Historical Plaque Properties

 

Queen's Inn Stratford
161 Ontario Street
Orig.1858 Rebuilt 1905

Robert Johnson built the original Queen’s Arms Hotel in 1858 on land he purchased from the Canada Company. Named in honour of Queen Victoria “the graceful frame building” provided free transportation for guests to and from the railway station and stabling for close to one hundred horses.

 

The hotel was purchased by John Corrie, in March 1866 and the property remained in the Corrie family for almost half-a-century. John Corrie was an important member of Stratford society and, according to the 1879 Perth County Atlas, the Queen’s Arms became the special headquarters of County Councillors and politicians.


John operated the hotel for a number of years and then retained managers until his son Fredrick John Corrie took over management responsibility for the hotel about 1892. 


Fred Corrie was born on January 21, 1862 in the town of St. Marys, Ontario. He was the second child of John Corrie and Mary Ann King who had both emigrated from England and were married in Stratford on February 23, 1860.


During his younger years Fred Corrie is reported to have travelled extensively gaining experience in the hotel business. Upon his return to Stratford, Fred married Mary Ann Monkman who was born in the Town of Fergus, Ontario on June 20, 1858. She was the daughter of Lawrence Monkman and Martha Ann Felker. Mary’s father died when she was ten years old and the family fell on hard times.  Mary’s mother moved the family to the City of Hamilton where she worked as a tailoress and Mary assisted as a seamstress.


On December 23, 1876, Mary who was eighteen had married twenty-four year old Frederick Mitchell. Frederick was a jeweller but he aspired to be an actor. In the 1881 census both Frederick and Mary list their occupation as actors. However, their marriage fell apart and the couple were divorced.


Fred Corrie assumed ownership of the Queen’s Arms from his father in 1904 and rebuilt the hotel as “The New Queen’s Arms” which opened in 1905. The new hotel was constructed in the Neo-Classical Revival Style characterized by the cupola on the angled corner of the building that includes a doorway that led to the original tavern, which according to contemporary newspaper accounts had ‘the finest bar in the province… built of massive quarter cut oak.” The hotel was lit through a combination of electric and gas lamps. The restaurant was decorated in an oriental style, fashionable at the time, and the second and third floor hallways were covered in red velvet carpets, and had bathrooms and lavatories on each floor with hot and cold running water. The floors of the forty-five spacious rooms were covered with Belgian carpets. The rooms rented for $1.50 to $2.00 per day.


Fred sold the hotel in 1914 and by 1920 he and Mary emigrated to the United States where they settled in Alhambra, California a developing suburb near Los Angeles. Fred became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1925. The couple seemed to have alternated their time between their home in Alhambra and Hamilton. Fred died in Hamilton on October 25, 1929. Mary continued to live in Alhambra but later in life she returned to Hamilton to live with her nephew John S. Corrie. She died, in Hamilton on December 9, 1942 and is buried alongside Fred at Woodland Cemetery in Hamilton.