Engaging Conversations: Winter Skating with Autumn Tudhope

Autum Tudhope, left.

Autumn Tudhope is a 91 year old resident of Leacock Retirement Lodge and someone who has called Orillia home for much of that time. She participated in OMAH's Engaging Conversations With Living Memories: Creating Orillia's Portraits project in the fall. This was an 8 session program combining items from the museums permanent collection, story telling circles, and gentle dance to help resurface memories and provide a place to share stories.


"I lived by the lake. We swam there a lot. Something they don’t have there that we used to have was a big huge diving board, about two stories high. There was a raft, where the non-swimmers would start out to learn to swim. I often thought it was a shame that this generation didn’t get to have that. When it came to the winter time, Mr. French (owner of French’s stand) or maybe the city, would clear off a very large skating rink on the lake. In one of the boathouses, he would have coffee and hot dogs to sell. That’s where you would go to put your skates on. You left your skates there and you would enjoy free skating. If you didn’t have a quarter to go to the skating rink, you went down to the lake! One time I had my shoes stolen. We lived up on Albert Street so I had to walk all the way home in my skates. It was a great place to grow up in. "

This story was recorded on September 19th, 2018. The artefact used for the session was a vintage postcard photo of Couchiching Beach Park during the summertime in Orillia, Ontario.