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Information Echo » Windfields farm in Oshawa, We’re still watching. (I’m in the paper!)

Mar 05 2011

Windfields farm in Oshawa, We’re still watching. (I’m in the paper!)

Published by Mark at 10:45 pm under Horses, Miscellaneous, Windfields

Take note Durham College / University of Ontario Institute of Technology - the residents of Oshawa (and many others elsewhere!) have not forgotten about Windfields Farm, despite your lack of attention to the property.

Following up on my blog from last week bemoaning the lack of care given to the historical property since it’s closure, I contacted the local newspaper to see if they’d follow up and print an article.

Must to my pleasure I received a call from a reporter a week ago Friday and was interviewed on the phone, and low and behold, look what appeared in yesterdays Oshawa This Week newspaper.

Click here to go directly to the much larger online digital print version (see page 5 specifically), or download/view the PDF version here.

The article touched on most of the points I wanted to make, and confirms that as of yet the college really has no plans (and apparently, even a idea) on how to proceed. Meanwhile, if the blatant neglect of something as prominent as the gates and signage is any indication, the property and other historical structures out of the public eye surely continue to decay as well.

Given that the college/university has both Carpentry and Masonry students learning their trades as part of their education, it would seem to me to be a perfect opportunity to provide some “hands on, real world” work for the students in repairing and maintaining what’s left of Windfields, either as part of their experience as a student, or even on a voluntary basis. What little is still visible to the public needs attention, and as of the liquidation auction last year (when the public was last able to view the status of the buildings) it was apparent that they were also decaying and falling into a state of disrepair. I doubt little (if anything) has been done since.

If nothing else, this article has brought the matter back into the public view and will put some pressure on the University to live up to their agreement to preserve the agreed upon portion of the property, and it’s history.

Durham College / Universisity of Ontario Instutite of Technology (UOIT), I’m looking directly at you. So are many others, despite what you may think.

16 Responses to “Windfields farm in Oshawa, We’re still watching. (I’m in the paper!)”

  1. Cameronon 05 Mar 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Good for you! It’s nice to see that someone is paying attention (even if they can’t spell your name right!).

    Hopefully Durham College/UOIT will follow through.

  2. Leslie Kuretzkyon 02 Jun 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Durham, get off you Butts and DO what you said you would

  3. Carolineon 03 Jun 2011 at 11:46 am

    Abandoned? I thought the family was using the facility as a private stable?

    I’m from the Ottawa area, worked on the farm from ‘96 to ‘98 (when Charles passed away, after first dispersal). I loved it there. I just looked through the flickr stream and I’m crying. Why? Why is this historical piece of property not being respected? I have so many memories from around the barns, remembering how neat and tidy and beautiful the grounds were. It looks like, from some of your photos, that parts of the stalls were taken when the family left, or sold. All the stalls in the barns had metal bars, gorgeous doors and metal feed bins.

    This would be an ideal location for Durham to set up a large animal vet tech hands-on program. Trades could use this area, agricultural and horticultural studies would flourish in these buildings! They are useful, strong, and beautiful buildings, and part of both Oshawa’s and racing history! I hope you get some notice from your efforts.

    I do have a question. What is being done to preserve the graves of the horses up near the (beautiful and historic from Mclaughlin days) main barns and dispensary? Northern Dancer, Victoria Park, and various others are buried there. Is that area still in use by the family? I hope so.

  4. Markon 03 Jun 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Caroline, the facility was permanently closed a few years ago now. There are NO horses there anymore, nor employees. Almost all the property was sold to developers except for the “core”…which as I understand is the gravesite areas and a few surrounding structures. This area belongs to Durham College / University of Ontario institute of technology and as I understand it there is an agreement in place to maintain this area (as well as the trillium field burial area) and eventually open it as a public park of some sort. Unforunately based on what the University had to say as of the time I got this newspaper article published, they have no idea what they’re doing in this regard.

    My biggest concern is that there doesn’t appear to be any upkeep happening to maintain the area. Buildings appear to be simply rotting and falling prey to the elements. I will admit I have not personally visited the “core” area to confirm the condition of the core barns, arena, etc, but what is visible from publicly and legally accessable areas shows pure neglect. By the time the college gets around to opening this park (or whatever happens) nothing but the graves may be left.

    As I understand it (I may be wrong, just hearsay), many of the structures (including the barns) on the east side of the property were sold at auction and some were supposed to be totally relocated, but based on observations they have been partially stripped (see pics with all stall doors missing) and the remainders left to rot and be eventually bulldozed as the development moves north. These buildings and areas can’t be saved so there is little sense fretting about them (sadness aside), but the core SHOULD be preserved as part of Windfields history. Windfields history and the horses buried there deserve at least this.

    I drive past the gates a few times per week and they are occasionally open with signs of activity, but I’ve no idea what the activity is. For all I know the University is allowing contractors to store crap in the barns…who knows.

  5. PJ McPhersonon 16 Jun 2011 at 4:34 pm

    It is a shame that noone wanted to keep Windfields going. I hope they leave all the graves where they are and give them the respect and care that they deserve. People should also be allowed to visit the graves, as well as the buildings. In my mind, it should be a historic site.

  6. Pauline Hasteon 21 Jun 2011 at 7:48 pm

    It breaks my heart to drive by Windfields. I miss visiting so much. It would make a great Ontario Horse Park for retired stallions too, like The Kentucky Horse Park.

  7. Leslie Kuretzkyon 21 Jun 2011 at 7:57 pm

    That would be a great idea but sadly they wont be doing it :(

  8. c sectionson 23 Sep 2011 at 8:55 am

    speak soon

  9. Pauline Hasteon 23 Sep 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Would anybody be interested in putting together a group to find out what is going on and what we can do to protect the area?

  10. Markon 23 Sep 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Been really busy and there is lots of news to post, but haven’t had time. I’ll try to catch up this weekend.

  11. peteron 17 Feb 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I worked there, back in the 70;s. I used to walk these great animals. It is ashame what is happening, but from what I understand, a developer has purchased the property, and the grave of Northern Dancer, is to stay. It is to be fenced off, for sight seeing. I know, that isnt enough, but from what I understand, that is the bottom line.

  12. kbon 19 Feb 2012 at 9:09 am

    just thought i would let you know i was on the property yesterday, got some pictures before security found us. guy was a ass and although i was just feet from the grave sites would not let me take photos. He said i was violating Durham Colleges rights. He told me I could appeal to the college for special permission. The gates are open for security to scan the property. Buildings as in houses are rough and been vandalized, barns look okay other than normal wear fromthe elements and animals. It is a real shame that this is happening, I am glad i was able to see what i saw and show my daughter. Told the security guard that at least she might not remember it as a walmart now!

  13. Markon 19 Feb 2012 at 9:34 am

    It’s good to hear that there is security there now, even if they were difficult….less chance of anything serious happening to what’s left of the buildings if the university ever decides to get off their ass and do something with them.

  14. Kimon 15 Apr 2012 at 8:51 am

    Yes, I am in for joining an advocacy group to follow what is going on with Windfield Farms!
    I know there was a meeting last week to discuss the issue but I did not hear the full outcome on the radio…I was just searching the web for it when I came upon this.
    I am in and if anyone else is in just respond and we can start to form a plan of action.

  15. Markon 15 Apr 2012 at 9:06 am

    Hi Kim - I really need to go back and edit my old Windfields related blog entries to show the new info.

    There is a website now at http://www.savewindfields.com where there are details on what’s happening, and the official Windfields Farm Facebook group can be found at:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/2384512050

    There are regular updates there about what’s happening at the farm, news reports, etc etc.

    Please join the mailing list at the http://www.savewindfields.com website.

    Thanks!
    Mark

  16. Marianneon 04 Aug 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I too worked in the racing industry and regard Windfield Farm as a great Canadian historical site, an icon. The Queen Mother used to stay there when she was on Canada.
    I broke and groomed many of Northern Dancers offspring. I tear up reading the articles and seeing the pots. I will join the mailing list for sure.
    The world is watching!

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