He’s on stamps and murals and he has been painted and bronzed.

NORTHERN DANCER, Canada’s most famous racehorse and the world’s most influential stallion, is buried at his birthplace, Windfields Farm in Oshawa, Ontario. On May 4, 2024, Kentucky Derby day and the 60th anniversary of the Dancer’s heroic win in the ‘run for the roses’, Doors Open Oshawa will present tours of Windfields.

The historical Windfields Farm doesn’t look much like it did when Northern Dancer was born there in 1961.

The downsizing that began following the death of E. P. Taylor in 1989 resulted in large portions of Windfields Farm being sold to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and Durham College, which erected sports fields and parking lots on the farm’s southeast corner. Farmlands on the east side of Simcoe Street became housing developments. By 2008, once home to 600 Thoroughbreds was a small private farm. A year later, Windfields, still owned by Noreen Taylor and Judith Mappin, dispersed its horses and contents of the farm were auctioned off.

Windfields shrank inside urban sprawl and when a friend and I snuck onto the property in 2012, we were shocked to see how frail the remaining barns and property had become. Houses had broken stairs and books and old furniture and barns had wheelbarrows and feed bins in the shedrows. Grass was long, almost covering the Dancer’s gravesite.

Negative media coverage led to a slow transformation of what remained of the Windfields ‘core’ property, where E.P. Taylor saw his blue-blooded yearlings parade and where he rode his favourite mounts. The Dancer cemetery has been fenced in so the great horse lies peacefully with several others:

Archers Bay (1995–2002)
Canadiana (1950–1971)
New Providence (1956–1981)
Northern Dancer (1961–1990)
South Ocean (1967–1989)
Vice Regent (1967–1995)
Victoria Park (1957–1985)
Windfields (1943–1969)

Also preserved is the nearby Trillium Cemetery where some great broodmares including Lady Angela, and riding horse Philip, owned by Taylor, are buried.

I photo I took around 2012 when I snuck into Windfields farm, several years after it was shut down.

A decade later, Doors Open Oshawa will offer tours of the famed farm which has now been transformed into a sustainable agricultural research centre for the Ontario Tech University. This open-air laboratory pioneers innovative farming methods, conserves biodiversity, and integrates renewable energy. In celebration of the City of Oshawa’s centennial, a shuttle bus will take you from Ontario Tech’s Campus Ice Centre to the site.

More info HERE.