The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.


Ralph Waldo Emerson no doubt saw some fantastic homes in his day, ones of real significance and purpose.

The Petch House clearly was not one of them.  And although it has been saved it’s still not clear exactly what it will be used for it is now moving to the Arboretum.

The picture I have included is just one of the suggestions I have to offer.

What is clear is that there now seems to be little for the so called Petch House “friends” to do.

The work that needs to be done is way more than ornamental, and perhaps that is why the town is handling this and not leaving it to questionable contractors.

On the Petch house website they are proud to say they will be at tha Aurora Farmers Market (& Artisan Fair) from May 7 – Oct 29, 2011.

They were not present Saturday June 18th. 

My first question would be why not?  Didn’t they pay to have a booth?

A better question may be why exactly they were there in the first place and do they plan to attend any future market dates.

The website has an interesting contribution titled “Some Stirring Words From A Friend of Petch House” by Petch House friend extraordinaire Susan Leonard,

It was recently included, in part, in this weeks edition of the Auroran.

I have included and will interject my questions here:

“As a sixth grader in 1967, Canada’s centennial year, my class had the privilege of being the first to enjoy a day pretending we were pioneer students in the one room school house located in Black
Creek Pioneer Village. The experience has stayed with me all these years influencing many of my adult decisions such as choosing to live in an older neighbourhood.”

Um, do you live in a neighborhood with a “one room school house” or a clapboard home?
Are you honestly trying to compare the Petch house to the experience of Black Creek Pioneer Village?

“Understanding there is value in saving and sharing our roots with future generations. Also, to recognize we are not really property owners, we are temporary stewards of our built heritage and natural landscapes. As stewards it’s important to tell the stories both old and recent to help inform the next generation of stewards. Lastly, to thoughtfully decide what we let go or keep and how to adapt the old to modern uses.”

Perhaps a town museum would facilitate this.  You know a town funded museum or heritage center that was to be opened in the Church Street School.

“The Petch House, although it has not been lovingly cared for in recent years is an example of an early pioneer home in York Region that many architectural experts have deemed worth saving.”

How many experts?

Experts on what exactly?

“As a part of Aurora’s history this house has a story to tell about how the people in this area evolved.”

It’s Part of “PetchVille’s” history, not Auroras.
Petchville, like similarly named Whoville doesn’t exist.

There were other houses from this town and family that were saved to tell these stories.  Interesting that this one was neglected by the Petch family.

“Not all towns are fortunate to have physical examples of their beginnings. Aurora is privileged to have several.”

Yes, please explain why this house should be saved while the Wells house should be scrapped?  Or any other for that matter that existed inside the towns borders.  Wells Street School comes to mind.  Where are its “Friends” Inc.

“and more fortunate that citizens recognizing the value and worth of their built heritage have insisted local, provincial and federal governments protect them for all time.”

For all time?  You may want to rethink that over the top statement.

“Aurora has been recognized and handsomely awarded with the national Prince of Wales award and the provincial Lieutenant Governor’s award in recent years for getting it right!”

Really? getting it right?

We have no museum
We assign and take away designations, chop down heritage trees.  What has Aurora gotten right exactly?

“So do we stop? – I would suggest not…now is not the time to lower the bar.”

The bar has been lowered when certain citizens and then elected officials decided to rob us of a museum.

If we were interested in getting it right we wouldn’t be making a big fuss about a pile of rotten logs and turning a perfectly restored building into a center that the town didn’t ask for and it is inadequate in housing.

The following statement is the most infuriating and down right patronizing:

“There has been much discussion about Aurora needing a museum. Modern museums are places that encourage interaction. The Petch House could easily become a shining example of where people are encouraged to interact with history.
The Friends of the Petch House have that vision and the expertise to see it become a programming reality.”

First off, there has been much more that a discussion.  Aurora had a museum. There have been years of planning, funds collected from developers to start and run such an institution.  It closed its doors expecting to re-open and it was replaced by a “cultural” center.

Modern museums are indeed places that encourage interaction.  The plans for Church Street School were to include state of the art interactive displays.  But that never happened.  Why?

The Petch House could never become a shining example of “where people are encouraged to interact with history”.  When you discard all the feces and rotten wood wat will it be reduced to 10 feet by 10 feet?

As for the statement “The Friends of the Petch House have that vision and the expertise to see it become a programming reality”

Says who?

This is proof that Susan Leonard and the rest of the friends are deluded by their own sense of self importance, and why we should all be glad that the fate of the Petch House is out of the hands of a clique and is now being overseen by the town’s more than capable Parks department…and its “friends”.

Watts on your mind?

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