Summertime Dreams: The Rectory as Country Estate Home

Summertime is a time for daydreams and wanderings. It is a time for heading down country roads, under skies so wide and blue they can take your breath away. Summer days are days of freedom. They are days of simplicity, summer friendships, northern lakes to jump into, strawberries red, easily picked, succulent, their juice running down your inner arm. Days there are in summer in which there is time to lean over old stone bridges, feel the rough, slightly cool-to-touch, weather-worn stone of their side walls and watch the river flow gently beneath them, wishing that you could float away with the river. They are days of dream-filled-heads hiking or cycling along country roads, past picture-perfect scenes of horses or sheep or cattle grazing, or walking lost in thought through dark, cool, inviting forests, sunlight filtered almost completely through the leaves of mature maple and oak trees, their tops head-to-head, looking to the sky. All is grand of a summer’s day, even if it is just in our imagination.

Red Scarf Equestrian Lifestyle

Close Gate Bridge
photo by Dun.can / CC BY-SA

Red Scarf Equestrian LifestyleSince these are days to take some time to relax a little and dream, we at Red Scarf Equestrian (RSE) thought it might be fun to share with you some of our Summer Dreams, some of our vision of where we are going in the weeks and months ahead. Presently, we will focus on what we are up to at our new home at the Rectory in Collingwood. Part Two, to follow, will give a wider berth to include some of our dreams of the longer-term. We are a little company, but it’s fun for even little companies to dream.

We are, as you may already know, a small equestrian lifestyle company established in 2008 by founder Joanna Ranucci. The company is grounded on the ideals of quality and precision craftsmanship, on dependability, on standing-behind-your-product, on the pride in the quality of Canadian manufacturing, the quality of Italian fine leather and on the value of Joanna’s Italian designer heritage.

We believe the equestrian lifestyle to be an unhurried one, which means taking the time for the things that truly matter.

We dream of reaching forward from this base to the creation of a community which is founded on old-fashioned values. Honesty, integrity and goodwill are the hallmarks of the relationships we seek to establish with our partners and with those of our community, whereby one’s word and handshake hold real meaning and merit. We appreciate the importance of history, and this specifically includes the place of the horse in that history.

We believe our new home reflects these values as it embodies the peace and serenity of a stately country residence. Indeed, the design of the building is a direct copy of “Claverleigh,” a Gothic Revival house situated in the countryside just outside of Creemore. Among our dreams there is one which sees the Rectory not only maintaining its stately presence on Ontario Street under our stewardship but thriving as our new home.

RSE believes the equestrian lifestyle to be an unhurried one, which means taking the time for the things that truly matter. The mission of RSE also includes recognizing the value of living at peace with the environment, while doing all we can to promote initiatives that will help heal it. We dream of a time when we will be known in the wider community for adhering to these values.

Ben McNally’s bookstore on Bay Street is one of the most beautiful bookstores in Toronto.We dream, too, of our Official Opening and of your first visit to the Rectory. We want it to be one you will remember for a long time. We want it to feel like a place you will feel at home at, a place to which you will want to return. To that end, while preparing to occupy the Rectory we have made some exciting partnerships.

We have, for example, established a partnership with Brights Gallery of neighbouring Blue Mountain. Brights Gallery has undertaken to curate the walls of the Rectory with fine Canadian art. So, from this perspective, when you walk into the Rectory you will be actually walking into a fine Art Gallery. The Centre Hall of the Rectory, for example, has been exclusively dedicated to the presentation of fine Art. You will be welcome to linger in the Centre Hall and reflect upon the artistry presented there. But there will be more to discover than the offerings in the Centre Hall, however, since all of the wall space of the Rectory, main floor and upper level, will proudly bear the artistic accomplishments of fine Canadian artists. The artwork distributed throughout the Rectory is yours to explore and be inspired by. 

We have also made an exciting partnership with Ben McNally Books. Ben McNally’s bookstore on Bay Street is one of the most beautiful bookstores in Toronto. In partnership with Ben McNally we are in the midst of turning the fine wood-panelled room, which the Rector used for his own Library while resident there, into a room dedicated to great books. We call the room, accordingly, “The Rector’s Library by Ben McNally Books.” But we also dream of having readings from authors of fine Canadian, and indeed, international, literature, so that the Rectory will become a place where you will fine offerings which will nurture our inner lives. We hope you visit us in the near future to enjoy the experience of finding a unique and treasured book or for one of our planned readings. 

We also dream of having the Rectory graced, at least in part, by the furniture of the Althorp Collection, inspired by the collection of Charles the 9th Earl Spencer, younger brother of Princess Diana. These pieces of furniture are inspired by the furnishings of the Althorp Estate of Northamptonshire, England, and bear the dignity and beauty of that fine Estate. The Rectory will be organized much as it might have been in years past, except that its fine traditional furniture will all be offered for sale. We dream that the Rectory will be graced by the warmth of real wood and painstaking craftsmanship at every turn, that it will house the finest collection of furniture north of Toronto. 

Thus, to a vastly humbler degree, the Rectory reflects some of the foundational elements of an Estate such as Althorp. Pleasing grounds. Fine Library. Exceptional Art. Fine Furniture. A deep respect for history. Indeed, in much the same spirit as the Althorp Estate does presently, the Rectory, too, will open its doors for an array of special events. A Wedding perhaps, or an Anniversary or other social gathering. Or, we might have the pleasure of helping you orchestrate your special event beyond the Rectory, even one highlighted by an equestrian theme. 

We dream that [The Rectory] will be a place that you feel you have come home to.

Our dream is that to visit the Rectory will be to visit a stately country home in town. It will be, among other things, to visit a fine Art Gallery and a fine Library. We dream that it will be a place that you feel you have come home to.

Red Scarf Equestrian invites you to explore Britain's historic houses, castles and gardens.

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