Port Hope
past hotels, inns, and saloons

Brown Corner Stone

In response to numerous requests about early drinking and lodging establishments in Port Hope, we have compiled as accurate a list as possible of such businesses, their owners and 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 can be added is most appreciated.

This page is divided into three sections:

We have also included, where possible, the life spans of the individual owners involved to further provide dates of operation. Census returns and land registry records 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.

This is the cornerstone of John Brown’s home (built in 1823). His was the first brick building in Port Hope. Prior to its March 1930 demolition, the building was home to several hotels, the last of which, was the Royal Hotel.
Later, the site was occupied by a car dealership, and then the Port Hope Hydro building. The cornerstone is on display at the Port Hope Archives, courtesy of the Michael Wladyka collection.

Section 1

Albion Hotel

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

Blackham's Saloon Guide: 13 Apr 1861 Guide: 22 Nov 1856

Run by Richard G. Blackham (1833-1866), was located on John Street (possibly #85) in 1856. He relocated to his "new and commodious premises," to 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).

Brodie's Hotel Guide: c1860s

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.

Ganaraska Hotel

Bennett's Hotel (1897): the present Ganaraska Hotel On Ontario Street, this c1837 building began its inn life in 1856 as the Railroad Hotel, William Matthews (1814-1862), owner. 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 by James Bradley (1852-1891), and after his death in 1891, was operated by his widow, Charlotte (d1919). There appear to have been at least three lessees between 1901-1904. Louis Gordon Bennett (1857-1940) received a licence renewal for the Bennett House in 1901. In 1901-1902, 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) as the Ontario House. In 1904, it was sold to Margaret Howard, whose family continued to operate it under the same name for the next eighteen years.

Itheel Walter (1870-1953) leased the hotel May 1915, the inn being described as "a three-story brick structure with twenty guest rooms, centrally located within easy access to all business places."

It became the property of Samuel Palmer in 1920, and since then, has gone through a succession of owners, one of whom, Stanley Crossett, changed the name to the Ganaraska Hotel in 1947. It still functions as an inn by that name today.

A history of the owners and lessees can be found here, courtesy of the current owners.

Lambert's Hotel 1880 Guide: 15 May 1903

Hastings House

Church's Hotel Run by Thomas Warren Hastings (1796-1885), was the first hotel established in John Brown's building - the first brick building in Port Hope - on Mill Street at the foot of Walton. 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, Bletcher's Tavern, 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.

Guide: 05 Mar 1854 Royal Hotel Church's Hotel: 1862 Directory (porthopehistory.com)

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: 03 Sep 1859 Guide: 15 May 1903

Lake View House

Christopher Hotel (digitized by porthopehistory.com) 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.

Midland House

Guide: 15 May 1903 (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 and commercial venue.

North American Hotel

Located on Walton Street facing Queen, it 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 1856-1857 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: 21 Nov 1857 Guide: 21 Nov 1857 Guide: 15 May 1903

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.

Queen's Arms Inn

Port Hope Commercial Advertiser: 24 Jun 1848 Is proving to be somewhat of an enigma. William Matthews posted an ad stating his acquisition in Sept 1844. A December 1847 newspaper advertisement stated 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 on the east side of Mill Street South, just north of Madison Street.

Red Tavern

The town's first inn, was reported to have been built in 1803 by James Hawkins (1759-1841), a blacksmith, 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.

St. George Hotel

Was said to be 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), who had leased it in 1887. In the accompanying photo of 68 Cavan Street, from the Michael Wladyka collection, Percy Chesterton (1898-1980) claimed that this was the Minchus Hotel, later Gamble's. Two different hotels?

Gamble Hotel Guide: 03 Mar 1882 Guide: 03 Mar 1882

St. Lawrence Hall Hotel

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 re-opened 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.

Smith's Tavern

Smith's Tavern This building at 94 John Street is one of the oldest that line the south end of the street between Augusta and Dorset, having its beginnings as a local tavern, important in its location on the way to the harbour. It was constructed c1835 on the property of John David Smith, a son of town founder Elias Smith, and appears on the 1837 Bartlett print. The taproom is believed to have been the single-story addition on the north end of the house.
Source: The Heritage Port Hope Advisory Committee

Temperance Inn

c1839 (PGA 2008-6-1-10 According to an 1839 flyer, it was 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.

Victoria Tavern

The GTR map of 1854 shows the Victoria Tavern on the SE 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 erected the present Turner House on the site. (An Evening Guide biography of Mr. Turner can be read here.) It burned down and was replaced in 1882. C. Nixon was proprietor in 1882 and John J. Turner again 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

Walton Hotel

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: 16 Oct 1852 Guide: 04 Mar 1854 Guide: 25 May 1861

Section 2

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

Section 3

Hunter's Rye label Newspaper advertisements, census returns and business directories (1856-'57, 1857-'58, 1862, & 1902) also list the following operators:


Mitchell's Rye label

Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario