Globe's October 25, 1890 edition has a sketch of this building when it was John
Sheene's Hotel on the corner of
Shean, son of Patrick John Shean from
The location of the hotel was perfect - it was halfway
between the farms of the Peel region and the markets downtown
The family sold the hotel in 1896 and moved to Elmbank to take up farming. While the building changed hands several times, it soon became widely known as the New Toronto Hotel.
On August 14, 1899, the Globe & Mail reports an accident that occurs close to the Mimico Asylum and refers to the New Toronto Hotel, as follows:
driving along the
On May 24, 1912, Mr. Ambrose O'Brien, the proprietor of the New Toronto Hotel passed away after several weeks of illness. He had owned the hotel for 7 years.
In 1915, Mr. John O'Meara, licensee of the New Toronto Hotel, was called before the Ontario License Board to answer some allegations of an incident that took place in the hotel involving illegal sale of alcohol after-hours and some tussle that ensued with a License detective. (Toronto Daily Star, 1915/08/23). Unfortunately, the hearing had not been completed at the time that the article was written, and I haven't been able to locate a follow-up article that gives the judgment.
Later, on May 1, 1917, the Globe & Mail reports another incident with the New Toronto Hotel close to the Asylum, but later in the article refers to the same as the Lakeview Hotel: (I've quoted the story in full, as it also gives an interesting reflection of the effects of prohibition. From 1916 to 1927 the Ontario Temperance Act was in place, whereby no alcohol sale or service was permitted).
"Coroner G.W. Graham's jury at the Humber Beach Hotel
last night found that William Griffin, whose body was discovered in the Asylum
creek on the morning of April 23, came to his death by drowning under
suspicious circumstances. The proprietor of the New Toronto Hotel and
Want Traffic Stopped. "We find" read the
verdict, " that William Griffin came to his death on April 22, 1917, by
drowning in the Asylum Creek under suspicious circumstances. The jury
believes that the evidence given by Mortimer Galvin, Arthur Littleton and
Michael Carroll to be untrue, and recommend that the Lakeview Hotel at New
Toronto be immediately closed by the proper authorities. The jury further
recommends that the proper authorities take steps immediately to prevent the
traffic of liquor at New Toronto." Post-mortem evidence was to the
Liquor Easy to Get. Michael Carroll, the hotel proprietor, told the jury that whiskey was more easily obtained at New Toronto than before prohibition. He denied having liquor on his premises for sale, but admitted his hostler, who was caught on one occasion with some bottled goods, might have kept it without his knowledge.":
While there is no concrete evidence that the hotel was involved in the bootlegging trade, it is reported that residents found two secret compartments. One was a under a spring-loaded baseboard in a space that could hold liquor bottles placed horizontally end to end. Another secret door was found at the back of a closet concealing a tiny room only three feet deep. When the hotel was renovated in 1984 for Chatter's Restaurant, wine-making equipment was found in the basement.
In 1924, the Long Branch Racetrack opened and brought new business to the hotel. The owners provided a shuttle service to and from the racetrack.
By 1935, it was known as the Almont Hotel (spelled Almonte
Hotel in an advertisement in the 1947 Lakeshore District Police Association
Yearbook). By that time, the name "New Toronto Hotel" had
been resurrected for use on a new building on the corner of
Below is one picture from 1953 as posted in the TPL Digital Collections website. The picture on the right is a photograph lent to me by a "friend of a friend of mine". The date of this photo is unknown. I would have to say that it is later than 1953 since the building looks like it has been resided. The 1953 picture looks like the original brick.
In 1984, Carl Thomas Georgevich and John Paul Evans purchased the historic building. They made extensive repairs and it became Chatter's Restaurant.
I am told that for a couple of years in the late 1990's it was Vendetta's Bar & Grill, and then changed hands again a couple more times, before it became the Phantom Lounge as it is today, pictured below: