The Queen’s Theatre

Ann Morden, whose husband Ralph was executed by American Revolutionaries in 1780 for Loyalist sympathies, was granted land by the Crown in 1798 including this site. In about 1853 Broch Rousseau, an Ancaster grocer owned the earliest building here, renting stores to a tailor and shoemaker.

By the 1860s this section of King Street had become a thriving business community. Shops included a confectioner, a tobacconist, a shoemaker, and a harness maker as well as a number of dwellings.

Fire on March 12, 1882 consumed eight structures, including the frame house and shop on this site owned by shoemaker Benjamin Lucas and the warehouse rented by tinsmiths who had been burned out in 1881. Rebuilding began immediately and by 1900 a widow, Alice Swanson was selling sugary treats here.

In 1908 the Unique Theatre, located next door in the Mechanics’ Block had opened, offering entertainment to adults and children alike. Reginald Billington and Fred Guest purchased the theatre renaming it the Strand in 1916.

The owners of the movie house purchased the Swanson property in about 1920, one lot to the west and built this two-storey brick building – the Queen’s Theatre (1921-28), renamed the Majestic Theatre in 1929.

In 1948 Guest’s widow sold the theatre to the Odeon Theater Co. when it was again renamed – The Roxy. Encountering low attendance, the only theatre in Dundas was closed in 1961.
The Safari Banquet Centre, a private club, offered social events here for a time and a flea market operated briefly but alas, by 1981, the abandoned hall was for sale again.
Fear of demolition loomed until the old theatre was purchased in 1984 by Neil and Denise Gloster, who established the Horn of Plenty, now a local landmark. When the theatre was renovated, the seats were sold to the Lighthouse Theatre in Port Dover.

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24 King Street West
Hamilton L9H 2S1 ON CA
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