Xperience: The Mansion House
The Mansion House in St. Catharines, Ontario has the illustrious distinction of being one of the oldest, continually operated (licensed) pubs in Canada.
Opened in 1806 by William Hamilton Merritt, it served to quench locals’ and travellers’ thirst. In the 1800s towns wouldn’t necessarily have had a street full of boutiques. So, Merritt’s building also had to serve as his home and general store carrying almost everything a family would have needed to survive. Given that Merritt was committed to seeing the Welland Canal, an important shipping passage, constructed meant that his building would probably have also served as a meeting hall, a place in which to discuss how best to achieve that end.
Later, in the three years that marked the War of 1812, the Mansion House provided a front row seat for the curious to watch the Red Coats march by. By the 1820s, the tavern/home/store had transformed itself once again into a hotel. But, in 1859, tragedy struck. A fire that raged through much of St Catharines also significantly damaged the Mansion House. Despite the loss, it was rebuilt. The Mansion House has become synonymous with the history of the Niagara Region.