Franklands Farm lies on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River just east of the town of Brockville, Ontario. From the moment the iron gates open, one realizes that there is something unique and historic about the farm. Owned by Bill and Faith Berghuis, Franklands is much more than a horse farm. It holds a special place in Canada's past and continues to have a major impact on Canada's equestrian scene.
Franklands Farm is very much a family affair. The farm has owned, or been a major shareholder of, many top show jumpers and dressage horses on the Canadian Equestrian Team.
Dutch Treat -
Future Vision -
The original Jones family arrived in Brockville from the Boston area just after the American Revolution in 1776. They were founding members of the town of Brockville and were prominent in the government of Upper Canada (now known as Ontario).
Franklands Farm was acquired by a descendant of the original Jones family in the early 1920's. It consisted of eighty acres on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. On the farm, there was an old stone house built in the 1840's and an old barn. The stone house was burned down by the homeless men in the depression of the early 1930's. These men were traveling in search of work along the old road in front of the farm which used to be the main road between Toronto and Montreal. They had sought shelter in the house and burned any wood they could find to keep warm. The present buildings were built from the fire-blackened stone salvaged from the old house.
Upon his death, Frank Jones left the farm to his sister Elsie Bedford-Jones, who named the farm after her brother. Elsie came from a family of horse people. Her mother, Eliza Jones, was fond of horses and rode well. Her favorite horse was "Hawke," a black horse given to her by her future husband, Chilion Jones, as an engagement present. Chilion Jones, an architect, was a partner of the firm Fuller and Jones, which designed the new Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. In September 1860, when the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) laid the corner stone of the Parliament Building, the architect's young bride rode a handsome grey in the welcoming procession.
Elsie Bedford-Jones and her daughter, Gwynneth, were active members of the Montreal Hunt, which to this day remains the oldest continuous hunt in North America. It was founded in 1826 by British army officers. Elsie was one of the first women to compete at Madison Square Garden in New York City. She was also commissioned to find horses to serve overseas in World War I.
Gwynneth Bedford-Jones inherited the farm from her mother in the 1950's. She continued the tradition of breeding and showing outstanding horses, and was a founding member of Ian Millar's Big Ben syndicate, Canadian Show Jumpers Ltd. She planted many trees at Franklands, which to this day enhance the beauty of the farm.
Upon Gwynneth's death in 2000, Faith Berghuis, also of the Jones family, inherited Franklands. She and her husband Bill encourage their grandchildren to continue the family legacy. They are the sixth generation continuing the love of horses. Bill and Faith have been active in their support of Olympic riders Ian Millar and Gina Smith. Faith received the first annual Owner's Award in 1995 at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, recognizing her support of the Canadian Equestrian Team. The pursuit of excellence in equestrian sport has and will continue to be an integral part of Franklands Farm.
Trilliums are abundant in the woods at Franklands. They were harvested by Native Americans and by herbalists for their medicinal properties. The plants cannot survive if their flowers are cut, and they are now a protected species. The woods are left untouched at Franklands to protect the rare original growth of trees and the trilliums, the official flower of Ontario.