Montgomery’s Inn has been a significant landmark in Etobicoke since Thomas Montgomery built it about 1830. It is often confused with Montgomery’s Tavern located many miles away on Yonge Street, which served as the headquarters for William Lyon Mackenzie, leader of the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837. Nevertheless, there is a rebellion connection. Thomas Montgomery joined the militia during the rebellion period. Just days after the rebels were dispersed from John Montgomery's tavern on Yonge, Thomas Montgomery advanced 12 pounds, 17 shillings and 6 pence: “To the amount delivered to the different vollinteers going to defend there counterey and returning home againe...”
There are several notations in his account book regarding meals provided for soldiers and prisoners during the crisis. In the end he received payment from the commissariat department for meals provided in the amount of 28 pounds, 19 shillings and six pence.
Montgomery’s Inn was an important stop for travellers on the Dundas highway. After an extensive expansion in 1838, which added a tavern, kitchen and ballroom, it became a social centre for the community, and the site of meetings of the local township government and the Grand Orange Lodge in the 1830s and 1840s. Shortly after his wife Margaret’s death in 1855, Thomas closed the inn, taking in tenants to fill the rooms instead.
After Thomas died in 1877, the farm was rented out, and eventually subdivided to make way for much of present-day Islington Village. The inn had several owners before being sold to the Etobicoke Historical Board. Restoration of the inn began in 1967 as a centennial project, taking the inn back to the period 1847-50. Montgomery’s Inn is now a Toronto museum.
By Sandra Shaul