The Continuing Legacy of Aunt PollyThe story of Aunt Polly is one of the most compelling and well documented in the museum's collection. Thanks to Catharine Fleming McKenty, who is the granddaughter of four-time mayor of Toronto, R.J. Fleming and the great-niece of Aunt “Polly” Noble Verner, the museum has many objects from the life of this generous woman to aid in the telling of her story. Check out our Aunt Polly section to learn more. In July of 2010, the family of Catherine Fleming McKenty shipped a pair of beautiful vases from their home in Manitoba to Ontario so that they could be donated to the museum. These vases, passed down through the family, originally belonged to Aunt Polly. Catherine sat down with the museum to discuss Polly and the collection:
We will be adding our extensive collection to this database on a regular basis.
Behind the ScenesPart of the CRPM's mandate is to care for and preserve the objects that come into our collection. We've documented one of our volunteers carefully clean an amazing wooden ship from the Aunt Polly collection for a special behind-the-scenes look into our collection. This ship traces its history back to Walter Turnbull, a teacher and missionary in norther New York. It is a model of a famous ship. Can you recognize it? (The answer can be found in the caption of the last picture!)
Catherine Fleming McKenty shared many lively stories about the objects she donated. Of the ship and it's previous owner, she tells us: "Who made it is unknown, but it belonged to Walter Turnbull, Christine’s dad. His dream as a student was to sail beyond the sunrise. “And he sure did!” She never knew her dad. He was killed in a motorcycle accident 4 months before she was born. He was an amazing presence in her mom’s life. His students loved him. He was a teacher and trained students overseas. He was a missionary teacher at Nyack missionary Institute, north of New York, near the Hudson River. He and his brothers built an orphanage, at Mehnemebade, near where Ghandi had his centre. They went to mill owners nearby looking for jobs for the orphan children and some were able to get jobs in those mills. His father had an island up in Stoney Lake , and he played a trick on his mother and father. Gave a great ‘whoop’ and fell out of a boat, just to scare them. Later, he did the same stunt on Hudson River, and nearly drown that time! "
Other Recent Acquisitions.
Among the Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum’s recent acquisitions is a crazy quilt. It’s a beautiful example of the style and the reverse side is covered with a William Morris fabric. ‘Crazy Quilts’ grew out of the Victorian fascination with Japanese irregular-patterned art. Making these quilts for use or display, they became quite a fad between 1876 and 1910, with women from rich to poor sewing together scraps of material in carefully planned asymmetrical patterns. Embroidered decorative stitches of different styles were often used to join the fabric pieces together. This wonderful early example was donated by Mary Horney and was created by her great grandmother who lived on a farm in the Parkhill area.
Debra Dineen from the Toronto Christian Resource Centre donated a photograph of the Regent Park boys’ hockey team circa 1955 at Moss Park, Cabbagetowner Maureen Penno donated two button hooks that used to be used with her previously donated baby shoes; Karin Shinn “the Downsizing Diva” donated a blotter advertising the Parliament Theatre in the 1930s. The blotter was owned by a family who owned a bakery in Cabbagetown, and local resident Marion Auburn who donated a 90-year old wooden toy cat.
A larger sample of our collection can be seen on the Canadian Heritage Information Network, Artefacts Canada.