Ray Lawson, Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) 17 th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and his family, owned the Lakeshore estate in Oakville called "Ballymena" and the farm properties surrounding from 1947 to 1969. His horse farm extended from Lakeshore to the hill top above the stream and was bordered by Morrison Road to the east and Dunwoody to the west.
The barn, that still stands, in Lawson Park housed a full stable of thoroughbred mares and their foals until 1969. Mr. and Mrs. Steed, lived in the stucco extension, which was their home, as they managed and cared for these beautiful horses. The horses would graze peacefully and would get their water from the stream at the north edge of the park, then still included in the horses pasture. A small separate cozy building just slightly west of the main barn was used as the foaling shed. Mr. Lawson would walk up from his home, Ballymena, to talk with the Steeds and visit his horses.
This barn is classic construction with authentic cobblestone walkways, generous box stalls and individual windows that each horse could put their nose out to the fresh air. The feed was stored in the upper barn above the ground. This allowed ventilation to dry the feed and insulation to warm the horse barn in the winter and cool it in the summer.
Mr. Lawson, (August 30, 1886 – April 4, 1980), and his wife had five children. They donated the farm to the town in 1969 to be used as a community park. The barn that still stands tall and strong is a testament to the history of the park and a valuable community resource.
We are grateful to the Lawson Family for giving our community and our tennis club such a generous gift.