The Oshawa House

The Oshawa House was an inn and tavern located on the northwest corner of King and Centre Streets.  The building remains on this site today.

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The Oshawa House, from the Oshawa Community Archives Collection

The Oshawa House was constructed sometime around 1838 in the Italianate architectural style.  The inn, which had been described in 1844 as the best tavern between Toronto and Kingston, was a multi-purpose facility.   A large meeting hall was located on the second floor of the two-story section, just off Centre Street.  This hall served as the meeting place many local groups, as well as a place for public speaking events.  The entrance to the tavern was located at the corner of the building, just off Centre Street.   This entrance has since been filled in.  The entrance to the hotel was located off of King Street, where the entrance to the upper apartments and the businesses is located today.

According to the book Oshawa: The Manchester of Canada, published in 1898, the Oshawa House hotel had 40 well-furnished bedrooms as well as being lighted throughout with electricity.  At this time, the rate for a room was $1.00 but a special rate could be arranged by the week.

Oshawa House with Bishop Bethune Girls, From the Oshawa Community Archives Collection

Oshawa House with Bishop Bethune Girls, From the Oshawa Community Archives Collection

From 1838 until 1850, Richard Woon, the gentleman reported to have built the inn, served as hotelkeeper.  Woon, a native of Cornwall England, settled in Oshawa in 1834 and became a successful merchant.   In 1853, John McElron took over as hotelkeeper although he was never owner of the Oshawa House.   When Mr. A. Lockhart acquired ownership of the property in 1858, McElroy continued on as hotelkeeper.  Throughout the 1870s and 80s John Hobbs acted as proprietor of the Oshawa House.

By the 1920s the hotel gradually declined and the Oshawa House as converted to apartments with stores on the street level.   Today, the Oshawa House continues to serve a variety of tenants.  In August of 2006, the second story, where the hall once was, was removed.

Oshawa House as it stands today; photo taken by Oshawa Museum Youth (OMY) Volunteers

Oshawa House as it stands today; photo taken by Oshawa Museum Youth (OMY) Volunteers

For more about Oshawa’s Downtown Heritage, please join us Sunday, June 7, at 2pm for our Historical Downtown Walking Tour! Departs from McLaughlin Library Branch.

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