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1897 Christmas at Waveney

When will Santa get here? There were thirty-six Gooderham grandchildren bursting with excitement while they waited impatiently for the sound of Santa's footsteps as he climbed the stairs to the third floor of their grandparents' home. They knew he would be carrying a huge sack of gifts for them and the key to the door of the large room where they waited (now the St. George Lounge). Under a tree in that room would be wonderful surprises from their grandparents, George and Harriet Gooderham.


The Gooderham Family, Christmas 1897 at Waveney

This was only the fifth year that the Gooderhams had celebrated Christmas in their new home Waveney, the Romanesque-style mansion designed by architect David Roberts Jr. and completed in 1892 (now home to The York Club). Their family of four sons and eight daughters had grown up in their original family residence in the milling distillery district of the Gooderham and Worts empire and were married and settled in their own homes, a number in the Annex area. Their eldest daughter, Harriet (Mrs. Thomas Blackstock) lived next to Waveney in her home where the RCYC is now located. (George and Harriet's family of twelve didn't quite match that of his parents, William and Harriet. George was one of fourteen.)

As a result it was the thirty-six grandchildren and their nannies who knew their own parts of Waveney best, in particular the north wing, called the Grandchildren’s Wing, with a night nursery (now the Gooderham Room). They could roam their wing with an attendant nanny but the one area that they had to quietly avoid was the master bedroom, facing west to St. George Street (now the Upper Lounge). They might have heard the rumour that there was a moveable bathtub that was set up on a short track in the room, which could give George or Harriet a short trip in a tub! The Gooderham grandchildren were very much at home in Waveney. They loved their aunts and uncles and the eldest Blackstock grandson adored George Gooderham, spending as much time with him as the distinguished man could spare.

On Christmas morning, however, the third floor was the place to be. There, Santa's arrival brought a thirty-six-voice welcome. Producing the key, he opened the lounge door and emptied his bag of wonders. Turmoil erupted. Then as gifts were being opened, Santa performed his last trick. He had been carrying a huge candy cane and suddenly dropped it, supposedly by accident, causing thirty-six eager scavengers to scramble for the pieces and allowing Santa to make a discreet exit and disappear until the next Christmas. Perhaps by then there would be even more than thirty-six young Gooderhams to greet him.

Written by Mary Byers, author of “The York Club, A Centennial History,” published in 2009. See our bibliography here: https://www.gooderham-worts.ca/showalbum.php?albumID=9

1897 Christmas at Waveney

Describing Xmas for the grandchildren at George Gooderham's home Waveney (now the York Club) at St. George St. and Bloor.


Linked toThe York Club; George Gooderham

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