Queen – east side, across from Sterne Street

Ontario Hotel, circa 1910.
Dining room of the Ontario Hotel in 1911. The photo is labelled as the Ontario ‘House’ but the name Ontario Hotel was bricked into the front facade.
  • The Ontario Hotel was built around 1870 by William McKee 1.  It stood on the east side of Queen Street across from Sterne Street
  • The brick in the two-storey, Neoclassical style hotel came from Norton’s brickyard, located in the valley south of King Street East
  • The hotel was best known for its fine dining room; it also had extensive stabling at the rear
  • William McKee employed innkeepers to help with the operation:  Daniel Small in the early 1870s, William Squires in the 1870s, Harness maker William J. Dixon in the late 1870s/early 1880s 2
  • After McKee’s untimely death around 1880, his wife Rebecca took over the hotel management while at the same time coping with eight young children 3
  • From 1885 to around 1900, brothers Richard, Benjamin and George Beamish owned the property and operated the hotel 4


And the building?

  • The hotel was being run by W. McDonald when it burned down in 1912 5.  The neighbouring General Store of Extence & Norton was also destroyed in the fire 6 .  The lot was vacant until the late 1920s when the Bamboo Garden Dancehall was built (former Main Street Station)
  1. Not to be confused with Robert McAfee, brother-in-law of Thomas Curliss who was the innkeeper at James Wolfe’s Inn
  2. Perkins Bull Hotel and Innkeeper Files, Boxes 32-34, Region of Peel Archives
  3. ancestry.ca. Census Records 1871, Albion Township
  4. Perkins Bull Hotel files, ibid.
  5. ibid.
  6. Photos of the hotel in the Robertson Matthews Collection indicate that the hotel and store burned down in 1912