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.