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Windfields Farm

Surrounded by encroaching urban sprawl on the north end of Oshawa, a landmark location in Canadian horse breeding and racing. The birthplace of racing champion Northern Dancer, the vast Windfields Farm now sits abandoned, the land being parceled up for subdivisions.

Location attributes for Windfields Farm
Location   Oshawa, Ontario
Built :: Closed   1936 :: 2009
Status   Demolished
Difficulty   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Hazards Risk   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Security Risk   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
AUE Rating   ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

I will admit, I'm not a big horse racing person. Never had any interest in it. But I was still aware of the Thoroughbred Northern Dancer, having heard the name several times before. So when a friend showed me a picture of a place he had visited recently, and the picture was that of Northern Dancer's grave, I was intrigued. And we made the visit shortly thereafter.

Windfields Farm was founded in 1936 by E.P. Taylor, who originally had a farm located much closer to Toronto. However, in 1980 Taylor suffered a stroke, and the operation was taken over by his son Charles. In 1997, Charles passed on, leaving the operation to his wife Noreen and sister Judith. With development encroaching on the property from the city, the two slowly wound down the operation, it's time having come and gone.

The property is mostly abandoned these days; one stone home on the property is still occupied, and we found a developer's truck sitting at the back of the property. Periodic landscaping work also appears to occur - while much of the farm was overgrown, the area around the Thoroughbred graves was nicely maintained. The stables and showring are still standing, along with some of the homes that used to be occupied by the workers. The old white farmhouse still stands, now occupied by hundreds of little white spiders in the basement.

Some of the buildings are in excellent conditions, while others are not. A small two floor attachment to the showring shows significant water damage and mold growth, and the roof above it is starting to buckle. In contrast, the only damage in the old farmhouse is some buckling of the slats in the hardwood floors.

While the bulk of the property is slated to become homes, some of the buildings, along with the gravesite and trillium forest, will be preserved as parkland to honour the property. In the meantime, they all just sit, letting nature take it's course.

Dancer's Legacy - December 2011
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