Leacock House at the Old Brewery Bay

When I build my house, I shall make it very plain but at the same time very large. … it will become a charming English place – I’m tired of cities and people – it’s a case of Good-bye proud world, I’m going home.   – Stephen Leacock

Stephen Leacock, Canada’s beloved humourist spent his most creative time in what he coined as Lake Simcoe Country.

The success of his Elements of Political Science and his first satirical books Literary Lapses, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town and Arcadian Adventures of the Idle Rich allowed him to move from his family’s summer house at Sibbald Point, Lake Simcoe and over time develop his own lakeside retreat at Old Brewery Bay, where Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching join.

Here in 1928 he built Leacock House (above) designed by Wright & Noxon, Toronto.  The scale and ambience of the plans reflected Leacock’s success and prestige as a world renowned author and a celebrated academic. 1

1. Hilary Russell, National Historic Sites Directorate, Ottawa

A Tour of Leacock House



The Main Floor of Leacock House features a portfolio of original signed portraits by the master photographer Yosuf Karsh, taken of Stephen Leacock at Old Brewery Bay in 1941. These internationally recognized works were commissioned by B. K. Sandwell the distinguished editor of Saturday Night magazine 1932-1951.

Boathouse on the Bay

Distinguished news and portrait photographer Rony Jaques visited Leacock’s lakeside retreat and recorded several iconic images including Leacock poling his punt. New World Illustrated / Volume 1 No. 6 / AUGUST 1940

At Old Brewery Bay, Leacock masterminded a cultural landscape that was sculptured to have a regard for the natural elements, viewscapes, shoreline, seclusion, and solace he found in nature.

Working first in the Writing Studio/Boathouse and later in the Study of Leacock House, Leacock developed an international writing career marked by learning as well as wit.

At Old Brewery Bay, from 1908 to 1944, Leacock found his sense of place, where the writing of fiction and non-fiction merged with his passion for fishing, sailing and gardening. Here, within a stone’s throw of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe, in the summer of 1912, he completed the manuscript for his book Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town1.
1. Hilary Russell, National Historic Sites Directorate, Ottawa