We have done some research to try and piece together the wonderful history of this beautiful building. While we are still searching public records and will update if we discover more verifiable information, we would like to share with you what we have discovered so far.
Built in 1827, it was originally built to be a private residence by Robert Chacker of Merseyside, Liverpool, England. The house was built by bricklayers from England. Construction of the house was time consuming and tedious as the walls were built four bricks thick. They were paid fifty cents for working from dawn to dusk.
Upon completion, the house became a grand old highway inn and an important stop along the Old Kingston Road Stagecoach route. It was a 14-mile journey from Toronto and popular with those travelling on the King's Highway between Toronto and Kingston. Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, was said to have been a frequent visitor.
The inn was believed to have provided many a room and meal for both crews and passengers from the Great Lakes ships which harboured down in Frenchman’s Bay along the shore of nearby Lake Ontario. It was a perfect drinking spot for sailors that went ashore from the grain ships docked at the bay. During the 20th Century, the four corners where the Inn sat was called Liverpool Corners. An ad in 1929 offers rooms starting at $1.00, first class dining, short order lunches and great fishing only one mile from the hotel.
During prohibition in Ontario from 1916 to 1927, legal hotel operations were halted but legend says the owner continued to sell bootleg whisky. After the Depression of the 1930's the building became a general store and post office, followed by another change to a rooming house and apartments.
We do know that it became a family home at some point as well, but we have not been able to verify dates or a story of how that came about. Harriet Hatiouk was the last known person to have made this house her residence and we do owe Harriet a big “Thank you”, as she was a champion in ensuring this house was not torn down.
The Department of Highways had decided to widen Hwy 2 and this building was in their way. Harriet couldn't bear to see the building torn down and destroyed. After a successful bid to the city the structure was moved slightly north to its current location. The cost at the time to move it was $34000. Following her in death in 1980, James Skentzos purchased the building and spent 1.5 million dollars and over a year renovating all three floors. Upon completion on July 1982 it became The Old Liverpool House, a fine dining restaurant.
It has since been maintained as a restaurant and we have now proudly run Liverpool John's since August 2017. We hope to have a long history in the house and look forward to becoming a part of the Pickering community.
Many of our customers have told us some of their wonderful memories and experiences here and we plan on eventually compiling those stories to add to the history. If you have a memory or old photographs you would like to share with us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. When we have gathered up a few, we will update our website to share with all of you.