Our beautiful red brick building at the main intersection in Thornbury, Ontario, was built around 1880 and served as a dry goods store and pharmacy in its early days.
In 1968, much-loved Thornbury restaurant owner Henry Wong bought the building. He moved Wongs’ restaurant from the other side of Bruce Street into it in 1974.
Then, in 1989, Jerry and Jackie Chan – known for their friendly smiles, won-ton soup, egg rolls, and take-out – bought Wongs’ and ran it until their retirement in 2015.
Birth of The Corner
Randy Litchfield has long had a weakness for old buildings that need some lovin’. He and his wife, Jane Litchfield, and their 3 kids had been visiting the Thornbury area for years, enjoying skiing, sailing, hiking, fabulous views, and crispy-sweet apples. So when #3 Bruce Street in the heart of Thornbury went up for sale, Randy couldn’t resist.
The Litchfields bought the building in September 2015, with a vision for building a community hub where friends and families, clubs and teams, locals and visitors alike could meet and eat. People told them they would love some more affordable dining in downtown Thornbury. So, The Corner Café & Grill was born.
The Litchfields spent 7 months lovingly restoring the building with their son Jack as project manager and many talented local people.
Workers repaired the historic red brick and opened up the original arched windows as well as big new windows in the back room. Some of the brick that was removed now decorates the restaurant. During Thornbury Olde Fashioned Christmas in 2015, scores of people came in to sign the exposed subfloor.
Randy was excited to expose the historic tin ceiling (and then take it down, fireproof the ceiling, and nail it back up), and the curved wall inside the entrance. Look for the original curved baseboard as you come in our front door.
Inside the walls we found road signs, medicine bottles, a woman’s boot, a WWI newspaper clipping, stubby beer bottles, a beautiful stained-glass transom, and more. Look for these artifacts at The Corner.
It all came together in April 2016 as The Corner Café & Grill opened with a commitment to community, affordability, accessibility, and homemade food with local ingredients.
Upstairs, the Chans’ former residence has been transformed into apartments with prime Thornbury views.