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Fulford Place also features gardens designed by Fredericl Law Olmsted. Photo: Lucy Martin.
Fulford Place also features gardens designed by Fredericl Law Olmsted. Photo: Lucy Martin.

Walking back 100 years in Brockville

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There are many sights worth seeing throughout the Thousand Islands, including something called Fulford Place on the Ontario shore of the St. Lawrence.

Completed in 1901, the 35 room, 20,000 square foot Brockville landmark was the summer 'cottage' for a wealthy Canadian family that hosted Prime Ministers and visiting Royalty.

At its peak, the property consisted of 15 manicured acres, with a boat house, a luxury steam yacht and gardens designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Olmsted.

Family descendents eventually donated the house and many original contents to the Ontario Heritage Trust. Dedicated volunteers have been running tours of the period museum since 1993.

Jean Freemantle lives in Brockville and has been one such guide for eleven years. She shared her thoughts about Fulford Place with Lucy Martin for today's Heard Up North.

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Lucy Martin
Ottawa Correspondent

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The name Fulford has been around for a long time – they're Brockville's royalty. We have George the first – discovered the pills and sold the pills. “Pink Pills for Pale People” and they're basically iron pills, so they did work. People felt better after a course of iron.

(Lucy: And he made a fortune on them.)

Oh! Yes! It's hard to describe! But he was generous, and he was generous to the town, and after his death his wife was generous, and that's why it's important to Brockville.

It's a very pleasant day, to come to Brockville to see Fulford Place. Take you back a hundred years, that's what we say. And you feel better! And I think that's why I work here.

It was different time, right up until the First World War. A time of nostalgia and beauty. The Edwardian dresses. We get dressed up sometimes, Edwardian hats and yes, if you like to dress up, this is a place to work!

I think the most surprising thing is that everything in the house belonged to George and Mary Fulford in 1900. That's extremely rare. There's only one thing that didn't belong to the Fulfords, and that's the telephone.

I mean, you can learn about architecture here, landscaping, all kinds of art. We have bronzes, there's beautiful china in the cabinets. I would recommend it. And there's the river too, and you can go out on the Thousands Islands and you can pretend that you are just enjoying what they did: the playground of the Thousand Islands.

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