Acrylic on stretched canvas, 8 1/2” by 11”
Mackenzie House on Bond St., Toronto
It is a pleasure to step inside the historic Mackenzie House at any time of the year, but during the Christmas season, when the interior is decorated for the yuletide season, it is doubly pleasurable.
Interior of Mackenzie House, decorated for Christmas
Christmas treats on the table at Mackenzie House
William Lyon Mackenzie was born in Scotland in 1795. He arrived in Canada in 1820, and in 1824 commenced publishing The Colonial Advocate. In the years ahead, discontented with the lack of democracy of the colonial government, he became the leader of the 1837 Rebellion. He was a colourful character, and became the first mayor of the city of Toronto when it was incorporated in 1834. Following the rebellion, he fled to the United States, where he lived in exile for twelve years. In 1849 the Government granted an amnesty to those who had participated in the rebellion, and in 1850, Mackenzie returned to Toronto.
In 1851, Mackenzie was re-elected to Assembly. He retired from politics in 1858, but continued to publish his newspaper. In 1859 , the house on Bond Street was given to him by the grateful citizens of Toronto in recognition of the role he had played in reforming the Canadian political system.
Mackenzie and his wife, Isabella Baxter, had thirteen children, seven of whom survived childhood. After Mackenzie died in 1861, his family continued to lived in the house on Bond Street until 1871, when they leased the house. They sold it in 1877. The restored Greek Revival townhouse has been furnished to reflect the lifestyle of the Mackenzies. Viewing its cozy rooms provides an intimate experience into the lives of the family. It is reported to be one of the few documented haunted houses in Toronto. It is an historic site that is worth visiting, and its location is only a few blocks from the Eaton’s Centre.
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