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1871  The first officially registered owner of the properties now known as 79 West Street North, Orillia...our present location...was a resident of Medonte Township, Mr. William Teskey.

For most of the next fifteen years, a local merchant by the name of Francis J. Gribbon owned and resided at a smaller home located at this address. Of note, the Church of the Guardian Angels was only one of a very few buildings neighboring the Gribbon residence near the northern-most boundary of the town of Orillia. (The original church was constructed of brick in 1872 and then reconstructed in 1910 from Longford limestone).

1887  Title was then dealt to Mr. and Mrs. John McCosh. Mr. McCosh was a lawyer, police magistrate, and politician who served this town for five terms as mayor (1881, 1882, 1886, 1903 and 1904). It was then the McCosh family, which included five children, undertook the construction of the lavish Victorian Gothic mansion that would eventually become the Mundell Funeral Home.

The original sixteen rooms of the McCosh house consisted of handcarved oak and cherry woodwork, hand-painted and stained glass windows, and seven different fireplace mantle designs. A 20x40 foot stable was constructed at the south end of the property to match the Victorian architecture of the home. All construction was completed in early 1888 and this was to be the residence of John and Gwendolyn McCosh and family until 1907. "Josh" McCosh, as he was sometimes known, was then appointed as judge to the provincial court and subsequently moved his family to the town of Barrie where the courts are located today.


Mundell Funeral Home since 1914


John "Josh" McCosh

1907  The McCosh family sold this, as one of the largest homes in Orillia, to Thomas H. and Sarah Sheppard. The Sheppards were prominent residents of the area who operated a successful lumber supply business out of Orillia and Medonte township. Mr. Sheppard had also served the then 5,000 residents of Orillia for two terms as mayor (1898 and 1899).

1912  This was the year that author and summer resident of Orillia, Stephen Leacock, wrote his book entitled "Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town".

The Orillia setting which he used for his story included this house as the fictional residence of his character "Judge Pepperleigh". It is believed that the "Judge Pepperleigh" character may very well have been derived from the original owner and creator of this house, the very colorful Judge "Josh"McCosh.

(history cont'd)


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