The Tavern’s History

The Canada Company was established in the early nineteenth century to aid in settling Upper Canada. Lead by John Galt from 1826-1829, the Canada Company was responsible for laying out the Huron Tract, aiding in immigration, building roads, schools, mills, and taverns.

Of the many Canada Company taverns build along the Huron Tract, Fryfogel’s Tavern is the last remaining. Sebastian Fryfogel was commissioned by the Canada Company to build a tavern near Shakespeare, Ontario.

In 1828, the Canada Company’s John Macdonald was laying out lots along the Huron Tract (now Highway 7 & 8). He marked Fryfogel’s Tavern “abuilding”(in the process of being built). It was here that Sebastian finished building the first log cabin on the property. After the 11 day trek from Waterloo Region to the future site of the tavern, the family took up shelter in a small shanty while construction of the first inn took place. At the time, the area was not a desirable place to live. Corduroy roads which were made up of halved logs with the bark and curved edge facing up, were the only path of travel. This style of path made transportation of goods and building materials slow and expensive. The first inn built was a one room building, measuring 18 ft by 24 ft. Travellers slept in the corner of the room, sectioned off from the remainder of the building by a curtain. A table was set up in the middle of the room for eating and drinking, a fireplace was built into the far wall, and that was the extent of the building. This was considered a good standing inn at the time, and Sebastian was granted license renewal yearly. This original inn was set further back from the road than the tavern built to follow. Construction on the permanent inn began in 1844. The red bricks on the front and sides of the building (triple stacked in width) were brought in from Berlin (Kitchener), the hard rock in the basement from

Construction on the permanent inn began in 1844. The red bricks on the front and sides of the building (triple stacked in width) were brought in from Berlin (Kitchener), the hard rock in the basement from Hamilton, and the stones on the back of the building were local fieldstones. The tavern was considered state of the art, featuring modern architecture and lavishly

The tavern was considered state of the art, featuring modern architecture and lavishly coloured walls and ceilings. Originally there were two back doors (one is now a window) and the front door opened into the main hallway. Taverns could easily be distinguished from any other building by the prescence of two doors. The door closest to the bar was often used by men, and the main entrance was built for women to avoid the roudiness of drinking festivities.

The first inn built was a one room building, measuring 18 ft by 24 ft. Travellers slept in the corner of the room, sectioned off from the remainder of the building by a curtain. A table was set up in the middle of the room for eating and drinking, a fireplace was built into the far wall, and that was the extent of the building. This was considered a good standing inn at the time, and Sebastian was granted license renewal yearly. This original inn was set further back from the road than the tavern built to follow. Construction on the permanent inn began in 1844. The red bricks on the front and sides of the building (triple stacked in width) were brought in from Berlin (Kitchener), the hard rock in the basement from Hamilton, and the stones on the back of the building were local fieldstones. The tavern was considered state of the art, featuring modern architecture and lavishly

The tavern was considered state of the art, featuring modern architecture and lavishly coloured walls and ceilings. Originally there were two back doors (one is now a window) and the front door opened into the main hallway. Taverns could easily be distinguished from any other building by the

Originally there were two back doors (one is now a window) and the front door opened into the main hallway. Taverns could easily be distinguished from any other building by the presence of two doors. The door closest to the bar was often used by men, and the main entrance was built for women to avoid the rowdiness of drinking festivities.

There was a stable on the property for horses to rest in. What is now a 5 acre arboretum surrounding the property would have been fields cut down for farming when the tavern was in operation. The hallway door upstairs became known as the “suicide door”, as a balcony was never built to accommodate the exit. Sebastian had omitted his building from being listed in public records for a time, and it is believed that the unfinished balcony remained so for taxation purposes.

Fryfogel’s Tavern was not only a stagecoach stop and inn. The building brought the community together both politically (through the use of the tavern for Perth County meetings), and socially. Newspaper delivery was ofen sporadic, so news travelled often by stagecoach, making taverns the first to hear of anything. The building ran as a tavern until 1867. The Grand Trunk Railway was built in 1850 and as rail travel increased in popularity, the need for a stagecoach stop was eliminated. Sebastian Fryfogel passed away in 1873, not long after the tavern closed its doors to the public. The Fryfogel Tavern remained in the family until the 1960’s. In the early 1900’s, it was still home to Fryfogel family members, featuring a stable filled with animals across the street. The family gave up residential occupancy of the building in 1923. It was then rented out for the purpose of a tea shop, a cheese mill, and a homestead inn and restaurant. In 1966 the family sold the tavern to the Perth Historical Society. Since then it has transferred ownership multiple times and currently rests in the hands of the Stratford Perth Heritage Foundation.

The building ran as a tavern until 1867. The Grand Trunk Railway was built in 1850 and as rail travel increased in popularity, the need for a stagecoach stop was eliminated. Sebastian Fryfogel passed away in 1873, not long after the tavern closed its doors to the public.

The Fryfogel Tavern remained in the family until the 1960’s. In the early 1900’s, it was still home to Fryfogel family members, featuring a stable filled with animals across the street. The family gave up residential occupancy of the building in 1923. It was then rented out for the purpose of a tea shop, a cheese mill, and a homestead inn and restaurant.

In 1966 the family sold the tavern to the Perth Historical Society. Since then it has transferred ownership multiple times and currently rests in the hands of the Stratford Perth Heritage Foundation.