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Exhibits

There is always something new to see at the Leacock Museum! Your ticket includes access to all of the permanent & temporary exhibits on display (excluding "Boating old Brewery Bay" which is only available to view exclusively during the House and Grounds History Tour). 

Follow us on social media to stay up to date on exhibits @leacockmuseum 

 

 

Upcoming Exhibits:

From War to Wonders: Mapping Escapism in a Time of Turmoil

Opening March 2, 2024 - Temporary Exhibit

Ever wonder where fantastic novel ideas come from? Often, ideas inside fantasy novels are not so far-fetched after all. While some read to immerse themselves into new worlds, others write about them -- though sometimes it is difficult to avoid real life from impacting the stories. Escape into the Leacock Museum's upcoming exhibit, From War to Wonders: Mapping Escapism in a Time of Turmoil, to learn how some of the most popular fantasy novels were impacted by World War I and II.

 

How we Spent Mother's Day

Opening May 3, 2024 - Temporary Mini-Exhibit

Poster for Mother's Day Exhibit

The tradition of celebrating Mother's Day began in 1908. In the early 1900s, Canadian author, Stephen Leacock, observed the idea with a funny short story about a family who takes advantage of the holiday by going fishing while they left their mother at home to enjoy her special day (after doing all of the cooking, cleaning, and preparation for the occasion, of course).

Stephen Leacock's real-life mother, Agnes Butler Leacock, was a force to be reckoned with. Agnes's life tells the tale of a strong, independent woman with a very interesting backstory. Agnes spent much time at the Leacock summer home at Old Brewery Bay during her life and even had her own room in the household.


To help celebrate this mini-exhibit, the Leacock Museum will be providing tours and a reading of "How We Kept Mother's Day" on May 3 and 4. For more information please visit the "Programs and Events" page.

 

 

Leacock and the Montreal Melon

Coming Spring 2024 - Permanent Outdoor Living Exhibit

Poster for Leacock and the Montreal Melon

This might be one of the Leacock Museum's most exciting discoveries yet! In 2017, staff at the Leacock Museum found detailed notes inside a farming journal which showed that Stephen Leacock had been growing Montreal Melons all along while others assumed they were extinct. 

Learn about why these melons were so coveted and why they cost as much as a steak! Exhibit will open in 2024 on the Leacock grounds, and will be free to the public. In addition, the Leacock Museum grounds are getting a "historical" upgrade! Stay up to date on these updates and the release of the new outdoor exhibit through the museum's social media channels - @leacockmuseum

 

Stay tuned for more exhibit announcements in 2024!

 

 

Current Exhibits:

Decoding Anne Lister: History's First Modern Lesbian

Sept. 16 until May 2024 - Temporary Exhibit

 Poster for exhibit, "Anne Lister: The First Modern Lesbian"

Extended until May 2024 -- Reviled and hidden away for decades because of the stories they contained, Anne Lister’s diaries and her life are the focus of a fascinating exhibit at the Leacock Museum. Now famously known as "history’s first modern lesbian" and the focus of a popular TV show, Anne Lister meticulously captured the details of her life including love affairs, business deals, and politics in a partially encoded diary that scholars have worked for decades to transcribe. The exhibit will focus on the life of this revolutionary British lesbian while exploring themes of Canadian Queer history, the art of code breaking, and the world in which Anne Lister existed.

*Please note that as of March 2024, this exhibit will be moved to the 2nd floor which may cause barriers to mobility and access. For more information, please contact the museum at 705-325-2196.

*Anne Lister photo by permission of Shibden Hall.

 

Hours and booking information


Boating Old Brewery Bay

May 20, 2023 - Permanent Exhibit

"Boating Old Brewery Bay" Exhibit Poster with a photo of Stephen Leacock standing in a canoe

Opening Victoria Day weekend, step inside Stephen Leacock's boathouse and discover his love for the lake. This exhibit features photographs taken by world renowned photographer, Yousuf Karsh.
 
Guests will learn about historical boating equipment, historical Orillia boat-makers, Leacock's own boating treasures, and the inspiration behind some of Leacock's most famous stories.

 

*Please note that the boathouse will be available to view exclusively during the House and Grounds History Tour.

Hours and booking information


7
5 Years of Laughs: Reminiscing the Leacock Medal for Humour

September 21, 2022 - Permanent Exhibit

75 Years of Laughs Exhibit Poster

Visit the Leacock Museum’s permanent exhibit which features past winners of the Leacock Medal such as Robertson Davies, Mordecai Richler, and Farley Mowat!

Learn about Farley Mowat's secret office and some of the items that may have been inside.

See the medals themselves, and learn information about their designer, Emanuel Hahn -- who also designed many of Canada's coins!
*Please note that this exhibit is on the 2nd floor which may cause barriers to mobility and access. For more information, please contact the museum at 705-325-2196.
 

Hours and booking information

 

 

Past Exhibits:

A Leacock Love Story

February 10 until August 31, 2023  - Exhibit Completed

Poster for "A Leacock Love Story"

Stephen Leacock's house in Orillia was a labour of love. He built it for his wife, Beatrix. Unfortunately, Beatrix did not live to see it completed. Something did survive though... Discovered during restoration inside Stephen's bedroom closet -- Beatrix's final letters. These letters, sent by Beatrix during her final days, were on display along with the romantic story.

Learn about their love story and life together and why Beatrix was not simply, Stephen Leacock's wife. 

 

Entertaining Entertainers: Mary Pickford, Queen of the Silver Screen

May 21 until October 28, 2022 - Exhibit completed

Mary Pickford Exhibit Poster with graphic of Mary

This exhibit explored the friendship of Stephen Leacock and Mary Pickford as well as Pickford’s legendary silent film career.  

 

“The Girl with the Golden Curls” was the first Canadian to win an Oscar, the first actress to make 1 million dollars a year, and the first person to be filmed in a close-up. 

 

Guests of the exhibit were welcomed to vote on which of Leacock’s famous friends to focus on next; some of which include Charlie Chaplin, F. Scott Fitzgerald and J.M. Barrie!  

 

The Leacock Museum thanks the Mary Pickford Foundation for their partnership on this exhibit. 

 

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© City of Orillia, 50 Andrew Street South, Suite 300, Orillia, Ontario, L3V 7T5, Tel: (705) 325-1311, Fax: (705) 325-5178, Email: info@orillia.ca

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