Exploring an Abandoned and Haunted 170 Year Old Tavern
History of the Abandoned Tavern
This old abandoned 170 year old tavern and Inn dates back to the time when Queen Victoria ruled the commonwealth
The history of this abandoned Inn spans the whole development of what was known as the Queen’s Bush, a vast unsettled area between Waterloo County, Ontario and Lake Huron during the early 19th century.
As soon as a piece of ground could be cleared by the pioneers of this county, a log tavern was erected, and on that site this tavern has been continuous ever since. The original rough-sawn floor-boards from the tavern actually had to be taken from the floor of the building in its first winter to make a coffin for a surveyor, the first person to die in the settlement.
The first, Methodist, church service was held there in 1853, and when the Presbyterians held a service in 1855, the congregation sat on whiskey barrels and beer kegs. When the Land Sale Office opened in 1854, the tavern provided food and drink for the many people rushing to take up land. The same tavern was the polling booth for the first township election.
In 1863 the Village was really beginning to take shape, and the log tavern was replaced by a two-storey brick building. In 1890, just after the Village had reached its point of greatest prosperity, a third storey and the tower with its Romanesque arches were added. In 1956 the building became the first bright night spot of the area, foreshadowing the years of relative boom that were to follow.
In its heyday, during the 1960s and ’70s, the Inn was so crowded between Thursday and Saturday nights, people were turned away at the door.
While it’s not clear exactly when or why this facility was ultimately closed down, it was given a heritage designation in the early 1980’s
However, after decades of sitting empty and few failed attempts to restore and reopen, all attempts were abandoned, as was the building
City Council agreed in January 2019 to remove the heritage designation to allow for demolition and the development of a new multi unit dwelling in its place.
However, as of August 2019, the plans to demolish the Inn and turn the property into a housing and commercial development have been delayed as the project works its way through planning approvals and miles and miles of red tape.
While the owners have received a demolition permit to tear down the current 170-year-old building, they want written assurance from city council that they can get approval for the development before they start construction.
My Explore and Experience at the 170 Year Old Abandoned Tavern
This abandoned tavern has been in my exploring map for several years. however its remote location far from my home, plus the fact that no one ever gets inside had placed it so far down my priority list that I actually had pretty much forgotten about it. Then earlier in the year a newer explorer named LostSpot Photography had posted some photos from the inside. This came as no surprise to me as this particular explorer has a knack for successfully exploring places that very few have had the opportunity to explore, as I like to say “The Kids Are Alright!”
Thanks to a bit of intel from LostSpot I was ready to hit the road for an extended road trip to finally knock this one off the bucket list! I arrived at the location and every bit of intel I received checked out and I quickly found myself inside!
The very first sight was not a good sign, to even enter the building you have to climb over a collapsed floor, dropped right down into the basement, then further into the main floor the floors are extremely soft, from years and years of harsh winters, warm summers and everything else that Ontario weather can throw at it.
Lots left behind inside, whiskey and wine barrel tables, chairs, couches, a very old cash register and more.
The higher up I went through the three floors the softer the floors were, at the very top floor I almost put a foot through but I realized the mistake before I put my weight down. Overrun by raccoons, feces was everywhere as was pigeon poop and who knows what else!
The Inn part of the abandoned tavern and inn was probably the best part, bringing back memories of some old abandoned asylums and hospitals with the colours, wallpaper and peeling paint.
Finally after spending a good few hours inside documenting, filming video and more I moved down for a few last photos by a front window. Across the road, two teenage girls enjoying ices cream cones looked in my direction with looks of horror, they looked like they had seen a ghost and that ghost was me! I gave them a friendly wave and the universal “sshhhhhh” gesture.
The girls looked relieved and laughed to eachother at their brief ghostly encounter!
Thanks again to LostSpot Photography for the information on this one!