Port Hope's Past Hotels, Inns & Saloons...

In response to numerous requests about early drinking and/or lodging establishments in Port Hope, we have compiled as accurate a list as possible of such businesses, their owners and/or operators, locations, and years of operation. It must be emphasized that there is a great deal of speculation due to conflicting claims in various resources. As much is oral tradition, with few supporting photographs, it is by no means complete and anything that might be added will be most appreciated.Bennett's Hotel (1897): the present Ganaraska Hotel
As a number of hotels often occupied the same site over the years, we've listed them alphabetically and chronologically. The second section lists those with some details and the last lists those with virtually nothing of detail.

We have also included, where possible, the life spans of the individuals involved, to further provide dates of operation. We'll be checking the census returns and land registry records to help provide as much accuracy as possible, although it proves difficult, as the workplace locations of the innkeepers aren't listed, and the proprietors of the businesses weren't always the property owners.

The Albion Hotel (c1857), currently known as the Albion House Bed & Breakfast, is located at 178 Walton Street.

Guide: 22 Nov 1856

Blackham's Saloon, run by Richard G. Blackham (1833-1866), was located on John Street (possibly #85) in 1856. He relocated to his "new and commodious premises," Blackham's Hotel, on the south side of Robertson Street, in 1859. On the 1874 map of Port Hope, this hotel was referred to as Martin's Hotel. In the 1880s, it was known as the Rochester House (owner unknown).
Guide: 13 Apr 1861

Guide: c1860s

Brodie's Hotel was operated by Robert Brodie (1829-1873) at 26 Walton Street, where Gould's Footwear is now located.

Canada House (c1799), currently a B&B at the corner of King and Madison streets, is the earliest frame hotel still in existence. Its early business history is uncertain. Built for Elias Smith c1798, local lore has it that it began its hotel life in the 1850s as the Seaman's Inn, under the ownership of schooner captain Robert Wallace. By 1856, it was operating under John W. Sager (c1802-after1861) as Canada House.
R.W. Johnson (an old Port Hoper), in a 1948 letter to the paper, stated that Nicholas Winters (1823-1885) ran a hotel "at the foot of King Street, where Tom Burt lived later," but was uncertain as to the name.
Winters was connected with two other hotels at roughly the same time: the Queen's Arms Inn (1856) on Mill Street South (then known as "Wharf Road"); and the Victoria Hotel (1862) at Mill and Peter streets. The 1854 G.T.R. map shows an unnamed tavern on Mill Street, just north of Madison, but whether or not this was Winters' is presently unknown. There were likely a number of drinking establishments, since demolished, in that area.

Guide: 15 May 1903

The Ganaraska Hotel, on Ontario Street, began its inn life c1837 as the Railway Hotel before William Matthews (1814-1862) purchased the property from Erasmus Fowke. The Tri-Weekly Guide, in a story in 1859, referred to the establishment as Matthew's Hotel, also shown in the 1862 Port Hope business directory. Hugh Alexander Walker (1827-1894) owned and operated it from 1860-1864, at which point it was purchased by Charles Lambert, who ran it for sixteen years as Lambert's Hotel.
In 1880, it was bought out by James Bradley (1852-1891). After his death in 1891, it was operated by his widow, Charlotte (d1919), until 1904, when it was sold to Maggie Howard. The Howard family ran it as the Ontario House for the next eighteen years.
There appear to have been at least three lessees in the Howard years. Louis Gordon Bennett (1857-1940) received a licence renewal for the Bennett House in 1901, but the business was leased to W.A. Brooks that year, again as the Ontario House. In 1903, it was run under a partnership of Lena Crawford and Hilliard C. Robinson, which dissolved, the hotel being leased the following year to Blake Crawford and William Brooks (formerly a bartender at the St. Lawrence Hotel on Walton Street). Itheel Walters (1870-1953) took over management in May 1915. The inn was described as "a three-story brick structure with twenty guest rooms, centrally located within easy access to all business places."
In 1922, it became the property of William Griffin. Since then, it has gone through a succession of owners, one of whom, Mary Rowe, changed the name to the Ganaraska Hotel in the late 1930s. It still functions as an inn by that name today.

Guide: 05 Mar 1854

The Hastings House, run by Thomas Warren Hastings (1796-1885), was the first hotel established in John Brown's building - the first brick building - on Mill Street at the foot of Walton Street. It was erected in 1823 on the presumed site of the Old Inn where, according to Guillet, stage coaches used to stop. He is reported to have established himself in the 1830s by catering to the town's first first lobster dinner! He continued to run it under that name until relocating in 1860 to the new building erected by William Bletcher at the corner of John and Walton streets. (He and Samuel Hastings seem to have been running the Hastings Saloon on Queen Street in 1854.)
When Hastings moved, it became Church's Hotel, operated by William Young Church (1807-1877), according to the 1862 Business Directory. In 1901, Charles R. Nixon (1842-1921) received a licence renewal for the Royal Hotel. After some years as a car dealership, it was replaced by a new hydro building.
Church's Hotel: 1862 Directory (porthopehistory.com)

Guide: 03 Sep 1859

The International Hotel was operated by William MacDonald on Queen Street, adjacent to the Capitol Theatre, in 1858. It was offered to let in 1859 by then proprietor, Thomas Little. It later became the British Hotel, operated by Pitney and Oliver. A licence renewal was issued to Isaac Gillespie (1869-1901) in 1901.
Guide: 17 Apr 1858

Guide: 15 May 1903

Lake View House was located opposite the Grand Trunk Railway (now CNR) station on Hayward Street. Lovell's 1858 Directory states that Alexander Buchanan was a saloonkeeper on Hayward Street, which would tie in with the construction of the viaduct at that time. Johnson and Holdsworth both remembered the hotel, then operated by Richard Christopher (1875-1907) who obtained a licence renewal in 1901.

Guide: 15 May 1903

The Midland House (c1850) is located at 33-37 John Street. When the Midland Railway was constructed in the early 1850s, the building was named the Midland Hotel after the Midland, Lindsay, and Beaverton Railway, which originated in Port Hope and travelled north to Lindsay, Beaverton, and Midland onto Georgian Bay. Samuel George Emerson (d1905) obtained a licence renewal in 1901 and is listed in the 1902 business directory. In a 1903 advertisement, C. Gillespie and George Gamble (1853-1920) are listed as co-proprietors, but by 1910, Gamble was the sole owner. Restored in the 1980s by A.K. Sculthorpe, it is now an apartment/commercial venue.

The North American Hotel, on Walton Street facing Queen, had its beginnings in 1844 when John Lynn purchased the lot from John David Smith. It was rebuilt, following a disastrous fire in 1850, and was occupied as a hotel until c1911. While the 1856-'57 directory lists Robert Stenson with the hotel, Alexander Goss was connected with Stenson's Hotel on Walton Street. Proprietor John Head retired his interest in its lease in 1857. In 1858, it was taken over by John Hetherington, who had previously operated the Durham House (1856) on the site of the present Walton Hotel. The 1862 directory had it being operated by Hamilton Uin. An ad in an issue of the May 1878 Guide had John E. Lynn in charge of the American Hotel. A licence renewal was issued to Laurance Haw (1838-1916) in 1901 and was still operating it the following year.

Guide: 15 May 1903
Guide: 21 Nov 1857

Guide: 26 Feb 1859

Plain's Hotel, a wooden frame hotel built by Thomas Plain (1816-1899) at the corner of John and Park streets, burned down and was rebuilt in 1881. The building was demolished by the town in 1980. Johnson said that Haw's & Smith's hack horses used to pull in there to quench their thirst at the trough on the way to the GTR depot.

The Queen's Arms Inn is proving to be somewhat of an enigma. A December 1847 newspaper advertisement - under the name "Queen's Arms Inn" - reported that T.W. Hastings (1796-1875) had "...taken the old stand recently occupied by Mr. William Matthews." In a Jan 1849 ad, John Reynolds of Reynolds's Hotel had "...taken the old stand known as the Queen's Arms Inn, lately occupied by T.W. Hastings." On 12 Oct 1852, proprietor George Reynolds identified the location as "...on Mill Street, next door to Mr. S. Hatton's Store." [Samuel Hatton (1813-1865), Grocery & Liquor Store, Mill St.]. The 1856 business directory has Nicholas Winters (1823-1885) as proprietor. The inn may have been the one marked on the 1854 GTR map as on the east side of Mill Street South, just north of Madison Street.Port Hope Commercial Advertiser: 24 Jun 1848

The Red Tavern was reported to have been built in 1803 by James Hawkins (1759-1841) along the west side of Brewery Lane, to the rear of the present Bell Telephone offices (Porter Block).

Rosebury's Tavern (1823) was located on Walton Street at Lent's Lane, where the Midland Railway tracks once were.

Guide: 03 Mar 1882

The St. George Hotel was on Cavan Street, where Huffman Bros. Welding is presently located on the south side close to Walton Street. The 30 May 1878 Guide has an ad by John H. Hawkins (1819-1904) in 1878. Latterly, it was the Gamble Hotel (1889), run by William Gamble (1851-1893).

Guide: 15 May 1903

The St. Lawrence Hall Hotel block was built c1853 by Hiram Gillett, with the hotel on the second floor and shops below. The owner in 1901 was Albert W. Winslow (born c1854), James and Hilliard Robinson in charge in 1903, and A.R. Schumacher in 1910. After a destructive fire 20 Mar 1916 (owner: W.H. Bradburn of Peterborough), it was closed for 20 years, the building going through a series of owners. It reopened in 1936 under the ownership of Paul Haggis.
Following a major fire in 1964, Albert B. (Peter) Schultz purchased it from widow Lynn Hall 02 Feb 1965 and began the conversion into the present apartment complex, still with first-floor commercial use.

c1839 (PGA 2008-6-1-10 The Temperance Inn was, according to an 1839 flyer, run by Robert Crawford (1793-1871) and located two doors west of the Exchange Coffee House. The location may have been the site of the future St. Lawrence Hall Hotel.

The Victoria Tavern, included in the GTR map of 1854, was in operation on the corner of Mill and Peter streets. In 1857, Robert Waddell sold the property to Nicholas Winters (1823-1885), who operated it as the Victoria Hotel. In 1881, ownership of the property was transferred to John J. Turner, who is reported to have erected the present Turner House on the site. It burned down and was replaced in 1882. C. Nixon was proprietor in 1882 and John J. Turner the following year. There is no record of a licence renewal in 1901, and the property sold to Charles Perry in 1913. It has been recently restored for apartments and commercial use.Guide: 12 May 1882

Guide: 10 Oct 1883

Guide: 16 Oct 1852

The Walton Hotel site has a long reported history of drinking establishments. Craick claimed that Joseph Caldwell was the first to establish an inn on this site, the Caldwell House in 1802. By 1807, Jacob Choate ran an inn here before moving to Belmont in 1815. A frame building was the home of the Coffee Exchange House and then Thomson's Hotel, where the Board of Police first held their meetings. William Rowland's Hotel withstood the 1849-1950 fires and was in operation in 1852 ("good stabling and careful Hostlers in constant attendance") and for sale the same year. The old wooden Durham House was run by John Heatherington in the 1850s before being gutted in by fire in 1859. Following that, William Bletcher rebuilt in brick and leased to Thomas Hastings (1796-1875) by 1861, who ran the Prince of Wales' Hotel for a brief period in 1860 - likely to honour the visit of Prince that year - renaming it the Hastings House the following year.
In 1871, the present building was erected by James Cochrane and occupied by George Mackie's (d1902) Mackie's Hotel. A newspaper ad that same year had Robert Brodie as proprietor of the Queen's Hotel. In 1878, it was operated by Col. Allan A. Adams (1849-1909) under the same name. The 'Blackham Hotel property' (40 rooms, 20 with bath and shower) was offered for sale by R.C. Blackham in Sep 1887.
Louis Bennett (1857-1940) was granted a licence renewal in 1901 and continued to run the hotel through WWI. The 24 June 1921 Weekly Guide has an article in which the then-current owners, Keeler & Hopkins, were transferring the business to William Bennett. In the late 1900s, it became The Walton, its present name. It is currently undergoing complete renovation to regain its former glory, but as condominiums.
Guide: 04 Mar 1854

Guide: 25 May 1861

The following hotels are mentioned in various sources, with little detail. Their locations are uncertain, and they may have been operated on sites listed above.

John Gibson's Hotel on Queen Street. According to Alan Richards, John bought it from Ellen Foster (relict of John who died 25 Mar 1867) and ran it for a few years, including 1871 (census return), but it was shut down by the chief of police for allowing a rowdy public house. Gibson died 24 May 1878 at the age of 55 after choking on a piece of meat during dinner at Lee's Hotel. John Lee is listed in the 1861 Port Hope census as a tavern keeper (aged 29), but the location is unknown.

Mansion House, according to the 11 Sep 1969 Evening Guide, was a small inn at the east side of Port Hope. In 1929 it was still standing, but used as a garage. John Tucker Williams stayed there in Aug 1829, while the Penryn Homestead was being constructed, and it was at the inn that 5,000 pounds was stolen from him. In spite of a $500 reward offered by Williams, and augmented by sums from John D. Smith, David Smart, William Ouston, Charles Fothergill, G.B. Boswell, Erasmus Fouke, T. Ward, and M.F. Whitehead, it was never recovered.

Martin Griffin's Hotel, where Johnson reported that "no man was ever allowed a glass too much." An 1879 advertisement for the Port Hope Restaurant on John Street included the disclaimer: "...having resumed his former business" and offering lunch from 11-6 and oysters. Martin died in 1909.

Martin's Saloon, located on Queen Street, advertised in the 1858 Guide that they had on hand an ample supply of Cameron's Ale and "was capable of providing an Oyster Supper of best description."

Ontario House on Mill Street, operated by N. Strong (1856).

The Railroad House on Mill Street, run by F. Fulcher (1856).

The Shades Saloon, listed as being operated by Robert Kelly on Walton Street (1856).

The Traveller's Inn was operated by Edwin Pickering in 1856 on Julia Street. In 1857, the innkeeper was Henry Moore.

The Western House on Walton Street, was run by Thomas Truscott (1862).

According to the 1856 business directory, the Wellington Inn, along with a grocery store, located on Mill Street, was operated by David Gillespie (1807-1873). Lovell's 1857 directory had him as an innkeeper on Ward Street. He is also listed as "Saloon & Baker" (aged 47) in the 1861 Port Hope census.

Newspaper advertisements, census returns and business directories (1856-'57, 1857-'58, 1862, & 1902) also list the following operators:
  • Joseph Bletcher and his brother, stage proprietors and livery-stable keepers on Walton Street;
  • George Coad (1808-1893), a saloonkeeper on Walton Street (1858);
  • J. Cochrane, saloon on Queen Street (1862);
  • W.J. Cook, hotel (1902);
  • Walter Couchman, hotel (1902);
  • George Donnelly, an innkeeper on Mill Street (1856);
  • John Foster, an innkeeper on Queen Street (1858);
  • Ralph Francis, saloonkeeper on Queen Street (1858);
  • Robert Hills, saloonkeeper on Victoria Street (1858);
  • Donald McLean, saloonkeeper on Elias Street (1858);
  • Miles Ogden's hotel on John Street (1859);
  • J.S. Reynolds, saloon on John Street (1862);
  • H.C. Robinson, hotel (1902);
  • J. Simpson, saloon on John Street (1862);
  • J.D. Smith's tavern at 94 John Street (1835) had its beginnings as a local tavern, important in its location on the way to the harbour, as mentioned in a Heritage Port Hope Advisory Committee report; and
  • T. Whittleton & Son, hotel (1902).

  • http://www.heritageporthope.com/, website of Heritage Port Hope
  • Map of the GTR of Canada: Sheet No. 6, showing Hope Township Portion (1854).
  • Montagnes, Ian. Port Hope: A History. Port Hope: Ganaraska Press, 2007.
  • Port Hope Business Directory. Port Hope: Steele & Gladman, 1856-1857.
  • Port Hope Commercial Advertiser: 24 Jun 1848; 10 Mar 1849
  • Port Hope Evening Guide: 16 Oct 1852; 04 Mar 1854; 05 Mar 1854; 26 Feb 1859; 14 May 1859; 15 Dec 1860; 13 Jul 1861; 03 Mar 1882; 12 May 1882; 21 Dec 1910; 13 Jul 1958; 13 Nov 1958; 11 Sep 1969; 10 Mar 1978; 03 Apr 1978; 05 Jun 1981, & 15 Jul 1981
  • Port Hope Weekly Guide & News: 10 Oct 1883; 15 May 1903
  • Reeve, Harold. The History of the Township of Hope. Cobourg, Ontario: Sentinel-Star, 1967.
  • Smith, William H. Smith's Canadian Gazetteer. Toronto: H. & W. Rowsell, 1846 (reprint by Coles Canadiana Collection)
  • Staunton, Jane, Karen Ingram, & Lynn M. Flatley. Port Hope Architectural & Historical Inventory. Port Hope: L.A.C.A.C. 1981.
  • ...and local historians Norm Strong, R.W. Johnston, Leo "Bucky" Holdsworth, and W.A. Murray (of Rochester).

Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario
Copyright © 2014 PJBolton