Gates Gully
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And Gates Tavern

Name of Historic Site

Gates Tavern and Gates Gully

Site Categories

  • Inns and Hotels
  • Natural Features
  • Recreation (Waterfront Trail)
  • Transport (changes in the alignment of Kingston Road)


The tavern was on Kingston Road near Bellamy Road (at about Stop 22). (Lot 20 Concession C, Scarborough.) Gates Gully runs adjacent to the east side of the McCarthy Property which has been donated to the Ontario Heritage Foundation.

Perly's 1997 Map Coordinates: 37 C5

Current Use

Residential / Commercial (Adjacent Properties)

Gates Gully has been largely transformed by a recent public works project.

Historical Description and Significance

  • Tavern built by Jonathon Gates ca 1820.
  • Legend holds that British soldiers buried money in Gates Gully during the War of 1812.
  • Contraband goods were smuggled up Gates Gully as late as 1838.
  • A Wild Beast Show and Circus (1843, 1845) and other public gatherings and picnics were held in Gates Grove.
  • Gates Inn was the rallying point for the loyal Scarborough men on Dec. 5, 1837.
  • A toll gate (1839) stood just to the west of Gates Inn.
  • "It (the older Kingston Road) was originally much closer to the lakeshore than now (1896). Gates tavern was moved north to the new road fully 1/2 a mile" (I. Chester, 1896)
  • In 1979 an engineering study proposed works to mitigate erosion in "Gates Gully", now more commonly known as the "Bellamy Ravine".

Relative Importance

The gully is highly significant for a proposed association with the Waterfront Trail and its proximity to other "Lost Sites" ("McCowan Farm" and "McCowan/Cudia").

The tavern is significant for its association with both the "old" and the "new" Kingston Roads and the importance of improved transport in the Toronto region, early 19th c.

Planning Implications

  • Cooperate with Waterfront Trail authorities re interpretive opportunities for transportation, commerce and conservation.
  • Cooperate with Ontario Heritage Foundation re promotion of and access to occasional alternate interpretive themes using the McCarthy property (as described in "McCowan Farm" Site).

Plaque: Transport

Reference Sources

  • R.R. Bonis, "A History of Scarborough", p. 60, 70, 268
  • D. Boyle, "Scarboro, 1796-1896", p. 41, 54, 107, 128, 220, 234
  • Scarborough Historical Notes and Comments, Nov. 1977
  • Wm. Brown, "Four Years in the United States and Canada", 1849
  • Notes by Isaac Chester (1818-1899) (Boyle Collection).

Aug. 3 2000 and Reprinted in The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #2