One of Barrie’s most famous historical buildings, the Queen’s, is undergoing some serious renovations.
Invited on a Walkthrough
Former night club manager Chris Gerrard, one of 3 business partners, took the staff from Barrie Uncovered on a walkthrough to uncover all the plans.
The Queens - From the Beginning
The Queens was originally known as the Barrie Hotel when it was bult in 1850.
It was renamed the Queens after its namesake burnt down in 1915. Rob Hamilton purchased the building in 1974 from the widow of the former owner.
That ownership ended with the owner being murdered by members of an outlaw biker gang. Even with its notorious history, The Queens continues to be known as Barrie’s Hometown Bar.
Meet a Ghost or Two at The Queens
We were able to take a walk through history, really up close and personal. Learning that The Queens was three buildings, with far more space than we could imagine, we also were told that there have been two deaths and many ghosts throughout the years. Ghost Mary keeps everyone on their toes by flushing toilets when there’s no one around, as well as others that play hide and seek by moving objects around. There seem to be enough ghosts wandering around that periodically ghost hunters set up shop to see what they can catch on their infrared cameras.
One thing that Covid has allowed the new owners to do is to put a severe dent into this labour of love.
There have been forty 40-yard bins of refuse taken out so far. Removing everything as much as possible, they have brought the walls back to the original brick and massive beams that hold the building firm. With the Fire Departments ok, they are going to leave the beams in their original glory for all to see.
During the transformation, artifacts have been discovered and tucked away to go on display once everything is complete. There are letters from the 1900s, room cards, even old cigarette packages.
Former owner, Rob Hamilton, left everything ever used in the building intact. There are the original plans, photos, even hundreds of boxes of the decorations that the Queens was so known for through the years.
Rental Units will be Back
The new plans will bring back rental units again. However, there will be both short term and long term rentals this time around.
These new loft apartments will be soundproof from the music below as well as units on either side.
The historical detail that has been so painstakingly uncovered will be kept to keep as much of the old character as much as possible.
Opening a Can of Worms
Owner Chris Gerrard says that many moments were just like opening a can of worms. There were hidden traps and features throughout every step. Even though it’s so cool to see the original construction as we tear back, this labour of love has grown from 1.8 million to 2.5 million in costs.
The trades are ready to go as soon as the City signs off on the plans, which are being worked on now.
Cultural Changes as Well
With the new ownership comes a cultural change as well.
Once a bar for youth, the new owners are banking on a family feel, high-end luxury, and an event destination like no other.
Whether you’re looking for stag space or want a quiet getaway after nuptials, you’ll love the Queens Barrie makeover.
Waiting for the Big Reveal
While you wait impatiently for the big reveal, enjoy the daytime ambience on the patio or the nighttime magic at the bar. We promise this will be the biggest reveal on Dunlop Street.
Written By: Jane Laker
Photo Credit Veronika Kovecses