Saturday, August 31, 2019

A Home Well Worth Preserving

Still in McCrae House, I'm carrying on with this visit. This uniform jacket is similar to those John McCrae would have worn in World War One. It is a Canadian Army Medical Corps uniform worn by Captain Trevor Bailie, circa 1918.

Some of McCrae's personal mementoes are displayed here- items like a pocket watch, bible, or mess kit.

McCrae would not see the end of the First World War, dying of pneumonia in France. He was buried with full military honours at Wimereux. The commanding general of the Canadian soldiers at the front, Arthur Currie, was in attendance, and McCrae's horse Bonfire was part of the procession, with the doctor's boots reversed in the stirrups as is tradition.

In the 1960s, a local effort got underway to save the house, which had long since been in other hands, from the wrecking ball. Out of the efforts of concerned citizens, McCrae House was restored and turned into what it is today, a museum honouring the man and his life. And today it is a national historic site.

This desk was used by the McCrae family at another address in the city after they had left this home. It has been added to the collection here.

Panels show a collage of McCrae's legacy, at home and around the world. His best known poem has transcended national boundaries in the century since his death.

I leave off with one last view outside the house. Thus ends my series on this road trip, which I hope you've enjoyed. I have the odd shot here and there in future posts, but starting tomorrow, I'm back on familiar ground.

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Birthplace Of The Poet

If you go to the Guelph Civic Museum, paying admission will also get you entrance to McCrae House, a few blocks away. This is the place where John McCrae was born, and it has been preserved as a museum dedicated to the life of the poet, doctor, and soldier who wrote In Flanders Fields. It was built in 1858, owned by the McCrae family from 1870-73, and bought by local citizens in 1966 with the intent to preserve it as a museum. 

The exterior is manicured with flowers and plants, plaques, and a memorial. My brother tells me that this is a gathering place on Remembrance Day.

The memorial here is to McCrae, including his most famous poem inscribed. John McCrae served in two wars- the South African War and then the First World War. He was in his forties when he died, something quite different from the young men in the trenches of Belgium and France that he would have seen dying, some half his age. His burial place is in Europe, along with so many other men who fought in what was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

Inside are displays and artifacts of McCrae and his family. They include photographs, poetry, and drawings from the man himself.

In between wars, McCrae traveled in 1910 as part of the group with Lord Grey, the governor general of the time, in the far north. McCrae documented the trip in photographs and in his journals. More from here tomorrow.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Headlines Of The Age

One of the rooms in the Guelph Civic Museum contains Mercury front pages from key moments of history. They include the sinking of the Empress Of Ireland, which I noted a few weeks back from my visit to the Canadian Museum of History.

The end of the Great War was another one.

As was the beginning of another world war.

VE Day is seen here in the edition of the day.

Two different days in American history, two different presidents, two different fates.

And of course 9/11.

This is a publication page printing the Constitution Act when it came into effect.

The development of the University of Guelph is also examined here in the museum.

We started on our way out, pausing above the children's activity area.

I took this shot below.

And I finished with this display on lacrosse, a sport created by First Nations peoples. To close out the month tomorrow and the following day, as well as this series as a whole, we'll go to another destination in Guelph.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Passage Through Time

The 19th century and early twentieth century saw changes in Guelph, documented in panels within the museum.

This is a scale model of The Priory. A second larger one resides in Riverside Park. The original was John Galt's first home in the city. These models were created by Walter and David Cowan, a pair of architect brothers.

Panels examine the multitude of churches and other religious establishments in the city.

Long before white settlement, First Nations peoples lived among the rivers known today as the Speed, the Eramosa, and the Grand. Their presence is still here, and the museum has panels and artifacts of their story.

This item of clothing caught my eye.

Guelph residents have served in the Canadian military for over a century, and into the present day.

Over time the city demographics have changed. The menorah candlestick in this display reflects that. There's a synagogue in the city that I missed, one that I was relatively close to.

I liked the look of this clock.

I find myself wondering what the sisters who established the convent would make of its current use as a museum. I have more from here tomorrow.