Print this Post

The Queen’s Hotel – A popular Barrie establishment for almost two centuries

May 2024

The Queen’s Hotel in the southern Ontario city of Barrie has been an institution for almost 175 years. Beginning as a tavern in 1850, it was known as Marks’ Hotel back then, named after proprietor Edward Marks.

The three-storey brick hotel on Dunlop Street East, no longer offers rooms for the night, but patrons can still find a good meal, have drinks, listen to a live band or dance to a DJ pumping out the beats.

The old establishment has gone through many owners and operators, also been known as the Barrie Hotel and was destroyed in a fire on 10 February 1915.

In May 1924, the Barrie Hotel became the Queen’s Hotel 100 years ago. Owned by Thomas Lowe and his brother Richard, the Queen’s was known for excellent dining and a bar that featured top-shelf wines and liquors along with the finest cigars. For those staying the night, the hotel offered private sitting rooms with attached bedrooms, perfect for families, and had large stables for the horses. Bedrooms were said to be large and airy, and the stables were the best in town.

Thomas Lowe operated the Queen’s Hotel until about 1935, when he sold the hotel and retired.

Future Barrie Mayor (2003-2006) Rob Hamilton bought the Queen’s Hotel in 1974 from Millie Campbell, after the tragic beating death of her husband Charlie the previous year.

In 1977, Hamilton and his co-owner, whom he would later buy-out, decided to cease the hotel part of the business, electing to concentrate on the pub and restaurant operations. The 44 guest rooms were turned into office space, a ladies washroom and storage.

Hamilton transformed the Queen’s into essentially two different bars. One side featured live bands for several year, but was transformed into a disco in 1977. For the next ten years, the Queen’s disco was the place to be in Barrie, with disco dancing contests on a dance floor that was lit from underneath using special effect lighting. No other bar in Barrie had that.

The other side of the hotel was a men’s beverage room. Patrons today know these two sections as “the dance side,” a dance club with a DJ pumping out the music, and “the sports bar” side, featuring food, drinks, televisions for watching sports and live bands on most weekends.

The hotel has gone through changes over the years, from being a nightclub/bar active mostly on weekends, to more of a sports bar/restaurant model, with live bands and a nightclub still occupying the weekends.

In 2020, Rob and Donna Hamilton sold the Queen’s, after a 46 -year run.

A recipient of the Heritage Barrie Heritage Award, the historic Queen’s Hotel continues to be a popular spot to this day.

Sources: After 40 years, Queens’ owner says best is yet to come (simcoe.com), THEN & NOW: The Queen’s Hotel – Barrie News (barrietoday.com), REMEMBER THIS: From resort to rubble (4 photos) – Barrie News (barrietoday.com), Queen’s Hotel In Barrie Sold After 46 Years | Max 97.7 (977maxfm.ca).

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/the-queens-hotel-a-popular-barrie-establishment-for-almost-two-centuries/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>