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  • Mandy Sinclair

Lost buildings in Huron County

By Mandy Sinclair

On Postcards from Huron County, we chat quite a bit about architecture, in particular buildings that are no longer. So when I heard about the book 305 Lost Buildings of Canada, I couldn’t wait to grab a copy. Would any buildings from our little slice of Ontario’s West Coast be included, I pondered?

After all, Marc Cantin talked about the hulking Balmoral Hotel that previously stood on the corner of Highway 21 and County Road 84 when we chatted about his ancestors’ vision for St. Joseph, Ontario. While the hotel was torn down and the bricks sold decades ago, the St Joseph Historical society has kindly provided permission to share this sketch of the immense hotel that once welcomed travellers in Huron County.

While chatting tourism development in Huron County with local historian David Yates, we talked about the Point Farms Hotel that once stood on the shores of Lake Huron, inside what is the provincial park today on Highway 21. Talk of other hotels in the county, namely in the Village of Bayfield, led to discussions about the development of fire departments.

From Huron County Museum archives. Reference number A993.0004.001

David also talked about the Sunset Hotel in the same episode and while discussing prohibition years in Huron County. Bob Lee also touched on this hotel when sharing summertime memories in Huron County. His grandfather, Charles Crabb Lee was the mayor of Goderich from 1931-1934, as well as the owner/operator of the Sunset Hotel, a popular summertime resort destination.

From Huron County Museum archives. Reference number A977.0023.001

Historic buildings to visit

Isaac Elliott-Fisher shared memories of walking into the rundown building that once housed a hotel and restoring it back to its former glory and current home of the Village Toy Castle he opened in December 2021.

On the first episode of the series, Jenna McGuire chatted about her Aunt Annie’s house and once she mentioned Métis architecture, I couldn’t resist asking for more details. She explained that “there are a few different kinds across Canada including log homes, teepees, and sod homes. But here on Lake Huron, the houses tend to be either log or lathe and plaster, with the plaster keeping the heat in in the winter and the house cool in the summer.”

“Another is the barn-shaped house, very simple to build and with very few people.”

The great news is that Jenna shared that three of these buildings still exist. And road-trippers don't have to travel too far. One is located in Southampton, another in Tobermory in the Bruce Peninsula, and a third in Michigan.

And architectural enthusiast and long-time Seaforth resident Cathy Elliott sat down to chat about the development of the town of Seaforth and its historic downtown core. Tune in for a visual tour inside some of the town’s least accessible buildings dotting the main street.

Passionate about architecture, or Huron County? Find Postcards from Huron County on your favourite podcasting app.

Find 305 Lost Buildings of Canada at your local bookstore or Huron County Library for a visual and historical journey across Canada.

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