Born on November 4, 1924, Hendrikus van Oudenaren (1924-2020) emigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in October 1950 after serving for two years in a forced labour camp in Stettin, where he worked as a tool and die maker and built boats. For 17 years Harry worked at Pogues Garage on Boyd Street, learning the auto-repair trade. He returned briefly to the Netherlands, long enough to get married, and came back to Canada. The family settled in Bobcaygeon where Harry set up an auto repair garage in an old schoolhouse, while establishing his home with his wife Johanna and six children across the street. For a while, his son Pieter ran the garage until he decided to take up cheesemaking.
Harry began to collect archival and historic information and images about Bobcaygeon. His family formed a friendship with another Bobcaygeon historian and author, Dorothe Comber. She and Harry shared information and upon her death, she left her collection to Harry.
The school that housed the garage business was the former Rokeby School, or Verulam School Section (S.S.) No. 6 at 35 North Street in Bobcaygeon. The northern section of Bobcaygeon was originally called Rokeby when it was first founded, but when it joined with the southern neighbouring areas to form a town, the name Rokeby was lost in favour of Bobcaygeon.
Harry also collected objects of historical interest, which can be found in the Harry van Oudenaren Museum at Kawartha Settlers’ Village, established in 2018. Harry’s son, Pieter, gives a tour of the museum on YouTube. When his collection became too great to stay in his basement, Harry had a building constructed and moved to the Village property.
In 1992, Harry published some of his collection in a book, Bobcaygeon: a picture book of memories.
Harry passed away at his home in 2020 with his family by his side. His collection of items relating to the Boyd family went to the Boyd Museum and his items went to Kawartha Settlers’ Village.
Bobcaygeon: a picture book of memories (1992)
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