Many of us have used the word “zoo” to describe a place full of people or animals, but this guy’s house would definitely fit into the literal interpretation.
Norman Sam Elder was many things: an explorer, artist, writer, accomplished equestrian, and exotic animal owner. He was also considered to be one of Toronto’s eccentrics. When he was a little boy, his father founded Elder Carriage Works, the first carriage business in southern Canada. Elder himself founded a museum inside his home in 1967 and filled it with exotic animals and artifacts collected from his travels across the world.
Elder also owned a summer cottage in Muskoka, but it was abandoned and reclaimed by nature after his death in 2003. Before all the buildings on the property were bulldozed, though, a group of urban explorers and photographers from Ontario Abandoned Places were luckily enough to see it for themselves.
During his lifetime, Elder went on many expeditions to remote areas of Papua New Guinea, Namibia, the Amazon, the Congo, the Arctic, Madagascar, and other countries. He collected many artifacts from his travels and displayed them on the main floor of his home, which served as the Norm Elder Museum.
The most notable artifacts included a reconstructed panther skeleton, a collection of turquoise malachite eggs, fossilized elephant bird eggs, unexploded military mortar shells, an elephant skull with the jaw bone, dried elephant dung balls, a stuffed dingo, and human skulls from the Ganges river.
Some were actual live animals, including a fruit bat, three lemurs, several chinchillas, and multiple ferrets. He also had two large pythons and a boa constrictor that lived in the basement and were said to escape to other parts of the house.
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