A mainstay on the historic Bayfield Main Street since 1841, the famed Albion Hotel is as known today for its pub grub and fish and chips on Fridays as it is for its ghost stories from years past. What began as a one-storey hardware store in 1841 has turned into a two-storey hotel, bar and restaurant.
The hotel, which grew as the Village of Bayfield saw an uptick in visitors making their way to the lakeside community from across Canada and even nearby areas of the United States, is still a hub for travellers and locals alike in downtown Bayfield.
Just steps away from Clan Gregor Square and minutes from the beaches, The Albion, with its covered patio and cold beers on tap, is a hotspot during the summer months. But it’s also not without its stories.
It’s at the original bar, made from cherry wood that is still in use in the bar area, that you may want to grab a seat and rub shoulders with the local crowd. But be warned, you may experience a supernatural visit.
Just as the hotel is a popular drinking hole today, it was so back in the 1890s when the hotel was under the Elliot family’s ownership. Legend has it that a feud broke out between brothers Fredrick and Harvey Elliot when Fredrick invited himself to join Harvey and his pals in continuing their evening antics. With responsibility for the bar and restaurant, Fredrick was known to keep a handgun within reach. As the feud escalated, Fredrick shot Harvey in the chest, resulting in Harvey’s immediate death, before the party left the hotel.
Beer taps turning on randomly, lights switching on in the middle of the night, and even glassware crashing are not uncommon tales told - all believed to be the works of Harvey, who apparently never left the hotel that night.
In 1902, both the upper and lower verandas were completed in a Georgian Colonial architectural style, a look that remains intact today. And that means guests staying in the mid-sized room upstairs have access to the front patio, to peer over the lower-level patio area, but also to watch the world go by.
But while the building’s exterior remains true to the original plans, the four rooms available on a bed-and-breakfast basis have had some modern touches added. Antique furnishings decorate the spaces and en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning bring them into the 21st century.
But as the times change, so too do other areas of the hotel. An exterior rear patio was added in 2020 to accommodate outdoor diners in pandemic times. 1 Bayfield Main Street North, Bayfield.