The Hanmer Tavern or “The Mer” as locals sometimes referred to it as, was built during the 1930's. It was owned and operated by Mr. Joe Richer. Upon the passing of Mr. Richer, the ownership transferred to his wife who continued to operate the bar for many years.
When it became too much for Mrs. Richer to handle, she allegedly asked family members to continue the operation but none of them were interested in helping out. She finally transferred management over to a loyal employee named Monique, who had worked in the bar for over 20 years. She managed the operation for approximately the last five years of it's lifespan.
When Monique found a much higher paying job elsewhere, she passed the business onto Mrs. Richer's niece. Handling the business proved too much for the niece as the business closed only nine days later on October 9, 2004, never to reopen.
With money owed to the local Caisse Populaire, the bank took over the property and it was sealed up.
Besides the bar, the business contained a basement that served as a banquet hall. There was a hotel in the upstairs portion of the building.
Sometime during 2008 and 2009, as is the case with many abandoned buildings, kids pried the plywood off the door and made their way inside the building. With the hydro and water were still operational, the youths decided to set up a clubhouse for themselves in the upper area of the building that had served as the hotel. Buckets in the corner served as a makeshift toilet.
Not content with trashing the upstairs portion of the building, the youths kicked holes in the wall to gain access to the basement. They proceeded to ruin the hardwood floor in the basement by throwing paint cans onto it.
The fun came to an end when a fire was lit in an upstairs room. Firefighters discovered two empty gas cans and evidence of a previous fire on the main floor.
In early 2009 the property was rezoned to make way for a 55-unit affordable housing complex. The affordable housing was a result of a partnership between the local Caisse Populaire and the Metis Nation of Ontario. Demolition commenced on October 21, 2009.
Thanks to Monique R. G. for additional information.