The Old Brewery Bay

Overview

Here we have the personal account of the misadventures that preceded the opening to the public of the Leacock home in 1958.

Forty years ago, in October 1954, a committee was formed, chaired by Pete McGarvey, to acquire and preserve Stephen Leacock’s summer home, known as The Old Brewery Bay. Four years later a golden key opened the front door of the home, allowing Leacock fans to pay homage to the humorist in a setting he had prized above every other. As the years have passed, appreciation of Leacock’s genius has grown and today the Leacock Museum is open year-round to visitors from all parts of the globe.

The Old Brewery Bay is a Leacockian yarn full of ironies, the greatest one being that the salvation of Leacock’s home was accomplished not by a national campaign involving governments, philanthropists, McGill alumni, and foundations (all of whom were approached in a spirit of urgency and all of whom backed away), but by a gang of naive and stubborn Orillians, using old-fashioned political moxie. Leacock would have loved that - his Mariposans showing the big sophisticated world how to get things done.

Reviews

Written by Orillia's Pete McGarvey who was one of the key figures in the restoration of the Leacock home.

Orilla Times

About the Author

James A. “Pete” McGarvey

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

James A. “Pete” McGarvey

James A. "Pete" McGarvey has spent nearly half a century in Ontario radio. In the 70s and 80s he was a commentator on Toronto's CKEY. When in 1957 McGarvey was named Orillia's Citizen of the Year for his efforts to preserve The Old Brewery Bay, the Orillia Packet and Times wrote "[He] patiently persevered in the long and difficult negotiations with a host of lawyers, owners, potential owners, advisers and hangers-on ...