Historic Ruthven Park Mansion
Lovely Ruthven Mansion is an 1840s Greek Revival historic home built along the Grand River waterway, in south western Ontario.
About 1.5 hours drive from Toronto (and 12 minutes from Caledonia), a day trip to Ruthven Park makes for a great break from the city for families and the curious alike.
Check in at the gatehouse at the entrance of the property off Highway 54. Entry fee is $10.00 per adult.
There is ample parking around the side of the mansion, alongside a service building with public washrooms. Walk along the path towards the house and through the archway. Entry into Ruthven is through the summer kitchen entrance.
The tour begins with a brief history of the Thompson family. Ruthven was built by David Thompson in the years 1845-1847. He owned sawmills, gristmills, cooperage, and several stores in the village of Indiana as the area was known at the time.
Several generations thereafter of Thompsons lived in or owned Ruthven. For a more extensive family history, please click on the Ruthven website link at the bottom of this page.
David Thompson was invested in the Grand River Navigation Company and a lucky businessman that could keep a close eye on his trade as it sailed across his front door! Grand River flows down to Lake Erie, providing excellent shipping connections.
The style of the mansion is Greek Revival, showcasing symmetry of structure. The main living room for example is two rooms that are exact replicas in dimension and structure.
Pretty much all of the furnishings are original, having been given down through generations. Decor includes the Greek key motif pattern and Greek columns in the living room and on the front portico, and lovely period gas light lamps throughout.
Let's go upstairs to see some of the bedrooms.
The second floor houses the main bedrooms, a servants hall with their rooms, and a far room that Drew (Andrew) Thompson, an actor, created from two servants' rooms.
Drew Thompson was not of high repute as an actor but of some accomplishment in Toronto in his time.
Ruthven Park encompass 1500 acres of farmland, forest, and wetlands. It is still farmed today by descendants of the original farmers. The property across the river was also purchased by the Thompsons so that no one might build to obstruct the view.
A small family cemetery is found down towards the river. The path along Grand River and the grounds are lovely and peaceful.
Hours of Operation
Victoria Day through Thanksgiving
(Last Monday before May 25, through second Monday in Oct.)
Wednesday through Sunday, and holiday Mondays, from
10:00 am through 4:00 pm.
Grounds open at 9:00 am.
Ruthven hosts periodic public events such as birding activities (the area has abundant wetland bird life), vintage car days, historic tributes, and Christmas activities throughout December. The property has a gorgeous backyard gazebo and service building for weddings.
Ruthven Park is managed by the Lower Grand River Land Trust. In September 2015 the house was undergoing some repairs and parts of the house are inaccessible including the main kitchen which is in the basement, and the third floor.
On Twitter: @RuthvenPark_NHS
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