Willard's Hotel was built not far from this location in Williamsburg Township c. 1795 by Jacob Myers, a New York Layalist whose family came from the Palatine region of Germany. The building is typical of Loyalist frame architecture, with its plain clapboard siding and symmetrical central hall design.
In the 1830's the inn was purchased by John Willard, a tavern keeper from Montreal who had, like Myers, come north from the United States. Willard managed the Hotel with his wife Elizabeth and their son Matthew. He operated the hotel during its heyday when it was a popular stopover along the Prescott to Cornwall stage route. Prior to the completion of the St. Lawrence canals, this was a busy thoroughfare for visitors travelling into Upper Canada who were, at the time, required to travel from Montreal to Prescott by land in order to avoid the St. Lawrence rapids which interrupted navigation on the river.
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Willard's Hotel, like others in the area, provided lodging and food for travellers and their horses. Lodgers would have eaten with the family and would have shared in the family's daily meals. Accomodation would have been at a premium with competition among the guests for the favoured sleeping quarters.
By the 1850s railroads and a series of elaborate canals which skirted the rapids caused travellers to by-pass the taverns and inns along the upper St. Lawrence River and most of them went out of business. At the same time, John Willard died, leaving the Hotel to his son Matthew.
Today, Willard's represents a country eatery from mid-nineteenth century Ontario. The menu selections and the dining environments are typical to what was found in Eastern Ontario during the mid-nineteenth century. We hope that you enjoy your dining experience.
Willard's Hotel welcomes reservations of 15 or more throughout the day or evening.
Willard's Hotel is a licensed establishment, and can accomodate up to 99 people. Please click below to open menu(s) in a separate window as a PDF document.