Postcard Memories is a weekly series of historic postcard views and photos submitted by Marcel Rousseau. Some were previously published by the Orillia Museum of Art and History and in the book Postcard Memories Orillia. You can take a trip down memory lane with us each Saturday morning!
On the Begg Memorial in Couchiching Beach Park, it says: “Somebody’s Mother. In memory of my mother, Emily M. Begg. Dedicated by Ralph Begg.”
Mrs. Emily Begg was the wife of Alexander Begg whose family resided in Orillia for many years.
During her later years, she lived with her children in New York, but retained her family home on Neywash Street, and returned to it at intervals.
A bequest of $5,000, for the erection of a drinking fountain, was left to the town by her son, Ralph. He died in New York in 1927 and was buried in Orillia.
After the death of Mrs. Begg, in 1932, a committee called for designs for the fountain and selected, from 57 submitted, the design of a Montreal sculptor, Mr. Alan A. Cameron.
The monument was completed and erected in the fall of 1934 but not unveiled until July 1, 1935.
A few days before the unveiling, The Packet gave this description of the monument:
The mother has the child seated on the knee on which she is kneeling, and the child has an urn resting on his knees.
Water will run from this urn into one of two pools which lie at the base of the fountain.
The base contains four drinking faucets, two for adults and two for children. The drinking water is cooled to 50 degrees Fahrenheit by an electric refrigerating plant installed in the base of the fountain.
The whole fountain is executed in granite and is 12 feet square and 10 feet high.
After several incidents of vandalism more than 30 years ago, the monument was shut down and almost abandoned to the elements.
The city has made plans to clean the monument and restore the fountains sometime in the future.
Moving it to a more visible location would create a new and exciting attraction along our waterfront trail.