Looking forward. Looking back.

Restoration of the Inn

The restoration of Montgomery’s Inn has been an ongoing process which reflects the best efforts of professionals and citizens committed to conserving its legacy. Read about it in this recent article about our 40th anniversary Corn Roast published by Cynthia Reason in the Etobicoke Guardian.

The Inn is of an architectural style known today as Loyalist or late Georgian. The symmetrical balance and the fanlight over the front door are typical of this style. In 1967 the Inn’s original pebble dash finish, with “quoined” corners resembling cut stone, was removed as a centennial project, revealing the rubble stone walls.

In 1972 architect Napier Simpson Jr. and heritage consultant Dorothy Duncan, along with Brigadier J.A. McGinnis of the Toronto Historical Board, began restoring the interior of Montgomery’s Inn to reflect its heyday of 1847-1850, a time when thousands of Irish famine refugees were flooding into Toronto.

The interior had been greatly altered during the time that the building served as a Presbyterian church, so many partitions had to be rebuilt as well as the main staircase. Following clues left in the Montgomery papers, the restoration team determined the location and use of the rooms, and furnished them accordingly.

The furnishings are either donated or purchased pieces of Canadian, American and English origin, chosen to reflect the lifestyle of a middle-class Irish farm family. Where period antiques are not available or too fragile, reproductions have been used. Few objects from the original occupants remain. After Thomas Montgomery’s death in 1877, his descendants sold the contents of the building.

Beginning in 2011, the Inn will undergo a re-restoration to upgrade its historic details in light of more recent research, and to ensure that the fabric and contents of the building will be conserved for the long term as a local heritage resource. Funds will be provided by City of Toronto Cultural Services and through the fundraising efforts of the Heritage Etobicoke Foundation. Donations welcome!