Queen and King, SW corner

The east side of the Masonic Arms Hotel, as seen circa 1895. It was a two-storey, timber frame building with roughcast exterior built in Georgian architectural style.

  • Around 1848, James Johnston built a two-storey inn/tavern at the southeast corner of King Street East and Queen.  James, who had been living in Bolton since 1840, purchased the site from Samuel Walford in 1848 1 
  • The 1851 Albion Township census describes him as an innkeeper 2
  • Western Light Lodge, a masonic group, regularly held meetings at the hotel, in a large room above the stables 
  • True Blue Masonic Lodge, formed by a break-away group from Western Light, met in an upstairs room in the hotel.  Their first initiate was innkeeper William Curliss 3
  • The inn is marked on Tremaine’s 1859 Map as are the stables and drivesheds to the rear 4.  At that point in time, it was owned by Thomas C. Starrett 5
  • It is unclear whether the name Masonic Arms was given to the hotel by Western Light member T.C. Starrett in the mid-1850s or by William Curliss when he purchased it in 1860
  • William, a stone mason by trade, built the John Shore house, boarding with the family for a year. But on completion, John didn’t have the funds.  William offered to take his daughter Jane in return and the debt was considered paid 6
  • The hotel was quiet with a small bar which offered the best quality liquor
  • In 1899, T.D. Elliott bought the hotel, re-naming it the Balmoral Hotel.  Innkeeper Thomas Gillies operated it until 1905


And the building?

  • The hotel was demolished in 1908 to making way for a branch of the Imperial Bank of Canada which opened in 1909 7.  That bank later merged with the Bank of Commerce, becoming the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) 8
  • The current CIBC branch was built in 1975

John Shore House, built c.1847, Coleraine Drive. Heritage designated by the Town of Caledon.

  1. Abstract Index to Deeds, Albion Township Reels A and B, Lot 8 Con 7  Inst #987, Region of Peel Archives at PAMA
  2. ‘Johnston’ is written ‘Johnson’ on several land records
  3. James H. Bolton, reprinted in The Story of Albion, published by the Bolton Enterprise, 1968 edition, p.340
  4. George Tremaine’s Map of Peel County, Bolton inset, University of Toronto Map and Data Library
  5. Abstract Index to Deeds, ibid., Inst#988, dated September 1, 1854
  6. Doris Evans Porter, a local resident and great-great granddaughter of John Shore, related this story
  7. Ian Dalton and Charles Strong, Banking in Bolton, unpublished paper dated 1980
  8. CIBC website, History