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Lady Eaton with daughters Florence Mary and the adopted Evlyn
|Died||July 9, 1970(aged 89–90)|
|Spouse(s)||John Craig Eaton (m. 1901; d. 1922)|
Life and career
Raised in a large family in Omemee, Ontario, Canada, Flora McCrea moved to Toronto to become a nurse at Rotherham House, a private hospital on Sherbourne Street. While working as a nurse, Flora met a young patient, John Craig Eaton, who was the son of Eaton's department store founder Timothy Eaton. The two eventually fell in love, and were married. They built a massive mansion in 1911 to accommodate themselves and their growing family. Named Ardwold, the home was one of the most lavish ever constructed in Toronto. They were the parents of four boys and one girl with one adopted daughter.
In 1915, John Craig Eaton was knighted and became Sir John Craig Eaton, and his wife became known as Lady Eaton.
After her husband's death in 1922, Lady Eaton continued to live in the Ardwold mansion until the mid-1930s when she decided to retire to her summer residence, Eaton Hall in King City, north of Toronto. The contents of Ardwold were then auctioned off and the mansion was demolished.
Lady Eaton was interested in the occult, and had a séance room built in the turret of Eaton Hall. The ceiling of this circular room is painted with the zodiac. When she died in 1970, her maid was so distraught that she hanged herself there.
Lady Eaton was a member of the Board of Directors of Eaton's of Canada and took an active role in the company, overseeing the development of restaurants in the Eaton's stores. She was also very active with local charities and allowed Eaton Hall to be used as a military hospital for Canadian soldiers during the war.
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In addition to Eaton Hall, once part of Seneca College and now a public hotel(approximately at 2013-2014 Eaton Hall no longer open to public), Lady Eaton Elementary School in Omemee, and Lady Eaton College at Trent University, Peterborough, are named in her honour. The Eaton family donated several buildings to the village of Omemee including the United Church Rectory, and Coronation Hall at the corner of King and Sturgeon Streets, as well as the pipe organ in Trinity United Church. The Eatons had proposed Omemee change its name to Eatonville and offered to be benefactors of the village. The town fathers[who?] refused.
In 1994 Royal Doulton produced a figurine in Lady Eaton's image. Limited to a production of 2,500, each figurine was marked with its production sequence, and was intended to celebrate 125 years since the founding of the T. Eaton Co. Ltd.
- Columbo, John Robert. Mysteries of Ontario. Houndslow Press, Toronto, 1999.