I was notified by another member that a well known residence in Oakville was abandoned. When he mentioned the name of the past owner, I knew the home immediately. The home belonged to John van der Hart, a local professional artist who passed away this past August 25th, he was 80 years old.
John could be considered a bit of an eccentric as an artist. He displayed his art in his front yard, with some self-portrait nudes. He made the front of his house a 2 floor art gallery. He advertised his "Art in the Country" with sandwich boards on Dundas & Upper Middle Road. He lived in his home on 8th line for over 40 years & made some changes that you could say made the home stand out. He built a watch tower in his front yard right next to his house. This was the beacon to his home. He along with a handful of others held out when the area was being developed. Only a few remain, but I believe he was one of the last 3 holdouts. His house will be replaced with 2 back to back homes, one fronting on 8th line, the other on Nichols Dr.
So, on Saturday I made a trip by & it looks like the demolition has already begun. I hope his daughter (also an artist) saved most of his paintings. Probably the hardest thing for me today was that I knew probably 99% of this man's remaining memories & history of over half his life will be thrown in one of the two dumpsters outside. It's one thing to leave everything for others to photograph & see, when the future demolition is months or even years down the road. But when you are staring the demolition & the dumpsters in the face, it's heart breaking to walk away knowing so much of this man's history will find it's next home in a dump.
Even though I knew this would probably be my first & last visit, I am still kicking myself for the various things I always seem to forget when making my first visit. I didn't want to overstay my welcome. Dag nab it.
It's all there for your viewing, but don't delay, the demolition has started. If anyone goes dumpster diving, save me the 10 gallon milk can.
Caution: This home is right in the middle of a busy neighbourhood & on a pretty busy street. The watch tower stairs are a little sketchy (LOL, get it), so I only made it about half way up before I thought, I don't really know this guys engineering capabilities & I was unsure what the demolition team had already started, so I decided to come back down. Lastly, I think it's a flooded basement, it looked that way & I didn't want to get too close.
Follow up to HudsonTL's 15 Mar picture of the demolished house, a week later & the tower was gone too.