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Peonies set a the stage for a lovely photo of the bridges. Photo by Phil Payne. Botanical Gardens


Oshawa Valley Build on traditional Parkwood Estate


Y


ou wouldn’t think that a garden still under construc- tion in the city of Oshawa would be a candidate for historical recognition, but indeed it is. Even though


the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden is in its garden infan- cy, it is linked to the historic Parkwood Estate, a nationally designated historic site. Parkwood is steeped in Canadian history through it’s


original owner, R. S. (Sam) McLaughlin. Sam McLaugh- lin was the founder of General Motors Canada and the manufacturer of the famed McLaughlin motor car, which remained in production until 1942. His own father, Robert McLaughlin, was a carriage maker who founded his company in 1867 and grew it to be the largest in the British Empire. Sam’s brother, John, founded Canada Dry, and Earle McLaughlin, their first cousin once removed who replaced R.S. as GM president in the 1960s, had previous- ly been the president of the Royal Bank of Canada. Sam was also a horse breeder and racer and as an inter-


localgardener.net


esting side-note, his stable was a three-time winner of the Queen’s Plate, among many other accomplishments. His farms were eventually purchased by E.P. Taylor who bred the wonderful stud, Northern Dancer, said to be the great- est sire of the 20th century. Given this illustrious family background, it’s easy to see


why Parkwood is deserving of its national historical desig- nation. It is even easier to understand how the gardens came to be so spectacular when we learn that Sam married the aristocratic Adelaide Mowbray (her family came to North America on the Mayflower), who loved flowers and presided over an annual Chrysanthemum Tea that includ- ed hundreds of guests. The family moved into their lovely new home in 1917


and lived there until 1972, when Sam passed on. At its peak, the estate employed 24 gardeners to care for


the Arts and Crafts style gardens and the 11 greenhouses. Some of the best designers of their times — Harries and


Fall 2016 • 47


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