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February 01, 2017

Staying At Frank McGee's



A special thank you goes out to the many long time readers here at GreatestHockeyLegends.com. You undoubtedly have noticed that the site has been pretty static this season. I have been very busy working on many projects for print, broadcast and centennial projects.

The project that has kept me the most busy is working as the hockey consultant for the Canadian Museum of History. In March the Museum, which is in Gatineau, Quebec just across the bridge from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, will be opening a hockey themed exhibit called Hockey In Canada: More Than Just A Game.

This means I will be travelling to Ottawa. And guess where I am going to stay? At the family house of Stanley Cup legend Frank McGee!

McGee's Inn is a cozy house turned into small hotel in the shadows of the Byward Market. But it's not just any house.

It is the family home of John McGee, Frank's father. As the hotel's website says, "John McGee was born in Wexford, Ireland on August 6, 1845 and came to Canada in 1863 after his famous brother, D’Arcy McGee, poet, colourful politician, and one of the founding fathers of Confederation. After completing his university degree at McGill, John McGee worked as Dominion Land Surveyor. In 1882, Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, appointed him Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada as well as Deputy Governor to the Governor General. He worked for the Privy Council until 1907 when he retired at the age of 61."

Pretty impressive stuff. John got married to Elizabeth Crotty in 1871. They had three daughters and six sons. And, in 1886, they had this fantastic Victorian home built at 185 Daly Avenue.

One of the sons became a pretty prominent figure himself. Frank McGee, despite being blind in one eye, became the cornerstone of Ottawa's hockey dynasty in the early 1900s. Through his brilliant stickhandling and goal scoring ability he led the Silver Sen Stanley Cup dynasty from 1903 through 1906. He famously scored 14 goals in a single Stanley Cup game and was one of the inaugural class of inductees in the Hockey Hall of Fame!  

Frank died serving in World War One, killed in action in France. His body was never found.

It is believed that John McGee and his family left this home sometime after WWI. The inside was modified later to accommodate 4 large and stately apartments, one per floor. It remained this way for much of the 1900's, until the building sadly became nothing more than a rundown boarding house by the early 1980's.

After many months of renovations, McGee's Inn opened its doors for its first guests in 1984. Now run by the Armstrong family, McGee's Inn is still graciously welcoming guests from all over the world.

Ottawa is a fantastic city, and the museum's upcoming hockey exhibit will be a fantastic display. But I think it's McGee's Inn that I might be looking forward to the most.

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