Montgomery's Inn is Etobicoke's Museum
the heart of Etobicoke history
by Robert A. Given (Life member of the Etobicoke Historical Society)
In 2005, Montgomery's Inn celebrates its 30th year as a museum.
Where would it be without its Friends and Volunteers? Nowhere!
To recognize this fact, a special "Friends Recognition Event" was held on Saturday 5th February, 2005. Management Board Chair Janice Etter and Curator Mike Lipowski
addressed the gathering, and,
along with Marda Robinson, cut the anniversary cake.
How did this all start?
In 1960, the building had just been sold to private owners, and it seemed the Inn's days were numbered.
But a fateful coffee break, a couple of years earlier, had already set the preservation wheels in motion.
Back then; Etobicoke had Township-Offices on both sides
of the Islington Burial Ground on Dundas Street West.
Across the road was a restaurant. One day in 1958,
W. Wranski, Etobicoke's Planning commissioner Frank Longstaff,
a member of the Planning Board, who worked near Islington,
and Dorothy Hobbs, a popular Township employee who may have
worked in the basement of the police department, happened
to be having coffee at the same table.
The talk about applications for demolition and construction
got them thinking about the need for a historical society.
The Etobicoke Historical Society (EHS) was born, and soon began holding meetings in the Red Gables home (now called the Red Gables-House), in the James Gardens. Our
Historical Society collected historical artifacts from members, and was able to establish a small museum in the basement, and organized volunteers to show visitors around on week-ends.
In 1962 our Society joined forces with developer Louis Mayzel,
who had planned to demolish the Inn and erect a row of stores
with apartments above, along Dundas.
The property was purchased and saved from demolition.
The facilities, in the mean time, were being well used in the meantime:
A Presbyterian congregation had changed the main floor interior to create a large room for
worship, and added a new basement to the east. The "Lamb-Is-King", Club of teenagers from
Etobicoke High School met there after classes, and a Jewish congregation worshipped on weekends. The Township acquired the property in 1965.
In our December 1970 newsletter, Jean Hibbert reminded us
Dean Paterson, Deputy Clerk and Secretary of the EHS,
was to hold a meeting to discuss the future of the Inn,
and the public was invited.,
In the fall of 1972, we began meeting at Humber Valley United Church,
thanks to Norma Carrier, who sat on the Executives of both the EHS and the Etobicoke
Historical Board. The Inn had been closed for restoration. Volunteers were preparing items for the Inn. at a workshop in the old Fifth Street School in New Toronto (now the LAMP building).
The EHS held its first meeting in the Inn's Community Room in January 1975.
For over a century, there was a drive shed for horse and buggies, extending south from the Inn.
It was replaced with offices and the "Briarly Room" below.
That Wing of the building opened on 20th February 1990, as an "expansion" of Montgomery's Inn.
There was some controversy about that expansion,
but today it houses the Inns bustling offices and archives
and the Briarly Room provides rental meeting space with
a picturesque view of the Mimico Creek. .
The Inn stands as testament to what can be accomplished when the community recognizes
a historical jewel and works together with politicians and private parties to keep a piece of our past,
alive for future generations.