111-113 Dundas Street, Billy’s

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Dundas St., 111-113, Billy's

Dundas, 111-113, Billy's Deli (2009)



The Billy’s

In the 1830s and 1840s, when London was still a village, its buildings, like those in many other towns in Upper Canada, were mainly made of wood, and so fire outbreaks threatened the whole community. "The Great Fire," one of the city's worst, occurred in 1845. The Fire started at one of the first hotels in the area—the "Robinson Hall Hotel" situated on Ridout and Dundas Streets—and spread rapidly due to westerly winds. On the evening of Sunday, April 13th 1845 more than two hundred buildings on Dundas, King, Talbot and Ridout Streets were on fire. The British Garrison, whose 32nd Regiment had been moved to London in 1838 as a direct consequence of the Upper Canada rebellion, guarded the smouldering ruins in order to deter looters. After the Great Fire, the village prohibited frame buildings. 111-113, today known for its long-standing tenant Billy and his delicious pies, was one of the first blocks to be built in brick following the Great Fire, and so it is possibly the oldest surviving block downtown.

111-113, Dundas was probably built in the late 1840s in the Georgian style by the Lawrason-Chisholm partnership, which operated a store that used to stand at the south-eastern corner of Talbot and Dundas Streets—the western wing of 111-113. This corner was transformed in the early 1950s when it became the new home of a rebuilt branch of the Bank of Toronto. The rest of the block at 111-113 retains some carved stone elements at the cornice level. These carved stones act as capitals to the pilaster strips which divide the block into sections. The two double chimneys probably date from the 1840s. After the Great Fire, new buildings were built as retail blocks downtown, usually by one or more of the occupants, as is the case for 111-113, or by individuals looking to invest. Several surviving examples represent a number of different architectural styles reflecting equally different eras, ending with the 1920s.This block, and ones similar to it erected in subsequent decades, reflected the growing spirit of independence and entrepreneurship in Upper Canada that looked forward to Canada's Confederation (known as "the new Dominion of Canada") that was first celebrated on Monday, July 1, 1867.


Billy’s Dundas Street 111-113
London, Ontario
Canada N6A 1E8