Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Friday, May 28, 2010

The 'richly sculpted bulk' of Victoria Hall, Cobourg

Spent a lovely late afternoon wandering around Cobourg yesterday, with Katherine Ashenburg's excellent Going To Town tucked under my arm, camera in hand, reading/walking/looking/snapping photos (awkward but do-able). Ashenburg writes an especially useful preface to each walking tour of the 10 historic Ontario towns featured in the book. She describes "two Cobourgs" , one "a Tory town with great expectations and repeated frustrations" and the other, a summer retreat for wealthy nineteenth century American industrialists - a fascinating invitation into research on the social history of the town. We strolled the short boardwalk through a preserved beach ecosystem beside a placid Lake Ontario, prior to a dash around town to catch the fading afternoon sun on some of the buildings constructed when Cobourg's star was rising in the early and mid c19. Victoria Hall, designed in a style as grandiose as the aspirations for national importance held by the city fathers, was opened by the Prince of Wales in 1860. Shortly afterwards, the death-knell sounded - the Cobourg Peterborough Railway dream (and its bridge) collapsed and the town fell into decline. For another visit - Cobourg rises from the ashes as "Newport North."


  1. The walking tour sounds lovely, and the book interesting. May I suggest something for your blog? I'm not certain how to do this, but adding a title to your photos that would display when the pointer hovers over the image would be a nice addition (in HTML they're called 'alt tags,' but on a blog...hmmm, don't know). I have wished I knew what buildings were in your photos, or their locations, or some other little detail about them. Just a thought...otherwise, I enjoyed 'my visit' to Cobourg!

  2. Ahhhh...point well taken, and something in my future for sure. At the mo, I'm avoiding HTML-land and just using the functions of the basic template. For now, let me introduce you to Victoria Hall and her 'richly sculpted bulk'(Ashenburg again).