Visiting Montgomery's Inn, Etobicoke, Toronto, Ontario: example of Loyalist Georgian architecture, now a museum
Rural Etobicoke remembered
This former Inn, which also served various other functions in its nearly 2 centuries of history, is an example of Loyalist Georgian architecture. Dating from circa 1832, the structure is named for Thomas Montgomery (1790-1877)(1), its original owner.
Unlike many Georgian buildings, its main frontage is somewhat asymmetrical, with a prominent Georgian doorway set to the western end of the edifice's northern frontage. The doorway structure includes a conspicuous fanlight, which reminds me of typical Georgian doors which abound in Thomas Montgomery's native Ireland, especially in Dublin.
The building has been the subject of considerable heritage preservation efforts. Formerly owned by the Etobicoke Historical Society, it passed to the ownership of Toronto City Council some 13 years ago; today it contains one of the City's many historical museums.
A plaque sponsored by the Archaeological and Historical Sites Board of Ontario (2) is affixed outside the building.
Prior to becoming a heritage centre and museum, the property served various uses; while it is referred to as an Inn, it ceased to be such in 1856, but continued to be owned by the Montgomery family until after World War Two. On occasions the property was used for Etobicoke township meetings in the mid-19th century. It was also used as a venue by the local Orange Lodge, and (almost needless to say) the sympathies of Thomas Montgomery were decidedly with the British Crown during Mackenzie's Rebellion in 1837, and it was at this time also that he fulfilled his militia rôle (3).The property was also for many years the centre of a 161 hectare farm; thus reminding the visitor that it was formerly very much part of rural Etobicoke.
The museum's rooms contain many old pieces of furniture; while few are original to the property, they are period-specific.
Montgomery's Inn is situated at 4709 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, Toronto, Ontario.
Disambiguation: Not to be confused with Montgomery's Inn is Montgomery's Tavern on Yonge Street, Toronto, also a heritage property.
March 1, 2013
(1) Thomas Montgomery was both an innkeeper and farmer; he also served as a captain in the York Militia.
(2) Now the Ontario Heritage Trust.
(3) The Thomas Montgomery papers are held at the Toronto Reference Library. Thomas Montgomery had a family association with St George's Anglican Church, Islington and it is clear that Thomas Montgomery held thoroughgoingly Protestant views. However, there is evidence also that within the Montgomery family these views may have been regarded as geared more to politics rather than to personal belief: a letter in the archives from Thomas Montgomery's son Robert, dating from 1862 suggests that his father pay more attention to personal religious faith and is interspersed with exhortative Scripture quotation. This sheds interesting light on public and private paradigms within professions of Protestant faith in 19th century Ontario.
Also worth seeing
How to get there: Air Canada flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. 4709 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, Toronto is 10.3 kilometres from Toronto Pearson Airport. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, it is advisable to check with the airline or your travel agent. For any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities, please refer to appropriate consular sources.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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