing social history of that tumultuous time. The first two of my Muskoka Novels – "The Summer Before the Storm" and "Elusive Dawn" – take place from 1914-1918. During my four years of research I accumulated a trunkful of notes, and will illuminate some of the more interesting and unusual tidbits, beginning with the Age of Elegance.
Monday, January 13, 2014
The Canadian Elite
There were plenty of wealthy
Canadian cottagers in Muskoka as well. Timothy Eaton, who created a
mercantile empire that dominated the country for well over a century, had a
cottage at Windermere on Lake Rosseau. His son, John – along with his wife
Flora - built this luxurious summer home, Kawandag, further north on the lake
in 1906. It had stables and a private golf course.
The Eatons often entertained
illustrious visitors. Canadian opera
legend, Edward Johnson, who became Director of the New York Metropolitan Opera,
was a good friend, and sometimes stayed for weeks at Kawandag to rest and
This was John and Flora’s Toronto
home, Ardwold, which had 50 rooms, 14 baths, a hospital infirmary with two
nurses on staff, and a half-acre glassed area housing a swimming pool and a
conservatory. It was completed in 1911, sold in 1936, and demolished for a
John Craig Eaton was knighted in
1915 for his philanthropic activities and his contributions to the war effort.
Sir John continued to pay wages to 3,300 Eaton employees on active military
service for the duration of the war at a cost of over $2 million.