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Dominion House Tavern

3140, Sandwich Street, City of Windsor, Ontario, N9C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1992/03/03

The area's oldest pub, the Dominion House Tavern has been a favourite meeting place since 1883.; ReMax Realty
Dominion House Tavern, 2004
Grand verandas on the first and secord  floors were removed when the building was raised in 1945.; City of Windsor collection
Dominion House Tavern, circa 1900
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/01/28

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Dominion House Tavern (circa 1880) is the oldest remaining, continuously operating tavern in Essex County. It is a two-and-one-half-storey, vernacular Georgian style frame building, located in the historic Sandwich community of west Windsor.

It is recognized for its heritage value by the City of Windsor By-law 11345, 1992.

Heritage Value

A landmark on Sandwich Street, the Dominion House Tavern is situated on a large lot at the easterly entrance to the Sandwich community. Part of a collection of important heritage properties, it contributes positively to the streetscape and is an enduring component of this historic neighbourhood.

The Dominion House Tavern is widely known as “the DH,” and has been associated with persons and events related to the development of the former Town of Sandwich and, later, the City of Windsor, since 1883.

The oldest remaining tavern in Essex County and the area's best-known tavern, it has continuously served both residents and visitors for more than 120 years. Located on the old stagecoach route from Windsor to Amherstburg, it was once a popular stop-over for weary travellers who spent the night there. Throughout the years, it has been a favourite gathering place for judges, lawyers, politicians, and generations of university faculty and students, due to its proximity to Mackenzie Hall (former Essex County Court House) and to the University of Windsor.

The name comes from the original Dominion House, which was located across the street and had operated as a hotel since 1859. When it burned in 1883, this building, already in place, was to have been a temporary replacement. It continued to operate, however, under the ownership of a host of prominent area residents including Daniel Marentette (whose ancestors moved to the area in 1751), Eugene Breault (a reeve of Sandwich and police magistrate), John McCarthy, William Boyer and Sidney Walman.

While the basic structure remains intact, alterations over the years – some in response to changing times – have destroyed much of the building's original exterior aesthetics. In 1945, for example, the grand front and side porches topped by railed verandas were removed and an enclosed foyer was added when the building was raised and a basement was dug to provide a beverage room for “ladies and escorts.” The Georgian period style is still evident in the box-like proportions and symmetrical elevations, side-gabled roof and main entrance flanked by two set of windows.

Sources: Building Analysis Form, June 3, 1992; City of Windsor By-law 11345, 1992; and City of Windsor Heritage Planner's files.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that express the heritage values of the Dominion House Tavern include its:
- ongoing use (since 1883) and location as a Tavern within the Sandwich community providing a traditional meeting place for drinks and dialogue
- prominent placement on a large lot on Sandwich Street in the historic former town of Sandwich
- proximity to other significant heritage properties along Sandwich Street, including the McGregor-Cowan House (circa 1808), Sandwich Post Office (1905) and Mackenzie Hall (1855).
- vernacular two-and-a-half-storey Georgian style design
- frame construction with some stucco and clapboard claddings
- gabled façade with chimneys at either end
- 2 over 2 second-storey window




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1883/01/01 to 2006/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Office of Heritage Planner, City of Windsor

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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