Seaforth See Horses
There are many architectural gems in historic downtown Seaforth, each one a remnant revealing a piece of a portrait of a bustling rural hub. Downtown Seaforth in the heyday of train travel was a well-oiled machine, and successful industries created a push for increased developments in transit, lodging, and communication, which is not bad for an area called Guide Board Swamp in the early days of Southwestern Ontario! The downtown core was even designated a Heritage Conservation District in 1984 and has no less than 54 protected 19th century buildings in just a few blocks.
Most of the historic buildings in Seaforth were built between 1868 and 1878 following a great fire that devastated the downtown core, but one of the sharpest of these well-preserved buildings, The Commercial Hotel, was built just a little later, in 1895.
The necessity of a new hotel just a few years after the rebuilding of Seaforth is a testament to how successful the village’s efforts were. Located on the east side of the street, the three-storey hotel quickly became a staple of the late 19th century streetscape.
There are many details worth noting both inside and outside the hotel, like the brickwork around the windows or the raised letters that say ‘Commercial Hotel 1895’ across the front of the building, but one of the most distinct flourishes of the hotel is also one of the easiest ones to miss. At the side of the building, less than halfway up are two black busts of horses, jutting out of the bricks.
The beautifully rendered stallions are a reminder that, beginning in the mid-1800s, stagecoaches were used in Seaforth to deliver mail and people to the surrounding towns, a practice that continued well into the 1930s. The next time you’re strolling the streets of Seaforth, look up at the side of The Commercial Hotel and say hello to these two handsome boys that stand as a reminder of a bygone age. 84 Main St S, Seaforth.