The Melbourne Hotel was built in 1899 by J.H Stephenson. It boasted 28 bedrooms and 26 other communal rooms – one of the finest hotels in Dundas at the time. To spend a night in the Melbourne Hotel, you could expect to pay approximately $1 to $1.50 a day per room.
Harry W. Surerus bought the hotel in 1902 and was proprietor for at least fifteen years. After Surerus, the hotel experienced an assortment of owners up until 1975 when it was known as the Coach House, a tavern, until 1988. Currently, the building structure is being used for commercial purposes.
The Melbourne Hotel quickly became a hot spot for various functions and prestigious events.
The size and grandeur of the Melbourne Hotel is what constitutes it as being part of the second generation of hotels. These were hotels commonly established at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century that were larger and more sophisticated than early village hotels or taverns. The title ‘hotel’ also allowed guests to distinguish between what was a large inn versus a minor, public house. Second generation hotels allowed for various public and private events – going beyond the bare room and board concept of many earlier establishments.
Thanks to the students of McMaster University Department of History for their assistance with this project.