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Photograph: Naomi Harris and Geoffrey Sayers
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Title: Photograph: Naomi Harris and Geoffrey Sayers
Identifier: 979.6.142
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1907
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A small photo of a woman (Naomi Harris) with a baby. The label on the back says "Geoffrey Harris Sayers". The photograph is in a red leather frame with round window.

Naomi Harris (1883-1968) was raised along with her sister Annie in an atmosphere of upper middle class comfort. They were educated at home by governesses, and then were sent to Miss Dupont's School for Ladies in Toronto, where they stayed with their aunts throughout the week. Naomi never married and lived at Benares her whole life. She helped to take care of her mother, and continued to live alone in the house for 14 years after Maryís death in 1954. Naomi was a life long member of St Peterís Anglican Church in Erindale, where she was an integral part of the churchís many activities. Archdeacon Banks, the former rector of St. Peterís, spoke of "Miss Harrisís deep attachment to St. Peterís, her love of people, her unfailing interest in the children of the Sunday School and her work with the womenís auxiliary" during her funeral service in May, 1968. Naomi willed Benares to her two nieces and nephew who donated the estate and most of its contents to The Ontario Heritage Foundation.

Geoffrey Harris Sayers was born 23 April 1907 and died 25 November 1997. A retired businessman, he was the first child of Beverly and Annie Sayers (nee Harris). A member of the Canadian Armed Forces, he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant 14 June 1938. Two years later, he was appointed Lieutenant. As of 21 April 1941, he was appointed the rank of Temporary Captain, and was recommended for appointment to the Lorne Scots (P. D. and H. Regiment) based out of Brampton. According to his military file, Captain Geoffrey Sayers served with the Canadian Armed Forces from 21 April 1941 until 11 October 1945, when he was honourably discharged. From 17 June 1941 until 13 March 1945, he also served with the British Forces (he had British citizenship). He received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp 1939-45.

Geoffrey Sayers and his sisters, Dora Sayers Caro, and Barbara Sayers Larson donated Benares Historic House to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1969. It has operated as a museum under the City of Mississauga since 1995 and was officially transferred to Mississauga in 2000. Geoffrey Sayers and his wife Kathleen (nee Colloton) occupied Benares from 1969 until 1981. During that time, they acted as care takers of the estate on behalf of the Ontario Heritage Foundation. They kept a small display of artifacts in the kitchen, and opened up the house once a year to the public. He also maintained the Benares financial affairs in 1932 for Naomi (Na) and Mary, who were unable to do so themselves.
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Related Links:
   Museums of Mississauga Home Page
   Virtual Museum of Canada
   Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN)
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