Little-known history of local family on exhibit at the Collingwood Museum

The Connolly’s of Collingwood is the newest installment in the Collingwood Museum’s Community Collectors exhibition series and will be available to view until the end of April 2019.

Featuring family heirlooms, photographs and previously unknown stories, the exhibit raises awareness about the history of a local family whose history is largely absent from Collingwood’s published histories.

The exhibit was the brainchild of Jane (Connolly) Coxon, whose grandparents, Dr. Ethan Leo and Ethel May Louise (Fleming) Connolly, moved to Collingwood in 1903. Dr. Connolly purchased the Douglas Drug Store, the present-day location of Robinson’s Paint and Wallpaper Store at 129 Hurontario Street. The rest is history.

“Through the years, whenever a book or booklet has been printed about the families or businesses of Collingwood, the Connolly family was never mentioned. Members of the Connolly family have lived, been involved in different groups, and operated businesses in Collingwood since 1903. It’s time to blow the Connolly horn” says Coxon.

The exhibit’s title is a nod to an exhibition that Coxon developed with her mother, Jean, at the Collingwood Museum in the 1980s. The exhibition was called Connolly’s Collingwood and featured the artworks of Coxon’s father, Harvard “Doc” Connolly, who served as the museum’s curator in the 1960s.

On April 24, the Collingwood Museum invites you to an evening presentation by Jane Coxon at 7:00 PM. Hear the unpublished history of the Connolly family and bring your stories and Connolly-related items to share. 

Connolly-related items in the Museum’s permanent collection will also be on display for participants to view.

On a bi-monthly basis, staff will be working with community collectors to showcase private collections in a designated case by the Museum’s west entrance. If you’re interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact museum staff at