The Red Lion Hotel has a particularly long history filled with numerous proprietors and name changes. It all began with Moses Weaver who left the United States for Dundas around 1838. He emigrated on his own, leaving behind his first wife and his 7 children. He quickly built himself a business – Weaver’s Tavern in 1841. After his death in 1854, the tavern was given many names: Red Lion Hotel (1848), Terrapin Saloon (1868), again the Red Lion Hotel (1872), Queen’s Hotel (1882), for a third time the Red Lion Hotel (1898), Osborne House (1901), and Wentworth Inn (1921). In 1922, the hotel was closed as a result of prohibition.
A key feature of the Red Lion Hotel was the arched passageway that allowed horses and carriages to drive directly to the stables in the back of the hotel. The Enright Brothers company partnered with the Red Lion Hotel and operated their taxi service using that particular archway. Joseph and John Enright would often pick up clients from the Red Lion Hotel and bring them to the Grand Trunk Railway Station – this happened as often as four times a day. The use of the Desjardins Canal as a trading route in the mid to late 1800s meant that more people were able to reach Dundas. As a result, the growth of hotels and taxi services in Dundas, much like this partnership, grew fairly quickly to try and accommodate these travellers. The Enright Bros. operated out of the Red Lion Hotel from 1862-1905.
Unfortunately, the building burned down on September 30, 1871 and was rebuilt in 1872 using brick instead. This is the building that still stands today.
Thanks to the students of McMaster University Department of History for their assistance with this project.