Quinte, On. real estate agent: Trenton Loses a Landmark

Trenton Loses a Landmark

Monday was a sad day in Trenton. One of the town's oldest buildings in the downtown core burned to the ground. This was the third big fire in Trenton in less than a month, so the Quinte West Fire fighters have been getting a lot of experience lately.

The building that burned down was the Sherwood Forest Inn on Murphy street, and the smoke and flames could be seen from quite a distance. The stores downtown had to be evacuated as did the school a little way down the road.

The Sherwood Forest Inn was a bit of a rough spot where all kinds of trouble seemed to take place, but it was also undeniably a big part of Trenton's history. In its better days it was known as the Quinte Hotel and was immortalized in an Al Purdy poem, At the Quinte Hotel. Al Purdy was probably Canada's best known poet of the 20th century, and was proof that good poets can often produce bad poetry.

One of the saddest aspects to this fire is that the Sherwood was not only a drinking establishment, but it was also home to a number of people who lived up on the third floor, so a few people lost their homes. Thankfully everybody managed to get out safely.

The building didn't stand much of a chance. I joined the crowd of rubberneckers for about an hour and watched as it started to collapse. There were a couple of scary moments when larger pieces fell close to the fire trucks. It almost reminded me of a sinking ship when the building finally couldn't support itself and leaned one way before collapsing into a pile of rubble.

I did know several people who lived up on the third floor, and I was quite relieved to see them watching in disbelief along with everybody else. I suppose the main thing is that everybody got out safely. Buildings can always be rebuilt, but I suspect that what ever is built in place of "The Quinte" will take quite a while to make the same impression on Trenton.

Comment balloon 9 commentsMalcolm Johnston • November 07 2012 11:05AM


Malcolm~ at least no life was lost, but wow- that's sad !

Posted by Jon Kolsky, Licensed California Real Estate Broker (Kolsky Realty & Management) over 6 years ago

Malcolm - Sorry to hear of another landmark burning to the ground in Trenton.  The Quinte sounds like a bar right out of the wild, wild west!  Al Purdy's At the Quinte Hotel certainly paints a vivid and bleak picture of this drinking establishment.  I suspect Purdy may have had one too many "fart and horse piss" beers when he wrote his poem...

Posted by Sally Weatherley, Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C (EXIT STAGE RIGHT) over 6 years ago

Malcolm, I am so glad that everyone is safe, but I feel for the people who lived on the third floor who lost their home and everything else.  One good thing is that the legend will live on in the poem by Al Purdy.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Malcolm, it's always sad to see these older character building go. At least no one was hurt.

Posted by Janice Ankrett, Staging Professional (Janice Ankrett Home Staging) over 6 years ago


The first place I ever had an alcoholic drink was in the Sherwood Forest.  Now I know I'll be dating myself here, but back then I believe it was called 'Pandora's Box'. It was a very roudy place but often had good bands.


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 6 years ago

It is always startling to hear something like this. We had something similar in Barrie a few years ago, the court case has been in the news lately. It makes us realize that life is so frageile, even though no life was lost.

Posted by Liz Hill (YOUR CHOICE REALTY CORP BROKERAGE) over 6 years ago

Malcolm, what a sad day for your town.  Good to hear everyone got out safe though.  Hopefully what is put in place of the historic building is something everyone will be able to enjoy with pictures and history of the previous building.  --Krystal

Posted by Krystal Knott, Breckenridge CO Real Estate & All Summit County CO (LIV Sotheby's International Realty) over 6 years ago

so glad no one was killed.. that looks like quite a fire... so sorry for your town.

Posted by Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC, Selling the Upstate since 1989 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner) over 6 years ago

Too bad!  Hope the third floor people get back on their feet soon.  You got some amazing pictures of the end of an era.... 

Posted by Brenda Whitman, Live in Laramie Real Estate, Broker/Co-Owner, Laramie, Wyoming (Live in Laramie Real Estate, Laramie, Wyoming) over 6 years ago