On a cold December morning, and as the snow gently blew onto our town casting a blanket of white velvet, I arrived at George Farrow’s residence to interview him on behalf of our club. A cozy home privately nestled in the midst of Gloucester Avenue in Oakville’s old town, the unique design of the house with its meandering pathway leading to a secret garden, casts a spell on its visitors – designed with deliberate charm by George Farrow. Bundled up from the snow, I reached out to the doorbell at the side of the front door. Almost instantly, the side door was pulled open. “This is our family entrance. Welcome!” George beckoned me in and swiftly whisked away my coat and scarf in the manner of the attentive genial host that he is. George’s wife and lifetime partner, Diane, was in the kitchen. A quiet woman that carries an effortless air of charm, her refined elegance gave her a majestic flare. I was welcomed into a quick warm embrace and then with the grace of a ballerina, Diane turned on her heels and said, “Right, I will leave you to it,” disappearing swiftly into the house. George and I made our way in.
 
 
The family room is decorated with soft shades of white, green and pastels. I felt transported to the 1960s set of the TV show Mad Men and was waiting for the whiff of Don Draper’s cigarette smoke distinctive of an era gone by. But then I remembered that George did not smoke. George pointed to my right to the mantelpiece above the fireplace, adorned with a handful of colourful cardstock model houses made with the finest of detail and said, “Diane found these a couple of years ago. Aren’t they beautiful?”
 
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting George’s home a few times in years past, and have always found it mesmerizingly beautiful. Styled in mid-century modern art deco design, every corner beckons to tell a story. Art is everywhere, and books are aplenty speaking to the varied interests and hobbies of their owners. We sat by the window overlooking the backyard, and dove right into the Q&A. “George, thank you for letting me shine the spotlight on you.” He chuckled with a deliberate deep belly laugh as he got comfortable in his seat. He spread his arms wide out, in true George fashion, as if he is giving the world a big warm hug, “Well, ” he said, “I am a humble man! But I am happy to tell you my story!” 
 
 
 
 
As with any good story, we started at the very beginning. 
 
George Farrow was born in Guelph on April 26th, 1934. He was the first twin to be born at 12 noon . His brother Grant followed at 1 pm, and George likes to joke and say that Grant has been late for meals ever since.
 
At the age of 2, the family moved to Oakville and called it home. At this time, George’s father and his grandfather were commissioned to work on building the Queen Elizabeth Highway. They drove horses with dragline buckets to help build the bridge crossing at Etobicoke Creek. George grew up on Kerr Street, on the Smith Farm, now home to the big Rain Condo building. There were 2 stone houses at the top of Queen Mary Drive, and the Farrows lived in the smaller one. As George paints the picture of the town he grew up in, one is treated to a reel of Oakville’s history through George’s eyes as he had played a big part into shaping the town into what it is today.
 
From Kerr Street, the Farrows moved to Forsythe Street. There was an old steel radial bridge on what is now known as Rebecca Street. The Hamilton Buffalo Railroad ended in Oakville across the bridge at Thomas Street. You could still visit that station building today where modern offices have replaced the station on the inside. By now, George’s father worked as a gardener for the estate where the Glen Abbey Golf course is today. The owner of that land at the time was a gold miner.
 
Down the street was Westwood School where George had attended as an elementary student. That building is now the Lions Dog Guide Training building. He continued on to Central School, where now stands the Centennial Library and Pool buildings, both designed by George. The school had large playgrounds that went all the way to Lakeshore. That was where the Lions club and Rotary Club held their carnivals in the early days. Right below that property was a tannery where George’s father worked during the war. That street was also host to North America’s biggest supplier of leather, the Marlatt and Armstrong Tannery . They were the major leather suppliers to Henry Ford’s car factories before World War I. To commemorate the end of the war, Mr. Marlatt put in beautiful windows of the last supper at the chancel in downtown’s Knox Presbyterian church. He also installed the St. Cecelia stained glass commemorating his deceased wife and deceased daughter. 
 
In High School, George got a reputation for being a competitive ferocious young buck. He played quarterback on his school’s football team, was captain of the basketball team, and was elected President of the Boys Athletic Association. The Rotary Club of Oakville took to hosting a youths’ event at Victoria Hall (in front of the Curling Club) every Friday night. The event was called Teen Town, and it  had an elected Council and Mayor. A leader in the making from a fine young age, George was soon elected Mayor of Teen Town.
 
A few years later, in May of 1958, George graduated from University of Toronto’s School of Architecture and found himself at the doorstep of Dunlop Wardell Matsui and Aitken as their newest hire. He married Diane in September of that same year. In 1959, George opened DWMA’s first office in Oakville.
 
When he was still at U of T, George worked on his thesis project for senior housing. After graduating, he met John Cheney who took his idea for the project and developed it into Trafalgar Senior Homes Rotary Gardens. As a young professional, George got officially reintroduced to the Rotary Club of Oakville that year, starting a lifelong relationship with the club. George’s career flourished. The success of that first housing project was just the beginning. The firm became famous for these types of senior housing projects and got commissioned by the Rotary Club to design many more: Trafalgar Senior Homes, Rotary Centennial Tower, Normandy Place as well as the Ontario Housing Corporations: Kerr Street Seniors Centre, Bronte Seniors Centre, and Knox Heritage Seniors Place. 
 
Those first few years marked many new milestones for George and Diane: George was made Partner at DWMA. The Farrows’ family grew with the birth of their 2 boys Mark in 1960 and Tye in 1963. That same year they moved into this very house on Gloucester Avenue.
 
If this was a stage production, this is the part where the stage curtains drop marking the end of Act I. The lights come on, and everyone disperses into intermission. And so on that morning, and right on cue, the soft shrill of the doorbell marked the arrival of Rod Craig, RCO’s current club president. He’d finished with his work meeting and made his way to join us. After an earnest warm welcome, George gets back to his seat, and says, “Right, where were we?” The curtains pull up : Act II, Scene 1.
 
We are now in 1969. The year everything changed. 350,000 people flocked to Woodstock to hear Jimi Hendrix, 500 million people watched man land on the moon, Richard Nixon was inaugurated as America’s 37th president and George Farrow took ill to Ulcerative of Colitis that sent him into a coma and rendered him too sick to work for almost a year. Upon his return, George was ousted by majority vote of the firm’s partners. He was away for too long they said, so he was asked to leave. Life had a different plan. Shortly after and in an interesting turn of events, George Farrow and Dan Dunlop (one of the partners that supported George and left DWMA with him) found themselves on a recruitment wave hiring all but one of the staff from that firm. And so it began. Dunlop Farrow Aitken came to be in 1970 and the name George Farrow became synonymous with leadership and innovation.
 
George got involved with the Chamber of Commerce, and co-chaired the “Diet For
Development” alongside another Rotarian, Ken McConnel. He also was an active member with the Rotary Club of Oakville. Soon enough, he was appointed to the Board of Sheridan College and later on became Board Chairman. He called it “the most invigorating time of my career.” 
 
George continued to serve on different boards and memberships such as Halton Housing Authority, and was elected an Elder of Knox Presbyterian Church (the youngest Elder at the time).
 
When summing up his career and accomplishments, George takes pride in that he’s
worked on more hospitals than any other architect in Ontario. He was the managing
partner for design and development of the Disease Control Centre for Canada in Winnipeg- a project that lasted 10 years! It was the only government laboratory in the world that had both human and animal viruses in the same building. George was recognized by his peers and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
 
In 1994, George finally accepted the role of President of the Rotary Club of Oakville. He described his history with the club as that of fellowship. He participated in all its
programs and sat on many of its boards serving local and global communities. Friendships were forged, and a lifetime’s work of community involvement has
the name George Farrow recognized everywhere he goes.
 
By now, we were 3 hours into the interview and had to wrap up. There were still many more stories to share. I asked George if I could take a picture of him next to one of his sculptures- for what I have missed to mention in this article is this man’s God-given artistic talent. A man of many interests that span across hobbies such as rebuilding antique autos, cooking, and golf. But by far, his closest to heart is art. George’s greatest pièce de résistance is his bird carving that won him many prizes and accolades across the region. Just like Pygmalion’s Galatea, George’s special sculpture sits on a pedestal in the middle of his living room- intricate, delicate, and exuding lifelike beauty with every curve and angle, much like the spirit of the man that made it.                                                      
 
 
I packed my notes, wished George a Merry Christmas, and Rod and I then parted ways. As I pulled out of the driveway, I was washed with a warm fuzzy feeling of delight and respect for the great man that is George Farrow: A visionary leader - made of courage, resilience, and modesty; driven by conviction, love and passion for family, fellowship and the community; a true Rotarian through and through.
 
Later that night, I emailed George the question: is it the Journey that maketh the Man, or the Man that maketh the Journey? I will leave that for you dear reader, to think about and ponder.