A historical marker of Oshawa’s past, Parkwood Estate is located in the heart of the city, on Simcoe Street and Adelaide Avenue. It is the place where a man often described as a saint spent the latter half of his life. This is a symbol of everything Oshawa has gone through.
People from outside the Oshawa area are likely unfamiliar with Parkwood. It’s simply ‘Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters’ featured in the X-Men film series. Robert Samuel McLaughlin, the man largely responsible for the presence of the automobile industry in Oshawa, is better known as the Auto Plant on Stevenson, an important monument to those who live in Oshawa and especially to those who work in the GM plant on Stevenson Road.
As you drive past Parkwood, you can see the front yard. It feels as if you are in the centre of the city for just a second. Among the many details visible in the front yard are the well-kept lawn and the pillars that evoke the Mediterranean era. Many people dream of living in this house. Many people dream of living in a large mansion.
Parkwood Estate shares the same saintly status as Sam. Masjid al-Haram in Saudi Arabia and St. Paul’s Cathedral are often compared to this place of worship. There’s something about the estate that produces a longing look in the eyes of the people of Oshawa. Despite the reverence many Oshawaites have for Parkwood Estate, they may not know much about its history.
Parkwood Estate was built in 1917, according to Samantha George, the estate’s curator, and the earliest blueprint dates to 1914. The director at Parkwood says false claims are among the things they are working against. “Parkwood is viewed as a romanticized property by some people due to local legends.” During our ‘Ask Sam’ column on our social media forum, we answer questions the public has about the estate.”
It ranges from the McLaughlin family itself to the materials that were used in the estate’s construction, according to George. What is now Parkwood Estate was once known as Prospect Park. Among the best artists, architects and landscape designers of the day, Sam McLaughlin and Adelaide worked together to develop Parkwood, according to the website of Parkwood.
Built shortly before Sam founded and became the president of General Motors Canada, it is home to several National Anthems of Canada. Inspired by early 20th century Beaux-Arts architecture, the design is reminiscent of that era. In Paris, students learn the Beaux-Arts style of architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. It is rooted in French neoclassicism. Additionally, the style incorporates Gothic and Renaissance elements, and modern materials, such as glass and iron, are used.