Sunday, November 13, 2011

Behind The Camera - Bentley Gibson House

Andy | Sunday, November 13, 2011 | Best Blogger Tips

October 1, 2011 is the first time that the City Of Pickering has participated in Doors Open Ontario. From April to October each year, communities open the doors to some of our most intriguing and charming heritage sites. Admission is free! Since no one wanted to go with me I headed off by myself to see and photograph as many sights as I could. I left home at 9:30 A.M. and did not return until 4:30 P.M. All sites were local but I needed the car to get around.
In 1853, William Bentley, an early pharmaceutical entrepreneur, built his home in Brougham. The house has a unique rectangular belvedere and is one of Pickering’s most prestigious homes. Interior and exterior restorations carried out in 2001 returned the home to its 1850's splendour. “Not surprisingly, some of Ontario’s architectural treasures may be found in small villages and crossroad settlements. Brougham, situated a few miles north of Lake Ontario and now part of the Town of Pickering, is such a place.
The village was known at one time as Bentley’s Corners after William Bentley, one of its pioneer settlers. He operated the first general store in the community and in the 1840’s began to manufacture patent medicines, a lucrative business, which flourished throughout Ontario when medical developments were in their infancy. Those were the days when popular remedies, flavoured with whiskey or laced with arsenic, opium, mercury and charcoal powders, promised not only to dull the pain but cure everything from consumption to nervous disorders, indigestion and chronic worry.
William Bentley’s industry prospered for he was able to build a beautiful Georgian-style house at the corner of Brock Road and what is now Highway 7, opposite his factory. The imposing two-storey polychromed brick building is situated on a well-treed lot. The decorative brickwork is patterned in ‘white’ on red, particularly detailed on the second floor facade. Above the Greek Revival central entrance is a three-part Palladian window, round-headed in the centre. The hipped roof with end chimneys is topped by a large belvedere, an Italianate addition popular in the mid-19th century.”
Next year (2012) it is my intention to visit other cities when they have their Doors Open Ontario. 2012 is also going to be the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The Celebrations begin in 2012 and carry on until 2014. This time frame parallels the events that occurred 200 years ago. 

I'm linking to Behind The Camera.


  1. I came over from Barbara and have such wonderful photos...really lovely. I very much like the one of the statue in the cemetary on your sister blog too ~ glorious!

  2. Thank you very much California girl.

  3. How wonderful to be able to get inside these historic buildings. I can't tell you how many times I have ventured out on my own because no one else wants to go. They have no idea what they are missing.

    I love the story you've included. I wonder which of the medical marvels we use now will be a fun historical fact in 100 years.

    Thank you for sharing this at Behind The Camera today

  4. ooohhh it's just beautiful. i love these old building and luckily for me my husband does also!! sometimes it's better to go alone and not feeled rushed with you photography. i enjoyed your story!!


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