Canada Hall

The Merchant's House

This merchant's house illustrates the comfort and affluence enjoyed by the town's elite. The entertaining of guests at afternoon teas and dinner parties was of vital importance to a family's image. The lady of the house took her duties seriously -- managing the household, raising children and creating a beautiful home. She surrounded her family with beautiful and tasteful objects that reflected its social status, and its degree of cultivation and education.

The Drawing Room

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In the drawing room, the dominant feature was the fireplace, on which were displayed the family's most prized possessions. Porcelain vases, photographs, busts and statuettes, mounted birds, and a variety of memorabilia adorned the mantle. The main furnishings included a sofa or settee, and a variety of small chairs and tables arranged to facilitate conversation in small groups. Some furnishings were purchased locally, while others were either inherited or ordered from larger centres, such as Toronto.

The Dining Room

S92-3788 The merchant, his wife and his children gathered here for breakfast, dinner and evening tea. The sharing of daily meals was an important part of their lives. A formal dinner party was the premier event in Victorian social life. The menu would consist of at least six courses, all served on fine chinaware. Upper-middle-class households typically had two servants, who cooked the meals, waited on table and performed most household chores, including endless polishing of silver.

The Study

The merchant used his private study to relax or to conduct business. The solid furniture, sombre colours and simple arrangement show that this was a very private and much-used room. Here the master of the house would catch up on correspondence, pay household bills and read the evening newspaper. Occasionally he received friends and associates on business or community matters. The study was also the place where family members received advice or instructions.