Montgomery’s Inn Museum highlights the historical role played by the inn as a tavern, farm, local gathering place and community hub in the development and history of Etobicoke. The site is located in Thomas Riley Park, which includes wildflower gardens, trails, a lawn bowling facility, tennis courts, playgrounds and a community garden. The site includes a free-standing, brick wood-fired bake oven built in 2011.
Features of the building include the 1830s Inn which features twelve restored rooms, a tea room, a bar room and a commercial kitchen, as well as a modern addition featuring a 3,000 volume research library, a gallery space, archives, and a gift shop.
The museum continues to extend the tradition of hospitality started by the Montgomery family in the 1830s, and is available for special event, wedding or meeting rentals. Visitors can explore the pivotal role of the tavern in colonial Canada through ongoing educational programs, tours, events, exhibits, and farmers’ market.
Please note: the interior of Montgomery’s Inn can be seen by self-guided or guided tour. Please refer to the open hours below or call for more information.
Seniors (65+): $7
Youth (13-18 years): $7
Children (12 and under): $5
Hours of Operation
Please note: Group bookings are accepted 7 days a week; morning, afternoon, and evening, year-round.
Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 1 – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays and Statutory Holidays (excluding: Valentines Day, Victoria Day and Canada Day when the museum is open for special menus in the tea room.)
- Free public parking
- Public washrooms w/changing facilities
- Special needs: Partial accessibility.
- Please call 416-394-8113 for specific accessibility questions
- Food services: when tea room is open
- Outdoor picnic area
- Gift shop
Drive to the south-east corner of Islington Avenue and Dundas Street West. Free parking is available off Montgomery Road.
Take the Bloor/Danforth subway line to Islington station and either walk north or board the Islington 37 northbound bus. For specific TTC route and schedule information call 416-393-4636 (INFO) or visit the TTC website.
Montgomery’s Inn was once part of a 400-acre farm which supplied food for the Montgomery family, guests of the inn and for retail sale. Much of this land continued to be farmed by tenant farmers through the 1940s. Though the farm is long gone, we celebrate the Inn’s agricultural roots once again by offering farm-fresh produce for sale.
Every Wednesday from 2 – 6 p.m.
Please note: there will be no market on December 26, 2018 or January 2, 2019
Meet Our Farmers
- Bees’ Universe: Honey, hive products and eggs
- Greenhouse Eatery: Organic vegetables and prepared farm-to-fork meals (until December 5)
- Huron Sun: Local, non-GMO cold-pressed sunflower oil (until December 5)
- Levandale Farms: Chemical free beef and pork, vegetables, berries, flowers and herbs
- Nith Valley Organics: Organic veggies
- Ontario Water Buffalo Co.: Meat, meat pies & cheese
- Samsara Fields: Organic produce
- Secret Lands Farm: Lamb & sheep milk products
- Spade & Spoon Preserves: Small-batch preserves from farm produce
Meet Our Producers
- Montgomery’s INNovators: Bread baked in the Inn’s own wood-fired outdoor bake oven
- Lady Emily Fine Foods: prepared meals & baked goods
- The Happy Bakers (formerly known as More Than Pies): Biscotti, cookies, scones, pies and quiche
- Molly B’s Gluten Free Kitchen: Gluten-free sweet and savoury baked goods
- Ambrozia: Prepared Polish foods
- The Smoke Bloke: Ethically and sustainable raised Canadian salmon, cured, smoked and hand sliced
- Fifthtown Cheese: Prince Edward County cheese maker
- Baby Delish: Organic purees and dehydrates made from local, organic fruit and vegetables
Meet Our Pop-Up Vendors
- My Chocolate Symphony: Handmade chocolates (bi-weekly)
- Herbal Ghee: Flavoured Ghee from Ontario butter (bi-weekly)
- Flaxy: Canadian-grown organic flax and ready-to-use flax (dates TBA)
- Eden In Season: Mushrooms, heart nuts and more (dates TBA)
- Sharp My Knife: Knife sharpening (December 5 only)
For the past five years, Montgomery’s Inn has run a successful farmers’ market program. The market has proven to be of great benefit to the museum, the local community and participating vendors.
Using Montgomery’s Inn as a case study, this how-to guide is aimed at heritage sites and community museums in the province of Ontario, with the goal of encouraging more sites to consider a farmers’ market at their location. Please email email@example.com to receive a .pdf copy of the Farmers’ Market Toolkit for Heritage Sites.
Montgomery’s Inn was designed in the Loyalist or late Georgian architectural style, and was deemed Classical because it had been inspired by ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Features such as the centre-hall plan, the symmetrical balance of the building and the fanlight over the front door are typical. The Inn is built of rubble stone and was originally covered with pebble-dashed stucco, finished, or “coined,” on the corners to give the appearance of cut stone.
After Thomas Montgomery’s death in 1877, the contents of the building were sold at auction. The furnishings in the museum are either donated or purchased pieces of Canadian, American and English origin and reflect those of a conservative country innkeeper. The paint colours on the walls and woodwork are similar to the original colours, which were discovered by scraping down to the original coat of paint in each room.
Description of Historic Place
Montgomery’s Inn is a late Georgian building located in the former Township of Etobicoke. The Inn was constructed in stages in the 1830s for the Irish immigrant Thomas Montgomery and his wife, Margaret (née Dawson). The Inn operated as a hotel, tavern, and family residence during Thomas’ lifetime, and was subsequently used as a farmhouse, church, and a community hall until the mid-twentieth century. Montgomery’s Inn is owned by the City of Toronto, and managed and operated by the City’s Cultural Services.
Statement of Heritage Value
- Montgomery’s Inn is located at 4709 Dundas Street West in Municipal Ward 4, next to Thomas Riley Park. It is a designated heritage site under by-law 3787 passed by City Council on February 16, 1976.
- Montgomery’s Inn is situated within the Mimico Creek Floodplain and Valley. This natural heritage area is protected under Ontario Regulation 166/06: Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses, approved by the Minister of Natural Resources on May 4, 2006.
- Montgomery’s Inn is adjacent to a City park, and is located within a river valley system that is protected under the Ravine and Natural Feature Protection by-law that applies to the conservation of major valleys and ravines under the jurisdiction of the TRCA. (City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 658, Ravine and Natural Feature Protection).
- Montgomery’s Inn is historically associated with the inhabitants of nineteenth century village of Islington and rural Etobicoke, in particular with the domestic and professional lives of Thomas Montgomery (1790 – 1877), Margaret Montgomery (1808 – 1855), and members of the family household.
- The Inn is significant as an example of Late Regency architecture and is situated in its original location beside Mimico Creek. It contains elements of its earliest shape and subsequent modifications by later tenants and owners, and is a major historic landmark in Etobicoke.
- Montgomery’s Inn was once part of a larger property, traces of which survive on the modern landscape. The site comprises an extensive archaeological record that includes artefacts discovered during excavations in the twentieth century, and remnants of outbuildings, such as the barn and drive shed, that were removed by previous occupants.
- Montgomery’s Inn is situated on Dundas Street, one of Upper Canada’s principal highways, and was an important stopping place for travelers and local patrons. The Inn provided food, drink, goods, overnight lodgings, and space for public events and meetings. The building is now a heritage site that interprets significant aspects of the city’s history, and remains a valuable historical and cultural resource for various stakeholders.
Character Defining Elements
Key elements that define the heritage value of this site include:
- Montgomery’s Inn is a significant historic structure that has been restored to its mid-nineteenth century form. The Museum possesses a comprehensive artefact collection that is associated with the history of the local community. The period furnishings in the bar room, family rooms, ballroom, guest rooms, and kitchen provide a detailed interpretation of the building’s appearance and functions from 1847 to 1850.
- The Inn’s history is closely connected to Etobicoke’s development as a city borough. After the death of Margaret Montgomery in 1855 the building was occupied by a series of tenants, farmers, and market gardeners. Thomas Montgomery’s grandchildren eventually sold the property to the Kingsway Presbyterian Church, who used the building as a community hall and place of worship from the 1940s to the early 1960s.
- The Museum is recognized as a valuable cultural centre by community stakeholders and residents, who fought to retain the building as a heritage site in 1961 when it was under the threat of demolition or relocation to Black Creek Pioneer Village. The Inn became the centre of a controversial development campaign, and overwhelming public support for the preservation of the site prompted its acquisition by the Etobicoke Historical Society in 1962. Site ownership was transferred to the City of Toronto in 1965, and the Etobicoke Historical Board (EHB) was created by the Borough of Etobicoke “to manage, maintain, and restore Montgomery’s Inn” for use as a community resource. The building’s restoration was an extremely popular municipal project in the 1970s, and Montgomery’s Inn has remained the focus of continued local interest to the present day.
- Documents relating to the Inn and the Montgomery family are stored on-site and at the Toronto Public Library’s Baldwin Room and the Archives of Ontario, and are also available at various other locations throughout the city. Aspects of daily activities and business have been described extensively in the Thomas Montgomery Papers; this material includes ledgers, account books, correspondence, and miscellaneous documents that provide detailed descriptions of many facets of nineteenth-century life. The collections also include documents and photographs relating to later tenants and to the property’s development over in the twentieth century.
- The Museum’s artefact collection includes period artefacts and reproductions that are not historically connected to the building. The majority of the collection was purchased or acquired from local donors, and consists of materials representative of the various homes, farms, and businesses that existed within Etobicoke during the nineteenth-century. There is also an extensive archaeological collection that was unearthed during excavations in 1985 and 1986 that comprises over four thousand objects and fragments that are now in storage in the Museum archives (refer to Archaeological Value below).
- Montgomery’s Inn is one of the finest examples of late Regency or Loyalist architecture in Ontario. Features of this style include the interior centre-hall plan, the main front door surrounded by sidelights and the overhead fanlight, and the distinctive symmetrical balance of the original 1830s core. The Inn’s formal Georgian appearance once included a covering of pebble dashed stucco that was removed during exterior renovations in 1967.
- Montgomery’s Inn has undergone a number of major alterations and restorations over time. The original building was constructed by Thomas Montgomery in 1830 and was expanded in 1838 to include new wings to the east and south. The first floor’s internal layout was recreated during restorations in the late twentieth century. A number of original nineteenth-century elements survive in the second story floors and room partitions, the original baseboards, and various fireplace mantels, window frames, doors, plaster mouldings, and paint samples.
- The Inn was once the centre of an extensive property that included a number of outbuildings that have since been demolished. However, there are photographic records of the barn and smoke house, which were removed in the 1940s, as well as traces of the foundations of the barn and of a flagstone retaining wall for an ornamental rock garden to the south of the main building.
- The restoration in the 1970s and subsequent renovations and archaeological investigations, including the construction of a modern extension on the site of the original driveshed, unearthed a variety of artefacts belonging to the Montgomery family and to later occupants. Thousands of artifacts were retrieved during archaeological excavations conducted by students under the direction of the Foundation for Public Archaeology in 1985 and 1986 prior to the construction of the modern extension. This collection contains objects dating from both the nineteenth and twentieth century, and includes ceramics, bottles, cutlery, construction debris, glass, toys, keys, clay pipes, toiletries, and fragments of clothing such as belts, pins, and buckles. All site planning related to Montgomery’s Inn should be undertaken with reference to potential undiscovered archaeological features, in conjunction with the City of Toronto’s Master Plan for Archaeological Resources.
- Montgomery’s Inn was once part of what eventually became a large farm that stretched west to Kipling Avenue, east to Royal York Road, north to Dundas Street West, and south to the present-day Bloor Street. Evidence of this estate survives in local street and property names, and as surviving property features on the modern landscape. Montgomery Road, located next to the museum parking lot is one of the earliest in the area, and was originally laid out on the property by Thomas himself to increase traffic at the Inn. Montgomery’s Inn is located on its original site next to Thomas Riley Park and the Mimico Creek Watershed; the Museum retains a clear view to the creek, and the park contains fruit trees that may be descended from the nineteenth-century estate orchard.
- Montgomery’s Inn was a stopping point along a major nineteenth-century transport route, and an important social centre in the historic Village of Islington. The Inn provided supplies for local inhabitants and travelers, and hosted many ceremonial events and gatherings, such as meetings for local and regional orders of the Orange Lodge and the Home District Council. The building’s survival and restoration in the twentieth century demonstrates its continuing importance to the Etobicoke community, as well as its wider significance as a historic landmark and cultural resource in the City of Toronto.