07 May 2012

The Great Fire of Ingersoll Remembered

One hundred and forty years ago today – May 7, 1872 – the small Ontario town of Ingersoll lost Oxford Street, then its main commercial thoroughfare, to fire. Newspaper reports of the day record that flames were first spotted just before eight in the evening in the stables of the Royal Exchange Hotel.

The disaster inspired verse by townsmen James McIntyre, Cheese Poet and undertaker. He included "Great Fire in Ingersoll, May, 1872" in his 299-page Poems of James McIntyre (Ingersoll, ON: Chronicle, 1889).

Though a nobler town did indeed rise, today the corner upon which the Royal Exchange Hotel once stood now serves as a parking lot used by folks visiting the Dollarama across the street.


  1. Agreed. I've seen more attractive parking lots.

    I should add, Patti, that Ingersoll is a mere 44 minutes from Stratford (this according to Google Maps).