Lake Macquarie History

Opening of Toronto Hotel

This month in Lake Macquarie the Toronto Hotel was opened in December 1887.The Toronto Hotel has been called the birthplace of Toronto. It is the oldest building in town and was built by Excelsior Land, Investment Building, and Banking Co. who promoted it "as a pleasant and commodious brick building, containing about thirty bedrooms, besides parlours, bar, dining and billiard room". It sits on one of the lake's most important historic sites - the site of the old Mission Houses and homestead of Rev.Lancelot Threlkeld.

photo:toronto hotel, toronto'

During the 1830's a dairy farm and an orchard surrounded the mission and there were Mulberry trees that had grown so large that the area became known as Mulberry Hill. The homestead and orchard were demolished to make way for the new hotel which was built from bricks made locally from clay found in the western Toronto area. The Toronto Hotel opened in December 1887 and included a tennis court and putting green. A plumber and a bricklayer came from Sydney to work on the hotel and other buildings and sadly, the bricklayer was killed by a fall of bricks in 1923 while carrying out alterations to the hotel. In 1955, a ballroom was added on the western side and a swimming pool on the eastern side. During these years the Toronto Hotel and it's facilities were promoted as the 'Riviera of Australia' and it was where many newly married couples spent their honeymoon. The hotel was ear-marked for demolition in the late 60's but is now listed on the Register of the National Estate. In 1975 the hotel underwent extensive re-modelling, the swimming pool was filled in as it had not been used for over 5 years. The 32 bedrooms on the first floor were re-modelled into a modern dining room and managers living quarters. Also, there was once a large vegetable garden behind the hotel where Coles car park now exists.