The stories behind the structure: Hochelaga Inn

Kingston's most architecturally interesting buildings uncovered

The entryway at Hochelaga Inn at 24 Sydenham Street.
The Hochelaga Inn is one of the most recognizable buildings on Sydenham Street. The Victorian-style mansion looms over the street and walking by it takes you right back to the year 1876, when it was built for John McIntyre, a Kingston lawyer who became the mayor of the city in 1878. The home was later converted into a retreat for executives of the Bank of Montreal, then apartments in 1933 and finally into a bed and breakfast in the 1980s.
 
The mansion has very intricate brick and wood work. On a central tower, contrasting green and white woodwork gives the exterior its Victorian charm. The front of the mansion boasts a porch and entranceway decorated with wooden panels while the prominent central tower, hexagonal at its top, rises above the house much in the manner of a steeple of a church. 
 
The mansion was initially built for a single family, but it’s almost unimaginable in the present day that a single family could occupy such a large house. McIntyre even added an addition, known now as the carriage house, which was built to house extra servants.
 
The Inn is named after Hochelaga, a sixteenth century Iroquoian village situated where present day Montreal now lies. The name also means “beaver dam,” however there’s little resemblance between a beaver home and the Inn other than its impressive woodwork. 
 
While the Inn is featured on the Haunted Walk of Kingston, the manager, Robert Penev who lives there says that he’s never had any ghostly experiences. While there’ve been guests in the past who’ve claimed such occurrences, staff members who’ve worked at the Inn for over ten years don’t have any ghostly encounters to recollect either. 
 
In 2005, The Journal dug up reports of some ghostly occurrences retold by a past owner. One guest described a figure that appeared throughout the night at the foot of her bed, giving the impression of being one of her daughters sleeping in the adjoining room. Another guest described a women dressed in black Victorian garb who often occupied the house, apparently unseen by other guests. 
 
Penev describes being a part of such an old and known establishment in Kingston as “fantastic” and said that it’s an honour to be a part of the Kingston Historical community in this way. 
 
The Hochelaga Inn undoubtedly adds to an area that is the pinnacle of history in Kingston. 
 

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