The Barclay Hotel as it was known in local parlance, a downtown landmark at King and Division streets. (Supplied photo)

By Terry Hughes

Our picture for this month was taken 120 ft. above the canal from the Main Street Bridge showing the newly constructed Barclay Hotel opposite the city hall on Division Street. In the past this site served as the location for Welland’s first hospital and later, the hotel would replace an establishment known as “Shady Anderson’s.”

Judging by the presence of one-way traffic noted by the parked cars and the city hall, dating this photo would be sometime after 1953. It was the first new hotel that was built in the downtown area since the Reeta Hotel that replaced the Arlington Hotel opposite the court house in the early 1930’s.

It reflected the spirit of the community because the local economy was thriving and out of towners would be attracted to it and the view of the canal and Merritt Park. It would also offer the locals an up-scale place for entertainment.

Time and changing economic conditions would erode the hotel as a place to do business and a change in ownership becoming known as the Dar Hotel only temporarily put off the inevitable.  

With the appearance of motels, hotels had to make major changes and many would be developed into apartments. The Dar, as it turned out, was to be demolished in 1989 and replaced with an apartment complex and retail opportunities on the bottom floor.

Next column:  Cooper’s Riverside Mills Still Lives In The Urban Landscape.

Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.

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