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Steps To Save Rowe Homestead

Published: March 8, 2019 9:42 am ET

Last Comment: March 10, 2019 11:15 am ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The former home of one of Canadian harness racing's most decorated individuals is in the process of being saved and preserved after the current owner planned to tear the structure down.

According to an article posted by Bradford Today, the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury has voted to start the heritage designation for the former home of the Honourable Earl Rowe.

Located at 4304-4306 Line 10, just outside Newton Robinson, Ont., the 41-hectare property holds several buildings, including a barn and the farmhouse where he passed away in 1984.

On Tuesday, town council voted to start the designation process.

"We want to get this right. We want to make it palatable for the town and the owner,” said Coun. Ron Orr during the council meeting. “It’s time to move forward. The (town’s) heritage committee doesn’t want to lose this property."

Late last year, the owner of the property told the town he intended to tear down the structures before reconsidering to review the process and options. The town hired Archaeological Research Associates Limited to perform a heritage assessment on the property, and the firm recommended on making the site a heritage designation. The current owner wanted another deferral of the designation process, but on Tuesday council voted unanimously in favour of starting that process.

“It’s a very valuable property for Bradford and the province of Ontario,” said Deputy Mayor James Leduc. “It’s just a matter of getting the process rolling.”

Active in politics at every level, Earl Rowe's exploits in harness racing helped bring widespread attention to the sport in Ontario. Rowe was instrumental in the creation of two racetracks -- Windsor Raceway and Barrie Raceway, the latter of which was succeeded by the current host of the annual Hon. Earl Rowe Memorial Trot, Georgian Downs. Rowe was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1976, its first year of existence.


March 10, 2019 - 11:15 amA great story Carolyn. Nice

A great story Carolyn. Nice that you could could recall all that history.

March 8, 2019 - 4:16 pmSo hoping this endeavour is

Carolyn Rae SAID...

So hoping this endeavour is successful. Heard many stories from my grandfather, Frank Culverwell & great uncle, Dr. Frank Lavery, about the three of them racing around the country during the summer months. It was a favourite pastime. They were close family friends. Jane Rees & I were born on the same day in Toronto General Hospital, & both grandfathers were present that day too, I was told.
Also Uncle Doc went with my father & me to the Honourable Earl Rowe's farm to buy my father's 1st racehorse in 1960. They were undecided about which one of the two-year-olds to purchase, but I fell in love with Lee Riddell, & that was who Dad purchased. He had been fairly successful racing in the Supertest series while being trained for "The Governor" by Bob Siliphant.
Mr. Rowe sent me to the house to ask his wife for the "viewer" of Lee Riddell. It was a small gadget that you looked into with one eye, and it had a picture of Lee Riddell in harness & race bike. Mr. Rowe gave it to me. He also took us to see Van Riddell, a pretty famous Canadian horse at the time, although I remember him as a beautiful chestnut stallion, he apparently did not have a very nice temperament.

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