The enchanting Sunken Garden at Oshawa’s Parkwood Estate

Published June 22, 2023 at 12:33 pm

Dragons, gryphons, and goddesses oh my!

Welcome to the Sunken Garden, added to the south-east corner of the Parkwood Estate Oshawa property in 1926 by landscape architectural team, Dunington-Grubb. Blending the 1920s fad of orientalism, the Japanese pagoda, mixed with classical figures of mythology, the Sunken Garden defines the garden room that is found at the former home of industrialist, philanthropist and GM Canada founder Col. Sam McLaughlin at the corner of Simcoe and Adelaide in Oshawa.

In 1929, the garden was featured in Canadian Homes and Gardens magazine “tucked away behind thick cedars and little clumps of junipers.”

As one gazes upon the circular pools centred with the pedestal bird baths, you may note that the cherubs are out of place. These are modern features, which were added as a security measure when the heritage copper heads were removed to safe keeping due to modern copper theft increase on site.

The classical figure of Hebe, on her dais and in flowing drapery, shows the carrara marble goddess shimmering white and translucent against the dark greens of the spruces in the background.

Step back in time, picturing yourself, sitting in a hickory chair, sipping your tea, gazing upon the luminous features of the goddess, surrounded by the grove of arcady; flowers, trees and shadowy pools. Enchantment is complete.

With files from Parkwood Estate National Historic Site


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