Daryl Urquhart (Series Editor)

Perched on a shoreline bluff where Jackson’s Point meets Sibbald Point at the eastern terminus of Hedge Road in the Town of Georgina, the sacred and historic site of St. George’s stands as a testament to our rich heritage.

Its unique location overlooking Lake Simcoe and the century-old cedar hedges that surround it make it a truly enchanting place.

Hidden behind those hedges, this lakeside property holds more than meets the eye. It houses an 1838 cemetery and an 1876 Sibbald Memorial stone church, both of which bear witness to our nation’s history.

The site’s cultural significance has caught the federal government’s attention, which is considering it for National Historic Site commemoration.

Featuring an imposing Norman-style tower, the Neo-Gothic church houses a stained-glass window, the oldest of its type in Canada, designed by Elizabeth Simcoe, the artist wife of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada and made by their artisan daughters.

The cemetery contains the graves and gravestones of many notable people, including those of national and international significance.

Peter Gzowski, Canada’s beloved CBC broadcaster and frequent resident of Georgina, said on national radio, “Our history is here in this lovely setting, not only of the province but of the nation itself. We should treasure it and enjoy its tranquillity, remembering some of the voices that made us who we are.”

As we delve into the stories of these notable individuals, we’ll be guided by the insights of Peter Sibbald Brown, and the eminent historian Su Murdoch, who has meticulously documented the cultural heritage of St. George’s.

Our journey will begin with the writer, humourist, and humanist Stephen Leacock (1869–1944), whose stately heritage blue, free-standing provincial plaque welcomes visitors at the entrance to St. George’s.

“God bless Stephen Leacock,” wrote the laureled novelist Timothy Findley. “With his stories and his books, his people and his insights, he has left a legacy for everyone who reads, and — I must add — for everyone who writes.”

In his writing life, Leacock wrote some sixty books, half of which are works of fiction, hundreds and hundreds of essays and articles, and lectured internationally.

More recently, as another of his admirers, Stuart McLean, the writer-creator of the Vinyl Cafe, expressed when visiting Leacock’s grave, “In his time, Leacock was better-known internationally than Canada itself. Imagine that!”

More about Stephen Leacock in the next instalment of Behind The Hedges at St. George’s, which will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Georgina Post.



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