Descending the Main Street hill at Robert Street, one sees on the right, a large, empty, parking lot. This was the location of a once famous tavern known as the Canada House, Penetanguishene.
Originally built as the “Commercial" by Stephen Jeffery, one of the early tavern owners and a landholder of a fair bit of downtown Penetang, it served the thirsty community fairly and squarely.
The first Orange celebration in Penetang was held at the Canada House in 1859. Considering the sectarian alliances in Penetang, it would not be a surprise that it was held here as the Jeffery family were staunchly Presbyterian and Protestant.
We cannot, at present, be certain when the “Commercial Hotel” became the “Canada House,” however, the Poetical Directory of Penetanguishene, 1876, lists Gilbert Tessier as the host of the Canada House at that time.
In a 1911 Business Directory of Simcoe County, Joseph Clouthier, we learn, has owned Canada House since June 8, 1881, making him the oldest continuous hotel man in Simcoe County, according to the writer.
Penetang has had numerous Hostelries in its halcyon days.
The Canada House burned to the ground in February of 1955. Penetang firefighters fought the blaze for days.
Medore Desroches, Art Desroches and Armand Lorette served in the Canada House.
The J.W. Bald photo shows the Canada House in the forties. During this period, the Canada House was Agent for Grey Coach Lines and was a busy place. Now a parking lot with some interesting memories!
René Hackstetter, April 22, 2022.