Friday, October 25, 2013

Varying visions of King City deadhouse

The painting immediately below of the King City Cemetery deadhouse was painted by Apple Liu.   Apple was a recent 3rd prize winner in a King Township Historical Society contest at the King City Secondary School.   The purpose of the competition was to encourage students to create a drawing, painting or 
photograph that reflected the long, rich history of King Township.   Apple Liu, is a resident of Richmond Hill, as well as a student at KCSS.
Her 3rd place win for her octagonal deadhouse painting earned her a $50 prize.  The deadhouse was once used for housing the dead, in winter, before burial.   Judges for the art contest were King Township artists Ed Bartram and Mary Bromley, who said: "Without knowing what a deadhouse is, the viewer gets a foreboding sense of mystery."  The King City Deadhouse has been portrayed artistically by many artists and photographers and the broad artistic interpretations show an amazing assortment of vision.
Compare the artwork by Apple with the photographic take on the same subject matter below.   The winning artworks are on display at the King City Library.
              Photos by Barry Wallace 

Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace


  1. This is what I wrote in 2008 for the same dead house. I somehow wanted to remember the date it was built. I asked myself this morning that same question and I remembered it correctly based on this note.

    The Octagonal Deadhouse King City

    The windowless octagonal house
    has only one way in and out.
    Facing east
    to welcome the first light
    to welcome the sun rise.
    The candle-flame shaped door
    when opened lights up what is dark and cold.
    A flame-like opening
    is a symbol of hope.

    In 1887 this house was built
    7 straight, brick, uniform walls to hold seven caskets
    a total of 8 walls
    8 for eternity
    8 for infinity
    1…. for all is one.

    On a beautiful autumn day
    I stood in a windowless octagonal house
    where the candle flame shaped opening
    invited peace and light to step in
    warming up the cold bricks,
    bricks which are used to silence
    which have hosted silent people
    for months at a time,
    bricks which can tell you stories when
    you listen to them with your inner sense.

    On a beautiful autumn day
    I stood in a windowless octagonal house
    looking through the only opening
    at life and a cemetery at the same time,
    and I left with a gift….
    sensing beauty and peace in my heart and mind.

    Zohreh 24 Sept 08
    visited last weekend the King City Deadhouse on “Doors Open”

  2. Thanks Zohreh for your poetic take on the subject matter. It is lyrical,
    evocative and sensitive. Barry

  3. my moms little sister---doris delena cairns was placed in the :"deadhouse" after her death after only 22 days in 1925--spina bifida----dave hunter