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Scanned copy, if there are errors, please e-mail me with corrections:
Page - - Mississauga News, Dec. 14/94

Discussing the ghosts of Cawthra mansion

"The rich really ARE different. They have money."


That's a quote borrowed, from a quirky TV show and delivered by Heritage Mississauga lecturer Donna Scrimgeour during the last of a three-part talk series on local architecture, last Wednesday (Nov. 29) at the Civic Centre auditorium.

"I picked up a quote, from (TV's) Northern Exposure, that says, "The rich ARE different. They have money," Scrimgeour said with a laugh. "We run into a lot of eccentricities as we go along. The characters get a little strange."

Take, for example, the foibles of Grace Cawthra, proud owner of the Cawthra Elliott house and arguably something of an old-time bad girl before her death in 1974 At age 96.

"Grace Cawthra reminds me of an old great aunt of mine who is 94 years old," said Scrimgeour during just one of the witty asides that sparkled up her lecture.

Scrimgeour explained how Cawthra, while still in her 40's made sure of accumulating family, valuables by hiding prized heirlooms and articles that normally would have gone to others as inheritances.

"When her house was built, there was all that family silver that was supposed to have gone missing."

Not content to be a prolific pack rat, according to Scrimgeour, the inestimable Cawthra then gained legendary status for her eccentricity by supposedly harboring a ghost in her home.

"There was the original house, and then there was an addition," said Scrimgeour. "The addition was built for the maids, or for The Lady in Waiting, as Grace called her. Her name was Elizabeth, and Elizabeth evidently died in the house.

"It's her ghost that haunts it now. Some people think it's Grace, but it isn't."

Still, while co-habituating with ghosts and hoarding riches from the relatives is one thing, lustful politics is quite another.

That means the Cawthras might be rolling in their graves to hear of the goings-on alleged to have taken place at the Chapel house, formerly owned by the Parker family.

"The funny thing about this house was that it had a history of Liberals living there, including some people who were in the Senate, like Mr. Parker," said Scrimgeour. "They say that Mr. Parker had a special room with a door to the outside so that Mackenzie King and his dog could have access to the garden. There were also rumors that Mackenzie King was having an affair with Mrs. Parker - some said the affair was with Mr. Parker."

Lordy. And these, said Scrimgeour, are just some of the hijinks taking place at the seldom used summer homes of the 1860-1920 rich and famous.

It will make a difference!

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