A Cultural Oasis, Pickering, Ontario, Canada
My father was born in Germany 1914 and immigrated to Canada 1951 with his English wife. They had been separated for ten years by the war and now with a small family in tow they were looking for a place to settle and to live a secure life. My father had studied medicine, but he was interested in philosophy and religion, literature, music, art and architecture. The Bauhaus movement formed his esthetic.
Looking for an opening for a medical practice, they moved east of Toronto to Pickering where he practiced family medicine for thirty five years.
My parents were inspired to build a house. As a physician my father knew the local community well. He met an English-Canadian architect, Lionel Sharp. He met a Swedish-Canadian builder, Nils Erikson. A Ukrainian-Canadian patient sold him ten acres on a ravine. He met German-Canadian Theo and Susan Harlander who lived in Whitby. They had been trained in the Bauhaus tradition in Germany to understand that one’s house should be artistic, beautiful and functional. The husband was a furniture maker and the wife was a potter. She made an artistic fireplace surround for the new house and he built furniture.
The house was built in 1963. My father died in 1993 and my mother continued to live in the house until last year at 100 years of age. The house was an oasis of culture. My mother called it her demi-paradise after a line in William Shakespeare’s "King Richard II".
The house is now on the real estate market. It can be described as mid-century modern. It is looking for someone who appreciates the artistic merit of the house and the siting on nearly two acres of ravine property. It is located just outside of Toronto near the Go train and 401 highway. But it feels like cottage country as it is surrounded by trees, wildlife and wild flowers. The house needs restoration but it is move-in-able as it is.
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Harlander fireplace surround