Postcard circa 1971
Toronto-Airport, Ontario -- 801 Dixon Rd

The Toronto complex marked a series of firsts for Howard Johnson's. It was the first in Canada, first in Ontario, and included the first Red Coach Grill outside the United States. Like all of the other Howard Johnson's outlets in Canada, Toronto-Airport was an Orangeroof Canada Limited licensed unit. Interestingly, Joseph Crothers was listed as its "operator." No doubt a close relation of Frank Crothers who had developed the Howard Johnson's in Nassau during the late 1950s.

The eight-story, 275 room Lodge included a 550 guest banquet facility, 132 seat Howard Johnson's Restaurant, 152 seat Red Coach Grill and adjoining 70 seat Red Coach Grill cocktail lounge with its floor-to-ceiling fieldstone fireplace, and the 200 seat Cockney Pride authentic English pub complete with antique leaded glass doors and a valance from London's Tyne House Hotel. The site also offered all-weather swimming and relaxation with its sun-domed heated swimming pool and saunas. Moreover, during good weather guests were afforded restful meditation in the Momiji (Maple Leaf) Gardens. The site was described as "an outstanding design, as elegant and sophisticated as the cosmopolitan city of Toronto."


Howard Johnson's Landmark: Fall 1971; page 1
In order to mark the happy occasion of the first Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge/Restaurant/Red Coach Grill complex opening in the Great White North, both Howard D. and Howard B. Johnson appeared for the cameras. The site's grand opening was July 19, 1971. One of Howard D. Johnson's last public showings, he would die less than a year later.



Of the International licensees, only Orangeroof Canada and its locations fit into the Howard Johnson's scheme of things. Unfortunately they stopped building standardised HoJo's by the middle 1970s to house their new Motor Lodges and Hotels.

The Howard Johnson's brand was so popular in Canada that HJ Restaurants survived well into the FAI era, and even expanded before finally ceasing operations in the 1990s


Postcard circa 1971 (Detail showing the Red Coach Grill)