Queen’s Inn set to be reimagined as part of $5-million project with Marriott

As an investor, Dan Mathieson saw an opportunity. As a lifelong Stratford resident, he saw a chance to be part of the city’s history.

As an investor, Dan Mathieson saw an opportunity.

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As a lifelong Stratford resident, he saw a chance to be part of the city’s history.

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The former mayor is leading a group that recently purchased the venerable Queen’s Inn that will soon be reimagined as part of a $5-million project with the Marriott Group.

“It’s kind of the quintessential Stratford building,” said Mathieson, comparing it to city hall and the courthouse. “Those are what you associate with downtown Stratford, so it’s an opportunity to preserve a great piece of heritage and modernize it with the world’s largest hotel chain.”

First established in 1858 as the Queen’s Arms Hotel, the building at the corner of Waterloo and Ontario streets will undergo a transformation into a 31-room boutique hotel called the Queen’s Cue Marriott Tribute Hotel.

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The hotel will close in the early spring with a grand opening scheduled for mid-2025.

“As the history of this establishment has been written by several families since its foundation, it’s with great honor that we now carry the torch and continue the investment in its future,” said Paul Veldman, a developer and partner with Boarshead Hospitality Inc., a group that includes Mathieson. “We look forward to working with everyone involved to write the newest act of this uniquely Stratford story.”

Crescent Hotels and Resorts will manage the inn, while Jay Ford, whose family ran the business for nearly 30 years, will handle the Boar’s Head pub.

“I look at the history of this building. . . it’s an opportunity to keep Stratford heritage and be part of it,” Mathieson said. “I just think downtown Stratford is such a unique downtown. It’s unrivaled by any other community in Southwestern Ontario.”

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The pub will remain open during renovations and get a few changes of its own. The menu has already been updated with the addition of executive chef Matthew Williams, who previously worked at Braai House, but popular staples like wing night aren’t going anywhere.

Live music and expanded hours will also return in the spring.

“We don’t want to change the feeling of coming to the Boar’s Head,” Ford said. “We still want to attract our local family, which is all of Stratford. Over the years, it probably needs some paint and some love.

“We’ve done a lot of stuff over the years but nothing as big as this.”

While the Stratford Festival drives the city’s tourism industry, Mathieson said many visitors simply come to the city for its downtown, hospitality and parks.

“I think the Queen’s has always played a role in that,” he said. “We thought this was an iconic building that was the right opportunity for investment.”

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